30 April 2009

Strongholds

So I was thinking that I was just exhausted, but I am coming to the conclusion that I'm really prisoner to a stronghold. And feeling tired makes me worry about being able to conquer. Not that I do any conquering, but that I'm too weak to hang onto God, that I'm too tired to chase after him. How can I utilize the Holy Spirit if I'm in bed? How can I be a conduit for power if I don't flip the switch of prayer? I can't.

I returned to a dog-eared, loved-over, beaten-up book by Beth Moore. It's called Praying God's Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds. The first pages are already amazing. She's breaking down 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, which is: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

She explains what a stronghold is: "anything that exalts itself in our minds, "pretending" to be bigger or more powerful than our God. It steals much of our focus and causes us to feel overpowered. Controlled. Mastered... it is something that consumes so much of our *emotional and mental energy* that abundant life is strangled-- our callings remain largely unfulfilled and our believing lives are virtually ineffective. Needless to say, these are the enemy's precise goals."

She explains that the word for 'power' in 'divine power' from 2 Cor. 10:4 comes from the same word root that we use when we say 'dynamite' in English. Then she says (in exactly the Beth Moore style that I love, when she presses both her hands on the sides of her Texas hair and says "Can I get an Amen? Is anybody hearing me? I mean, are you listening people?"): "Virtually nothing we come up against in our individual lives is more formidable than a stronghold. The very nature of the term tells us that whatever it is, it has a "strong hold" on us. Strongholds can't be swept away with a spiritual broom. We can't fuss at them and make them flee. We can't ignore them until they disappear. Strongholds are broken one way only: they have to be demolished."

She illustrates that we can't yell and throw stones to demolish a building, we need dynamite. And we can't use "carnal weapons like pure determination, secular psychology, and denial" to get rid of our strongholds. We need God's dynamite: Spirit-empowered prayer matched with the Word of God, hence the title of her book, Praying God's Word. So here's where I feel tired. I have a formidable enemy, Satan, who wants to destroy my marriage and crush my husband and shame me and create a bad pattern in my children. I know that I must rise each morning, and pray over my family; my husband, my children, and my parents and siblings. I must pray for strength and patience and a closed mouth. I need kindness, perseverance, gentleness and silence. I must pray over my husband- his work, his mind, his habits, his health, his mouth, his manhood, his fathering. I must do it! Who else will? There is no one else for the task.

Back to Beth: "Without a doubt, prayerless lives are powerless lives, and prayerful lives are powerful lives; but, believe it or not, the ultimate goal God has for us is not power but personal intimacy with Him. Yes, God wants to bring us healing, but more than anything, He wants us to know our Healer."

Beth Moore loves her some coffee. (I know, poor grammar, but how else to emphasize?) And man, I love me some cream with coffee in it. Today I announced that I'm switching to tea. Why? because I am tired of warming up my coffee. I like it so hot that you have to juggle it in your mouth before swallowing... I got that from my mother. All my aunts do it too. I hate to warm up coffee, I hate the nasty skin it gets on top, I hate the flavor deteriorating, I hate finding my old coffee in the microwave when I'm putting in a new cup to warm up. But its so busy around here, that I just don't sit and enjoy my coffee. But if I get up in the morning, like so many scriptures tell me to, I could be still enough to enjoy it. Let's see. I have to remember to pray for vitality- for the power to stay awake all day. Surely God will give me that if I get up to hang with him?

0 comments: