Tearing Down Strongholds

I’m convinced that many of us are still stuck because we have not followed his instructions and tearing our own strongholds down in the mighty power of God!

God speaks to you saying that He will give you victory over this thing; only be sure to ___________ (you fill in the blank).  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!

As 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! (1 John 3:8)

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 — OBEY!

Setting the enemy straight

Keep Calm RebukeResist the Devil and he will flee.  This excerpt from James 4 seems to say that our words have power.   I never really thought about it much, but in recent days with all of the clearly godless things that are happening all around us; I began to ponder why we, the Church – the Body of Christ, seems impotent to deal with evil.  Not that we ARE impotent, NO! we are not – but we do seem to be.

Resist the Devil and he will flee is not a call for us to tell the Devil to sit down and shut up in our own authority, yet I fear this is exactly what we tend to do.  Our King – Jesus, who is the Christ – has all authority, and we walk in that authority.  We must be careful not to fool ourselves into the false truth that it is we who have the authority.  The authority; the one who sets the standards; the one who establishes the rules; the one who wields real power – is God.  Power and Authority are His!

As we attempt to stand against our enemy Satan – we must remember always that we must ask the Lord Himself to come against the enemy; we must ask God Himself to stand in against the enemy.  We must ask the Lord Himself to work within us the resistance that will make the enemy flee.  Much like the disciples who could not cast out the demons on their on – we will stand powerless if we try to do it on our own!

When we experience the enemies attacks in our own lives or when we see his movement in the world around us it is our role to speak to the evil one in the name of our Almighty and Faithful God saying ‘Satan, stand down for our Lord will thwart your evil plans’.  It is ours to remind the enemy of who is in charge: ‘Satan, you have no authority here for the Lord Himself will judge you’.  However, be aware that in order to speak to the enemy in God’s power – we have to be connected to Him.  We have to know Him, know His word, and be yielded to His will.  Reflect on your own life — are you connected to the power source?  If not, you can be assured that there is no way you can stand against the enemy.

May each one of us live for Him daily – continually yielding to God’s will in our lives.  May He grant us the wisdom to call upon Him.  May the witness of our lives illuminate the earth with the truth of the Gospel and dim the light of the enemy.  May we always rely on His strength that never fails.  If Michael, the most powerful of the angels, knew that he should not take the enemy to task in his own name or in his own power – surely we understand that we too must be careful to recognize where the power lies.

But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Jude 1:9

No More Fear!

2 timothy 1 7Have you ever been asked to do something new? odd? different? Do you, in spite of your gifts/talents, shrink back a bit when tasked with something that feels bigger than you?  I’m sure you don’t – but I sure do.  There is something about stepping out into some new ministry when you’ve had success in a smaller place that can take your breath.  When I was in church ministry I felt like God was allowing me to work and minister in my sweet spot.  But, I didn’t start off that way.  I was quite content being an alto in the choir.  My friend and mentor, the late Evangelist Brenda Waters, was talking to me over lunch at Picadilly Restaurant in Houston — she looked me square in the eye and said, “Whatcha scared of girl!? God has given you an ear for His music; He has given you a heart for His people; He has given you a voice that quiets a room!  Just lead — you’re not a background singer; God created you to lead!”  That started my life as a worship leader – my sweet spot.  But just as I settled in to that, the call to missions came.

I couldn’t take my musical gift to Ghana in the same way that it had been used in the USA so I floundered for a short while and entered into a time of fear, afraid of being insignificant in the work of the Kingdom.  Then the Holy Spirit helped me to see and understand what I was supposed to do in Ghana; lead people toward a life of worship; not just lead them in a worship service.  Being in authentic relationships with people so that they would know what it was to live, move and have their being in Him.  My new sweet spot!  But before I knew it – another call came — lead!

This time He asked me to worship Him with my whole life in a way that others would do the same; to love Him in such a way that the people that I ministered to would feel His love poured out through me.  Terrified!  Didn’t God know about my failings? my bad attitudes? my own personal kind of crazy?!  Yes! He knew all about it and we stepped into this role as ministry directors for Africa.  And — you guessed it — my new sweet spot! Every time I get an email from a missionary saying that they feel heard and cared for — I know that this is place I’m supposed to be!  The fears fell away – nothing is left except the power of God, the love of God and a mind that is clear about His purpose for me in this season and serious about being continually developed to operate fully in His purposes.

I want to encourage you.  Push past the fear.  Push past the feelings of inadequacy.  Push past your fears and timidity.  Push past your ego and your false humility.  Push past the enemies lies that tell you that you are less than enough; inadequate; ill equipped.  Press into the presence and power of God and you WILL find that your fears will cut tail and run!  Trust me!  More than that – Trust Him!  When God asked you to do that next hard thing, that next new thing, that next step off of a cliff — know that He delights in showing forth His glory through you and doing more in and through you than you could ever have asked, thought or imagined!  I don’t know who or what was vexing dear Timothy and making him feel timid — but Paul’s words to Him are for you today too…

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7

Big Kingdom Living

Live BigJesus is, presently, seated at the right hand of the Father. He reigns today. The regime of our King is a present, proceeding, advancing reality. Because this is true – it means that we are not waiting on the Kingdom of God — because it is here. As children of The Most High God we can rejoice in this truth that His vision and plan for us is in the works now and includes every aspect of our lives — EVERY aspect. So now take that truth and apply it to your today. If He lives within you and if the Kingdom of God is today — then you have a choice to make; allow the presence and power of His kingdom to permeate your life. Allow His presence and power to invade your hopes for the future. Allow His presence and power to shape your view of yourself. Allow His presence and power to inform your understanding on who He is. Your faith, properly placed in Him, is strong enough to support the dreams that you feel are impossible! Your faith, properly placed in Him, will allow you to experience the truth that He can do more than you can ask, think or imagine. Picture this — your faith, as you nurture it, will grow and become stronger — strong enough for your life’s goals to be lifted up as offerings to the Most High! Strong enough to sustain and rebut your doubts. Your faith, when nurtured and when placed in Him, will allow you to rejoice in the fact that He is your Benevolent Sovereign who finds great pleasure in showering you with his agape love and who assures that as you submit to His kingdom you will enjoy his good will in your present reality. Paul David Tripp calls it Big Kingdom Living — living like Christ is the basis of all that you speak, execute, and envision.  Living your life such that “God’s purposes become your functional life goals.” Being all that He has created you to be — doing all that He has created you to do. Awesome!

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” (‭Luke‬ ‭13‬:‭18 – 19‬ ESV)