At bible study last week we read 1 Corinthians 1:10-2:1-16 and our focused topic was the need for unity. In this section it talks about the fact that as Christians and in Corinth back in the day, there was quite a bit of quarreling and Paul was calling the people to task for being so ugly. He says that if the Father is dishonored then the Son is disgraced and His people are demoralized and discredited and the world turns off and does not believe that there is anything to being a Christian. We talked about how we sometimes get the message confused because we are so busy looking at the messenger. We have to remember that we are all one body and if we tear down one another, we are tearing down the Body of Christ. Scripture tells us that the only way to fix the disharmony is to pray for one another and to remember that prayer does indeed change things and situations. Praying for people that have in some way offended you; either through disrespect or just plain overlooking us; we are called to rise to a higher level and pray for them. Now this is hard to do.
What I found even harder last night, a week later, was identifying the strongholds in our lives. Those things that we think about constantly that cause us to not move in a forward direction in our lives. The minister that spoke this evening has a voice that lets you know she is indeed a woman of God. Her ability to understand and explain to us lay people always leave my mouth wide open, my pen scratching out ideas on paper and my spirit at peace. She explains everything so that I can understand it, and I believe that if even I understand it, she is doing a great job of explaining. A stronghold, she explained, is anything that prevents you from having a closer intimate connection with our God. This stronghold is in the mind. My definition of a stronghold is a place where nothing can get into your house or in this case your mind. Wikepedia's definition is
- A fortified place or a fortress.
- A place of survival or refuge: one of the last strongholds of an age-old tradition.
- An area dominated or occupied by a special group or distinguished by a special quality: a feminist stronghold; a stronghold of democracy.
Strongholds are in my eyes the devils plaground. The minister spoke saying that our old self and our new self are constantly battling each other. The old self wants to say or do something to make sure they are heard and their way is right and the new self wants to just turn the other cheek and behave properly. The minister said that the flesh is our old self and HIS WORD is our new self. The devil is doing his best to control our thoughts because that is all he has. The devil already knows that he has been defeated and if we know it we can push him right out of our thoughts. We have to know what the WORD says and the only way to know that is to read his WORD and study HIS WORD . So, that when the enemey, the devil and his evil thoughts come against us; we can say 'aha, gotcha devil, you are not gonna mess with me today' and then we begin speaking words like my faith is not in the wisdom of men but in the the power of God and no weapon formed against me shall prosper - when we speak to the devil he has no choice but to let us alone.
Our stronghold, our fortress our place of survival or refuge - is in our mind. So as a man thinketh, so is he. I believe this wholeheartedly. In days when I think I cannot take another thing outwardly; deep down inside my mind should stay on Jesus. If I keep it there, all will work out for the good of those that love the Lord. This working out may or may not be in the way in which I would work it out; however God does not make mistakes and he already has set our path before us.
I spent all day wondering what is my stronghold. What is that thing that I protect and refuse to allow anyone into that space in an attempt to avoid pain, rejection and humiliation. All morning I thought. I thanked the Lord. I thought some more. I prayed for protection for my children and to those who care for them and I thought some more. What are my strongholds? What do I build a fortress of protection around and refuse to let anyone else in. This refusal can block my blessings and my joy. I want neither.
Out of all of my 51 3/4 years I can say that I want peace. I want my strongholds to protect me against anything that tries to come between me and my family and friends. I want my strongholds to have clear definitions of when to enter and when to exit. I want my strongholds to not only hold up my children but myself only. A stronghold is seen as negative and yet not necessarily. some times a stronghold is simply a stronghold and notheing more. And it could also be just a great place to eat popcorn and cuss like a sailor. A stronghold can have many definitons. I choose to belief that having the ability to withstand the pushes and pulls of ife is a good thing. God bless. Retiring at 55 - getting closer.