2. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.
4 Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way,
to a city where they could settle.
10 Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
11 because they rebelled against God’s commands.
and despised the plans of the Most High.
12 So he subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.
15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
16 for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron. (NIV 2011)
The Bible says, let the redeemed of the Lord say so, so that is why I feel the Lord would have me share my testimony of how He delivered me out of darkness, destroyed the devil’s stronghold in my life, and broke the chains of bondage. Jesus Christ is the only hero in this story. I can do nothing without Him, but I can do all things through Christ. Phil. 4:13. ”Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise, for it was grace that brought my liberty.”
I was born and raised in a Christian home, attending nearly every service, prayer meeting, and church function in my childhood and into my teenage years. I remember at an early age hearing the Lord’s voice during alter calls under the ministry of Bro. C. Parker Thomas and Bro. Phil Enlow, but I hardened my heart for several years until I was approximately 15 years old.
I remember the Lord’s presence was so strong one morning at the Bible Tabernacle that I couldn’t do anything but stand up out of my seat and walk down to the altar as if a magnet was pulling me down to bow the knee to Christ. I remember going home that afternoon and thinking: This is it; I have salvation and a ticket to heaven. I thought that’s all there was to the Christian life, a onetime surrender, and a ticket to heaven.
I vividly remember that Sunday morning: Bro. Ron Peters met me at the altar where I had knelt, placed his hand on my shoulder and said, this is just the first step, keep looking to the Lord. I thought, just the first step? My, how right he was when he said that to me and I will remember those words forever. The next 15 years of my life was a roller coaster ride, but the Lord has seen me through each step of the way and has never left my side.
Shortly after I bowed the knee to Christ and accepted him as my Savior, the devil started searching for weak areas in my life where he could enter in and distract me from the plans the Lord had for me. The devil found a weak area in my life that opened the door to nearly 15 years of bondage and addiction. I felt like I was in chains and like there was no hope.
Praise God, this story doesn’t end here. There is hope for anyone, and that hope is Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross. Christ will reach to the lowest pit, remove the chains, and set you free.
As I entered the later part of my teenage years, the devil really began to work. I had none, or very little desire to be at church. The devil lied to me and said, You’re saved; you went to the alter call that one day and you have a ticket to heaven; why continue going to church? The devil is a liar, but I took the bait and ran with it. The Thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Christ) have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10.
I remember my parents struggling to wake me up to attend church on Sunday mornings during this time in my life. Some days I didn’t go, and looking back I most certainly regret that time in my life. The word is clear in Hebrews 10:25 that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but Satan had me blinded to the point I couldn’t spiritually see any longer.
For the next few years, I began to live just like the world. I still attended church occasionally, I still lifted my hands in worship, possibly fooling those around me, but the stronghold Satan had kept getting stronger and the chains around me kept getting tighter. I was living the lukewarm lifestyle that the Bible warns about in Revelation 3:16. I had one foot in the world and one foot in the church. I was walking like the world, talking like the world, and doing the immoral things that the world does. Satan had me in a prison cell, spiritually blinded, yet I thought I was ok.
I, regretfully, spent several years in immoral relationships outside of the church and God’s will, that directly contradicted the word of God, during those years of wandering. I most certainly regret that time in my life and would warn the young people against having relationships outside of the Lord’s will. Those immoral relationships, led to regret and hurt which followed into my married life with the wife that God had prepared for me. I’m thankful, the Lord has, and still is healing those wounds over time and has strengthened our marriage in only a way that He can do.
The devil loves to trick the body of Christ, as he did with me, that we can engage in the activities of the world and play with sin like the rest of the world does. Immoral relationships are just one example, but there are certainly more areas than that, where the devil will try to convince us that contradicting God’s word is ok. The devil will trick people into believing that it’s ok to engage in willful sin because: “Everyone else does it; it must be ok; it feels good.”
Those are all lies from the devil. The Bible says to flee from such things. We need, by the power Christ has given us at the cross, to resist the devil as stated in James 4:7-8. We need the Lord to guide and lead us in all aspects of life and to seek His will for our lives. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:2.
In 2013 the Lord brought Kendall Bryant and me together. I thank the Lord every day for sending a God-fearing woman into my life. We had known each other our whole lives and grew up in the church together, but we never thought the Lord would join us together. In June of 2015 we got married; all things work together for the good in God’s time.
Early in our marriage, and even after having our first child I remember Kendall asking me on many occasions on Saturday evenings, if I planned to attend church the next morning. I would say, yes, but then I would oversleep and barely make it out the door on time, sometimes not even attending at all.
It hurts me to reflect back on these things, time I could have spent serving the Lord, but I’m including this information in here so people can know the power of Christ and what He can do to set the captive free. I didn’t have it in my heart to serve the Lord, or to offer Him my life, a living sacrifice.
When I would attend the church services, I remember Kendall asking me on many occasions what I heard in the sermon, and I couldn’t relay much to her. It’s as if the devil spiritually had my ears plugged and my eyes blinded to the point I couldn’t really hear from the Lord. I once was blind, but now I see. Praise God!
In the summer of 2019, the Lord began to work in my heart in a new way. I had more of a desire to be free from bondage like never before. I would watch various sermons on YouTube. I spent more time reading the Bible. I spent more time in prayer. I wanted to listen at church and hear the voice of the Lord. I was able to worship more freely, and I got baptized in August of 2019.
Looking back though, I was trying in myself to check all the religious boxes and be delivered by my own works. I was able to overcome the stronghold for a short time, but slowly I backslid into it again and the cycle started all over. I found myself in the chains once again. I believe the reason this happened is because I was trying to do the work myself. I did seek God somewhat, but I was relying on my own strength. I thought, I can do this; I can be free from this addiction. I found out that I was wrong. I needed the Lord to come down in delivering power and set me free. We can do nothing in ourselves, but in Christ we can do all things.
In the summer of 2022, I was still in the devil’s prison, in chains, and in bondage. We had three children at that point and the devil had been attacking my whole family. I didn’t understand why. My eyes weren’t open to the spiritual realm at that point, but now, by God’s grace they are open. Kendall, told me recently that she was praying daily that the Lord would reveal what was happening in our home and why there was so much strife, arguing, marriage problems, and disobedience from our children. The attacks were happening daily and there was very little peace in our home.
Looking back, I believe the reason these attacks were so obvious at this point is that the devil knew his time of tormenting my family was short. The Lord, in a way only He could do, answered my wife’s prayers in a very powerful way over the next year.
Our oldest son Ryder was being tormented by demonic nightmares almost every night in the summer of 2022. He would wake up saying he was seeing scary figures in his room. He would scream, and yell and we couldn’t wake him up out of it. He was also very fearful of being left alone in his room even for a moment. I also suffered from the same type of demonic dreams and fear as a child, and even into adulthood.
With the Lord’s help, we recognized this was a spiritual battle. We came against it several times with prayer, but things didn’t change. Our son kept experiencing the demonic dreams and fear. Once, in the middle of the night after my son had fallen back to sleep from a tormenting dream, I tried to tell the unclean spirit to leave and when I did, he sat up out of his sleep and smirked/laughed at me as if saying, what authority do you have? I could tell that this wasn’t my son, but rather the spirit that was attacking him and I was frightened at that point. I’m reminded of when the sons of Sceva tried to cast the demon out in Acts and the spirit responded: Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you? then attacked them all. Acts 19:15.
Finally, I called a close friend and brother in Christ and explained what was happening. He said he felt that the Holy Spirit spoke to him as we were talking and said that I needed to repent/renounce and stop the willful sin in my life because I had opened the door to the devil and given him legal access, so to speak, for him to torment my children. My friend even gave testimony that he, too had dealt with a similar situation earlier in his life. Without me telling him what I was in bondage to, he said that he, earlier in his life, had struggled with the same sin that held me captive.
I knew that was the Lord speaking to me, and I knew I needed to change but I didn’t know how. I felt as though I had tried everything I could in myself. That was the problem, I was trying in myself. Thank God we have a Savior! Thank God for the blood of the Lamb that frees and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.
Kendall and I watched a sermon around that same time about demonic oppression and how to be delivered from it. At the end of the live video the minister prayed over everyone, some for specific needs one on one, but then for everyone in general and explained we should renounce areas where we willingly or unknowingly (generational or bloodline curses) opened the door to the devil. What I appreciated most in the sermon was that Christ was the center and that He was the only One who could do the work even though He was using an anointed vessel to do so.
We both renounced areas where the door had been opened to the devil. We prayed and trusted that the Lord would deliver us. Kendall prayed for shoulder healing, as her shoulder had hurt for years due to a ski accident that happened when she was a teenager. In the weeks to follow she realized she was healed, and still has no pain to this day after having shoulder pain daily for many years.
I went to bed trusting the Lord could do what I asked. In the middle of the night, I felt the Lord’s presence come into my room and I felt like literal chains were being broken off of me one by one. I knew that the Lord was there in my room, and He was freeing me. Even though my body was asleep, I felt a peace and freedom like never before. I woke up feeling made new and cleansed, praising the Lord.
It was explained to us in the sermon we watched that though we try in ourselves (as I did for many years) and even ask God to be delivered, it sometimes takes an anointed vessel carrying God’s power to break the yoke/bondage. Isaiah 10:27. The process of renouncing was a strange new thing for us, but the Lord used this to deliver me. I’m thankful every day to the Lord and He gets all the glory and praise.
Several days went by, and I was finally able to share with Kendall for the first time, that I had been in bondage for nearly 15 years and had had an addiction that started from playing with sin when I was a teenager. Even though I believe I was saved at approximately age 15, I was still in a bondage that I couldn’t get out of. I would fall into the sin repeatedly.
After this went on for years and I realized I couldn’t stop, I would just say: well, this is just who I am. I’m sorry, Lord. Please forgive me. This must be my thorn in the flesh. Then I would turn around and fall right back into the devil’s trap again.
After the Lord’s presence met with me that night, I no longer have a desire to engage in the sin and addiction that held me captive for so many years. That was August 13, 2022, a day I will never forget. I knew, and still know, the Lord set me free, He cut those chains. He forgave me for the sins I had committed. They are washed in Jesus’ blood, and they will never be remembered any more. Hebrews 8:12. Nor will they be counted against me because of what Christ did on the cross. Thank God for the cross!
I still have thoughts and temptations occasionally, but I’m able to point the devil to the cross and know that I’ve overcome by what Christ did for us. The sinful desires and addiction I had for so long are completely gone and nothing could have done this except God’s power that is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. 2 Cor. 10:4.
After confessing my sin to Kendall (James 5:16), we were both able to come against the spirit that was tormenting our son through the demonic dreams and fear of being alone and command it to leave in Jesus’ name. The spirit did leave him and ever since that night he has been set free from those demonic dreams and is no longer afraid of the dark. Praise the Lord!
The Lord has equipped the body of Christ with spiritual weapons. These weapons can take down strongholds, set the captive free, and heal the sick, but first we may need to, by the Lords power, renounce and shut the door that we or someone in our blood line opened allowing the devil to have access to us, before we can properly use the power the Lord has equipped us with.
I don’t think we can ever be fully sin free while we are in these earthly bodies, as 1 John 1:8 says: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But don’t let the devil lie to you and make you think that living in and playing with sin is normal for Christians. If you’re not sure if it’s something you shouldn’t do, ask yourself: Would I do this if Jesus were here with me?
Thank God for the cross, and that we can come boldly to him, and our sins will be forgiven, but don’t let the devil trick you as he did me for many years into thinking its ok to willfully engage in sin and it will all be covered by the blood. The Lord does cover all our sins, thank God, but may He give us a heart to live an obedient life toward Him, a heart that desires to be on fire for him, and to please him, not a lukewarm lifestyle.
The Lord has given me a burden and a desire to see other people in the body of Christ set free from all oppression, strongholds, addictions, bondages, spiritual chains, anxieties, fears, panic attacks, trauma, depression, Insomnia, lust, immorality, idolatry, unforgiveness, pornography, alcoholism, drugs, tobacco as well as areas of disease and pain. I believe that some physical pain/trials we go through temporally cause us to see our need for the Lord. I know nothing can happen without Him willing it to happen, but I believe often we need more faith and more of the Lord’s power to see these yokes broken off people.
I’m certainly not in a ditch to where I feel that the Lord doesn’t want us to go through any trials or sickness. I believe the Lord does help us to grow spiritually, through trials, sickness. I had to endure back surgery and months of pain in 2016, but the Lord helped me see my need for Him while I was in the trial, and I believe His hand was in it for that reason. These types of trials cause us to look to Him for our help in time of need. Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12.
The word says in Matt 10:7-8, Go, proclaim this message: The kingdom of heaven has come near, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. The kingdom of heaven is still near, that’s why He sent the helper, the Holy Spirit, to us. Jesus Christ holds the keys to our freedom by way of the Holy Spirit. Look to Him, trust Him, and take whatever steps of faith He wants from you in order to be set free from the devil’s prison.
In Joshua 3 the Israelites crossed over the Jordan river on dry ground, but they had to first take a step of faith into the river before the waters split and the dry ground appeared. The Lord wants us to take the first step of faith. We can sit in a pew, sit at home, or anywhere else and say, Lord, deliver me, and He may do that for some, but I believe it’s often the case, as it was with me, He is looking for faith and surrender to His will.
It may look different than anything we’ve seen before but if, with discernment, we come to believe it’s from the Lord and lines up with His word, let’s not dismiss it. I believe the Lord may have us exercise gifts of the Spirit in our midst, not to uplift people, or to see signs, but to see the power of God flow through a vessel, to see the sick healed and the captive delivered. As we look to Him, I know He will guide and lead us, He will never leave us nor forsake us. Deut. 31:6.
I remember at a youth camp meeting over 12 years ago, Bro. Jimmy Robbins said, “When the Lord creates a new heart in you and you are born again the grass will look greener, the sky will look bluer, when the veil is taken away.” I thought, that is something I want. Although it didn’t happen right away, and the Lord took me through many trials along the way, I am so glad the Lord through his grace and mercy has given me a new heart that wants to serve Him.
Once the veil is removed, and the demonic oppression is cleansed from our lives, we can see the spiritual battle that we are in more clearly and recognize the importance of putting on the armor daily. Eph. 6:11. The Lord has shown me that we should figuratively apply His blood to our homes, our hearts, our bodies, and our children.
The Lord reminded me of how the Israelites applied the blood to their homes in Egypt in Exodus 12:13. Where the blood was applied, the plague of death passed over them. The Lord has reminded me to practice this daily in prayer. Where the blood has been applied, the doors are shut to the devil, and we are filled with Christ. The unclean spirits that try to torment and keep us in bondage will not be able to enter in. Thank you, Jesus, for the blood applied!
I believe the Lord would also have me write about the many spiritual and physical attacks that came to our family shortly after I was delivered. The devil brought doubt, confusion, and he tried all he could to reverse what the Lord had done in our lives. Praise God, Satan is defeated because of the cross! By God’s grace, we were able to recognize we were spiritually under attack and the Lord saw us through this trying time we were in.
During this testing period, Bro. Phil Enlow ministered a sermon titled, “Tested Stones.” I remember Kendall and I looking at each other during the service and thinking, he’s ministering directly to us. Within 30 days, our AC unit stopped working, our dishwasher broke, our well pump broke, a deer ran into our family vehicle totaling it, we were very low on funds, and we had a lot of sickness going through our family. It felt like we were taking hit after hit from the devil.
During the midst of all of this, I remember having a very vivid dream one night. I was in an interview setting with the devil, and he gave me this offer: I can make all these bad things go away, things will stop breaking, sickness will leave, all you need to do is go back to living the lifestyle you were before and stop following Christ. After hearing this, in the dream, and as I was waking up, I was singing, “God is still on his throne!” as loud as I could. Kendall heard me from the other room and asked in the morning why I was singing so loudly.
The devil knew he had lost the battle, the stronghold he had in my life, and the oppression my son was under, and he wasn’t going to give up easily. I believe the devil realized at that point, I have decided to follow Jesus and I’m not turning back. We, of course, are still tried and tempted, as Jesus said, In this world you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33. The Lord is faithful to see us through the fire and gives His peace in the storm.
The Lord is calling us out of darkness. It’s time to wake up from our slumber. 1 Peter 2:9. The hour is late. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Heb. 10:37. With the Lord’s help we can be a people set apart from the world, not having one foot in the world and one foot in the church as I did for so long.
How can we help others, how can we be instruments of God, if we are bound up in chains? It’s not possible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26. He longs to set his people free from the devil’s prison, so that we can be a light to the rest of the world, we can share the gospel, and share our testimony of the Lord’s goodness so that it will help others see that they too, can receive his salvation and freedom from bondages.
I tried many times to be set free on my own and to stop the addiction I had but I needed an encounter with God’s power through an anointed vessel. I know that not everyone has or will have the same deliverance testimony, but the Lord works in mysterious ways, and His ways are not our ways. Isaiah 55:8. May the Lord help us all, starting with me, to examine ourselves and ask him to remove what is not from him, ask him to prune the areas that need to be pruned. He, and He alone can and will do this as we look to Him for the answer.
I know what it’s like to be in bondage, I know what it’s like for God’s power to set me free and I know He will set others free too. I thank the Lord for all His promises, for all He’s done for my family, and for all He will continue to do for the body of Christ as we look to Him.
I’ll end my testimony with how I started it, Jesus Christ is the only hero in this story. May the Lord get all the glory and praise for this testimony. I’m just an unworthy vessel that He has chosen to share His goodness through. I desire to be in God’s will, to share the hope and freedom he’s given me through Christ.I Love you all in Christ, and I’m so glad to be a part of the family of God.