Drop The Rock


                                By Phil Scovell



          Wherefore  seeing we  also are  compassed about  with so  great a
          cloud of witnesses,  let us lay aside  every weight, and the  sin
          which doth  so easily beset us, and let  us run with patience the
          race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1.

               The drill  instructor walked  slowly down the  line of  men.
          Somebody was in trouble, they all knew, but who.

               Finally the short  stocky man, who  had the build of  a hand
          grenade, stopped and stared into a man's face for at least a full
          minute without speaking.  The silence was painful and ominous.  
               Suddenly  the hand  grenade exploded.    "What's your  name,
          maggot?" he screamed;  the tip of his  nose only two inches  away
          from the young marine's own nose.

               "Sir," the startled marine yelled back, "Private First Class
          John Carver, sir."

               Silence fell all around the men and nobody moved.  It seemed
          as if hours passed.  Suddenly the drill instructor's voice boomed
          like an  artillery barrage.   "No, private  Carver, your  name is
          maggot because you are holding up the rest of the team.  We can't
          have that now can we, Private First Class maggot?"

               "Sir,  no, sir."  the frightened  youth  screamed an  octave
          higher than his normal voice.

               "Then  what  are we  going  to  do  about it,  maggot?"  the
          sergeant bellowed back; spittle flying in every direction.

               "Sir, I don't know, Sir," came the loud reply.

               "Oh,  I know  what we  are going  to do  about it," the  D I
          boomed in reply.  "You see that rock over there, maggot?"

               The young marine moved his eyes without turning his head for
          fear he would  be yelled at  for moving.   "Sir, I see the  rock,
          sir."

               "Good," growled the sergeant.   "When I tell you to, maggot,
          you are going over and picking up that rock."  The rock was about
          the size  of  a man's  fist.   "Are  you  right or  left  handed,
          maggot?" the D I demanded.

               "Sir, right handed, sir," he yelled; his  voice rolling over
          the empty ground that surrounded them and dying away.

               "Good," came the reply.  "I want you, maggot, to go over and
          pick up  the rock with your right hand.  I want you to carry that
          rock in your  right hand all day.   You will not put  it down for
          any  reason  at all  any time during  the day until  1800 tonight
          when you  report to  my  office in  front of  my desk.   Is  that
          understood, maggot?"

               "Sir, yes, sir."

               "Well, maggot, he jeered, "go get it."

               Many years ago I saw something like this happen in a movie I
          was  watching on  television.   I, of  course, left  out  all the
          expletives which normally  would been used in the  exchange.  The
          idea, of course, was discipline, obedience, and the importance of
          the unit as a whole.  One man, in a combat situation, out of sync
          with his unit, can easily get everybody killed.

               I am certain, the marine discovered, for the twelve hours or
          so that he had  to carry the rock, it was much heavier by the end
          of the day.   It wasn't because the rock  was heavy in the  first
          place but because he had to carry it hour after hour.  By the end
          of  the day,  he  probably  could  hardly  hold  it  due  to  its
          tremendous weight.

               This  is  exactly  the  picture  we  see  in  Hebrews   12:1
          concerning   putting   aside  the   weight   which  hinders   our
          relationship  with the  Lord.   The  passage is  in reference  to
          running a race but  what if you feel you aren't  even walking the
          race?   Many Christians even  wonder if God  is on their  side at
          times due to circumstances.   We are told, and taught,  the Godly
          do not live  by feelings.  Yet  God created us with  emotions and
          feelings.  When they are working normally, nobody seems concerned
          but  let something  happen to  the emotions  or let  our feelings
          become unfocused, and suddenly everybody  thinks we need to be in
          the  doctor's  office  getting  a  prescription  for  a  chemical
          imbalance.

          * Lay Aside

               The Greek term  for "lay aside" in this passage  means to do
          exactly that, that is, take hold  of the weight and lay it  down.
          Imagine the  relief that marine  must have had when  his sergeant
          told him  to drop the  rock.  If  you are going  to run with  the
          wrong crowd, you are going to  have to carry what they carry  and
          believe  what they believe.  If you  don't, you won't be accepted
          by them.  If, on the other hand, you walk with the Lord, He said,
          "Come unto me, all ye  that labor and are heavy laden, and I will
          give you rest.  Take my yoke upon  you, and learn of me; for I am
          meek and lowly in heart: and ye  shall find rest unto your souls.
          For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light," (Matthew 11:28-30).
          Drop the rock!

               One  day I was complaining to  the Lord how heavy my burdens
          were and  that He was putting  more upon me  than I felt  I could
          handle.  Then  I heard the still  small voice of the  Holy Spirit
          say, "If the burdens are too  heavy, they aren't the Lord's."   I
          almost laughed  out loud at  what I had just  heard.  It  was, in
          fact, the truth;  I was indeed carrying burdens  that weren't the
          Lord's.  No wonder I thought it was too heavy.  Drop the rock!

          * Which Doth So Easily Beset Us

               This phrase is a single  Greek word and means (to skillfully
          surround).  Does that  sound like anybody you know?   At the very
          moment I read that Greek definition, I thought of Satan; that old
          serpent; the devil, (Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2).

               Many years ago, my mom volunteered to work in the kitchen of
          a summer church camp for a week.  I couldn't have been much older
          than  4 or 5 years old but I  well remember this week of camp.  A
          missionary was  one of the  guest speakers.   He had been  in the
          jungles of south  America many years and  told miraculous stories
          which were hard to believe.  Fortunately, the story I am about to
          repeat, he had the confirming proof to back up his story.

               He and a  couple of  the natives  were in a  river boat  and
          paddling there way along.  All of the sudden, a huge snake's head
          popped up out of the water, so close to the boat, they could have
          reached  out and  touched  it.   Reflectively,  and  out of  self
          preservation, one  of the natives swung his  paddle as hard as he
          could  at the  massive  serpentine  head.   It  appeared to  have
          stunned it.  The  missionary yelled he wanted to catch  it so the
          missionary and the two men grabbed the  head and held on to it as
          they  worked  the boat  over  to the  bank.   Climbing  out, they
          struggled and grunted and wrestled in the mud until  they had the
          snake out of the water.  It was a huge anaconda.  It measured  25
          feet in  total length.   It's body was massive;  weighing several
          hundred pounds.  Not  wanting to see if  the snake would  awaken,
          they  quickly killed  it and  decided to  cut the  skin from  the
          massive body  as  a souvenir.   As  they gutted  the beast,  they
          discovered a  six foot  alligator, completely  whole, inside  the
          snake's belly.

               Anacondas live  in the jungles  of South America.   They are
          similar  to  the African  pythons  in that  they are  in  the boa
          constrictor family.    This means  they  coil about  their  prey,
          making it impossible  for them to breathe as  they constrict, and
          thus  the prey  suffocates.   They then  unhinge their  jaws, and
          literally  swallow their prey whole.  If  the prey is big enough,
          the large snakes will become semi-dormant  for a month or more as
          their  food is  digested.   They mostly  frequent rivers  and eat
          fish, rodents, smaller animals and  they, in fact, also eat small
          tasty  alligators.   Yes, it  is on record  that they  have eaten
          humans  but this  is rare, thank  the Lord,  but in case  you are
          planning a trip to South America, stay clear of the rivers.

               As  I said, the missionary at  this youth camp had the proof
          with him.  Tacked up on the wall was the snake skin.   I remember
          it  quite well.   The missionary said  it was 4 feet  wide and 25
          feet long.  A well constricted 6 foot alligator could have easily
          fit  inside something  that large.   Anacondas  are on  record of
          being much larger than these measurements.

               Let's talk theology for awhile.  As I said, when I  read the
          Greek  definition   of  "which  doth  so  easily   beset  us,"  I
          immediately  thought of  Satan  as the  serpent  who attempts  to
          entangle us  in order  to crush  the breath  of life  out of  our
          relationship with Christ.   Some of the great  constrictors do in
          fact climb trees and wait for  prey, such as a gazelle, or  other
          small animals,  to walk  by.   Then they  drop out  of the  tree;
          crushing the animal  to the ground.  Then  quickly and skillfully
          they  surround, or  coil their  powerful  reptilian bodies  about
          them, and begin constricting until the prey no longer is  able to
          breathe.  Sort  of sounds like the  devil to me; doesn't  it you?
          No wonder Satan is called that old serpent; the devil.

               I know you didn't ask for my  opinion about this but I offer
          it without cost  or obligation.  I personally  believe that Satan
          did, in fact,  embody some type of  snake in the garden  of Eden.
          Furthermore, and  I don't have any reason for believing what I am
          about to say, I just do, I believe that Satan was confined to one
          single tree in the garden.  Thus, that tree was forbidden by God.
          Furthermore,  I personally believe Satan embodied a snake because
          God cursed him  to crawl along  the ground and  that pretty  much
          sounds like a real snake to me.  Regardless,  he is the Enemy and
          he comes as a thief to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  He
          is  a master  of deceitfulness and  lies.   He lays in  hiding to
          strike when we are least expecting.

               These great reptilian constrictors  have no poisonous venom,
          which I find interesting, but  they use their own powerful bodies
          to  keep their prey from breathing.   Satan, although not void of
          power, has  been rendered harmless  through the cross  of Christ.
          Yet  through deceit and unholy cunning, he "skillfully surrounds"
          his prey  and chokes off one's relationship  with God if we allow
          it.

               As kids, we  used to always challenge each other  to see who
          could hold their  breath the longest.   When we went swimming  we
          often would pick a spot far out into the pool and challenged each
          other to see who could swim to  that point and back again without
          surfacing.  In our childhood games, however, we knew we could, at
          any time, surface for air or if on land, simply open our mouth to
          breathe.   Our  enemy  does  not allow  that  opportunity.   Why?
          Because the devil never plays fair.  In fact, you can't believe a
          thing he says.  Jesus said satan is a murderer from the beginning
          and the  father of all lies and we are  told there is no truth in
          him according to John 8:44.   The enemy's plan, therefore, is  to
          choke  the spiritual  life out  of  you.   He does  this  best by
          skillfully planting lies in the mind.

          * Weights

               What are these weights that so skillfully surrounds us?  One
          thing they could be is present circumstances.  Most certainly the
          enemy uses  circumstances to  try and  sidetrack us from  walking
          with Christ.

               Something much more devious, however, is how the enemy  uses
          circumstances.   They  become trigger  mechanisms which  activate
          woundedness from  past events which  still causes guilt  and fear
          and shame and even more serious abnormalities such as anxiety and
          panic attacks, phobias, and personality changes.  How  could such
          things  happen if salvation  has fixed everything  and erased the
          pains and hurts of the past?

               Recently I was praying with a man by the name of George.  He
          was  suffering from  anxiety and  panic attacks.   He had  such a
          strong  fear  of  death  and  dying, he  could  just  think  of a
          cemetery, or  drive by  one on  the street,  and start  having an
          anxiety attack.  He had lost the ability to focus on anything for
          very long and the ability to concentrate to the point he could no
          longer  hold down a job.   His daughter, age  22, was not in good
          health and was facing some very serious life threatening surgical
          procedures.   This  alone trigger  deep  woundedness with  George
          which he could not understand nor identify.

               George  also  admitted  that he  had  a  fear  of bathrooms.
          That's  right; bathrooms.   This  46 year old  man was  afraid of
          bathrooms  and could  hardly walk  past the  bathroom in  his own
          house without anxiety  feelings.  Psychology would  identify this
          as a phobia.  Fortunately, it was no such thing.  

               As  we  began  holding prayer  sessions  together,  the Lord
          revealed to  George what caused the fear of  death and dying.  He
          had come  from a  dysfunctional family with  a father  who didn't
          love him and  didn't want him.   He always said he  was worthless
          and would never amount to anything.  His father told him one day,
          when  he  was  a  teenager,  he  wished  he'd  never  been  born.
          Furthermore, his oldest sister said she was going to scare him to
          death and  constantly did  things to him  that frightened  him so
          severely,  he   would  lay   in  his   bed  at  night   trembling
          uncontrollably  from the  fear  she  afflicted  upon  her  little
          brother during the day.

               One night,  his oldest  sister took a  very large  knife and
          tried sneaking up on him in his bedroom.   He ran to the bathroom
          for safety  and his mother followed  him.  He grabbed  his mother
          and said he was afraid he was going to die.  The bathroom was the
          focal point  of his  fear at that  moment.   Through intercessory
          prayer, the Lord set  George free from this fear  and renewed his
          mind  by  exposing the  lies  associated  with death  and  dying.
          Furthermore, a  love  for his  older sister  blossomed which  had
          never been there before.

          * The Salvitic Lie

               George was saved later in life.   My question is, why wasn't
          he healed of these events  which occurred earlier in his life  at
          the moment of his salvation?  The mistake we make,  when teaching
          the doctrine  of salvation,  is that our  past is  somehow erased
          through the forgiveness  of sin.  The  sin is truly  forgiven and
          erased as far as God is  concerned but our memories, and emotions
          associated with  those memories, are  intact and so are  the lies
          planted by the enemy.  Could this possibly be a "weight that doth
          so easily besets us" or so (skillfully  surrounds) us?  If we are
          going to obey the command to renew our minds, according to Romans
          12:1-2,  Ephesians 4:23,  Colossians 3:10, and  Philippians 3:15,
          there has to be  something to renew.   If all has been made  new,
          then  there is nothing  old to renew.   Yet day after  day I talk
          with born again Christians who  come face to face with unresolved
          issues in their past.  If we are saved, why are we not saved from
          our past?  The answer is, we are but our minds are not.

          * Body Soul And Spirit

               Many books have  been written on the body,  soul, and spirit
          of  THE HUMAN design  so I'll try not  to do that  here.  A brief
          look at this doctrine is necessary, however, at this point.

               It is our spirit that  is created anew, that is, our  spirit
          is born  again and  provides  a place  in which  the Holy  Spirit
          dwells.  The body and the  soul are not born again, or  saved, or
          recreated, or to use a good old  seminary term, the body and soul
          are  not regenerated.   That  will happen  when the  Lord returns
          because  the bible says when we see Him,  we will be like Him and
          we will be changed.  (See 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 John 3:2).
          In the mean  while, the body and soul are disciplined by the Word
          of God  according to James  1:21.  By  the way, the  soul is that
          part  of our  physical makeup  where  the mind  and emotions  are
          found.  So, when we use God's  Word to live by, or to  discipline
          our lives, it is  in the area  of our souls  where this is  done.
          The bottom line is the battle is won or lost in the mind.

          * Satan's Devices

          Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant
          of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

               Upon reading  this verse,  it should be  obvious there  is a
          reciprocal truth that is being taught.  The thing which should be
          apparent is the possibility that we  can be taken advantage of by
          the  enemy if we are  ignorant of his devices.   The first time I
          read  that verse  many years ago,  I said  to myself,  "Maybe you
          aren't ignorant of his  devices, Mr. Apostle Paul, but  I have no
          idea what his devices are."  Being unaware of the enemy's devices
          for  the  Christian  is  nothing short  of  dangerous.   Perhaps,
          therefore, before doing  anything else, we  should find out  what
          the word "devices"  means if we are going to have some insight to
          the devices used by the enemy.

          * Devices Defined

               The Greek word for "devices" in this passage is (noema.)  It
          is used some 6 times in the New Testament and it breaks down this
          way:

          mind 4, 
          device 1, 
          thought 1 

          Here are  some of the ways in which  "devices" is rendered by the
          King James translators.  Notice the words in quotations.

          2 Corinthians  10:5
          Casting down  imaginations, and  every high  thing that  exalteth
          itself against  the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity
          every "thought" to the obedience of Christ.

          2 Corinthians  11:3
          But I  fear,  lest by  any  means, as  the  serpent beguiled  Eve
          through his subtilty,  so your "minds"  should be corrupted  from
          the simplicity that is in Christ.

          2 Corinthians   4:4
          In whom the  god of this world  hath blinded the "minds"  of them
          which  believe not,  lest the  light  of the  glorious gospel  of
          Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

               Now, consider  the Greek  definition of  the word  "Devices"
          also translated as thought or mind or minds in these verses.

               1) a mental perception, thought.
               2) an evil purpose.
               3) that which thinks, the mind, thoughts or purposes.

          Just  reading these  passages  clearly  demonstrates where  Satan
          works.  He,  the enemy, is confined to one area of deceptive work
          and that is the human mind.  His technique has an  "evil purpose"
          and that is to "blind" the  minds of both lost and saved  so that
          we  cannot see the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  "But I'm
          a Christian.   He can't do that to  me, can he?"   I've told this
          story before in other places but let me repeat it now.

               In  Bible college, we  had a wonderful  doctrines professor.
          In one  class, he began teaching  on Satan and fallen  angels and
          demons.  He  told the story  of a friend of  his in the  Lord who
          told him  one day  that he,  the friend,  was going  out and  war
          against the devil.   Our professor advised  him not to do  such a
          thing because he  would get into trouble.   The man did  not take
          his advice.   A few months later, the  professor got a phone call
          and was asked to  come to this man's  home.  When he arrived,  he
          was taken to  the man's bedroom.  There he found his friend lying
          on the bed.  They privately talked.  The man asked  our professor
          to please  have him admitted  to a mental institution  because he
          was losing his mind.  Our doctrines professor asked him why.  The
          man confessed  his involvement  with battling the  devil got  him
          into  mental trouble  and  he  was  now losing  his  mind.    The
          professor asked  him how he  knew all this  and the man  told him
          that he  had thoughts  of killing  his wife  and  children.   The
          professor did  as the man  requested and  had him committed  to a
          mental hospital.

               When  our   doctrines  professor  related   this  story,  he
          concluded  by saying  the following:    "If you  leave the  devil
          alone; he will leave you alone."  The unspoken implication was, a
          blazing  flashing neon  sign:   Because if  you don't,  you'll go
          crazy.   Unfortunately,  our professor  never gave  us any  other
          details.  What did this  man do?  what did he say?  How did he do
          battle with  the enemy?   Furthermore, how could this  born again
          Christian get to the place where he felt as if he  wanted to kill
          his wife and children?  The  story alone, however, scared me well
          enough to make me believe what the professor was saying was true.
          Years later, I  learned the hard way that  my doctrines professor
          couldn't have been more wrong.

          * The Mind

               As I said, the battle is won or lost in the mind.  You  will
          find some Christians  who will quote "Thy word have I hid in mine
          heart, that  I might not  sin against Thee," (Psalm  119:11), and
          insist, "See there?   It is  the Word of  God that keeps  us from
          sin."   Of course, they  are right  but we aren't  always talking
          about sin  when it comes to  the mind.   Let me use George  as an
          example.

               As I  said  before, George  had  a phobia  about  bathrooms.
          There  was no sin of  any kind involved with  his fear.  The fear
          was demonic in nature but it was  based upon a lie of the  enemy.
          The lie?  "You are going to die."  After all, his sister told him
          all the time that  she was going to "Scare the  hell out of him."
          George told me  she did a very  good job frightening him  half to
          death much of his childhood.  Yet, George committed no sin.  Fear
          was generated, a lie was planted that he was  going to die, or be
          killed, and  this demonic  lie created  perpetual and  continuous
          fear  in a little  boy's life as  he grew up.   Consequently, the
          enemy continually attack  George throughout his entire  life with
          similar frightening  and terrifying  experiences.   Much of  this
          George had forgotten, shoved to the back of his mind, and learned
          to live with  it throughout his adult life.   Furthermore, he was
          now  born again and  he, too, was  taught, "Therefore  if any man
          [be] in Christ,  [he is] a  new creature: old  things are  passed
          away; behold,  all things  are become  new (2 Corinthians  5:17).
          Then, if  this verse is  true, and it  is, why was  George having
          anxiety and panic attacks and  living with depression so  severe,
          he could no  longer work?  It  wasn't that he didn't  believe the
          Bible; he did and he does.  The answer is what the enemy had done
          by implanting lies in his mind.

          * Foothold

               The enemy begins by attempting  to establish a foothold.  He
          waits for  the right  time and, according  to Ephesians  6:16, he
          tosses fiery darts.  If  this happens to a child, as  is so often
          the  case,   their  little  minds  are  unable   to  process  the
          information  as demonic  influence in  nature  but regardless,  a
          foothold has been established.  This can occur during a traumatic
          experience  such as the  death of a  family member, a  close call
          while crossing the street, a  bully at school threatening to beat
          them up, someone making fun of them or calling them names, or any
          numbers of seemingly harmless events in their life.

          * Sin

          Wherefore  seeing we  also are  compassed about  with so  great a
          cloud of  witnesses, let us lay  aside every weight, and  the sin
          which doth so easily  beset us, and let us run  with patience the
          race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1.

               We have come full  circle.  Note what the verse  says:  "let
          us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset
          us."   There appears  to be  two forms  of weight,  or heaviness,
          which  (skillfully   surrounds)  us.     We've   looked  at   one
          possibility, that is,  circumstances beyond our control  but what
          about sin?

               Sin is used  by the enemy to gain a firm foothold upon which
          he can quickly  build.  We are  told, "Neither give place  to the
          devil" (Ephesians  4:27).  The  word for "place" in  this passage
          simply means a  marked off or designated area.   For example, the
          closet  of a  home is  a marked  off,  or designated  area, where
          certain things are  kept.  We do  not hang coasts and  jackets in
          the living room  or the kitchen or  the bathroom; we put  them in
          the closet.   Why?   It is  the designated  area and  besides, we
          don't  want everybody  else seeing we  have no  place to  put our
          coats and jackets by hanging them in the living room.  It is like
          the  bachelor I once  knew.  Every  time his girl  friend came to
          visit, he swept the carpet but  he swept the dirt to the  edge of
          the carpet, lifted the  edge, and then pushed the dirt  under the
          carpet.  That  was his designated area  for what he did  not want
          someone else to see.  quite simply, sin creates just such a place
          for the enemy to operate.  Rarely do we commit sin without a mark
          being left and  that mark is  a lie of the  enemy which is  often
          left behind without our knowledge.  "Can you give me an example?"
          I would  be happy to  do exactly that.   Let's  make it a  strong
          illustration while  we are at it, just  to make certain the point
          is understood clearly.

               Let's say, as a grown adult and one who has been  born again
          for  many  years,  you  commit   an  immoral  act.    Let's  say,
          furthermore, the guilt is more than you can bear;  even after you
          have  asked for  forgiveness.   You know  you have  been forgiven
          because you  believe God's  Holy Word.   The  guilt of your  sin,
          however,  doesn't seem  to want  to  go away.   Furthermore,  you
          suddenly discovered you are, on top of everything else, pregnant.
          "Now what?"   You know what  the church people  will think.   You
          know  what the  man thinks  because he  can't be  found anywhere.
          Besides, you were so drunk that  night, you aren't even for  sure
          who the real father might be.   You are satisfied, however, there
          is plenty of time.   to make a long story short, you decide, even
          at your age, and  even in spite of all you know  and believe as a
          Christian, to get an abortion.  After it is done, the  depression
          sets in.   It's bound to go  away, you know, because  that's what
          they  said at  the clinic.    They even  give you  pills  to help
          override the  depression.  When  the pills run out,  however, the
          guilt rushes back  in like a giant title wave and there isn't one
          Christian  with  whom  you  can  confide.   Now  suicide  becomes
          something you just can't seem to get out of your mind.

               In this  scenario, as extreme  as it  may be to  consider, I
          trust you can easily see how a  foothold became a stronghold.  If
          we  are any  Bible  believer at  all,  we know  that  the sin  of
          abortion can likewise  be instantly, I said,  instantly, forgiven
          by the Heavenly Father.   In this story, however, the  enemy uses
          the foothold of guilt to build upon to create a fortress.  He can
          now expand upon  the feelings of guilt  and so he does.   He even
          begins to  work  the suicide  angle on  you just  to make  things
          worse.

          * Demonic Voices

               I  pray  with people  all  the time  who hear  voices.   The
          voices, as  they did with  me, start out as  basic impressions of
          self  doubt.  "You  aren't good enough.   Your father  and mother
          were  right; you  will never  amount to  anything.   You  are too
          sensitive or it wouldn't have hurt you so much when she said that
          about you.   If you were a stronger and better and more spiritual
          Christian,  it wouldn't  have effected  you.   Besides, you  knew
          better.  You've  tried before and  failed and you will  fail now.
          You have always  failed because you are a failure.  No body likes
          you.  You've  sinned too much.   God can't forgive  somebody like
          you.  The spiritual life  is only for those  God chooses."  As  I
          said,  these are  impressions;  they  aren't  exactly  words  but
          something you  somehow feel.   They sort of  ring true,  too, now
          that you think about it.

               Stress  occurs, driving emotions  to the edge  of endurance,
          and through circumstances beyond your control, the pressure grows
          in intensity.  The impressions now take on form.

               As time  progresses,  you  now begin  to  realize  that  the
          impressions sound like actual words which are being spoken inside
          your  head.   Could  this be  what people  refer  to as  "hearing
          voices?"  "Dear  God; no!"  Nearly  everyone I have spoken  with,
          and  based  upon  my own  experiences,  report  these impressions
          eventually  become mental  suggestiveness  which  soon  takes  on
          personality.    By  that I  mean,  the  suggestions, the  voices,
          actually seem to be coming to you independently.  To be specific,
          the  voices  are eventually  recognized  as  not  being your  own
          thoughts.   Before  you  just thought  you  were  thinking  these
          thoughts all by yourself.  Now you know they are real voices.  We
          don't tell anybody we hear voices, of course, because that spells
          mental illness  that only  the  professionals, we  are told,  can
          handle.

               I know people  who have heard voices nearly  all their life.
          They often report  they never knew it until they grew older.  The
          impressions develop  into thoughts  and the  thoughts advance  to
          suggestions,  and  the  suggestions eventually  seem  to  take on
          mental audibility.   By that  I mean, they take  on personalities
          with direct communication.

               When a  person finally admits  to themselves that  these are
          really voices, a dilemma is immediately created.  If they are not
          a Christian, they conclude they  are crazy and need medical help.
          If they  are Christians, they  also conclude, at first,  they are
          crazy.  Later, they begin  to toy with the idea the voices may be
          demonic.  Frankly, for the Christian, it is almost more tolerable
          to believe you are crazy than you are hearing demons talk to you.

               I took the time to  simply look up the dictionary definition
          of "foothold" and here is what I found.

          1.    A place  providing  support  for the  foot  in climbing  or
          standing.

          2.  A  firm or secure position  that provides a base  for further
          advancement.

          Both these  definitions apply  but  it is  the second  definition
          which  caught my  attention.   "A  firm or  secure position  that
          provides a base  for further advancement."  This  is exactly what
          an implanted lie  is.  It is  a demonic intrusion used  to make a
          further and future advancement into a person's life.  If you have
          read any of my other personal  testimonies, I tell a story  where
          such  a lie was planted in my mind  at about the age of 2 but did
          not come to fruition until I was about 26 or 27 years of age.  At
          that point, I experienced a traumatic event that nearly destroyed
          me.  I was 50 years of age before, through intercessory prayer in
          agreement with another intercessor, that the Lord revealed how it
          all happened and set me free from the guilt.

               About   this  time,  someone  is  thinking,  "That  couldn't
          happen."  I  thought the same thing.   My theological upbringing,
          training, seminary  instruction, and  the literally thousands  of
          hours of  personal Bible  study and  Scripture memorization,  all
          told me it could not happen.  I  was wrong and so are you, if you
          believe it can't be that way.

          * Stronghold

               A foothold,  unless exposed by  the True Lord  Jesus Christ,
          will  always develop  into a  "stronghold."   Again,  I used  the
          dictionary for the following definition.

          1.  A fortress.

          2.  An area dominated or occupied by a special group.

          This is exactly how demons function.  They gain a foothold.  Once
          that  is done,  they press onward  until they find  a tinder soft
          spot, or a  weakness, and there they  camp.  they build  a strong
          fortress  in our  thoughts and  exploit it  upon  every occasion.
          they dominate that  area, or attempt to, and  they often function
          in groups.

          * Deliverance

               Many Charismatics and Pentecostals are familiar with what is
          often  called a "Deliverance Ministry."   This is usually someone
          who feels they  have been given the gift  of demonic discernment.
          This means they are spiritually sensitive enough to recognize the
          demonic activity in a  person.  These gifted people will pray for
          that person and cast out the demon or demons.   Does it work?  Is
          it Biblical?   Yes, to both.   However, every person who  is born
          again has  this same authority  in their own  life.  You  may not
          have a gift of spiritual  discernment as these gifted deliverance
          people do,  but you have  exactly the same Biblical  authority to
          cast out demons and  not only to cast them out  of others, but to
          cast them out of your own thoughts.

               What concerns me about deliverance,  however, is the lack of
          determining the original source.  By that I mean, identifying the
          stronghold, then  locating the  foothold, and  then allowing  the
          Word of  the True Lord  Jesus Christ  to eliminate the  lie which
          allowed the infestation in the first place.  If this is not done,
          the demon  will leave but  will also return because  the original
          source of entrance into the person's life has not been healed.

          * Demon Possession

               Is there such a thing as demon possession?  I used  to think
          so but  now I have my doubts.   If you look up  the Greek word in
          the New  Testament that  says a person  was demon  possessed, you
          will discovered the word means (to be demonized.)  that isn't the
          same thing as being possessed.  Judas, the disciple that betrayed
          our  Lord, may  be our  only example  of actual  demon possession
          because it said that "Satan entered into him" (John 13:27).  This
          was an actual possession based upon the words "entered into" him.
          In the balance  of the New Testament, however,  no such reference
          is ever used but the word (demonized) is used.  One thing  is for
          certain; Christians  cannot be demon  possessed.  this is  due to
          the  fact that they have a  newly recreated spirit where the Holy
          Spirit now dwells.   No demon wants to be in the same place where
          the  Spirit of the  living God dwells.   In fact, it  would be an
          impossibility.   However, as we  have seen, it is  not impossible
          for  a foothold, and  later a stronghold,  to be  achieved in the
          mind  of  even  a  believer of  the  Word.    The  strength of  a
          stronghold is  based upon  how deceived one  has become  and also
          upon their own will.  Unforgiveness, bitterness, revenge, hatred,
          jealousness, envy,  a desire  to even the  score, and  other such
          strong  emotions can  become  so deeply  seeded  in ones  thought
          processes,  the  stronghold  can  be  powerful  and  the  demonic
          activity can be proportionately forceful.

          * Breaking The chains Of Darkness

               Over the  centuries, the Lord  has always been  available to
          setting the  captive  free.   Intercessory prayer,  on the  other
          hand,  has, in recent years,  come to the  forefront and is being
          used by the Lord for deliverance of extreme woundedness.  Matthew
          18:19 has become the theme, that  is, agreement in prayer, to set
          people free of  guilt and shame,  and fear and  doubt as well  as
          many other such  weights that doth so easily besets us, and it is
          accomplished  through one-on-one prayer.   I believe  the Lord is
          bringing  us  back   to  a  relational  style   fellowship  among
          believers, that  is, submitting  yourself one  to another  in the
          fear  of God,  (Ephesians 5:21),  in  order to  develop a  church
          without  spot and  wrinkle.    Without  this  accountability,  we
          demonstrate  very little  of  the  power of  God  because of  our
          individual woundedness  that has become  so heavy, we  can hardly
          carry  it  any  longer.   We  have  been told  to  turn  all such
          woundedness   over  to  the   "professional"  and   forsaken  our
          responsibility of ministering to those  sick at heart.  Until the
          church returns to this ministry of individuality, we are going to
          remain fractured  and separated with  the attitude of  "every man
          for himself."  This never was, and never will be, the will of God
          for any church or individual.

               Perhaps  I   am   spiritually  prejudice,   but  I   believe
          intercessory  prayer is  going to  bring healing  to the  Body of
          Christ in ways we never considered possible.  It is time to break
          the chains of darkness and prayer is the only vehicle designed by
          God to  bring this  about.   One may  say, "What  about worship?"
          Worship is one of the highest forms of prayer and Jesus said, "My
          house shall  be called the house of prayer"  (Luke 19:46).  In my
          five decades,  I have  never once discovered  a church  which was
          known by this most important attribute of holiness.  Intercessors
          are the focal  point of this type  of accountability.  If  we are
          going to break the chains of darkness binding the church, it will
          have to be  one-by-one in the power  of the Holy  Spirit.  It  is
          time to be free from the things that "so easily besets us.

          * Dropping The Rock

               Our verse under study implies  that running the race is more
          than a  little difficult carrying the weights that so (skillfully
          surrounds) us and likewise implies  something must be done.  (Lay
          aside) or dropping the  rock is the only  solution.  The  problem
          is, however,  that most of  us have carried these  weights around
          with us for  so long, we hardly  notice them any longer.   Oh, we
          know  that we are weighted down but this  is the cross we have to
          bear  as Christians.  May I point out  that such an idea is a lie
          of the enemy,  too?  It's just  one more weight you  have allowed
          yourself to carry.

               The True Lord  Jesus Christ has provided a  way of revealing
          and releasing us  from each of these weights  through prayer.  In
          many cases, however,  it takes a called intercessor  to pray with
          others in  order to  discovered the  hidden lies.   It isn't  the
          intercessor that  finds the  implanted lies  but rather the  Holy
          Spirit leading us into all truth.  Then Jesus exposes the lie for
          what it is and His Word sets the captive free.

               If you  find yourself  in this situation  and would  like to
          begin a healing  process whereby you not only can  drop the rock,
          but can also  drop everything associated  with the weights  which
          are making your  life miserable, call the phone  number below and
          set  up  an appointment.    It  is  time  to walk  free  in  your
          relationship with Jesus Christ.

          * Conclusion

               I made mention  earlier that I believed that  Satan not only
          inhabited the body of a real snake in the garden of Eden but that
          I  also  believe he  was confined  to  a specific  tree.   I have
          believed this for  a number of years; never  knowing exactly why.
          I believe I understand why now.

               In my Biblical  studies, along with my  personal experiences
          of demonic attack, anxiety and panic attacks, hearing voices, and
          everything else that goes along  with such things, not to mention
          my time in prayer, and all the hours of intercessory agreement in
          prayer  with others, I  believe it is  obvious that  the enemy is
          confined to one area of operation and that is within the mind and
          our  thought  processes.    Reading  over  all  the  passages  of
          Scripture  related to the  mind and demonic  influence, without a
          doubt, this is  the case.  This is why  agreement in intercessory
          prayer is so effective and  pulling down strongholds and exposing
          the demonic lies where they hide.  Once the exposure is complete,
          the Lord  Jesus then allows us to  see what He sees  and His Word
          becomes  experiential as  well as  intellectual and  theological.
          This is the point of  healing.  It takes no work  or effort, once
          the  healing  is  complete,  to  then walk  in  maintenance  free
          victory.

          * Contact Information

          Safe Place Fellowship
          Denver, Colorado
          Mountain Time Zone
          Website:  WWW.SafePlaceFellowship.COM

                            End Of Document

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