Monday, December 3, 2012

Tearing Down Strongholds

When the enemy of  your soul entices you to do something you know is wrong, how you choose to respond determines whether or not you will get the victory. Strongholds are built in our minds where the enemy has spun lie after lie so that he is able to keep people in bondage.

My hope for each person is that shame and fear of being judged do not keep them in bondage. So many people stay locked up in chains to their secret sins because they are too ashamed to admit to another person their need for help. People already feel disappointed in themselves because they often "know better," but have gotten themselves stuck and in bondage with the enemy. They fear the responses of others and don't want to be a disappointment to the people they love, admire or respect. Sure, we all know better. But sometimes we all need God's abundant grace and someone to demonstrate a non-judgmental attitude so that we can get free. Please let me urge you today to bring your problems to Jesus. He is there to give you the help you need!

No one needs to tell you what your secret sin is. Each person knows if there is something in their life that they have tried to get the victory over. Are you one that still struggles with some area of weakness in your life? Whether it is the gossip that cannot help but disclose the latest news she’s heard, or the person that loves to whisper about others just to get a reaction or stir up trouble; whether it is the addict that finds themselves turning to counterfeit means to alter their mood or escape reality; or the person addicted to sex, pornography or unclean fantasy thoughts; perhaps it is the person that simply cannot get the victory over anger, lying, fault finding, or  some other negative behavior, all of these things have the addictive ability to create strongholds in a person's mind. A stronghold is created when our thoughts and areas of our belief system do not line up with the truth of God's word. The enemy appeals to our reason and emotion so that he can get us to live in the flesh. It may not be in every area of a person's life; but even if it's just a one or two areas of compromise he still has an open door. Remember, the art of all spiritual warfare is based on the ability to deceive. The enemy's lies make a person's thinking crooked, or twisted. He perverts truth in an attempt to appeal to our reason, intellect and emotion. All warfare is simply the enemy's attempt to influence a person to agree with him instead of a spirit of faith. This is how he is able to steal the promises of God and get them to actually agree to enthrone him in their heart and life! The only hope the enemy has is to convince people to listen to their emotions rather than hold fast to what God has said. He can only deceive us if he is able to create a false illusion, wrong mindset or belief system. Shake it off! That is why the scripture in James 3:16 & 17 warns that earthly wisdom is 'demonic and sensual;' it appeals to a person's flesh and emotions rather than elevating them to a place in the Spirit where they operate out of divine wisdom, faith, and obedience to God's word. These "strongholds" may seem relatively inconsequencial, especially if the person that is captivated by these sort of lying spirits, negative thoughts and behaviors thinks they are not harming anyone else; but that is usually not the reality, even if the person doesn't want to acknowledge the truth. I want you to know that anyone can get the victory over these things - IF THEY CHOOSE TO BE HEALED.

That is always the question each person must face. Do we really want to be healed of the thing that keeps us in bondage? All sin has the element of pleasure or it wouldn’t be able to entice a person to keep doing it. And as much as one chooses to give away their dominion to the enemy, God will let them do it. He has given all authority to His disciples. If a person chooses to give it away, eventually sin will increase in a person's life until masters besides God will have dominion in certain areas of their life. But know this: the enemy does not want just you. He wants your family. He wants your children’s future, and your grandchildren. He wants your church, those in your workplace and far beyond even them. A stronghold is a place where the enemy has built a fortress. Imagine it like a castle, if you will. You can't see it, but it's there, and the enemy is flying his flag letting the spirit realm know it's his domain. Every area where we refuse to let Jesus reign is a place the enemy will occupy. He plots his takeover and delights in the thought of displacing Jesus in the life of the believer. Every stronghold is constructed out of lies that go unchallenged and behavior that is allowed to go unchecked. Every stronghold that the enemy occupies is a place where the enemy stands to mock God and reproach you. He gloats, he scoffs at your ability to over throw him and remove him off of his high place. Every place where he is allowed to do this continues to grow and expand as he brings in more and more enemy troops to occupy your promise land. He has laid a claim to it as though it’s his own but in fact he is an encroacher that must be evicted. Isn't it time to dismantle his stronghold?

You cannot ‘think’ it down. You cannot mentally determine to conquer a spiritual force with spiritual authority by your own will. Flesh cannot fight spirit and win. It’s also ridiculous to think that one can defeat the enemy without the right weapons. There is only one way to defeat the enemy and that is the way Jesus did it; by speaking out the word of God with authority. Review the temptations of Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus spoke God's Word to combat and overcome Satan and his temptations, and you can too! Friend, what is your area of temptation? You must find the right scriptures to fight with, those that address the nature of the temptation. Then,…

Declare what GOD has said, and stop listening to a liar, thief and murderer. Satan will do everything he can to kill off your good future and keep you from inheriting your destiny! Satan is the Father of all lies. He is the seducer, the adulterous spirit that wants to entice you into a way that is hard to come back from. His words are smoother than oil but in the end it will be as bitter as wormwood. If he is enticing you to commit adultery (spiritual or otherwise), or elevate an idol in your life, Tell him, “Satan, your words and suggestions are those of the immoral woman. They are only intended to lead me down a wrong path and it is written, “Do not go near the door of her house.” (Prov. 5:4,8)  He is the violent one that attempts to lead you in a way that is not good. He is the perverse spirit that twists truth and attempts to appeal to your reason so that he can bring about evil. When he tries to lead you astray, respond with, “No, enemy,  “a man’s heart may plan his steps but it is the Lord that will direct my steps. (Prov. 16:9) You say, "Jesus, direct my steps away from this temptation now,” for it is written, “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil and he who keeps his way preserves his soul.” (Prov. 16:17) “Help me to be one who heeds the word wisely  and find good. I am putting my trust in You."

When the enemy accuses you of giving in to the very thing he tempted you to do, run to God and confess your sin. Don’t let condemnation overwhelm you. He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleanse you of all unrighteousness when you come to Him! (1 John 1:9) Declare, “God is my strong tower and a shelter to me. I will abide in his tabernacle forever. I will trust in the shadow of His wings.” (Ps. 61:3). “God is my defense, my God of mercy.” His mercies are new every day. His grace is sufficient for me. I will overcome this area of weakness in my life, in Jesus name.”  God’s grace is big enough to cover your failures and help you back up!

Don’t let the enemy lie to you and tell you that you cannot tear down his stronghold, or that it must take a long, arduous process to do it. Whether it is dismantled brick by brick or God decides to blow it up all at once, recognize it is yet another one of the enemy’s lies. Respond with, “No, Satan. You are evicted this day! Your stronghold will collapse THIS day, for it is written, ‘Nothing shall be impossible with God.’ (Luke 1:37).”  Remember Jericho! The walls fell down flat in one day! The truth is, when we feel weak, frustrated at our own inability to change or conquer what seemingly has us in bondage, that is the time when God has led you to confront the enemy’s stronghold so that it can be torn down. The truth is, “A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the trusted stronghold.” (Prov. 21:22). Who is trusting in their stronghold? The enemy! The truth is, “Our righteous God overthrows the house of the wicked,” (Prov. 21:22). Through God we shall do valiantly, for it is He that shall tread down our enemies! (Prov. 108:13). Do you know what's going to happen? You are going to say, "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightening!" Declare today, "He is coming down from his high place where he has exalted himself and gloated." Believe it! The truth is, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and cast into the sea,' and it would obey you." (Luke 17:5,6) Friend, do you have faith even as little as a mustard seed? Of course you do, because Jesus planted it there! So you can name the problem you want plucked up and cast into the sea. Sometimes the problem looks like a giant because it just has such a grip on the person doing it. You can even start with commanding that evil desire for whatever it is to be plucked up and thrown into the sea. If it's a desire that you know God did not give you, or that person you're praying for, then yes, it's evil and needs to go. Take alcohol or drugs, for example. God didn't plant that in your generational line; Satan did. Declare the desire for (alcohol, drugs, gossip, lying, etc.), whatever that thing is, command that evil rooted problem to be plucked up and cast out of the person and thrown into the sea - and it must obey you!! Even if it doesn't happen overnight, keep declaring the problem must be plucked up and cast into the sea. You might not see it happen, and you might not even know when it actually occurs, but trust Jesus to be faithful to watch over His word. It will happen! Then also command a good tree or a holy desire to be planted in it's place. When ever you uproot evil, you must also plant something pure and godly in it's place.

Stop feeling helpless. God has given you a transfer of HIS AUTHORITY so that you and others you pray for can live victoriously! Satan is a scoffer and a God-mocker. It is written, “Cast out the scoffer and contention will leave. Strife and reproach will cease,” (Prov. 22:10). Declare today, “Scoffer, be gone in Jesus name!” When the enemy lies and smirks and suggests you are too weak to overcome him, boldly declare, "when I am weak, then Jesus is strong, and greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world!" (1 John 4:4) No enemy, you shall go and go NOW, for it is written, “In my name they shall cast out demons, (Prov. 16:18). Whatever I ask, God will do! (John 14:13). As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15). God has said that when the enemy comes in like a flood, He will raise a standard against him. (Is. 59:19) The word 'standard' actually means a banner, or a flag. It is a symbol of the army rising up to fight the enemy. My friend, when Jesus raises His standard, all of heaven's resources will come to your aid! It's time to take down the enemy's flag out of his stronghold window and replace it with a banner representing the Lord Jesus Christ. Capture the stronghold and reclaim it! Rename the stronghold to mean a place of victory! Pray: Father God, I renounce all idols and all false masters. I re-commit myself to You this day. Please forgive my sin! “So now, my enemy, you liar, thief and encroacher, I bind all the power of the strongman and your house is pulled down. I reclaim all that God has given to me. Satan, be bound in Jesus name! According to what Jesus has already done to overcome you and strip you of all authority, and in accordance with the dominion and authority that He has transferred to me, His blood bought child: “be rendered powerless, paralyzed, silent and impotent, in Jesus name!” I submit to My God, the Lord Jesus Christ and to the authority of Holy Spirit. I resist you and you must flee, Satan. Take everything you have put on me and go now in Jesus name. I command your stronghold to be dismantled now. I raise the standard of the Lord in every place where Satan was once in control. The banner over me is that of Jehovah Tdiskenu, my righteousness. The banner over me is Jehovah Nissi, my banner of victory and He has gone before me in battle. I win!! The banner over me is Jehovah Ra'ah, the Lord is my shepherd and He leads me in paths of righteousness. The banner over me is Jehovah Elohim, and He is the Lord God. The banner over me is El Elyon, the most high God. Jesus is Lord over my life and you shall not be exalted into a place of rulership. Give up dominion now, in Jesus name! The banner over me is El Olam, the everlasting God that will never leave me or forsake me. The banner over me is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals me, and I declare that by His stripes, I am healed, according to Isaiah 53:5.” 

I declare this stronghold to be renamed ABIDING GRACE, VICTORY and PRAISE.

“Lord Jesus, I ask that the glory of the Lord would be my rear guard and protect my blind spots. Let the rear guard of Your army of heavenly hosts blow up every bridge the enemy tries to come across. Come and fill me once again with the power and presence of Your Holy Spirit in every area where the enemy once had power over me. Forgive me for giving over my dominion and letting Satan control certain areas of my life. Thank you for helping me tear down his stronghold, and every time he tries to re-built it with his lies, help me to recognize the lie right away and take authority over it. Help me to cast down all his vain imaginations and suggestions and put them under Your feet. Renew my mind with pure desires and let the power of God flow unhindered in my life. In Jesus name, amen.”

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