- Religion and Philosophy
True Story of a Demonized Man
What does the face of evil look like?
Joe, A Nice Homeless Guy Until Overcome by Unclean Spirits
Joe isn't his real name, but one that he will go by for this story to protect his real identity! This story however is true, and occurred during a time of reaching out to people that were homeless and living on the streets or the woods around Tallahassee. Let me state first of all, that most of the people I met that were homeless, were decent folks, that had either made wrong decisions or suffered circumstances from which they could not immediately recover. Joe was the exception in many ways.
Joe and other folks were living in a fairly large homeless camp established west of Tallahassee. Through a church group we established another camp 1/4 mile away, where we prepared meals to feed anyone hungry or minister to their needs through prayer and counseling. I had a tent set-up there to spend the night whenever necessary.
Joe was a stout fella, about 6 feet tall, who had served in the Marines, and professed a belief in Jesus Christ. Joe would come to eat, drink coffee and talk about "religion" with myself or whoever was around. Joe got extremely mad one day, when I said that we were meant to be sanctified by God through repentance and his word.Rather than just continuing in our sins, we are called to turn away from them in sincere repentance before God, relying on his strength and power to help us overcome this sin in our lives.
Joe was thoroughly enraged, and walked back up the hill to his own camp, swearing not to come back. From this point on, Joe increasingly got worse, one moment asking for prayer and help,while hugging me. The next moment pushing me away and threatening to kill me as his face contorted in a mask of rage that can only be truly depicted as "evil." I tried to steer clear of Joe, only stopping in to that camp when he was gone.
Rage seemed to control Joe at this point, not just directed at me. He brutally beat several individuals very badly, one of which he drug and laid into the campfire, after having knocked him out with a round-house kick. "Preacher" suffered severe burns up most of his arm from the incident.
At this point, Joe's drinking got worse, I suppose in an attempt to calm his rage. This didn't work, some nights he would sit up the hill from "my camp" enraged and screaming most of the night, "I'm going to come down there, kill you and your dog, and burn the place to the ground!"
Needless to say, at this point, I grew increasingly concerned, and prayed that God bring Joe to a place of repentence, salvation, and ready him for the deliverance, that I and the church pastors discerned he needed.
On Sunday morning, I stopped by this camp, to see if anyone there wanted to go to church with me. Joe started accusing and threatening me immediately, and inspite of my trying would not be consoled or calmed. When it became apparent that he was going to attack me, I dropped my bachpack. Joe's face again contorted into a mask of rage as he screamed, "I'm going to do us all a favor, and kill you now, you $@$^&!"
I pleaded desperately, "Joe, don't do this...Joe, you really don't want to do this!" Even though it was sure to happen.
Again, he screamed, "I'm gonna kill you now!" and rushed at me from 12 feet away.
I dropped back into a stance in preparation for his murderous onslaught, and said, "In the name of Jesus Christ, stop Joe!"
I wasn't the only one shocked as Joe froze in mid-stride, as if he ran into a wall. The red rage and evil mask of his face drained immediately. With out a word, he spun on a dime and waiked away. The four or five people who were witnesses all gasped out loud, as if they had just saw things of the "twilight zone."
I tried to calm down, picked up my pack, and rather than going to church, proceeded right back to camp. Once there, I got on my knees in fervent prayer, begging God again to bring about a resolution to this dangerous issue.
Praying something to the effect of "Lord, thank you for stopping Joe. Please bring Joe to a place of repentance and salvation. You know all things, his heart and mine. I don't want to fight Joe, as I do believe he's going to try to kill me. I don't want to hurt him, but I can't stand still and let him kill me. It will probably take killing him, just to stop, please Lord. Either bring him ready for the deliverance, that I believe you let me see that he needs. Or take him from here."
I prayed like I've never prayed before or since, staying like that for 3-4 hours, until all of the sudden, I felt a peace come over me. It was as if, I knew the issue with Joe had been resolved. I didn't even leave camp that day, even missing the evening church service.
Maybe nine o'clock that night, Mike; the associate pastor, and Kim; a deacon came by for a visit. Knowing of the problems with Joe, they became concerned when I didn't show up for either service and came down to check on me. We talked about the situation and prayed, the deacon Kim even offered to take my place for the night or just stay with me.
I turned him down, assuring him that since God had given me a peace about it, things were definitely in God's control. After all that had happened, I thought that I'd better walk them back to their car since they had to go back past Joe's camp. When we got to the top of the hill, we noticed ten foot high flames blazing from their campfire with toxic fumes choking our breathing.
"What in the world are they burning over there?" Kim gasped, as he choked on the smoke.
"I don't know but I think I'll pass on going over there to find out!" I replied, "If ya'll alright, I'll head back."
"Give me a call tommorrow, so we don't worry about you no more." pastor Mike said as they climbed into his car and pulled away.
The next morning I was awake early, and went to go for a prayer walk. Someone noticed me walking by Joe's camp and called for me to come over. Becky excitedly informed me that, "Joe was crazy and enraged yesterday morning, that they all were afraid for their lives until he left. About eight last night he came back, we were still fearful and noticed he had a very strange look on his face. He walked into camp, didn't say a word, merely walked up to his tent that had everything he owned in it. All his clothes, his leather jacket, his Bible, everything he owned was in that tent, as he picked it up and dropped it on the campfire and walked out."
Nobody saw hide nor hair of Joe, at least that I knew of around here. That seemed like a good ending, at least to me, as I lived through it. Nobody else got hurt, around here anyway. It was about eight years later, I had gotten off the road from truck driving, semi-retired, if you will. I was working driving a taxi mostly for airport traffic, having just pulled up into the airport line, waiting for a plane to drop.
I was maybe third in the line-up, and settled in with the Tallahassee Democrat to see what the local news might report. My windows were down, as the weather had finally cooled off. I was just reading the front page and heard a voice from behind my cab that I recognized. But this voice was not one I knew from the airport, so I glanced in my rear-view mirror.
Shock and a whole range of emotions must have shown on my face, as they raced through my mind. My "sworn enemy" Joe was leaning on a cab only two cabs behind me, and staring right at me. I thought of just pulling away to avoid a confrontation that could turn ugly indeed. Instead, I offered up a quick prayer, "Lord, just be with me and protect me, and bless Joe," then got out and walked up to Joe.
He took one look at me, threw his burly arms around me and exclaimed, "How are you brother? I've been wondering what happened to you and praying for you!" Joe went on to explain that he left town and went to Seattle for several years. When he went to a church service in a Seattle full gospel church, they had cast a spirit of murder out of him, by his own admission.
Although he remembered me, he really had no memory of all that had transpired while he wasn't in control. Through tears of joy, he hugged me repeatedly and we prayed together often. Joe was indeed a sincere follower of Jesus Christ at this time, in-spite of being clearly under demonic control earlier in his life. Jesus is still in the business of saving, healing and deliverance; setting the captives of demons free.
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