God-Stories–A Powerful Weapon Against Satan

How About A New Story?

My teenage friends and I rolled our eyes as the elderly gentleman rose from his accustomed side front pew. As usual, he half turned to face the congregation, leaned his left hand on the back of the pew in front of him, as he always did, and began his testimony . . . again. We had all heard his conversion story from sixty years ago so many Sundays, we could have recited it for him.

I wanted to ask him, “Hasn’t God done anything for you recently?” but I had been a Christian only a few years, and now, I was learning how to be a well-behaved member of our small evangelical church.

True, some members of the congregation did stand and tell of recent answers to prayer, but for the most part, “giving your testimony” meant telling the story of how you came to repent of your sin and turn to God for forgiveness for the first time.

We do need to tell the story of our spiritual rebirth, but we need to realize that this birth starts a whole new life, filled with other God-stories—answers to prayers, amazing coincidences, needs He met, healings and special guidance. Our lives as believers should be overflowing with stories that bear witness to others of God’s work in and through us.

People Listen and so do Spirits
But not just to people. Spiritual beings are also listening. Angels give praise to God along with us as we tell our God-stories. The “other side” is listening too. Satan and his evil spirits hate hearing about God’s power in our lives. When we tell what God has done for us, Satan will do anything to shut us up. Why? Because our God-stories are weapons: powerful Satan defeating weapons.

How They Overcame Satan
Check out the scene in Revelation 12:11 which describes a large number of Jesus-followers who overcame Satan. How did they do this? By telling everyone about what God had done for them, through the atoning death of Jesus Christ. They were powerful witnesses against Satan and for God. They made God look so good, and Satan look so bad that he killed them. Yes, they were martyrs. That is why the word “martyr” comes from the Greek word that means “witness.”

Our testimonies, our God-stories of God’s actions in our lives are powerful Satan conquering weapons. What a pity that we don’t hear them regularly in church! No, not the same old story every Sunday, but new God-honouring, Satan crushing stories.

We who are followers of Jesus need to tell our God-stories to each other for encouragement, and to those who are not yet believers to let them know God can and does act in people’s lives.

A Fifteen-Year-Old Photo

Six of our Grandkds Telling Stories Over a Cup of Tea

Six of our Grandkids Telling Stories Over Cups of Tea

Fifteen years ago they were little kids telling stories. Now they are telling even more stories. Our youngest grandson is now seventeen; the five granddaughters range in age from nineteen to twenty-two years old. Each of them can tell a dozen stories of what they experienced while overseas on mission service trips. They have all been to Mexico and Brazil. Some have been to Guatemala, some to Pakistan, Thailand, and Zimbabwe. Some have lived for months in Australia. One worked on a Mercy ship for three months serving countries on Africa’s east coast—God-stories galore. And they have many more stories of God’s dealings in their everyday lives

Whenever I speak in public, I tell plenty of personal God-stories—what God has done for me, through me, or sometimes in spite of me. As I greet people at the door afterward, they often say, “Thank you for telling those stories. Isn’t God wonderful?” I smile and imagine Satan’s groan of pain.

What has God done in your life this past week? Have you told anyone yet? The angels are waiting to compose a song of praise about it. Satan hopes you’ll just keep quiet.

The Powerful Weapon the Church Is Neglecting

My friends and I rolled our eyes as the elderly elder stood up from his accustomed side front pew. As usual, he half turned to face the congregation, leaned his left hand on the pew, as he always did, and began his testimony . . . again. It was the well-rehearsed story of his conversion from sixty years ago. We had all heard it so many Sundays during “testimony time” most of us teens could have recited it for him.

I wanted to interrupt him to ask, “Hasn’t God done anything for you recently?” but I had been a Christian only a few years and now, during my late teens, I was learning how to be a well-behaved member of our small evangelical church.

True, some members of the congregation did stand and tell of recent answers to prayer, but for the most part, “giving your testimony” meant telling the story of how you came to repent of your sin and turn to God for forgiveness.

Now there is nothing wrong with telling the story of how God rescued us from our former lifestyle and set us on the path of right living. What we need to realize, however, is that our conversion is only the beginning of a whole life filled with actions of God—answers to prayers, amazing co-incidences, healings and special guidance. Our post-conversion lives should be overflowing with stories that bear witness to God’s work in and through us. When we tell those personal experiences—those God-stories— we are witnessing to the world even to the whole universe that God is alive and powerful and that He is in control.

Satan hates hearing about God’s power in our lives. When, like a witness in court, we tell what God has done for us personally, Satan will do anything to shut us up. Why? Because our God-stories are weapons: powerful Satan defeating weapons.

Check out the scene in Revelation 12:11. Here are a huge number of Jesus-followers who overcame Satan by telling everyone about what God had done for them personally, through the atoning death of Jesus Christ. They were powerful witnesses against Satan and for God they made God look so good and Satan look so bad that multitudes of other people abandoned Satan and turned to God. They just wouldn’t shut up, so Satan had to kill them. Yes, they were martyrs. In fact, the word martyr comes from the Greek word that means witness.

Our testimonies, our God-stories of God’s actions in our lives are powerful Satan conquering weapons. What a pity that we don’t hear them regularly in church! No, not the same old story over and over again every Sunday, but new God-honouring, Satan crushing stories.

Sharing Our Stories Over a Cup of Tea

Sharing Our Stories Over a Cup of Tea
(Courtesy of our youngest grandkids 11 years ago)

We who are followers of Jesus need to tell our stories every time we have the opportunity, to each other for encouragement, and to those who are not yet believers to let them know God can and does act in people’s lives.

Whenever I speak in public I tell plenty of personal God-stories—what God has done for me, through me, or sometimes in spite of me. As I greet people at the door afterwards, they often say, “Thank you for telling those stories. Isn’t God wonderful?” I can just hear Satan’s groan of pain.

What has God done in your life this past week? Have you told anyone yet?

How to Panic Satan and Get Him Angry

The good news squawked from our short wave radio on Monday morning, “Paul is flying the plane from Belem to Brasilia for a major overhaul and could stop at the Canela village on Saturday night.”

Alright! Paul would stop to refuel in town. That meant, I could ride my motorbike the 70 kilometres into town, buy 400 kilos (880 pounds) of salt, kerosene for lamps and other heavy stuff the village needed, and arrange to have it loaded on the plane to haul in. I would be back on Tuesday night.

The Trip

So on Monday I rode off on my old Tote Gote, a limited edition off-road motorcycle. Powered with only lawnmower engine it was slow going, but I got to town in five hours, instead of in two days on foot.

By Tuesday noon, I had finished buying the supplies and left them with friends to take to the airstrip when the plane landed to refuel. As I rode back to the village I felt pleased with the way I was able to help bring in needed goods in this way which are so difficult to haul in on foot. But my happiness was short lived.

The Breakdown

An hour into the trip my Tote Gote suddenly quit. Nothing I tried would start it again, so I pushed it into the bush to hide it from passersby, and walked the 15 kilometres back to town, arriving well after dark. On Wednesday morning, a friend and I drove a jeep out to pick up the defunct bike and hauled it back to town where it was diagnosed as irreparable.

The Praying

Jo in Village House Kitchen

It was a long week of waiting for the plane. It was an even longer week for Jo since with no phone or short wave radio in town, there was no way for me to get a message out to her. She had expected me on Tuesday night. On Wednesday’s brief short-wave radio schedule with the mission centre in Belem at 6:00 a.m., she asked our friends to pray for me. And again on Thursday morning, and Friday, and Saturday.

Finally, at noon Saturday, the plane arrived. When the pilot saw me on the airstrip he called the centre saying, “I see Jack: he is okay.” This was good news for Jo who was by her radio monitoring the conversation. An hour later, the plane arrived in the village, with me and all but 70 kilos of supplies.

The Worry

On Sunday, after the plane left and the goods were distributed, Jo and I finally sat down to talk about how her week had been. “I was pretty worried. I imagined you lying out on the trail somewhere with a broken leg or worse.”

She went on to tell me that as soon as I left she had started to feel sick, nauseous and feverish with a lot of pain in her abdomen. “I thought it was just another case of diarrhea,” she said. But because of the fever, she treated herself for an infection with massive doses of tetracycline, a broad spectrum antibiotic. “By Friday I was feeling better, but will continue with the tetracycline treatment for a full week.”

The Rest of the Story

All this happened in mid-August. Fast forward to the week of November 7, Leanne’s tenth birthday. We were now on the mission centre, the girls were in school, and Jo wanted to bake and decorate a birthday cake, and plan a party for Saturday. But by mid-afternoon she felt a pain starting in her belly button and moving to her lower right abdomen. Soon she was feverish and feeling nauseous. I ran to get one of our missionary friends, a registered nurse to come and see her. “This is appendicitis!” she exclaimed, “We’ve got to get her to the hospital right now!”

Jo protested, worrying about Leanne’s cake and party, but within an hour she lay on the operating table undergoing an emergency appendectomy.

“The appendix was swollen and had started to leak,” the surgeon told me afterwards, “but I got it out just in time. By the way, I also saw evidence of a previous infection.”

The Plot

Then I remembered that week in August when Jo had treated herself aggressively with tetracycline. Satan’s plan was to kill Jo, and without the antibiotic treatment, he would have succeeded—a massive infection of the appendix can kill within 24 hours. I would have arrived on Saturday afternoon to find crowds of upset Canelas, three distraught little girls, and one fresh grave.

God had foiled Satan’s plot to stop the Canela Bible translation project. (I could not have continued without Jo!) It was neither his first evil attempt, nor the last. The experience, though painful and dangerous, confirmed to Jo and me that the translation work we were doing as a team was a major threat to Satan. His centuries-long unhindered control over the Canelas would end when the Truth of the Good News was translated into Canela. And it did, a few years later, when the first Canelas chose to leave Satan’s kingdom and enter God’s Kingdom.

The Anger

Satan will soon be in an anger filled panic mode. Every week two or three new Bible translation programs are starting in people groups that are still under his control.

“He (Satan) is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” Revelation 12:12 (NIV).