An “Exchange System” of Thoughts
I felt numb, but very peaceful. There was no doubt that God had supernaturally delivered me. I had never experienced anything like that in my life, and neither had I ever known anyone else who had experienced anything similar.
However, about noon on the third day I started having some of the same thoughts and feelings and fears that had plagued me so many times before. I was confused and frightened. I knew that what had happened in my deliverance was real, but why didn’t it take care of the problem? Why were some of the old feelings still plaguing me? (I am taking you through the entire scenario to explain the progressive steps I went through before I found lasting victory. Without understanding the process many people never go on to get total freedom.)
The Lord brought back to my remembrance the part of the vision where the cavity from the extracted tooth had to be packed. He impressed me that the packing was as important as pulling the tooth (the deliverance itself). It had not taken long at all to pull out the tooth, but the emphasis of the vision had obviously been on the packing because of the length of time it had taken to push the gauze into the cavity left throughout my body from where the infected tooth had been.
Somehow God revealed to me that the renewal of the mind was what the packing period in the vision had represented. Demon oppression had been delivered out of my mind and emotions, but now it was necessary that those holes not be left empty. They had to be packed with truth from God’s Word.
From that moment the Spirit of God supernaturally directed me step by step. I spent the next several months just sitting in a chair with my Bible and notebook in my lap, soaking up the Word. The Holy Spirit led me to see spiritual warfare revealed in Scripture like I had never seen it before. In fact, the things that the Lord revealed to me from His Word during those months are the very notes that the Lord had me later type up to use as a handout for people we would take through deliverance. I called that handout Things I Found Helpful in Keeping My Deliverance, because that is exactly what it was—information that was so simple, yet so crucial and indispensable that I couldn’t survive without it, even today.
Who Is Your Final Authority?
One of the things God spoke to me was that I must make the Word of God my final authority in every area of my life, and I remember how impossible that sounded at the time. I reasoned that there were things in the Bible that went so contrary to the world that I couldn’t imagine being able to function in this life while relying totally on the Word at the same time. It would be like trying to live in two different worlds simultaneously.
It was during this period of time that a friend invited me to go with her to hear a prophet who was ministering in this little church across town. I had never heard of a modern day prophet, and therefore, I was without a clue. To be honest, the only reason I consented to go was out of curiosity. The church was full and the only place I could find to sit was in the middle of one of the back pews, so I certainly was not in a conspicuous place.
During the ministry time the prophet pointed straight at me and asked if I would come forward, because the Lord had a Word for me. I had never heard a prophecy before. I had no idea what to expect, but I certainly was not anticipating the gamut of emotions that followed. The Lord began to say through this prophet:
God wants you to make up your mind that you are going to choose to believe His Word. God wants you to decide that you are going to make His Word your final authority. God just wants you to make a choice to believe Him over everything else. God wants you to make up your mind that from this day forth you are going to choose to believe His Word.
I don’t know how many times that was repeated (maybe once for each 10,000 times I had doubted the Lord!), but it sounded like a broken record and my first wave of emotion was embarrassment over what all these people must be thinking. Finally, I forgot the people and started listening to what was being said. God was telling me how to do what I had been told to do earlier. He was giving me the secret for making His Word my final authority. Instantly, something inside me just clicked, and I realized that it was merely a choice— just a simple decision to believe God’s Word, and I didn’t have to feel anything.
Standing there in that little church that night, I determined in my heart to make God’s Word my final authority—the most liberating thing I have ever done in my life. After I passed that first hurdle, the Word gradually started coming alive. God began to show me the schemes of the enemy over my life, and He spoke the words “exchange system” to me. As simple as this little exchange system sounds, it is the way in which we can win the battle against the enemy every time. No matter what the battle might be, every single time it will start in the mind and affect the emotions. It will be the same dynamics, no matter what area is being hit.
The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and life more abundantly.
Exchange Defeat for Victory
I am going to explain the exchange system in a nutshell because it is so effective. The Lord showed me to take every thought that did not line up with the Word of God—every thought that tried to steal my peace, rob my joy or destroy in any way—and exchange that negative thought for a thought from God’s Word. He impressed me that the exchange system works no matter what the thought might be—a thought of sickness, fear, despair, insecurity, jealousy, divorce, lust...whatever. I was to take the contrary thought and exchange it for a contrasting thought from God’s Word. That is exactly what Paul was writing to the church at Corinth.
Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and pull down the strongholds and lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God. -2 Corinthians 10:4–5
When I first started taking these negative thoughts captive, it took a great deal of time. At least ninety-nine percent of my thinking must have been influenced by fears, doubts, and insecurities... I was not necessarily a negative person, but I had formed habits of thinking on things that didn’t line up with the Word, and every one of those thought patterns had to be exchanged if I wanted to be set totally free. I learned that to walk in the Spirit meant I couldn’t go by sight or circumstances. Regardless of the situation, I had to choose to believe whatever God said.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:18
It was a relief to find out that those demon spirits were not indwelling my spirit man because my spirit man was indwelt by the Spirit of God. Those spirits of fear and doubt that had tormented me for so long were in my soulish realm (mind, will, emotions), and that was the part of me that had to be renewed after my deliverance. That was what the packing of the hole left by the extracted tooth represented in my vision.
Jesus said, “If I cast out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God can come upon you.”
What is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
No wonder I could never have peace and joy. My mind and emotions were so filled and cluttered with harassing spirits. Paralyzing doubts had left little room for righteousness, peace, and joy.
The Enemy Always Fights Back!
The enemy’s subtle trap is to put thoughts in a person’s mind, either directly in first person or through circumstances. For example, he puts thoughts like, “I think I’m having a heart attack . . . I don’t think I love my mate any longer . . . I don’t think my husband loves me”. . . and on and on! The fact that each thought is in first person makes one assume it to be his own thinking.
Also, the things that we see or hear will trigger a thought, and immediately that thought is accompanied with an emotion. We feel fearful, or we feel despair or jealousy, and at that point, we have to be on our toes and in the Spirit. Otherwise, we will be washed away, simply because we are so accustomed to operating out of our mind and our emotions.
The one thing that belongs totally to us is our will. Therefore God will not violate our will. Your will is like the switch—it is your instrument of exchange. I was reminded of Jack’s pickup truck with two separate gas tanks. He had a switch under the dashboard that would immediately transfer the engine over to the other tank when one tank ran low. That is a good analogy for our will. Our will is our switch. With our will we can switch over into the spirit by exchanging the negative thought with a thought from God’s Word. Or, we can continue dwelling on the negative thoughts. It’s our choice. Our will is the switch that can immediately take us from the physical to the spiritual—or to the soul (mind) and back again—depending on which level we choose to operate.
The Lord showed me to exchange every thought of fear for one of His scripture promises. I was to exchange every thought of sickness for one of His promises of health. Every thought of lack was to be exchanged for His promise of provision. One of my favorite promises of provision is what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church...
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. -2 Corinthians 9:8
Every thought of anger had to be exchanged for an opposite thought from His Word.
This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. -James 1:19–20
Every thought of inferiority had to be exchanged for a promise of who I am in Christ—every thought of doubt had to be exchanged for a faith promise—every thought of temptation exchanged for a promise of His strength and faithfulness—and on and on! God wants us to be able to say, as Jesus did in John 14:30, “The prince of this world is coming but he has nothing in me”— Not one of his evil spirits is controlling me.
Salvation is an act and then it becomes a process. In the same way, deliverance is an act and then a process. It is a one-time experience. But it is also an ongoing progression as God continually cleans us up. The more we get cleaned up, the more His peace and joy and righteousness can fill our being. Like I said earlier, this process is what made up the long packing part of my vision, after the badly infected black tooth (demonic oppression) had been removed.
Something wonderful began to evolve as I put this exchange system into operation. I began to experience a love walk that I didn’t even know existed. When I saw the kind of love that would keep on loving me—after I had turned my back on Him, I was overwhelmed. He never left me or forsook me through all those years, and He kept drawing me by His Spirit through all those progressive steps until He could heal and deliver and restore what the enemy had stolen.
Then I will return to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust. -Joel 2:25
A constant watchfulness is necessary, because every time it appears that the Word isn’t working, our flesh wants to throw up its hands and say, “I give up on God’s way. It is just not working.” At that point God wants to take us to the next level of healing and deliverance and faith. And probably the hardest level for me to achieve was to initiate the exchange system. Exchanging all those habitual thoughts felt, at times, like pulling flesh off my bones.
It often seemed next to impossible to make those fear thoughts yield to what God’s Word said, especially when the fears sounded reasonable and the emotions were going wild. Often it seemed crazy to believe God’s Word more than what I was seeing. But if we keep submitting to God in obedience, we will eventually win.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us. -Ephesians 3:20
Victory Becomes Absolute!
After much practice, when the exchange system started becoming second nature, the next blessing that came was truly exceedingly and abundantly beyond anything I could have even known to ask for. The torment, which kept recurring even after the intervals of relief from receiving the infilling of the Holy Spirit and experiencing deliverance, finally left and never returned. I have to remind myself what it was like during those eight years. It is like it happened to someone else—like what some close friend from years ago went through. At last, my house was no longer left empty for the enemy to again try to occupy. Finally, this scripture in James began to make sense.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. - James 4:7
It was God’s power that accomplished the victory, but I had a part to play. He showed me that the determining factor to any person’s getting completely well is the willingness to obey and not give up on God anywhere along the way. I personally found out, for a certainty, that:
Those who call upon the Name of the Lord will be delivered! -Joel 2:32
Even today, when I think of how God has used me to help people all over the United States to overcome the very problems that plagued me so unmercifully at one time, I cannot quit thanking Him for His immeasurable grace. He has turned my life around to become just the opposite of what it was during those eight years. In fact, there are times when it is hard for me to believe that I’m the same person who lived back there in torment.
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