Strongholds

 

“…divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10: 4b1210171402a

There are many strongholds that keep us prisoner, not allowing us to live life abundantly. You may not be aware of strongholds that keep you captive. Some are very subtle and you have grown use to them being there—they have become a way of life for you and not realizing that you are being robbed, you have allowed them to define who you are. But, don’t you see you have been “fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) by the Lord God.

It was the stronghold of fear that kept the Hebrews from entering the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb stood firm in the Lord, therefore, they took on the leadership to lead these rag-tag Hebrews to the fulfillment of their journey.

Joshua was filled with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. He heard God’s voice saying to him “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1: 9) Fear is a mighty stronghold, with it the Enemy has you paralyzed.

There are many other strongholds. Paul addresses them in the 4th chapter of Ephesians—they are anger, pride, evil talk, bitterness, gossip, silly and vulgar talk, greed, fornication, lies, drunkenness, holding a grudge, etc. In other words, anything opposing God’s will, which is disobedience to His word, is a stronghold. It separates you from all that is good and holds you hostage to an unfulfilled life. But, these rebellious thoughts can be captured and overcome by turning to God through Jesus Christ.

Paul says in Ephesians 6 that you should put on the whole armor of God and clothe yourself with your new self. (Ephesians 4:24) So be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. (Ephesians 6:10) The war is not in the world, but in the Spirit. Evil can take your mind captive and make you think it is right. Grab hold of the golden ring, which is the Word of God, and never let go. Do not allow the lies of the Enemy overtake you. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid for I am your God (Isaiah 41:10) and, “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary…” (Isaiah 40:31) These are words that God is whispering to your heart. Those who have ears let them hear.

Just as the walls that surrounded Jericho fell because of Joshua’s faith which he had also instilled in the Hebrews (Joshua 6), you too, will be able to break down the walls of the strongholds that are keeping you from all that you have been created to be.  Leaning on the Lord allows all the walls of your stronghold to come tumbling down.  Freedom is on the horizon for you.

Put on your new self and stand firm for God has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Wherever you are, He is—call upon Him—step out being clothed in the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10—20)

 

Dear Lord, keep me from succumbing to the strongholds that seek to keep me from You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5   Ephesians 6:13   Jeremiah 1:10   Hebrews 13:5

ALERT

 

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Hello Church,

I feel that something very significant needs to be said, even though, we may not want to hear it. I think everyone is able to acknowledge its existence. We need to get our heads out of the sand…we are not Ostriches.

Whether we like it or not we are in a battle—a spiritual battle. Paul writes in Ephesians, “…our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 MEV) Indeed, Satan has taken a foothold on all of creation.

One thing is very evident, we need to gather together in prayer to the One who holds the keys to heaven. Surely you can see the battle taking place. The question is which side are you going to be on? To not acknowledge the gravity of the situation is to be on the side of evil. All you need to do is look around you. People are shooting each other; they are coming together in mobs because of their frustration; our government is divided and would rather be seen as right than do the job they were elected to do, they fight like a bunch of children who haven’t grown up yet; and maybe worst of all, Satan has infiltrated the church causing divisions within them. Divided we fall, but united we stand.

The word Satan is not heard in very many churches today. We need to be aware of his presence. Do not give him room to work his wiles. He will charm you and court you and con you, but DO NOT fall for it. More is needed than to sit in the pew on Sunday. We need—I’ll say it once again—to gather together in prayer. We need to stop being ashamed of being seen praying in public. We need to teach our children the power of prayer at an early age. What a shame, for some that has already been lost.

Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged. Put on the full armor of God—live according to the truth; make sure your heart is right with God; spread peace not unrest; stand firm in your faith; guard your mind with the Word of God and in your hand carry the mightiest sword of all the Holy Bible. Then wrap it all together by praying in the Spirit for yourself, your family, and the world.

Remember these words spoken to Solomon conditioning him against the evil that is to come and giving him the prescription for surviving…God said,” If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 MEV)

GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!

Thank you for listening…now let’s get busy and do something about this!

 

The Seed

“…he chose their seed…even you above all people, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 10:15 KJV

I have been reading the stories of the great men and women who came before. The stories of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Sarah, Anna, etc. I began to think about the fruit they produced. This fruit also produced fruit and continues to produce fruit to this very day. The seed of Abraham and all the others continues to live today. God didn’t create for a time, but for all time!

For instance, the seed that caused me to grow came from my father. My father’s seed came from my grandfather and his from my great-grandfather. It didn’t begin with the name of Seaman [put your family name in here] that seed was passed down from generation to generation and will continue to do so for the rest of time, as we know it. Hopefully it will produce more good fruit than bad. But, all of us have a few “skeletons in the closet” as we like to say.

I remember when my Dad, who was a farmer, prepared the seed for planting. He picked out a seed that didn’t look right and threw it aside. The reason being was that seed would not produce good fruit and might even effect the good seeds around it. The same is true of people. We need to be cognizant of those around us. We need to choose our friends and close associates wisely. We cannot expect to win someone to the ways of goodness, for almost certainly the bad will overcome. That is why my father threw what he determined was a bad seed aside.

The seed of Abraham and the other chosen ones is still reproducing to this day. But it is not a given that you will live in the goodness of that seed. You must choose…choose your friends, your life partners, and the surroundings in which you live wisely. Remember, it is by your fruits that you shall be known, not by the words that come out of your mouth. If you have to tell someone you are a Christian, then you are not.

Take time to know someone before making a choice. But most of all, take time to become acquainted with God and His Word. For if you “Delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) And, “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him and he will help you.” (Psalm 37:5)

What you need to decide is whether you want to produce good seed or bad.

Thank you Lord for helping me understand my legacy. Father, help me make my choices wisely. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

With God all things are possible—without Him you are left to fend for yourself against the evil that has infiltrated the world.

Hope

“For you are my hope, O Lord God.” Psalm 71:5 MEV

Hope entails waiting and waiting, patience and patience takes faith, and faith is an established conviction concerning things unseen. The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Heb.11:1) Paul concludes his chapter on love with these words, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love…” (I Cor. 13:13)

Hope has a past, a present, and a future. You hoped for… You hope for… And you are hoping for… [You fill in the blanks] When we have our feet planted firmly on the ground we are immovable and unstoppable no matter how hard the winds blow or how high the waves become. This doesn’t happen just because you are stubborn or stuck in your ways. This happens only when you are grounded in the Lord. The Psalmist writes, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) MEV

When you are well grounded in the Lord and the truth of His word, your hope is built on Him. Matthew recorded in his Gospel the words that Jesus spoke to the crowds that had gathered on the Mt. of Beatitudes. His voice floated out over the people who had followed him and wanted to learn from him. He told them how to build on a solid foundation. You see if we build a life without a solid foundation it cannot stand against the storms that are bound to come. But if our foundation is solid—if it is built on the word of God—it will not only stand, but will thrive in spite of the storms of life. He told this to the people in terms they could relate to—a house built on sand cannot stand, but a house built on solid rock will be secure. (Matthew 7:24-27) Through all the trials of life, faith built on the “solid rock” gives the believer hope.

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Edward Mote wrote these words in 1834. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.”

You will be secure, because there is hope, you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” Job 11:18

Dear Lord, “Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name. Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.” (Psalm 119:132, 133) In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Prayer Warfare

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.” Ephesians 6:18 N L T

My husband was preparing himself for surgery. I was nervous about whether or not he would have problems dealing with the effects of the anesthesia. The words of some were beginning to sink into my psyche. They were telling me horror stories of those who were elderly and didn’t survive. I was definitely in a weakened state and needed someone to hold me up in prayer and my husband, as well. On the outside I appeared strong, but on the inside I was weak.

There were many subtle attacks made by the evil one who was having a field day while our spirits were down. Small things began to happen, nothing earth-shaking, but nevertheless, upsetting. (1) The garage door stopped working and we couldn’t get our car out—so we had to cancel our eye appointment in Tarpon Spring. (2) The ice cube dispenser was stopped up—not a big deal, but in the middle of everything else, it felt like it. (3) The computer lost its WIFI and my husband had to figure out what to do. [What would I do without him?] (4) We lost the garage door remote and had to order another. Later we found it in the pocket of a vest my husband had been wearing—we had a good laugh.

Throughout this whole ordeal we immersed ourselves in prayer, giving glory to God for every moment. Satan thought he had us but we refused to let fear control us. After all, God is our protector—He has our back. Prayer was, is, and always will be the greatest Weapon against anything ole-sloo-foot wants to throw at us.

Paul’s concern for the church is emphasized in his letters. (By “the church” I’m referring to believers). In his letter to the believers in Ephesus, he emphasizes unity of man to God and man to man [mankind=man & woman] in which there are disciplines to follow (4:1-16). He also writes about purity (4:17-31); forgiveness (4:32); and walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit (5:1-21). With this, relationships must be in order (5:22-6:9). Then we must put on every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in times of evil. (6:13).

Whether we like to hear it or not, doesn’t change the fact that we are involved in spiritual warfare. Satan has every believer in his cross hairs. We must not step away from our communication with God. In the morning at noon time, in the evening remember to have a little talk with the Lord—and then stop talking and listen to His words. Before you read your daily Word ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand and discern what it is you need to know to accomplish His will for your life.

Del and I were able to overcome the darts that were thrown at us because we remembered that God was in control and believed in Jesus and trusted that even though things look dark for a while, the light would soon appear again. How did we know this? By reading God’s Word and diligent prayer.

Pray for yourselves, but also pray for all believers for we are in the midst of a spiritual war. Our prayer keeps our connection—our relationship with God secure.

DO NOT BE AFRAID. BE STRONG. BE COURAGEOUS

“Pray in the Spirit always with all kinds of prayer and supplication. To that end be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

Ephesians 6:18 M E V

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Dear Lord, hear my prayer. I want to stay close by your side where there is safety and peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Self-Preservation

“…If I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16 (NIV)

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Self-preservation can be the biggest stumbling block to a fruitful and fulfilled life. This is a learned behavior that develops over time through our life experiences. Perhaps, you were orphaned as a child; was bounced around from foster home to foster home; or simply was the oldest child who felt they had taken second place because of a sibling who required more attention than you. Or maybe you were the youngest sibling who was made to look up to your older brothers and sisters. There are many scenarios that could cause your spirit to fight for a place of recognition.

Esther, a Jew living under the rule of the Persians, was one who had learned the rule of self-preservation. She was an orphan who was living in the house of her uncle. As such, she had to maintain a lifestyle that didn’t bring attention to herself. But, the King of Persia had deposed the Queen for not doing what he asked, and was looking for a new Queen—he noticed Esther’s beauty—so much for being inconspicuous. But, she was well adept to her own self-preservation, so when the King summoned her to be his wife, she met his every wish. She was under his rule.  You might ask “What was a Jewish woman doing as the Queen of Persia“? Well, God had a plan.

If it hadn’t been for Esther’s vision and acceptance of God’s plan, not only she, but the whole Jewish nation may have perished. But, Esther grit her teeth, and stood up straight, and marched in to see the King unannounced [a person was subject to death if they went in to the presence of the King without his knowing you were coming] and successfully saved her people. However, she did this only after 3 days of prayer and fasting asking for God’s wisdom and direction. She also called upon her uncle and the Jews in the region to join her in prayer and fasting. Only in relationship with God and man can great things happen. Because she knew she was going against the King’s edict, Esther’s last statement before going before him was, “If I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

The fact is we cannot save ourselves—no matter how many good works we do or how many church services we attend. In the end there is no such thing as self-preservation. God made you and He said it was good. Sometimes there is much suffering that occurs before we realize the goodness, but you must not give up!

God has a purpose for you—only through prayer and fasting can it be realized. And whatever you hear God calling you to do, He will not send you to do it alone—He will be with you.

When you read the story of Esther in your Bible, you will see that because of her vison, her people were saved from destruction and she from a life of hiding her identity.

Dear Lord, help me to be who you have created me to be. Lead me in your righteousness. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Oh the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.  Psalm 1:1-2 (NLT)

Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.  Psalm 119:2-3 (NLT)

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

God’s Army Approaches

american back view burial cemetery
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“Come from the four winds O breathe, and breathe on these slain, that they may live…they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.” Ezekiel 37:9, 10)

Last week we witnessed a phenomenon! Who ever heard of waking up in the middle of a cold night to go outside (in my bathrobe) to look up at the sky? But, that’s exactly what my husband and I did! And we saw it happening right before our eyes—the moon was almost completely covered and it was red like blood. There were millions of stars twinkling as though with joy! You can read about this in God’s word. What does God want us to understand?

Perhaps, this–in an evil world following the will of God is not easy, but in the end it will be the only thing that will save you.

The activity in the heavens which we witnessed, must serve as a warning to all who do not know the Lord, and to those who do, but may be growing weary in well-doing. You may be shaken by human tragedy, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunami, extreme cold, wars, uprising, and separations. You may be sick and tired of a government that seems more bent on having its own way than serving the people they were called to serve. But, in all of this the eventuality is, God will be victorious and those who remain true to Him will be called up to be a part of His Great Army. When God breathes life into you, you will live and be victorious—to God be the glory. The moon may be covered with blood but you will not, because the light of Jesus Christ will be living in you.

Finally in the last days God will destroy every religious, political, and educational institution that humanity has built apart from God. So hang on to your faith for the ride is about to become even bumpier. The wind and waves will become stronger and higher. In order that you will not go down with the ship—hang on to the One who can save you. No matter how bad it gets, how dismal the future from your vantage point looks, your God will come and save you.

There will be another blood moon. And maybe this time we will look up and see, in the darkness of the heavens, a light shining brighter and brighter may be the Lord Jesus Christ coming to save all those who have not abandoned their faith for some brief comfort in the world.

God’s army approaches…will you be ready to be a part of it?

Dear Lord, through it all I believe you will never leave me. Forgive me, I repent of my unfaithfulness. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Rev. 6:12    Joel 2:10    Matt. 24:29    Rev. 16:18