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Mike Connell

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Imagination (1 of 4)

Fantasy, an addictive drug (2 of 4)

Cleansing the Imagination (3 of 4)

Renewal of the Mind (4 of 4)


Imagination (1 of 4)  

Sun 10 Aug 2008 AM « Back to Top

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Imagination (1 of 4)

Imagination (1 of 4) Mike Connell 10.08.2008 am

Thank You Lord. Okay, let's be seated. There's a tremendous amount of work going on there. Chinese businessmen go from Taiwan. People we've trained go up there and they're reaching just so many, many people. It's absolutely awesome. Well we're just going to get into the word. I want to share with you so I want to start a new series over the next four weeks. Before I go to Mongolia I want to share on an area that's going to be of help for you, going to lift you up and help you to get a breakthrough in your life. Just before we do that, just two things I want to draw to your attention. Number one is - where's Andy and Janine? They'll be sitting here somewhere, Andrew and Janine. There they are, just over there. Oh, Janine's not there is she? No, she's looking after baby somewhere.

Andy and Janine have got a tremendous opportunity to go up to Bethel, the School of Ministry in Redding, Bill Johnson's School of Supernatural Ministry. It's a huge step for them but they felt the Lord speak to them; they submitted it to us and to others for counsel and advice. We've all prayed over it and just feel that God is on this, so for nine months from the end of the month they're going to be going up to Redding in California where there's a School of Supernatural Ministry, a school of business, supernatural business as well and they're going to get some training up there and come back in about June next year isn't it? So I'd love you just to pray for them and to stand with them. It's a big venture, a very, very costly venture to take your whole family up and over to a strange land, but they've had very clear direction from the Lord in it and are very, very open to listen to God in the matter and not just race ahead.

So it's going to be a great experience for them, but they have got a challenge right now. The challenge is no house to go to and also there's no one to rent their house or buy their house, so there's a very practical thing that is needed right now is to pray for those two areas, the housing issue to be resolved. They need a good place for their family to go into with four children. It's quite a - not everyone's open to that so it's quite a challenge, and their finding is they ring and make connection that people, because they're overseas are not responding so we just need to believe that in this next three weeks they'll get a breakthrough, get a house over there and also get a breakthrough with their own house here. Just a very practical matter, a matter for prayer, so I'd love you to pray and let them know you're praying for them too. It'll be really, really good. So they'll be out at the end of the month and then back in June and we'll hear great things that God has done and taught them. It's going to be fantastic, so a great move and a great step of faith to let go a secure career, stepping out and not knowing quite what it all leads to, and that's what the journey of faith is like. You don't always know what your step will mean or where it'll take you.

Another couple of people taking a step of faith is Steve and Tara. They've taken a step of faith. They felt God call them to come and be planted here in Bay City and to help with the work here [applause] and so they've taken a step of leaving Australia. They also have a need for a building to sell. They've got a very expensive apartment over there needing to be released, so if you could just also pray for them that God will just give them a breakthrough and a release. They feel to come over here and stand with us in working and helping do whatever they can in the business arena to help people, so that's great news too isn't it aye? God moves in places people as it pleases Him. Want you to open up your Bible with me, going to do something that's over this next few weeks. It's going to just stretch you out just a little bit. I want to just talk about the area of imaginations, imaginations. I want to do a series on imaginations. How many people ever daydreamed? [Yeah!] My goodness me, daydreams. They take you some places don't they? [Laughs]

How many have made it a way of life? [Laughter] Well we're going to talk about fantasy and daydreams probably next week. I want to just start off today and begin to just talk about the whole realm of imagination and particularly just the whole area of it; the power of your imagination and what it can do with you and where it can take you. If we are going to walk with God the Bible tells us one of the things that God does is that He gives us dreams. A dream is an imagination. It's a picture of what could be in the future, and so if you and I are going to move prophetically and move into the things God has for us we must be able to receive the prophetic dreams or imaginations or images God gives us. We must also be able to deal with the other imaginations that come in, and my experience that most believers live out of imaginations which are vain and remove them from what God is doing, rather than managing and dealing with those imaginations and positioning themself to move with what God has.

So in these coming days ahead we're believing and wanting that you would begin to breakthrough into greater realms of seeing, of hearing God, of dreaming and looking at possibilities. The walk we have in God is always a walk of possibility, so I want to over about three or four weeks just lay out the whole area of imaginations and lay a foundation today just about how your imagination works and affects your life. We'll then look at the whole area of fantasy and daydreaming, which is a particular kind of bondage that people get into and yet you can be in it and controlled by it, and limited by and not even realise it. It's become so much a part of your life. Then I want to talk about some of the keys to deal with your imaginations, how to cleanse your imagination, how to confront imaginations which come in; then we want to open up to receiving things from the Lord. Amen. [Amen.] So it's going to be great, great stuff. I really felt this on my heart, so imaginations are just pictures in the mind aye, pictures in the mind; images of things that haven't yet happened.

So what happens in your imagination's going to affect the course of your life. Whatever's going to happen, it happens in your imagination, it's going to affect the course of your life so I want to just share three or four things today. Number one, the first thing I want you to understand is God designed us to be creative. God has designed us to be creative. You say well I'm not the creative type, thinking in terms of doing art and craft. But listen, that's a very, very limited sphere of being creative. God has made us and designed us; every one of us has got the potential to be quite creative and innovative. I'll show you why that's true biblically in a moment, but it may not be operating very well in your life because that power of imagination and innovation and creativity may be suppressed and held down by various kinds of bondage. That's why we want to be able to identify the things that hold you back, then I want you just to repent of it and get it out of your life so we can all move on, because we need what you have.

So imaginations can release creative things in our life so the first thing, I want you to have a look with me in Genesis 1. We're going to read in verse 26 through to 28; Then God said "Let Us make man in Our image. The first thing we see is in verse 1, in the beginning God did what? God created... He did what? [He created.] He created. How do you create something? You imagine it, then you put your hand to bringing it into being, so you've got to imagine it first of all. So God created, so we see here it says now in verse 26, God said let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, birds of the air, cattle, all the earth, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His Own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and God said to them, be fruitful and multiple; fill the earth and subdue it.

Okay, notice the first thing it says. It says let Us make man in Our Own image and likeness, or make man like Us. Now if we are made in the image of God and God is creative, we must be creative as well. You have a creative ability. The ability to - because you're made in the image of God, you have the ability to bring into this world things which haven't yet been seen, because you're made to represent God in the earth. When God made us He made us as His representatives in the earth. In Psalm 8 He says you have made him to have dominion over all the works of your hands, so you are made to have dominion. You're made to make your presence in this world be significant and be felt, significant and felt. In other words God has designed you first to represent Him, then secondly to advance His interests in the earth and because God is creative and we're called to represent Him, we have a creative ability. We have an ability to innovate.

Notice what the mandate was that God gave. He said there, He said in verse 28, God blessed them. Now that means God spoke creative words over them, or God gave a mandate. So when God blesses He not only says words; He says words and imparts life and power with those words. The words I speak are spirit and life Jesus said, so when God speaks over man God blessed them, that means He spoke prophetically and in a way that would impart destiny into man. This is what He said to Him: Let man be fruitful. In other words He's got the man and the woman in front of them and He's saying something like this, speaking be fruitful! Multiply! Fill the earth! Subdue! Have dominion! Now you see that's how He spoke. He's speaking words that are to empower man to do something, and you notice He said be fruitful and multiply. So we have two realms where creativity operates. We have two realms where our creativity operates; number one is sexually. Be fruitful and multiply, so man is created a sexual being. We can create an eternal being, eternal - we can work in partnership with God and an eternal being comes into existence. What an amazing thing.

Your sexuality gives you power to create a person who can be connected to God and live and represent God for eternity. Our ability to be sexual, to be intimate, to have sexual relationships and to enter into covenant relationship and bring forth children is a great gift of God, a creative gift of God. That's why it says the fruit of the womb is the Lord's reward. He gave us the gift of being able to create sexually through an intimate covenantal relationship, and then He gets the reward. He gets a family increasing in the earth, so God puts His - His part is to put His spirit, put the spirit into man, see? The spirit of man comes from God. You don't create a spirit, but you create the being within which God puts the spirit. So we work in partnership with God in creating a life. Number one, the way that we can create or be creative is sexually by having children. It's a wonderful thing, a wonderful thing to be able to do that - but we're not limited there.

Not everyone's call in life is to be married, so we're definitely not limited to that area of expression of creativity. The second area that God has given us the capacity to be creative is our imagination. Notice what God said: Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth. That's clearly speaking there about man recreating, producing children in the world, filling the whole earth. But then the second thing He says, subdue it and have dominion over it. Now to subdue something means you have to apply force or you have to bring pressure around it to shape it or bring it to what God wants it to be. Implied in the word subdue is there's something out there that isn't right, the way God wants it, and we're called to work with Him to subdue it. Now you just think about life around you, there's heaps of things all around you that aren't right. You and I are called to partner with God to make it right, and to do that we have to be creative. You have to be creative because you're going to face challenges in your life, you don't know what to do. You need to come up with something new, come up with an idea, come up with a way.

Have you noticed how fulfilling it is when you're creative, when you actually put your hand to something and make something that was never there before, the wonderful fulfilment that comes in being creative? There's just nothing like it. So the seabed or the place where we create things is our imagination. There's nothing you see when you look around you that someone has built that first didn't start as a picture in the imagination. Think about that. Even the clothes you're wearing, probably you looked at them in a window and you looked and you thought oh man, I'd look alright in that. You went and tried it on; oh, that looks alright, I don't think I mind that. I think I'll have that. I notice Lyn's got a few things she's bought home from overseas [laughs] - and so have I. I looked in the window, thought that looks good, I like that. You begin to get a picture of yourself wearing it. Usually you try it on as well and you see the picture, then something begins to form and then before you know it there it is.

So imagination is the part of our life where creativity can work and it can either be creativity flowing out of partnership with God, where God gives ideas and dreams and visions and possibilities, or it can be a place where the devil floods our mind and keeps us limited and restricted. Now you think about the process of how God speaks to us. God is a spirit, so when God speaks to us He speaks spirit to spirit. His communications are from His spirit to your spirit. Now how do you actually get them then? Well they come up into your mind, into your imagination and what happens is - the most common way that people receive is they get a picture. A picture just comes up into the mind spontaneously and they see some kind of picture and that picture is something that God has shared with them that has possibilities if they will embrace it and give voice and do something about it. That's how God speaks. It come into our imagination.

How does the devil speak to you? Well the devil works from the other side. He works from the outside in, so he will put pictures into your mind. He will put pictures, feelings or sensations or words into your mind to try to capture your imagination, because whatever's got your imagination definitely has got a hold of you. The challenge we face is to be able to take dominion over our imagination and subdue thoughts which the devil brings and which are contrary to what God says, and to open our gate where revelation can flow and we can being to receive what God has for us. Every person is wired for this, so when you're daydreaming daydreaming can be harmless. Daydreaming can actually lead to immense bondage. Fantasies, well they can be harmless and be creative, but they can lead to immense bondage because the devil wants to capture the part of you which can create a different future.

You think about it. If someone says I've got a dream of being a doctor, well they've got a picture in their mind. In their imagination has come a picture which they've thought about and thought about and thought about. They've heard people say I've always dreamed of being this; I've always dreamed about being that, so they've had a dream. Where did they have it? It was the imagination and they saw themselves doing something in the future, and eventually as they applied themselves the dream imagination became the reality. If you have a think some of us have been around a while, the things we used to see in the movies as just imaginary, very many of them have become reality now. What you're seeing in movies and things now, many of those things will become a reality. Hollywood really should be a place where the creativity of God is expressed in a positive way, except something else has gone in there and polluted it and now it puts out images and imaginations which get into the hearts of people, defile relationships and defile lives and steal dreams.

So imaginations are really important, so number one, God has made us in His image with a creative ability; number two, creativity operates in two ways. Sexually, we can reproduce and create new life, and in the imagination we have got the capacity to come up with new ideas that have never been invented before. I'm sure that if enough pressure comes on the gas reserves and oil reserves, someone will come up with something that was never thought of before. They always do. God always - and it's funny, it seems to be released in the world in several places at once. Have you noticed that, many inventions of have been like that? Inventions, new things - how great, you're called to be an inventor of new things. Isn't that great? A person who's got possibilities. Jesus said you know if you've got faith all things are possible, so we're called to be possibility thinkers, dreamers about what could be; not just restricted by an overwhelming depression of what is. Rather we're called to carry dreams and visions and possibilities, and be men and women of faith. Isn't that good?

You're called to do it - but you've got to get a hold of your imagination, so man's imagination of course is a battlefield. That's the thing you'll have to understand and we'll get to that. I want to show you some strategies how to deal with it. Your imagination is the place where the war is fought, the war for your destiny. In 2 Corinthians 10, you'll know the verses very well. Let's just see them there and pick them up again, 2 Corinthians 10:3; Now though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Now notice there it talks about a war, a warfare. That word warfare is a campaign, a military campaign or an apostolic advance. It has to do with the idea of a battlefield, so it says our warfare. Now notice 'our'. He's talking to Christians here. Every one of us sitting here today is involved in a warfare. There's no saying no to it; you're in it. You can't just say well I'll stop coming to church, I'll quit. No, that means you got shot and got defeated and the rest of your life is going to be falling short of what God intended for you. There is a battle for the control of our mind and what is going on. Therefore the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, so we're not just facing people. We've not just got problems with people and problems in life. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty through God, so we need to discover what the warfare is, how the enemy uses it, works to get us in bondage, and what do we do to get it out of the bondage. You need to be able to get out of the bondage yourself, and I would imagine there's many people here in bondage.

Tell the person next to you, it's you he's talking about, listen up. I'm sure it is, in bondage, weapons of our warfare. Okay then, notice there - so that word warfare is literally our apostolic commission or our apostolic calling. It's a campaign, so imaginations - notice it said imaginations exalt themselves against knowing God. Now how many people here really want to walk and know God? [Unclear 00.20.18] know God and walk [unclear 00.20.19]. Man, I'm hungry to do that. Okay, one of the things you have to face is a key thing that'll face your walking with God and knowing Him is what gets into your mind and imagination. It says imaginations, particularly vain or empty or idle imaginations get into your mind. They will hinder you knowing God and walking with God and fulfilling your destiny. That's real clear. If you can't recognise a vain imagination and its work in your life it will actually pull you away from God and stop you walking into your destiny because you just didn't know what it was and recognise it. You would just carry on being you, not realising that you being you is living the life of bondage, not in the freedom in this area that God wants us to be involved in.

And so dealing with imaginations, even recognising them is a crucial thing. You've got to know the enemy. So we want to now look at and understanding your imagination, understanding your imagination. So the first thing we saw is God created us; He has designed us to be creative. He's designed us to be creative. The second thing we're going to look at now is understanding our imagination, so first of all let's go and have a look at the imagination. I want you to have a look in Genesis 6:5. So imaginations clearly are just mental pictures. They're images. God says don't make an image that exalts itself against Me. Genesis 6:5, so I just begin to think - imagination - I'm trying to get - I find it's helpful if you get definitions for things. It's really helpful to get clear what something means, because we're going to look at imaginations today. We'll look at another time at fantasy, what fantasy is, and men's fantasies are different to women's fantasies. They're quite different fantasies, but at the end of the day they have the same effect.

They bring the person into a place they should not be, and they end up with the person being in bondage and not even realising that spirits have now accessed them and are now controlling their feelings and emotions and how they think and what they do. I have seen this over and over and over again. I've felt the Lord put on my heart we just need to get a handle on this how to deal with it. So an imagination is just a mental picture of something that has not yet come into being. It's a mental picture of something which is not yet come into being; it's an image. Imagination comes from the word image, so an imagination is an image, an image of something that is not yet come into reality. It could do or it may not, but it's a picture of something that's possible. So when you daydream for example, you go away and you begin to think of something and you get into something that just flows on and on and on and on. Before you know it hey, wait, come back! You know, where did I go? And you find you've gone somewhere and as far as I can see, and I'll show it to you another verse out of Ezekiel, it just seems as though there's a screen we have like a screen God's designed within us.

On that screen you get mental pictures form, so if you were to close your eyes and just remember or imagine your bedroom - whoa. Now what happens is you get a mental picture, so for example if I said tell me what your bedroom's like you'd say no, I want to go there. So I say no, don't go there, tell me what it's like. So you'd stop for a moment and you'd get a mental picture of what it looked like and then you'd try and put the picture into words for me, so what you carry is a picture inside you. And the whole spirit world works off pictures. Mostly God communicates with pictures and the devil puts pictures into our mind, because once you've got your imagination controlled every other part of you is going to come in line with what you're imagining. Getting the idea? It's really quite an important area, so your imagination - that's why TV and the internet can create huge inroads because it puts impressions or pictures directly into your imagination.

When we grew up you used to listen to radio programs and serials. Man, we used to love those things, but you had to use your imagination. You actually had to activate your imagination to picture what you were hearing, but with TV now it just invades your imagination and puts images in there. So clearly it's like a screen you have because when God speaks to you it's like you get a mental picture, and it comes to the same place that you imagine; hence the need to cleanse your imagination, because that's the place you receive the picture impressions from God. Getting the idea? So if your imagination gets filled with mental pictures that are corrupt and defiled it then chokes up and blocks up and affects your capacity to be intimate with the Lord. So it seems as though there's a part of us is like a screen on which mental pictures form.

Secondly, it seems as though our inner man is designed so there are - the Bible talks about the chambers of the imagination, like many rooms. Now if I for example, if I was to say I want you to go back and remember an event which happened last week and you would begin to close your eyes, think about it and then in your mind you begin to picture and re-live that particular event. While it's in your imagination it's like you're in a room and you just focus totally on that event, and then you can come out of that room again and some people block off those kinds of parts of their life. They've had bad memories, bad experiences and so they block them all off and yet their mind is filled with images which have really deeply wounded them, so I may get a chance in a couple of sessions to get into the whole area of your memories and how they impact your imagination, and how ungodly beliefs and unresolved hurts then feed things into your imagination that begin to control your life. Getting the idea?

Alright then, so we'll just go - so it seems that - we'll just look at the screen now. So you have a screen on which God speaks to you and which dreams come, ideas come, things come, and notice what it says here after the fall of man. Verse 5, it says God saw that the wickedness of man was very great, and every imagination of the thoughts of the heart was evil continually. Every imagination, now your Bible may have translated that word differently but it is the word imagination and it means this. It means to squeeze something into shape like a potter would mould clay, so your imagination if I could just use another picture to describe it is like this. Your imagination is like a potter with clay pressing, squeezing, moulding until you form something. So when you get away into your thoughts and you begin to dream and imagine, you begin to shape some things inside your mind. You frame up things inside and you have a whole realm that you can escape right into.

So your imagination is you form things in your imagination; you shape things in your imagination. If you were say for example, you were trying to design this building then you'd begin to think about the building and you'd begin to shape the thoughts until they crystallised and they came clear, then you'd put them on a piece of paper. Or you'd put them on paper and while you're putting them on paper you're working on the thing and you're thinking about it, and in the end you've got a picture of what it should look like. They say a picture's worth more than a thousand words. I'll give you a picture, you're oh! Exactly, I know exactly what that is. So language, our language works best through pictures; the spirit world operates off pictures. Pictures come into our imagination. Hence the imagination's so very, very important and notice what it says here. It says the imaginations of the heart were evil continually, so an unsaved person, they are completely opened up to all kinds of imaginations and those imaginations will be contrary to God and will pull them completely away from God.

You think about this: why is it a person has struggled to come to Christ? Very simple; the Bible says the God of this world has blinded their mind or their imagination. They can't see the truth. They're not open to it until prayer and intersession breaks the power of that. Getting the idea? Okay, we'll move on now. So imaginations have a voice. They talk to us. Your imagination, once you've got it now, it's a picture inside of some possibility, something could happen. Read in Jeremiah 7. Now your imaginations talk to you. They're not just sort of passive in there. They don't just stay quiet. Once things have got into your brain and into your head they start to talk, and they talk to you and if that imagination is a demonic imagination it'll be talking to you and taking you where you don't want to go. Think about that.

Okay then, let's have a look here and read in verse 23-24 and this is what God's saying: Now this is what I commanded them, saying obey My voice, I'll be your God, you'll be My people. And walk in all my ways I've commanded you, that it may be well with you. But they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsel and the imaginations of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. So notice here they followed the counsel of their imaginations. Counsel means a voice, so your imagination will speak to you. It will speak to you about possibilities, or it'll speak to you and arouse feelings of fear. Many imaginations stir up feelings of fear. You think what fear is; fear is a strong feeling. It's also a spirit, but it comes around your life as you begin to imagine a possibility of the future. So what happens is your imaginations talk to you, so just for example you've got embedded in your heart some beliefs of rejection or someone does something and you begin to imagine in your heart that they actually reject you.

The more you think about that the more it talks to you. How many of you have ever imagined a conversation before you had the conversation? Yeah, we do it all the time, so you're thinking about some situation you've got to go to and then you begin to think how it might go. Then imagination's talking to you, and before you know it you're wound up into a right royal state. I saw a video clip one time and this guy, he started out to go from his home to his neighbours to borrow a rake. As he walked out of his home to go to the neighbours he began thinking about how the neighbour would respond, and he began to have this picture imagination begin to form that the guy didn't like him and he was going to say no. He started to feel angry and stirred up, so by the time he got to the neighbour's he was so wound up that when he knocked at the door and the neighbour opens the door and says hello, he says you know what you can do with your rake! [Laughter] And the guy's whoa, what happened? Where did that come from?

But what's happened is between his own house and the neighbour's house imaginations have been running away and talking to him, and by the time he's got there he's absolutely convinced he's going to be rejected, convinced the guy hates him, is going to reject him and say no. He became very angry at it and by the time he gets there well that's it and there's an angry response. Now how many of us have done that? You've imagined something without finding what really is happening. You've assumed and then got this big imagination in your mind, and then over a few days of brooding on that imagination you're in a right state. When you go to meet the person, now you're wound up emotionally. All your emotions have been triggered off. Now you're walking after a vain imagination. Now notice what it says here. They didn't listen to God's perspective and point of view. They followed the counsel of their own imaginations, and they went backward, not forward.

So you can go backward, not forward, if you listen to the counsel of imaginations that are against what God has to say. You think about that. You say wow, I want to serve the Lord! I'm going to go out and have a real influence in my work, and then you go out there and some little thing happens and you've got this thing in your mind. You get wound up and really lose it. You've gone backwards. You didn't bring Christ to them; you brought your vain imagination and your wound up emotions and didn't do any good at all. This happens all the time. It's why people leave churches, why they break up marriages, they get this vain imagination about their partner, about their spouse, about someone, about all sorts of things. People get this imagination forms and it becomes so real in their mind it's like an idol talking to them and controlling where they go.

The Bible says the cause of it's really simple. Your imagination talks to you, make sure if you're listening to your imagination that it is in agreement with what God says. So the only reference for what you have for your imaginations is what does God say? Not what am I feeling, not what does it look like. What does God say about this? And you'll find that God tells you several things. He tells you not to judge matters before you've heard it [laughs] otherwise you'll look an idiot. It's what He says, so it's a real hard discipline not to judge things before you've heard both sides. So imagination's not real and when you let your imagination start going you begin to wonder what'll happen. How many have wondered what will happen to them? How many have got brooding over something, you began to wonder and wonder and wonder? You're walking after your imagination. That's what it says: you will walk after the voice of your imagination if you don't stop it and line it up with the word of God.

Unless we let the word of God get into our soul and spirit and heart, then ungodly imaginations will rule us and down we go, down that old path. How many have got old paths that you follow? Yeah, [well you 00.34.05] light your wick and there you go. Some people know how to light your wick too. [Laughter] Get's you going. The Bible says a man's got no rule over his own spirit like a city broken down without walls, so if we're going to move a church into dominion, into have influence and beginning to advance, we've got to deal with imaginations, foolish imaginations, vain imaginations contrary to the word of God. Okay, so a vain imagination will always lead you away from God, but God's imaginations, the word of God will lead you towards God. In Jeremiah 23:16 it talks about people speaking a vision from their own hearts, so here's the next thing about imaginations. [Laughs] We saw that imaginations talk to you; next thing is imaginations are prophetic.

They're prophetic in that they're a picture of your future. If you go down that imagination that's where you will go. You begin to start to think and meditate and picture someone and you're thinking the worst about them, boy you're in for a conflict. You cannot avoid the conflict because it's prescribing where your future's going. That's why we want our future to be determined by dreams in harmony with God's plan for our life. We want to be open to the prophetic because the prophetic is God's dream about my life and where my life is destined by God to go, and that's why it says where there is no prophetic revelation - Proverbs 28, where there's no prophetic revelation, where there's no unfolding imaginations, visions and dreams from God, it says that people perish or you miss the opportunities God designed for you. You can't see them when they come because you're following an imagination.

And this is a far more deep thing that we realise but God will help us get out of it, get us into the prophetic flow. Isn't that going to be good? Okay, so when you respond to the pictures by embracing them and speaking them, you're on the way to fulfilling them. Okay, let's go and have a look and finish one last scripture there in Genesis 3. We'll look at the very first place that imaginations really got going and [laughs] the consequences were horrendous. Genesis 3, now the serpent was very cunning, more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he came to the woman and he said oh really, oh really, okay, has God indeed said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said well we can eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden God said do not eat it. Don't touch it lest you die. And the serpent said to the woman you won't die, you won't die.

So you have to understand that vain imaginations will always oppose the word of God, so if you know what God says you can recognise a vain imagination. If you don't know what God says about you, you won't even recognise a vain imagination. [See for example 00.36.55] one of the problems that people have, most common problem is rejection. We feel unaccepted, but here's the truth. The truth you have been made accepted by God, you do not need the acceptance of people. That's the truth, but you see the problem is that truth is not very alive in people's mind but the pictures and images of pain and believes of rejection are, so when situations happen in life we operate out of the imagination of rejection instead of the prophetic impartation that we're accepted. We live out of the dream, the imagination, the thing that's got a hold of us on the inside. Isn't that true? Okay, now have a look how the devil got to Eve. The first thing he did was he said well God - that's not true, you won't die. He denied the consequence of walking a way different to God's way.

God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you'll be like God, knowing good and evil. So when the woman saw the tree was good for food and was looking good to the eyes and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took its fruit and ate. Now here it is. Notice this. The first thing is she got a word and a picture. Here's the picture: you'll be great. Great, that sounds good. Oh, you'll be like God. Whoa! Wow! Wow, so she starts - now notice he's put the picture in her mind. Now there's no problem with having an imagination come into your mind; it's whether you entertain it. You can reject it when it comes into your mind, or you can entertain it. To entertain it means you begin to ponder it; hm, wow, being like God, wow, that trip man, it's looking good. That fruit is looking good! I want - and she ate. That's the pattern, and that's how the devil still works. He still works the same way. He puts a picture in your mind contrary to what God says is true, contrary to what is true, and if you start to ponder on it you start to eat it.

Once you've eaten it you conceive whatever it's got, you'll conceive it in your heart and then it'll become your future. Now here's the worst thing. The worst thing is this, that when you've done that you'll then tell someone else your imagination. See Eve, she said she gave it to Adam and he ate. Well it's more than gave it; she talked to him: Wow, look at this! Wow, we've got this! Well if you eat this it's going to be really good! Can this make us get ahead! Oh really? Yeah, wow, okay. Now that's how relationships get defiled. One person gets an imagination or perception about someone else, they begin to feast on it, feed on it and meditate on it. They become convinced that person's this, this and this. They then enter into it. Now they've judged the person. They go to someone else and they talk to them and they begin to split up relationships. That's how your life goes off track.

You begin to perceive someone doesn't like me, someone's rejected me, someone's this, someone's that, pastor ignores me, hates me, all that kind of stuff. That's a vain imagination and the problem is when the vain imagination comes in, it comes in strong and it comes in with feelings and you can't feel the presence of God. You just feel the vain imagination. The only thing you've got left is not your feelings and not the presence of God because you don't even feel the presence of God. All you've got is the word of God, and if you've got that word you can beat the imaginations every time. Think about that. That's why it says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal; they are mighty through God. There's a dependence upon God where He will back up His word. They are mighty through God and I can tear down, cast down, pull down imaginations which will take me away from God down a path I don't want to go, a path of rejection, a path of bitterness, a path of anger, a path of loss, a path of independence.

All of these paths which look so attractive when you're going through the pressure, but they take you away from God. You go backward, not forward. I've seen heaps of people go backward, not forward, yet there they were sitting like all of us worshipping God, hearing the word of God, loving God. What went wrong? An imagination got in the heart, or was already in the heart and built upon because it had never been torn down. That's how the devil works. That's how it started in Genesis. The plan hasn't changed, it's such a good plan. You think about how a person goes off into sexual sin, a male goes off [unclear 00.41.45]. They begin to fantasise. They begin to get imaginations. Now the thought coming in, you can't do much about that except you can make a decision to reject it. But if you entertain soon sin has conceived and already the sin is alive in your heart. It's just waiting for the opportunity to express. If you take in an offence and begin to meditate on an offence what happens? Well then you begin to be angry on the inside and already you have now entered into, and will soon manifest that. It will control your future - certainly the future of that relationship.

How many relationships have been broken because a vain imagination got in the mind, a misunderstanding that was never checked out by asking questions, anything like that? The vain imagination got in, an assumption made, a pictured formed and the person then walked out of that imagination and the relationship was ruined? God says to walk differently, He says to handle things differently, not to walk after the counsel of our imaginations, but to walk in the counsel of God, in the word of God. You need to know what God says in His word. You can't rely on just feelings and sensations. When you're in a meeting the presence of God there is wonderful. When you're in a place of temptation you don't feel God at all. He feels like I don't know where He went, He's just gone. All you can feel is your mind filling up with pictures, desires forming, longings forming, and if you entertain it you'll eat it and very soon having listened to that imagination and followed its counsel, you'll walk it out and it'll change your future. That's how imaginations work.

So we have to actually get strategies to confront vain imaginations, tear them down, so we can walk in the word and the spirit of God and follow after God into His destiny and plan for our life. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal; they are spiritual and they're powerful and they can deal with all of this junk so we can walk with God and fulfil our destiny, and dream and see things. That's what God wants for every one of us. We've got to learn how to do it. We have to actually decide I'm in a warfare, I'm going to begin to watch what I'm imagining, what I'm thinking about, where my mind is going and begin to check it against what God says, is this true or is this a lie? And I'll follow the Lord. Can we give the Lord a clap? [Applause] Can we give the Lord a clap? Thank You Lord. We thank You Jesus that You overcame the devil's temptations and the imaginations he put into Your mind by the word of God. It is written, it is written, it is written of the word of God. Well we want to be word people, spirit people, follow in Your spirit, guided and held up by the word of God.

Father, we pray over these next weeks You will expose across the church in every one of us vain imaginations that control and run our life and talk to us and take us in a path we shouldn't be going. We're going backwards instead of going forwards. We want to go forwards so we choose to open ourselves to You, the living God. Everyone say amen. [Amen!] Amen. Let's just stand to our feet, going to finish with a great song. Perhaps there's someone here today and you've been walking in a vain imagination all your life. The Bible says the fool says in his heart there's no God. It's an imagination. There is a God and believe me, you're going to stand face to face with Him, but today you could actually connect with Him, your sins forgiven, a new life begun. Jesus said whoever will receive Me, believe and put their trust in Me, I give them power to become a child of God. That'll be a great thing to happen for you. If you're here today, you're not a Christian and you want to give your life to Jesus, as we sing this final song just make your way up to the front, stand here. We'll be glad to pray with you and lead you to Jesus Christ.

[File ends 00.45.43]

Fantasy, an addictive drug (2 of 4)  

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Fantasy, an addictive drug (2 of 4)

Fantasy, an Addictive Drug (2 of 4) Mike Connell 17.08.2008 am

[Music to 00.00.24]

[Mike Connell] Father, we just open ourselves to all that you have for us today. There's a gratefulness in our heart. We say Lord, You're our strength. We say come today, minister to us, help us unlock in our lives things that need to be unlocked. Father, I pray clarity to speak, clarity of Your word into our hearts; not just the word but Lord, the spirit of it. I pray Lord that every person here today who's become locked up in some part of their life, unable to explore the prophetic dimensions and the realms of possibilities in God, that today would be a day of unlocking that and bringing release in Jesus' name. Amen. Lord, we open our heart to You. Great presence of God here isn't there? Great presence of God. Why don't you give someone a high five and just talk to someone, say hello to them and be seated. Thank you musicians.

Good, good, good. Okay, 2 Corinthians 10 and we're going to pick it up at verse 3. I want to share with you some things that the Lord spoke into my own heart some time ago that were extremely helpful for me and I don't think I've ever preached them. I just have got them in my diary. I got out my diary from a little time back and opened it up and there were these things, and it's very, very current for right now. Last week we were talking about the imagination and when we were sharing about the imagination we were sharing some things about God's design for us. We shared these things, that God has created us in His image, so therefore we are creative people. We have the ability to create. We saw secondly that we have the capacity to create as we can sexually create, we can have a child, we can produce a new life that's an eternal being. That's a very creative fact.

And secondly, with our imagination we can create ideas that then become realities in the world, so all the inventions you've ever seen were in someone's imagination before they were in the earth. So your imagination is part of the creative faculty; it's connected to your spirit and so the dreams, the things that God gives you will go into that imagination. So your imagination is a wonderful, wonderful gift that God has given you. Your imagination is a capacity, a mental capacity God has given you to form pictures of a future or of a reality that's not yet happened, so imagination's wonderful, a great gift that God has given us. We can make mental pictures of something that is not yet existing, so it's great you can dream about the addition you'll have to your house. You'll begin to think about it, dream about it, walk in and out through it - it hasn't even turned up yet and then there it is, and so from your imagination was birthed something into the world.

Now we saw also that your imaginations have a voice. They speak to you, so imaginations can be good and they can be vain. Vain ones are empty ones and they lead you somewhere. We saw how if you just let your mind go along a vain imagination that's not at all true, you will end up where you don't want to be and wonder how you got there. We saw also how imaginations are prophetic. As you yield to them they can begin to form a future and create a reality you haven't seen, so that's the powerful thing about our imagination. Of course the final thing we saw was that when God speaks to you He puts a word into your spirit or a picture in your spirit comes into the imagination. You begin to see it in the same place you imagine things. Now I want to look today specifically at the issue of fantasy, a misuse of the imagination, an addictive drug. Notice what it says here in 2 Corinthians 10. We'll just pick it up here: For the weapons of our warfare - though we walk in the flesh, we don't war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for the pulling down - notice this - we have weapons that with the power of the Holy Spirit are very, very powerful.

They're mighty in God. Notice this. Now these are all are referring to the same thing: the pulling down of strongholds, casting down of imaginations, every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. So notice these things, it's all really He's trying to use words to say the same thing. He's talking about thoughts, imaginations, high things that resist God working in our life and He calls them actually strongholds because demons can enter them and we become a - we have a mindset that stops us progressing. Many of us here today have mindsets that stop us moving in God. You love the Lord, but nevertheless in spite of loving the Lord you're committed to the Lord, mindsets, patterns of thinking which exalt themselves against knowing God will stop you progressing. It's really helpful then if we can identify them and work out what we need to do to bring them down, to stop them or to deal with them.

So imagination's a faculty of your inner man. It's a screen where pictures form and we can receive dreams from the Lord there. We can receive visions from the Lord there. It's a place where God has designed us, we receive input from Him into our imagination and we create from our own heart things in our imagination. And demons can put thoughts in that also lead to our imagination being filled, so there are three ways our imagination can be accessed: by the Holy Spirit putting things in there, by our own heart putting things in there, and by demons flooding and invading us. It's very important to understand that, and so the imagination can be cultivated. You can actually develop this whole faculty that God has given you and develop the prophetic realm because all can prophesy. So you can develop the ability to see, imagine, perceive, receive things from God. Everyone has been given that. Everyone has that faculty.

You understand that God has given it to you because He's made you a spirit being, like He gave you two eyes to see. They may not work so well, you may need glasses, and your imagination may be the same thing. The prophetic area may not be developed, but you can develop it through meditation in the word and renewing the mind, and identifying vain imaginations and confronting them and pulling them down. Next week we'll look at what's involved in the pulling down of them. Okay then, so imaginations can be cultivated and our imagination can also be defiled. Your imagination can become polluted and defiled, and it's a lasting defilement that requires a major cleansing action of the blood of Jesus and the word of God. How is it defiled? By for example, a person has a traumatic experience. The memory is imbedded into them and it keeps coming back in and the imagination will go over and over and over that event that happened.

We can set our mind and our heart on unclean things, sexual things and the imagination becomes defiled. People who've been sexually abused, they have images in their mind they cannot seem to get out of. It's just part of life. Things happen to us, so we need a strategy to deal with defilement of the imagination so that we can open our imagination progressively and begin to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in dreaming and beginning to see possibilities of the future. Getting the idea? So let me just look at this area today of fantasy. I'm going to talk about a fantasy, how imagination and fantasies are connected. So first of all I'll just give you a definition of it and we're going to look at fantasy and daydreaming. So first of all fantasy, and of course the thing is everyone has them. Tell someone next to you, he's talking to you. [He's talking to you.] Everyone has fantasies, not necessarily all bad. Everyone daydreams. Have you ever found yourself looking out the window and oh, wait, come back again? Everyone daydreams and everyone fantasises. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just where you go. Well what's taken it up, so we all have it so don't get all so serious on this matter.

Actually this part of our - it's normal for kids to dream and to - you know sometimes you find them staring into space? These things are all quite normal. There's a need to develop the imagination. Overexposure to television when children are young hinders the development of the imagination. That's why you don't want to have too much TV, put your kids in front of TV when they're very young, because what happens is their imagination then gets overloaded and it doesn't develop properly. You notice you can buy a fancy toy for a child and they throw it away and they're playing with some other little thing? Because their imagination is involved with that. They're not interested in the fancy - that fancy toy that cost so much is the parent's idea. The kid's happy with a bit of mud. Have you ever noticed children; they're not interested so much in the fancy toys, they're interested in other things and that's part of a normal developmental process, so some aspects are really quite normal.

So fantasy is an illusion formed in your mind. It's an illusion. It's not real. Fantasy - not real. I'll give you another definition. I've got to get clear on this. It's an imagined event or sequence of events that you create in your mind to fulfil some desire or longing. It's an event or a sequence of events which you create in your mind to fulfil some desire or longing, so inevitably if we examine our fantasies we'll also see what's going on in our heart. That's a realm of the imagination. A fantasy is where you use your imagination to create something happening that is absolutely unreal, but here's the thing that's common with all fantasies. You are the centre. It's all about me. There's more to it than that though. It's not only about you and you're the centre of it; you are God in that world, untouchable. You are in total control of that fantasy world. You create something where you cannot be defeated. You're in charge, you're in control, you're in power [laughs] so in the fantasy world you're able to be in control and have power.

You can shape those imaginations the way you want them to go, so if you have a look at what you fantasise about you'll begin to find out what's really going on inside you - not always that nice. However if it is there better to change it aye? So usually there's a desire that a person has that fuels the fantasy. We'll look at a couple of fantasies shortly, fantasies aah! Okay and then I'm going to show you how it accesses your life and can affect you. Many times people in their fantasy are looking for recognition, because you notice in your fantasy probably you're quite important. [Laughter] I won! [Laughs] And they're all clapping me! Oh come on, you all fantasise something where we're the hero and we won, or it's for control and power so you may revisit thoughts and now you are in total control of that situation. It may be that it's for revenge. Some people's fantasies are about revenge. They think and dream about how they're going to get back, how they'll suffer, oh. [Unclear 00.11.42] before you know it you're way down there - oh! Come back! Follow the daydream back, it was a daydream of revenge, some people plotting revenge.

For some it may be in the area of sexual intimacy, and so the daydreams go out there and they're about being intimate or about being sexual and they go way, way out there. Whoops! Come back! Gone too far. That's what happens. You're all getting quiet now because I know you have them. [Laughs] Well I've had them. I don't think there's any other man that hasn't them - and then some of the fantasies are about being safe, where a person's felt abused and then they go into a world so they can control that imaginary world and feel safe in there. So therefore it can be a place of refuge. If you're brought up in a home which is emotionally unsafe or physically unsafe, then fantasy was where you go because in that world you're safe, a wonderful world to be in, a lovely world to be in, so that's fantasy. Daydreaming is a bit like fantasy. Daydreaming is really a fantasy that - it's a dream-like fantasy you have while you're wide awake and away you go, and you just enter into this dream-like state. You become unaware what's going on around you.

Notice when someone's daydreaming they're aren't aware what's going on around them? You can even have a daydream while you're driving down the road. Da-da-da-da away you go - you've gone somewhere. Wives, you notice your husband while you're talking to him sometimes he's away? He's not there, he's gone away, he's in a dream, gone somewhere else. So fantasies do take you somewhere. Everyone has them. So everyone has them and they're not necessarily all bad but they can end up really destructive and really bringing your life into bondage, so [unclear 00.13.20] people and men and women's fantasies are a bit different. So you know, I used to love cowboy movies. I used to love them, used to think about them. I was away out there. I used to love books, used to read all the Enid Blyton books in those days and go way into a magical world. Go down the library - I was always in the library, I was away. In fact I don't even remember most of growing up. As a young person I was away. I wasn't there for most of it, I was away somewhere - fantasy. Daydreaming. Trying to escape from pain. That's what happens.

You know someone like that don't you? [Laughs] How many of you actually have dreamed you know, of being in some situation where you're the hero and you win, everyone notices you? See, that would be one some guys would have - or it's the sports team and I got the winning goal! See? Or you had a bad move and then you go back over it and over it in your mind and replay how you could have played it [laughter] and you notice when you replay how you could have played it you always win? Have you noticed that? And everyone cheers. [Laughs] You feel good! See, fantasies. See there's more to them than meets the eye and so those are some kinds of fantasies people have. There's another area people have. I was starting to think of where people have them. People have fantasies about money and wealth. They keep dreaming about that car, about that house, about that boat and away it all goes - or about being important, having some great position. Or if you're a woman you probably have romantic fantasies about some wonderful husband one day. [Laughter]

He's just like Jesus it turns out. [Laughter] And so you have this fantasy that the one you'll marry will be different to everyone else's person because they will be just so beautiful and wonderful, and it's a fantasy. There's no man can match that fantasy. The fantasy's totally under your control. Real men aren't like that. [Laughter] I'm sorry - and so they go through their life and lots of potential men come along, and then they just ignore the potential men because they've matched it with the fantasy. [Laughter] It doesn't match. You can see too many holes. Well listen, there's no man is perfect. You might as well find that out now. The period before you marry him is the great deception; after you marry him you'll find out what he's really like - and that works both ways too. So guys fantasise and their fantasies are usually about power and control, and about winning and victory and conquering, so they often have a sexual nature to them. That takes you into bad places. Women need to know that's what goes on in men's heads, away they go. They're gone in a bad, bad, bad, bad place, but it's actually coming out of rejection and hurt and trying to come into a place of power and control. It goes on.

People have religious fantasies and in the religious fantasy they're a great minister of the power of God. They've got all these kinds of things goes around them, but at the end of that when you watch what they're doing it doesn't match up. The fantasy world is a wonderful place that you can hide from living life, so fantasy can be a way where you can move to - your imagination can be used to creatively look at your future and begin to plan how you can shape it. Or your fantasy can be a place where you escape because you're hurt and have got struggles inside. Okay then, you've all gone quiet now. Its okay, come on. We all have them. There isn't anyone - man, I daydreamed my way all through school. I just remember daydreaming all the time away. I talked to dad about it. He said I didn't know where you were all that time. No one could ever connect with you - so fantasies are very, very powerful in the effect they have on our life. But when you're in it you don't realise what it's doing to you, and so that's why the Bible talks, you know, we need powerful weapons to pull these things down and to stop them.

So there's some fantasies okay, and usually fantasies can be attempt to heal the wounds that we feel, the pain we feel. They can be an attempt to gain power or to make up for some lack we have. They can be all kinds of things, but they can be very, very powerful, very, very powerful. So when men go into a fantasy world where there's sexual things as we'll see just shortly, it's because there's no fear of rejection. You're in an imaginary world where you have all you want and no one's saying no, and you're in control. There's no reality in it at all - imaginary, it's not real. It's fantasy. And the trouble is when you live there then you can't live in the real world. You've got to come out of that fantasy world and re-engage real life, and so whatever fantasies we have, whether they be religious, sexual, financial, all kinds of things, if we're living in a fantasy world with vain imaginations, that will be exalting themselves against you knowing and walking in your destiny. You have to deal with it.

It's not always easy to recognise that and so that's why I'm taking it slow and just talking about it today in a different kind of way than what I'd normally do. In 1 Timothy 4:1, it says now the Spirit expressly speaks. So He's saying that the Holy Ghost is drawing our attention to this reality, that in the last days - that's the days we live in - in the last days, ever since Jesus has been the last days but I guess we're nearer the last days than ever before - but in the last days men shall give heed - man means everyone - shall give heed to seducing spirits. They'll be drawn away from a personal faith that outworks itself with realities in life, into a dimension of seducing spirits. You say well that's not me, it couldn't be. That's because if you don't recognise how these things operate you would never actually know whether you'd been drawn away. The nature of seduction is you don't know what you're getting yourself into, and so a seducing spirit - that word seduce is the word [from which 00.19.43] you get the word planet, a wanderer. It's a spirit which tempts, leads, entices you and draws you.

Now when you're being seduced you don't even know what's going on until you wake up next morning: who the heck is that next to me? See, it's what goes on - and what did I do to get here? Something happened on the way. You ended up where you didn't want to be, because you didn't recognise what this influence was doing in your life. And so it says men will give heed to doctrines of demons, seducing spirits and particular doctrines, and that will draw them away from a living strong faith in Jesus Christ. In 2 Corinthians 11:1-3 Paul says I've espoused you to Christ. And then he says I feel lest somehow as the serpent deceived Eve. Now he's saying to Christians, he's saying I'm concerned that just the same way that the devil deceived Eve, you would be drawn away, your mind's corrupted from just simple devotion to Jesus Christ. That's what the Christian faith is about. We're in love with Jesus Christ. He's our strength, He's our life, we have a friendship Him. We're given a destiny to fulfil, got a great life, and he says I'm a bit concerned that just the same way the devil nailed Eve he'll nail you the same way.

How did he nail Eve? He put a vain imagination in her mind and she began to feed on the imagination, that if she ate the fruit of that tree she could be like God. She could have an independent life. She could be someone great. It appealed to vanity: I can actually move on without God. That's what it was. I can get what I want to get. I don't need God to do it, I just eat this - I'm going to get a hold of my life. I'm going to you know, look after number one. And she ate into it and when she'd eaten into it, taken it all onboard, then she shared it and corrupted - and then Adam came into that same influence. So if we were to say then what is it then would open the door to seducing spirits, so I'm going to give you a list of a few things which - these come out of experience in ministry. They're either out of my person life - I needed deliverance, or they're out of someone else that needed deliverance that I prayed for, so they're not sort of fanciful things. This is reality. This is what goes on.

So I want to share with you then just some things that are traps. One of them is books. Now for me I spent my whole life in books. Nothing wrong with books, had some wonderful books. I like reading books. I still read books, but when books become a source of fantasy where you escape from reality it's a problem. I used it to escape the pain of relationship, just went and read a book. Don't have to face anything that way, you just go away and you're in another world in your imagination, so books can be a source of that. Romance novels can be very much that way for women; action books and things for men. Another one is the area of TV. TV can be - TV's a wonderful, wonderful tool. You do all kinds of things with it, but TV can open the door; soap operas, Desperate Housewives [laughter] and some women are desperate to get back there to watch Desperate Housewives! I've got to watch it! I can't miss it! Make sure you record it. [Laughter] It's true, because - now you've got to ask yourself what has happened here?

Ask yourself what happened? It's the same with movies. Now what happens is - this is what the Lord showed me, very, very clever. He said when you watch a movie and of course TV's just a movie kind of deal. When you watch a movie you've got to realise someone has created a fantasy they want you to pay money to enter into, and they were mostly not Christians so therefore their fantasy was not a Godly fantasy. When they create the picture here's something that they can do. With the movies and with the media like that, what they can do is this; they can turn you into a voyeur. A voyeur is someone who peeps in on someone else doing something, so without realising when you sit at the screen and you begin to be drawn into that thing, they create the story so you begin to identify with the characters. Before you know it you are emotionally entangled and drawn in. You've identified with them. You're living in their world, and then when you're in that world if you get two people and they're making love you're actually able to stand in the bedroom and look in at people what they're doing. You don't get anywhere to do that in life. They arrest you, put you in jail.

But they create in the movies the opportunity for you to do that, and when you do that you get drawn in and you begin to fellowship with the spirit that's involved. If you don't watch you'll open your life and you can then become invaded by that same spirit, spirit of adultery, spirit of violent rape or whatever, those kinds of things. All kinds of stuff comes. Most of the movies, if anything bad happens, whether it's violent or anything else, I just close my eyes. I don't want the picture. I just don't want the picture, so I'll just go [unclear 00.24.37]. [Laughter] I know it's a bit limp but I just don't want the picture, it takes me too long to get it out. I can't be bothered. I'd rather not have the picture. In the old days they didn't put it all in. They actually edited it out and you never saw the violence and you never saw the sex. You just had implications of it. That's different to actually seeing it. When you see it you've seen it and you can't get the picture out. It's in the file. You've got to be cleansed. You getting the idea?

So they can create it. In Romans 1:32 - won't look it up but it talks about those who not only partake with sin, but actually rejoice with those who do these things [unclear 00.25.14] games, fantasy games. A fantasy game is a game where you take on a character. Now parents may not even be aware of this stuff but your kids probably know all about it, and what happens is they get into a game. Years ago it used to be Dungeons and Dragons was one of the first ones that came out, but now [unclear 00.25.28] so what happens is you find yourself identifying with the characters in the movie and you're drawn into the whole thing. You open your life to all kinds of unusual things. Another area is the area of - so they've got books, TV, movies, comics. Now the comics in my day used to be Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and the Phantom. I liked the Phantom, he was great. But nowadays I don't know where the Phantom is. He's gone I think. I went into a comic shop the other day down the road there, down in the main street.

Goodness me, I've never seen anything like it in my life - R18 comics! Unbelievable stuff. Just a cultic sorcery, sexual violence, all kinds of things, dreadful stuff and yet there it is. People are taking it onboard, and I know in some places people get addicted to comics. Another is the area of the internet, the chat rooms. I don't know how many marriages I've heard failed because someone got into a chat room and got into a fantasy relationship with someone somewhere away. Then in the end the spirit of adultery came round them because they shared their heart with that person, and they didn't realise a seducing spirit was coming on the internet. Now about 10 years ago the Lord told me the internet's going to be a channel for seducing spirits to come into homes without anyone realising it. That's why you've got to guard and set boundaries around the internet, watching for your family because they don't know what they'll get connected up to.

There's another one there and that's the area of fantasy [unclear 00.26.46] any sophisticated variations of it, but what happens in these games is you take on an identity and through accomplishing certain things you gain certain powers. Actually now it's developed to another level. It's developed to the level now where you can go live and you have a headset on and you're now speaking the things out into this imaginary arena where you're involved in conflict with people from around the world. It's become incredibly sophisticated, and when you get into those games you take on a name, an identity and you open yourself to the demon behind it. When I was in Singapore this last time I shared some stuff on that. I got a young man to come up and he said he'd been totally addicted to the game. When he came up I got him to renounce the game and renounce the identity that he had taken in the game, and he manifested as he renounced it and had a massive deliverance. Who says fantasy isn't powerful? This opened the door for him to come in and it clearly was a broken person, needed help and that kind of thing.

So of course there's all these sorts of areas and now you've got these fantasy worlds. See some of the parents are not even up with what's going on. You have a look at many of the stories that are coming, you've got all these fantasy worlds. There's Neverland, there's Narnia, there's Middle Earth, there's all these fantasy worlds that are being created in someone's imagination, and then when young people get on the internet they can get into this area, open the doorways for demons to come in and afflict them. Hey, isn't it a great day we live in aye? [Laughs] Glory to God. You wouldn't have heard of second life would you? [Laughter] Second life is where you enter the internet, take on another identity, go into another world and create and live in another world where there's buying and selling. And you have another marriage and there's pornography in there as well. It's unbelievable. This is the world we're in now; in the last days seducing spirits. Interesting isn't it?

We need to understand what's happening so we can - then I'll get right down to where it affects you in a moment. Another area is the area of pornography. Behind pornography is an - this is what the Lord told me. He said behind pornography is one of the ancient gods. You ever read through the Bible and wondered what it was that caused Israel to go after idols all the time? We read it in the 21st Century; what is up with these people? You know, God blesses them, God's kind to them and next thing you know they're whipping away there and off with idols. What is that all about? And interestingly enough in Numbers 25, when they wanted to get them off the course they just sent women in to sleep with them and get them onto idols. Once they're on the idols then away they go, they're lost again. And so the Lord spoke to me and He said the spirit behind the idols in the Old Testament is the same spirit that's behind pornography in the 21st Century, and it's a powerful thing.

It's a spirit of whoredom, a spirit of prostitution, so when a person is involved in pornography they pay money to watch someone do things and what happens is they are now entering into a financial agreement with a prostitute. The spirit of prostitution comes over their life and they're addicted, and it has a tremendous draw for two reasons; one, because it's a spirit behind it is pulling on people just like they did in the Old Testament, and like the Old Testament idols has to be torn down, and the second one is that emotional rejection or pain or woundedness will cause people to feel good and comforted in that fantasy world. They want to enter it to feel better instead of forming substantial relationships. In Ezekiel 8:12 it says see what they do in the dark in the chambers of their imagination; Ezekiel 8:12, see what they do in the dark in the chambers of their imagination. All the rooms of their imagination they've got these idols or pictures on the walls. What a classic picture in the Old Testament of modern day pornography. Hey, fantasies in the last days. This is the modern day fantasies; old days it was an idol. Oh, we wouldn't go for that. We've got our own different ones these days, just flick a switch and you're there.

So another one of course is imaginary companions. Now little kids have imaginary companions, but if they're deeply wounded it can turn into a familiar spirit which the child sees and no one else does. We had to pray for people in the Philippines, had a little - I don't want to call it a dwarf spirit but it's a little companion and it was a familiar spirit. In Ireland they call them leprechauns, a similar kind of thing. So there it is. Those are some of the doorways, some of the things and Job 31 says, he said I will make a covenant with my eyes, verse 1 and in verse 7, lest my heart follows my eyes, so whatever's captured your imagination will catch your heart. In Matthew 6 he says the eyes are the lamp of the soul, so whatever's got your sight, your imagination, will capture the focus of your life and direct you. This is what we need to be able to deal with it, and I'll show you how to do that. We're going to talk about how to tear it down, but I just want to go a couple more things and then I'll give you the key things to root it out.

So the next thing I want to look at, just I want to give you these quickly, but just the impact of fantasies, the impact of fantasies when they're unrestrained. There's several of them. Here they are: number one, it creates tracks in your mind that make it very, very easy to go there. Literally there are mental tracks in your mind. You just go back there all the time; same fantasy, same place, same thing, like a mental track is in there like a mental rut. The second thing, it causes you to avoid responsibilities that you should be facing. You go away to daydream land instead of facing responsibilities. Thirdly, it becomes a place of false comfort, where you find comfort with imaginations and demons instead of comfort from the Holy Ghost. It's a place of false comfort and connection to familiar spirits. The next thing, fourth, it becomes addictive. It becomes addictive like alcohol, just the same way alcohol, people go to the bottle, people can go to fantasy the same way and think they're much better than the alcoholic. It becomes a drug that opens your life.

The last couple of things, it opens the door to your soul to seducing spirits. It opens your life up. That's why we've got to deal with fantasies very, very clearly. It creates blocks to intimacy so you can never build good relationships within marriage and family. Many families are suffering because of this issue of fantasies as a way of escaping working things out. And lastly, it increases selfishness, self-centredness, because you actually become unaware of what anyone else is doing and you're locked up in your own world. Quite a pretty grim thing fantasy does. Now fantasy is a misuse of the creative gifting God gave us. We have to deal with this misuse and abuse. If you don't use something the way God intended, you've abused that and there's a consequence. How can I root out the fantasy? How can I root these things out? I'll look at it in more detail next week but I want to give you just the keys for rooting it out. Number one, you have to recognise it. You have to recognise it. Psalm 51:6, God desires truth of the inner parts.

So what is my fantasy? What is it my mind goes to? What do I begin to dream about? Am I dreaming about fulfilling the call of God, or am I going somewhere else? See, what shows up in the fantasy, what happens in the fantasy? You just ask yourself a few questions: when I daydream and go away in fantasy land what's happening? What goes on? Where does it end up? Just ask yourself the questions. How long has it been going? Am I addicted to this thing? Has this been a long-term pattern? Ask the questions and own it: I've got a problem. That'd be the first step. The second thing is it requires deep repentance. We have to abandon the false comfort. Matthew 4:17, if I want the kingdom to come in my life I must abandon the things which oppose it. This is something that opposes it. I have to make choices that this will no longer be part of my life. Even making the choice is a powerful step.

It's not the only step to dealing with it, because I need to let go not just the sin itself, the fantasy itself, the soul ties and attachments, the familiar spirits. I've got to abandon the whole thing, and you may not realise how addicted you are until you actually try to get rid of it. So thirdly I've got to remove the fantasy at its roots. I've got to remove it. Now that's the more difficult part. Here's what I suggest you do. I suggest you fast. If you want to root something out get into fasting. Fasting can expose and uncover things really, really easy. In Judges 6:26, Samson tore down the idol. He just literally went and he ripped the whole thing down and built a place of altar to the Lord, and God changed his name and he was anointed to begin to move into his destiny. So somewhere if our life has been sabotaged by fantasies, sabotaged by daydreaming, sabotaged by woundings in the soul, we've got to go there and tear that thing down. He got up in the night and he took people with him to help him because he was a bit afraid to deal with it.

If you can't deal with it yourself get some help for someone to deal with it and tear down that fantasy! Tear down that thing that you go to! Tear down the thing right at the roots of it! Confront the spirit that's hooked into you, trying to take you out of your destiny! See and we'll share with you some of the weapons we've got to do it next week. See, so fasting and prayer can expose the root and usually what people need is deliverance and healing, because many times you find that people are out in fantasy world - I was there because I was rejected. I was lonely, hurt and rejected and it was no use saying stop daydreaming. I couldn't help it. I just wanted to go there because everything else was painful. What I needed to do was address the real problem; hurt, rejected, you need to forgive. You need to face the feelings, grieve over them and get out of it. Unless you do it that way you don't really get out of it. You have a fix over the top and your fantasy is just a method of controlling your world.

The last thing then is we need to replace the fantasy with the truth. We've got to put the truth about what God says. We need truth. The truth will set you free. The Bible says renew your mind and you become a changed person, so as we see that how many people can say man, God is speaking to me today? Whoa! Come back. How many went away while I was talking? [Laughter] Some did. Good on you for being honest. One did. One admitted they'd gone away. That's alright, just tap her and say come back, come back. [Laughs] I've had to do that to some people; come back, come back, you're gone. [Laughs] It's okay. But listen, how many people felt God's convicting you inside, there's something in your life you need to tear down, something - a place of escape, a place that's really actually got you gripped? Maybe it's some program, addictive program. Man, I used to get into that sci-fi programs, have to run home and watch these things. Crazy stuff.

Just finding ways of escape into a fantasy world, but it's a spirit behind it. What if we were to be delivered of that thing and to break into new dimensions in our mind and our thinking, of seeing the dreams of God for our life, of seeing the possibilities of faith, what could be instead of going away and creating a fantasy world that'll never be true? I wonder how many people know God's speaking to you today. Just raise your hand right now, just acknowledge today God is speaking to me today. Father, I thank You right now, each and every person that's responded. Just close our eyes for a moment. Lord, we need Your help. You've said in the last days of seducing spirits, powerful forces that would enter the world to take us out of the calling of God. And Lord, today as we come before You we acknowledge together as a body of people that we have not fully pursued You. We've not loved You with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind. In parts of our mind we've had idols, things lifted up which have opposed us walking with You, knowing You and going forward with You.

And we thank You Lord for grace in our lives to flush the things out, and we're saying Holy Ghost, come into our midst, begin to flush these things out. Whatever has fed them, whatever hurt and grief and sorrow, flush it out Lord, and Lord, wherever we've built the fantasies and imaginations, Lord we stand and commit to tear them down in the power of the Holy Ghost. And we ask for Your grace to do it. Listen, just before we finish I wonder is there any person here today who's never received Jesus Christ? The most powerful way your life can change is to realise Jesus Christ came here to help you change. There's a power called sin at work that stops us, even though we try and make these good intentions. But the power of God can set you free. If you're here today you need to know Jesus Christ. If you've not already given your life to Him, this is the day to receive Him.

Every person who received Jesus He gave power to be a child of God by trusting in Him. I wonder is there any person here right now, you're not a Christian, you say I want to become a Christian, I want to give my life to Jesus? Why don't you quickly raise your hand right now, just let me see? I'd love to pray with you. I'd love to invite you to come to Christ, to experience Him [unclear 00.40.10], any person here today, quickly raise your hand. Is there anyone here today? Anyone here today, just let me know. Wow. Well Father, I just thank You for such a big response today concerning vain imaginations, fantasies, and I'm asking that over this coming week that You will begin to break open the ground of people's hearts as we fast and pray and push against these things. Father, as we come Lord in the coming week I pray there'd be a mighty deliverance and a breakthrough over the weekend at the Freedom Retreat, and on Sunday morning. I pray Lord that next weekend will be a breaking out and a breaking open the foundations that have held people locked up. Father, we believe for Your spirit to move as we do the groundwork and prepare.

Church, I encourage you, if you put your hand up and know there's some area, fast this week. Just do some fasting. Push into God and say Lord, how long has this thing been there? What is it? Show me what it exactly is. Write it down, what you dream about, where you go, what you think about, what that fantasy is, where it ends up. Write it down. How long has it been like that, and how strongly have I got this thing on my life? If I need to cut I'll cut TV off this week. I'll cut internet off. I'll cut off the things I've done that fed this thing and I'll see what rises up inside me. I've determined to make a stand like Gideon and pull down that family altar that for generations has held my family from the destiny of God. Is that you? Is that you? Do it this week. Do it. Do it. Father, I pray Your grace to do it in Jesus' mighty name. Everyone said [Amen!] Come on, let's give the Lord a clap and [applause] thank Him that at the cross of Calvary He broke the power of sin. He broke the power of the devil. He broke the power of seducing spirits, and He called you and me to live a life that's powerful and strong; a life that's faith-led, vision led, led by the spirit of God and not by some vain imagination and fantasy.

Come on, let's rise up. Come on, let's give Him a clap. Let's give Him a clap [applause] [unclear 00.42.30]. I exalt You, I exalt You. Let's lift Him up. Father, in Jesus' name we tear down every stronghold exalting itself against the knowledge of Jesus. We ask You to expose it in our lives and empower everyone in this church to break through it. Yes, I exalt You.

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Cleansing the Imagination (3 of 4)  

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Cleansing the Imagination (3 of 4)

Cleansing the Imagination (3 of 4) Mike Connell 23.08.2008 pm

We've been talking about imaginations. I want to just take it another step this time and talk about cleansing your imagination, cleaning up your act, cleansing your imagination. Let's go into 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Here it says now for though we walk in the flesh - that's where we live in a human body - we don't war according to the flesh. In other words there's a spiritual battle we're engaged in - for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. So we have weapons and there is a warfare we're involved in, and they're not carnal but they are mighty through God. Ooh, that's good, mighty through God see, mighty through God - no use unless you use them of course, but mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments, every high thing - sorry, imaginations, every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity into the obedience of Christ.

So very clearly you and I are in a warfare. There's no escape from the warfare. When you go out of here you'll be in it; when you come to up-rise tomorrow morning you'll be in it. We are engaged in a spiritual warfare and Jesus Christ came not just to set us free and connect us with God, but to empower us to have dominion, to actually win the war. That's a good thing to win the war. It's messy if you lose it. Yesterday we had people came and they won the battle against a whole number of things. It was great, so we were looking at one particular area it's very clear here that the battlefield is in your imagination, and we saw how God designed us to be creative. We're made in His image to be creative, so let's just summarise what we looked at. We saw God has made you creative. You can create a new life. God has given you a sexual ability to do that. Notice it takes two people to create the life. God has also given you an imagination, the capacity to picture something that is not yet in being and then to begin to work to bring that picture into being.

That's how God worked. He saw it in detail and then began to speak and act and it came into being, so whatever we see someone imagined it, someone dreamed it all up, and so we have that power to be creative. Your imagination's a major part of that. Your imagination is your capacity to picture things that aren't there, and your imagination talks to you. So whatever's going on in your mind, in your imagination is talking all the time. In the secular area they call it self-talk; you're always talking to yourself. You're always listening to something going on in your mind and if you have a vain imagination - a vain imagination is a picture which is completely opposed to what God has to say. It is completely opposed to God's perspective or viewpoint, and so it's a vain imagination. It's empty. It has no life and a vain imagination will take you out of what God has for you. It says vain imaginations exalt themself against you personally experiencing and knowing God.

So many believers live well below what God called us to live out and to be and to do. Why? Because there's areas of our mind, imagination, thinking that need to be renewed if we are to walk in power and in life and victory. So for example, someone stands in front of you and they're sick and you come to pray for them. Almost the first thing that comes up is how bad the sickness is, and unless that imagination is overcome no faith will rise in your heart to bring a miracle from heaven to earth. Your imaginations will lead you somewhere, so we need to understand and get in touch with what's going on in that brain, what we really think about, dwell upon where our mind goes. Last week we saw about fantasies which are a way - they can be positive, they can be dreaming about things that could be. But many times fantasies are an escape from reality into a world we can control and become incredibly addictive, and so today I want to deliver you.

How many people found there were some things - don't put your hand up - but you thought during the week as I've given you some homework to do of praying and fasting, you began to be aware I've got some things I'm a bit hooked into here. Okay, well we need to get unhooked. We've got to make a decision that I'm not going to let the imaginations hold my life and shape my life. Listen, you get into some of these TV programs like you know, Desperate Housewives, you'll get so immersed in those lives you'll take on the identities, the values, the whole thing. It'll shape how you view life, and then when you hear things about divorce and affairs your conscience won't be stirred too much. It'll be dull because your mind has embraced something that is anti-God, that's actually an anti-Christ, anti-anointing spirit. It came out of someone else's dream and imagination, and when you lock in on that and begin to feed off it - not everyone does, but many do.

When they get in and lock in and feed on it they can't do without that fix, that program. They've got to quickly get back and see that program. I used to be like that with science fiction. Man, I used to get to see that program - I got to watch! I got to watch! I got to watch! No, you don't have to watch at all. It's just someone else's dream and you've been caught in it. And so we realise then we need to deal with it, so I want to just look about some areas now. I want to look first of all at the sources of imagination, then I want to look briefly at two aspects of our battle. One of them we'll deal with today. I want to show you how you actually fight the imaginations. You've actually got to do something, but it helps if you understand where they come from first of all so I want to just look first of all at the sources of some of these imaginations, pictures you've got in your mind. We've all got them and we've got three possible sources: one of them is the Holy Spirit. That's the one that God wants us to have. The Holy Spirit is also the source of dreams and imaginations.

In Acts 2:17, in the last days I'll pour My Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old shall dream dreams. Now God wants to drop into your mind and imagination pictures and possibilities that He has dreamed up for you. See, He wants you to operate prophetically. That means that you are open to inspiration and Holy Ghost-inspired ideas. How is it that you move in the gifts of the Spirit? One of the ways you move in the gifts of the spirit is you open your heart in faith towards the Lord; He drops a picture into your mind. Notice He gives a picture, a picture of something and as you begin to act on that scene and begin to give voice to it, then miracles take place. Lives get changed, prophetic utterances take place, so moving in the spirit you've got to engage your imagination. Your mind and imagination has to be engaged and open to the Holy Spirit for input.

But the Bible's very clear that in the last days the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh, and the result of that is prophetic. You begin to see possibilities. You see things that God drops into your heart, divinely inspired dreams. Jeremiah 29:11 He says I know the thoughts I think of you, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a hope or something you look forward to. So in heaven before you were assigned into the earth, God wrote out and wrote a plan of the things that He designed you to accomplish. The only way that you can receive those is if you open yourself to prophetic flows from heaven to come into your life. We need to hear the voice of God, so our imagination is the area the Spirit of God drops things into. He drops them into our spirit; they rise up and you see them. An idea comes and as you begin to mull over that idea and agree with God's thoughts, then you position yourself for change to take place. So our walking in the spirit is about listening and being prompted by the Holy Spirit, and allowing the word of God to begin to shape the way we think and view life and view our future.

That's very, very powerful. Now I want to really develop that part another time. I'll do that and just to pick up that whole area of receiving prophetic input, of the area of the imagination and possibilities, because if we're going to grow we must break out of current thinking and expand our thinking. You've got to come to greater thoughts, bigger thoughts, expanded thoughts. One difficulty in living in a small rural area is that you tend to lock into little thinking, and you interact a lot of the time with people who are in a very self-centred little world. And when you're in that world that people - if you interact with that too much then you begin to become small and you're just concerned about yourself as well. But God wants us to have a vision of greatness, of great things, of what could take place in our community. What could we do? Oh, immediately the imagination come up: it's too hard. You can't do that. So there are imaginations that lock us up with unbelief that we could do things that are really significant, and we must decide that we're going to push past those and begin to develop different ways of thinking, be open to other possibilities from God.

Okay, so one source of imaginations is the Holy Ghost. He wants us to get locked in there. Here's another source of imaginations and that's wicked spirits, evil spirits. How do evil spirits trouble us? How do they afflict us? Why? What they do is this. They impose upon your thought life and they drop pictures into your mind, images of things that they want you to ponder on and think on. When they drop the image in, then you feel overwhelmed by that at the moment and you're not aware of the presence of God, so when temptation comes or these vain imaginations come out of the demonic realm, they invade you and they begin to fill your mind and emotions and you begin to picture things. So for example you may begin to start to think about a certain person. Fear strikes your heart, then you begin to fear this conflict you're going to have with them. You begin to [unclear 00.09.58] Before you know it you're working out in your mind this imaginary conversation you're going to have and how it's all going to work out. You end up being carried by an imagination that causes great fear to rise in your heart.

The doctor comes and says something and before you know it you've got imagination and you're dreaming there; you're at your grave and you're already watching them bury you. Your mind sort of went away somewhere instead of actually anchoring on what God says about our life. So that's how demons come and afflict us. They drop imaginations in. For example you take Eve, in Genesis 3:1-6. It said - this is what the devil did. This is how he always does it. He said did God say you shouldn't eat that? So the first thing he does is challenge the truth. See, he challenges the truth, and then he begins to put a picture in your mind. He said look at that tree. You know what? If you eat that you will become like God. Oh really? I like that - and then she began to look at it, whoa and began to think about it. Wow! Like God? Yeah, yeah, that's pretty good, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then she took and she ate.

Then when she'd eaten she gave it to someone else, and this is what happens with vain imaginations. A thought comes into your mind, you begin to ponder on it, before you know it you've gone down there and you've eaten it. You've taken it in, you've taken it onboard, you start to talk and now you're talking with someone else and now you're starting to give it to them. So for example you hear a story about someone. You haven't stopped to hear whether it's the truth or not. You suddenly get these thoughts in your mind. Before you know it you've got all these imaginations about some person you've never even talked to to establish the truth. One of the greatest reasons we have conflicts in relationships is people get ideas in their mind what the other person thinks or wants or is really on about. We get an imagination. We fail to actually check out the truth, the facts and ask the questions. We just let the imagination build in our mind and we're wound up before we even talk to them. That happens all the time, all the time.

This is the strategy the devil uses, and just in case you think that was Old Testament, in 2 Corinthians 11:2 Paul says I'm afraid and concerned for you Corinthians, because I espoused you to Christ as a virgin to a groom. He says I'm concerned lest the same way the devil beguiled Eve, your minds will be corrupted from just a simple trust relationship with the Lord. So he's very clear it's possible for us to entertain thoughts that take us totally out of the way that God wants us to walk. How many know, how many can recognise and admit I've done it many times? See, we've all done it many times. Man, you get wound up, you think that person - they don't like me. They don't like me. Where did that thought come from? You don't even know, you've never even asked them. You ever went up and asked them do you like me? You never asked that. You just assumed they didn't like you, then before you know it [unclear 00.12.49] I don't like them either. Before you know it you've gone down some path, you shouldn't be there.

Or someone says something about someone else and you don't even stop to listen and check out whether it's true. Why are you telling me this? Have you checked the facts? Why aren't you praying for the person? You take it onboard: ooh, wow. Add a little bit to it. It grows in your mind. You tell someone else. Before you know it there's gossip and slander, all kinds of things going on. That's how it all works. Okay then, so one source of ideas and imaginations is the Holy Spirit. One source is the devil. Another source is your own heart, your own heart, ooh oh ooh, your own heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, very clearly it says keep your heart with all diligence, for out of your heart is where your life flows. Your life flows out of the things that are in your heart; not out of what your education is, not what your financial position is. It flows out of what you believe truly in your heart. If you believe, if you have embraced a belief in your heart that no one likes me, every place you go you'll find conflict in your relationships and people turning against you.

If you believe in your heart it's always my fault, I'm always to blame, everywhere you go you'll have problems in your relationships. You'll become the place that blame is laid every time. The Bible's very clear, what's in your heart determines how you will live out your life, so you've got to really watch what's in your heart and guard what's in your heart. Now there are several things, so there are some things in your heart. There are two lots of things can be in your heart and what you want to do is cultivate one and get rid of the other. So what can be in your heart can be very good. We can have dreams and desires and hopes and aspirations. Of course if you live under control, then you may come to believe well no one's ever interested in what I feel and what I want. I've just got to go along with the crowd. That is an imagination and it brings a bondage to your life, and you'll never explore the dreams and desires you have, but God wrote desires into your life.

He wrote gifts into your life. He wrote dreams into your heart, and you've got to actually discover what God's put in your heart. It's your heart, your life, your dreams, your desires. You've got to discover them and identify them. As you identify them and own them, the Bible says in Philippians 2:13, it's God works in you both to desire and will and to want and to purpose and to do of the things that please God. So we're waiting for the will of God. Sometimes the will of God is already written in desires you have in your heart, longings you have in your heart. But you've got to get them out of your heart and begin to dream them and then begin to get the dream into practical steps, so if we're going to move in the realm of prophetic flows from God and into the realm of the faith you've got to one, be able to hear from God and two, you've got to actually access the things God's putting in your heart, or you'll never be able to actually own your life. You're always living out someone else's dream.

Many children live out the dream their parents have for them instead of discovering their own dreams. You understand? So training children is about discovering what God's put in them and helping them move towards the thing God gave them. So one area of the dreams of our heart are really good, but there's another heart - the Bible says that also out of the heart of man comes defiling things. So the second thing that comes out of the heart of man, you think them up yourself because you've got issues in your heart and that is, it says - I'll give you the verse. Here it is in Mark 7:21, for from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts. So some imaginations arise from stuff in your own life you need to get cleaned up. Some imaginations are dreams and visions given from God; some imaginations are dreams that come out of your heart that God has put in there, wired in you. Some imaginations come from the demonic realm to try and derail you, get you off track, and some dreams come out of actually issues in your own heart.

So what'll happen is because you're always under observation the demonic realm can see the issues of the heart and they can actually exploit you and manipulate your fears and your beliefs and set things up to get you going, get you stirred up. Some people, if you watch them for a little while you know what stirs them up, what presses their button. Isn't that right? You know, and you know what'll happen? While you've still got that button there it's going to be pressed all the time: press, press, press, [unclear 00.17.19]. You come out of your corner like that. You know, I don't know what your button is. It could be anger, it could be resentment, could be lust, could be rejection, could be self-pity, could be alcohol, could be any kind of thing, but all the devil's got to do is come along, see the button, push and away you go! Because you're controlled by that unresolved, un-dealt with issue of the heart. That's why it's important to deal with issues of the heart and the way we think and how we [work. 00.17.44]

So here we go, so some of the things that get in the heart, I'll just drop them out for you and I'll look at them another time, just straight out undisciplined thoughts; thoughts of fear - what's going to happen? What's going to happen? That house may not come true! The church prayed, it didn't come true, oh God You've let me down! I mean all of that kind of stuff. It goes on. Don't think it doesn't go on and don't think they didn't think that. They would have had to battle those kinds of thoughts, got the whole church praying and it got worse. Please don't pray for me again! [Laughter] You understand? Because of the wrong imaginations, see immediately it surfaces in the heart, oh God's going to let me down and these things come up. So sometimes they're just things, undisciplined thoughts, so here you are. You're going to go to have this appointment. All the time you're going you've got all these thoughts and you mentally run through how it'll all run. By the time you get there you're in a major state - and you haven't even spoken a word yet, because you've mentally done a run through the thing and got your imaginations [tied away. 00.18.42]

Fear, fear is an imagination of the future that's very, very bad for you. In spite of that God says God has not given us a spirit of fear, but fear when you let them run your life, they create imaginations, pictures of the future that are really bad and you just cringe inside and draw back. So that's one of the areas. Another area is the area of fantasy escapes, comforts, just finding a place. That's one area that things come. Another area is memories of past hurts, memories of past hurts. When you've been hurt in the past you have a memory of something that really hurt you and something comes nearby that looks like it and you suddenly get stirred up again. All the imaginations come back up again. You begin to see yourself having the same thing happen again; then you get wound up. A lot of people get wound up quite easily you know. They can't work out - lovely Christians, they get wound up, do these weird things, because they've got issues of the heart not dealt with.

Then the other one is ungodly beliefs or attitudes, ungodly things, beliefs we formed when we were growing up that we never realised were there, like a belief of abandonment: I'm all on my own. No one really looks out for me. Now you try to walk with God with that belief in your heart. You can't because at crunch points that imagination will come up and you'll always, it'll wrestle against you knowing that God never leaves you, never forsakes you. So we do have to deal with the issues of our own heart, so today I want to just address one thing and I want to look at it. There are two areas we're going to go to but one today, and the first is that we need to engage in warfare. 2 Corinthians 10 says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down. That's demolishing by exercising force. If you have a mind that runs away on you you have to get management of those thoughts by force. You will have to assert yourself. A passive mind is the devil's playground.

You've got to actually assert force when vain imaginations begin to rise up, because if you don't beat them they will talk to you and take you somewhere you'll have to say sorry to the Lord afterwards. Come on, you don't want to go there. You don't want to be saying sorry all the time, we want to get victory, get dominion. So the first thing is we must engage in warfare. We must engage in warfare to confront the thoughts, to confront the things that get in our mind and to bring the word of God on and make them submit to the word of God. Now that's actually a daily discipline for every believer. I tell you now, many of the problems you have are because you've never got to do this for yourself, and we rely on a Sunday meeting to do it for us. It's not going to happen. On a Sunday meeting you'll experience the presence of God. You'll be lifted up in your spirit. You may get inspiring word that begins to speak to you, but when you walk out you have to deal - it's your mind, your thoughts, your imaginations, your responsibility. Your life will reflect what you give yourself to thinking about. Getting the idea?

So number one, there's a warfare. You must engage in warfare. That means bring into captivity the thoughts. You've got to get a hold of them. To bring them into captivity means you shut them down and stop them running your life. Getting the idea? Okay, here's the second thing we need to do. We need to also renew the mind. Romans 12:2 says don't be conformed to the world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. In other words don't let the way the world walks press you into it's shape. Don't copy what others are living their life like. You're called to live it differently. You're never going to be quite like everyone else. You are different and you're called to be different so be different. Dare to be different. Dare to be yourself! Dare to be who God made you to be. Just dare to live your life boldly, without living under the fear of what everyone's thinking. If I'm worried about what people are thinking all the time, something I cannot have control over, vain imaginations will drive me into fear, I can't please the Lord.

The Bible says very clearly, Galatians 1:10, if I seek to serve men or please men I can't be the servant of the Lord, so to serve the Lord I've got to get over pleasing people and begin to own what God says about me and my life, and you and your life. Getting the idea? Okay. I want to just tackle just the one thing then, and that is how to wage a war against vain imaginations. How do you wage the war? The only good war is the one you win. Next week we'll look at then how you actually deal with the renewing of the mind, so these two things, the waging a war against the thoughts which come against you and rise up in your mind, and then renewing your mind systematically; these are the ways you get to cleanse your imaginations. So one, you have to engage in an act of war; two, you've got to look at the way you think and what you're like, and begin to renew that consciously and systematically with the word of God. We'll look at that side next week.

I want to just give you some of the weapons that you use now. Now many times what happens is a thought comes into our mind and we begin to start to go along that thought. Now it can be a thought of a situation, it can be some kind of picture, mental picture you get. Maybe it's some unclean thing, maybe it's some memory that you've had in the past, some kind of thing, but pictures come in the mind. How many have had pictures come in the mind? How many have had them come when you're worshipping God? Most foul things come when you worship God sometimes, because you're engaging in warfare and they come - firstly the thought comes to fill your mind. Then secondly, straight after that comes an accusation: well what kind of grubby Christian are you thinking that? Here you are worshipping. You're a hypocrite! [Laughter] I'm a hypocrite. I think I should come up in the altar call. No, you shouldn't. You should need to get a hold of your mind and don't let your mind get dominated like that! Recognise it happens to everyone, no exceptions. No exceptions.

There are times when unpleasant, tormenting, invading thoughts come in at the least convenient time, and you have to wage a war against them. Now most people say something like this: I shouldn't think that. I shouldn't think that. I shouldn't think that. Ooh, I'm thinking that. Ooh, I shouldn't think that - no, no, no. I mustn't think that! Ooh, I'm thinking that. I mustn't think that. Ooh, ooh there's something attractive about the thing - and you find before you know it you're dreaming that you've gone down that route. How many have found that? Because you're tackling it the wrong way. You know if I put a sign up there, wet paint, do not touch, then walk out and leave you here, leave you here alone, do you know what's going to happen? You'll be able to see that thing. You'll see it, you'll touch it. [Laughter] If I had a box here, a big box, do not open, secret, and just left you here [laughter] it's absolutely certain the majority of people will become obsessed with the box. [Laughter] The whole room, all these things in here, but the box will be the thing they'll be obsessed about.

Do you know why? Because there's a law and laws do not bring freedom. They just point out you've got sin operates in your life. The more you at that thing don't do it, the more you want to do it. I shouldn't - but I want to! I shouldn't - I want to! Oh, I will! [Laughter] Sorry Lord, I won't do it again. [Laughter] What goes on? You're not going to win that way. How many know that you didn't win that way? You've never won that way, because the [law's 00.26.06] got no power to set you free. The Bible says our weapons of our warfare are not carnal, they are MIGHTY THROUGH GOD! So that means God has given us weapons. You have to use them, but you have to depend on the Holy Spirit for it to work, so there's got to be a faith element behind what you do. So here's one of the things you can do. When you've got unclean and unpleasant pictures come up in your mind, instead of actually saying I shouldn't think on that look at the thought and take the blood of Jesus Christ. The Bible says the blood of Jesus is one of our weapons of warfare.

The blood of Jesus speaks, so take the blood of Jesus Christ, mentally roller it over the whole thing until that picture has now been overcome by the blood of Jesus Christ. All you're seeing is the blood on that thing now, and every time it tries to get light back again instead of saying I'm not going to think that, you just begin to apply the blood over it until that picture vanishes. And what you do instead of trying to stop the picture appearing, you allow the picture to be there and you paint over it. You use your imagination. You use the blood of Jesus Christ, see it demolish that thing: By faith I demolish that picture now! Yes! You will be amazed how doing that will just cause the picture to vanish. It just causes it to vanish just like that. The Bible says we overcome the devil by the blood of the lamb, Revelations 12:11, and the word of our testimony. So applying the blood to unpleasant images really does shift them. It really shifts them and it shifts them real quick.

Here's another thing you need to do. You need to speak and declare the word of God, speak and declare the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 says that the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. Now you actually have to speak it, speak God's word. Now a lot of people are quiet. SPEAK GOD'S WORD! You know, how do things get into the life? You dream about them and then you speak them and they start to have life when you speak them, so you've got to take the word of God, SPEAK IT! That's how Jesus overcame the devil. He spoke the word of God. You need to speak God's word over your life, declare over your life the truth: I'm the servant of the living God. I belong to Jesus Christ. You've got to declare what God says. You agree with what God says, start to speak it over your life, develop a pattern in prayer of speaking the word of God over your life. You'll be amazed how your inner man begins to stand up, YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! It's true! But you have to decide to do that.

No one can your mouth work for you. No one can make your mouth say the word of God. You've got to choose to speak the word of God, so speaking the word of God will make imaginations go. One of the ways you can do it is you can directly speak to the spirit behind it: You tormenting spirit, I take dominion over you. I bind you. I hold the blood of Jesus over you. Be gone! Just do that, just speak directly to the spirit. If demons are the source of some things confront them with the word of God. Use your authority. Take dominion. Don't just be pussy and roll over and [unclear 00.29.18]. [Laughter] [That's right.] Come on, stand up on the inside. Get the weapons of warfare. Come on, don't be meek and mild, stand up. There's a lion in there needs to overcome. It's no use thinking you're going to take the world if you can't take your own mind! [No!] Okay, here's the last couple and then we're finished.

Okay, speak and declare the word. Here's another one: praise the Lord. Begin to praise God when the thoughts come. I tell you what, but you've got to make it vocal. You've got to express it out. Psalm 8:2 says you have ordained or you have appointed praise. God is designated praise to do something, to still. That means to cancel an operation, to stop something that is progressing, to break down the power of something to influence you - to stop the work of the enemy and the avenger or accuser. That is why it's impossible if you are praising God strongly to have your mind invaded with junk. When you stand up and begin to consciously praise the Lord and speak out strong, sing out strong, express strongly through - it's impossible for demonic things to remain around you. The presence of God comes into that. The Bible says in James 4:7 humble yourself under the hand of God, resist the devil. He will flee from you. You've got to do something.

So be aggressive and assertive. Praise the Lord. If the devil comes and every time he comes you just end up praising the Lord he's going to give up on that strategy real quick. Okay, another way you can deal with it is praying in tongues, praying in the spirit. When you pray in tongues your spirit man is stirred so [Prays in tongues 00.30.54]. Then speak the word of God. Finally the other thing is quite a simple, very practical one. Just refocus your thoughts somewhere else - really practical, just focus your thoughts somewhere else. Get busy doing something different. Just redirect your thoughts somewhere else, because what you focus on your life opens up to. In Matthew 6, I think verse 22, it says whatever is the light of your eye it'll shine light into your whole body. See, the eye is the lamp of the body, so if you'll direct your focus somewhere else, so if you're here and your mind's starting to go into a mess DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING! It's going to drag you somewhere you don't want to go!

Instead of being dragged away by temptation and vain imaginations into rejection and self-pity and depression, all that kind of thing, do something! Just DO SOMETHING because the weapons of our warfare, they are not carnal. They are mighty through God, mighty through God, mighty through God [applause] and you pull down that thing that came against you! Tear it down! Tear it down! Tear it down! If you suffer from rejection tear it down! Tear it down! Tear it down! Wage war on it, tear the thing down. Tear it down! How are you going to tear it down? Hold the blood over it. Speak the word of God over it! Praise the Lord in the midst of it! Redirect your attention somewhere else. You can do it. You're called to do it. You need to do it. Your future depends on it and ours does too, because we need you to break through. We need you to break through so you will influence the people God called you to influence.

We need you to break through inferiority, passivity, poverty thinking, rejection thinking, self-pity thinking, victim thinking, fear thinking. We've got to break through those things. You have to assert yourself to break through them and use the weapons God gave you. Jesus didn't leave us defenceless you know. Hey, I love this. He said don't be afraid of what's in the world, I've overcome the world. I'm with you. I'll help you. I'm here to help you advance the kingdom. As the Father sent Me I am sending you. As the Father sent Me, you're a sent person. You need to understand that about yourself. Well you say I don't feel sent, nobody sent me to the mission field. Listen, the moment you walk through that door you're in your mission field. The Father has sent you. You are sent. You are on assignment from God, an answer to someone's problem. It's your job to discover the assignment and to position yourself so you can have influence. That's your job. My job is to help you to do it. Your job's to do it.

I wonder what it is that you have yielded to, what fantasy has attracted you away from boldly standing up and fulfilling the call of God? That thing you need to come today and repent of it, but we need to break the power of your agreement with that demonic thing. Whatever thought, what imagination has been around your life that's afflicted you, that's held you in bondage, you know what it is. Why don't you say today I'm not putting up with it any more. Today I'm going to begin to enter the warfare for my mind and my life.

[File ends 00.34.12]

Renewal of the Mind (4 of 4)  

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Renewal of the Mind (4 of 4)

Renewal of the Mind (4 of 4) Mike Connell 31.08.2008 am

Okay, let's open your Bible at 2 Corinthians 10. I was just praying, God, you've got to [unclear 00.00.06]. I've got to finish this one today. I don't want to not finish it and I got really - funny thing when you're preparing messages, often I get touched very deeply myself. I want to just share this with you. It's going to help you. We've been sharing on the imagination. How many people's imagination has been stirred over the last few weeks? How many people have found you've got a lot of stuff going on there that shouldn't be going on there? [Laughs] How many have found that as you start to dream and think you go places and sometimes you think how do I get out of here? I need to come back, come back - and with daydreams and all kinds of things that go on or thoughts that go on. And so we talked about the imagination and how God has given you an imagination to be a creative faculty in your mind for the Spirit.

So imagination's a wonderful ability God has given to picture something that hasn't yet been, and then to be able to work towards bringing it about. So your imagination is very linked to your capacity to have vision for your life, and we saw also the imagination can be defiled. The imagination can end up where we're living out in fantasy world, a world of unreality where what's in our mind and what we're imagining is absolutely not true. It's not connected to the reality we're living in at all and if you get too far out there they lock you up. But it's the imagination gone out of control, and we do have times when imaginations go out of control and you've got to guard that. So we then looked at the area last week, we were looking at the whole area of our warfare, how to deal with the imagination, cleanse the imagination. A key verse was 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; for though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations - you have to tear them down - every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

So we saw then that there's warfare goes on for you mind. Whatever controls your mind has got control of your life. If fear controls your mind then your life is governed by fear and not by faith. If vain imaginations govern your mind they will lead you to places you shouldn't go, and so vain imaginations is a picture, an image or some kind of thought process in our mind which is devoid of truth. It's just not true. It feels like it when you're thinking about it, seems like it when you're thinking about it, but it actually is not true and it can lead you to all kinds of places. It can lead you into fear. The moment a doctor says something about your condition, immediately you know, you can imagine yourself at your own graveside. Suddenly you're there, and fear grips your soul and this can have a huge impact on your life just at that point a doctor made some assessment of you. Imaginations lead to confusion. We lead all kinds of thoughts all over the place and we get confused about what's the right thing to do about the path we should take.

Vain imaginations make you self-conscious; what are people thinking of me? They're all looking at me. They're thinking about, they're talking about me. You start to think that way too long, you're very self-conscious and inward looking at yourself. The other think that vain imaginations can do is they can cause us to project out self-importance. We think we're very, very important and we project out we're very important. You can usually tell if someone's projecting out vain imaginations because there's a fruit shows in their life, so if someone's projecting out self-importance when you're with them you don't feel built up. You feel put down, even if not much is said because you feel the content of what's emanating out of their life. Sometimes and a real danger and a danger for us as Bay City, a real danger is where because we have certain knowledge or experiences in God, that we begin to perceive that we are somehow better than other people, other Christians, other churches. It's always a danger.

The more the experiences you have, the more difficult it is to remain in a place of humility because there's a tendency to think because of my experiences I have a greater revelation, greater insight, greater [knowledge, 00.04.25] and actually it projects - self-importance comes out and this does not build people. It puts them down and it divides them. I can remember being associated with certain streams of churches and they had certain teachings. Those teachings promoted self-importance, certain doctrinal emphasis; we're the people of God. We're the end time people. We're the sons of God. We're this, we're that, we're whatever, and it produces a self-importance. It's a vain imagination and it actually hinders unity; it hinders us being effective for Christ, so there's all kinds of vain imaginations lead to all sorts of things, lust, witchcraft, all that kind of stuff.

And so we talked about last week how to deal with vain imaginations, and I said that there were two parts to it: one part of it is the warfare to discipline and sort through what you're thinking and manage your mind. We talked to you a little bit about that and one of the things that happens so commonly, I guess this would be the most common thing that happens everywhere, is people make assumptions. A thought comes into your mind, you assume something about the other person and fail to check out whether what you've assumed is true. Before you know it you're in a vain imagination: they don't like me. They're not treating me right. They're this, they're this, they're this. Most relationships break down because of vain imaginations and people just never ask questions, check the facts. So you have to discipline your thought life and last week we shared with you some of the keys how to cleanse your imagination from pictures, how to take hold of thoughts as they come and to deal with them.

Today I want to share something that goes a bit deeper than that. I want to talk about the renewal of your mind, the renewal of your thinking, the cleansing of your imagination by renewing what's going on inside you. I want to share with you a few things that will help you because when we think about the renewing of the mind many times we think well I know what all that is about, but it's up to the Holy Spirit to take away the things that are bad in my life. And so if I just open up to the Holy Spirit, He'll just remove the bad things. Of course that's not true. He doesn't work that way at all, so what I want to do is I want to do this in two or three steps. I want to first of all explain to you how your memory works. I want you just to understand how God designed you to work, because He's not going to violate how you're designed to work, so if we just understand how our memory works, how God has wired us to operate, then we're going to look at how the Holy Spirit initiates healing of things that have been painful in our lives.

Then I want to look at what your part is in renewing your mind, so three things. So we'll look at the first thing then, is first of all I want to look just about how your memory operates and it's quite helpful. It operates on the basis of three things: one is impressions, two is repetition and three is association. I'll explain each of these in a moment. First of all your mind operates or your memory operates off impressions. That's how a memory is stored. How does it work? What happens? Well when you have an experience it's stored in your mind as a memory, so every experience you've ever had there was some storage of it took place in your mind. The information is passed into your mind along electrical paths called neurons. They're just like an electrical circuit, that's all it is. The information comes in, passes on and goes into your mind and then it's stored inside there.

What causes a memory to be deeply impacting in your life is if there's a lot of emotion with it. Take note of that because you're going to find this is an important thing when it comes to dealing with our inner life. When something you experience has a lot of emotion with it it actually is more deeply embedded in your memory than almost any other. If there's no emotion with it it isn't embedded in your memory very much, so for example you think of your first kiss - a lot of emotion with that. You remember when and where and how, just only one kiss but you remember it. It was impacting because there was a strong emotion came with it, so any experience you have which strongly affects your emotions will make a stronger impression, a stronger marking in your life. If you have a traumatic experience then what happens then is there's a huge imprint left inside your mind by the traumatic experience. The way God has wired your mind is it doesn't just go to one place, its spread all over the mind in different parts. That's what makes it sometimes hard to recall it and bring it back. It's spread out.

So the first thing is impressions; whatever experience, the impression it makes on you, if it's a deep impression you tend to remember it. If it's got feelings associated with it you'll remember it even more, so often you'll find you'll remember something, you'll hear something and then you'll remember something and then there's emotions come back to mind. Okay, so the first thing is impressions, so the deeper the impression an experience has on you, the more it's embedded in your mind, the less likely you are to forget it. If it's a major one and traumatic, then it'll embed deeply in your mind like a crack and a fracture. It'll be spread across the various parts of your mind and it's recorded there and it's just there - and it doesn't go away. It doesn't go away. It doesn't go away. The second thing to realise is the power of repetition, so God has designed us that if we repeat things what happens is it goes something like this.

If you drive a car along the same spot all the time you'll start to find there are ruts in the road. When we went to Rome we went down some of the roads in Rome or one of the other places, Pompey. In Pompey there's actually ruts where the chariots went. You can actually see the rut, so if you try and drive a chariot there it'll fit into the rut and then it'll just go down the rut. Once it's in the rut it's not easy to get it out. So what happens is with a memory, you have an experience. There's a track of neuron paths created within your brain, and then if you keep having that or you repeat it the same track is formed, formed, formed, formed, formed. It goes deeper and deeper and deeper, until in the end you've got now something embedded into your mind and you don't have to think about it any more. You just drop into the rut and away you go, for example, how many of you have found like for example you're driving to work. You drive to work every day and then you get in the car and start to point it that way, then before you know it you're there and you haven't even thought through how you got there? It's just like it's now become such a habit that you get in the rut and when you point in that direction something subconscious takes over. It's the imprinted memory, the rut and away you go.

I've even had it where I've meant to go somewhere else and I started heading towards the church and ended up going to the church, thinking what did I do that for? Because I was no longer conscious. It was unconscious, subconscious. Getting the idea? And so for example if things have no emotion with them you've got to repeat them to memorise them. Say for example you want to learn the times tables, you have to keep repeating them and you repeat them and you repeat them and you repeat them. Eventually, after repeating them enough it's just locked into your mind. It's like there's a mental rut, a neuron path deep enough to contain that thing and you just immediately have got it. Now this is all stuff, its simple stuff isn't it? But you have to understand how this operates, so we've got that, how we memorise things when we first of all have an experience, it forms a path in the mind and if you repeat the experience then the path goes deeper and deeper and deeper.

Now of course the thing is if there is emotion with that experience then that path becomes quite deep and it becomes quite set into your mind. Then there's the next thing. The third thing is - so first of all we have the impression that's made by an experience we have. Then if we repeat the experience it begins to set into our mind, and then the third thing is association. Now that's the important one now, because what happens is we begin to - things aren't just in isolation. They are connected. One thing is connected with another, so associated means one thing connects with another. Now what happens is that one thing in your mind is connected to another, so one can trigger off the other and you'll see how this works. I'll explain it exactly in a moment. Now what is recorded in your mind in a memory is this: in the memory is recorded the experience you had, but the thing that's mainly recorded is not just the event itself but the emotions you felt as you experienced it.

They are recorded and remember, if it's a strong emotion it's a strong impact in your mind. Also recorded in there is your reaction, so if you had something happen to you and then you felt fear and you leapt and reacted in fear, that is recorded. Getting the idea? And then the fourth thing that's recorded in there is what you believed, or how you perceived this thing that happened to you. Okay, got it? The experience, the feeling that was there, how you reacted, and then what you believed about it, how you interpreted it. So for example, a young child is growing up and the family breaks up, and so for a long period of time he feels conflict between mum and dad. He may not understand what it is all about but in his emotions he's deeply affected, and so he remembers. What does he remember? He remembers conflict. He remembers pain, and he believes this is unsafe, I've got to do something. And maybe he chooses to hide.

Now all of that's built in; then the parents leave and now suddenly, traumatically, the father's gone and so he believes as a result of that trauma, then he believes in his heart a couple of things. One, conflict is really bad. It's unsafe; two, people will leave you and you're on your own, and maybe other kinds of things as well. Now you understand, so that's wired into the heart. Now what do we try and do? Well we try and control it all and bury it all, and we try and push it all under. And what we do is something called like this: move on with my life. The dilemma is when you try to move on with your life you have an imprint, a record in your memory of the event, of the emotion, of the reaction you made and of what you came to believe about that situation.

Now it's still all stuck in there. Now anything that reminds you or is associated in any way with that will trigger up the emotions, so for example you may just be in a situation and then there's a little bit of a conflict takes place and immediately an overwhelming fear is there. Why is the overwhelming fear there? It's only a little conflict - but you understand that you're not reading a little conflict. Your mind is remember and associating, this is dangerous, this is my world is going to fall apart. They're going to leave me, this is what's going to happen to me, and a huge reaction takes place. Many people for example react in anger and they don't even know - their anger just is a whoosh! It's just burst out. Now why did it suddenly burst out? Some of you who are married, you'll have situations that you're trying to cover up or trying to deal with, trying to work with and what'll happen is a little thing will be said and suddenly there's this huge emotional reaction; grief or tears or anger or fear, or a reaction of some kind.

But it's not what you're dealing with just there. It's actually deeper than that. It's some stuff you've never resolved and the moment you experience that feeling, immediately you lock in on the other feelings and the whole lie associated with it is up there, and now you're into a vain imagination. And you're no longer able to resolve your relationships, [not able 00.16.04] to work things out because now there's an illusion is operating. It's partly true, it's not the whole truth. You understand what we're talking about here? Oh, we're all getting very quiet now. Tell someone, I know he's talking to you, you just need to listen up on this one. We'll talk how you get out of it in a moment. So you may see a person and suddenly a wave of fear is triggered. You think what on earth is that? You may have a little experience and suddenly there's a wave of emotion is triggered, and you can't even work out what is this connected to because what's happened is it's tapped into something stored in your memory, stored in your subconscious.

Now so how are we going to get rid of all the junk see, because that junk will feed your life and affect the way you operate, because as a man believes in his heart so he is. So for example most of us at some point come to conclusions about what we're feeling and experiencing. Now let me just throw out to you some beliefs that people hold onto, because the Bible says as a man thinks in his heart, that's how he'll run his life. That's how he is, and what happens is that we form ungodly beliefs. An ungodly belief is a belief or an expectation, or some kind of assumption or judgement and it's not true. It's just not true at all, but it feels true and you really believe it's true. And because you really believe it's true it's going to operate in your life. Will you be aware of it? Probably not, because it was buried a long time ago, yet you'll still operate in it and so that's why we find even though we've become a Christian, we still operate very much along similar ways to what we operated before we were saved.

Unless we let the Lord renew our heart and we work on renewing our mind, we will continue to operate like we always operated. This is why the work of the Holy Spirit is so vital and so important. Let me give you some examples of beliefs that people, an ungodly belief someone may have in their life that will affect how they relate and how they respond when things happen. Now remember, these beliefs were formed when the person had an experience and felt pain and came to a conclusion, even if it was a wrong one. You understand? So children come to wrong conclusions, so for example if the parents are in argument or fighting the child may actually assume I'm to blame, and so they have a belief in their heart I'm to blame. Any time there's a conflict you know what they believe? I'm to blame, and let me give you a few kinds of these things. I remember sitting with someone recently and they were talking to me and I asked them about a conflict that they'd had.

They described it each from their own point of view and one person began to talk and as they described it I said just wait, stop right there. Your assumption is that you are to blame. You actually haven't even heard what the problem is, but immediately you felt the conflict. Immediately what's coming up as soon as you had the feeling, immediately the belief came up and you're down an imagination. You're down a vain imagination and you're no longer connected to the person. You're not even part of solving it any more. You can't solve it any more because you haven't stopped to listen and sort it out. You've just come to this conclusion immediately, I'm to blame. It's a prevailing mindset or it's an ungodly belief. Let me give you a few typical ones that people have. Now you may actually identify one that you have. I know when I looked this person in the face and said wait, wait, wait. I want you to tell me what you feel when I tell you what you believe, and I told them what the person believed. As soon as I told them what they believed, immediately they started - there was weeping. Emotions are connected to the ungodly belief.

See how it works now? You have an experience. If there's a lot of pain with it then the experience is deeply embedded. You come to assumptions or reactions, and the whole deal is locked up inside. If it's repeated it reinforces, reinforces and becomes the way you run your life. It doesn't matter whether you're in church, Christian, you'll still run your life according to how you've been programmed inside over those experiences, and if you don't recognise that and begin to adjust it you will run through this terrible process where you're trying to serve the Lord, but you've got these repeated patterns in your life that do not seem to go away. You feel so condemned because you can't seem to get any better. Now God wants to help us not to get better, He wants to heal us. Getting the idea?

Here's a few typical ungodly beliefs: I don't belong, I'm always on the outside. No one cares what I feel. The best way to avoid hurt is to isolate myself. I'm the problem. There's something wrong with me. I'm bad. If people knew me they'd never accept me. No matter what I do it's not good enough. That's [the one too here, 00.21.06] it must be my fault. If anyone gets close to me they'll hurt me. God loves others more than me. I'll never have any money, I'll always be poor. My value is in what I do. You talk about what I do, immediately I'll react because you're attacking me. That's a weird thing isn't it aye? Here someone tries to give you feedback on your performance or how you're doing, and immediately you get all emotional. You know then that you believe that what you do is who you are, and they're attacking you so now you're going to defend yourself - fight or flight, get sulky and withdraw, or stand up and really have an argument and get angry and react, and not receive the feedback that would shift and change your life.

This is why Christians get very defensive when someone tries to give them feedback that would help disciple them, shape them so they can be productive. Instead of being able to receive it they become angry and offended and take it as an attack on themself, when it isn't at all. But that's how they've always seen life and unless they change how they see life, then they can't actually move on or progress. Very, very important these areas. Okay, here's a couple more: I'm unattractive or I'm ugly. I'm fat. I read about one young woman and when she was going through her teenage years the boyfriend that she had said you're fat. It got into her and she could hear that thing. Now remember, there's emotions involved and there's a judgement she came into agreement with. You know what happened? She got then this whole thing of bulimia. No matter how she looked at herself, I'm fat, I'm fat, I'm fat, I'm fat, I'm fat, there's something wrong with me, and so that belief inside began to drive this whole thing of bulimia. It was actually a lie, rooted in a lie that was believed because there were strong emotions with it. Getting the idea?

I'll give you a few more examples on the way. Okay then: I must guard my feelings. I need to plan everything in case something goes wrong. I'm sorry, that's a vain imagination. Plan, yes, but you don't have to have everything planned and worked out. You end up controlling everything and everyone, imposing your plan on everyone else so you can feel safe. See, vain imaginations will lead to all kinds of behaviour that destroys relationships. Never trust anyone, see? I must never make any mistakes, I'll get in trouble. All of these are kinds of beliefs. There's many, many beliefs people have and one of the most common ones is it's my fault, it must be my fault. So how does the Holy Spirit bring about healing of this? Now let's have a look in John 16. The church over the years has not done too good. We've kept ourselves open to the healing ministry and really worked since we first pioneered here; Joy and I really saw the need in our own lives for healing, emotional and relational healing. And so when we came here the Lord said I want you not to teach what you've taught before; I want you to open your life to learn keys and to understand how the healing of the heart takes place, because people are in need of healing.

So we began to learn a few keys like that. Now what I noticed and observed in some church streams - it's less common now - they would say something like it's all under the blood. That was a convenient way of not actually identifying what the problem was, taking responsibility for it and dealing with it. True legally the blood of Jesus has made provision for healing, but I have to actually appropriate the healing. If I have sinned I have to bring the sin specifically to the cross, confess it and believe to receive forgiveness. If there's something wrong or there's damage or brokenness in my heart I need to bring it out specifically with its emotions, feelings and beliefs to the cross to be cleansed and its power to be broken and the thing to be healed. But you can't just bury it and get on with it. It just - it's a losing way of trying to handle conflicts in life, because nothing's solved. It's buried and anyone who observes your life will see it coming up every time the same emotions are present, you'll immediately be triggered off and you'll behave the same way you always behaved. It's a bit of an issue isn't it?

So how does the Holy Spirit deal with it? Well what we'd like the Holy Spirit to do is to push the button, zap our brain, fry the memory and that's it, we don't remember any more! Thank You Jesus! Well of course you can do that on a computer; you take the file, push the button, delete, the file's gone. Unfortunately though anyone who's an expert with a computer can go back and find where that thing was and restore it back again. Go down there into the junk bin, there it is, sitting there waiting, you push the restore button and it's back again. It never got deleted, never left the computer, it's still in there. So we would like it to be that way, but this is how the Holy Spirit does it, John 16:13. However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth. Notice what He will do - He's called the Spirit of truth. That word truth is an unusual word. It's a word without anything covered or hidden or concealed, no hidden things, so He's the Spirit who doesn't tolerate hidden things.

It says when the Spirit of truth has come, He will do what? He will lead you into, or He will guide you into all truth; He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; He will tell you things to come. He can also tell you things of the past as well, so notice that word guide. That word guide means to accompany you on a journey and show you where and how to get there, so the Holy Spirit will accompany you on the journey into healing. It's His job to do the healing work in your life. Jesus said the Spirit of the Lord upon Me, He's anointed Me to heal the broken-hearted, see? So the Spirit of God is a healing spirit but the way He does His healing is He guides us or walks us into truth. Now here's where the problem comes. If you have lived your life burying your pain and controlling it, you have saved yourself. If you want to be healed instead of trying to control the brokenness and the damage; if you want to be healed you've got to abandon trying to save yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you where you may not want to go so Jesus can save you, because His name is the Saviour.

That word save means to heal, restore, deliver, rescue, make whole again, so His work of saving is more than just sin. It's about deliverance, it's about healing and restoration in the soul, it's about every facet of our life He has come to save us. He is a wonderful saviour and His salvation is full and complete - but to obtain it you must let the Holy Spirit lead you there. So Jesus said I won't leave you an orphan. I will send you the Holy Spirit. He's the Spirit of truth, won't leave anything [uncovered. 00.28.15] He will lead you into all truth, or He'll guide you or He will walk and take you down a path that will bring you to healing. But of course you have to co-operate. You've got to be willing to take the path, and the dilemma is most people don't want to take the path. You know why they don't want to take the path? It feels painful, and if I go there what will I feel? My life will get out of control. I can't afford to go there. I've got to keep control. No, you don't. Control is your way of trying to cope with something Jesus wants to heal and restore so you don't have to control it any more.

So you have the choice whether you control the pain, control what's in your heart, or whether you make a decision to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth. Now what happens is this. You start to talk about it, immediately feel the pain. As soon as you feel the pain, immediately now an imagination is running your life and you're going to do everything you can - no more pain. But the Holy Spirit will take you into that situation and change what it is. It's amazing how He does it. He's very, very simple the way He does it. This is how He does it: He brings you back into the memory. He brings something to your mind. He'll help you remember things. That's one of His jobs, to bring back to memory. The second thing is He helps you access the emotions of it. When you remember you begin to feel the emotions, you begin to cry or feel angry, or feel hurt or feel alone or whatever. Then He uncovers what the ungodly belief is underneath and here's how He does His healing.

So remember in order to get you healed in this part of your life He takes you back so you remember it, you feel it, you begin to realise what you believed all that time, then He heals it. And how does He heal it? He shows you what you never saw when you were going through it. He enlarges your vision and shows you something you never saw before, and now your understanding spiritually is opened and you can see oh, healing comes, new insight comes. You're different. It's completely different. I better give you some examples just to show you. It'll tell you how it worked. In the family I grew up in there was conflict and my - I would feel conflict. I'm a very sensitive person. I feel it very, very deeply and so every day I would feel that conflict and I would conclude this is bad! I would feel afraid and withdraw, and so I practiced withdrawing and some time later, recently, the Holy Ghost spoke to me, wanted to bring healing. And I said okay, let's go, and immediately I was at home and I was standing there in my bedroom and I was looking down a long corridor. I could see the house; I could remember the place. I remembered it vividly. If you'd asked me to remember it I wouldn't remember. The Holy Spirit took me there, I could remember it vividly, every detail of it.

I saw the Lord standing there and He had His hand out to me and He's saying I want you to come to that place of conflict. I actually physically recoiled and felt this horrendous fear, so now I was in the emotion. I was remembering it, I was feeling it and I was reacting to it just like always. He said I want you to follow Me, and the moment I said yes, I was in the kitchen in the situation and there was all the conflict. I could still feel it, but I felt something different. I felt two hands resting on my shoulders and I realised Jesus was right behind me. His hands were on me and His peace was just flooding me, and I was sitting there watching it all and it wasn't affecting me, and He said I am with you. And with that truth that Jesus was with me, with the feeling and the experience of Him there, the fear all left! What He did was He overwrote the old thing with something - the truth. I can still remember it. I can remember it vividly. I can remember it in detail, but the old memory is overridden with the truth; the latest updated memory is this: there's two hands on my shoulders and its okay. [Laughs] I'm alright thank you. [Applause]

See, see how He does it? I can share with you all kinds of people that we've prayed for and many of you here have already got testimonies of how God has helped in this area to bring healing, something the Lord's been doing, haven't made a big deal of it in the last year though. But I've seen a lot of people healed and set free, just encountering the Holy Spirit, encountering the Lord. A little while ago my son-in-law spoke how his father had been killed in front of his eyes when he was nine and he went back there where he'd never wanted to even talk about it, let alone go there. And when he went there Jesus appeared to him in that scene and overwrote the scene. Did he remember it? Did he feel things? Yes, yes, yes - but it was overwritten by something else. He saw the Lord and the Lord said it's not your fault, and the Lord touched him and ministered to him, and his last memory is one of freedom from that thing. Not bad aye?

I was looking at that scripture that I've just read out to you, the Holy Spirit - it says He was the Spirit of truth. He will guide you into all truth, and I began to look up the meaning of that word guide and it just means something like this. It means He will walk with you and accompany you, and take you where you need to go. He'll just be with you as well as showing you what to do, and immediately I started to weep. I thought oh, I've learnt now when you start weep God's trying to start you on something. So I just paused for a little while and then when I realised what God was trying to touch I was overwhelmed. Suddenly I had about six or seven different flashbacks from my life, just one after the other, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And every one of them was a similar kind of thing. I was having to do life alone, and the belief in my heart came up, I'm alone. I'm always on my own having to figure stuff out and do things, and the grief that came with it! Immense grief of trying to walk through life alone and face challenges, relationship struggles, difficulties alone, no one to connect to my heart.

And the Lord said I'm always with you. I'll never leave you. I'll never turn away - and I felt His presence in each one of those things. I just began to weep. You see the experience was overridden by a fresh experience. I was updated in truth, and so the belief system changed, the feelings changed and then the behaviour changes, so that's how God does it. But you've got to be willing to let Him go there, and the trouble is often we don't want to go there. But if you don't go there you remain broken and that's not God's plan for you. His plan is for you to be whole and restored, and not only that. His plan is - notice this, in Psalm 84:5 it says this: Blessed is the man whose strength is in the Lord, who passes through the valley of weeping and turns it into a wow! I can minister and bless others! God - your breakthrough, your healing, your point of restoration, that is a wow for someone else! It'll give them hope and it'll give them help.

Sometimes in that place when God is doing that thing we need to be delivered and need to renounce things, repent of things, forgive things and so on; He'll tell us what to do. Anyway I just want to move on, we've got to finish this. In James 1:21 He says this - so there it is. You've got to let the Holy Spirit come in, but also we need to work on renewing the mind and I want to give you just the keys for how your mind is renewed. In James 1:21 it says receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your soul. The word of God - this Bible here has got power to heal and restore your soul. There's power in that word to heal you. How can I get the word from here into me? He says well receive with meekness the engrafted word. That word engrafted is the same as having an implant. I had an implant, titanium implant. What they did was drill a hole in, they stuck an implant, screwed an implant in and then they left it. And about six months later the bone had grown around the titanium, and now the titanium is now in the jaw. Then you can build something on it.

So the engrafted word, the Holy Ghost puts the word inside our soul so that it begins to be engrafted into the soul. Then it becomes - it brings stability to us, but how do you do it? This is the beautiful part of it. This is the part I really love. How is it I can get the word of God and get it into my soul, engrafted in so it stays there and changes me? It's very simple. Once you've identified what the Holy Ghost has said to you or done to you, or shifted in you or spoken to you about, get two or three scriptures that confirm that or speak of that situation. Get two or three scriptures and you're going to graft them into your mind. Now how do you graft them into your mind? You graft it in two ways; you graft it in using your imagination. Would you believe it? The very thing that was your downfall now is something you use constructively to imprint the word of God in you. The second thing you use is your tongue, confessing. How do we do it? Well here's the first thing. You take the scripture and this is what you do; you take time - now notice this. You're going to see it all connects together.

You take time to picture the truth of scripture. You visualise it, picture it in your imagination. You see the scripture, so for example the Lord is with me, I will never leave you nor forsake you. What does it look like if Jesus is never going to leave me? I need to let my imagination create that truth in a picture form. See I'm not making something up; I'm taking the word and using my imagination to see it. And I just need to see that and see that and see that and look at it, and embrace it and hold it. The second thing I need to do is not just imagine how it looks; imagine how it feels. What does it feel like? What would it feel like to know that God is with me all the time? Picture Him and imagine what it feels - because remember what we saw, an experience coupled with a feeling will be embedded more deeply into your mind. So if you begin to imagine the truth of the word of God and imagine how it feels, and dwell there and then embrace it, see? Imagine what it is to see God loving you. How does it feel to be loved absolutely unconditionally?

You begin to imagine that. Your heart begins to open up and embrace the truth, and then you repeat it. Picture it, imagine how it feels, repeat it, and you just repeat it every day, every day, every day you repeat that scripture truth and it begins to implant into your mind. The second thing you do is you confess it. You speak it out of your mouth. The Bible says the words we speak are spirit and life, so I need to confess what God says about me. Confess it and hold it around my life; agree with it, speak it out. Confess it over my life. The Bible says in Hebrews 10 and it tells us in I think verse [23, 00.39.46] it says hold fast the confession of my belief and expectation. How long do you have to do that for? Well I'll give you an idea, really, really simple. There's a scripture in the Bible where it says that Satan is the lord of the flies, Beelzebub, lord of the flies. How many know that one? Okay, a fly's lifecycle is 40 days so repeat the cycle, repeat the meditation, repeat the confession of the scripture for at least 40 days until you break the lie.

The second thing about flies is they tend to lay eggs every six hours, so you should be meditating and repeating scripture over your life at least once every six hours. You really want to shift something in your life, set aside 40 days and two or three times a day you just go into that place of memorising the scripture, meditating in the scripture, imagining what it looks like, imagining what it feels like, speaking and confessing it over your life. You will shift your mind and heart and reprogram your mind so you are changed on the inside. Now who's going to do that? Well you've got to do that. We can depend on experiences, experiences are wonderful, but we need the word to fortify them so they grip and hold and last. What an amazing God we serve. He's designed us so that we can have a fantastic imagination; we can receive revelation from Him, we can draw up ideas from inside, we can create things that have never been seen. But that same imagination God gave us can be twisted and perverted and taken another way, unless we're willing to go there and let the Holy Spirit cleanse the imagination and we'll rise up inside and say Lord, I'll do my part too.

Father, we just thank You for this time, when You are teaching us how we can be totally changed. We thank You Lord that we are totally transformed when we are willing to renew our mind. I pray for every person here and those who are listening to this CD and hear this message and what you're listening on the internet, Father I pray that Your spirit would begin to remind them of situations, reactions, behaviours, ways of doing things that You're willing to help them find healing and deliverance and release from. I pray Lord You begin to work to bring things to memory, things that people have buried down because they were too painful. Give them grace to actually face them, and the belief systems and the wounds and whatever's under there and resolve it, and begin to renew the mind so we can begin to enlarge as people, enlarge as a people, enlarge and break out of limitations.

[File ends 00.42.43]


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