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Sharper Than a Two-Edged Sword Part 4

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Matthew 21:16 He was quoting from an Old Testament pa.s.sage, which says, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

Psalm 8:2 These two scriptures together show us that praise is strength to still the enemy and the avenger. The reason for this has to do with why Satan transgressed against G.o.d in the first place. Isaiah the prophet tells us that Satan was envious of G.o.d because he wanted for himself the praise that G.o.d was receiving (Isaiah 14:13-14). Pride made Satan want to be like G.o.d. I believe the reason that praise affects the devil so powerfully is because when we praise G.o.d, it rubs the devil's nose in what he has always wanted but will never get. It's like taunting the devil, and it infuriates him.

We've all known self-centered people who think that life revolves around them. They need all the attention, and if they aren't the center of the conversation, it upsets them. It's an att.i.tude that comes from the devil. Satan is the most egocentric personality in the universe. He is jealous of G.o.d, and when you start giving G.o.d praise, it drives the devil crazy. He can't stand to hear G.o.d praised. It makes him mad, and he flees.

Praising G.o.d puts to flight all of the hurts, pains, and demonic oppression with which Satan has tried to bind you. It opens up your heart and prepares you to receive from G.o.d. One of the cla.s.sic examples of this is when Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison in Philippi. After whipping them, the jailer threw them in the inner dungeon and put their feet in stocks. At midnight, Paul and Silas began to pray and sing praises unto G.o.d (Acts 16:25).

Suddenly, there was a great earthquake and all of the prisoners' doors opened and their chains dropped off.

When the miracle came, Paul and Silas didn't quit praising G.o.d and they didn't run out of the prison. The jailer a.s.sumed everyone had escaped and was about to take his own life, but Paul called out for him to stop because all of the prisoners were still there. The greatest miracle here is that none of the other criminals fled. They were so affected by the praise and the power of G.o.d that they would rather stay in prison where the anointing of G.o.d was, than take advantage of the situation to flee.

This shows that Paul and Silas didn't praise G.o.d just to get out of their chains. They praised G.o.d because they were in love with Him. Their love for G.o.d drove them to praise Him-even though their backs were bleeding and they had been thrown in prison unjustly. Praise is powerful, and it releases the anointing of G.o.d. G.o.d inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3), and when you start praising G.o.d, it draws the power and the anointing of the Lord into manifestation. Praise will break your chains, it will drive the devil off, and get you out of bad situations.

Still, praise has another, more important benefit: it blesses G.o.d. It's a way for us to give back to Him.

G.o.d is the Almighty, but that doesn't mean we can't do something that ministers to Him. Jesus had needs while He was on earth, and many people ministered to Him by doing things such as cooking and caring for Him. G.o.d is love (1 John 4:8), and love likes to be reciprocated. G.o.d loved us so much that He gave His only Son to die for us, to bring us back into proper relationship with Him (John 3:16). Our praise is a thanksgiving that lets G.o.d know how much we appreciate what He has done for us. It reciprocates the love that He first loved us with, and it ministers to Him.

Many Old Testament scriptures exhorted Israel to "bless the Lord." This has become a religious cliche today. Now, people say "Bless the Lord" all the time, but the words themselves are not necessarily a blessing to G.o.d. Blessing the Lord is saying, "Father, I love You. Thank You that You are a good G.o.d. Thank You for moving in my life."Thanking G.o.d is what blesses Him.

G.o.d has emotions. He isn't bound by His emotions the way that people are, but He has them. It ministers to G.o.d when you give Him praise. G.o.d gave everything for us. The least we can do is be thankful. In our own lives, we like to be thanked when we go out of our way to do something for somebody else.

It's nice when someone acknowledges what we've done and says, "Thank you." Praise is simply a way of thanking G.o.d for all that He has done.

On one occasion, as Jesus was traveling from Galilee to Jerusalem, ten lepers called out to Him to have mercy on them (Luke 17:12-19). Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priest (the priest had to examine anyone who had been cured of leprosy to determine if they were clean). As they went on their way, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned to Jesus and cried out in a loud voice giving thanks to G.o.d. Jesus replied, Were there not ten cleansed"? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to G.o.d, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Luke 17:17-19 Leprosy is a disease that rots the skin and eventually causes digits and appendages to fall off. The Scripture says that ten were cleansed, but only the one who returned to thank G.o.d was made whole. I believe this is saying that the leprosy was stopped for all of them, but only one person was restored. Meaning, any part of his body that had fallen off was brought back. Restoration occurred because he came back to bless the Lord.

I remember taking my sons horseback riding one day when they were about six and four years old. It was a great day. We played in the creek, got dirty, ate junk food, and rode horses all day. At the end of the day, we got cleaned up and I put them to bed. As I was leaving my son Peter's room and turning out the light, he said, "Dad, you're a good dad!" Those words blessed me. It made me want to get him up out of bed and go do it all over again, just so I could hear him say it once more. Since that night, I've said to the Lord, "G.o.d, you're a good G.o.d," thousands of times.

I guarantee you that it blesses G.o.d when His children thank Him for how good He is. You were created for G.o.d's pleasure (Revelation 4:11), and blessing G.o.d makes Him want to bless you even more. In addition to building your faith to receive from the Lord and putting the devil to flight, praise ministers to G.o.d. It's a way for you to thank Him for what He has done in your life, and it will open up your heart to receive even more from Him.

Additional Resources: 1. The Effects of Praise is a three-part audio teaching available to listen to or download for free at http: //www. awmi.net/extra/audio/1004 2. TheEffects of Praise book by Andrew Wommack shows how the single act of praise begins to harvest peace, joy, pleasure, and contentment into every area of your life! Through praise, you can finally overcome anxiety, depression, and stress in your life. It is available through bookstores or the online store at http://www.awmi.net/store/usa/ books/309 3. How to Stay Positive in a Negative World is a five-part audio teaching. If you watch the news, read the newspaper, or listen to the negative conversations of those around you long enough, and you'll find yourself discouraged. This teaching will show you how to how to rise above the noise of negativity and live your life according to the promises of G.o.d's Word. It is available to listen to or download for free at http://www.awmi.net/extra/ audio/1065 audio/1065 "Ministering unto G.o.d" is an audio teaching available to listen to or download for free at http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/kl35

Chapter 12.

Harnessing Your Emotions.

Life would be pretty boring without emotions. We'd just move from one bland experience to the next like a bunch of robots. Fortunately, G.o.d created us to experience life with emotions-but He never intended for us to be ruled and controlled by them. Out-of-control emotions make life miserable. As believers, we can't afford to let emotions run our lives.

I doubt there is a single person who loves G.o.d who wakes up in the morning saying, "I think I'll be depressed today" or "I want to be miserable." I can't imagine someone wanting to be under the control of damaging emotions. Yet when bad things start to happen, most people feel completely powerless to prevent negative emotions from dominating them. They don't realize that they have authority over their emotions, and it is within their power to harness them. The Word of G.o.d tells us, Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of G.o.d in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 This is just one of many scriptures that tell us to rejoice in all circ.u.mstances. G.o.d wouldn't have commanded us to control our emotions if we couldn't do it. The simple fact that we are commanded to rejoice and to praise G.o.d at all times is proof that we can.

G.o.d says we can harness our emotions, but popular culture encourages us to do the exact opposite. Psychologists tell people not to hold anything back. They say you have to vent, and let it all out. This viewpoint has its roots in the false a.s.sumption that our emotional state is an automatic response to the things that are happening to us in life. The idea is that you can't do anything to prevent emotion from rising up and controlling you, so you may as well let it all loose. But that isn't true. I don't deny that we can be hurt, or that we have negative emotional reactions to upsetting circ.u.mstances, but we can deny those emotions the opportunity to rule our lives.

I remember an instance when I was working with a ministry in Charlotte, North Carolina, feeding some homeless people. I was talking to an alcoholic and he got so mad that he spit a big glob of tobacco juice right in my face. Initially, I was mad. For a fraction of a second I wanted to punch his lights out, but I didn't. I knew that Jesus loved him, and I knew that I had love, joy, and peace abiding in my born-again spirit (Galatians 5:22). So, I denied anger the privilege of retaliating. I wiped the spit from my face and kept on preaching. I didn't miss a beat. I just kept telling him about how much G.o.d loved him, and I was able to operate from my born-again spirit rather than from my emotions.

The inability to harness your emotions when somebody spits in your face, hits you, insults you, ignores you, or stabs you in the back, will put you in bondage. You aren't free if emotions are dictating your behavior. The circ.u.mstances of your life are going to dominate you as long as you allow emotions to govern you.

Anyone who says that emotional responses to circ.u.mstances are inevitable, and that you can't stop those emotions from controlling you, has wrongly reduced human beings to merely evolved animals. You aren't a developed animal. You didn't evolve from fish or animals. You were created in the image of G.o.d, and you have a spirit man on the inside of you that gives you the capacity to operate above the animal level. You aren't reduced to just responding to stimuli from your environment. Your born-again spirit gives you the ability to live supernaturally. Listen to this: Let no man say when he is tempted, lam tempted of G.o.d:for G.o.d cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own l.u.s.t, and enticed. Then when l.u.s.t hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:13-15 People today narrowly define "l.u.s.t" as illicit s.e.xual desire for another person, and while it is often used that way in scripture, it also means to long for, or desire. The meaning of "l.u.s.t" in this scripture is "desire." Every man is tempted when he is lured away and enticed by his own desires, and then when desire (or emotion) conceives, it brings forth sin. Here's the point: Emotions aren't a byproduct of your environment. They are where sin is conceived.

The picture of sin being conceived and then giving birth to death is a mirror of the natural process of conception and childbirth. It's pretty simple: s.e.xual relations lead to conception, and approximately forty weeks later, the woman gives birth. In the same way, once sin is conceived in your emotions, it will ultimately give birth to death. You can't see it right away, and it might take time, but sin will eventually give birth to death.

In the natural realm, if a man and a woman don't want to conceive a child, then they shouldn't have s.e.xual relations. It works the same way in the spiritual realm. Every time you allow negative emotions to run a muck, you are conceiving sin. The problem is, most Christians don't recognize, or feel any responsibility for, that conception. People are letting their desires and emotions run wild, but then when the birth of sin and death starts to show, they don't want any part of it. Essentially, they have allowed the conception of sin in their emotions and now that they are nine months pregnant, they don't want to have a child. It doesn't work that way. You don't try to stop the birth-you stop conception. If there is a strong fight inside of you, pulling you toward sin, it's because you have already conceived the sin in your emotions. Stop the conception, and you won't have to worry about giving birth.

Sin doesn't come on you like the flu; it has to be conceived. You don't commit adultery accidentally; first, it has to be conceived in your emotions. It begins by allowing yourself to desire someone other than your spouse-that's the conception. It could be something as small as dreaming about the way some television character treats his or her spouse, and then beginning to indulge fantasies and live vicariously. People think there isn't anything wrong with that. They think since they aren't actually doing anything that there is no harm in it. They feel no accountability toward controlling their emotions.

I don't mean to be offensive, but in a spiritual sense, every time you indulge negative emotions it's like having spiritual intercourse with the devil. The devil is planting a seed on the inside of you that is going to grow into a sin, which eventually brings destruction. If you would recognize that, I guarantee it would change the way that you look at indulging emotions.

Instead of allowing depression and discouragement and other negative emotions to overrule you, recognize that the Bible tells us to be strong and of good courage in the face of trying circ.u.mstances (Joshua 1:9). The Word of G.o.d commands us in many places to harness our emotions. Every time you disobey those commands and allow yourself to slip into negative emotions, it's like having a spiritual affair with the devil. You know you shouldn't feel that way, but you feel like you can't help it so you give in. Giving up, or giving in, is going to plant a seed on the inside of you that will bring forth something you don't want. When the birth comes around, you're going to be crying out for G.o.d to save you.

You cannot afford to indulge your emotions and conceive sin if you want to live a victorious life. You have to learn to control your emotions.

The night Jesus was betrayed, He drew His disciples aside for some last instruction. The next day He would be crucified, and the disciples would be plunged into a terrible situation. Prior to the Resurrection, He knew that it would look like the devil had won. The crucifixion would make it appear like all of the faith and hope the disciples had put in Him was misplaced. Jesus was trying to build the disciples up to face that situation-to keep them from running away and being discouraged. The first words Jesus spoke during His last instructions to them were, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in G.o.d, believe also in me.

John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled" is a command, not a suggestion. Jesus didn't say, "Try not to let your hearts be troubled." Our society, with its political correctness, would criticize Jesus for being so insensitive to the disciples as to suggest they shouldn't be troubled during a devastating time. Our culture would advise the disciples to let it all out and vent their emotions. Jesus did just the opposite.

I believe it is significant that the very first thing Jesus told His disciples to do was to harness their emotions. In my experience with myself and in dealing with others in crisis, I have found that reaction to the initial moments of a crisis is vital. If you fall apart like a two-dollar suitcase at the very beginning-if you let fear, despair, grief, and sorrow overwhelm you-it's nearly impossible to overcome those emotions and walk in faith later on. It's a lot easier to stop those emotions from ever entering in than it is to try to keep them from getting out after you have been entertaining them.

My oldest son Joshua called me one night and said, "Dad, I'm sorry to tell you this but Peter (my younger son) is dead."Joshua told me what had happened and explained that they were at the hospital. Peter had been dead about four hours by the time Joshua called. I said, "The first report is not the last report. Don't let anybody touch him until we get there."

My wife, Jamie, and I got into our car and began the hour drive to the hospital. I started to have the same emotions that any parent would have in a similar situation. I began feeling grief, sorrow, confusion, and fear. All kinds of emotions were swirling around in me. But I remembered this teaching, that Jesus commanded His disciples to not let their hearts be troubled as they were entering into a crisis situation. So, I refused to give in to those negative emotions.

As we were driving toward the hospital, I started giving thanks to G.o.d and worshipping Him. I said, "G.o.d, I know You didn't kill my son. You are not the one who caused this problem, and whether he comes back to life or not, I want You to know that I am going to continue to serve You. You are a good G.o.d."I believe with all of my heart that praising G.o.d was the key to not letting my emotions run away. I kept them under control. I began to operate in faith and joy instead of grief and sorrow.

I'm not condemning anyone who has experienced sorrow and grief in a crisis. I understand that we are human and that we have these emotions. I also know that experiences in life can knock the wind out of you. I'm just saying that we aren't only human. You can operate above your emotions when tragedy strikes, if you choose to.

When Jamie and I got into town, we found out that Peter had come back to life. After nearly five hours of being dead, Peter suddenly sat up and started talking. There was no brain damage of any kind. Today he's not only alive and well, but we have a granddaughter who was born a year later. I honestly believe that none of this would have happened if I had let my emotions run away with me. Jesus gave us a command to control our emotions in a crisis because giving in to fear prevents us from trusting in G.o.d, and it blocks us from receiving from G.o.d by faith. Venting or indulging negative emotions only makes them grow, like adding fuel to a fire-making it more and more difficult to walk in faith.

Over the years, I've had several horses, and I can tell you that if you let a horse run away with you, it is nearly impossible to rein it in. It is very difficult to overcome a horse's runaway momentum. On the other hand, I've taught a seven-year-old boy how to control a relatively wild horse by following a few simple instructions. He rode my horse for nearly two hours without any problems. Shortly after the seven year old dismounted my horse, a twenty-year-old young man showed up at my place wanting to ride. By contrast, the young man didn't want to listen to any of my instructions. Within minutes, the horse took off running and he couldn't stop it. Eventually, the horse threw the young man off, and he ended up making a trip to the hospital.

Emotions are like horses: it's a lot easier to keep them in check than it is to rein them in after they have begun to run wild. If you fall to pieces the moment something bad happens, it's going to be a lot harder to pull yourself back together and start believing G.o.d for a miracle. It's much easier to harness your emotions from the start. Thankfully, G.o.d has given you the power to do so.

You can rule over your emotions. You don't have to let them lead you around by the nose. Part of growing up is learning not to be controlled by your emotions. When you're a kid, all you want to do is go play and have fun. As you mature, you learn to work even when you don't want to. You may not feel like being the parent or going to work on a given day, but you do it anyway because it's part of being a responsible adult. Being mature means doing things even when we don't feel like it. Being a mature believer means the same thing. You can choose not to let negative emotions run wild and dominate you. G.o.d has not only given us the authority to rule and reign over our emotions, He has also commanded us to use that authority. Jesus said, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 The Lord is saying that you are going to have problems in this life, but He says, "be of good cheer." He's not saying we should only rejoice when everything is perfect in life. This is a command to be of good cheer regardless of our problems. G.o.d wouldn't command us to rejoice if we weren't capable of doing it.

Harnessing your emotions is an essential component to living a victorious Christian life-not just in a crisis situation, but in everyday life. When bad news comes, don't give in to the temptation to let negative emotions like fear and depression rush in and take control of you. Instead, make the choice to rejoice in the Lord and remember that you have G.o.d's love, joy, and peace abiding in your born-again spirit. Even when life is going great, you still need to harness your emotions because that is where sin is conceived. Avoid the conception in your emotions, and you won't find yourself in a fight to avoid giving birth to sin.

Additional Resources: 1. Harnessing Your Emotions is a four-part audio teaching available to listen to or download for free at http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1005 2. Harnessing Your Emotions book by Andrew Wommack will give you a look at who you are in Christ that very few Christians have seen. This is life-changing information, and one of the major keys to a victorious life in Christ. It is available through bookstores or the online store at http: //www. awmi.net/store/usa/bo oks/313 3. Anger Management is a four-part audio teaching, in which Andrew shares truths from G.o.d's Word on the subject of anger that are as rare as gold. It is available to listen to or download for free at http://www. awmi.net/extra/audio/1044 G.o.d's Kind of Love through You is a nine-part audio teaching. Once you understand how much G.o.d loves you, it will compel you to allow G.o.d's love to flow through you. However, there are many misunderstandings about what that means and how to do it. This series will help. It is available to listen to or download for free at http://www. awmi.net/extra/ audio/1055

Chapter 13.

Discover The Keys To Staying Full of G.o.d.

We're like a bucket full of holes," I've heard people say. "Even though G.o.d fills us up with His power, it just leaks out again, and we have to be constantly refilled." Well, that might be an accurate description of many people's life experience, but I don't believe that G.o.d designed us to be leaky vessels. I don't think that encounters with G.o.d come with an expiration date, and then you need to go get a new dose of the Holy Spirit. My personal experience is completely contrary to that. G.o.d has done things in my life that have never gotten old. They just keep getting better.

The importance of staying full of the love of G.o.d was brought home to me one day after speaking at a small church in Louisville, Kentucky. A woman approached me on Sunday morning to tell me how she had been affected by the services I held that week. She was crying as she told me how full of G.o.d she was, and how experiencing the love of G.o.d had changed her life. Then she qualified it all by saying, "I know that in a month or so I'll lose it and go back to the way I was, but right now I feel awesome."

It grieved me to hear this woman antic.i.p.ate losing the joy of the Lord that she had discovered. I was speaking at the church again that night, so I went back to my hotel and began praying specifically for her. I didn't believe the impact of her experience with G.o.d needed to fade away. As I prayed, I began thinking about my own experiences with G.o.d.

The Lord miraculously revealed himself to me on March 23, 1968. Here I am, decades later, and that experience has not worn off. As a matter of fact, it's more real to me today than it was in 1968.1 was emotionally touched the night it happened, but today I have a depth of understanding that I didn't have back then. What G.o.d did that night has soaked down into every part of my being. I haven't lost the power of that encounter; it has become stronger.

As I sat in my hotel room remembering what G.o.d had done in me, it reinforced my belief that we don't have to leak out the love of G.o.d like a broken vessel. "G.o.d," I was praying, "I know it doesn't have to be this way. We don't have to lose the revelation of how much You love us. What can I tell this woman? Flow can I help her?" I was asking G.o.d for revelation, and He directed me to the following scripture: Because that, when they knew G.o.d, they glorified him not as G.o.d, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. - Romans 1:21 Leading up to this verse, the Apostle Paul had been explaining in his letter to the Romans that although everyone has an intuitive knowledge of G.o.d, it is possible to dull yourself to that knowledge of Him. Beginning with this verse, Paul began to describe the progressive steps that people take to desensitize themselves to the Lord-steps that have the effect of decreasing the impact G.o.d has on their lives.

The Lord spoke to me through this to show that there is a reason people feel like leaky vessels. There is a reason the things G.o.d does in someone's life don't seem to last, but it has nothing to do with G.o.d withdrawing His presence. It isn't because there is an expiration date on the power He releases in our lives. Our own actions are what decrease the effectiveness of G.o.d's touch in our lives. It's what we do, not what G.o.d does.

This pa.s.sage of scripture describes four progressive steps that people take to harden their hearts toward G.o.d. We can discover the keys to staying full of G.o.d simply by turning those steps around and doing the opposite.

The Scripture says that, "when they knew G.o.d, they glorified him not as G.o.d." To glorify means to render or esteem glorious. Another way of saying it is "to value," or "to prize." So, this verse is saying that the first step in hardening your heart is to stop valuing or prizing G.o.d. The reason people lose the power of what G.o.d has done in their lives is because they stop placing the proper value on it. They don't esteem what G.o.d has done, and eventually it loses its effectiveness in their lives.

If you had something that you really valued, you probably wouldn't leave it laying on the front seat of an unlocked car while you went into the store; it might get stolen. You'd take precautions- like hiding it under the seat or leaving someone in the car to guard it. On the other hand, you wouldn't worry too much about a penny of the United States government -the most powerful force on earth. He wanted me to esteem his opinion higher than I esteemed G.o.d's. The recruiter's total disregard for G.o.d made me angry.

I leaned over and started poking my finger in his chest as I said, "Buddy, if G.o.d wants me drafted, then I'll be drafted. But if He doesn't, you or the United States government or every demon in h.e.l.l can't draft me!"

The recruiter quietly gathered all of his brochures, stood up, and walked out the front door without saying another word.

I found my draft notice in the mailbox the very next morning. I'm not even sure it was mailed. I wish I had bothered to check to see if there was a stamp or postmark on the envelope. I wouldn't be surprised if that recruiter went back to his office and processed my draft paperwork himself, and then stuck it in my mailbox. But I didn't care. I was glorifying G.o.d.

Each of those situations was an opportunity for me to shift my focus away from G.o.d and toward the opinions of other people. If I had valued their opinions above G.o.d's, I would have taken the first step toward losing the joy of knowing that G.o.d loved me. I didn't know a lot back then, but by the grace of G.o.d I esteemed Him greater than anything else. As a result, I stayed full of the love and joy of the Lord.

I've been through some terrible situations that could have drawn my focus away from G.o.d. I've been kidnapped, threatened, and insulted. I've had people burn my books in protest. I've had all sorts of bad things happen to me, but-glory to G.o.d-I've never esteemed other people's opinions more than what G.o.d has said to me. This has been a key factor in helping me stay full of G.o.d's love over the years. You have to keep putting value on what G.o.d has said and done in your life.

One day as I was hiking up Pikes Peak with a friend, he began telling me some things that another friend of ours was saying about us behind our backs. It doesn't bless me to hear other people criticizing me, but I also don't focus on it because to do so would diminish the value I place on what G.o.d has said about me. So, I said to him, "Look, I don't want to hear it. I know what he thinks of me, and I just don't want to hear it anymore."

My friend was quiet for a while, and then he said, "Why doesn't what he is saying bother you, like it bothers me?"

"Because I don't value his opinion as much as you do," I answered.

The things that other people say will only really upset you if you esteem their opinion. I'm not saying you shouldn't value what anybody else says- especially if you live with them-but in comparison with the value you place on G.o.d's Word, n.o.body else's opinion should matter.

But glorifying G.o.d and magnifying Him above your circ.u.mstances is only the first key to staying full of G.o.d. After mentioning that the people failed to glorify G.o.d, the Scripture says: "neither were [they] thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:21). The other keys to staying full of G.o.d are being thankful, having a G.o.dly imagination, and guarding your heart.

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. - Psalm 103:1-2 Thankfulness is closely related to glorifying G.o.d. In fact, you can't really do one without the other. Being thankful involves remembering what G.o.d has done for you and offering Him praise in return. It is an att.i.tude of glorifying G.o.d, magnifying Him above all else, and expressing grat.i.tude for His goodness. Christians ought to be the most thankful people on the face of the planet, because we have the most to be grateful for.

Imagination is often thought of as something for kids, and adults overlook its importance, but imagination is where you conceive the things of G.o.d. Imagination is forming a mental picture of something that isn't real to the senses. We think with pictures. It's how we do anything from giving directions to solving problems, and having a G.o.dly imagination is essential to staying full of G.o.d. For instance, you aren't likely to see healing manifest in your body if you imagine yourself to be a sick person. If you see yourself sick, that's what you will be. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7), so you want your imagination working for you -not against you. In Scripture, hope is the word that is used for a positive imagination that is working in your favor.

The final key to staying full of G.o.d is a good heart. The heart is what we live from. It is the ground from which our life grows.

Jesus said, A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. - Matthew 12:35 Your behavior and words spring forth from your heart, so staying full of G.o.d means having a heart that is filled with the Word of G.o.d. You can only imagine yourself as G.o.d sees you and you can only live that image out, if the Word of G.o.d has established in your heart who G.o.d says you are. The Word of G.o.d is the seed you must plant in your heart if you want to see G.o.d's love grow and bear fruit in your life.

I have barely scratched the surface of what it means to stay full of G.o.d, but these are the key issues: prize Him above all else, maintain an att.i.tude of thankfulness for His goodness, conceive the things of G.o.d in your imagination, and make sure you are filling your heart with G.o.dly treasure.

You don't have to leak the love that G.o.d is pouring into you, or the blessings He is pouring into your life. The four principles discussed here describe a lifestyle of focusing on the Lord, and they will give you an eternal perspective that will keep you full of G.o.d-even during times of trouble.

Additional Resources: 1.Discover the Keys to Staying Full of G.o.d is a four-part audio teaching available to listen to or download for free at http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1029 l. Discover the Keys to Staying Full of G.o.d book by Andrew Wommack reveals the essentials to a strong, close relationship with G.o.d. It is available through bookstores or the online store at http://www.awmi.net/store/usa/books/324 Don't Limit G.o.d is a five-part audio teaching. Most Christians believe that G.o.d, in His sovereignty, does what He wants on earth. Is that true, or is it possible that He has limited Himself by His own words? If He has, then may be the only limits in your life have been placed there by you. Combine this understanding with "Staying Full of G.o.d," and watch the limits in your life fade away. It is available to listen to or download for free at http:// www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1060

Chapter 14.

G.o.d Wants You Well.

Nearly everyone recognizes that G.o.d has the power to heal, but not many people have confidence that G.o.d wants to heal them. G.o.d is concerned about more than your emotional well-being. He wants your physical body to be healthy also. Sadly, some people are teaching that G.o.d controls everything in this world, and that no one can get sick unless G.o.d wills it-but that is absolutely wrong. G.o.d doesn't give people cancer. It isn't G.o.d's will for children to be sick or for anyone to be born with a disability. G.o.d wants His children to be well, and Jesus paid the price to purchase health for us.

Healing doesn't happen accidentally. In our fallen world, it's easier to get sick than it is to be well. Everything in the natural world goes from good to bad, and from health to sickness. If you want to receive healing, you have to pursue it. You can't just throw a prayer out there, half hoping that G.o.d might do something. You won't get healed by saying, "G.o.d I know You can heal, and if it be Your will then heal me." You have to know it is G.o.d's will to heal when you pray. In my estimation, grabbing hold of the truth that G.o.d wants you well is one of the most important steps you can take toward receiving healing.

It is popular in some circles to think that G.o.d causes sickness, or allows it, in order to accomplish His will or to teach you something. Nothing could be further from the truth. For one thing, if you believe it is G.o.d's will for you to be sick, then you shouldn't fight against Him by going to the doctor and trying to get better. I don't think anyone would argue that it is wrong to want to be healthy. Even the people who think G.o.d is the source of illness believe it is okay to try to get better. Yet if it is G.o.d's will for you to be sick, then you shouldn't try to get well; you should stay sick and learn what G.o.d is trying to teach you. But it isn't G.o.d's will for you to be sick, and He never causes your sickness to teach you anything.

We should be fighting against sickness. G.o.d has clearly revealed that His will is for us to be well, not sick. And we aren't merely hoping that G.o.d wants us well, we know it. Scripture says, Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Hebrews 1:3 Jesus is the brightness of G.o.d's glory and the express image of His person. This scripture isn't talking about an "image" that hints at the glory of G.o.d the Father. No, the Greek used here means a perfect representation. Jesus is the perfect representation of G.o.d the Father. Jesus said that He only did what He saw His Father do, and He told His disciples that to see Him was to see the Father (John 14:9). Jesus represented G.o.d perfectly, so if we want to know G.o.d's will concerning healing, all we have to do is examine the life and teachings of Jesus.

Jesus never caused anyone to be sick, and He didn't use sickness to teach people lessons. Yet people today are saying G.o.d has "blessed" them with sickness because it captured their attention and drew them to the Lord. People are crediting G.o.d with making them paralyzed or ill, but Jesus never used illness to accomplish His will. Sickness is never a "blessing in disguise," it's a curse (Deuteronomy 28:15-68).

There is not a single example in Scripture of Jesus doing the things that religion is blaming G.o.d for today. Jesus said,".. .he that hath seen me hath seen the Father." One of the greatest testimonies in Scripture that G.o.d wants you well is the fact that Jesus' life expressly shows His desire to heal the sick.

When the Apostle Peter was preaching the Gospel to the Gentile household of Cornelius, he summarized the life and ministry of Jesus by saying: How G.o.d anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for G.o.d was with him.

Acts 10:38 It says that Jesus "went about doing good." Not only did Jesus heal those who were oppressed of the devil, He healed them all. He didn't just go around healing some people. Jesus' actions are a demonstration of G.o.d's will to heal everyone, not just a select few.

Teaching that G.o.d uses sickness to accomplish His will causes people to drop their guard and to embrace something that is actually from the devil. Scripture says that those whom Jesus healed were oppressed by the devil, not by G.o.d. The Lord's command to us is clear: Submit yourselves therefore to G.o.d. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 Some things in life are from G.o.d. Other things are from the devil. We are supposed to submit to G.o.d, and resist the devil. Anyone who wrongly interprets sickness as being from G.o.d is submitting to the devil instead of resisting him. It is important to know when to submit and when to resist.

Religion is the source of a lot of confusion. It replaces a vibrant relationship with G.o.d through Jesus, with obeying rules and regulations. In the case of healing, religion teaches that sickness is a blessing in disguise, and that G.o.d uses it to humble you or to make you a better person. It is calling evil good, and good evil. In effect, this confusion causes you to embrace the devil and prevents you from receiving healing from G.o.d. Obviously, sickness is not going to flee from you as long as you are embracing it. You have to resist the devil in order to make him flee.

To effectively resist the devil, you have to understand that G.o.d wants you well when you pray, because half-efforts at resistance won't work. The Bible says, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of G.o.d, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

James 1:5-8 This principle of not wavering when you pet.i.tion G.o.d isn't limited to requesting wisdom. It can be applied to healing also: you won't receive healing if you are asking G.o.d to heal you, but at the same time wavering in your heart about whether or not it is G.o.d's will to heal. That's being double minded, and you won't receive anything that way. You have to believe you receive when you pray (Mark 11:24). In order to believe without wavering when you pray, you have to know that G.o.d wants you well. It must be settled in your heart.

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Sharper Than a Two-Edged Sword Part 4 summary

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