Ready Aim– (Mali Music)
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
– Charles Baudelaire
Have you ever been so scared of something that you didn’t even know what it was? Have you ever had a moment when you had no control over anything? Most people will think I’m crazy after reading this post…but hey I thought I was for years until just last month when I came across someone who shared a very similar story in his own testimony. This is a story so strange I have only told one person in my life…so yes let me tell you that it is ok if you don’t believe this story…I fear a few readers may even stop reading after this post, but no matter what this is a real story about a time I feared something I had never feared before…and now I’m no longer scared to talk about it…and I remember it like it was yesterday…
The quote at the top you may recognize from a classic movie in 1995 called The Usual Suspects (still one of my favorite movies). The quote was actually taken from a man named Charles Baudelaire, a French poet who lived during the eighteen hundreds. He also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. Baudelaire’s actual words were “La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas,” which means, “The Devil’s finest trick is to persuade you that he does not exist.” Baudelaire truly believed that the Devil exists, but that he is not what we imagine him to be…
The only one person I told this story to was my friend and also the landlord of the house I used to live in Oxford, MS, years ago…He lived above me and I rented his basement apartment. Now this may sound crazy and most people don’t believe crazy…but I want you to imagine as best you can for the next paragraph that nothing is impossible…
I remember laying in bed and trying to go to sleep…every time I go to bed I usually just lay there for a little while, I think we all do, and I can’t remember when I finally fell asleep but the next thing I remember is just waking up…the room was completely dark (it was in the middle of the night but it just had a darker feel to it)…I couldn’t move my body, I couldn’t move my arms up. I tried moving them. I tried moving my legs too and I couldn’t…I was fighting to even turn my head…it was difficult to open my eyes, I felt like I could barely open them…And I started to feel like something was in the room with me but I couldn’t see anything…it was just that dark…and I couldn’t hear anything…I just felt this pressure on top of me like a smothering/suffocating feeling…I have never been more scared in my life…and the scariest part was I couldn’t even scream or talk…so I just prayed…I prayed over and over (and look this was a dark time in my life when I had run very far away from God, I knew I believed in Him but I was far from living that out in my life). But I prayed anyway, I prayed that if I was dreaming that God would wake me up…and that if this was something real that God would take over or help me fight against whatever was holding me down or whatever was going on…and it was not instantly but I remember after a couple minutes everything just went away and everything just stopped…it was just like it never happened. The next morning I woke up and ran up the outdoor back stairs to tell my landlord what had happened. I remember sitting outside on his deck and telling him my story and just saying, “Man I don’t know what happened last night, you’re gonna think I’m crazy because I feel crazy saying this but man it felt like there was something in my room last night. Like holding me down…I don’t know if I was dreaming but it felt so real and whatever it was couldn’t hurt me…but something was trying to…” He kind of laughed at first but we both talked about it for a little bit. We talked about how it could have been a dream, maybe a lack of sleep, or even hallucinations…so I don’t have the answer to tell you 100% what it was (and I can explain the reason for this better in the answer section), but I know I felt something, I don’t have this memory for no reason. And the only thing I knew to do? Was to pray for help to fight it…What else do we do in times like this? What would you have done?
The first question you are probably asking if you haven’t already stopped reading is why are you talking about this? And what in the world does this have to do with your usual stories in this TenDaysInLove blog? Do you believe that there is spiritual warfare going on around us? Say you don’t, can you say that it’s possible? Is it possible to believe in the things you cannot see? And if you do believe in this spiritual warfare, which is rarely talked about, how can we as believers be affected by it? And ultimately as believers why is it that when we lose control over everything the only thing we think to do is to pray for help from God? Can anything separate us from God if we believe in Him?
“I’m on an airplane, and the destination of this flight is to the other side. Guess I had to go there,
guess I had to come here yeah…I know where I’m from but now I’m headed where I’m going right…But there are powers in the air and you can’t see them, and they have rockets and machine guns, and they’re firing on my plane…But I say fire, fire oh ready, aim, fire, you can’t shoot me down…”
Kortney Jamaal Pollard, is an American recording artist, singer-songwriter and producer, who performs under the name of Mali Music. He learned to play the piano at just the age of 5 and by the time he was 11 he was active in the ministry of music in his church. Pollard began his career as a gospel artist but now turned mainstream on a major label because he feels he can reach many more people and have a positive impact on people with his music. He also has written songs for other artists, including Jennifer Hudson. When interviewed about his single Ready Aim, Pollard says, “It’s not about airplanes or rocket ships or space or being fired upon. It’s a picture of things that are happening in the air when you get in contact with who you are and when God calls you, you better expect some resistance. But with God…you can’t shoot me down…you can’t shoot me down…”
Romans 8:37-39 | No, in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are not just conquerors with Christ, we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS…this means we don’t just have victory, we can have complete victory over, above, and beyond. I write about this story to tell you about how strong God’s love is for us if we truly believe in Him and follow God in our lives. Nothing can separate us from that…but we have to be careful, we have to be very careful about some of the places we go, some the things we see, and the people we can surround ourselves with. The Devil is very real and very active in our world and the moment we let our guards down, believe me it is very easy to fall into temptation, even for a very Godly person…Rarely do we hear our pastors and small groups talk about the Devil and spiritual warfare because it’s just not a popular topic to talk about and I don’t have all the answers for you for that…George Barna, founder of The Barna Group and author of books analyzing research concerning America’s faith, did a survey on Christians on their view of the Devil. After conducting his research Barna says, “Hollywood has made evil accessible and tame, making Satan and demons less worrisome than the Bible suggests they really are. It’s hard for achievement-driven, self-reliant, independent people to believe that their lives can be impacted by unseen forces.” If I had tried to prove my story really took place when it did, let’s say in a court room setting, I would lose hands down…and the judge and jury would not believe me…and the reason for that is at the time I had no credibility…I was not a credible witness…you ever feel like that in your faith? We need to be credible witnesses of God’s love and we need to try and walk the walk everyday… You see I wasn’t credible at the time because A.) I was a user B.) I was using at the time C.) I wasn’t always an honest person and D.) I put myself and surrounded myself in dark areas of my life that I knew were wrong.
The quote at the top of this post from Baudelaire, used in The Usual Suspects film, is describing the fictional character and the main antagonist Keyser Soze…He is even described by Kevin Spacey’s character as “the Devil himself”. The character of Soze placed 48th in the American Film Institute’s “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes & Villains” in June 2003. Time placed him at #10 on their list of most memorably named film characters and #5 in best pop culture gangsters. Entertainment Weekly ranked the character #6 in most vile villains, and #12 in the best heroes and villains. Ask Men ranked him #6 in their list of top ten film villains. Total Film ranked him #37 in their best villains. MSN ranked him #4 in their list of the 13 most menacing villains…But the Bible ranks the Devil as the #1 villain to ever roam the earth…
In Mali Music’s song Ready Aim, he sings out “Guess I had to go there, guess I had to come here yeah…I know where I’m from but now I’m headed where I’m going right…” God has taken me through a very eventful journey in my life and it has all been in His plan, I truly believe that, even through the bad times. I guess I really did have to go there, and I had to come to where I am now, because where I am now I know for a fact I’m going in the right direction…This post is not meant for me to dwell on what happened that night in my room, it is meant to tell you how I knew God had never left me. I have talked about it a lot in my TenDaysInLove journey and I tell it when I speak in public through my testimony that “God never left me, He never forgot me…” and this night was one of the big nights that I started to discover that. I started to experience His unbelievable grace. The person I came across that shared a similar story is a guy named Ryan Ries, ex-director of Skate & Music Marketing for internationally known brands. You can see his testimony on YouTube in several places. Ries battled substance abuse like I did and describes how he turned his life completely around. But he describes an almost identical night like mine in one of his testimonies. You see the devil can tempt anyone…I don’t care who you are, from parolee to preacher to the president of this nation, we have to keep our guards up…and we have to be prepared and ready to say “Ready Aim”…and with Christ we can do that, we can conquer anything, but we can also be more than conquerors… You wonder why nobody wants to talk about this topic and why you rarely hear about it in a majority of church sermons? Because the Devil is very, very good at convincing the world he doesn’t exist…but the one thing, the very one thing that the Devil will NEVER be able to do is separate us from God’s = LOVE. Nothing is impossible…
(Listen below to Ready Aim by Mali Music)
(Feature post photo by Jeroen Andel)
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