Chapter 3, Knowing God
Conquest Takes Confrontation
I'm confident that if we took the things the Lord ministered to His disciples in John 14 and implemented them in our lives, there'd be no reason for us to succumb to problems — ever. We may not be able to prevent problems from coming, but we can prevent them from winning! We can be more than conquerors through Him that loves us — in every case.
Paul said, "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ." (2 Cor. 2:14). The Christian life is, or should be, a life of victory. It's not victory without effort, however. In fact, once you become a Christian, there will be tremendous effort. The stronger you become in the Lord, the stronger the battle becomes. If you haven't realized that, I may be bursting your bubble, but it needs to be burst.
You must recognize that God didn't call us to avoid the devil. You should be seeking out the devil to destroy him and his works, not avoiding him. You should go on the attack. If you are looking for a place where there is no opposition, you need to die and go to heaven. But here on earth crises will hit.
The first thing you do when a crisis hits is to let not your heart be troubled. You need to get a hold of yourself and recognize your power of choice. The second thing is to put things into perspective. That's what Jesus was doing when He talked about heaven. He was saying, "Look, guys, if you choose life, then build yourself up in faith. That should do it. But even if it doesn't, even if you lose, you'll still win. One way or another, you're going to come through this thing victorious. All the problems you've had down here will be nothing compared to the glories God has waiting for you."
I believe these teachings are some of the most needed things in the body of Christ today. Our surroundings, our nation, our world, are so negative. They are defeat-minded, depression-minded, criticism-minded. If you don't have a positive attitude to counter that with, these things are going to overcome you. You can't just ignore them and have them go away. You literally must take the truth and oppose doubt and unbelief with it.
God Knows...Thomas Doubts
We shared a tremendous amount of truth in John 14:1-3. The next thing Jesus said to His disciples is verse 4, which says, "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." Jesus knew people better than they knew themselves. The Bible says that the Lord knows what is in the heart of man (1 Sam. 16:7). Jesus proved on innumerable occasions that He saw right into a person's heart. Jesus knew His disciples. He knew that their thinking was still muddled. He knew they weren't acting correctly.
When He said "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know" (verse 4), that was a true statement, because they knew Him. Then Thomas said to Jesus, "Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (verse 5). Then, verse 6 says that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, but He knew that they didn't understand this.
I believe Jesus was talking about God, about faith, and about how a lot of people throw away their faith. Many people think they're operating in faith, when the truth is they aren't operating in faith at all. A lot of us are simply going through the motions. We're dead inside.
Me — A Doubting Thomas?
Stop and think about this. In a church meeting, we all come, supposedly to believe the Lord. We come to hear from God. We put our best spiritual foot forward when we're at church. We believe — or we pretend that we believe. But out in the world when the devil attacks us, we respond differently. If we're honest, we'll admit that we've done the same thing Thomas did many times.
Thomas, in effect, was saying, "Lord, what you said isn't true. It's a lie. We do not know where you're going, so how can we know the way?" We think, "That's terrible. How dare Thomas contradict the Lord Jesus and say He was wrong!" But how many times have you said something like, "Well, I know God's Word says that by His stripes I am healed, but I'm still sick." That's different, right? Wrong! The only difference is that you said it instead of Thomas, and we're more lenient on ourselves than others in circumstances like this.
It's the exact same thing Thomas did. The Lord has said certain things in His Word. For example, He said that Jesus became poor so that we through His poverty might be made rich (2 Cor. 8:9), that He blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3), that nothing shall by any means harm us (Luke 10:19). These things have already been done. They're in the Word.
God said it, but what do we say? We say, "Lord, that's not right. Anybody can look at my bank account and tell I'm not rich. Anybody can see from these symptoms that I'm sick. Anybody can look at my circumstances and tell that I'm not blessed." That's calling God a liar...nothing less.
Everything the Lord ever said is 100 percent true. But because Thomas couldn't perceive it in the physical realm, he rejected it and said, "Lord, what you're saying isn't true." We do the same thing.
Fact vs. Truth
One thing we must recognize in a crisis situation is the difference between what is true and what is truth. Certain things are true from a physical perspective, but there is an overriding spiritual truth. This is what Jesus was ministering. People always go by what's happening in the physical realm. If all you do is acknowledge that, you'll never be able to operate in the truths of God's Word because they'll always cross each other. They'll be contrary to each other a lot of the time, usually most of the time.
The world of the flesh and the world of the spirit are enmity against each other (Gal. 5:17). They're at war.
We often make the mistake of exalting physical truth over spiritual truth. We hold what we can see, taste, hear, smell, and feel to be more real than what God's Word says. But one of the things you must do in a crisis is go back to God's Word, humble yourself, and say, "Father, forgive me for exalting natural "truth" over your truth. Whatever your Word says is true. If I don't understand it, please explain it to me."
But that's not what the disciples did. Thomas countered Jesus, saying, "Lord, we don't know where you're going, so how can we know the way?" Then Jesus turned to him and said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him" (verses 6-7).
Then Philip said, "Lord, shew us the Father, and it will suffice us" (verse 8). Philip did the same thing Thomas did. He said, "Lord, what you say is not true. We haven't seen the Father." Jesus just said that they had seen the Father, and this time Philip contradicted Him.
Ask and Ye Shall Be (1) Answered (2) Rebuked
Later, in verse 22, it says, "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou will manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" This is the third question, but the questioner wasn't rebuked this time. The Lord simply explained it. There was a difference in the intent of the question. Two of the questioners had said, "Lord, you're wrong. How could that be?" Although phrased as questions, they were still motivated out of unbelief. It was rebellion, opposition to what God had said.
The third question, asked by Judas, was simply, "Lord, I don't disbelieve you, but how will you do this?" It was for information. Those kinds of questions are good. When you have a crisis, questions usually come fast. What's happening? Why is it happening? What will the outcome be?
You must make sure you never question the integrity of God's Word, God's faithfulness to you, or the things God has spoken to you. God has said He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). So don't ask, "God, where are you?" That's unbelief. You aren't going to get a positive response from God out of that. You'll be rebuked. Similarly, the Bible says that only good and perfect gifts come from above (James 1:17) and that Satan is the one who brings problems (John 10:10).
So don't say, "God, why did you do this?" or you're headed for trouble. The Bible says Jesus became poor so we could become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). So don't ask, "God, why am I poor?" That's doubt and unbelief.
However, if you question it by saying, "God, what is going on? I know you're faithful. I know your Word is truth. I know you'd never do anything wrong. Is there something I haven't learned?" If it's that kind of question, for information, that's positive. There is a godly type of questioning.
When You're Up to Your Ears in Alligators...
When people come into crises, one of the first things they do is start questioning the things they've held as foundational truths. For instance, if you believe in healing, if you've been professing healing, if you've been telling other people about healing, if you've prayed and been healed yourself or seen others healed, and suddenly sickness comes upon you, then Satan will try to broadside you. You try to release your faith, you pray, you quote the Word, but if you don't see the sickness leave in thirty minutes or an hour or a day, you begin to question.
You think, "This isn't working the way it should." Then there are questions. Is this really true? Is it really God's will to heal every time? Have I been wrong in what I'm saying? Questions like this are going to come. If you don't know how to handle them, your faith can be shipwrecked (1 Tim. 1:19).
How do you deal with these questions? You must make a commitment. In Romans 3:4, it says, "Let God be true, but every man a liar" You need to get to a point where you can exalt spiritual truth over physical truth. You need to exalt what God's Word says, taking it as a more sure word than what you can see, taste, hear, smell, and feel. That's easy to say, but not easy to do. It is a lifetime process. That's maturity in the Christian life.
...It's No Time to Think of Draining the Swamp
When you enter a crisis, if you haven't been applying yourself to the Word of God, if you're waiting until the storm hits before you try to build your house, you're going to be in trouble. That's all there is to it. Sometimes the storm is so severe that you can't build your house in the midst of it. You have to run next door and find someone who's already built their house and weather the storm there. Sometimes you're going to need help to survive. You'll have to wait until it's over and start re-establishing yourself in the Word of God.
You need to make a decision that God's Word is greater than what you can see, taste, hear, smell, or feel. In other words, what you experience in the physical realm. What I'm talking about is a simple principle in God's Word, but few Christians ever get a hold of it. Most of us are more dominated by the physical than we are by the spiritual. Yet you can soften your heart, you can sensitize it to the things of God so that what God says becomes more real to you than what you see.
For some of you, this may sound far out. You may think, "I'm not sure this guy is dealing with reality." It depends on which segment of reality you're talking about. If all you acknowledge is physical reality, you may think I'm crazy. But when you begin to look at things from God's perspective, it's just common sense. Everything we can see was created out of something we can't see, according to Hebrews 11:3: "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
Things that are seen — this book, your chair, the walls of your house — come from something that you can't see. They didn't come from nothing. God didn't make something out of nothing. God took spiritual substance and made physical substance out of it.
Isn't that simple? There's a spiritual world out there, but because we can't see it or contact it through our physical senses, we don't acknowledge it. The Word of God is a perfect representation of spiritual truth, what's already there in the spirit realm. If you don't understand this, you can't operate in faith.
Because people don't understand it, a lot of them think that you have to confess the Word to release the ability of God. They say, "I'm saying that it's so when it isn't so in order for it to be so." They think that through confessing something, they actually make it happen.
Confession doesn't make anything happen. All confession does is take something that's already present in the spiritual realm and, by speaking it, release it into the physical realm. You aren't creating it. You aren't making God do something. If you say "By the stripes of Jesus, I am healed," that will not make God heal you. No, you've already been healed, according to 1 Peter 2:24. It's an accomplished fact. It's already done. Your confession just brings what's already a reality in the spirit realm into the physical realm.
God did it 2,000 years ago. It's already provided. It's already there. But it's in the spiritual world, and your body is in the physical world. It doesn't do you any good as long as it stays in the spiritual realm. Your body is physical, and it needs physical results. So how do you get it from the spiritual world to the physical world?
Faith is Substance
You believe. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," according to Hebrews 11:1. It doesn't say faith is the evidence of things that don't exist! Faith is the evidence of things that do exist; they just exist in the unseen world. They are spiritual reality. Faith takes from the spiritual world and brings it into the physical world.
Jesus said in John 14:4, "Where I'm going you know and the way you know." But with their little minds, the disciples couldn't comprehend what He was saying. Since they didn't understand it, they said, "Jesus, you must be wrong." You need to recognize that God's Word is smarter than you'll ever hope to be. If you live to be 110, you'll never begin to approach the wisdom of God. You need to make a decision: "God, your Word is true."
When God says that you are healed by the stripes of Jesus, is that a true statement or not? Some of us say, "I know the Word says that, but my body says I'm not healed. Oh, I wish I could be healed." Are you saying that? Then you're calling God a liar. It's simple — it's is so simple you have to have someone help you misunderstand it!
We've come up with elaborate ways of rationalizing our failures so that it doesn't throw the blame on us. But when we make these statements of doubt, we're basically calling God a liar. We're doing the same thing Thomas did because we're exalting our own reasoning, our own feelings, our own senses, above what God's Word says. If you do that, you're never going to prosper or have your needs met or get healed or make it through a crisis, because Satan always will put emotions and events on you that make it look like God's Word isn't true.
You must get to the place where you exalt God's Word and believe it more than you believe the physical realm.
Aerobics for the Senses
The Bible says in Hebrews 5:13-14,"For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age [this is talking about maturity], even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
These scriptures say that you can actually reprogram your mind, your senses and your emotions to discern good and evil, instead of constantly having them go in the other direction. When your feelings say "I hurt. Who cares what God's Word says?" you can actually get them to acknowledge God's Word. You can renew your mind so that it doesn't always have to drag you toward the devil and away from God's Word. You can even renew your senses so that they will begin to start bearing witness to God's truth.
Of course, until you get a renewed body, you can never totally trust your senses so that they become the leading part of your personality. But you can get to the point they aren't constantly screaming doubt and unbelief at you.
How do you do that? There are several ways, but the two primary ways are found in Matthew 17:19-21. Jesus had just cast a demon out of a boy, and the disciples asked Him, "Why could not we cast him out?" Jesus said, "Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Finally He says, "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
Jesus is not saying that this kind of demon goes out only by prayer and fasting. There are no demons who need more than the name of Jesus to be cast out. You can fast and pray until you wither to nothing, and it will not increase your power against the devil one iota. Faith in the name of Jesus alone is what accomplishes the miracle. But fasting and prayer will cast out the kind of unbelief Jesus was talking about. It will eliminate what I call human, or natural, unbelief.
Thou I Don't Speak in Tongues...
There is an unbelief that comes from a heart being hardened toward God. For example, let's say someone had a bad experience with Pentecostals. At one time, they were exposed to preaching about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, miracles, etc. But then they saw some Pentecostal do something really wild, something irresponsible, something that offended them and they rejected it.
So they hardened themselves and said, "I hate that. I don't want anything to do with it." They turned away from tongues and gifts of the Spirit altogether. Now they're in a state of unbelief, but it's an unbelief by choice. They hardened themselves, so it's actually a rebellious kind of unbelief. It can eventually wreck a person's life.
But say another person is seeking God with their whole heart, believes in the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and desires it. It's not that they're rebellious; they long for it, but they can't seem to get it. Some people have been tarrying for the Holy Ghost for thirty years! That can come through wrong doctrine. Or it can come because a person never gets beyond the realm of feelings. They're hung up on their feelings, waiting for an experience. And because they haven't felt or seen anything, they can't believe.
Their physical senses have become so dominant over them, they can't get beyond that. They can't believe for anything they can't see, taste, hear, smell, or feel. That's what I call a natural type of unbelief. Everybody has it. Nobody naturally believes God. You have to exercise your senses to believe God. It's like a muscle. You have muscles in your body, but none of them are naturally huge and bulging. If you leave them alone and do nothing, they'll atrophy. They don't naturally grow, they decay.
In the same way, your senses will dominate you if you don't make a deliberate effort to exercise them.
This natural type of unbelief is what the Lord is talking about in Matthew 17. The disciples believed that God could do miracles — they had cast out demons themselves. But in this case, they weren't able to see deliverance. I believe the reason the disciples had unbelief was because the epileptic boy fell on the ground, wallowed, and foamed at the mouth (Luke 9:42). If you've ever seen an epileptic attack right in front of you, it will send goose bumps up and down your spine. Fear will assault you.
Prayer and Fasting Works Miracles
It made their senses stand at attention. They said, "It's not working. This guy is getting worse instead of better." Their senses dominated them. They had a natural unbelief that stopped them from seeing a miracle. Jesus said to them, "All you need is a little bit of faith, but your unbelief was opposing it." He said, "You can't get rid of this kind [in other words, this kind of natural unbelief] except by prayer and fasting."
Now why does prayer and fasting work? Basically, it works because it brings your senses under control of your spirit and exalts spiritual truth above natural truth.
Your body is not the way you may have pictured it. It is not as strong as you think. Your body literally does what you tell it to do. It is not evil in itself. Likewise, your emotions and senses are not evil in themselves. Satan will tempt them, and if you yield your senses to him, they can become instruments for evil. But your body and your senses in themselves are not evil or good. They're amoral. They're natural.
God gave you your body and senses. It's the way you use them that corrupts you. It's like a child. A child has certain tendencies to be self-centered, pleasure-seeking, rebellious, etc. Those things in themselves aren't bad unless you let them become dominant. You've got to direct them. You've got to channel them in the right direction. Your body, your carnal nature (what the New Testament calls the flesh), is the same way.
So how do you bring it under control? One way is by prayer and fasting.
But most people have the wrong impression here. For example, people fast as an act of law, to make God do something. Typically, it goes like this: They pray and nothing happens. Then they think, "I don't know why the Lord hasn't heard my prayer, but I've prayed and nothing's happened yet." Then they go to church and get somebody to agree with them. Still nothing happens. So they say, "If all else fails, I'll go on a fast until I get my answer." What they're saying is, "I don't know why God hasn't answered my prayer, but He'll answer it when I get into a fast.
Hungering After God
In other words, a fast becomes a lever or a pry bar on God. People think, "I don't know why God is not budging, but this'll do it. Fasting will get Him. When He sees me about to waste away, I know that regardless of how upset He is with me, He'll have mercy. Surely He'll move on my behalf when I'm about to die." We play on God's sympathy.
That kind of fasting will get you nothing but hungry. It does not accomplish a thing. Fasting doesn't give you any more "pull" with God — He doesn't love you a bit more if you fast or don't fast, or if you pray or don't pray. If you never fasted or prayed again, God's love toward you would still be the same. He doesn't change. God doesn't keep a chart with the hours you've spent praying and fasting and then, when you reach a certain level, He assigns you "priority mail" and has to answer your prayer!
God doesn't operate that way. You don't influence His attitude or actions toward you through your acts. God loves you because He is love. Prayer and fasting don't move Him.
But prayer and fasting does move you. Suppose your senses dominate you to the point that when God's Word says "By whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Pet. 2:24), your body rebels and says, "No, I'm not healed. I hurt." How are you going to get that body to submit itself to greater spiritual truth?
Some of us are totally dominated by our bodies. Our bodies say, "Eat!" and we say, "How much?" We do whatever it tells us to. Most of us can look in the mirror and see more than enough evidence that we're not doing well in this area (there are some skinny gluttons out there, too). If your body has dominated you, if you indulge your flesh, remember what Hebrews 5:14 says — that by reason of use we have our senses exercised to discern both good and evil. You've got to exercise your senses. It's by reason of use.
Down, Body, Down!
If you've been living a self-indulgent life, if you've given your flesh everything it asks for, and then suddenly the devil puts cancer on you so that fear, panic, and pain set in, you may say, "All right, I'm taking authority over you, body and emotions." Then your body responds, "Who are you to tell me what to do? I tell you when to eat, how much to eat, what to eat — and you do it. And now you're going to control me?" Your body's going to rebel. You're going to have warfare. It is possible to win if you're desperate enough, but if you haven't been disciplining yourself, most of the time you'll lose.
How can you deal with that? A fast is a tremendous way. Your appetite is one of the strongest drives you have. People will kill over hunger. Eating is one of the temptations the devil used against Eve. It's a strong urge.
When you start on a fast and your flesh hasn't been brought under subjection, it will rebel. You may have heard someone talk about seeing three angels and five visions and getting words from God and all these things during a fast. You may think, "This is wonderful. I'm going to fast. I want to see angels. I want to have visions. I want to have God do something special for me."
So you go on a fast, and by noon the first day, you're cranky, you're irritable, you're headachy, you feel like you're wasting away. You think, "Some vision this is!"
Of course, medically speaking, it doesn't hurt you to fast. One day a week is actually good for you. It will purge your body of poisons. If you're drinking water, you can go forty days or more before you begin to starve. Before forty days, it's your appetite, not your body, that is starving. If you thought you were dying of hunger before sundown the first day, you were wrong. That was your flesh rebelling.
Not by Pie Alone
So your body begins to rebel. It cries out, "Give me some food, or I'm going to die!" What do you do now? You have to start drawing on the spirit man to sustain you. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He told him, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4, where he quotes Deut. 8:3). When He said that, He was not just spiritualizing a scripture. Your spirit can actually give physical strength to your body.
Of course, that's not a long-term solution. God made your body to be fed by eating. But the spirit can literally quicken your mortal flesh (Rom. 8:11). The spirit can give you physical strength when your body and emotions are going wild. But you'll have to deny the flesh and draw on the spirit man. The spirit man literally begins to sustain you physically. It begins to sustain you emotionally. It begins to sustain you mentally. You literally live off the reserves in your spirit man. You take your focus away from the physical realm.
Every time you lust for an apple pie and you deny it, you're taking your attention off the physical realm. You cannot think of food all day long and succeed in a fast. You can't go about your normal business all day long and succeed in a fast because your normal business constantly draws you back to indulging the flesh. The only way to succeed on a prolonged fast is to withdraw, take your attention off food, off things, off problems, and put it on the Lord. When you do that, you're denying the flesh.
Leggo Me, Body!
The flesh begins losing its grip on you. If the flesh says "You've got to feed me, or I'm going to die," you say, "Nope, we're going three days." Your flesh says, "Three days? I can't!" You say, "Shut up or I'll raise it." "Oh, I'm going to die!" "All right, four days." "Four days! I'm going die for sure." "Five days." Soon, that flesh will be quiet. It will say, "I'd best shut up."
You'll get to a point that your spirit man says "Jump," and your flesh will say "How high?" When your spirit man says "Raise your hands," instead of saying, "What's everybody going to think of me?" you'll raise your hands. When your spirit man says "Stay awake and pray" and you want to go to bed, you'll stay up and pray.
You'll literally break the control of the flesh through a fast. When you first go on a fast, you feel terrible — all your irritability, carnality, and anger rises to the surface. You think, "This is the pits. I was better off before I started. I was better off being carnal than this." When you experience those things, that's when a fast is doing the most good! That's when you're flushing that poison, all that carnality, all that fleshliness out of you. If you want to persist, you'll have to work through all of that. You'll have to put the flesh down.
But when you come through it, you'll have ten times as much power as you had before. There are going to be results.
O Lord, I...z-z-z-z-z-z.
The same thing is true of prayer. If you pray a godly prayer, it denies your flesh. Your flesh does not enjoy praying. To persist in prayer, you have to put down your desires in the physical world. You have to become spiritually minded.
In a teaching entitled Hardness of Heart, I show how your heart becomes sensitive to whatever you focus your attention on. If you focus your attention on the spirit man through prayer, fasting, studying the Word, etc., it becomes more real to you than the physical. You'll reach a place that when God says He supplies all your need according to His riches in glory (Phil 4:19) but your bank book is overdrawn, you'll question the physical before you question the Word. You'll say, "This can't be true," because the spirit realm has become more real to you than the physical. You'll realize that what God says is more true than anything you can see.
Many think that's just a pipe dream, that it's not dealing with reality, but it is. God and what He says can become more real to you than what you see. That's the way a victorious Christian walks.
When God says you're prospering, you're prospering. When my wife and I started in the ministry, we were poor as church mice. We were so poor we couldn't pay attention. We didn't have any food — we were literally starving. Yet God's Word said that I was blessed, that all of my needs were supplied. When we didn't have two pennies to rub together, someone would ask us how we were doing, and I'd say, "We're blessed!" I believed I was blessed. I talked like I was blessed. I expected to be blessed.
We could have gone on food stamps many times. When Jamie was eight months pregnant with our first son, Joshua, we went for two weeks without food of any kind. All we had was water. Imagine a forced fast at eight months pregnant! The devil was telling us, "You're going to kill that child."
I couldn't explain it in the natural. I couldn't tell you why we were in that situation, but I knew it was all subject to change. I was looking at the things that couldn't be seen, and we just kept going. And praise God, we came through it.
Sometimes I lose patience with people who say things like, "I tried to believe God, but it's been two weeks, and I haven't got my answer."
My Mind Is Unfruitful
Faith does not come without effort. There were times when I literally had to shut my mind off because if I let it think, it would have flooded me with unbelief. There was nothing in the natural that even remotely lined up with the Word of God. Once, when Jamie and I were at the breaking point, I literally thought we couldn't go for another twenty-four hours. We were ready to renounce the Lord, our faith, everything.
I'd been in the house praying several hours that day, waiting on a miracle in the mail. When the mail came, I ran out and looked. There were only bills. I knew that if I allowed my mind to think freely, I was going to reject prosperity. What did I do? I started praying in tongues, because when you pray in tongues, it is your spirit that prays not your mind (1 Cor. 14:14). I wasn't going to let my mind pray. I was going to let my spirit pray.
So I started praying in tongues, but my mind was still thinking. I literally had to start screaming at the top of my lungs. I screamed for over two hours in tongues. If my mind got louder, I'd get louder. I finally just out-yelled my mind! After two hours, my spirit finally gained pre-eminence. People often say, "I tried that and it didn't work." But they didn't really try hard, or it would have worked.
Don Krow — A Walking Miracle
My associate minister, Don Krow, is a good example. He came to Seagoville, Texas, when I was ministering there. I had first met him at a Bible study a year or two before. He received the baptism of the Holy Ghost through some other people and, for a while, went back to Oklahoma. He got sick, and while he was in the hospital, he had a high fever and literally lost his mind. He lost his ability to remember. He wasn't able to think or focus. He was addicted to the drugs they had given him.
The devil told him there was no hope, that he'd never be worth anything again. He came back to Seagoville, and I spent two weeks just spoon-feeding him the Word, day and night, day and night. Finally, he said, "Well, I know that but...." He was threatening suicide.
After two weeks, we rented a house and put him up. I said, "You know what the Word says. It's up to you to choose" (Deut. 30:19). And I said, "You either kill yourself, or get on with it. I'll be back in three days to check on you." I walked out. He got mad. For three days he prayed in tongues. He didn't eat. He didn't sleep much. He made a decision that he was going to believe God. And God supernaturally healed his mind. He came out stronger than horseradish, ministering to everything that moved!
Don chose life. He renewed his mind. He got to the point that it didn't matter what his mind was telling him. He couldn't even remember from one moment to the next, but he knew God's Word was true. God restored his mind.
Don is a walking miracle today. But for three days and three nights, he went through torment, speaking in tongues and submitting his flesh to the things of God. He said, "I am healed. I don't care what the doctor says. I don't care what I think. I don't care what I feel. God says I'm healed and that's it!"
It worked. We all can do that. We can exalt God's word above all things.
When we come into a crisis situation, we need to go to God and say, "God, I have a lot of knowledge in my head. I know intellectually that by the stripes of Jesus I'm healed, but I don't know it in my heart. I'm having trouble with it. God, I want to know you. I want to know your Word."
A lot of Christians know Jesus, but they don't know Jesus. If we really knew the Lord, we wouldn't be susceptible to so much doubt and fear.
Do you know why we're afraid we're going to fail? Because we don't really know God. If you had a true revelation of God, it would be impossible for you to doubt that God was going pull you through. A person who's having problems with doubt is a person who's having problems knowing God. You may not identify with that, but it is true.
I may know you as an acquaintance, but I don't really know you. I don't know what you'll do under pressure. I don't know what you'll do in a crisis. But there are other people I know. I mean I know them. I could tell you what those people would do. For example, if you told me that my wife was out cheating on me when I'm out of town, you're just barking up the wrong tree, because I know my wife.
Some people think, "You're crazy. You can't know for sure what your wife is doing." They may think that because they didn't know their wives (or maybe they do know their wives, and they aren't like Jamie). But, I know Jamie, and I know what she'll do in a given situation. You can't discredit Jamie to me because I know her. She has some weaknesses, but that's not one of them. I know her.
When Satan comes up and says "God isn't going to heal you," the reason we fall for it so easily is that we don't really know God. If we understood the love, the compassion and the mercy of God, we could never, never, never doubt Him.
People who say "I've asked God to heal me, but I'm not healed" have said a mouthful. They've said they don't really know God. They've said they don't have a revelation of who God is. They've said they need to go back and just come to know God.
We need to get to the place where we exalt spiritual truth above natural truth. We need to get to where we know "the God of the Word" instead of just the Word of God. We need to let the Word of God paint a picture for us of who God is and, through that revelation, have fellowship with Him and know Him.
If you do that, I guarantee Satan will not be able to hit you with discouragement and depression. Once you get a heart revelation that God loves you, you'll be able to resist the devil.
God's Love Paralyzed
I was teaching in a church one time. A man was there with his daughter, who was in a wheelchair. She was 12 years old. I was teaching that it was not God who put troubles on us, made us sick, kept us poor, etc. This man got mad and left the service. The people who brought him said to him, "At least wait and talk to this guy and ask him what he meant. Maybe you misunderstood him."
So this fellow stayed after the service. I went out there to talk to him. Boy, he was hot . He started saying, "You're saying it's the devil who made my daughter like this? But it was God! God made her like this. It was God's will. He's getting glory out of this situation."
I know why he was saying this. It was a defense mechanism. It absolved him of any responsibility. He wasn't able to cope with it. He couldn't just ask, "Is there something that we can do? Are we really believing God? Are we wrong?" Rather than confront that, he pushed off all the blame on God. A lot of people do that.
I was trying to be compassionate toward him but he was mad. He'd quote scriptures to show that God had put this on her. I'd quote scriptures to show that he hadn't. We weren't getting anywhere. It was an impasse. I finally figured I had nothing to lose, so I just said, "What's the matter with you? Don't you love your daughter? What kind of father are you? Do you want your daughter to be a paraplegic, just sitting in a wheelchair not conscious of anything for the rest of her life?"
He was mad before — now he got furious. He screamed, "I'd give anything to heal my daughter! If I could, I'd sell everything I've got. I'd do anything if there were an operation that could cure her. If I could, I'd become like she is so she could become like me." He started crying. He was really upset.
Then I said, "And you think God, who has all power and all might, loves her less? That's exactly what God came to do. He became what we were so that we could be what He is. You don't know the love of God." That man could argue doctrine with me, but when I started talking about the love of God, he didn't have a leg to stand on.
If this human father, whose love is corrupted, would literally die for his daughter and take her place, how could he doubt the willingness of God to heal her? How could he think that God had put that thing on her to teach her something? He couldn't — it's just inconsistent.
God, Speak to Me...God? God?
That lie would be totally unbelievable if people knew God. Satan couldn't discredit God if we had a revelation of who He is. We're operating in intellectual ideas instead of a heartfelt experience, a revelation of God. We need to get a revelation of who God is. We need to come to know Him personally.
That's what Jesus was saying in John 14. "Guys," He said, "you think you know the way. You know the way, but you don't know THE WAY. I am the way." They wanted to see the Father, and the Father had been living with them, eating with them, and sleeping with them for three-and-a-half years! They hadn't perceived Him. They had missed Him because He wasn't in a form they recognized.
Some of you want a word from God. You say, "O God, speak to me," and the Bible is right there in your hand. God has spoken to you. The written Word of God is a more sure word of prophecy than any audible voice. You couldn't ask for more. We have our Bible on our table and say, "God, where are you?" He's right there, where He's always been! Pick it up, blow the dust off the thing, and read it! The Bible is God speaking to us. It is God's Word. We need to exalt it.
You can do that. You can lose your own life, your own senses, your own wisdom, and get to the place where it's only God's Word that makes sense to you. This carnal world doesn't make sense anymore to me. It's God's Word that makes sense. Everything else is screwed up. It's not God's Word that is screwed up — it's the rest of the world! Get a hold of that.
You can renew your mind to think that way. You'll get to where God's Word is greater than anything — greater than the word of a doctor, the word of a lawyer, the word of a Ph.D., whoever. It doesn't matter what they have — if it's contrary to God's word, it's ignorance. It's a fool who is speaking. We have a lot of educated fools. If they don't speak the Word, it's because there isn't any truth in them. The Scripture says that (Is. 8:20).
We need to get to the place that God's Word becomes everything to us. Through the Word, we'll come into a heartfelt revelation of who God is. If you'll exalt God's Word in a crisis, if you'll fast and pray to get your body under control, if you'll ignore what your senses are telling you, it will deal a death blow to Satan's work in your life.
It may take time to do this, but believe me, it'll be worth it.