Tearing Down Strongholds

I’m convinced that many of us are still stuck because we have not followed his instructions and are not tearing our own strongholds down in the mighty power of God! A spiritual stronghold is a way of thinking that has become ingrained in your mind. We ought to ensure that He is our stronghold (Psalm 27: 1); because the mind is the stronghold of the soul; and the enemy attempts to acquire and dominate the minds of people. Spiritual strongholds are arguments, high beliefs, and thoughts raised against our Almighty God. Strongholds are based on pride and self-reliance. They lead to a proud heart, bad mental patterns, and recurring sins. A spiritual stronghold is whatever we trust in other than the Lord.

God speaks to you saying that He will give you victory over the thing that is tackling your faith. What is he telling you to do? Are you hearing Him and doing what He says? When the Lord speaks to our hearts and is trying to help us root out the strongholds of the enemy – we must be careful to TEAR IT ALL DOWN!!  All the enemy needs is a small space to get in and make you go the way that God has forbidden; to make you disobey or doubt.  Non of us are exempt — it is not easy!  But it IS the way of victory.

When God tells you to leave a relationship behind; resign from a job; move to a new locale; stop listening to a certain radio program; refrain from drinking; etc.; you can’t then look at your friends and say “well, they’re still doing it!” because His commands for you are for your victory, not theirs!

Every time I read through the Old Testament, I am astounded by the number of times God sends people in to battle – tells them to destroy it all; and then, they don’t!  It seems that there is always someone among the warriors (and often the king)  who decides that destroying it all means that they can keep some loot; leave some enemy alive; leave some spring unplugged; leave a wall standing; keep at least the women and/or children, etc.  Thankfully we are not being asked to slay people in these days – thank God for Jesus!  But we are asked to lay waste to the works of the enemy – in fact it is for that reason that He came!

Though we are in a difficult war, we may be confident knowing that we are on the winning side. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds! (2 Corinthians 10:4).

If you want the victory that He gives (as lasting victory!)  – do it His way!  He is not a man that He should lie! His promises are YES and AMEN!  He will accomplish His Word!  Do your part — TRUST and OBEY!

Lead Me, Oh Lord!

Lately, many who have the life spotlight have been doing some wicked things.  It can make you embarrassed to be American, or even human!  When you look at the actions of some, it can really make you look down on them; and raise your own self up a bit. Yes! Go ahead and admit it … you sometimes raise yourself up just a bit and see them suddenly .. beneath you. I think we’ve all done this at least once, even when we don’t realize we’ve done it.

This points out a truth about who we each are.  I’ll talk about me.  You see, I haven’t killed anyone; spoken with ill regard of anyone publicly; abused any child; mistreated anyone because of their ethnicity; etc. etc. etc.  So,  unlike those people I read about or see on the TV screen, I am holier than thou! Right?!?!  WRONG!

Truth is, only God knows why I refrain from what I refrain from and only God knows the things I do that none of you see.  My mind knows the blessing of trusting God completely and submitting to Him in all things; but my heart, without the leading of the Lord, is self serving even when my desire is to be good! Do you get what I’m saying?  You see, there is nothing in this world that can hide its weaknesses and failings like our hearts/minds. We can truly think that what we hope for is for the good of all people around us, but there is something within each of us that favors ourselves over others and the ONLY way to move past it … to have triumph over these thoughts/desires … is to knowingly and sincerely and deliberately place our hearts and minds in His hands. As for me … I do it every single day! I don’t hope in myself, not for one moment. My hope lies in the actions and love of my King.  He searches my heart and knows my true desires; He is faithful to see if there is any evil in my heart and His mercy and grace are powerful and can be counted upon to always lead me in the everlasting way.

I’m ever grateful that I have learned not to depend upon man – not even myself – to do the right thing.  I depend upon the Holy Spirit in me to bring about in my life what The Lord wills to be so.  Even when it seems that I’ve done a good thing, the truth is that it is only the work of the Holy Spirit in me.  Search me, O God! Lead me, O God! Omnipresent God – my soul hides in You!

“Search me, Oh God, and know my heart. Try me, Oh God, and know my thoughts. See if there be any evil in me! Lead me, Omnipresent God! Lead me, Omnipresent God! Light and darkness are both the same. I, in thy presence, Thy greatness proclaim. See if there be any evil in me! Lead me, Omnipresent God! Lead me, Omnipresent! If my make my bed in heaven, Thou art there! Thou art there! If I make my bed in hell, Thou art there, Oh God! Thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning, or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea … even then I will find you there, Oh God, and my soul shall hide in Thee! Omnipresent God, my soul shall hide in Thee!” – the late, Glenn Burleigh (based upon Psalm 139)

Louise (“Lulu”) Cecilia Fleming served in Congo; 1887 – 1899.

Lulu was born in 1862 as a slave in Florida. In 1887 she became a missionary teacher in Congo. The school had 49 students, and many of them came to Christ through Lulu’s ministry to them. The students were introduced to Jesus because of Lulu’s ministry to them.

This seems a poor report…and perhaps many may think the work almost discouraging, but to us whom God has given the privilege to labor here it is very encouraging. [It] fills us with unspeakable joy. “

Lulu combined her teaching with weekend evangelistic work in the towns, and within a year, she had learned Kikongo and no longer required a translator. When Lulu saw that women needed to be reached, she began making home visits while urging the mission society (American Baptist Foreign Mission Society of the West) to send more women.

In 1891 Lulu returned to the USA as a student at the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia; Lulu returned to the Congo in 1895 as a medical missionary.

Known as Dr. Fleming, she was stationed at Irebu, further up the Congo River, where she needed to learn a different language. The power of Dr. Fleming’s ministry came from her identification with those among whom she served. The Baptist Missionary Magazine described her as “particularly successful in winning the hearts of the Congo people, putting herself in close touch and sympathy with them.” 

She passed away in 1899 from complications from African sleeping sickness.

Divine Do Over

DoOver

Bob Carlisle wrote a song back in 1996 that was made popular by Donnie McClurkin, We Fall Down.

“We fall down, we get up
We fall down, we get up
We fall down, we get up
And the saints are just the sinners
Who fall down and get up.”

The song talks about a person discovering the grace of God in His failures – realizing even people of God made mistakes and the grace of God covered them and gave them a new start. We all have different testimonies – but all of us have made our share of mistakes – we have all said and done things that we later regretted and as we take a backwards look at our lives, we know it was the grace of God that kept us. As for me – I am amazed at how the Lord has kept me in spite of me! My testimony is that I faltered, but  because of His grace – it was never fatal!

God does not delight in our mistakes but He delights in our desire  to obey Him. Even when we falter, He sees our hearts and knows whether we are truly seeking His will or seeking to satisfy ourselves. Think about it with this statement – powerful in every way …. 

  • WHEN you desire to obey Him
  • When YOU desire to obey Him
  • When you DESIRE to obey Him
  • When you desire to OBEY Him;

He will honor your obedience with His presence and power in your life!

Sometimes we step out in front of God; moving before we get his direction about something that seems urgent. What does stepping out in front of God look like?  It looks like:  getting something off our chests when we should’ve keep quiet; taking out a payday loan when we need to manage the funds we have; buying that sale item when we don’t really need to be spending; eating that last piece of pie when we know we don’t need it; getting into a relationship that we know is ungodly; compromising our morals because it seems like an easier way; etc.  When we move outside of His will, we are failing to exercise our right to rely on The One who will always guide us to the best action and decision for our lives. When we fail to follow His lead – we will miss out of His best for us.

The great thing about being a Christ follower is that because we are His chosen ones – we have access to His grace. Because we have access to His grace — we always have access to a course correction.  We might have to go back to the drawing board — but He will be there waiting to redirect us – to get us headed in the right direction.  He knew we were going to muddle things; He knew we couldn’t keep His commandments without His intervention; He knew that we would botch even His simplest commands — so, in His great love, He sent us a Savior! He gave us unlimited access to His grace!  When we mess up He has a giant eraser AND a beautiful paint canvas!  How awesome is that?!

Here’s the deal — we all make mistakes; but He, in His infinite kindness towards us, will always be willing to give us a do over. We can rest assured that as we trust in Him and seek to obey Him (seek to OBEY Him!); He will honor us with His direction and His presence in our situation. Take a step back from your situation; your temptation; your stressor — He will gladly guide you in the right way allowing you to start over because it gives Him great joy to bless your life when you are leaning on His understanding and not your own.

Our mistakes do not have to be fatal errors — we really can start over!  CTRL/ALT/DEL — reboot — start again.

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. (‭Psalms‬ ‭37‬:‭23‬)

Afehyia Pa!! Happy New Year!!!

It’s a New Year!  I want to keep running to the finish line.  The only life prize that matters is the one that has been promised by God, through Jesus Christ … eternal life with him.   

I’m not yet all that God wants me to be … but I’m pushing hard to let Him change me, mold me AND make me all that He’s called me to be.  It’s what my Savior wants from me. It is why He made me His own!!!  (Philippians 3: 12 – 15) So … for 2022, I want to keep moving after some things and add new things that’ll help me be what He wants me to be. 

I have some life resolutions … the things I am committed to forever! I am committed to: Believe I can do things, because He told me to do them; Love, even when the love is not returned; Forgive, even if it happens again; Repent and repent again; Ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit each and every day; Extend mercy to people, just as I beg for mercy from Him; Grace, I’ll give it to others just as He gives it to me; Share my joy; Speak truth; Build friendships; Listen and learn from the Word of God; Love and pour truth into my children and grandchildren; Serve well in every place God has sent me; Love, obey, adore, serve, encourage, care for, invest in … my wonderful gift of a husband; Serve, obey, glorify, uplift, reflect, praise, submit to, listen to, talk to  … my God, my Savior, my King, my Father, my All In All; Yield and Submit fully to The Almighty God!! Living fully for His will, His glory, His purpose … for the sake of His Kingdom!

In addition to these – here are my ten 2022 Resolutions:  

  • Diversity & Inclusivity; Understand it well and help to make necessary changes
  • Truly take care of my physical body
  • Finish well the MBA and the MS programs that I am in
  • Rest and Retreat regularly (I heard you Robin Allen!)
  • Write it down. Complete the writing project He’s given me
  • Pour in to relationships that I’ve neglected
  • Plan my 30th Anniversary celebration in the way I want it to be
  • Commit to leadership development; Lead well in every role God has placed me in
  • Encourage marriages; be available to listen, counsel, speak as asked
  • Stay committed to the global missions mobilization of African American women

Happy New Year, friends and family!!!

Let’s take the next step in wonderful new ways for the sake of His glory!!

For His glory … let us ALL be willing to do anything!!!