Pastor Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Community Lutheran Church; Message on blessings and curses; Date: 4 January 2008

For more sermons and other writings check out pastor’s homepage: http://www.geocities.com/mayeredgar

 

 

Blessings For Curses

 

Today is the first Sunday of a new year – 2009 – and – if you are like most people – you want this year to be better than the last. You want to learn from your mistakes, go forward and progress – and we want to do the same as a church (we want to grow, be more effective). Therefore, a common practice is to make new year’s resolutions and – judging by the literature – among the top ten resolutions are: to get fit, lose weight, spend less money, reduce stress, spend more time with family and friends (do we recognize any of these) – and – to honour the fact that we are Christians – some more spiritual resolutions would be: to pray more, read the Bible more and love others – more.

Yet, the draw-back of these resolutions seems to be that they are the same every year. Don’t they work? What do you expect will happen in 2009? Will you get fitter and will you reduce stress and will you pray more and read the Bible more? Will your life change – for the better? The problem with new year’s resolutions is that they assume that we are in control but what if we are not? What if there are forces at work in our lives that are beyond human resolve and responsible action?

When Jesus was only eight days old his mother Mary and her fiance Joseph took him to the temple in Jersusalem. The plan was to offer the regular sacrifice for the first-born son (in his case: two pidgeons) but as Mary and Joseph brought in baby Jesus, an old man – a stranger by the name of Simeon – stopped them in the temple courts, took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying – Luke 2:29-32 – I read from the Bible: “Sovereign Lord … my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared … a light to the nations [original: Gentiles] and for glory to your people Israel.”

Mary and Joseph did not understand what was going on. They did not know this old man and did not know what he was talking about. But there was purpose in this encounter. I read on from the Bible – Luke 2:33-35: “The father and mother of baby Jesus marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel … ‘”

Simeon blessed them. There was purpose in Simon blessing the family. God made sure that – within a week of his birth – there would be a man blessing Jesus (through his parents). This blessing was important – and needed to be powerful and the old man that would say the words – that would pronounce the blessing – was the right man. The Bible says – Luke 2:25-27: “ … Simeon . was righteous and devout … the Holy Spirit was upon him … “ And his life in old age had no other objective than preparing for the encounter with the baby Jesus – Luke 2:25-27: “ … It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ … “ Can we see? This blessing was set up to be powerful. Simeon – a righteous man – full of the Holy Spirit – kept himself holy – day after day, month after month, year after year – aging patiently – until one day – Luke 2:27: “ … moved by the Spirit he went to the temple courts [and recognized the Saviour in Jesus] … “ Then – finally – fully prepared – overflowing with the Holy Spirit – he released the intended blessing on Mary, Joseph and Jesus with real power from God.

Simon blessed them. Do we – do you – understand the spiritual reality and the spiritual power of blessings – also in your life? If we look at Mary, Joseph and Jesus with our natural eyes only, then we only become aware of a young family in the temple of Jerusalem who are in the company of an old man speaking some nice words over them but if we look at the same scene also with the eyes of faith, we can perceive that something else – even more significant – happened that impacted their future.

The Bible gives another account of a woman giving birth to Jesus. The woman in this account is not simply Mary but stands for the whole people of God – all of the faithful – and the birth of Jesus in this account is more related to his birth from death on the cross than childbirth but this account – nevertheless – makes us understand what – under normal circumstances – escapes the naked eye. I read from Revelations 12:1-6 – a vision given to the apostle John: “A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman … was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon … His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment she was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations … And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God … “

An enormous red dragon – that is: the prince of evil, the Devil or Satan – was after Jesus from the beginning – only waiting for the pregnant woman to give birth to him – only waiting for him to come forth from God’s covenant people – so that he might devour him. But God the Father rescued him – snatched him away – from death, from the grave and the fangs of evil.

The imagery in this account may remind us of Lord of the Ringsand harmless fantasy dramas but the spiritual reality behind the images is not to be ignored. Jesus, Mary, Joseph, you and I all of us are involved in a conflict whereby Satan keeps challenging God by attacking us (because we are made by God in his image) – (Satan) having begun by tempting our very first human ancestors – Adam and Eve – to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3) with the result that we – all of their descendants – as a consequence of their sin have become corrupted in our human nature – placed within the power sphere of Satan.

Thus, Jesus experienced the attacks of Satan as soon as he was born. The infant was to be murdered. I read from the Bible – Matthew 2:13: “ … an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for [king] Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’” We may ask: “Whatever got into King Herod?” Why would he fear a baby that was born in the country to a peasant mother? And why – in the pursuit of Jesus – would he become a mass murderer – killing all the male babies under the age of two that were born in the same region as Jesus (see Matthew 2:16-18)? This was not normal – not simply an unfortunate misunderstanding – but – unbeknown to Herod and what was driving him – this was Satan’s attempt to kill Jesus.

Only – on the other hand – enforced by the old man Simeon – the blessing of God rested on Jesus and therefore God intervened by sending an angel in a dream. Jesus would have a good childhood. The Bible says – Luke 2:40: “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.”

Do we begin to understand the importance of blessings? Jesus himself – before he ascended into heaven – as his very last action on earth in human form – blessed his disciples – Luke 24:50-51 – the Bible says: “ … he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven … “ The blessing of his people was so important to God that in more ancient times he specified precisely what the priests were to say – Numbers 6:22-27: “The Lord said … This is how you are to bless … Say … ‘The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favour and give you peace.’ … Do we recognize this blessing? And then all of us are to cancel evil by blessing especially our enemies – Lk 6:28: “Bless those who curse you.” Romans 12:24: “Bless those who persecute you“ 1 Corinthians 4:12: “When we are cursed, we bless … “

What is a blessing? It is a positive word from God which makes a good thing happen. A blessing is a word of power for good. We need to understand the concept. According to the Bible – and if we pay attention: according to our experience – words are more than mere sounds – words – the tongue – releases power. Words can achieve what they say. For instance – Hebrews 11:3: “ … the universe was formed at God’s command … “ – think of it: the entire universe was spoken into existence by God. On a smaller scale we ourselves are encouraged to shape reality with our words. Jesus said – Matthew 17:20: “ … if you have faith … you can say to this mountain, ‘Move … and it will move.’ … ” In faith: what you say, will happen.

Therefore – based on this principle – blessing words do shape – do create – do set up – positive life circumstances that express favour from God – such as: health, promotion, fruitfulness, prosperity and victory. God made this list in the Bible – saying – Deuteronomy 28:3-14: “You will be blessed … The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your lifestock … The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you … The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to … The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity … The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands … “

Are we getting excited about this? Do we want this for 2009? Yes – but now we also have to understand something about the opposite force to blessings and that is: curses. Before we can come into all of the blessings of God we need to understand that as blessing words have power to make everything well so curses – words of evil intent – have also power – negative power to rob, kill and destroy – because the same principle of word power operates in them.

In curses – instead of God moving into action – demons ride on the words of evil intent and they wreak havoc in human lives such as working humiliation, barrenness, mental and physical sickness, family breakdown, poverty, defeat, oppression, failure and so on. Signs that curses may be at work in these negative outcomes – rather than ordinary human sinfulness and the effects of a broken world – are the following: Despite best intentions and best new year’s resolutions – try as you might – you suffer one freak accidentafter another. There always seems to be an invisible barrier in your way – to health, to loving relationships, to employment – and even in your relationship to God you always seem to hit your head against a brick wall. The Bible talks about – Philippians 2:1 – “ … communion with the [Holy Spirit] … “ and – 1 Peter 1:8 – being “ … filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy … “ and – Romans 5:5 – “ … poured out . love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit … “ but somehow these promises of intimate communion with God (joy, love) do not seem to apply to you – despite sincere repentance – despite deep commitment and sacrifices. What is happening? It is not that uncommon: There may be a curse operating in your life.

The negative word of power may have been spoken by yourself. For instance, you may have said – maybe after a painful experience: “I will never let anyone get close to me again.” And so this word has released power over you and has shaped the kind of reality where even God is barred from intimate communion with you. Or you may have said in a moment of weakness: “I will never be a deeply spiritual person.” And so chances are that you never will be because you always come up against this self-imposed curse. We need to watch what comes out of our mouth.

Then other people can curse us when they pronounce judgements like: “He will never amount to anything.” “You’ll never learn to cook.” “You will never be a good father.” Or again – making this more spiritual: “This church will always be in conflict.” “The sermon will always be boring.” “Revival will never come.” These words carry cursing power – allowing demons to oppress with darkness.

The words and their power can be intensified by making special vows and oaths. For instance: “I swear that I will never set foot in your house again.” “As long as I live I will seek revenge.” Then, curses can increase in intensity when they come through those that are close to us: our parents and ancestors, authority figures and our community (church, city, nation).

Especially the family line is important because God said – Exodus 20:4-6: “You shall not make for yourself an idol [something else that you worship before me or beside me – not money or your reputation or anything] … You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for, I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me … “

We are not just individuals – we don’t live on our own – but belong to families (and churches for that matter – the body of Christ) which can either pass on blessings or curses to us. For instance, Freemasons pronounce dreadful curses over themselves and their families if they ever divulge any of the cult’s secrets. Their sin of idolatry and witchcraft comes with curses for the next generations but – on the positive side – God also magnifies the blessings which can travel through generational lines, saying – Exodus 20:5-6: “ . I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God … showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Just imagine: If you seek God, you can bless your children and a thousand generations.

A pastors shares the following testimony – one of his first experiences with blessings and curses [abbreviate and retell in your own words]:[1] “ … I was in western Ukraine with a fellow minister … In those days in western Ukraine, nobody smiled and waved … What was there to be happy about in a place so devastated that many people died every winter from the cold and hunger? … Not many people go to the western part of the Ukraine. It is very difficult to get into this part of the country, and there is no guarantee that you can get out once you are in. This area used to have a secret city where Russian spies were trained during the Cold War …The Russian Mafia has so much control there now that it is a bad situation and Christians are still suffering very much …

Immediately after Russia took over, the Ukrainian language was made illegal and so was Jesus Christ … At the hall, where we held evening meetings for the general public to tell them about Jesus and God, I stood in the back and offered to pray for healing and deliverance for anyone who was sick—something these Ukrainians had never heard of. The very first night we did this, things were slow, but once people started getting healed and delivered, they started bringing others to be prayed for. Even though they had never heard of Jesus, given the seventy years of their captivity in atheism, they knew about spiritual power with long experience with witchcraft. Witchcraft was the leading spiritual power over there. The man who was brought to me the night before had been cursed with a professional curse by witches. I guess that he figured in order to get rid of the curse he had to go to a clairvoyant, which compounded his problems!

   The whole village knew that the man, whom I will call Slava, was cursed. They were familiar with that kind of spiritual power. No one would do business with him, leaving him without income. His mother-in-law had come down with a virus and was dying of dehydration. His mother had a stroke and was paralyzed. The whole family with all the children was living in a one-bedroom house with no food or money. And to top it all off, the roof had caved in on part of their house. When someone brought Slava to me for prayer, without thinking twice about it, I removed the curses from him in the name of Jesus, because I was confident that that was what God said to do. Then I went on to pray for the next person and many others, totally forgetting about the cursed man.

    The next night when he showed up at the meeting, the people explained through our interpreter what had happened. I had prayed to remove the curses. He had gone home to find that his mother-in-law—who had been dehydrated, dying with a virus, and who hadn’t been able to eat—was up making cabbage soup! She was feeling great and was just hungry. They went to bed very late that night because there was great rejoicing in their house. When they got up the next morning, his mother, who had been paralyzed for months, was sitting on the edge of the bed working on getting her balance.

   There was no real reason to hurry down to the shop, because nobody was doing business with him anymore. They hadn’t had this much rejoicing in a long while. It was about two o’clock in the afternoon when he finally got down to the shop. When he arrived, people were lined up all the way down the street waiting for him to come. The strange thing was that nobody knew that things had changed in his house. Yet, there had been an about-face regarding everything in their lives.

   When they told me about what had happened to this man, I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to learn about this,’ but we were so busy that I did not think that much about it again. That was a big mistake! I had no idea I would suffer consequences as a result of my lack of knowledge of how powerful curses really are. I was new to the whole idea and God was using this incident with the man to teach me. It turned out to be a very hard lesson, because without really thinking it out, I had stirred up the devils in the witches who had cursed the man.

   You see, just being oblivious to something does not mean it can’t happen … The consequences began while we were still in the Ukraine. We had an incident with the Ukrainian army, ‘the big guns,’ and had a hard time getting out of the country. At the time, it never even occurred to us that anything serious was happening, much less that we had been cursed. I was caught in a no-man zone between the borders of Hungary and the Ukraine for hours. These countries usually have no-man zones about a block wide. It was a bitterly cold day, with no place to take shelter, and I was wearing very little clothing. We had given most of our clothes away before returning home. The weather had been warmer when we arrived in the Ukraine, but it had turned very cold by the time we returned to Budapest.

   When we got back to the eastern United States, even stranger things were happening. I hadn’t slept for four days; I just couldn’t sleep. My wife was waiting for me in the Southeast and we still needed to drive across the country to our home in New Mexico. So I said, ‘We might as well go back home now, because I can’t sleep.’ We took off. We were on the Interstate Highway 20 and it was raining so hard we couldn’t see, when both my back tires went flat. There was nothing we could do about it—we couldn’t get anyone to stop to help us. Finally, after sitting there for about three hours, still not able to sleep, I just started driving and prayed, ‘God, please protect our tire rims.’ So, we drove thumpety-thump, two or three miles an hour for miles, until we reached the next exit. When we got there we found a mechanic’s garage, but the people wouldn’t help us. This really happened! I was getting very puzzled and questioning why this was all happening.

   It was the middle of the night and we didn’t know if we should go on from that gas station. Then I remembered we had an Auto Club card, so I called them, and they came to help. They towed us about twenty miles to a tire dealership, where they dropped us in front of the garage doors. There we sat for a couple of hours until the workers showed up and even they were unfriendly! After we bought a couple of new tires, we got all the way home safely.

   Finally, on arriving home in Albuquerque, I found out that my business had been totally dead for many days. Everything had just come to a complete stop. Everything! I found out that people, who had loved us before, now were being spiteful. The people who were going to help us financially with the trip did not come through with the money promised, so we were extremely deep in debt. I fasted and prayed until I received a word from the Lord. It consisted of one word only, ‘curse,’ that’s all. I picked up the phone to call a friend and he asked me, ‘Were you messing around with witches in Russia?’ I said, ‘No, I was not messing around with witches! And I was in Ukraine, not Russia!’ Then I remembered the incident with the man who was cursed.

    We went out to pray at the sand dunes near Albuquerque … For two or three hours, we praised God and prayed. When we got back, the phone was ringing—boom! Business was flowing again. Out on the dunes I had prayed in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, asking God to remove all the curses I had picked up, and thanking Him for blessing us even though we were hurting and our business had been shut down on us. The curses were broken, business was back to normal, and we continued to ask God for everything to work well. We started receiving blessings again instead of being cursed.

  That incident started me on a quest with God to understand about curses and how they can be broken. Little did I know at the time that I would end up traveling all over the world teaching about this subject. I have taught the topic as a class called ‘Turning Curses to Blessings’ over two hundred times and have traveled to three different continents. By God’s grace, thousands of people have been healed of diseases and bad health conditions. Many have been delivered from oppression. Blind people can now see and deaf people can now hear. People have been healed of back problems, heart problems, emotional problems, and economic problems. People have had marriage problems from generational curses. God showed them to us and we removed them in the name of Jesus. Then later those same people would tell us things like, ‘You’re right! I’m from a third generation of divorcees!’ All of these miracles have happened as a result of finding the curses and replacing them with blessings from God.

Now – if we ever suspect that curses are operating in our own lives, how do we become free of them? First of all, we recognize that it is sin, disobedience and rebellion against God that activate curses. God promised – Deuteronomy 28:1-2: “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands … all these blessings will come upon you … “ But at the same time God also warned his people – Deuteronomy 28:15: “ . if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees … all these curses will come upon you and overtake you … “ It may be our own sin and rebellion that activate curses against us or it may be the sin of our ancestors or the idolatry and evil intent of witches. However, in any case it is sin that gives the devil a foothold – and by the way it is for that reason that some of the armour against Satan are – Ephesians 6:14 – “ … the belt of truth … “ and – Ephesians 6:14 – “the breastplate of righteousness … “ – a deliberate clothing with purity from sin: truth and righteousness. There is safety in holiness.

Yet, what are we to do with the sin that has already been committed and what are we to do with our daily sins – our daily failures to live up to God’s perfect standard? And what are we to do with the spiritual attacks from others? The answer is Jesus. The Bible explains what makes for our salvation from curses and condemnation – 2 Corinthians 5:19-21: “ … God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them … God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Therefore – according to the Bible – God – in Jesus – is offering us an amazing deal – an amazing exchange – the righteous Jesus would be made sin with our sin (and then suffer the consequences of our sin in his death on the cross) and the sinful you (and the sinful I) would be made righteous with his righteousness.

Please – take a moment or two – picture in your mind what happened on the cross and recognize the love of our God. Jesus suffered so much pain – so much abuse – broken bones – thirst – abandonment by everyone – the slow crawl of time when you are tortured for hours with no respite. And he did this – by his own choice – for you – and for me. God loves you and he is offering you a new life – free from sin – with the free gift of bestowed righteousness – a mantle of holiness and purity – which covers you completely and which Satan cannot touch.

And you receive this gift by faith. The same Bible reading says – 2 Corinthians 5:20: “ … We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God … “ In other words: accept the deal. Trust Jesus. He rose again after three days in the grave and therefore proved his power and credentials. You can trust him. Love him back. Make a decision: let go of your rebellion and accept forgiveness. Be reconciled and belong to him.

And coming back more specifically to blessings and curses these are also taken up in this amazing exchange between Jesus and us. Another Bible reading declares – Galatians 3:10-14: “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ … Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree [a cross].’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing … might come … through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”

Without Jesus Christ – apart from faith in him – all of us are cursed by our own efforts to be good because none of us succeeds in being holy. Yet, Jesus came and he took our curses by becoming a curse himself – for us. He died a cursed death on the cross so that we might instead receive a blessing – forgiveness, new life, the promise of the Holy Spirit.

There is real power in this exchange and therefore by faith – by active trust – by exercising the will (wanting and expecting good things from Jesus) – receive your freedom from all curses that may have been imposed on you. The Bible proclaims victory – Colossians 2:9-15: “ ... you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority [including the power of negative words, satanic and demonic authority] … [you were] raised with him [to a new life] through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and … sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled … [what] stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the power and authorities [from Satan] he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

The cross is the one unfailing source of triumph because any curses on us end up there – crucified - canceled. Jesus suffered them for us and broke them for us – replacing them with forgiveness and blessings. He then rose from the dead and thus confirmed the triumph – the power of God – which we now want to apply to us.

Are we ready? Can we together pray for the breaking of curses and then replace them with blessings – according to the promises of God – in faith and obedience?

[The followings is from Derek Prince: Blessing Or Curse, Grand Rapids: Chosen 1990.]

 

1               Confess your faith in Christ and in His sacrifice on your behalf.

 

Romans 19:9-10: “ . if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved … “

 

Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you are the Son of God and the only way to God; and that You died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead.

 

 

2               Repent of all your rebellion and your sins.

 

Mark 1:15: “Repent and believe the gospel … “ 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is … not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

 

I give up all my rebellion and all my sin, and I submit myself to you as my Lord.

 

 

3               Claim forgiveness of all sins.

 

1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 

I confess all my sins before you and ask for Your forgiveness – especially for any sins that exposed me to a curse. Release me also from the consequences of my ancestor’s sins.

 

 

4               Forgive all other people who have ever harmed you or wronged you.

 

Mark 11:25: “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

 

By a decision of my will, I forgive all who have harmed me or wronged me – just as I want God to forgive me. In particular, I forgive … [name the person or persons].

 

 

5               Renounce all contact with anything occult or satanic.

 

2 Corinthians 6:14-15: “What fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial [that is, Satan]?” 2 Corinthians 6:17: “ … Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”

 

I renounce all contact with anything occult or satanic – if I have any “contact objects,” I commit myself to destroy them. I cancel all Satan’s claims against me.

 

 

6               You are now ready to pray the prayer of release from any curse.

 

Mark 11:27: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

 

Lord Jesus, I believe that on the cross You took on Yourself every curse that could ever come upon me. So I ask you now to release me from every curse over my life – in Your Name, Lord Jesus Christ.

By faith now I receive my release and I thank You for it.

 

 

7               Now believe that you have received, and go on in God’s blessing!

 

Ephesians 3:20: “ … [God] is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

 

Lord, I now open myself to receive Your blessing in every way You want to impart it to me.

 

 

Preacher: Again – applying the keys to the kingdom of heaven – according to Matthew 18:18 and Jesus’ words: “ … whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” – I speak with the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and by his command.

 

Demons, I bind you up – silence you – and command you now: Depart from here without harming anyone. Leave the people in this church and go to Jesus for judgement. I forbid you to replace yourself.

            And by the same authority of Jesus Christ – in his name – I loose and release blessings on everyone: love, peace, joy, abundance, health, forgiveness, victory – the kingdom life in eternity – spiritual breakthrough, intimacy with God, the fullness of the Spirit. I release the blessings of Jesus’ blood on all of us.

 

Prayer of thanks. Amen.

 

 

 



[1] Turning Curses to Blessings – by CARL L. FOX. Copyright (C) 1999 Christian Faith International. All rights reserved. Reproduced on the Internet with Permission. Published as a book by Christian Faith International, 923 North Foch, Truth or Consequences NM 87901, Tel: 1-505-894-5691, ISBN: 0-9671353-1-1.

“Do you remember this man?” asked a group of ministers who came up to me after a gathering in a university hall a few years ago. They pointed to a man in the group who kept grinning from ear to ear and waving at me. But I had no recollection of seeing him before.

It was a chilly fall night and I was in western Ukraine with a fellow minister who was teaching an accredited Bible College course. In those days in western Ukraine, nobody smiled and waved—they were still under great oppression, even though the Iron Curtain had already been lifted. What was there to be happy about in a place so devastated that many people died every winter from the cold and hunger? The government-run heating plants were broken down and the Communist governments that had held this nation in bondage since 1922 had taken all the spare parts when they departed in the 1980’s. The very young, the very old, and the unhealthy perished every winter.

A smiling, happy man just didn’t look normal for that environment. The men who had asked me to identify the happy fellow went on to tell me that he was the one they had brought to me for prayer the night before.

Not many people go to the western part of the Ukraine. It is very difficult to get into this part of the country, and there is no guarantee that you can get out once you are in. This area used to have a secret city where Russian spies were trained during the Cold War before coming to the West. The interpreters that were hired, avowed atheists and communists, had formerly taught English to the spies that came to the West. The Christian minister in charge of the translation work during the class had to monitor their work closely. But while helping with the translating, they accepted Jesus as their Lord and they started showing the fruit of the Spirit that had changed their hearts and lives.

The Russian Mafia has so much control there now that it is a bad situation and Christians are still suffering very much. This area is so different from most of Eastern Europe, because the Ukraine fell under Communism in 1922, not in the 40’s, like the rest of Eastern Europe. Right after World War I, Russia overpowered them and then they lost their identity.

Immediately after Russia took over, the Ukrainian language was made illegal and so was Jesus Christ. Anyone who used the name of Jesus was killed. The churches were required to support propaganda programs during the daytime, so people could hold church services only after 8 p.m. No young people were allowed and the name of Jesus and the Ukrainian language were forbidden.

Every church, even the Orthodox, had nicely-kept graves in the back for the martyrs who had refused to stop naming the name of Jesus. In our nation, the United States, we are very fortunate. People in this nation commonly use His name in vain or slanderously, but in the western Ukraine, most people have never even heard the name of Jesus, even as a swear word. So where do you start in a place like this to reach people with the name of Jesus and the love of God? We just had to trust the Lord to give us the way to do it.

At the hall, where we held evening meetings for the general public to tell them about Jesus and God, I stood in the back and offered to pray for healing and deliverance for anyone who was sick—something these Ukrainians had never heard of. The very first night we did this, things were slow, but once people started getting healed and delivered, they started bringing others to be prayed for. Even though they had never heard of Jesus, given the seventy years of their captivity in atheism, they knew about spiritual power with long experience with witchcraft. Witchcraft was the leading spiritual power over there. The man who was brought to me the night before had been cursed with a professional curse by witches. I guess that he figured in order to get rid of the curse he had to go to a clairvoyant, which compounded his problems!

The whole village knew that the man, whom I will call Slava, was cursed. They were familiar with that kind of spiritual power. No one would do business with him, leaving him without income. His mother-in-law had come down with a virus and was dying of dehydration. His mother had a stroke and was paralyzed. The whole family with all the children was living in a one-bedroom house with no food or money. And to top it all off, the roof had caved in on part of their house. When someone brought Slava to me for prayer, without thinking twice about it, I removed the curses from him in the name of Jesus, because I was confident that that was what God said to do. Then I went on to pray for the next person and many others, totally forgetting about the cursed man.

The next night when he showed up at the meeting, the people explained through our interpreter what had happened. I had prayed to remove the curses. He had gone home to find that his mother-in-law—who had been dehydrated, dying with a virus, and who hadn’t been able to eat—was up making cabbage soup! She was feeling great and was just hungry. They went to bed very late that night because there was great rejoicing in their house. When they got up the next morning, his mother, who had been paralyzed for months, was sitting on the edge of the bed working on getting her balance.

There was no real reason to hurry down to the shop, because nobody was doing business with him anymore. They hadn’t had this much rejoicing in a long while. It was about two o’clock in the afternoon when he finally got down to the shop. When he arrived, people were lined up all the way down the street waiting for him to come. The strange thing was that nobody knew that things had changed in his house. Yet, there had been an about-face regarding everything in their lives.

When they told me about what had happened to this man, I thought to myself, “I’ve got to learn about this,” but we were so busy that I did not think that much about it again. That was a big mistake! I had no idea I would suffer consequences as a result of my lack of knowledge of how powerful curses really are. I was new to the whole idea and God was using this incident with the man to teach me. It turned out to be a very hard lesson, because without really thinking it out, I had stirred up the devils in the witches who had cursed the man.

You see, just being oblivious to something does not mean it can’t happen. You may say, “Oh, well, it won’t hurt me to step off this building.” But when you hit the ground, it’s still going to hurt you, even if you don’t know what gravity is—if you happen to live through it.

The consequences began while we were still in the Ukraine. We had an incident with the Ukrainian army, “the big guns,” and had a hard time getting out of the country. At the time, it never even occurred to us that anything serious was happening, much less that we had been cursed. I was caught in a no-man zone between the borders of Hungary and the Ukraine for hours. These countries usually have no-man zones about a block wide. It was a bitterly cold day, with no place to take shelter, and I was wearing very little clothing. We had given most of our clothes away before returning home. The weather had been warmer when we arrived in the Ukraine, but it had turned very cold by the time we returned to Budapest.

When we got back to the eastern United States, even stranger things were happening. I hadn’t slept for four days; I just couldn’t sleep. My wife was waiting for me in the Southeast and we still needed to drive across the country to our home in New Mexico. So I said, “We might as well go back home now, because I can’t sleep.” We took off. We were on the Interstate Highway 20 and it was raining so hard we couldn’t see, when both my back tires went flat. There was nothing we could do about it—we couldn’t get anyone to stop to help us. Finally, after sitting there for about three hours, still not able to sleep, I just started driving and prayed, “God, please protect our tire rims.” So, we drove thumpety-thump, two or three miles an hour for miles, until we reached the next exit. When we got there we found a mechanic’s garage, but the people wouldn’t help us. This really happened! I was getting very puzzled and questioning why this was all happening.

It was the middle of the night and we didn’t know if we should go on from that gas station. Then I remembered we had an Auto Club card, so I called them, and they came to help. They towed us about twenty miles to a tire dealership, where they dropped us in front of the garage doors. There we sat for a couple of hours until the workers showed up and even they were unfriendly! After we bought a couple of new tires, we got all the way home safely.

Finally, on arriving home in Albuquerque, I found out that my business had been totally dead for many days. Everything had just come to a complete stop. Everything! I found out that people, who had loved us before, now were being spiteful. The people who were going to help us financially with the trip did not come through with the money promised, so we were extremely deep in debt. I fasted and prayed until I received a word from the Lord. It consisted of one word only, “curse,” that’s all. I picked up the phone to call a friend and he asked me, “Were you messing around with witches in Russia?” I said, “No, I was not messing around with witches! And I was in Ukraine, not Russia!” Then I remembered the incident with the man who was cursed.

We went out to pray at the sand dunes near Albuquerque. The view there is amazing. From those hills of sand on the high desert, I could see mountain ranges all around us, some as much as a hundred miles away. As I prayed, I’d watch storms come and go and move around. In this awesome beauty, I would sense God’s presence very strongly. This was one of my favorite praying places, with the sand blowing like drifting snow. For two or three hours, we praised God and prayed. When we got back, the phone was ringing—boom! Business was flowing again. Out on the dunes I had prayed in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, asking God to remove all the curses I had picked up, and thanking Him for blessing us even though we were hurting and our business had been shut down on us. The curses were broken, business was back to normal, and we continued to ask God for everything to work well. We started receiving blessings again instead of being cursed.

That incident started me on a quest with God to understand about curses and how they can be broken. Little did I know at the time that I would end up traveling all over the world teaching about this subject. I have taught the topic as a class called “Turning Curses to Blessings” over two hundred times and have traveled to three different continents. By God’s grace, thousands of people have been healed of diseases and bad health conditions. Many have been delivered from oppression. Blind people can now see and deaf people can now hear. People have been healed of back problems, heart problems, emotional problems, and economic problems. People have had marriage problems from generational curses. God showed them to us and we removed them in the name of Jesus. Then later those same people would tell us things like, “You’re right! I’m from a third generation of divorcees!” All of these miracles have happened as a result of finding the curses and replacing them with blessings from God.