I’ve most recently come across a most powerful Christian sermon about strongholds.
“Ah”, I thought. “I know what a stronghold is……it’s this dire need to hold onto something……some sin or ‘indulgence’ that a Christian person refuses to give up in their lives”.
Well, that’s only PART of the definition……A stronghold is defined as “a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack”. However, there can be GOOD strongholds or BAD strongholds, depending. Therefore, which one do YOU have?
Let us examine. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. Translation? Nobody’s perfect. Which means we ALL have our “strongholds” in our lives……those things/sin(s)/people which we’re refusing to give up. And most of the time, we don’t even REALIZE it’s a “stronghold” to begin with!
- A love of food or certain kinds of food (especially when it gets to the point of obsession)
- A relationship that doesn’t honor Yeshua/Jesus (e.g., premarital sex, abuse, one person’s not a believer in Jesus, etc.)
- A love of money or material things
- An obsession with sports, music, entertainment, social media, celeb gossip
- A holding on to hurt, resentment, anger and pain
- An obsession with a person, place or thing
- A REFUSAL to lay all your hopes, fears, dreams, resentment, anger, pain, and hate at Jesus’s feet (spiritually speaking)
- A REFUSAL to acknowledge there’s any sort of “problem” in our lives
- A REFUSAL to seek help for any and all “problems” in our lives
- A love of drugs or alcohol
- A love of lust and/or partying
- A REFUSAL to do the Lord’s will
- A REFUSAL to seek reconciliation with someone we’ve wronged or who has wronged US
- A REFUSAL to trust or believe in God/Jesus Christ and/or a REFUSAL to believe in HIS holy words in the bible
- The need for everyone’s approval
And when it comes to GOOD STRONGHOLDS, there is ONLY ONE good stronghold I can think of and that is 100% TRUST IN ALMIGHTY YESHUA/JESUS CHRIST, THE NAME ABOVE ALL OTHER NAMES!
Ofcourse, THAT type of faith is hard to come by. It doesn’t come easy and it sure as HECK doesn’t come overnight. It’s a PROCESS, people. It is a LEARNED faith, bit by bit and little by little.
Do you think Abraham [in the Old Testament] was BORN with the type of faith he had? Granted, there IS such a thing as predestiny, I believe, BUT…….Abraham likely didn’t, for theoretical example, yell up at the sky at 2 years old: “yes Lord, I’ll leave for the promised land TOMORROW!” Obviously, Abraham had to be shaped and molded INTO that faith, INTO that “righteous stronghold” of the Almighty God!
For EVEN Abraham himself apparently had some “unrighteous strongholds”, as we read in Genesis 12 that when there was a famine in the land, Abraham had “unrighteous doubt”/”fear” in his heart when he came near to the land of Egypt with his wife Sarai. Why? Because his wife Sarai was “stunningly beautiful” and Abraham feared that once the Egyptians saw how beautiful Sarai was, that they’d kill him to get to HER. So Abraham told Sarai to tell the Egyptians that she was his “sister”!
And sure enough, as it turned out, the Egyptians were overly generous to Abraham on the count of Sarai. HOWEVER, when the Lord plagued Pharaoh’s household and servants because of Sarai, that’s when Pharaoh realized that he had been “duped” by Abraham and told Abraham to take his wife Sarai and immediately depart Egypt!
This is just ONE example of when an Old Testament prophet displayed an “unrighteous stronghold”. Another example is Moses. When the Lord God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, he was sore afraid. He made all sorts of “excuses”:
“And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee” – Exodus 4:1
“And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” – Exodus 4:10
“And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send” – Exodus 4:13
Think how YOU would feel if you were needing someone to do something and they kept protesting and making excuses! Pretty irritated, right? So it was with God when Moses kept making excuses (poor Moses, though! That must have been a very hard thing for him to do – face Pharaoh and the people with his implied *speech impediment*! But still……)
Moses’s excuses/justifications and Abraham’s lack of faith when it came to traveling with his “stunningly beautiful” wife can serve as a message to us ALL. What type of “strongholds” do YOU have (if any) and how do YOU deal with them?
Not sure if this will help anyone out here but here it goes. These are the types of “strongholds” that I myself have been silently suffering from in 2015, not even fully realizing that they WERE “strongholds”, to begin with…..UNTIL the Lord opened up my eyes:
- Food (specifically, certain types of food in the middle of the day that I would “think” about buying the next day, then would buy in bulk the next day, and even then, that STILL wasn’t good enough. I would browse online menus from several different places, trying to decide what food I should buy each time. My cabinets and my refrigerator also became full of food oftentimes, and half the time, a part of the stuff would even go uneaten, until I was forced to throw them out. CRAZY, huh?)
- I seemed to have left my “first love” (spiritually), Almighty Yeshua/Jesus Christ [Revelation 2:4]
- I had somewhat acted out in anger towards certain things at work without stopping to think rationally first about the situation(s)
- I kept trying to tell myself in the back of my mind that that I didn’t really need to read the bible anymore, since I “already knew what’s in there”, while advising others to read theirs all the time (OUCH!)
- I REFUSED to do all the things the Lord told me to do/say in the year 2015, making excuses
- I struggled (and still struggle, somewhat) to keep my apartment clean (& organized)
- I seemed to have a “why me?” attitude many times
- I was seemingly overcome with fear and partial lack of faith (as in, I seemed to be struggling with the constant thought that maybe I wasn’t doing enough for God’s Kingdom, maybe the Lord wouldn’t consider me righteous enough to enter into the gates someday, etc.)
- I obsessed over this guy at work that I couldn’t have (Never dated the guy or anything, just obsessed over him, mostly)
Now, the POINT I wanted to make is that those “admissions” (to ourselves, to God and to others) are very, very personal and hard to make. But ONCE we make them, we’re one step closer to knocking down those castle walls of “unrighteous strongholds”.
“But how do I develop a RIGHTEOUS STRONGHOLD?“, one might ask. Well, first we have to have FAITH. How do we develop faith? The bible says in Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. Translation? Faith comes by hearing the written Word of God in the bible.
“But what about people that read the bible and STILL don’t believe?”, some might ask. My question: why NOT believe? For it takes FAR more faith to believe everything came from nothing than to believe that everything came from something (an Almighty Creator), don’t you think?
[For if you’re right and I’m wrong, I’ve lost nothing. But if I AM right, and YOU’RE wrong, you will have lost EVERYTHING, including your OWN SOUL! Is that an eternal chance you’d be willing to take, folks? I pray not!]
There’s many passages in the bible I like to read when I feel as though my faith is “weak” and they are the following:
“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word” – Matthew 28: 5-8
HE IS RISEN!
“And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day” – Matthew 28: 12-15
[[[[THE “JEWISH COUNCIL” PAYED THE ROMAN SOLDIERS ***LARGE SUMS OF MONEY*** TO LIE AND SAY THAT JESUS’S DISCIPLES STOLE HIS BODY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT! However, that brings up several questions:
- How did they roll away the heavy stone without anyone noticing?
- Where is the body? All they’d have to do is find a body and no problem.
- Why would Jesus’s disciples knowingly offer themselves up for torchure and execution/death for something they knew was a lie? Obviously, Jesus’s disciples believed the angel of the Lord with all their hearts, souls and might and that he was resurrected! Cause nobody on the Earth that I know of would be willing to be torchured and die for a LIE, right?
- If Jesus didn’t truly resurrect, he would’ve been exposed as a fraud and “Christianity”/”Messianic Judaism” would’ve completely died within a day or two. But BECAUSE he resurrected and there were SEVERAL eyewitnesses to the fact (Christian AND non-Christian alike), Jesus’s resurrection has been proven as anything BUT a lie!]]]]
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27
“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” – Mathew 19:26
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” – Mark 11: 22-24
“Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” – Matthew 15:28
GOD PARTING THE RED SEA:
“And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore” – [Exodus 14: 21-30 in Old Testament]
THE LIONS DEN:
“Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” – [Daniel 6: 16-28 in Old Testament]
THE FIERY FURNACE:
“Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up’. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.” [Daniel 3: 8-30 in the Old Testament]
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” – John 16:33
And that’s just a very small “sliver” of verses I am personally encouraged by. There’s SO many more, but for the sake of time and space, I must limit it to those few. But hopefully you will start to recognize and get rid of any unrighteous strongholds in your life. And as evidenced up above, even I myself (of all people) am not immune from having unrighteous strongholds from time to time.
Romans 3:23 expressedly states that we’re all sinners, who’ve fallen short of the glory of God! But when Almighty Yeshua/Jesus died on the cross for us, he died on the cross so that WE can be forgiven of our sins. But we have to ASK for that forgiveness and REPENT of sins in order to fully RECEIVE that forgiveness, folks! Jesus doesn’t extend his forgiveness to people who don’t want it. In other words, Jesus doesn’t FORCE salvation upon ANYONE…….he only graciously gives salvation to those who TRULY seek it.
But in fact, imagine lava flowing down from a volcano. Imagine how HOT it is……visually focus on the mental imagery of the “lake of fire” pouring down out of the volcano. And then imagine being thrown alive into such a place……FOR ETERNITY! THAT is what Jesus died on the cross to protect us from, folks! (God’s Eternal Judgement). Who in their right mind, after knowing the FULL realities of hell and/or lake of fire would want to go there? Honestly? It boggles the mind, folks!
On the other hand, read Revelation in the New Testament, chapters 21 and 22 to get a FULL PICTURE of what living in “God’s Paradise” is like. Who in their right mind, after reading that BEAUTIFULLY, HEAVENLY description wouldn’t want to go there? It boggles the mind, folks! It boggles the mind! And never ceases to amaze me!
I oftentimes pray for my family, my coworkers and all my blog readers. But it’s very rare that I ask others to pray for ME. I guess it’s a pride thing. It’s hard for me to ask for help and to ADMIT to Almighty God and to others what my “unrighteous strongholds” are. But now that I HAVE admitted them to Yeshua/Jesus AND to you, please pray for me, folks! Please pray in the name of the Lord that I will be able to overcome the unrighteous strongholds that tried to take me down in 2015 and are still attempting to grab ahold of my spiritual ankle (sort’ve speak) in 2016! I need your prayers!
Thanks so much for reading and again, may Almighty Yeshua/Jesus bless you ALL in these last days! 😉