Today, Sweet Sisters in Jesus Christ I am asking you to fully embrace this amazing scripture, “And He is the perfect Father who leads us all, works through us all, and lives in us all!” Ephesians 4:6 TPT (The Passion Translation comes from the Aramaic language which Jesus spoke).
I must confess that over the last couple of weeks I have been asking God to give me His Words to share with you. This is the process I always use as I quiet my mind and ask my spirit along with the help of the Holy Spirit to speak. As I have shared my mind and ability to recall is slightly limited right now however I will not let this limitation hold me back. A decade ago, a young lady gave me a gift of a coffee mug and right now as I am sipping on my coffee the words on it speak to me. “His Word is in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I CANNOT! This simple girl is on FIRE! ” Jeremiah 20:9 personalized.
I say all of this to tell you that as I was preparing my computer to write, I opened my last writing and God brought me to tears as I read what was written because my sisters I did not remember what the Holy Spirit had given me that morning. It spoke to me with such truth…God’s Truth and so now the Holy Spirit is urging me to continue.
We must live with a Perpetual Attitude, an awareness of His presence. So how can we get there and how can we keep it fresh? How can we “go deeper”? Let’s look at the word perpetual; occurring repeatedly; so frequent as to seem endless and uninterrupted, never ending, everlasting, eternal, permanent. And now the word attitude; a settled way of thinking or feeling about something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior. As the daughters of the Most High King this must be the position we pursue.
Practicing the presence of God is a learned habit you can develop. We, my sisters, are not flesh but spirit with the ability to live by the Holy Spirit, let me put it a simpler way…we must allow our spirit to become bigger than our flesh (mind) for it is in our mind that all sin begins.
I have adopted what I call “Jesus Habits” to assist me in building my Perpetual Attitude of worship focused on God and living daily in His presence.
Create reminders to bring your thoughts back to an awareness, a knowing that God is with you in that moment. For me I use 3 x 5 cards with scriptures written on them posted in various places within my view, I also carry my Bible with me EVERYWHERE. Just knowing it’s with me gives me comfort.
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to make every thought obedient to God. Let No negative thought occupy your mind, be quick to give it to God, if forgiveness is necessary then offer a prayer of repentance.
There are situations and people who can distract you and offend you, once again God tells us not to dwell upon these things. For me I remind myself I MUST let “it” go! Anything I’ve harbored in my heart toward people who have hurt me, misrepresented me, spoke unkindly about me. I have to “let go” of the desire for an apology — it isn’t coming! And that’s ok! Instead, I stop right there and offer simple words of praise, “God is with me and for me right now”. Remove yourself from any situation or individual that interferes with your relationship with God.
The Bible tells us to “pray all the time” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Pastor Rick Warren offers this simple idea…choose a brief simple phrases that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath: “You are with me.” “I want to know You.” “Help me trust You.” Pray it as often as possible so it is rooted deep in your heart. Just be sure that your motive is to Honor God, not control Him. In my hardest days I simply say, “Yes God.”
It is impossible to be God’s child if you don’t know what He says. You can’t love God and hear Him speak if you don’t know Him. Samuel knew God intimately because He revealed Himself through His Word. “and he showed himself to Samuel through his word.” 1 Samuel 3:21b NCV There are also many great men and women of God who have written books to help you know God. God’s Word belongs to you…it is tangible! I strongly suggest that you use a printed Bible, write in it…mark it up…date those moment you encounter Him!
The key to living in God’s presence is by changing our attitude in our daily lives, no matter where you are right now you can honor God with your attitude and action. That is to say, what you normally do for yourself begin doing for God, whether it is preparing for your day…bathing, eating, your daily routine. Then at work how can you do this for your King? How can you serve your King in action? In thought? Many believe you have to “get away” you know have a set “quiet time” and yes that is important, but we serve a God of details and He is there every moment so why not acknowledge His presence and give Him the Glory. He loves to hear your voice as you share your life with Him.
Heavenly Father, help me and my beautiful sisters in Christ…live in Your presence with a perpetual attitude of worship, help us to see it is more than a time or place, a song sung, a sermon heard, a quiet time…God, you are in our details, you see every circumstance and You are there with us! Jesus I surrender my very breath to you…help me to know You God in an intimate way. I pray this in Jesus’ name. AMEN
Greetings to all my sisters in Jesus Christ! As promised this is Part 2 of defeating strongholds and more.
Pastor Steve Berger put a clear perspective on who we are in God’s Kingdom, “A Christian’s identity as a sinner is a “before Christ” identity. A believer is a saint who sins, not a sinner who sometimes “saints”. Therefore, we cannot as believers let shame and condemnation have any foothold within us. Those are “before Christ” conditions with their roots in Satan; they have no standing in our position as daughters of the Most High King.
Once again before we begin I feel the need to pray as we embrace God’s Truth that the devil has no power over us…
Father, we come before You asking for all scales to be removed from us that would hinder our ability to receive Your Truth, Your Word and to walk in Your Ways. God, we proclaim Your Goodness and Mercy and ask now that You would instruct us in Your Truth which will destroy the enemies lies. Holy Spirit come and fill us with the courage and strength to discern darkness and cast it out! We speak now to any spirit of chaos or confusion and cast it out in the name of Jesus…we bind any manner of oppression right now in the name of Jesus…therefore we now fully receive all God has for us through His Word and the instruct of others who speak clearly of Your Truth God. AMEN
Part of our fight against the darkness happens within our churches and amongst our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as with our ministry leadership. I want to address the thought pattern that takes hold, the enemy knows if he can get us to dishonor our brothers and sisters as well as our leadership, by twisting the perception of their motives in our hearts, then he has blocked our ability to break strongholds and defeat the strongman. In other words, we cannot be delivered from what is holding us captive.
The stronghold will manifest by speaking untruth in a number of ways, here are a few; Pride (you know better than the one giving Godly counsel); Offense (something a Godly believer did or says offends you or hurts you); dishonor (you hear and believe that the pastor or believer is all about money or raising themselves above this is an effort to discredit or “dishonor” that person); Justification (you seek out the yes man among your peers, looking for someone who will agree with your wrong thinking). When the enemy does this you and I are unable to receive God’s Truth through these men and women of God. Our deliverance from any existing stronghold is delayed or even becomes greater.
If your stronghold can stir you up in anyway, it has just stopped you from your source of freedom. And if you say, “Jesus is my source” and do not seek help from your sisters in Christ then he has gained ground by isolating you and that in itself becomes a stronghold. Spirit filled believers are the embodiment of your Savior, we need one another to defeat the darkness. Godly instruction, worship, and prayer for and by others are part of the process of freedom, this process also extends outside of ourselves and generously gives forward.
Who is this strongman?
Kimberly Synder, founder of Royal Girlz Ministry gives us some details about the strongman, “A strongman spirit is a high-ranking principality spirit. They sit on thrones in the spirit realm and rule over the evil demonic spirits that operate in the earth realm. These spirits can rule over certain geographical areas of the earth. Strongman spirits can operate in churches as a ruling spirit. They can be passed down through family generations and also dwell within an individual. These forces block our prayers, our deliverance and our freedom.”
Ephesians 6:1NKJV says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
In Matthew 12:28-29NJKV Jesus gives us some details of who the strongman is and how we must destroy his efforts. “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.”
Furthermore, Kimberly gives us more details and the method by which he can be overcome, “God’s Word tells us that when the strongman Satan is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings. We are the stronger, we have been given authority from Jesus to go into the enemy’s camp and bind him up and take away his goods. These goods include our marriages, our children, our businesses, our churches, and most important lost souls. Anything that the devil has stolen from us is ours to go in and take back. The Bible says that the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it ( Matthew 11:12). We have been given the strength and weapons to advance upon the enemy and take back the goods under the protection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus has given us the keys to bind and loose. Whatever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. We bind them from operating while we loose the gifts of Holy Spirit to come in and take over. We loose the gifts and workings of Holy Spirit to set captives free, bring light into darkness, remove the chains that have us bound and to proclaim freedom (Matthew 18:18).”
Let’s continue to look at ways we give evil spirits an opportunity to establish footholds and/or strongholds in our lives…there are numerous areas of sin through which the enemy gains ground in our lives so that he can bully and oppress.
Generational Sin: We can and are influenced by the idolatrous sins of past generations. Exodus 20:4-6 tells us, “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, inflicting the punishment of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing favor to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” When our ancestors set things of this world above their love of God the cycle of generational sin began. We learn from what has been modeled before us, we live in ways that our parents taught us, with each generation this darkness grows and consumes. Some easily seen examples are addiction, divorce, child abuse, and sexual sin. However, there are subtle sins that make our relationship with God and our power to defeat Satan difficult. We grow up watching our elders even believers…gossip, lie, and hate. Selfishness is a tool of the devil, and we are spoiled into thinking about self and rising our pleasure and comfort above God. What will I get if I….reward becomes more important than obedience. These all fall under idolatrous sin.
Rebellion: Rebellion is failing to submit to the authority of God and to the authorities that He has placed over us in our earthly lives. In the first half of 1 Samuel 15:23NLT we see, “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.” Saul had been given clear instruction to destroy everything in the battle against the nation of Amalek, the instruction was very clear and yet Saul decided he knew better. In his rebellion and stubbornness, he kept back some of the livestock for sacrifice. This simple seemingly “good” disobedience caused Saul to lose God’s favor. The Word gives us specific information about those to whom we are to submit…those not to rebel against.
Pride: When we elevate ourselves above others, behave arrogantly or harbor prideful attitudes, we are emulating Satan rather
than being who we have been created to reflect, the image of God. Satan was removed from God’s presence and cast down
because of his pride. God gives us all the strength we need to stand against such evil desires. James 4:6-8TPT personalized says,
“But He continues to pour out more and more grace upon us. For it says, “God resists you when you are proud but continually pours
Out grace which is the greater gift when you are humble.” So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he
will flee in agony because of the One who stands with you. Move your heart closer and closer to God, and so close He
will be touching you. But make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting.”
Habitual Sin: The repeated habitual practice of a specific sin can lead to bondage to “the god of this age.” Ephesians 4:26-27 gives a clear example of habitual sin, “unforgiveness” left to fester it gives the devil a foothold leading to greater sin. This is the nature of sin…rebellion against God and this rebellion is the root is who Satan is. He was the first to rebel and he continues this today by influencing and deceiving God’s people. Addictions are all forms of habitual sin as well as being a habitual gossip, liar or thief. Habitual sin opens the door to be demonized (demonization) meaning that there is some measure of inner, at least partial, direct influence (or control) being exercised by the demonic realm. Wherever sin exists, the demonic realm also exists and is at work to negatively influence believers. This is done in an effort by the demonic realm to limit or negate the powerful effects of the person’s gifts and faith in Christ.
Deception: Jesus described Satan as a liar and the father of lies. In John 8, Jesus is speaking to some Jewish leaders he tells them their hearts are closed to God’s truth he then tells them “You are the offspring of your father, the devil, and you serve your father very well, passionately carrying out his desires. He’s been a murderer right from the start! He never stood with the truth, for he’s full of nothing but lies—lying is his native tongue. He is a master of deception and the father of lies!”
Paul also warned Timothy of deceiving spirits using men for the purpose of seducing them away from the truth, “The Holy Spirit has explicitly revealed: At the end of this age, many will depart from the true faith one after another, devoting themselves to spirits of deception and following demon-inspired revelations and theories. Hypocritical liars will deceive many, and their consciences won’t bother them at all!” 1 Timothy 4:1-2TPT
We can be easily deceived by cultural messages, behaviors and customs into false beliefs. We can also deceive ourselves, “So why fool yourself and live under an illusion? Make no mistake about it, if anyone thinks he is wise by the world’s standards, he will be made wiser by being a fool for God!” 1 Corinthians 3:18TPT
Clearly God is warning us about being self-deceived. Having a teachable heart and learning wisdom from above is the best way to guard from self-deception. Romans 12:1-2 speaks clearly that we are not to conform to this world but to renew ourselves in God’s truth continually. Often it is difficult to reveal the source of our wrong thinking, the lie but we know without a doubt that Satan is the father of lies.
The good news is…THE GRACE OF GOD CAN CHANGE ANY PATTERN WITH DIVINE POWER!
Here are the Symptoms of Oppression which indicate a stronghold, keep an eye out for them in yourself and others, be quick to rebuke and seek help from those you hold as spiritual warriors in God’s Kingdom.
Disinterest in or inability to read Scripture, comprehend the teaching of the Word, or participate in worship and prayer
Possession of items used in Pagan, New Age, Eastern, or Native American worship rituals or in Freemasonry ceremonies, these must be destroyed, thrown away.
Fearful, bizarre dreams and/or night experiences related to sexual perversion, occultic symbolism, or violence, evil presences, visitations, or impressions of demonic face
Conscious invitation extended to Satan and/or demons to become involved in one’s life
Systematic patterns of personal sinfulness, i.e., lying, dishonesty, and resentment toward others; sexual acting out; and racial hatred
Personality disturbance, i.e., paranoia, vengefulness, abuse of others (physical, emotional, sexual, or spiritual), self-mutilation, suicide attempts, depression, rebellion, and bizarre, violent, blasphemous thoughts
Addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, work, food, exercise, internet, or television
Experiencing no relief from medical treatments (including prescribed drugs), personal prayer, or psychological counseling
A family history of demonic influence coming from witchcraft or satanic worship; Native American, New Age, or Eastern religious practices; Freemasonry
Sweet sisters, I know this writing has been difficult for some of you. BUT we have a Savior and a Father God who loves us and gives us HOPE in every situation. Stand on this truth…” So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that His love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken His love.” Romans 8:38TPT
If we are going to tear down strongholds through the Word of God’s Truth (John 17:17), then you need to know what God is saying about you and how he sees you. The Bible tells us that God does not see or think about us like our parents, friends, and others see or think about us. 1 Samuel 16:7NASB “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Since this is the case, we therefore should not see ourselves through the subjective thoughts of man (how are parents see us as well as how our friends, co-workers, and people we come in contact with see us.)
Many people are living their lives base on how people see them or who people say they are. People will not always know your worth; you need to know your worth. Your true identity is found in God who created you for His purpose alone. Your parents may be the one who gave birth to you and brought you up, but you did not come from your parents, you came from God, your parents are just vessels God used to bring you into the world. Remember “I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139:14
Closing Prayer for you…
Heavenly Father, let these words Your Words sink deep within my sisters, root out and expose anything that is not of you. Renew their mind and clean up their hearts, give discernment to their spirit, Holy Spirit speak to their spirit and strengthen them. Father I proclaim this truth…”For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Remove any spirit of fear or doubt within them let them know and experience supernaturally their value in Your Kingdom, let them walk in Your peace, make them battle ready warriors to help others to reveal and destroy any darkness. In Jesus’ name…AMEN
Blessings, Sister Laurie
Thank you to the following amazing men and women of God for their insight and inspiration.
Pastor Steve Berger, “Winning the Mind Wars, Tearing Down Strongholds Through Prayer”, Grace Chapel, Franklin TN
Pastor Gary Costella, Awesome Church, Sydney Australia
Greetings to all my sisters in Jesus Christ! This is a week to take time to be thankful for the love we have from the Father and the position we hold in His Kingdom as Daughters of the Most High King! Hallelujah! Lift your hands and praise Him, the one who give us life through His Son Jesus!
A beautiful sister in Jesus asked me to answer an important question a couple weeks ago, I felt in my heart I knew the answer, but I decided to do some research as well. That being said… these words are not all my own, but they do reflect what I believe God would have me share on the subject of Footholds and Strongholds.
I want to open up with a prayer for revelation not only for myself but for all of you who are receiving this word. I believe that we are all vulnerable to not only demonic oppression but also possession throughout our earthly life…believer and non-believer alike. Pray with me now…
“Heavenly Father, as we look to Your Word for answers, gather understanding from other godly believers, I pray that You God would give us the battle-ready armor and weapons upon which we wear to fight against the enemies attempts to distract and destroy Your chosen children. God give each one of us a hunger and thirst for only You God. We thank You God for how far You have brought us and now we look to go deeper in knowing You intimately and for You God to train us to use the weapons of spiritual warfare that You have provided for us. Reveal to us the strongholds in our lives and give us the courage to fight and demolish anything within us that is not of You! Thank You God for the men and women of God who have brought insight, bless them, and thank You God for Your written Word which fills us with hope and power to defeat the evil! AMEN!”
Let us begin by defining…Footholds and Strongholds.
Pastor Steve Berger defines strongholds as “A satanic lie, A generational mindset or a human wounding that you have listened to long enough, believed strongly enough and owned deeply enough that it has become part of your identity. It has fortified itself in you and dictates your thought, beliefs, actions, and reactions. It is an unholy filter through which all thoughts pass.” Strongholds can include feelings of shame, condemnation, unforgiveness, rejection, depression, addiction, pride, unbelief, anger, and defeat. This stronghold or firm grip on our mind, spirit, body, or heart will enslave you and I…motivating us to act out against God’s will through repeated sinful behavior.
Footholds are similar, however to me they might be considered a steppingstone before a stronghold is established or a foothold that feeds an existing stronghold. A foothold starts out as a lie that we believe to be truth, we haven’t tested it against what God says and so we let it fester which lead us into unrepentant sin. As the unchecked lie gains momentum in our life and we began making decisions based on the lie…Satan gains ground in our lives and soon that seemingly small untruth has become a stronghold making it harder to hear the voice of your Forever Father God. Your ability to see yourself and those around you through God’s eyes grows dim.
Ultimately, the false belief is so deeply entrenched in your thinking that Satan can safely operate your life as if he were protected within the walls of a strong fortress. You see, you will defend the sin, the thought, the lie by making excuses, walking in the shadow, and isolating yourself. All Footholds and Stronghold have their beginning in our mind, just as all sin begins with a thought.
Satan and evil spirits know that if they can establish a stronghold in your mind they can control your mind. Once they have control of your mind they can control all of you in other words when Satan has a hold of your mind, he blinds you to the truth. Unfortunately, unbeliever or someone who has not been Born Again has their mind already held captive by Satan. This is where physical manifestations occur including illness, sickness, self-destruction, and addictions.
There is good news coming…we overcome the devil’s schemes when we understand how he oppresses us and how we must defeat him. Paul tells us clearly one of the more common ways Satan gains a foothold, Ephesians 4:26-27MSG he warns, “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.”
In this writing I will address two of the more common strongholds…Bitterness and Fear.
BITTERNESS: (long-held unforgiveness) is defined as “multilayered emotion that has been described as a mixture of disappointment, disgust, anger, and fear. Bitterness can be aroused in the face of insult, injury or trauma. If not quickly dealt with bitterness grows into hate, leading to hostile actions.” In the Bible bitterness is referred to as a posion, pungent, an acid which destroys.
Let us look at an example of how bitterness manifests into hate. When you are offended or emotionally wounded, becoming angry or embittered, you may think things such as:
If I forgive the person who offended me, he/she will just hurt me again.
By holding onto my anger, I can punish the one who offended me.
The offense is so egregious i.e., traumatic, physical and or mentally appalling, I cannot forgive.
There is no truth in any of these thinking patterns. Wrong thinking leads to wrong behavior which is sinful disobedience of God’s instruction and in direct conflict of Christ’s sacrifice. Through unwillingness to forgive, the devil gains a foothold which quickly seeks out and builds upon other offenses or trauma you may have built a stronghold around. The walls of the stronghold harbor the lies, the justification and wrong thinking or behavior.
Only through complete forgiveness can we destroy the stronghold of bitterness and hate. The forgiveness required is not for one who hurt or offended you, it is so that no stronghold of bitterness can be formed within you. No matter how traumatic the incident, the abuse, verbal or physical we must go before our Lord and forgive them. God tells us he will take care of our transgressors. God gives us an amazing example of forgiveness found in Acts 7, Stephen had been speaking to a group of high priests, sharing the gospel using the history of the saints found in the Old Testament to bring the truth of Jesus Christ to them. We find in verses 57-60 they turned on him, drove him from the city where they stoned him to death. Verse 60 says it all, “Then he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.” Forgiveness is not a choice, it is an absolute, Jesus died for us allowing us to be forgiven, therefore, we MUST forgive.
Hanging on the bitterness is self-destructive and poisons the soul (the place where our mind, will and emotions exist).
Hebrews 12:15 says “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”
Ephesians 4:30-32 tells us, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
1 Corinthians 13:5 reminds us that if we say we love God we must also love people and with that we “do not keep an account of a wrong suffered.”
FEAR: is defined in the dictionary as, “an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined.” While this may hold some truth…the true definition of fear is “the absence of faith.” The absence of faith is nothing more than the absence of God’s Word, lack of an intimate relationship with God which is grounded in truth and trust, simple stated fear is nothing more that ignorance or laziness to find out what God’s Word says and walk in the fullness of who you are in Christ.
Romans 1:19-20TPT says “In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart. Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as his eternal power and transcendence. He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without
Jesus confronts the disciples when they were crossing the sea and “a great windstorm arose and the waves beat against the boat”, read Mark 4:35-40. The disciples quickly cried out saying “do you not care we are perishing?” Jesus’ responds with three questions:
Why are you fearful?
How is it that you have no faith?
Where is your faith?
Anyone with a stronghold of fear MUST ask these same questions, the answers will reveal the source of the stronghold and how it was established. It is then that you can begin to take down the mental fortress of fear.
Let us look closer at the three questions.
Why are you fearful? What is the reason for your fear, and does it have any rational truth to it? Most fear is nothing more than unintelligent or foolish reaction to something that may not even exist. If you do fear something you must ask yourself “Have I elevated this fear above God’s Word?”
How is it that you have no faith? Jesus is rebuking the disciples, you and I included. When you read it in the Greek it screams of sarcasm. He is saying to us…Do you believe my Words?
Where is your faith? Mic Drop! Here is the heart of the issue…what are you trusting in? If your confidence and trust is not in God’s Word then anything else is sure to disappoint you at some point. God NEVER disappoints, it is our skewed perspective, God tells us over and over He will never leave us or forsaken us.
Fear when left to grow within us causing us to isolate ourselves, become increasingly unable to be around other people, some suffer with not being able to leave their home or even room. This is mental imprisonment fueled by the enemie’s lies now believed and lifted higher than the truth of Jesus Christ and God’s Word.
In a separate writing I will speak of the manifestation of fear deeper. Here are examples where fear brought great difficult to God’s people.
Isaiah 36 is the account of King Hezekiah and his people being held captive by the lies spoken by the king of Assyria (Satan) this siege went on for 4 years, only God’s Truth could set them free.
Exodus 3 Moses was afraid when God told him to leave his humble profession of shepherding to confront Pharaoh to release the Israelites.
Numbers 13 The ten leaders Moses sent to scout the Promised Land were afraid of the giants they saw and that led to another 40 years of wandering in the desert.
Jonah 1 Jonah was a prophet sent by God to preach to the people of Nineveh but was afraid of the command. As such, he was swallowed by a big fish when running away and stayed there for three days and three nights.
Bitterness and fear permit the devil to infiltrate our mind, these footholds and strongholds rob us of the peace and joy God has for us, it keeps us at arm’s length of the intimate relationship God desires to have with you and me. There are the other ways in which evil spirits gain access to our lives making us vulnerable to demonic attack in part two I will address how deception, rebellion, pride, habitual sin, generational sin and the occult (false religions) are a gateway to strongholds.
The door for spiritual attack in our life is opened by sins we commit as well as the sins committed against us. There are numerous articles and books on the subject of “spiritual warfare” they reveal that there are several areas of sin through which the enemy finds entrance into our lives, so that he can as scriptures says, “A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy.” John 10:10TPT
However, the verse does not end there so right now claim this as a refreshing truth in your life “But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!” Let that sink in!
We have all we need to defeat any evil spirits and destroy any stronghold within us. Once we embrace this truth, we must go to the scriptures for freedom.
My life scriptures are those which bring the breaking of strongholds, so I will start with those and in Part Two I will bring more weapons and ways of dealing not only footholds and strongholds but defeating the strongman as well.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6NKJV personalized “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare (God’s Word, Prayer, Deliverance, Worship and Confession) are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments (lies, deception, opinions, theories, and philosophies) and every high thing (material possession, status, position, behavior) 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.”
For me I give special attention to 2 Corinthians 10:5, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Now this is an important stage it will require you to be disciplined in taking captive wrong thinking, the infiltrated thoughts by the enemy before they escalate and take hold.
That same scripture in The Passion Translation puts it like this “We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and breakthrough every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.”
Once we identify the thought be it cloaked in bitterness or fear, we know there is an evil spirit behind it. There is a two-step process…
First, we rebuke it out loud… you have the authority through Jesus Christ, Matthew 10:1 NKJV says “He gave them (you and I) power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. When addressing evil spirits or the devil we must speak it out loud, he cannot read our minds or spirit, he can only suggest to our mind.
Secondly, we now take control over your emotions if they are engaged, maybe even your physical body and tell them to be still. We shift our focus. Paul wrote the following scripture while in prison, he knew the battle in his mind needed to be obedient to God’s truth and not his physical environment. Philippians 4:8 tells us to give our attention to whatever is…
True: Truth combats lies, it gives us and keeps us free.
Noble: Honorable, honest, moral
Just: Innocent, holy
Pure: Modest, chaste, humble
Lovely: Friendly, welcoming, and accepting
Of Good Report: Reputable, well spoken, trustworthy
Virtuous: Excellence, valiant, right with God
Praiseworthy: Commendable, holy, and good
This is what Jesus did that night in the boat…He identified the wind or spirit behind it (the evil spirit attempting to prevent them from crossing the sea)and rebuked it (cast out). Then He spoke to the physical conditions wind and waves saying “Hush, be still.” Immediately the sea was calm, and the wind/spirit left.
In closing, I pray I have not given you more questions but answers!
Here is a basic prayer to get you started in defeating footholds and strongholds, speak to God without reservation, repent quickly and ask Him to restore you.
Father God, instruct the Holy Spirit who is regarded as the Spirit of Truth to reveal and guide me in all truth. I submit myself to You and ask that you would look deep within me and reveal any area of my life in which I have made vulnerable to demonic attack. (John 16:13) It is the desire of my heart to recognize and destroy footholds and strongholds that evil spirits may have established in order to influence my thoughts and actions. Once revealed help me to stand on Your Word, to use every spiritual weapon and destroy anything that would separate me from you God. God I give you all praise and glory and am thankful for all you have done in my life and continue to do. AMEN (Psalm 21:2, Ephesians 4:26-27; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Romans 8:39)
Blessings, Sister Laurie
Thank you to the following amazing men of God for their insight and inspiration.
Pastor Steve Berger, “Winning the Mind Wars, Tearing Down Strongholds Through Prayer”, Grace Chapel, Franklin TN
Pastor Gary Costella, Awesome Church, Sydney Australia
People today live-in fear of death. There are organizations all over the words spending millions on research that will extend life and even prevent death. People are choosing to be frozen in hope that their body can be restored at some point in the future.
Isaiah talks about his body being a tent which is folded up as it dies. In 1 Corinthians 5:1NASB, Paul says “For we know that if our earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens.” I share this scripture with you, because our flesh was not created to last and in this fallen world it is even more vulnerable to the wear and tear of life. That is why God uses the word “tent” or in some translations “tabernacle” which was also made of canvas to describe where our spirit lives here on earth. It weathers, grows rigid, and is torn as time goes by…yet God wants us to have confidence because our everlasting existence is found in our spirit.
We find ourselves distracted by this fear, making bucket lists, living indulgent lives trying to get it all in. Paul writes to the church in Philippi these wonderful words while in prison…Philippians 1:23-26TPT, “So here’s my dilemma: Each day I live means bearing more fruit in my ministry; yet I fervently long to be liberated from this body and joined fully to Christ. That would suit me fine, but the greatest advantage to you would be that I remain alive. So, you can see why I’m torn between the two—I don’t know which I prefer. Yet deep in my heart I’m confident that I will be spared so I can add to your joy and further strengthen and mature your faith. When I am freed to come to you, my deliverance will give you a reason to boast even more in Jesus Christ.”
Notice the words in italics…Paul knows that his task of equipping, discipling and loving believers is not yet done. He even says his desire is to be spared so he can add to their joy and strength as well as grow their faith. He knows the wonder and pure joy of going home to be with Jesus, yet his spirit knows that his time on earth still is full of purpose.
The thief on the cross heard these words from Jesus…”And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”” Luke 23:42-43NASB
Death is better than to remain in the body, however, to stay in our temporary tent and serve God is to live in the joy of sharing Jesus with those we encounter.
Paul has found how to live in confidence, he keeps on living because he is compelled to continue teaching, serving and loving those God has placed around him. We must pattern ourselves after Paul…
Paul knew with confidence that Jesus breaks the power of death in two ways;
We live in confidence because Jesus destroyed the fear of death by breaking sin and death’s power over us through His death and resurrection.
He gives eternal life to you and me when we make Him our Savior, in that, we now live with confidence to see Him face to face in Heaven.
Now with confidence embrace this truth… “In Jesus, my sisters, after listening to and reading in God’s Word the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 NASB personalized.
In closing my sisters in Jesus Christ, I urge you to live for Christ, make the most out of every day. For not only is your time short but those around you time is short as well. Embrace them in the love of Christ.
My prayer for you is that when you feel anxious or fearful, ask God to give you the confidence to live for Him and be set free from the fear of death. Speak with the authority of heaven and cast out any spirit of anxiety in you! Ask God to increase His power within you to say as Paul did…”For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Confidence by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India. It is available on RightNow Media.com
Friendship is a precious part of life. Real joy comes from friendships established with Jesus Christ at the center. Much like marriage God has a plan for true friendship. God put it on Pau’s heart to l write to us in Philippians about the significance of God centered relationships. Our friendships should be a reflection of our relationship with Christ.
Today, social media has changed the face of relationships, instead of personal interaction…sharing a coffee or meal, watching a movie, taking a walk or just quietly sitting together enjoying someone company our relationships have been reduced to how many likes our post, tweet, photo receive. Social media is a platform to create a fantasy, a false you. How many of you have observed someone creating an untrue image, an exaggerated condition, even a totally made-up situation to gain attention. People are using social media to hide what’s really happening, they filter their photos so that people can’t see their true self. Suicide has risen because people have become isolated using social media to express some of what they are feeling yet those responding somehow are unable to decipher their true desperation, their feelings of hopelessness. We answer with an “I Care” emoji, or even “I’m praying for you” these empty responses are so swallow without any true cost. Texting is causing indifference and further isolation. There is a price in godly relationships…time, comfort, even financial at times. What if when that distressing tweet, post, text came to your attention you got in your car and showed up? It is in our nature to gather, have physical contact, true affection, pray together, share our sorrow…this is friendship.
Before we take a look at Paul’s opening words in his letter to the Philippians let me share a little background about this intimate letter of love and friendship. Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians while he was in prison, he had visited and established a church in Philippi among the gentiles which within itself is one of God’s miracles, Paul was a Pharisee before coming to Christ and the people in Philippi were gentiles so a relationship between these two was very unlikely in fact gentiles where seen as unclean. Yet God’s love and truth broke the social barrier creating a deep love for these people in Paul. True friendship and love between believers cannot been attached to a worldly perspective.
1-2 Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
7-8 It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does! Philippians 1:1-8MSG
Paul understands the value of friendship, he recognizes how the relationship he has with God and the tangible friendships…better said love and affection he shares for those dear friends in Philippi have sustained him during his imprisonment and trial. Our love for Jesus should be reflected in our friendships. This is why, it is so important to gather and fellowship with other believers only they can fill the need for friendship as God designed. When we have a friendship with someone which is like minded in their belief in Jesus, it deepens our relationship with God and allows our true beauty and purpose to emerge.
It saddens me greatly when I see bitterness and misunderstanding between believers, how can we possible say we love God and yet hold grudges, offense and jealousy in our hearts. The answer is we cannot. I urge you my sister to seek out broken friendships and mend them. Start praying that God might lead you and if a softening is needed that the Holy Spirit would work in both of you.
Sometimes guilt or shame is holding you back from forgiveness. These are two very different feelings; guilt is focused on something we have done, while shame focuses on the person…self. Shame says something is wrong with me. As women shame is fed by a misconception or confusion tied to our identity. It is a constant feeling that we are not good enough. This is bound to a worldly perspective, a lie of the enemy, an experience. Shame is an epidemic effecting everyone…it is everywhere, every nation, every culture it is related to addiction, depression, violence, homosexuality, bullying, aggression, eating disorders, suicide and more.
The righteousness we find through Jesus Christ is the antidote for shame. Shame is the opposite of righteousness. Look at what shame did for Adam and Eve, filled with shame they, hide from God, covered their bodies, they felt they had to protect themselves from God. This is Satan’s trap, a weapon shrewdly used. Shame has destroyed the beauty God intended for friendship, fellowship, intimacy with God and people. BUT God has given us the fruit of righteousness that is to be “right with God”. Isaiah 32:17-18 says “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever. Then my people will live in a peaceful surrounding, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.” This kind of life and friendship is available to us right now.
Now think of your relationship with God…If your relationship with Him is fractured how can you fully embrace and receive what He did for you on the cross? How can He help you mend and restore broken relationships? How can you love and sustain godly friendships? Right now, go before your Heavenly Father and ask Him to forgive you and reveal hidden shame that is affect your ability to love as He loves you. Speak with confidence and proclaim who you are in Jesus, immerse yourself in godly music, fellowship, study, and prayer. Give the enemy no room to corrupt who God says you are.
Dear Sisters…Paul prayed this prayer for his friends, his brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and now I pray it for you my dear sisters in Christ Jesus…”So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11MSG
Blessings, Sister Laurie
This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Friendship by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India. It is available on RightNow Media.com
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ! We as believers have a tremendous responsibility in how we speak and interact with others. Before I begin my next writing God has given from Romans 13; I want to address a situation I was witness to yesterday, in fact two situations. Unfortunately, each of these situations happen with the same believer who I know well and regard as a sister in Christ. I know she had best intentions however we must be ever so careful with our words. Our tongue can do the devil’s work! Let me explain…
First Situation: During a Sunday morning greeting around a cup of coffee at church a young woman who is a growing believer approached a sweet sister in Christ with a typical greeting. The usual “How are you?” was exchanged. This young woman had recently stopped dating a man, who had followed her to church a couple of times. The concerned sister started a deeper conversation, fishing for details…well-meaning but the result left the young woman in anguish. You see this young woman’s marriage ended several years ago. The relationship was a violent one, abuse and drugs were a huge part of the marriage. This young woman spent years broken and held captive in this relationship. Over the last 5 years she has been delivered from her traumatic past. She is now walking in the light of Jesus full of hope. Somehow the conversation got around to the fact that she was divorced, the sister began down a path that divorce was breaking a covenant with Moses, negatively speaking she pointed out how this young woman needed to seek reconciliation. Without knowing the details or what this young woman has been through this sister now becomes God’s judge and convicts this young woman with her words. I might add mixing biblical truth with condemnation. Do you see what I am getting at…WE MUST BE CAREFUL WITH OUR WORDS?! I believe the sister was speaking out of her flesh and not out of her spirit. We must always speak out of love and ask God to give us words of encouragement no matter what the circumstance. Fortunately, I caught the tail end of the conversation and the young woman now crushed, privately asked me to clarify and pray with her.
Second Situation: I attended a prayer meeting and one of the prayer requests was for us to pray for a woman who son had served in Afghanistan and was killed in action several years ago. The woman bringing the request was a family member. Based on what is happening over there currently, all the grief of this loss has come back along with the sense that this young man sacrificed his life in vain. I want to say that this scenario of someone suffering loss and how we as believers in our effort to bring comfort fail. I have heard this question asked so many times…”Was he a believer?” “Was he or she saved?” What difference does this make? Can you see how these questions can send the one asking for prayer down a dark road, dwelling on where the loved one is now? Does that change the way we pray for those loved ones hurting in their loss? Definitely Not! Even if the family members are not believers God still is working and will still bring comfort. Can you see how distressing this can be for the person asking for prayer? Once again be careful what questions we ask and how we respond when loss is involved. This is a time when little words can be spoken and listening ears are needed. Offer prayers of comfort.
Ok, thank you for listening I pray you carefully consider my words. I will get off my soap box…
Romans 13:12-13TPT says “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns. So, we must once and for all strip away what is done in the shadows of darkness, removing it like filthy clothes. And once and for all we clothe ourselves with the radiance of light as our weapon. We must live honorably, surrounded by the light of this new day, not in the darkness of drunkenness and debauchery, not in promiscuity and sensuality, not being argumentative or jealous of others.”
Today I want to talk about the darkness spoken of in these verses. Last week I offered words of encouragement and with intent spoke of the urgency of this hour. Verse 12 continues this thinking because for we are closer now, this moment to meeting Jesus face to face closer then we were this morning. Right? Think about that…does that inspire you? The darkness of living in this fallen world will soon end for believers! Hallelujah!
Let us move forward and see what God is now teaching us…Verse 13 is a warning to put aside certain behavior, put your seat belt on the Truth is about to challenge you;
Depending on your translation you might find…
Rioting KJV, gluttony GNV, carousing NASB or orgies NIV in the Greek “komos” letting loose, carousal, binder, binge, spree. This might mean overspending, loss of self-control in behavior or speech. Excessiveness or greedy, unreasonable.
Drunkenness KJV, GNV, NASB and NIV in the Greek “methe” use of an intoxicant, intoxication, that being any kind of substance, a condition of disgrace.
Chambering KJV, GNV, sexual promiscuity NASB, sexual immorality NIV in the Greek “koite” cohabitation outside of marriage, aggressive infliction, perversion of God’s design for intimacy.
Wantonness KJV, GNV, debauchery NASB, sensuality NIV in the Greek “aselgeia” licentiousness, recklessness, lasciviousness, carnality, shameless behavior, pursuit of physical sexual pleasure, lust.
Strife KJV, GNV, NASB, quarreling NIV in the Greek “eris” to quarrel, wrangling, bickering, contention, rivalry, an unsavory, immoral desire for power or control.
Envying KJV, GNV, jealousy NASB, NIV, in the Greek “zelos” unfavorable zeal, malevolence, resentfulness, indignation, mistrustfulness, a strong and relentless desire for what belongs to another
Why am I defining these undesirable behaviors? They are common in this day, even we as believers must examine ourselves and motives regularly. Let me paint a picture of how this warning must be taken seriously and how we as believers must teach our love ones the dangerous traps hidden here. During the spring in America, there is a common practice among young people primarily college age to travel during spring break and gather with other young people. Often this is a time of reckless abandonment to all that is decent. Romans 13:13 captures much of the conduct during this week…it has been hailed as a time for “the rite of passage”. Passage of what? Innocence and purity? It is a time of relentless evil and awful indulgence. What a price is paid by the participants…the shame and regret they carry long after.
The Spirit pleads “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23ESV
Again, the Holy Spirit cries out to us…”So, beloved, since you are looking forward to these things, be diligent and make every effort to be found by Him at His return spotless and blameless, in peace that is, inwardly calm with a sense of spiritual well-being and confidence, having lived a life of obedience to Him.” 2 Peter 3:14AMP
This obedience is for you and I, to protect us and prepare us for the future. Paul says in Ephesians 5:27TPT Jesus in coming and here we find a picture of how He desires to find us…”Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? To surrender yourselves to God to be His sacred, living sacrifices. And live-in holiness, experiencing all that delights His heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship. Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes.”
Let us stay as far away from sin as possible…”But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for nor even think about gratifying the flesh in regard to its improper desires.” Romans 13:14AMP
Right now, examine yourself…how can you be ready, are you properly dressed, completely immersed in our Lord Jesus Christ…How can you clothe yourself in the radiance of Jesus Christ?
There is a fork in the road one way leads to the world and instant gratification that only satisfies for a moment…do not delay take no detour choose the other route… put on the Armor of Light, Jesus Christ!
“To live like this is all the more urgent, for time is running out and you know it is a strategic hour in human history. It is time for us to wake up! For our full salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns. So, we must once and for all strip away what is done in the shadows of darkness, removing it like filthy clothes. And once and for all we clothe ourselves with the radiance of light as our weapon.” Romans 13:11-12 TPT
Today, I am continuing in Romans 13…there is so much to embrace! I don’t know about you but I don’t want to find my self saying “Oh Crap!” as our King comes to carry me home. How about you? There is no doubt that I will be take home either through my flesh dying or in the twinkling of as eye with others. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead who believed in Christ will be raised imperishable, and we will be completely changed wondrously transformed.” 1 Corinthian 15:52 AMP Will there be a moment when we say “But I…” “Just one more…” That’s where the “Oh Crap” comes in. I don’t know but if there is a possibility of that feeling or emotional I do not want it! I want to be able to say…”I AM READY!”
In Romans 13 it says “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns.” What is this darkness? The darkness is unbelief…the darkness is lukewarmness…the darkness is persecution. The darkness is every kind of conflict, natural catastrophe, calamity, and war. Jesus speaks of these in Matthew 24, it is the darkness of the present hour. How do you receive these words? Does it put a sense of urgency in your spirit? This is truth…one way or another a new day for you and I is coming, it is about to burst forth…the long night of this earthly existence is almost over. When you think about eternity which you and I are currently living; let me explain…eternity started the moment God placed your spirit within your flesh growing in your mother. Psalm 139:13-14 That spirit…the true you was created by God and it continues now. When you except Christ as your Savior it like an electrical shock to that spirit, a rebirth, like heart surgery repairing your true self so that you might live as God intended. The main truth I want you to grasp here is the earthly life is so incredibly short, it is but a twinkle in the twinkling spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:52. Eternity has no earthly language to define, we try with words; infinite or unending time, endless life, sometimes defined as what exists outside time. We can put a beginning to eternity as spoke in Psalm 139…but we cannot fathom it’s unending.
So, I now get back to my original thought, my devotion to Jesus has been fueled by this truth…I do not want to be ashamed at His appearing if that is possible, no regret, nothing left undone…Today I just can not bear that thought! Heavenly Father…reveal those things that MUST GO in me, let me be fully ready, let me not miss an opportunity to speak life and truth…let me love where love is needed, give me compassion, let me see with your eyes and live with Kingdom values.
God gave us the sunrise to remember that Jesus, the Son has Risen. There is just something life giving and wonderful about a sunrise…clean crisp air…the pure light as it makes it way through the trees, over the mountains. It touches our emotions and now let it touch your spirit with hope and truth…igniting a fire within you that cannot be contained! Jeremiah 20:9 says, “If I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak His name anymore,” Then my heart becomes a burning fire Shut up in my bones. And I am weary of enduring and holding it in; I cannot endure it nor contain it any longer.”
“So, let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don’t eat, drink, or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.”
Romans 14:19-21 MSG
Romans 14 speaks about how as believers we should make every effort to walk in love. Here in verses 19-21, we see a wonderful example of using every encounter with others to love and live out our relationship with Jesus. In the Greek translation the word “diokein” is used which translated “make every effort” or “to pursue”. We should actively pursue peace and seek to build others up in order to bring about something which does not yet exist, that is the Blessed Hope, also known as the Rapture. Titus 2:11-14 tells us that our main pursuit in life should be to complete the work Jesus began so that He can return and bring an end to the forces of evil now operating on earth. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, eager for good deeds.”
Are you a stumbling block for others? Verse 13 tells us to “Make up your mind not to put any obstacle in your sister’s way.” This is love lived out, are you participating in behaviors or having an attitude that drags others into wrong thinking or clouds their ability to be delivered from Satan’s grip? Maybe you have been delivered and you yourself find arrogance and pride welling up because you have walk out of your sinful past. Do others see you as being better than them based on your attitude? There is sin attached to that way of living and thinking. Jesus tells us we must remain humble at all times, knowing that you are not the one who redeemed you BUT your freedom and redemption comes through Jesus Christ alone.
Food was being used as an example in the main scripture because many of the new believers were of Jewish heritage and pork was consider unclean and could not be eaten, it also speaks of wine in other translations as well. Obviously, if someone is working through their deliverance from alcohol, as a believer we should honor that deliverance by abstaining from any alcohol to help encourage them. This also speaks of words we speak, attitudes or any behavior not honoring our Heavenly Father. As the scripture says “Don’t eat, drink, or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.” Romans 14:21 MSG
Many times, the taming of our own flesh is challenged as we are called to “build one another up”, promote spiritual growth…Romans 15:3-6MSG says “That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever He will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!” Let Jesus be your example!
Jesus welcomed each one of us when we came to Him in faith…regardless of ethnic origin, cultural background, or position. Union with Jesus Christ overrides differences and forms a common bond among believers. When we accept one another we glorify God.
“Owe nothing to anyone except to love and seek the best for one another; for he who unselfishly loves his neighbor has fulfilled the essence of the law relating to one’s fellowman. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and any other commandment are summed up in this statement: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor it never hurts anyone. Therefore, unselfish love is the fulfillment of the Law.” Romans 13:8-10AMP
“Owe nothing to anyone” in other words “no debt” this was spoken in regards to being diligent in paying taxes, tribute, honor and respect they are to be paid in full. However, there is a continuing debt to be paid out…the debt of love. And that needs to be seen in every opportunity.
“Love your neighbor as yourself” sums up the entire law…how can you love when you gossip or speak ill of another person, maybe you are jealous, covet or have unforgiveness still corrupting the work Jesus wants to do in your spirit.
So how then can you activate “love” or in other words express your faith. Here are six ways that will help you activate Christ like love in your daily life.
Invest your life in others.
Be careful to give ONLY Godly advice as well as be an excellent listener.
Bring the best out of people through affection and encouragement.
Forgive…be willing to forgive even when there is no repentance.
Make the world a better place by acts of kindness.
Intercede daily for those you encounter in prayer before the throne of grace.
Every opportunity, every encounter will fail if your motive is for selfish gain…let me explain. Many times, we give of our time and finances in expectation of a return, we see opportunities as investment with an earthly return instead of a kingdom return. Seek the love of your Heavenly Father, every investment here on earth will see a heavenly return.
That hurting sister that you prayed for who you tirelessly share Jesus with…will greet you with loving arms in Heaven, as Jesus welcomes you home! Make it then your life’s pursuit, your “love walk”…receive these words…“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-3ESV
When the trumpet sounds…may you and I be known…for the love we demonstrate to others!
Galatians 3:3 says “Are you so foolish? Having embraced God’s truth and received the gift of the Spirit, are you now allowing the flesh to direct your journey? Have you forgotten some or all that God has done and promised?” personalized
Today these are the burning questions on my heart…not just for you my sisters in Christ Jesus but for myself as well. We must take a deeper look at what you and I believe…I am going to let God speak to us through His Living Word…
”But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in us sweet sisters. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.” Micah 6:8 MSG personalized
There is a daily struggle…Paul says it best, “I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.” Romans 7:18-19 TLB
How are we living out our Salvation? Our faith in God? When our faith is built on God’s Truth it can withstand any storm. “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock (God’s ways). And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand (man’s ways). And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and its collapse was great.” Matthew 7:24-27 NASB
The Rock is God’s Truth…His Living Word…His Son, Jesus who came, suffered, died as your sin offering and then beat the sin death causes through His resurrection but that’s not all…God promises a supernatural helper for each of us the Holy Spirit. Eternal Life, Heaven, a New World…where we are no longer held captive to disease, pain, loss, emotional strive. All of this is the ROCK!
Ok cannot help it…a small aside here…Peter was not the rock, think about it and then read over the scripture…Matthew 16:13-28. Would God entrust His Church to just one man? NO! Jesus is saying “I just revealed to you who I am, the Messiah, Savior to the world and this is the Rock, the Truth I will build my church upon! Verse 23 confirms this when Jesus rebukes Peter for his limited understanding “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s purposes, but men’s.” We must read all the scriptures surrounding any given scripture in order to fully understand what God is saying to us.
What you believe put your faith in defines who you are…God tells us we are His creation, His personal workmanship…therefore we must have confidence that He would not just leave to our own devices. Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” You see because we have faith and a growing relationship with Jesus we are then compelled to live and do the work of the Kingdom.
Here is the truth, God is working in you and me… this causes a shift in us, a desire grows to do His work because it pleases Him. “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to [a]desire and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13 NASB
Now we come to not an end but a beginning…God tells us to be ready, “I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 MSG
You my faithful sisters, there is an urgency in the air…we know the last days are upon us so heed these final words found in Titus 2:11-14 MSG “God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.”
Go back to the beginning…Answer the questions, ask God to reveal the areas of your life still clinging to the old you! Be quick to repent and embrace God’s Truth in a fresh and deeper way!
Last writing dear sisters I spoke of having a healthy heart. Today I wanted to share with you how living with a heart that has been damaged keeps you from the freedom God is offering all His children. You were created to live a full life with purpose, confidence, love, with the strength…not let the littlest offense send your mind and spirit reeling. Once again I want to remind you of the connect between the mind and spirit or what the Bible refers to as your heart. Your heart is where your true self is revealed, where daily decisions and actions are born. This means each of us must let our spirit be in charge, it is our spirit that is in communication with the Holy Spirit. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, you are the daughters of God. For you, my sister have not received a spirit of oppression leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as His daughter by which you cry out, Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself testifies with your spirit that you are a child of God.” Romans 8: 14-16 NASB personalized Remember, your spirit must become bigger than your mind because out of your spirit flows the passion and power of God through the work of the Holy Spirit. A healthy heart grows and flows forth for the purposes of God’s Kingdom and benefits all those God puts in your circle of influence.
There are three types of damaged heart each has its own characteristics however they can work with each other building strongholds in your life that does not allow God’s Truth to reach your spirit. These strongholds reside in you mind and block the work God wants to do within your heart. That is why living with one of these wounds or a combination of them will bring broken relationships and strife into your life. An unhealthy heart will not only devastate the work of God in your life, but it will have an effect on those you love. This is a battleground, the devil works to hold you captive in unforgiveness, bitterness and self-focus, let us look closely at these three hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to identity areas in your heart that need housekeeping and healing.
The Wounded Heart
You will face hurt and disappointment, mistreatment and criticism in life, there is no getting around it. Your past and your ability to forgive plays a huge part in your heart condition. As a woman you were wired to nurture and love, be the strong one emotionally. But many times you find yourself coping in your own strength, suppressing feelings, or denying disappointments even abuse. Emotions that are neglected will resurface, in the form of a wounded heart. If these emotions are left untreated wrong thinking becomes a way for bitterness to form. Bitterness or hidden anger toward someone who has hurt you is compromising your heart health, that hurt will slowly move into hate and will change how you react to situations based on past experiences. “Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God’s best blessings. Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.” Hebrews 12:15 TLB Neglecting the wound gives the devil entrance remember sin is crouching at the door.
Right now, your saying…I am not wounded, I have forgiven them…yet you live guarded, with your own armor, suspicious of people or the motives behind their actions. Is that you? Do you trust? The wounded heart battles paranoia unable to experience kind efforts from others. Another evidence of a wounded heart is fear or deep anxiety. Unresolved hurt or anger will lead you to expect more of the same. The smallest failure of another individual opens old wounds they hold you captive and unable to move forward. Unresolved pain does not diminish with time, rather strongholds become larger within your heart making a healthy relationship with God and others impossible.
How then can I be free of the hurt I feel, the bitterness and anger I have been holding on to? Carefully choose a woman of God, find a safe place, and let your story be told, let your emotions vent. God cannot heal what we fail to give Him! Yes, God was there, and He saw however we need to share it with Him. Here is where forgiveness comes in, the only true way to move past even the most horrible hurt is through forgiveness. “For if you forgive other people for their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14 NASB Only through forgiveness can you stop bitterness and hate from withholding what Jesus did for you on the cross. Jesus gives you the ability to forgive because He forgave those who crucified Him and you as well. This is not up for negotiation…forgiveness of sins and forgiveness of what other have done to you goes hand in hand. The choice is yours and so it takes willingness on your part. Some people like holding on the hurt, it becomes a platform for attention, an excuse to hate. Sadly, the damage caused by holding on keeps you in broken limbo. Your ability to forgive is essential in the healing processing, no matter how difficult you must lay those hurts at Jesus’ feet and forgive those who have hurt you. Ask God to heal your heart and then declare that healing over yourself. When you have a healthy heart, you are not careless or naïve in your view of people, but you are open and able to believe the best about others’ actions and motives. Dwelling on the hurt, reliving the circumstances or experience allows the devil to continue to fuel your wounds. If you find yourself in this situation I strongly suggest reading “Battlefields of the Minds”, by Joyce Meyers.
The Hypocritical Heart
A hypocritical heart is one that fails to achieve honesty in view of itself. It focuses on the faults of others while at the same time ignores their own situation or sin. Luke 6:42 is well known for its description of hypocrisy “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” This heart condition is more concerned with how things appear then what is going on inside. It hides behind a mask, there is a disconnect between what is seen and what is true this leads to a destructive heart condition. Many times, this heart condition attaches itself to a wounded heart, ignoring what is brewing inside, pointing the finger elsewhere. A focus on the failings of others reveals your hypocrisy. The hypocritical heart engages in gossip…spreading less than kind words about others. Jesus suggests that the right response when we witness another’s sin is mourning, not private satisfaction. Heart check right here! Is that you? Something like, “It’s about time Sally got caught with her hand in the cookie jar” said with a smirk. Love does not desire the sin to be magnified or the punishment to be without mercy. The Bible commands us to guard and evaluate our own heart. If you fail to do so or focus greater energy on evaluating others, hypocrisy is in full bloom. One easy way to identify hypocrisy in your own heart is by taking inventory of your life. On Sundays at church, in public, or at home…are you the same person? React the same? Is there a hidden part of you? Ouch! For those of you who are Moms your consistency speaks volumes, if you “put on” an act at church your children will see church, see Jesus as their Savior as nothing more than shallow or unreal. It is your responsibility to represent Jesus to your children with consistency and love in every area of your life.
The first step in healing this heart condition is humility. We must take an honest look at our life; we must humble ourselves and acknowledge our wrongdoings before any process of healing can begin. Repentance is key. Many times, this repentance must be made to those you have hurt or gossiped about. You cannot hold back…those negative words spoken about another must be forgiven. A healthy heart does not allow embarrassment or shame keep it from offering a heartfelt apology. You must adopt a habit of self-evaluation based in God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit work within you to expose wrong thinking.
The Greedy Heart
A greedy heart has the desire for one’s own benefit. Luke 12:15 NASB warns “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed.” As a sister in Jesus Christ, your heart must be void of greed. Another way to describe a greedy heart is to say it is self-focused or selfish. The Bible defines greed as a form of idolatry, revealing a love for things of this world, setting your priorities on self-satisfaction and recognition. The greedy heart focuses on things that cannot truly appease; wealth, popularity and power are illusions as they cannot fill your need to be satisfied. Your temptation to have what others enjoy can be surprising powerful. The greed or your pursuit of self-gratification can quickly become bondage, blocking your ability to be sensitive to God’s purpose for your life. Idolatry is a clear violation of God’s first and most significant commandment. You, my sister must not let anything interfere or hinder your devotion to the One True God, your Heavenly Father. He made this commandment first because it touches every aspect of your life. When your focus becomes inward or upon worldly aspirations God’s position in your life becomes out of focus.
Healing such a heart begins with confession; acknowledging the greed which opens the way for God to remove it. What is important to God must become your guide. When you take the “me” out of a situation and look to honor God it changes your position, there is a shift, a newfound sense of worth. Your true worth in found in God and not in the mirror or acquired goods of this world. God has the right to supreme leadership in the your life and to the unhindered devotion of the your heart. When your devotion is centered on God, He provides safety and protection. God is asking you to make Him first in your life, when your focus, thinking, and desires belong to Him you will be satisfied. Nothing else in the world has the lasting, supernatural power that your devotion to God brings. You were born with a hunger that only is satisfied through your relationship with God.
Expose right now, what is hiding in your heart dear sister. Become sensitive to those things that can bring sickness or destroy your heart. The symptoms of these three heart conditions hide in the dark places of your life, you must expose the negative experiences of your life and allow God to heal them. You have come so far in your relationship with God. He is calling you to go deeper…the Holy Spirit within you is working with your spirit to bring healing. Through God’s Word the Truth is revealed…With God you can face the past, heal the wounds, say no to wrong thinking, close the door on feelings that do not line up with who God says you are…His daughter, the daughter of the Most High King! Today! Proclaim your position…you belong to the One True God, loved, valued, worthy to do the work and live a life full of purpose.
“Create, begin the process in me clean and purify my heart, make it healthy according to Your standard, focused on You God, I ask You My Loving Father to renew and remove, to do the work necessary so that my spirit would be steadfast and positioned to receive all that You have for me so that I am able to serve You and fulfill the purpose You have given me.” Psalm 51:10 personalized