Posts Tagged fortress

Sanctuary or Prison?

2 Corinthians 10: 3 – 4

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

Today, we hear God tell us that the weapons of the Spirit are divinely powerful and will destroy fortresses. Think of the word fortress also as stronghold. The Word of God will utterly destroy the stronghold of the enemy. But, guess who else has strongholds. Sure, all of us. We have mental and emotional strong holds that need to be defeated. The Word of God is sharp and sure and you can use it to destroy your own strongholds.

What are some strongholds that people often have? Well, we carry around all kinds of emotional baggage for starters. Strongholds can be little areas we retreat into when we are threatened. Strongholds can also be old and outdated traditions. Sometimes we adhere strictly to traditions that no longer make any sense. Maybe you lock yourself away in a fortress of fear. Even sickness and injury can be strongholds. Frankly, sometimes it is easier to be sick than to get up and fight to get well or whole. I know. Perhaps you rely on someone else to your own detriment. There is always a balance between leaning to heavily on others and being self-reliant to a fault. There are probably innumerable strongholds that we hide away in but the Word of God is strong enough to destroy all of those secret fortresses. While we have used those strongholds to protect ourselves, in truth they are keeping us from being whole. They have a high cost. They keep us disabled. They prevent us from reaching our true potential. Most importantly, they rob us of ever having healthy relationships with our Father and with others. They were convenient for a season but now it is time to break out of all those little dark fortresses we have built up within ourselves. They keep us from truly experiencing the freedom that we could have in Christ. Most of them are built out of lies and misconceptions anyway.

You no longer need a made up fortress to protect you from hurt. You are an adult in Christ now and you can take on the biggest baddie that the devil ever created because you don’t have to fight anything in your own might any longer. You don’t have to hide away in fear any more. When the light of the son shines on those old fears, you will see them for the lies they are. You will see how much greater the son is than those problems. You can truly be free and you can develop into the person that God intended you to be before those things interfered with your development. Let the light of the Word shine and vanquish those little demons that have plagued you for so long.

Hideaway

Psalm 18: 2

The Lord is my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

This is not an unfamiliar scripture to you nor is the concept foreign. What we may not have considered, though, is the practical application involved and implied in this verse. One of the things I am doing these days which is bringing enlightenment to my thinking is that I am reading verses from a very pragmatic perspective. Beyond the poetic verse, and the almost ethereal ideals, there must be a practical application in order for these verses to have gravity in my very present life. “Thanks, David, for showing us your relationship and interaction with the Father but how do I apply that to my here and now?” That is the continual question I endeavor to answer on a daily basis.

I like to think that the Lord is our refuge and fortress as well but when David wrote, “in whom I take refuge” what do you suppose he actually did? Was this just a figure of speech or was there something affirmative he did? I think for us to run into the refuge of our hiding place we must actually engage in some kind of intentional act. Perhaps that act is prayer or meditation. I do not think that accepting the concept of God as our rock, shield and stronghold is the same as taking refuge in Him. I perceive from David’s words that when the pressure was on, he stopped looking to himself as the source of strength and instead went to the Lord in his spirit, in his mind and in his prayers. I think his retreat into the Lord was so real that it was all but a physical sequestration.

There is a level of surrender and release in this escape into the fortress of the Lord. It calls on God to be the strong savior while we rest in the shadow of His presence. We can, quite literally, I believe, hide ourselves away in who God is.

This taking these verses literally instead of figuratively is where the revelation begins to pour out like a summer rain and we begin to see real world application for what otherwise might be mere poetry to others. In all these high ideals there is the real world and God is one for real effects. What seems like a purely spiritual idea is really a God idea that is effectuated through the Spirit but with real impact on real lives. We, therefore, can read the Bible with that in mind and thus find the means for it to change our lives forever.

Page Two

Lamentations 3: 22 – 25

The Lord’s lovingkindesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I have hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.

I didn’t want to leave you with the woe of Israel. Some of you remember Paul Harvey and his radio broadcasts. He used to say, “Page Two” as he moved on with his story telling. There is often a page two in life. As you see in these verses, Jeremiah knows, and tells, “the rest of the story.” He knows from where salvation comes. And let us not only think of salvation as the divider between heaven and hell. God wishes to save us from every unfavorable situation. In these verses, God’s saving grace is exposed and proclaimed.

There is trouble in life. Jesus told us that. Read David’s psalms and it becomes clear. Of course, there is an entire book of lamentations. However, at the end of the day, at the end of the book, behind every worry there is the faithfulness of God. He is always there to scoop us up and carry us away from the turmoil and tribulation. He is our shield and our fortress. We really can hide in Him while the world spins away.

In the Old Testament, specifically the Psalms, we read about our Father as the stronghold, the fortress, our refuge. These are all places into which a person can retreat and find security. In the New Testament, Jesus calls this being “in Him.” In Christ and in the Father, is fullness of compassion and hope. We have a promise here in Lamentations that God shows His goodness to those who wait for Him, to those who seek Him. So, the way I hear this is that God has little choice. I have power in this situation. If I seek Him, if I wait for Him, He will pour out His good upon me. I mean, the formula is already there, just plug in the variable over which you have control and it has to produce its equivalent counter-part which is the goodness of God.

Our father waits on high to pour His goodness out upon us. He longs to show us His tender mercies and benevolence. He is so overflowing with lovingkindness that it is without end or limitation. Each day He begins with goodness to give to us. So, though there is trouble in the world, there is goodness, salvation and kindness is our Father. We do not have to reside in the trouble, we can choose to move into God’s loving nature.

Let Him pour Himself out to you. He is without end. Everything you need or want in this hour is in Him. Seek His face, even right now in this moment. Let Him hear your voice and let Him be a loving Father.

Word Shield

1 Peter 1: 5

…who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

It is important for us to remind ourselves that God has provided for our protection. It is his power that saves us but that power is at work through our faith. His power is activated and operated through our faith. When we speak words of faith, we activate his power in our lives. We say out of our mouths that God is our fortress and our protector; he is our shield and our refuge. When we do speak these strong words of faith, the power of God comes on the scene to fulfill its role. God said that his word never returns to him void without having accomplished that for which it was sent (Isaiah 55:11). So when we boldly profess his word regarding protection, that word must bring about God’s protective forces. His angels are standing by to do the works of the Lord and they hearken to His word. Appropriate all of God’s blessings for yourself by boldly declaring all that God has promised you.

We Shall Not Fear

Psalm 91: 5

You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day.

 On this anniversary of 9/11 I wish to remind you and encourage you that with God we do not have to be afraid. No terror, no terrorist, no terrorist act can steal the faith, confidence and trust we have in the Lord Jesus nor in our loving Father. God has provided for our protection and safe keeping. We can run around in fear, which is horrible for your health by the way, or we can press into God and clothe ourselves with His goodness and His protection. He is a strong refuge, He is our strong refuge. “I have become a marvel to many, For You are my strong refuge” (Psalm 71: 7). 

There were many lives lost in the 9/11 tragedy, too many. There were also numerous people who survived because they listened to an inner voice and stopped for a coffee or felt a nudge on the inside and changed their schedule. Their stories are rarely heard but they are out there and they are a witness and encouragement. King David was saved by God time and time again. He relied on God’s ability to shelter him. He trusted that God was going to save him from every kind of peril. We need to stand in this same kind of trust and confidence and in so doing thwart every threat and scheme of evil.

As we honor and remember those heroes, friends and countrymen and their families, those who paid the highest price one can pay for freedom, rededicate yourself to living in the protective custody of our Lord and savior. Pray for all free people to live free from fear and terror. Pray for the peace of Jesus for those who lost someone dear. Also, be determined to live in the victory and glory of Jesus. Let us not bow to fear and to terror but instead raise the banner of Jesus who has crushed the enemy. Speak safety, security and strength over our nation and over the God loving countries of the world. We must stand stronger than ever before in our faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus and our beloved Father. Declare with boldness that you will not bow to terror. Embrace the Father as your fortress and do not be afraid.

For His Name’s Sake

Psalm 31: 3

For Thou art my rock and my fortress; for Thy name’s sake Thou wilt lead me and guide me.

God has a vested interest in leading you. He wants you successful because your life is a testimony to others. He wants his kids to find their way and to live peaceful, successful lives. He directs your steps so that you can find your way. If he did not lead and guide us, we would easily get lost. There is safety in Him and He leads you into that safe place for His name’s sake. In that place, in Him, is all of the substance you need. He has promised to lead you so He must do it or otherwise damage His reputation. He cannot lie so if He has said it, He must do it. Do not ask yourself if God will lead you and guide you. You are not the expert on what God will do. He has already established, by His own word, that he will direct you. Just relax and let Him

Security in Humility

Nahum 1: 7

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.

It is good to know that in the day of trouble we have a refuge into which we can run. Our God is a stronghold, a mighty fortress. We recognize these words like refuge and stronghold as words of strength and power. We may imagine a well-fortified castle with its reinforced walls and parapets. This image conjures up feelings of security and well-being. We know that within the walls of this fortress we are safe. God is a bastion of safe habitation but we must take up our residence within His walls. He gives us an open invitation to reside within His walls but we are the ones who must make the move to come within His protection. This is not the prayer of salvation. This is a decision that happens after we have made Jesus the Lord of our lives and it is not a once and for all decision. Every day you have the choice of whether to live within the walls of His protection or to set your abode outside His gates.

Choosing to run into the security of the Lord is a matter of humility. It is a matter of submission. You can well imagine a prideful person who in the day of trouble stands out on his little farm facing the onslaught because he is too proud to run to his Lord. He relies in his own strength, to his detriment, when he could lean on the strength of the Lord. 

God’s protection is not automatic. We have all been given a choice to accept it or reject it. When we accepted Jesus as our Lord we were given the right to take up abode in the castle whenever we want, the right to God’s strength and protection. We were not, however, rounded up and forced to take up residence within His walls. He gave an invitation which only we can accept. We must humble ourselves before the Lord, not asking if He will give us permission to enter but rather acknowledging that He, rather than we, is the source of strength and power. Only He can save us in the day of trouble. For some people this can be a difficult admission but there is freedom in yielding to truth. There is always great freedom and empowerment in submitting to the Lord. He infuses us with His strength and love when we allow Him open access to our hearts. This can only be done in a yielded attitude and that requires humility. When we finally reject ourselves as the Lord of our life then we can make room for God’s sovereignty. If we will make an honest self-assessment and humble ourselves before the Lord Almighty, then we will be able, at last, to enjoy that incomprehensible peace of Jesus.