And what happens when we delve deeply into God's Word and learn and grow in Him? The enemy, Satan, gets mad. He throws stuff at us, pours it out on us....trying to come between us and the Lord. Every move he makes is with the goal of separation in mind.
On the other hand, as we study His Word, learn about Him, and grow more Christ-like in our relationship with Him, God rejoices in the closeness and revels in our growth. He uses the opportunity to teach us more and more and to convict us of areas where we fall short (not the same as condemnation).
Some of the strongest spiritual perceptions I've ever experienced have taken place in this class.
When a woman attended and went off on this weird tangent about demonic activity in her house, it was during the discussion that followed....God told me to pray. Not in a "Hey Stace, could you say a prayer?" kind of way. It was more a "PRAY! PRAY RIGHT NOW! PRAY HARDER THAN YOU'VE EVER PRAYED! DO NOT IGNORE ME. PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. PRAY!!!" kind of way. The urging was so strong I felt it physically. People in the class later asked the teacher what was wrong with me....they were able to see something was happening. The woman I was praying for, who was acting like a caged animal and refusing to look at anyone....kept locking eyes with me. It scared the living daylights out of me, but I couldn't stop praying and after the class when the teacher was talking with her, the urging continued so strongly until I had to interrupt and tell the teacher I needed to pray with her for the woman right then and there. We did...and the teacher later confided in me that she had been praying for help and believed God sent me to let her know "I've got your back."
I've also felt the influence of the dark side in the class. One week, out of the blue, as I parked my car a feeling of such deep, dark oppression dropped on me. It came out of nowhere. I was fine and then, BOOM, I was depressed, despondent, hopeless, angry, jealous, hurting....and just about every other ugly emotion you could name. I did not want to go into the class, but I knew getting into God's Word is the best cure. This, however, was so deep, so heavy that the longer I sat in class the angrier and more frustrated I felt. I very literally wanted to snarl and rage at the teacher. I needed to get out of there and the minute the class ended I bolted. At home I flew through the door and warned my poor husband to leave me alone, that I wasn't angry with him, but that he needed to stay away from me just then. I got online to send a message out to some wonderful prayer warriors via Facebook begging for their prayers to beat a darkness I wasn't strong enough to handle alone. It was a miracle that all but one of them were on Facebook at the time and I heard back from them immediately letting me know they were praying. Within half an hour the darkness was gone.
This is long....so tomorrow I'll share "Part 2" or the rest of the story.