What are strongholds and How To Be Set Free From Them

hand-in-chainsA stronghold is a false argument that rises up as a defensive wall behind which a person seeks to find a safe place to escape from the reality of the problems they are facing.

Strongholds form as a result of deciding what we consider weighty or powerful. If there is something or someone that we perceive to be bigger or more powerful than God, then God by default is lowered in our estimation. Since God is seen as unable or unwilling to defend against that which we feel threatened by, we will seek to erect our own “safe place.” When we do this, we often subconsciously come to the conclusion that we need to protect ourselves from God and cut ourselves off from the One True Protector; instead we wall ourselves in with lies that Satan uses to lie, steal and destroy with. Continue reading

What is Spiritual Warfare?

reusewmod10

If Jesus won the war against Satan’s kingdom at the cross, then why do we sometimes still feel like we’re being shot at?

Jesus has triumphed over Satan’s kingdom. The war is over, but the guerrilla warfare continues. In his teaching entitled, “The Invisible War,” author Chip Ingram discusses what happened after the treaty ending WWII had been signed:

“After the war was ended, there was a treaty signed. We were at peace. And yet on multiple islands throughout the Pacific, the battle raged. There was guerrilla warfare. The bullets were just as real. The mortars fired with the same kind of reality and impact, and people died.” {In the same way,} “Satan and his host of fallen angels engage in guerrilla warfare to discourage, deceive, divide and destroy God’s people and God’s program.”

The good news is that we as believers have been given everything we need in order to not only defend ourselves, but also to advance God’s kingdom. We have been given everything we need in order to walk in victory; but in order to do that, we need to understand that a battle exists and how to recognize when we are under spiritual attack. Continue reading

How to have a Powerful and Effective Prayer Life

prayer-1308663_960_720

Finding empowerment and conquering hindrances to your prayers

Have you ever wanted to see your prayer life expand and have more impact, but just didn’t know how?  Or perhaps you’d just like to learn more about finding intimacy with God through prayer. Here’s a few ideas that I’ve learned through my own prayer life:

Don’t settle for anything less than knowing God.  If we allow our prayer lives to be solely about a list of requests, we’ll miss out on so much. If we allow it to, our prayer lives can become a classroom where we truly get to know God for all of His incredible attributes. When we come to Him in prayer when we’re afraid, we get to know Him as The Prince of Peace. When we come to Him when we’re hurting, we learn to know Him as our comforter. When we come to Him when we don’t understand why He didn’t answer our prayers the way we thought He should, we come to understand His Sovereignty. …And the list goes on and on. There will always be more to learn about our God. The question is, are we invested in the quest to get to know Him. If we are, it means pressing into Him beyond a list of prayer requests and into a relationship with Him.

The second way to develop a powerful and effective prayer life is to get real. It is all too easy to shift into prayer-ese when we begin to talk to God…saying what we think He wants us to say rather than being honest with Him. This is especially important when we’re feeling angry or disappointed with God. Ooops! Did I say that out loud?!? Angry with God? How unspiritual! Yes, it’s true…Sometimes I get angry with God. Being honest with God can be hard for a lot of people, perhaps because it feels dishonoring to tell God that we’re really miffed at Him right now. The reality is, God already knows how we’re feeling. It seems we have two choices: either A: be honest with God and reconcile with Him or B., stuff our feelings, maybe for years, and let that anger toward Him turn into bitterness. The key here is to bring our honesty with Jesus full circle: Tell Him how we feel, confess our own sin of believing that He has failed us in some way, and finally, ending our time with Him by declaring His faithfulness and our trust in Him. If we fail to come full circle and return to a place of trust, our honesty actually is dishonoring to God.

Continue reading

Rebuilding on the ruins of our lives

2-ruins-of-tintagel-castle-padstow

How God can use the most devastating moments of our lives to change the world

As I write this post, my husband and I are climbing the shore of Lake Superior…climbing rather than strolling because we’re not walking on a smooth sandy beach. We’re hiking over huge boulders, driftwood and slabs of cement intertwined with rebar…echoes of the past mixed in with the realities of the present. The cement and rebar remind me of the storms of life that can crash in on a person, leaving what we have worked so hard to build lying in a heap of ruins. Those ruins can be hard to look at, because they remind us of the pain we felt in the midst of those storms.

Continue reading

Bible Verses For Times When You Need Peace

reuse18

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

“God has said, ‘never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’  So we say with confidence, ‘the LORD is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5b-6

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…Isaiah 43:1-2

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me.” John 14:1

“I will listen to what God the LORD will say: he promises peace to his people, his saints – but let them not return to folly.” Psalm 85:8

“You who fear him trust in the LORD – he is their help and shield.” Psalm 115:11

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:1,7

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” II Timothy 1:7

…“whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Phil. 4:8

“The LORD has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. ” Isaiah 8:11-12

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:36b

“Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come….’”Isaiah 35:3-4a

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard; that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.” Psalm 62:11-12

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

“The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

 

“There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2

“Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.  When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the LORD, who remains faithful forever. ” Psalm 146:3-6

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” Luke 12:4

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.  The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

“Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults.” Isaiah 51:7b NIV

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.  Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, And of the son of man who is made like grass; That you have forgotten the LORD your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens, And laid the foundations of the earth; That you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor?  The exile will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon, nor will his bread be lacking. ‘For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name).  And I have put my words in your mouth, and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’’”  Isaiah 51:12-16

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”  Isaiah 26:3-4

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you – The LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121

“‘Because he loves me’, says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.  My hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8

“The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thes. 3:3

“Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.  As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:1-2

“If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the LORD, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Psalm 91:9-12

“…the fruit of the Spirit is…peace.” Galatians 5:22

“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 2 Peter 5:7

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thes. 3:16

10 Tips for Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

7362406262_93f45d0052

Fear is a tormenting emotion, and if you struggle in this area, you know what I’m talking about. It has the potential to cause us to walk away from engaging in life and keep us from being all we were created to be. If we allow it to rule over us, our world will become smaller and smaller until we have shut out much of what God wants to bless us with. The more control we hand over to fear, the more it will be empowered to steal from us.  It consumes. It drives. It steals sleep and drives us down paths we never thought we’d go. Fear can cause us to hide from God, from others and even from our true selves.

Continue reading

Discerning between gossip and problem-solving

o-WHISPER-APP-LGBT-facebook

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

We’ve all done it. We’ve found ourselves caught up in conversations that we weren’t proud of, and someone else got hurt. Whether they knew it or not, their reputation had taken a hit, and the damage was done. Trying to undo that damage would be like trying to recover a basket of feathers thrown to the wind. If you’re like me, you may have found yourself asking, “Where does problem-solving end and gossip begin?” Or “How do I do life with ANYONE if I can’t discuss the problems at hand?” How do we discern the difference between problem-solving and gossip?  Here are some questions to ask yourself before talking negatively about someone:

Continue reading

Choosing unity over division

hand-1917895_960_720

Division.  It seems to be hitting us on every level; national, regional, and individual. It has the potential to steal what is precious to us if we yield to it. Division can separate us from those we love the most; it can take down cities, corporations and nations if left unchecked. There are a few things I wish I’d known sooner in life about division that could have saved a lot of heartache:

Continue reading

What is unsanctioned domination?

1412369006-5-unforgettable-leadership-qualities-successful

Everyday, we each make decisions about who or what we will submit to, even if that decision is made by default, yielding or deferring. There is no such thing as living a life free of submitting to someone; even the most rebellious of men submit to someone. It’s not a matter of if we will submit as much as who we choose to submit to.

So first of all, let’s lay some groundwork. What does it mean to submit? To submit means to accept or yield oneself to a superior force or to the authority, opinion, (judgment or approval) or will (desire or insistence) of another person.

Continue reading