missions tagged posts

Amy Carmichael and demon possession

f b meyer, revival, forgiveness, prayer

While it is often overlooked, Amy Carmichael more than once faced ‘evil spirits’ and demon-possession in her ministry.  The first of these occurred in Japan in her first year and is noted in chapter 5 of “From Sunrise Land.” (This previously out-of-print book is now available in kindle and paperback).

amy carmichael, evil spirits, Japan, sunrise land


Friday night, July 14, 1893 —May the Spirit of Truth now hold my pen, as I try to tell you of yesterday’s life. A week might have been compressed into those twelve hours, one seems to have lived through so much.

Early in the morning we heard that quite close to us an old man was possessed by “the fox-spirit.” Demoniacal possession is much the same here as in Palestine, of old. I had heard about it, but barely believed in it. We listened now while they talked.

It was the old story retold. “Wheresoever it taketh him, it teareth him; and he foameth and gnasheth with his teeth and pineth away.”

And as we listened wonderingly, suddenly flashed the question, “Why could not we cast him out?”

Almost stunned with the thought, I went straight to my room, and asked Him. And the answer came, “Because of your unbelief.” Of the next few hours I cannot write.

Then I went to T. San our interpreter, and asked her, did she believe our Lord Jesus was willing to cast the devil out of that man. She was rather startled, but after praying over it, she too believed.

Our first impulse was to go at once, but “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” caused us to wait; in the meantime we sent a message to the people, asking might we go to see him, and they replied we might, but that he was very wild, “had six foxes,” and was tied up.

Then we waited, T. San and I, each alone, before the Lord. I cannot tell you much of these solemn hours, but just this much seems to His glory. Even physical strength and mental power left me, it was in literal utter nothingness we went forth in His Name. What was done, was all of God.

We went, and were taken upstairs. I had been prepared for much, but for nothing so awful as this. Stretched upon the floor, fastened crosswise upon two beams, bound and strapped hand and foot, his body covered with burns and wounds —it was terrible. . . . But nothing to what followed. At the name of Christ a fearful paroxysm came on. It seemed as though the powers of hell were let loose. Blasphemies which even I could recognise as such, were poured forth. A voice not his own spoke, and then his voice, dry and cracked, seemed to echo the other. He struggled to get at us, but they held him down, and covered his face. We knelt and prayed, but it seemed as though the devil were mocking us. He grew more violent every moment; it was worse than useless to wait. Can you think how I felt then? His Name dishonoured among the heathen, and I had done it. Far, far better never to have come! This was the fiery dart which was hurled against me. And yet, surely He had sent us, surely it was no self-movement. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” In the lull which those words brought, I could hear it again. “All power is given unto Me,” it said. “These signs shall follow them that believe: in My Name shall they east out devils. Fear thou not, FOR I AM WITH THEE!”

As the poor wife followed us to the door, with no thought of reproach for what must have seemed to her a cruel intrusion, I could tell her through T. San, what had just been told me, our God would conquer. When the evil spirit was cast out, we asked her to let us know, until then we would pray at home. And yet, I’m afraid my faith was very weak, for I was almost broken down, and when dear Sarah met us with loving sympathy, and told us she too was praying, it was very comforting.

One hour afterwards the Answer came, The “foxes” had gone, the cords were off, and he was lying, weak indeed, but himself again. At night they sent once more. He was sleeping, very prostrate after all the excitement, but well. We re­membered then, how when our Lord cast the “foul spirit ” out of the child, he was as one dead, but Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up, and he arose. So we asked Him to do it for him.

This morning he asked to see us. I should not have known the man. Only the scars on the “sore vexed” body told of what had been. One could hardly speak for very gladness: it was such a transformation.

He sent for flowers, a lovely spray of scarlet pomegranate blossom, and offered it gracefully to me. Then iced water was brought, the first we had tasted this season, sugared, and served with chopsticks instead of teaspoons. Joy and peace reigned in the selfsame room, the fury had raged in, yesterday.

We talked to him, and his gentle wife, and prayed with them ere we left them. They knelt and joined with “Hai! Hai!” Yes, yes! when T, San asked for a saved soul, from Him who had saved the body. Clothed and in his right mind, worshipping the God he had reviled. How glorious it was!

As we came away, a priest passed, and looked at us with no friendly eye. Among them is a sect called “Fox Exorcists.” The spirits of evil are supposed to take the form of foxes, one or more take possession of the victim, henceforth he lives a dual or a complex life. There are various medical explanations, which I don’t understand. It is mysterious enough to be considered fabulous by those who do not know how true it is. Certainly we are in a land where the Prince of Darkness has power. The dreaded Fox Spirit is worshipped, shrines are dedicated to him. Little stone foxes are often set side by side with the Buddhas by the wayside. The strangest tales are told and believed, many of course superstitious, but many based on fact. Fox Spirits have been known to lead their prey into deep mountain pools, and there leave them to drown. This poor man, out of whom our God cast six, according to their count, was bent upon destroying himself. “Ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water,” it sounds very much like that.

Did George Muller Really Live By Faith?

george mueller christian book orphans prayer
Did George Muller Really Live By Faith?

 

Over the years many have held George Muller up as an example of someone who lived by faith.  It was often said (by himself and many others as well) that he maintained the work of the Orphanages and the Scripture Knowledge Institute “by prayer alone, never asking anyone for help”.

For example, in the introduction to the “Autobiography of George Muller” we read that Muller:

“Wholly destitute of funds, is supporting and educating seven hundred orphans, providing everything needful for their education, is in himself an extensive Bible and Tract and Missionary Society, the work is daily increasing in magnitude, and the means for carrying it on are abundantly supplied, while he is connected with no particular denomination, is aided by no voluntary association, and he has asked the assistance of not a single individual. He has asked no one but God, and all his wants have been regularly supplied.”

Now, right from the start I’ll say that I definitely think he was an amazing man of faith.  And I think it was incredible what God did through Muller’s life and fantastic how he was able to depend on God to help so many thousands of lives.

But – from a missionaries perspective – I think there’s more to the story than we sometimes see.  I’ve often seen people today who feel called to missions either  (a) feel guilty because they need to raise funds to work overseas…and therefore don’t feel as spiritual as Muller, or (b) shy away from raising funds at all, trying to imitate Muller’s faith (without always seeing his results!)

The interesting thing is that if you read Muller’s autobiography, you quickly notice that while, technically, he told no one but God the needs that he had, there were many ways he used to make that need indirectly known, and to raise support.

For example,
1. “The Box” – Muller was also a pastor and lived by faith for his support (in contrast to the many pastors who charged “rent” for their pews in the church).  He felt renting out pews was contrary to Scripture and instead put up a box in the church for people to put in their freewill offerings.  This was a radical step for the times.  But it was also a continual reminder to the people that their pastor was depending on God (and indirectly on them) for support.  Every week they saw the box and were reminded of this fact.  He states this in chapter 4 of his autobiography:

“I read Philippians 4 and told the saints that if they still had a desire to do something towards my support, by voluntary gifts, I had no objection to receive them, though ever so small, either in money or provisions…For these reasons especially, there was a box put up in the chapel, over which was written that whoever had a desire to do something towards my support might put his offering into the box.”

2. His “Narratives” – Muller started writing his autobiography and published it within two years of starting his orphanage ministry.  (The first part was printed in August 1837 and covered what was to become the first 8 chapters of his present autobiography.  He continued to publish many additions to it every few years).  Not only did the sales of his narrative bring in a little support, but his book let everyone know that he was living by faith and would have served as indirect encouragement that they could (if they so felt led) support his ministry like the many dozens of people he had written about.

3. Corporate Prayer Meetings – Muller began meeting daily with his staff (those that worked with him in the orphanages, etc) to pray for the needs that they faced in their work (see chapter 12).  So he changed from saying “I told no one but God” to “we told no one but God” about the needs.  While I agree that this still required much faith, the reality is (as told in his autobiography) that it was often the workers themselves, who knew of and saw the financial needs, that gave out of their own money to help the work.

The reason I bring this up is so that missionaries who do raise support do not feel discouraged or unspiritual for using various means to make their needs known.  Obviously, our Heavenly Father knows what we need, He is the one that we go to first, and it is through persistent believing prayer that God can move the hearts of men and women to support the work.  But we also don’t despise means for communicating the message – Muller used his narratives, and many today use newsletters; Muller had a box in the back of the church (and orphanages) and some today have “boxes” on websites, allowing donors to give.

The reason Muller wrote the narratives was to encourage faith and stir the church to attempt great things for God through faith – not to discourage those stepping out in faith!  So yes, Muller lived by faith and it’s my prayer that more and more will likewise live radical, prayerful, faith-filled lives as they attempt to see God’s kingdom impact the nations!


eBook Availability:
George Muller’s “Answers to Prayer” is available below:

THE GEORGE MULLER COLLECTION (5-in-1)
** SALE: 5 books for under $3.00!
** Less than $1 each!

George Mueller online books

 Formats Available:
George Muller books free online Kindle eBook
George Mueller books free online Kobo/Sony eBook
George Muller iTunes iBook iTunes iBook

George Muller (1805-1898) was a man of prayer and courage who through faith established orphanages and schools for thousands of children in England in the 1800’s. He was also well known for his preaching, teaching and missionary work. His life and legacy has been an inspiration to countless thousands of Christians worldwide!

This Collection contains:
1 – Biography of George Muller by A. T. Pierson (1899). A captivating biography of Muller by the missionary statesman A. T. Pierson. (24 Chapters)
2 – Muller’s “Autobiography” (also titled “The Life of Trust”). This is the 1861 version of his larger 6 volume “Narrative”, edited and condensed for a wider audience.
3 – “Answers to Prayer” – a compilation from his “Narrative” recording specific answers to prayer that he experienced. It also includes, among other things, powerful teaching on “How to determine the will of God,” “Five conditions of Prevailing Prayer” and teaching on “Reading the Holy Scriptures”
4 – “Counsel to Christians” – compiled in 1878 (and also known as “Counsel to Converts”), these are excellent messages and sermons of Muller’s on growing as a Christian.
5 – “Preaching Tours and Missionary Labours of George Muller” – compiled in 1883 by his wife, it contains the fascinating accounts of his 9 missionary journeys around the world (North America, Europe and the Mid East).

* Fully searchable, edited and with an Active Table-of-Contents!

 


 

THE GEORGE MULLER COLLECTION, Vol. 2  (6-in-1)
** SALE: 6 books for under $4.00!
** Less than $1 each!

George Mueller online books

 Formats Available:
George Muller books free online Kindle eBook
George Mueller books free online Kobo/Sony eBook  (coming soon!)
George Muller iTunes iBook iTunes iBook  (coming soon!)

This new volume of the works of and about George Muller contains:
George Muller online books

1. A Brief Account of the Life and Labours of George Muller (by his wife)
2. Jehovah Magnified: Addresses by George Muller (34 sermons and addresses)
3. Sermons and Addresses by George Muller (20 sermons and addresses)
4. George Muller: The Modern Apostle of Faith (19 chapters)
5. Ten Years After: A Sequel to the Autobiography of George Muller (11 chapters, 30 illustrations)
6. Andrew Murray on George Muller
George Muller online books
Let your faith be strengthened and your prayer life renewed as you read of the life and ministry of this great man of God!