Last Friday night, my wife and I attended a banquet as guests of a close friend. The speaker for the evening was a man I had met almost 20 years before when we lived in Montana and I was excited to hear and meet him again. His name is George Otis, Jr., President of the Sentinel Group and a man who studies spiritual revivals as they are happening around the world. His message that night was riveting–as always–but that is not the point of this article.
I had an unusual encounter with the spirit realm years ago. It was through reading one of George’s books I was armed for the battle.
In 1997, I read Otis’ book “The Twilight Labyrinth: Why Does Spiritual Darkness Linger Where it Does?” George and his company, the Sentinel group, are researchers. They explore the stories and statistics behind trends and happenings around the world. For years, their business was to help entities understand markets and market trends. But George himself became fascinated with trends in the spirit realm. He conjectured that some geographical areas see positive spiritual things happening and other places mostly negative spiritual results. In this book, he categorized his findings and theorized on why this might be.
He spends several chapters writing about a particular area of the world which seems to have more demonic, satanic, and shamanistic practitioners than anywhere else. For this article, I will not mention the name of the place, but you can certainly buy the book and find out where it is. I read the entire book in one day; it was that fascinating. I have had encounters with unclean and dangerous spirits over my years in counseling and pastoring and I wanted to know more about that realm.
In the book, George relates how shamans in this particular place would occasionally give spirits an assignment to rob joy out of their enemies. It is thought in that culture if a person has no joy left they will die. This may or may not be true, but I have seen what it is like when people have no joy, and it is certainly ugly and life-threatening. I had no trouble believing this is sometimes the result of the occult. The Twilight Labyrinth claims this is a common practice in this part of the world. I mentally noted all of this and went on with my life.
Two weeks later, a group of cowboy evangelists, known as “Cowboys With A Mission” asked me to do a debriefing weekend with them at a ranch north of our town in Montana. Their team of about 20 people had just returned from spending several months overseas and they would soon be returning home. During their time away, they had done preaching and rodeo demonstrations on another continent. When I agreed to speak, I had no idea where they had been.
On the Friday night, I did my first debriefing talk. The second I began to teach, I felt a spiritual storm start. I am sometimes aware when things change in the spirit realm, but this was too obvious to miss. Both my wife and I knew we were fighting something at a deep spiritual level. The students literally looked and sounded like they were dying. I am not exaggerating. Even their pallor was deathly. No one asked any questions and their vacant stares were as creepy as a horror movie. What had I stepped into?
After the evening was over, I asked to meet with the five leaders of the team. I told them about my spiritual discernment and they were not surprised. That’s when they casually told me where they had been living the previous few months. It was that exact place mentioned in the Twilight Labyrinth. When I heard this, I asked a simple question: “Does it feel like someone has sucked all the joy out of you?” I had no idea the response would be that dramatic.
The wife of the key leader began sobbing. Within 30 seconds, all the other leaders were crying as well. Something had beat up these people. I quickly explained what George Otis had written in his book about a joy-robbing spirit, and asked if I could employ the power and name of Jesus to help them. They agreed between tears. Very simply, I took authority over any spirit which had been sent on assignment to bother them. Instantly, they all settled down. Then Kathy and I laid hands on them one by one and asked God to fill them again with joy. I won’t go into great detail what happened next. But we spent two hours seeing the fruit of joy flowing into them and out of them as well. It reminded me of what can happen when a lot of people get into a keg of beer. Only in this case, no one lost their mind or said regrettable things.
The next morning, I invited the leaders to come and together we did the same thing for all the students. We commanded the joy-robbing spirit–I have no idea if it had a name or if that is what it is, but it is certainly what it did to them–to leave them all alone. That entity, that unclean spirit, left immediately. The name of Jesus Christ is more powerful than any spirit on this planet and they must obey Him.
Then the leaders laid hands upon the students and they were all filled again with joy. For the rest of the weekend, we mixed in simple teaching on demonic realities with more mundane instructions on how to get re-integrated into their home life and culture. I have kept up on the Internet with several of those students and they continue to tell me about the dramatic change that weekend wrought in their lives. One of the men is now the CEO of a company and he told me God is using him to pray protection over several branch offices. He was never a believer in spirits, but he now believes they exist after what he experienced.
Last Friday, as George spoke, I was reminded of the Cowboys weekend and thought to myself, “I wonder, with all the shamanistic practices people are now toying with in our nation, if people really know what they’re fooling around with?”
My answer is “probably not”. I have talked with people recently who have cursed family members and they have no idea there are opportunistic spirits who love to take people seriously when they curse others. A curse is simple. If you utter a desire or wish that someone else be harmed or attacked, that wish becomes a spiritual curse. Let everyone reading this be aware that these things work. But they often backfire and create much more damage than people realize.
Bless you George Otis for your faithful speaking and writing. It has helped so many more than you will ever know.