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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Demolishing Strongholds

Part 3

“From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. “

                                                                                                Nehemiah 4:16-18

In this section of Scripture, Nehemiah has returned with a remnant of Jews to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall surrounding the city. However, as they worked to rebuild the wall, their enemies tried to frustrate the work being done by intimidating and attacking them.  Nehemiah instructed God’s people to continue the work with a hammer in one hand, while defending themselves with a sword in the other hand.

This two-handed approach to building a stronghold is very much the same technique we are to use in pulling down strongholds. In one hand we are to use the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, to resist our enemy when he attacks and tempts us. In the other hand we are to use the hammer to tear down the layers of wrong thinking that we have built around our bad behaviors. A hammer has a two-fold purpose; the mallet is used to build up while the claw is used to tear down.

To tear down strongholds we have to quench the fiery darts of Satan as we dismantle the fortress of wrong thinking he has taken up residence in. Last spring I had an interesting encounter with a bird that decided to take up residence in the wreath we had hanging on our front door. I noticed him flying off when I opened the door to leave or when I was coming up the sidewalk to my house. I didn’t think much of it until one day I came home and he had, for lack of a better word, “pooped” all over my front door and made a mess of my porch. So I began to pound the door as I was leaving and jostled the wreath thinking this would cause the bird to leave. Each time the bird would fly off, but as soon as I was gone, he would reoccupy the wreath. I can’t blame the bird; a wreath is nothing more than a woven braid of dead sticks. Why not build a nest there? I had done most the work for him. So no matter how much resistance I showed toward him, he kept coming back. Finally, one day I was completely fed up and went out, tore out the nest and removed the wreath from my door. Guess what? The bird never came back.

When we build a stronghold around our bad behavior, it is like putting a wreath on our door. Satan sees that you have started building a stronghold around a wrong behavior and simply comes and takes up residence.  You can shoo him off using the Word of God, however if you never deal with the stronghold in your life, he will simply come back at a more opportune time and live in your nest. Resisting the devil is not enough! We must tear out the stronghold that he continues to return and perch in!

When we tear down the wall of wrong thinking that we have built to protect a wrong behavior it leaves no place for the devil. That is why real spiritual warfare is really 20 percent resisting the devil and 80 percent tearing down the nest!

Pastor Scott Burr                                                                    



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Demolishing Strongholds

Part 2

                                         And do not give the devil a foothold.”

                                  Ephesians 4:27

Simply stated, our rebellion towards God provides a place for the devil in our life.  Even the smallest of room, given to an area our lives, in which we refuse to obey God, will soon become a stronghold.

In order to demolish the rebellious behavior, we have to first destroy or demolish the stronghold of wrong thinking built around it:

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.”

                                                                                                2 Corinthians 10:5

It is only when we bring our thoughts and attitudes in alignment with Christ’s will that the behavior will change. As long as we defend the behaviors within us by being sympathetic to our own sinfulness we should expect to see no change in our lives.  However, when we pull down the walls of wrong thinking, the behavior is then exposed, it is then we begin to see real transformation. Our actions follow our attitudes.

The Apostle Paul recognized this when he wrote Romans 12:2:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Paul understood that we are destined to continue in wrong behavior (pattern of this world) unless we are transformed by renewing our minds.

How then do we pull down the stronghold? It begins by identifying our enemy. First, we must identify any behavior or attitude we hold, that is contrary to God’s Word that we are sympathetic towards.  We must acknowledge that this is a spiritual battle, not one that can be overcome by worldly means:

 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.”

                                                                                    2 Corinthians 10:3-4

It means that worldly methods such as violence, political maneuvering, human ingenuity, talents, wealth, organizational skills, charisma and personality are in themselves inadequate in the pulling down of these strongholds. To tear them down will take a two-fold approach.



Pastor Scott Burr                                                                    


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Demolishing Strongholds

Part 1

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.”

                                                                                                2 Corinthians 10: 3-4

What is a stronghold? A stronghold was a fortress built to protect the people inside from the attack of a physical enemy. King David built strongholds in the desert to defend himself against King Saul:

David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after Day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.”

The sense of refuge and protection provided by these wilderness fortresses caused David to use them as a way to describe God as a stronghold against his spiritual enemies:

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

                                                                                                Psalm 18:2

However, the strongholds that the Apostle Paul is addressing in 2 Corinthians 10 are not those fortresses keeping evil out, but they are strongholds constructed to protect the evil inside. This stronghold  is not a physical structure, but rather it is an entrenched pattern of thought or belief that is contrary to the Word and Will of God. It is where sinful activity is actually defended within us by our own sympathetic thoughts and attitudes towards evil. It is a fortress constructed out of layer upon layer of wrong thinking and wrong attitudes.

“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.”

                                                                                                2 Corinthians 10:5

A stronghold is then any type of thinking that exalts itself above the knowledge of God. In a very real sense, it is where wrong thinking is providing protection for wrong behavior. Unfortunately, however, when we allow these strongholds in our lives we provide a haven for our spiritual enemy. 

 One commentator wrote: “This fortress gives the devil a secure place of influence in an individual’s thought life.” How many of us would convert a spare room in our homes for the devil to live in? Yet, spiritually we do just that when we develop a sympathetic attitude toward our own sinfulness.
Pastor Scott Burr                                                                    



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Carrying the Fear of God

Part 4 of 4

“And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”

                                                                                                Deuteronomy 10:12-13

It is the fear of God that initiates our faith. Before we can walk in His ways, love Him, serve Him, and observe His commands we first must carry with us a healthy fear of God.  Proverbs 1:7 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. It precipitates our faith in Christ. At some point as believers in Jesus Christ we discovered that we were sinners, that our sin had separated us from God, and that He would one day judge the wicked. We learned that our sinful lives earned us eternal death.  Romans 6:23 declares that the wages of sin is death.

However, Christ came to save us by taking the penalty of death upon Himself.  Through His death, He has given us the gift of eternal life. Unfortunately, many have concluded that since the penalty for sin has been paid, we then are free to live as we see fit without fear of any future judgment.

We are no longer driven to work out our salvation with fear and trembling because we do not see the benefit of continuing to fear God. However, to lose the fear of God is to lose our faith and to be cut off from the promises of God. When Moses came down off the mountain, he found the people steeped in sinful activity. They did not carry with them the fear of the Lord and had quickly slipped into sin. Moses saw the people were running wild and he stood at the entrance of the camp and said:

“Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites, rallied to him.”

                                                                                                            Exodus 32:26

Moses instructed the Levites that rallied to him to strap on a sword and to go back and forth through the camp and cut down those who refused to come out of their sinfulness. The word of God tells us that around 3,000 people were killed that day. They were cut off from the promises of God, because they did not carry the fear of God for themselves.

We must be carriers of the fear of the Lord! It is the fear of God that initiates our faith. God wants to inspire you today; not to serve Him more , love Him more, or worship Him more, but He desires to inspire you to fear Him:

“I will make an everlasting covenant with them; I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.”

                                                                                                Jeremiah 32:40


 Pastor Scott Burr