Breaking Strongholds

Breaking Strongholds

We live in this world, but we don’t act like its people or fight our battles with the weapons of this world. Instead, we use God’s power that can destroy fortresses. We destroy arguments and every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God. We capture people’s thoughts and make them obey Christ.

– II Corinthians 10:3-5

STRONGHOLD: Anything that exalts itself against God’s Word.  It contradicts the Truth.  It contradicts what God says about you.  It goes against the will of God for your life!

a)      A stronghold begins with a thought, or two or three.

b)      A negative thought unchecked…leads to vain imaginations…and that’s how strongholds are born.

How to Break Strongholds:

1. Go to the source—your thought life.

Proverbs 23:7- For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.

a)      We have to evaluate our thought life.  What wrong thoughts have  we accepted and believed that led to this stronghold?

2. Let go of the past pain.

Isaiah 43:18-19 Do not remember the things that have happened before. Do not think about the things of the past. See, I will do a new thing. It will begin happening now. Will you not know about it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

a)      FORGET the past!

b)      Don’t DWELL on it anymore!

c)      This is a NEW day!

3. Control your thoughts.

Ephesians 6:12-13 Our fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world. It is against the demon world that works in the heavens. 13 Because of this, put on all the things God gives you to fight with. Then you will be able to stand in that sinful day. When it is all over, you will still be standing.

a)       Take every thought CAPTIVE and make it obedient to Christ.

b)       We have to deliberately choose what we allow our minds to dwell on.

c)       Decide Right Now:

d)      I am finished with this battle!

e)       I’m not fighting this stronghold the rest of my life!

f)        I am not going to let suicidal thoughts get the best of me!

g)       I am not going to allow poverty to reign in my life!

h)       I am not going to allow bitterness to control my life!

i)         Divine Weapons To Demolish Negative Thoughts—You Have:

j)         The Word of God

k)       The Name of Jesus

l)         Power and Authority over Satan

m)     At The First Sign Of A Negative Thought:

1. Stop and acknowledge that the thought is not from God.

2. Make a decision: I am not going to take Satan’s bait! I am not going to dwell on this

ungodly thought.

3. Resist Satan in the Name of Jesus!

4. Replace that thought with God’s thoughts about you.

a)     Don’t identify yourself with tempting thoughts.

b)     Instead of turning on yourself and attacking your self-esteem when thoughts come—turn

it around and attack the lies!  Deal with the real culprit that is a lie of Satan.

4. Be PERSISTENT!

A stronghold doesn’t develop overnight.   So you have to be consistent and persistent until you see the victory

Something is really wrong with the Church….

Something is wrong in the Church today. I don’t say that lightly, or as someone who thrives on criticizing everyone else so as to establish my own spiritual superiority, or as someone who is feeding on sour grapes because things aren’t the way I would like them. I say it because of how many people I meet on a daily basis who are discouraged by traditional church and have chosen not to attend anymore.
Everywhere I turn, I hear people complaining about the same thing. This isn’t something localized to a particular area or limited to a certain social strata or denomination  I hear this from all sorts of people, many with impeccable spiritual credentials.  I have talked to pastors who have spent decades in ministry who are now questioning the vibrancy of the Church. Others just off the streets, armed with little more than a spiritual hunger, who refuse to attend church, not because they don’t believe, but because they are repelled by what they see, they are tired of seeing “Christians” and”leaders” in the church who are out looking like the world and acting like the world, and than acting holier than thou on Sunday mornings.
No matter how you view this issue, no matter what position you have, no matter what church you belong to, you have to admit that something is wrong.
We are supposed to be the salt of the Earth, as something that gives flavor to make a meal taste good. But when we are not attracting the lost, but rather repelling them, then our salt has lost its savor. What makes it even worse is that we are even repelling the saved.
There are opposing extremes to this issue, true, but shouldn’t the middle be closer to the truth? We see on one hand the churches that are so loose and “loving” that they excuse any sin or misconduct, including homosexuality and adultery in the church. On the other hand, there are those in their religious zeal have taken it upon themselves to proclaim their self-righteous judgments on every church around them. Somewhere they read that the Word of God is a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces, so they’ve traded in their fishing pole for a sledgehammer.
But in the middle, where we hope to find something that is more balanced, instead we find a modern church that is socially based, smooth and sensual, sophisticated, and presented like a Hollywood production so that it will appeal to the crowds who flock there. Listen, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it is most likely a duck, and not a church.
And what, may I ask, ever happened to the Gospel of power? If our churches are supposed to be so good, then why are so many people turned off by them? If the fire that is burning in our churches was from off the altar of God instead of a Wizard of Oz production, then I can guarantee you that hungry souls would be drawn by the Spirit of God, but instead, they are turning away. Something is wrong!
Where are the old-fashioned preachers who used to preach under the anointing of power, and relied not their stack of disheveled notes, but on the power of God to deliver the message? Our pastors today follow the social and marketing formulas they were taught in college and present a Gospel in a multi-media fashion with 7 bullet points, a poem, and three jokes and Worship Leaders singing songs they like, they are the most popular all about “me” and leave Jesus out. Something is wrong!
What happened to the strong calls for repentance that brought thousands down to the altar to repent and ask Jesus Christ to save their souls? This is the litmus test for Christianity; it is the essence of the Cross; it is the Great Commission that Jesus commanded us with.  Something is wrong!
Where did all the miracles go? Not the weak excuses of “if it is God’s will …”, or a reliance on a “gradual healing” with a doctor’s appointment in hand, but the instant manifestation of the power of God? Jesus said to heal the sick, and preach the Gospel. Was He just kidding? Did He really mean it? Yes, He meant it! If there is not a flowing of miracle healing’s in your church, then I’m sorry, something is wrong!
Where is the outpouring of the Holy Ghost? Do we even know what it means anymore to feel the presence of the Spirit of God descend on a service and fill up the room with holiness? Or do we just think that our party atmosphere of excitement when someone plays a cool song, or the excitement that we get when some charismatic speaker works the crowd is the Holy Ghost? It’s been so long since we’ve seen the real thing that we don’t even know what it is anymore. Something is wrong!
Something of deep substance is missing in our church today. But we’ve become so sophisticated and enamored with our social Gospel that we don’t even realize that something is wrong. We are left like Gideon, threshing his wheat in secret by the wine-press of God because our fields have been taken over by a worldly church. And we wonder out loud to the angel, “What happened to the miracles our fathers have told us about?”
Yeah, that’s my question too. What happened?
When we lost our fear of God, we lost our power in God. And at that point, as it says in Isaiah 29, the Book became sealed unto us so that we no longer even grasp how far we have fallen. We read it, but we can’t see past the surface of the page.
I believe in the four R’s, the four steps to revival – Recognition, Repentance, Righteousness, and Revival. The first step to Revival is to realize that we don’t have one, to recognize that something is desperately wrong with our churches, and that we have lost something precious in our pursuit of a super-sophisticated modern Church. We’ve lost it, and we need to get it back…

Why I Support Sonshine Christian Academy

 "They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

“They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

I have never seen a school that has so much class and elegance, than I have this past week with SCA. They have taken the high road, one that many times is less traveled because its easier to play the blame game, than it is to sit back in silence and handle a situation in a private matter. The leadership of this school is proving they are more concerned in educating the students of their school than to be apart of a circus.

Taking the high road is described by the dictionary as: The most positive, diplomatic, or ethical course.The key in taking the high road is to have boundaries and exercise them when necessary. This means in a diplomatic way, I may respond to others or situations that I do not like or agree with and state or exercise my boundaries without being negative or unethical. When I take the high road, no matter how badly or unfairly I feel I have been treated, I feel better about ME which is more important than being the opposite of positive, diplomatic and ethical. You may be surprised, but, the outcomes of taking the high road. Not only do you feel better, but often times an individual or situation will turn around for the better simply because you did not do or say anything to make things worse.

There has been many who have come quick to criticize the school and the decision they have made based on part of the story, from one side. I believe we will never know the whole story of what happened between this young lady and the school, but what we will know is this, that Sonshine Christian Academy did what many have accused them of not doing, and that is turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) and taking the high road and continuing to be a school of excellence.

This is why I support Sonshine Christian Academy, for being so classy and taking that high road.

I locked up my …

I locked up my heart and I put on a show, I let the business of life be a wall so nobody gets close.. Well I got a lot done, yeah, I’m so type A, but I’m finding arm’s length is a safe but lonely place…

So, I’m gonna choose to reach out choose to lay down all of the fear that I’ve been hiding… choose to be brave though my heart’s afraid, to be a part of Your Kingdom rising, God, I’m done running from the reason that you sent your Son….So, I will choose to love

Maybe I’ll hurt, maybe I’ll bruise….Maybe I’ll cry….. Maybe I’ll lose…. Still I will choose to love

I breathe in, I breathe out…

“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….

This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing.

The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is name of Being itself.”

~Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

Source – Ann Voskamp

 http://www.aholyexperience.com/ann-voskamp/

Behind the Scenes

“Child of God, wake up! Week after week desperate people come to our homes and services looking for God. We talk a good game and we flaunt the trappings and traditions of our religion, but when they pull back the curtain, what do they find? Is there a God enthroned in your house? Is there a God enthroned in your church? Or are we only offering the world an old man who practices theatrics? I want the glory of God in the Church!”

– Zach Neese
How to Worship a King

It was a dirty job

“And while they were there, the time came for the baby to be born. And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. And she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

(Luke 2:6-7)

As we get closer to Christmas, we began to hear the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus.. As a amazing story it is, sometimes I think we forget, to show that it wasn’t this clean nice smelling barn, but that it was a messy place.. This is my favorite way of telling the Christmas story..

God had this messy plan…a plan to save the world, and to do that he was going to send his son. Where does the God of the universe send his son? Where does the King of Kings and Lord of Lords come? To a barn…a stable…a manger of all places! Certainly no place fit for a king. But then again, this wasn’t any ordinary king.

When I say it was messy, I mean it was messy. It was a barn, a stable. So you’ve got animals and animal…stuff, manure and mud. A pitiful place  for people, much less the King of Kings, to be born. Why would God do that? Well, I can’t tell you for sure, because the prophet Isaiah tells us that his thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. But that same prophet, 400 years before, said “All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us to our own way and that the Lord has laid our  iniquities on him.” (Isaiah 53:6) You see, Jesus came to a messy place. A barn, well, yes that’s messy. But he came to a messy world. Why? Because the shepherd was coming to take care of his sheep and to prepare a way for his sheep to go home. That’s what a shepherd does. He lives where the sheep are, he sleeps where they sleep and he eats where they eat… That got Jesus in trouble… Why did Jesus eat with the sinners? That’s what a shepherd does…

A angel appeared to the shepherds in the field and said “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12). A sign.. Have you ever wondered what that sign was?.. A sign for what?.. Maybe a sign that Jesus, is assailable to everyone.. A sign that the God who owns a cattle on a thousand hills can relate to a homeless person.. because Jesus never had a home, never had a place to rest his head.. Maybe it was a sign it was a sign that God would have nothing to do with the social status of man kind, a sign he detest the splendor of humans because it’s not worthy of him, but it was a sign for us, that we should follow suit. In fact the apostle Paul would later on write that we should have the same attitude as Christ Jesus although he was the very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself a servant being made in human likeness..

A servant.. you see being a servant is messy and Jesus set this incredible example for us, he got down on his knees and he washed feet.. The God of the universe, the God who deserved the best of everything, got on his knees, he is the God who came to the world, he was laid in a manger.. a feed trough of all places.. Why such a messy place.. because he was following a messy plan

So needless to say that very first Christmas was dirty…it was grimy…it was filthy. But thank God it was, because without it what a mess we’d be in!

Unconditional Love

Definition of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

1: not conditional or limited : absoluteunqualified, Complete Love

“Then the world will know that you [God the Father] sent me [Jesus Christ] and will understand that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:23, NLT).

Did you catch that? God loves you as much as He loves Jesus! That’s almost too much to even comprehend!

Scripture records that God’s love “never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]” (1 Corinthians 13:8, AMP). His love for you can never weaken. It’s impossible. His love for you isn’t based on your behavior but on His faithfulness.

God’s love for us is so all encompassing that we simply cannot comprehend its scope.

“For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, the voice).

Why did God give Jesus? The answer is simple: to purchase us back. In Genesis Adam gave himself, and consequently all his offspring (including you and me), to a new lord when he heeded Satan. Adam disobeyed God and separated himself and his descendants from Him. But since God loved each of us so much, He wasn’t willing to assign us the same fate as Satan and his angels.

God purchased our relationship back with Him by giving Jesus in our place. Jesus paid the complete price for mankind’s disobedience to God. He took our judgment.

The price of our soul is so expensive that nothing else could have bought us back besides Jesus Himself. “God bought you with a high price” (1 Corinthians 6:20, NLT). “Visualize this: His blood freely flowing down the cross, setting us free! We are forgiven for our sinful ways by the richness of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7, the voice translation).

No person or thing is more valuable to God than Jesus. Yet, God saw our value equal to that of what He prized most. Now here is the amazing thing If you and I had been worth one cent less to God than the value of His Son, He wouldn’t have purchased us because God would never make an unprofitable deal. (Recall the above scripture, “God bought you with a high price.”) A bad purchase is when you give something of more value for something of less value.

In God’s eyes, Jesus’ value is the same as yours! Do you see how important you are to God? This is why Jesus prays, “You love them as much as you love me” (John 17:23, NLT).