Greetings to all of you, my sweet sisters in Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 38:16-17NIV personalized, “Lord, by these things people live, and in all these is the life of my spirit; You have restored me to health and let me live! Behold, for in my own belief before you rescued me I had great bitterness and hurt; But You kept me even then…because You love my soul from the pit of destruction and nothingness, and in Your great sacrifice You have hurled all my sins behind Your back.”
Today victory is mine…despite the doctors’ reports, despite what is ahead…Jesus saved me. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5MSG personalized tells me, “I know that when this body of mine is taken down like a tent and folded away, it will be replaced by MY new body in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and I will never have to relocate my “tent” again. Sometimes I can hardly wait to move—and so I cry out in frustration as my tent that is my flesh and bones age giving way to sickness. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and I am tired of it! I have been given a glimpse of the real thing, my true home, my heavenly spirit body! The Spirit of God whets my appetite by giving me a taste of what’s ahead. He has put a little of heaven in my heart so that I will never settle for less.”
I know that God will not relieve me from my earthly body not one minute before my great commission is finished. By now most of you have heard that I have been diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer. God has given me comfort in this because victory is already mine, I have received my miracle, my victory…salvation, which is the knowledge that I am forgiven and the daughter of the Most High King, loved and valued!
As you know this year God gave me the word “Grateful”, He knew what was coming and He wanted me to focus on all He has done in my life, how He saved me in my darkest times, how He lead me to taste His love and experience His Design for His children in such way that I would sing…NO SHOUT His Truth… “We all belong to Him and He wants to restore all that has been lost and redeem His children!”
A few weeks ago, I was thinking about what to write to you, my sweet sisters and God had me open His Word like many times before…He whispered “Just let it fall open and read…I have something for you there”. This was just days before I received the news my tent was stricken by this intruder… God said, “This is for you my daughter let this be your comfort.”
“God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you. I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy; I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises! If I’m sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection. Because you’ve always stood up for me, I’m free to run and play. I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post.” Psalm 63:1-8MSG
God was telling me look at Me, not what you are hearing with your ears or seeing with your eyes…sweet daughter I AM your portion, NO MATTER WHAT! COME WHAT MAY!
There are tough days coming…surgery, reconstruction, chemo, radiation, hormone therapy…all of these things cannot…WILL NOT…disrupt or confuse the truth that Jesus is my King, my Forever Father! Father God, I pray for you to continue your work in me, cast out any thought or iniquity still in me…open any stronghold and destroy any fear for I am your creation God and You are my Savior in whom I trust.
2 Corinthians 5:7-8 tells us “for we walk by faith, not by sight… but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
In closing, there are some lyrics of a popular worship song that has ministered to me, here it is for you to take in…be blessed and comforted.
CHAMPION by Bethel Worship I’ve tried so hard to see it Took me so long to believe it That You’d choose someone like me To carry Your victory Perfection could never earn it You give what we don’t deserve and You take the broken things And raise them to glory
You are my champion Giants fall when you stand Undefeated Every battle You’ve won I am who You say I am You crown me with confidence I am seated, in the heavenly place Undefeated, with the One who has conquered it all
Now I can finally see it You’re teaching me how to receive it So let all the striving cease This is my victory
When I lift my voice and shout Every wall comes crashing down I have the authority Jesus has given me When I open up my mouth Miracles start breaking out I have the authority Jesus has given me
You are my champion Giants fall when you stand Undefeated Every battle You’ve won I am who You say I am You crown me with confidence I am seated, in the heavenly place Undefeated, by the power of Your name I am seating, in the heavenly place Undefeated, with the One you has conquered it all
It has been several days since I have been in my refuge, the room I have in my house where I seek God’s presence, pray and study. Our home has had family here and the littles brought germs with them, my husband was the first to catch the bug which appeared as a cold, and then I felt the symptoms invading me as well. I never really got congested but my head felt full. I found myself just sitting and staring at the TV, unable to get myself inspired to do anything. My husband will tell you that I am a busy person who always sets out with a plan daily of things to accomplish and yet for the last couple of weeks I just could not get moving. I will also say that retirement can be challenging, you have more days to do “stuff” less “money” to do them and so you find yourself saying “that can wait.” A frustrating place to be…my foggy head, lack of motivation and no real deadline to make me move. And yet there is something is there not? There is God. The True force behind the “why” of everything. I cannot imagine what it would be like to not believe, to not know that I am His child, to live without purpose in the fourth quarter of life. This is where faithfulness comes in. And so, in my stupor I will say “Yes God!” I will call upon my Father to help me rise up and get moving…I will remain faithful!
The dictionary defines faithfulness as the concept of unfailingly remaining loyal to someone or something and putting that loyalty into consistent practice regardless of extenuating circumstances. Faithfulness is adhesion, allegiance, attachment, commitment, constancy, dedication, devotedness, devotion. Faithfulness comes from a place of trust and loyalty. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is a confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faithfulness requires us to submit our ways to God, it means that even when are physical body is failing us we keep saying “Yes God.” Even when something we hoped for, someone we thought would extend an invitation, an opportunity dissipates into thin air we continue to say, “Yes God”.
I receive a newsletter from the Assemblies of God quarterly and in the fall issue an article about faithfulness caught my eye, it’s simple truth lead me to share these thoughts with you and so I extend a thank to Donna Barrett, author. It spoke to me right in the midst of my funk (for lack of a better word), encouraged me to stay the course, do my best and give God all the praise.
King Saul had it all, selected by God when the Israelites asked for a leader. Set up as King, he had wealth, wisdom, and looks but most of all… he had God on his side. So, what happened? Simple put he let the distractions of this world blur his vision, congest his mind. In a nutshell, he become unfaithful to God. Scripture says, “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of her, and did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore, He killed him and turned the kingdom over to David, the son of Jesse.” 1 Chronicles 10:13-14NASB
Every person in the Bible, every situation is placed there with purpose by God, to warn us, to teach us how to navigate life on planet earth. With that being said, Saul is given to us as an example of what can happen when we take our eyes off God and put our faith in things of this world. King Saul made three mistakes. Let us look at each of these and see if you and I are vulnerable as well.
DO NOT Look to the World for Guidance
Saul stopped seeking God for guidance, consulting a medium instead. In today’s world you and I do this when we let popular opinion guide us. On social media we look to see how many “likes” we get to affirm a thought or decision. Any information source you seek before or more than God is just a modern-day medium. God’s Word is the ultimate guide, the internet provides a multitude of information that can be spun, miss quoted, and edited to sway our decision in the wrong direction. I know I find myself saying “let me google that to see what is said concerning that”, now please let me say that we my husband and I have consulted the web on home repair, which item might fit our needs best and it can be a wonderful resource. Even in studying God’s Word, the internet has thousands of amazing articles and other sources for us to build our faith. You and I need to put God’s Gospel first, more than whatever version of truth is presented to us at the moment. I find Philippians 4 as a source of comfort and guidance. His Truth is still the Truth, even if no one believes it. A lie is still a lie, even if everyone believes it.
DO NOT Compare
Saul’s second mistake was comparing himself to others especially to David.
1 Samuel 18:7-9 tells us, “The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.” Then Saul became very angry, for this lyric [b]displeased him; and he said, “They have given David credit for ten thousands, but to me they have given credit for only thousands! Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David with suspicion from that day on.”
This song of celebrated victory caused Saul to become jealous of David. It rendered he unable to escape the comparison trap. He saw David as a rival instead of acknowledging him as someone Saul had mentor and sharing in the victory. Embracing the truth that together they were a winning team. How would this scenario have changed if Saul had recognized his jealousy and brought it before the Lord in repentance?
I used to find myself begrudging other sisters in Christ who knew more scripture, who’s prayers were more elegant than mine, who I thought reached a higher level in their faith than me, friends who’s relationship appeared closer. But as I have grown as a believer, God has shown me that I have value in Him, my own unique value that He has grown in me. Even my marriage, in my friendships they are unique and God has taught me not to compare with others. Comparing ourselves to others in any respect leads to jealousy, losing sight of who you are, or your value in God’s Kingdom. Once again social media is a trap in this area, it has become today’s tool for unfair comparison. Unfair comparison and jealousy feed off one another and result in a never-ending vicious cycle. The way out is to be faithful to God with who you are and what He has given you. DO NOT let the enemy lure you into the comparison trap.
Be Honest with Yourself
The worst kind of deception is self-deception. Saul began lying to himself, believing those lies and then lying to those around him. The lying thought in your mind is a prelude to sin in action. In 1 Samuel 13:7-14, we find Saul disregarding God’s instruction to wait for Samuel…we see Samuel confront Saul as to why he did not wait for him as instructed. Here comes the excuses. When Saul disobeyed God and kept some of the plunder, he justified his actions as recorded in 1 Samuel 15:7-15. This pattern of excuse-making starts with self-deception. An excuse is nothing more than a lie wrapped up in rationalization. Who we are and what we do are connected, it might be said that our action verifies our character.
A person’s character is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as, “Your character is your personality, especially how reliable and honest you are. If someone is of good character, they are reliable and honest. If they are of bad character, they are unreliable and dishonest.” Even the world identifies that we are subject within our character to good and evil. The sinful nature you and I were born with is found within our character. However, there is good news in that God has given you and I a spirit within us, along with the Holy Spirit to overcome the sinful nature “bad character” within us. As we look to God remain faithful to His Word our character is refined into the image of Jesus Christ as spoke of in scripture. This is lifelong process well worth all our effort. The apostle Paul reminds us that there is a constant conflict, a battle within us that must be surrendered to God. He tells us in Romans 7 that this struggle is real and that it continues even though Paul himself teaches and speaks God’s Truth at every opportunity. For me this is an inspiration to not give in or give up.
In closing, Saul allow his character to be compromised by putting is faith in the world’s view instead of God’s. Once he took his eyes off God, sadly Saul began making decisions based in the world and self-deception, he became lost to God’s Truth and suffered eternal consequences.
“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures for some time now, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. Cling to this truth, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when He comes to set up His Kingdom: Preach the Word of God through what you speak and in action. It must be your lifestyle to represent His Truth daily no matter the circumstance you find yourself in. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. In fact, it is now upon us. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5NLT personalized
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