What a difference a year makes. As we are closing out the year of 2005, I cannot help but notice how different my outlook for the future is now from a year ago. For years I had been experiencing progressively more and more pain in my lower back, hip, and legs. At this time a year ago the pain was so constant and so severe I was walking with a very noticeable limp and bent over like a hundred year old man. It had been coming on me ever so slowly for years, beginning in earnest about the year 2000.
I was supposed to go on a ministry trip to Bundang, Korea in October of 2004 but I had to cancel that trip because it simply was not possible physically for me to make the journey. The pain was so strong I could not stand long enough to deliver an hour-long message. It was getting worse and worse and I must admit that I was beginning to "see" myself soon needing a hip replacement … or worse … confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
About this time a year ago my beautiful wife Sue said to me (in love), "If you don't change what you are saying the devil is going to put you in a wheelchair and steal your whole ministry." She was right! I began to "set a watch upon my lips" and I was amazed at how often I had to hold back words like, "This pain is getting worse all the time. I think I'm going to have to get a hip replacement. My hip is killing me." By setting a watch upon my lips I was allowing myself to "think" before speaking and I refused to let such words come out of my mouth. But there was no denying that fact that for several years I had been simply "telling it like it is" or "calling things that are as though they are." That is NOT the faith of Abraham. Abraham learned he had to imitate God who "calleth those things which be not as though they were." (Rom 4:17b)
I started to ask the Lord to forgive me for my lack of faith but before I could get the prayer out of my mouth it seemed I heard Him say to me, "Repent for the sin of rebellion against the Lord." What? I had no idea what the Holy Spirit was talking about. I was not aware that I had been in rebellion against the Lord. Rebellion is a very strong word. I remember how Samuel described rebellion when he was reprimanding King Saul in the Old Testament:
1 Sam 15:23a For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
It didn't seem to me that I had done anything bad enough to be categorized along with witchcraft! Then the Holy Spirit brought this passage to my mind, with special emphasis on the portion I have placed in capital letters:
2 Cor 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and BRINGING INTO CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT TO THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST. [Emphasis Mine]
Then I began to understand what the Holy Spirit was saying. I had not only sinned with my mouth by speaking words that were opposite to what the Word of God says concerning healing for my body, but I had also sinned in my thought realm by allowing my mind to "see" myself in a wheelchair and out of ministry altogether. Those thoughts were in direct REBELLION to what the written Word of God says about healing and also what the Lord has said to me personally concerning the work the He has called me to do in the future.
Without intending to do so, I had allowed both my thought realm and the words of my mouth to be in direct rebellion against the plan of the Lord for my life. My sin was much more grievous than I had thought. I had to repent … big time! I got out my old list of healing scriptures and began confessing them out loud again. I refused to let my mouth say anything that was contrary to what the Word of God says about my healing. I also began to spend time on purpose in prayer listening for any wisdom or counsel that the Holy Spirit would bring me. He kept reminding me of a Spirit-filled doctor who had helped Sue recover from a serious Sciatic Nerve problem several years ago. I began seeing him on a regular basis and followed his instructions.
I had to start "taking every thought captive and bring it into obedience" to the mind of Christ. On purpose I would "see" myself standing straight again preaching the Word of God in Korea, in Africa, and all over the world. It is as though I had to draw out the "Sword of the Spirit," which is the Word of God, and go to war in my thought realm and force my thoughts to "bow the knee" right before the throne of God until every thought in me agreed, "By His stripes … I am healed!" The hard part was that I had to do this WHILE THE PAIN WAS STILL EXCRUTIATING! I would walk the floor, limping as I would go, bent over in pain like a hundred year old man but with my mouth I was confessing "I am healed" and in my thought realm I was "seeing" myself healed and preaching God's Word all over the world again.
The end result? I have now returned from Bundang, Korea having just been on one of the most rewarding ministry trips of my entire life. While I was there for those two weeks I often delivered not just one service a day, but three or more services a day. In addition to standing while delivering the messages, I prayed for people in the prayer lines for one to two hours after some of the evening services. I am getting stronger and stronger every single day. I am physically in better shape now than I was when I first went to Korea in 2003. I praise God not only for His Word, but also for a godly wife who is willing to "speak the truth in love" to me.
I pray this encourages you to take inventory of your thought life. Is there rebellion in the camp? Are you allowing yourself to spend time meditating on "worry" instead of on the Word of God? It might be good to ask the Lord to help you "set a watch upon your lips." (Psalm 141:3)
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
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