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Strongholds

What comes to mind when you think of a stronghold? No, it’s not someone who is holding your arm too tightly, but it does usually come with a negative connotation. It always has for me too…until recently.

The only Scriptures I remember reading or hearing about strongholds through the years are those where we are reminded, especially in the New Testament, of strongholds that belong to the devil.

When I searched for the dictionary’s definition of a stronghold I found “a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld.”  Unfortunately, these beliefs aren’t always truthful or positive! I think most of us have a negative thought or habit (or two) that we repeatedly fight. For me they are usually a pattern in my mind reminding me of my weaknesses and taunting me that I will never overcome certain struggles.

The devil is all over these types of negative strongholds! He would have us believe we are weak and defenseless against the struggles of this world. Sometimes it certainly feels that way!

What the devil is hoping we will forget is that when we have the Holy Spirit we have all the power we need to demolish these strongholds!

For though we live in the world we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.                                                                    2 Corinthians 10:3-5

The good news, my friends, is that we are not in this fight alone! When we know Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord we have the Holy Spirit’s power inside of us! We only need to unleash it in the battle for our minds!

Destroying House

I know for me some days it’s easier to remember to use this demolition power than others, but whether we use it or not, it is ALWAYS there at our disposal!

I mentioned earlier that these days strongholds don’t always come with a negative connotation for me. I’ve been dwelling in the Psalms a lot lately during my quiet times and keep seeing strongholds mentioned, especially by David. As I dug around I learned another definition of stronghold; “a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack.” David found and created these strongholds when he was running for his life from King Saul. He was protected in these places by those who fought for and with him and found rest and solace when he was there.

We have it even easier than for David as we don’t have to build our own strongholds to find protection from our enemy! The Lord is our stronghold, and the Holy Spirit fights for and with us! He is waiting for us to stop fighting alone and find refuge in His stronghold.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
                                                        Psalm 9: 9-10

Once we have taken refuge in the stronghold of the Lord, if we are willing, we will find others who are searching for sanctuary themselves. Together we can bandage each others’ wounds, prop each other up, feed each other with the nourishment of God’s promises and stand together, often on our knees.

Don’t fight this battle alone! Remember the strength available to you through the Holy Spirit, and be vulnerable enough to let God use your experiences to strengthen others for the fight. We are called to fight, but we are not called to fight a solitary battle.

Now go out there and do some demolition with the Lord!!
Paula

 

 

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Just Who Do You Think You Are??

As humans our image of ourselves and others is so often based on external factors.

What will I be when I grow up?

Am I pretty enough, talented enough, smart enough?

Do people like me?

How many times through your life have you asked these questions of yourself or others? I’m not suggesting it is wrong to think about the external or to have goals and dreams about what we desire out of our lives.

The trouble comes when we base our self-image entirely on external factors, or allow others to form our identities for us. We may believe the lies that we aren’t enough unless…and this is exactly what the enemy wants us to do! He wants to make us feel broken down and defeated.

When we examine our lives by our own strengths and weaknesses the weaknesses will always outweigh the strengths. It can be easy to go down the rabbit hole of regret or self-deprecation and become trapped at a dead-end, face to face with the father of lies.

It is vital that we know who we are in Christ:

  • Chosen of God, holy and dearly loved. (Col. 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4)
  • Rescued from the domain of Satan’s rule and transferred
    to the kingdom of Christ. (Colossians 1:13)
  • Victorious through Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
  • Changed into the likeness of Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
  • Given exceedingly great and precious promises by God. (2 Peter 1:4)

If we stand on our identities in Christ, the wounds we have accumulated through life, whether physical or emotional will no longer keep us bound in the past, but rather be used as tools in the hands of our God. He will wipe out the lies we have believed for so long and fill us with love, truth, and hope for tomorrow. While it usually isn’t a dramatic, overnight change, if we allow Him, God will shape our present and future into something good. We will look back over months and years and see ourselves more and more the way God sees us, beautifully restored and useful.

The world around us seems to constantly be demanding that we prove ourselves by our external environments. As children of God we only need to declare who we are by standing on His promises and finding our identities in Him. As we do, God gives us the added blessing of learning how to use our past experiences, both good and bad, to walk alongside and encourage others who are struggling and help them find their true identity too.

The next time you hear the enemy say, “Who do you think you are”, remind him that you KNOW you are a child of God and you are no longer going to believe the lies that you are any less.

blessings and peace to you as you walk in confidence and hope today!
Paula

 

 

 

 

 

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Seeing Through the Fog

A thick fog has settled in over my little corner of the world early this morning. It brings with it an eeriness and distorts the view of my surroundings.

Have you ever experienced a fog settling in on yourself? It’s not uncommon to hear someone say they have brain fog when they can’t think of something clearly or are trying to figure something out. Searching for the right words or trying to find car keys in the morning can sometimes make us think we are in a brain fog. We often address these experiences lightheartedly and brush them off knowing that a cup of coffee or a little time will usually clear our brains and make the fog go away.

What about a spiritual fog? Have you ever had a time when life seemed confusing and overwhelming and you felt like your spirit was in a fog?

I’ve experienced times like this. Because of physical tiredness, uncertain situations or confusion I’ve gone through times when life seemed to weigh down on my spirit so heavily that it felt like I was in a spiritual fog. These times may cause me to become overly emotional, and to not be able to sort through a situation clearly. Often these fogs bring on uncertainty of my position in Christ and how much he loves me and is walking with me to give me strength.

Just as fog on the ground can distort our surroundings and make it difficult to see where we are going, spiritual fog can also distort our view.

So what can we do in these foggy situations when we can’t see our way through?

  • Remind ourselves of our position in Christ. Scripture tells us that we are children of God, we have the spirit of God living in us, and nothing can separate us from the love of God.

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

  • Put on the armor of God. Go to Ephesians 6:10-18 and put on each piece of armor carefully and prayerfully.
  • Seek out a trusted friend who will help you process the challenge and find your way through the fog.
  • Praise the Lord! Whether through music or speaking scripture aloud, praise, even (especially) when you feel like you can’t. Psalm 147 says God delights in people who praise and fear Him. Even if you think you are just going through the motions do it! You may be surprised how the act of praise will change your perspective.

The fog that was clouding my backyard view has cleared now and I have a different perspective on the day. If you find yourself in a spiritual fog today, I encourage you to ask the Lord to help you fight your way out of it and see clearly your position in Him. If I can help, please drop me a note.

blessings and peace to you today!

paula