Thursday, March 21, 2013

Don't Give Up, It's Already Yours

by Donna L. Watkins

Have you ever felt like a mighty victor through Christ of a battle that the devil placed upon you? You stood in faith even as you looked at the physical circumstances around you and in the end you overcame. That was my experience with a battle waged against my heart. The whole world spiraled downward as I was informed of the condition of my heart and the surgery that was required. In the end I decided to believe The Word and not what I saw and not what the doctors told me, even with the Emergency Room doctor telling my husband to contact Hospice. My article, "The Heart of the Matter," along with others after it details my healing journey after refusing surgery and lifetime drugs.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden - Belmont, NC
Orchid Conservatory
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Then about 5 months after all the symptoms were behind me and life was once again considered normal, but with abundant remembrances of the goodness of God in our lives, the enemy launched some arrows of breathing problems at the same time as the previous year. What's the first thought?  Oh no!  Here we go again!

If you will remain in peace and ponder the attack, you will see that the devil doesn't have any new tricks. He's always been about deception. It's the only way he could get Adam and Eve to respond in Eden and it's the same method he uses with us today.  The breathing problem was not at all like what I'd had in the crisis, but with the arrow tips dripping with words of fear, your mind wanders a bit.

We get to choose: Do we believe the lies the enemy is tossing at us ... or do we believe God's Word and His love for us and use the power and authority that Christ gave us. In Luke 10:19, Jesus said, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." We can have boldness in the day of trouble because we are in Christ and all that is true of Him is true of us since the Cross. "As He is, so are we in this world" (I John 4:17).

In previous health battles I had taken a different approach of praying, begging, whining, crying and despairing while hoping that God would act and come through for me. I was a Bible-reader, but there were always verses I said I did not understand because life didn't happen the way it said. So I simply chalked that all off to the sovereignty of God.  Sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn't.  That never meshes with our spirits though because Jesus healed everybody.  He didn't look around and say, "okay, you're approved," "yep, you're chosen," "oh, you look pitiful, I'll definitely heal you."

The Bible says He healed them all.  And the Bible tells us that "By His stripes we WERE healed" (I Peter 2:24).  Past tense.  Why do we just skip over words and not chew on them till God gives revelation?  I guess we're just spiritually lazy.  With the format of the church today being one where only a few chosen people speak and everybody else sits as if to be entertained, it gives our mind the impression that we don't have anything to do to participate in making God's Word real in our lives.  The original church was a group of believers that met to share with each other the gifts that God had given each of them.

North Carolina Botanical Garden
Univ. of NC at Chapel Hill
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When I made the choice to believe the Bible and study what I didn't understand, my whole life changed. I realized that what God said had occurred in the spiritual realm, but what I was looking for was instant manifestation in the physical realm.

Faith is the bridge that brings the spiritual to the physical world. It's rather scary to think of my faith being my only resource, but you can't deny the fact that Jesus made it clear in many Scriptures that it was the person's faith that had made the healing happen. He had various ways of saying it, but it was evident that He couldn't do any mighty works in his hometown which He said was because of unbelief.

How about the father who wanted his son healed and the disciples didn't get the job done? He asked Jesus to heal his son "if He can." Jesus turned it right back on the father by saying, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes" (Mark:23). It's the believing part that stumps us. What we think we believe may be only head knowledge, not heart knowledge. Faith is when the heart believes without any doubt. When doubt outweighs our faith, we don't receive what we are promised in God's Word. "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" (James 1:6).

Jesus told His disciples that "Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says" (Mark 11:23). Did He lie to us?  Did He say it sometimes comes to pass?  It tells us how to make this work.  Unbelief or doubt counteracts faith and that's why we read verses like this that don't seem to work and then get frustrated or give up.

This is easily seen when you've come through a battle as the victor and the enemy comes in to deceive you as mentioned before. This is when we need to stand strong and not consider our five senses to determine what's real. What's real is God's Word and our spirits needing to instill that Word into our heart so that we can truly believe it without any doubts.

It puts a lot of the responsibility onto us, doesn't it? Yeah, and that can bring hope or more despair depending on your personality. But in reality it gives us a lot of answers to "why's" and it sure shines a bright Light at the end of the hopeless tunnel we've been staring at.  It all made so much sense and my spirit eagerly soaked up the Truth. The great thing is that the more you overcome the deception of the devil, the more faith you build.

We have to guard our hearts and our imagination is a part of that. When you have thoughts of fear you begin to imagine those words as pictures, and if you begin to believe it today, by tomorrow you'll be fully convinced of it. You can't let a moment go by without launching a return attack. "Cast down imaginations and take every thought captive" (2 Cor. 10:5). Jesus didn't pause in His responses when the devil was tempting Him in the wilderness. He used the Word to counter those assaults so we could have His example to follow. It is written! We have to know the Word more than we know the circumstances around us.

Toadstool Trillium
The Botanical Gardens at Asheville, NC
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You defeat the devil by taking your sword (The Word) and cutting his head off with it! Don't let him deceive you and steal your kingdom rights. Christ died that we might have life more abundant and we need to take those blessings and operate our lives in them.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3). We have all the blessings of God because we are in Christ. God does not consider our shortcomings, our failures, our holiness and righteousness based on ourselves. He sees us in Christ and our promises and blessings are already there for the receiving.  Remember Jesus didn't qualify anybody that came to Him.

Non-Christians get healed all the time and many times more easily since they don't have a head full of wrong teaching that tells them to believe anything but what's being said about "this Jesus."  That's why so many get healed in undeveloped nations that have not known Him.  They simple believe and receive.

Jesus paid it all so we could be free of guilt and shame. In Him we are holy, righteous, joyful, peaceful, kind, compassionate ... the list goes on. All that Jesus is has now become available to us. We just have to stop thinking there's something we need to do to be good enough to receive. We can't add to the work of the Cross. Either Christ paid it all and said "It is finished" or it isn't. If we have to depend on our own flesh to save us or heal us, then we're out of hope.

So the next time the evil one tries to convince you that your victory wasn't real, you tell him that Jesus took all his power back and has now given us power and authority to use it against him. He is a thief, a liar, and anything that is evil comes from the devil, not from God. God has given us The Word. We need to use it and love it and surround ourself with Scripture that relates to whatever circumstances we are dealing with.

That's not a 10-minute morning time of scanning a Bible page and reading a devotion.  Or going through a read-the-Bible-in-a-year program in which you have to scan to get your checkmark complete.  The urgency of your need will determine the time you spend in the Word.  I was spending all day and night in it when I was bedridden and unable to sleep more than a half hour at a time.

Meditate on a verse that the Spirit whispers in your ear.  Chew on it like chewing gum.  The Word is alive and active like a two-edged sword. You really can win the battle with this Sword! You may have left your Bible sit for so long that it's turned to stone, but like Sir Galahad, you can pull it out and wield it victoriously against the enemy. It's a sure win because it's already finished. You aren't fighting to win the battle, your fight is to maintain the victory won for you by Jesus.

Don't give up! God says it's already done! The devil can't take what is yours unless you give it away.

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