I'm re-reading "Praying God's Word" by Beth Moore in preparation for book club tomorrow morning. The introduction chapter has so much food for thought that I've read it several times. As I read, I was reminded of the definition of strongholds. A stronghold is anything that exalts itself as bigger or more powerful than God. Now this could be a person or it could be emotions or circumstances you've experienced. The biggest reminder for me was that we have to allow the strongholds. For example, if there were a person in my life that thinks they're bigger than God its only a stronghold for me if I agree and put that person before God. Our thoughts are usually the breeding ground for strongholds. What we think up, imagine, or assume about a situation can easily spiral into strongholds, robbing us of the full freedom God intended us to have. Caution: Don't assume that because you've been released from a stronghold that you can't pick up another one. Don't assume that you don't have multiple strongholds, as most of us do. And please be aware that an old stronghold can creep back into your life without continued prayer battle and wise decision making.
Real Talk: My biggest stronghold (as I believe it to be today) is Shame! I think bigger than pride or anger, my shame over decisions I've been making lately has consumed me. This is a stronghold because in my mind the things I've done and my resulting circumstances were so bad that I believed God couldn't fix them. I placed my guilt and shame above the power of God to redeem and deliver me. As if redemption and deliverance are a one time get out of jail free card with God. But Hallelujah! Thank the Lord that ain't how it works. Here me clearly, I'm not proud of disappointments to God in my life but I'm grateful to see His mercy present in my circumstances. What's incredible is how His truth, promises and love for me are breaking me free of this yucky stronghold called Shame because HE IS BIGGER THAN MY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Reading Gods Word and praying specifically to those promises has been revitalizing. One of my fav scriptures ever is "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Not because its a free pass to sin and act a fool but because He already knew all this would happen. And He still loves unconditionally and said He would never leave me nor forsake me. Praises to the Most High God!
We all fall down, but the amazing and true testimony begins when we get back up and allow God to love us through it!
"The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." Psalms 34:18