Illustration results for strongholds
Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen even in the midst of a pious community. In confession the light of the gospel breaks into the darkness and seclusion of the heart. The sin must be brought into the light. The unexpressed must be openly spoken and acknowledged. All that is secret and hidden is made manifest. It is a struggle until the sin is openly admitted, but God breaks gates of brass and bars of iron (Ps. 107:16).
Since the confession of sin is made in the presence of a Christian brother, the last stronghold of self-justification is abandoned. The sinner surrenders; he gives up all his evil. He gives his heart to God, and he finds the forgiveness of all his sin in the fellowship of Jesus Christ and his brother. The expressed, acknowledged sin has lost all its power. It has been revealed and judged as sin. It can no longer tear the fellowship asunder. Now the fellowship bears the sin of the brother. He is no longer alone with his evil for he has cast off his sin in confession and handed it over to God. It has been taken away from him. Now he stands in the fellowship of sinners who live by the grace of God and the cross of Jesus Christ… The sin concealed separated him from the fellowship, made all his apparent fellowship a sham; the sin confessed has helped him define true fellowship with the brethren in Jesus Christ.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 112-113.
Bishop Raymond Allan Johnson
Prudentius (c. 348-after 405)
His power and miracles proclaim him God.
I see the wild winds suddenly grow calm
When Christ commands; I see the storm-tossed sea
Grow smooth, with tranquil surface bright
At Christ’s behest; I see the waves grow firm
As the raging flood sustains his treading feet
He walks dry shod upon the flowering tide
And bears upon the flood with footsteps sure.
He chides the winds and bids the tempest cease.
Who would command the stormy gales: “Be still,
Your strongholds keep and leave the boundless sea,”
Except the Lord and maker of the winds? …
Who on the sea could walk, who with firm step
Upon the flood could without sinking tread
That path with soles upborne and feet unwet,
Except the author of the deep, the Spirit,
Poured from the Father’s lips, that moved across
The waves, not yet hemmed in by solid shores?
A Hymn on the Trinity, Lines 649-79
As we faithfully serve the Lord through the power of His Spirit, the devil’s hosts will begin to attack us with all their might. As a result, we may be called upon to suffer for Christ’s sake. The veteran missionary Russell Ebersole was once greatly encouraged by the beloved Bible teacher William Pettingill.
After Ebersole told him of the disappointments and trials he had faced on the foreign field, Pettingill exclaimed, "Brother, that means you’re on the right track. If you never experience any opposition or setbacks in the Lord’s work, you ought to get down on your knees and ask Him to show you what you’re doing wrong!"
We have many difficulties, but God’s promises are greater! "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God." (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
Thomas Paine said, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; ’tis dearness only that gives everything its value.”
The great evangelist George Whitefield was relating the difficulties of the gospel ministry to some friends. He said that he was weary of the burdens and was glad that his work would soon be over and that he would depart this earthly scene to be with Christ.
The others admitted having similar feelings -- all except one, a Mr. Tennant. Noting this, Whitefield tapped him on the knee and said, "Well, Brother Tennant, you are the oldest among us; do you not rejoice to think that your time is so near at hand when you will be called Home?"
The old man answered bluntly that he had no wish about it. When pressed for something more definite, he added, "I have nothing to do with death. My business is to live as long as I can, and as well as I can, and serve my Savior as faithfully as I can, until He thinks it’s time to call me Home." Whitefield accepted that word as a gentle rebuke from the Lord, and it helped him go on with his work calmly and patiently.
History records that many people made some of their greatest contributions to society after the age of 65. The Earl of Halsburg, for example, was 90 when he began preparing a 20- volume revision of English law. Goethe wrote Faust at 82. Galileo made his greatest discovery when ...
Men ablaze are invincible.The stronghold of Satan is proof against everything but fire.
"The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church...grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no ...
Lane Adams once compared the process of spiritual growth to the strategy the Allies used in World War II to liberate islands in the South Pacific. First, they would “soften up” and island, weakening the resistance by shelling the enemy strongholds with bombs from offshore ships. Next, a small group of Marines would invade the island to establish a “beachhead” – a tiny fragment of the island that they could control. Once the beachhead was secured, they would begin the long process of liberating the rest of the island, one bit of territory at a time. Eventually, the entire island would be brought under control, but not without some costly battles.
Adams drew this parallel: Before Christ invades our lives at conversion, he has to “soften us up” by allowing problems we can’t handle. While some open their lives to Christ the first time he knocks on the door, most of us are resistant and defensive. Our pre-conversion experience is Jesus saying, “Behold, I stand at the door and bomb!”
The moment you open yourself to Christ, God get a “beachhead” in your life. You may think you have surrendered all your life to him, but the truth is, there is a lot to your life that you aren’t even aware of. You can only give God as much as you unde...