Most of these past thirty three years of being a Christian have been wonderful. Not because my circumstances have always been pleasant (although I must admit the Lord has been very good to me). But mostly because of the peace within and the quiet joy of His fellowship as I walk through life with my Savior. It is amazing how peace literally becomes one of the weapons in your arsenal whenever you face challenges in life. I so remember my pre-Christian days when the only way I could cope with the stress of life was by leaning on the artificial emotional support of alcohol. The peace that accompanies genuine faith is a mighty force to have on your side.
But that does not mean I am immune from attack. Recently I woke up early one Sunday morning and it seemed as though my emotions had simply gone crazy. I "felt" lost and alone. I was hearing thoughts in my head (clear, loud, and strong) saying things like: "You are not saved. The bible is not true and there is no God. There is no heaven and there is no hell. When you die you are simply dead." And the really scary part was … my emotions wanted to agree with every one of those thoughts. This was happening just a couple of hours before I was scheduled to go to the church and teach the morning session. Again the thoughts continued speaking in my mind, "Who do you think you are to attempt to teach people the bible when you are not even saved yourself? You are the biggest hypocrite on earth. You would go to hell yourself except … there is no hell because there is no God and the bible is not true." And again I want to emphasize … my emotions were agreeing with every statement.
I can't remember the last time I had an attack like that. I must admit when you are under such an assault of wrong thinking accompanied by your emotions wanting to agree with every false statement … it knocked me on my heels for a few minutes. My head was swirling and my emotions were making me almost physically nauseous. For the life of me I couldn't think of a single thing to teach that morning (and that after teaching for more than twenty years). It's like all of my knowledge just simply vanished. And worse than that, my emotions didn't want to teach anyway. Everything in me wanted to call Pastor Dave or Tim and beg them to have somebody else do the early morning service. The "feelings" of me being lost and hopeless were so strong! It would have been so easy to have just surrendered to those emotions.
But then I began to remember what the Word of God says. I remembered that Jesus didn't just try to "think" the devil away when He was attacked in the wilderness. Jesus opened His mouth and began speaking forth the Word of God. Again and again He would say, "It is written" and he would declare with his mouth the truth of God's Word. I began to say out loud with my mouth some of the most fundamental, basic truths from scripture. I said things like, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and I say with my mouth that Jesus is my Lord. I am a new creature in Christ Jesus. Old things have passed away. All things have become new. The joy of the Lord is my strength." More and more scripture began coming to my mind and I would say them out loud. I didn't shout them and wake up the whole neighborhood. It is not the volume of how loud the Word is spoken. It is the authority of the Word when it is spoken. I just used my normal tone of voice and after just a few minutes … all of those evil thoughts and the emotions that agreed with them … they all left like a snowball in the August sunshine. Gone! The devil has no defense against the Word of God when it is spoken in faith.
I went to church and taught the early service. Pastor Dave and Tim liked it so much they asked me to teach it again in the main service also. (If you want to hear those two messages they are titled "Only Believe" and "This Supernatural Gospel" and are in the Weekly Services section of the website www.garycarpenter.org.)
Looking back on the whole episode now I am fully convinced that I was not alone in the room that morning. I believe there was a specific assignment against me and that demonic forces were just waiting for me to wake up so they could attack my mind with false doctrine and my emotions with a big case of the "Yuck's." (You know what I mean by the "Yuck's" … that "hopeless, poor little me" feeling that comes sometimes.) That assignment was designed to stop me if at all possible. Depending on the level I yielded to the assault, it could have stopped me for a day, a week, a month, or even permanently.
It is so important to remember that genuine bible faith always has two parts, not just one. In Romans chapter ten we find that true faith always "believes with the heart" and "confesses with the mouth." Most people forget about the second half and they try to overcome demonic assault using only the "believing in the heart" portion of faith. But Jesus did not defeat the devil by trying to "think" him away. He didn't just stand there silent while being assaulted in the wilderness. He didn't just try to use "bible thoughts" to "think" the devil away. No, read it again for yourself. He opened His mouth and spoke out loud the Word of God. If that is the method Jesus used, then that is the method every believer should use. Believe in the heart AND say with the mouth.
After the battle was over and victory was mine, I remember being so grateful for every hour in my life that I had spent meditating God's Word and every hour praying in the Spirit. I was so grateful that I had so much scripture on the inside of me BEFORE coming under such an assault. I wonder what would have happened if I did not have the scripture already within me ready to fire like weapons from my mouth to defeat the enemy. Remember what the first psalm says about the person who meditates God's Word day and night:
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
I saw that phenomenon often while driving across the Mojave Desert years ago. Nothing but sand and scrubby sagebrush for hours. But then I would come to a little stream in the desert and along each bank of the stream were green trees taller than a man. Why were they flourishing in the desert when nothing else would grow? Through their root system they had tapped into a source of supply that simply was not available to the rest of the desert. Putting down spiritual roots into the Word of God allows us to tap into a source of supply that is simply not available to the world. Heaven's supply is available to us. Faith in God's Word is the connection from that unseen realm to the seen realm we live in. Faith has two parts, believe in the heart and confess with the mouth.
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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