In all of my years as a minister I have never seen such an assault on people's hope like I am seeing today. People seem to be slipping more and more into a state of hopelessness. They are constantly on the edge of just giving up. It certainly isn't God sending them into despair. Did you know that our heavenly Father is the God of hope?
Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Hope is so important. Hope is like the picture we hold within ourselves of good things to come while our faith is at work causing those images to eventually become manifest in the earth. The writer of the book of Hebrews described perfectly the relationship between faith and hope.
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Without hope, there is nothing for faith to give substance to. If God is the author of hope, then it is obvious that Satan is the author of hopelessness and fear. One time while Sue and I were going through a particularly difficult time in our lives I heard the Lord ask me a question. "Who are you allowing to paint images on the canvas of your heart?" That's a good question. If we spend time in God's Word and prayer, we allow Him to paint images of His will upon our heart. But if we neglect our fellowship with Him, then by default we are allowing circumstances from the world to paint images upon our heart. The devil is a counterfeiter. He is always trying to imitate God in his maneuvers against us. In the same way that faith is the substance of things we hope for, fear is the substance of things we don't want. Faith is powerful. So is fear. Both have the capacity to direct our lives.
In January of the year 2003 I had a visitation from the Lord. In a vision He came to my motel room in White Plains New York and spoke with me for awhile. He told me some things about the nations He was going to send me to. It caused me to make some changes in my life and sure enough, within one year I had ministered in Europe, Africa, and Korea.
About that same time I began experiencing intermittent pain in my back and hips. It increased very gradually but before long it became excruciating for me to walk or even stand for extended periods of time. Constant pain is really good at painting pictures in your mind. The enemy used that pain to begin painting images of Gary in a wheelchair, unable to walk anymore. I would have thoughts speak to me like, "You can't even stand up for twenty minutes, how are you going to sit on an airplane for fourteen hours to go preach in Europe? How are you going to walk out through the Transvaal of South Africa and preach in those squatter camps again?" The god of fear was doing a good job of painting images of despair on my heart.
Our Lord said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." [Luke 6:45]. Sure enough, the fearful images so filled my heart that my mouth soon began speaking words in agreement with them. I constantly said things like, "My back is killing me. If this gets any worse I'm going to have to get a wheelchair." Thank God for my godly wife Sue. One day she told me firmly, but in love, "If you don't change what you are saying, the devil is going to put you in a wheelchair and steal all the rest of your ministry." It was like getting slapped across the face with a wet wash cloth, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. I knew she was right and it was up to me to begin tearing down the temple of fear I had allowed the devil to build in my mind.
The first thing I did was begin to speak the Word of God over my body. Most of you already know many of the healing verses that are in the bible. I spoke those verses over my body like they were true. I also began "calling those things which be not as though they were" just like Abraham did when he called himself "the father of many nations" when he and Sarah had not had a single child. It was God who had given him that hope and it was up to Abraham to allow faith to bring the substance of it into the earth. Hope "sees" the promise and faith "says" the promise until the promise is manifested in the earth.
In my case, little by little, the temple of fear within me was torn down. It was replaced by the hope of God's Word. Not only from His written Word but also from the things He has spoken to me personally over the years. It was as if the Lord Himself was resurrecting my hope. He reminded me of the visitation in 2003 and other things He had said to me over the years. I began to say, "I will preach on foreign soil again. I will do all that the Lord has called me to do." It was not long until I was preaching in Asia again.
Do you remember when the Lord raised Lazarus from the dead? He didn't roll away the stone from the tomb. He told the people to first roll away the stone. Only after they had done so did the Lord stand at the mouth of the tomb and say, "Lazarus, come forth." I had allowed hope to die and become buried within me. The Lord was willing to resurrect my hope, but only if I was first willing to roll away the stone. I could have chosen to surrender to despair based on the painful circumstances. Had I done so I would most likely be out of the ministry today.
If the enemy has been using circumstances, finances, pain, broken relationships or anything else to paint hopelessness on the canvass of your heart … make a quality decision today. Say, "Lord, no more. This day I am rolling away the stone. Come to the door of my heart and resurrect hope within me again!" He is the God of hope! THE BEST IS YET TO COME!
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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