Personal post – Beth Moore study on strongholds

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Strongholds

Continuing on with what I have tried to absorb with the Beth Moore study, still hurting, but today I went through the motions of doing what needed to be done.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Again a study of phrases and words – “divine power to demolish strongholds (pulling down strongholds)”stronghold” comes from the word echo which means to hold fast. It could be any point or argument in which you trust. Beth puts it so succinctly, p. 184 “anything we hold onto that ends up holding us. Demolish means to destroy with tremendous power. Again, with her gift of words Beth says, “…we swat at our strongholds like they are mosquitoes. Strongholds are like concrete fortresses we’ve constructed around our lives block by block, ordinarily over the course of years. We created them, whether or not we were aware, for protection and comfort. Inevitably, however these fortresses become prisons. At some point we realize we no loner control them. They control us.” P 184

Heather’s notes: This one hits a raw nerve in me. I sometimes think I am a weak fighter of those strongholds, for it is so easy to slip back into a pattern that I am used to. And yet, God will help to change them and I guess we have to look at our past victorious battles to gain encouragement over our present battles.

One battle in my past was giving up the desire to kill myself. From the age of 8 on I always kept some sort of way to commit suicide. At 8 I squirreled away a can of Draino, figuring if things got too bad I could take that and die – that was the only poison I could get my hands on. As I got older I started snitching pills from my sister’s medicines that were no longer being used and hid them, I researched death, wrote poems about death, spent most of my life in depression and despair. And lived a lifestyle that could easily have led to my death. The therapists I saw also prescribed sleeping pills and antidepressants, which added to my stash. A few years ago, after I got saved they were finally discarded. But I remember after a foiled suicide attempt, my sister-in-law made me promise that I wouldn’t kill myself until my 18th birthday. I kept that promise, counting down the hours, minutes, seconds until that glorious moment – and finally a group of pagans befriended me, giving me some unconditional love – and because of that love I was finally able to make a feeble attempt at deciding I would live – year by year after 18. But I kept those suicidal thoughts, dreams, fantasies and kept that way out for year after year after year. It took a long time to begin to let go of that stronghold of death and begin to look forward to life. I credit God and his agent, Pastor Don, for that change of focus.

Yet, I still struggle with other strongholds, eating for comfort, depression, low-self esteem, and other areas that are still affected from my past that haven’t been rooted out. My concept of God is slowly undergoing a renovation, but it is slow, and I still sometimes fear that one day I am going to come to God and He is going to push me away or give up on me or something. There are strongholds that have to be dealt with, and I know that I can’t do it on my own.

I sure wish that sometimes once we get saved that the rest would sort itself out instantly, that things would be perfect and comfortable, but God doesn’t work that way, at least in my life. I think He is building me up to trust Him more, to depend on Him, and to let Him fix things His way, not the way I think it should be. Oh do I struggle at times, but there is comfort in that – for that relationship is real, and He is there helping me sort things out.

Beth Moore put it so clearly when she says, “At peak strength, human effort is useless in demolishing strongholds. No amount of discipline or determination will do it. Satanic strongholds require divine demolition.”

Heather’s note but divine demolition hurts and right now the hurt is immense.But we must remember that satan is the father of lies, and bluffs, making us feel that our strongholds are too much for God, that we can’t overcome them, that we are stuck in that situation. We need to stop believing that lie, to seek the truth of God in the midst of the struggle.

Another phrase, “We demolish arguments and every pretension” Arguments in Greek is “logismos” which means a reckoning, calculation, consideration, reflection. They are the rationalizations we make for keeping our strongholds. And unfortunately, as Beth says, “Satan persists where a stronghold exists.”

Heather’s note: For me, I think that I best saw how easy it is to make excuses for our sins when I realized how much I rationalized the breaking of some of the 10 Commandments because of the hurt and pain I had in the past, and thus I made excuses. It finally dawned on me that no matter the excuse, it was still a sin, and as such I needed a savior. It was then that I could get free of some of the things that were destroying me.

Pretension in Greek is “hupsoma” which means something made high, elevated, a high place, a proud adversary, a lofty tower or fortress built up proudly by the enemy, pride. Based on those definitions, Beth Moore came up with three conclusions about strongholds.

1. Every stronghold is related to something we have exalted to a higher position than God in our lives.
2. Every stronghold pretends to bring something we feel we must have: aid, comfort, the relief from stress, or protection.
3. Every stronghold in the life of a believer is a tremendous source of pride for the enemy. Let that make you mad and determine to stop giving him satisfaction. P. 185

Basically we need humility to be set free from our bondage. These definitions really hurt because I can see it now, at first I couldn’t  when I got saved. One example is that I often felt that maybe God couldn’t forgive me because of the extent of my sins, and how horrid I was. Someone told me that was the sin of pride because that is saying that Jesus didn’t do enough on the cross to cover me.  And I do see that the main source of many of my strongholds is in reaction to past situations, and trying to find relief from the emotions connected with them. I still struggle with showing any emotion – which is a bondage in itself.

Phrase 3, “That sets itself up against the knowledge of God”  The Greek word for sets itself up, “epairo” means to hoist up as a sail, lift the eyes, look upon. Satan wants to be worshipped, to draw our attention away from God. Our best defense to that is to turn to the Word of God, the truth of God. But how easy it is to doubt this truth. Just think of the first time satan reared his ugly head, to Eve, casting doubt about what God said would be the result of eating the forbidden fruit. Truth is, there is a need in us to worship something, it can either be God or an idol of some sort, God is safer – but so often I resort to the idols of the strongholds in my life.

Phrase 4: “we take captive every thought” – take captive is from the Greek “aichmalotizo – meaning a prisoner, captive. subdue bring into subjection. Isn’t it true that we so often want a quick fix for our problems, but I don’t think God deals in quick fixes, I think He would rather go for deep, sure, secure healing, that forms a relationship and a lifestyle in line with Him. I guess sometimes He lets me face the discomfort of the stronghold to make me aware that He has a better way, and I still keep beating my head against the stronghold. I can honestly say that God’s way is far better than my way but some of the same old survival patterns that were so necessary when I was a kid are not needed now, but still I use them to protect myself from others and keep God at bay – and all they do is isolate.

Phrase 5 “to make it obedient to Christ” which is in reality the only way to become victorious over our strongholds. I think that no matter which way we choose, God or satan’s strongholds, we are led by some sort of rein (imagine horses). Satan’s rein will lead us to death, destruction, hurt and pain, God’s will lead us to places that bring joy – even though you may have to travel through the pain to get there. I am learning very, very, very slowly that God has my best interests in mind – satan doesn’t. And so if I have to be obedient to someone, God is definitely the safer choice. Sometimes I think that we see the day to day, and God is looking far beyond that to an eternity with Him, so while his leading can sometimes hurt, the end result will be worth the discomfort of the present.

I still struggle in my view of God, for I think how our parents treat us can color our perception of God. When I was a kid, if someone said, “I love you.” It meant that they wanted something from me and it would hurt. But God, I am learning isn’t like that. He want to build up, not tear down and destroy. Although sometimes some tearing down is necessary to build a stronger foundation.

I still can use prayer for right now my emotions are so raw. Thanks.

Hope your Sunday was good.

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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