Our guardian angels ∙

Our guardian angels

For he will order his angels to protect you in all you do. – Psalms 91:11

Matthew 18:10 Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.

Hebrews 1:14 Therefore, angels are only servants, ministering spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.

Guardian Angels is a non-profit organization based in Williston, FL, founded by Carol Borden in 2010. Guardian Angels strive to assist individuals afflicted by disabilities through the therapeutic influence of service dogs. They focus on veterans with combat wounds. Their goal is to restore and build independence and improve quality of life.

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs rescue, raise, and train the highest caliber medical service/assistance dogs. Those in need apply. Each applicant is carefully considered. When accepted, recipients are provided the tools they need to be successful with their service dog.

Each dog is matched to the most suitable recipient. No matter the disability, Guardian Angels have successfully paired more than 200 dogs with deserving recipients.

The term “guardian angel” is not explicitly used in the Bible. Their activities are seen throughout the Scriptures. They announce good news (Judges 13:3, Luke 2:8-15), warn of danger (Genesis 19:15), guard from danger (Daniel 3:28; 6:22), guide and protect (Exodus 14:19), nurture (Genesis 21:14-20; 1 Kings 19:4-7), or instruct (Acts 7:38; Galatians 3:19) (Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible).

The Father appoints guardian angels to protect a particular person, group, kingdom, or country. The Bible provides very little information regarding guardian angels. But they are mentioned in connection with children, believers, and nations (Daniel 10:5-21).

We may not see most of their activity, but the Lord has given His angels the job of caring for and watching over us, bringing us His message, grace, and protection.  We may never know how often an angel spared us from injury, guided us to safety, or engineered some success. They are the Father’s perfect provision for us. They do not receive the honor or praise; He does (Stanley).

Psalms 91:11 For he will order his angels to protect you in all you do.

The Father appoints angels to protect and watch over His own. They are like the Secret Service agents who guard United States presidents. They are primarily behind the scenes. They are all around yet invisible to us most of the time. Occasionally the Father allows people to see them (Numbers 22:31, 2 Kings 6:17, Luke 2:1). Sometimes, they take bodily form (Matthew 28:5; Hebrews 13:2). But it is very rare and the exception rather than the rule.

The heavenly Father uses angels to care for little children.

Matthew 18:10 Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.

Apparently, guardian angels are assigned to each child at birth. They watch over us from the very beginning. This can be both very comforting and perhaps also a bit unnerving.

The heavenly Father also uses angels to care for His childlike, needy adult children, which is just about all of us. They are in the presence of the Father. They are like our personal representatives. They wait to receive their instructions and assignments from the Father.

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

REFLECT & PRAY

Angels keep watch over people. They are the Father’s messengers and guardians.

Father thank You for providing everything I need to do Your will and complete the tasks You have assigned me. You alone are worthy of praise and honor.

INSIGHT

The Hebrew word, which is translated as angel, is malak which means messenger. One of the Old Testament prophets was named “my messenger,” Malachi. The Greek word translated angel is aggelos which also means messenger, envoy, or emissary. The English word angel is derived from this Greek word.

Two of the Father’s angels are named in the Scriptures: Gabriel and Michael. Angels are likened to an army. They are assigned different ranks. Michael is an archangel. Gabriel comes as the Father’s representative to deliver messages.  But the ultimate commander-in-chief is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Lord of hosts, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Psalms 24:10 Who is the King of glory? The LORD of Heaven’s Armies – he is the King of glory.

I find myself repeatedly in trouble of one kind or another. I imagine it is something like this. When the problem is small, my ministering spirit or guardian angel can get me through it. But when I get into big trouble, more muscle is required. The Father rolls out bigger guns and assigns an angel of a higher rank with more power and authority. Sometimes, I suppose myself to be a real bother. To cope with me, His angels probably have to clock in overtime. I can only imagine an angel saying something like, “Did you see that? I can’t believe he did that again!”

But ultimately, our protection is not in the hands of merely created angels. Our wisdom, guidance, power, and security are provided by the Spirit of God and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Regardless of the critical role that guardian angels may play in our lives, it pales in significance compared to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who sits at the right hand of Majesty (Hebrews 1:3).

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Who is the greatest?

Who is the greatest?

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. – Luke 22:24

Luke 22:21-30

 21 But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend is the man who will betray me.

 22 For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.”

 23 The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.

 24 Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.

 25 Jesus told them, In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called “friends of the people.”

 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.

 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.

 29 And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right

 30 to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

It was February 25, 1964, a time when heavyweight champions go to battle. A rather loud and confident pugilist was on the scene. He was not the tallest boxer, nor was he as bulky as most other boxers of his time, his punches were not the strongest, but he was still the best fighter of his time. His agility was impressive, but his confidence in himself was the most impressive.

Ali proclaimed to anyone who would hear:

“I am the Greatest. I said that even before I knew I was” (Muhammad Ali).

Here are excerpts from his 1963 poem, “I am The Greatest.”

This brash, young boxer is something to see. And the heavyweight championship is his destiny.

This kid fights great. He’s got speed and endurance. But if you sign to fight him, increase your insurance.

This kid’s got a left. This kid’s got a right. If he hits you once, you’re asleep for the night.

And as you lie on the floor while the ref counts 10, you pray that you won’t have to fight me again.

For I am the man this poem is about, the next champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt.

He is the greatest. When I say two, there’s never a third. Betting against me is completely absurd.

“I am the greatest.”

“I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning and throw thunder in jail. You know I’m bad. Just last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.”

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

It was the spring of 33 AD, the week when the Savior went to die on the tree. It is the night of the Last Supper. The disciples are shortsighted. They miss the big idea and focus on irrelevant matters. They are driven by self-absorption and pride.

Imagine the scene. The Lord Jesus Christ has just finished explaining the meaning of Passover as it represents His coming sacrifice and death for sins. In no uncertain terms, Jesus said that He was about to die. He tells the disciples that one of them will betray Him.

Rather than take this to heart and concentrate on this seemingly incredulous prediction, the self-centered disciples focus on their own potential importance and future opportunities. They want to know which of them is the greatest of them all, “Numero Uno.” Who will have the greatest prominence in the coming kingdom?

“It is a terrible indictment of the human heart that immediately after the Lord’s Supper, the disciples should argue among themselves as to which of them was the greatest!” (MacDonald)

Barclay is even more direct, “It is one of the most poignantly tragic things in the gospel story that the disciples could quarrel about precedence in the very shadow of the cross.”

As the story reveals what is in the disciples’ hearts, what does it say about our own?

But it becomes a teachable moment. Christ explains that the greatest is not the one who is served but instead is the one who serves (Luke 22:27-30). True greatness comes through service.

What an odd, unexpected twist. The Father’s kingdom is nothing like the kingdoms of men. Those who are genuinely great in the Father’s kingdom are not the powerful. The greatest are not those who are in control, benefit from the labor of others, and ostentatiously display their position. Instead, the greatest are those who serve. The kingdom of God turns everything on its head. “It is a law of life that service leads to greatness; and the higher a man rises the greater the servant he must be” (Barclay).

Jesus is exhibit A. He who was the greatest was indeed the servant of all.

Matthew 20:25-28

 25 But Jesus called them together and said, You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.

 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,

 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.

 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

REFLECT & PRAY

In the Father’s kingdom, delusions of greatness are displaced by proven character.

Father if failure were a disqualification, who could ever serve You? Though we fall, we are not utterly cast down because You hold us up and never let go (Psalms 37:24).

INSIGHT

Teachable moment two: Betrayal and failure lurk in everyone’s heart, even the most self-assured (Luke 22:31-38).           

True greatness surfaces when extreme trials are faced and overcome. Jesus had great expectations for Peter. But the road to greatness was marked by tragic failure, crushing disappointment, and utter shame. Peter’s self-confidence regarding his commitment, character, and follow-through was to be totally shattered.

Peter was sure of himself, yet he utterly failed when the chips were down. He was discouraged, confused, and suffering posttraumatic stress. He had been willing and ready to die for his friend, whom he loved. But now, he could not find the words even to acknowledge that he knew Him. The Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had predicted that this would be so.

Luke 22:31-32

31 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.

32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.

The Lord Jesus Christ had prayed for Peter, and the ultimate outcome was certain. He would fail terribly. He would experience tragic embarrassment. He would be dishonored and humiliated. But his story did not end there; it really only begins. Peter would pull himself together. Peter’s failure would be transformed, and the dross of his untested soul would be refined. His tarnished self-image would be purged. Unwavering character and dependability would become the characteristic of the remainder of his life.

Peter did, in fact, come through the fiery test approved and ready for service. He emerged faithful and stronger than ever. The crushed and mortified Peter could easily identify with the frailty of others and was now prepared and ready to strengthen them.

Psalms 37:24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

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Blamed but innocent ∙

Blamed but innocent

Now his master Potiphar saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. – Genesis 39:3

Psalms 1:1-3

 1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.

 2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.

 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

Since 2002, the occupants of the Taylor farm in Kansas have been treated like criminals. They are routinely blamed for doing things that they did not do. They have been accused of committing fraud, being identity thieves, spammers, and scammers. They routinely get visits from FBI agents, federal marshals, IRS collectors, and police officers.

Why is this happening? It is a technological horror story involving IP mapping. An IP is an Internet Protocol address. IP addresses are analogous to street addresses. They uniquely identify a device (or location where it is found) to establish communication. Fixed IPs are tied to geographical locations. The Internet is a web of IP addresses. A Massachusetts-based digital mapping company called MaxMind decided to provide “IP intelligence” to identify the geographic location of computing devices. MaxMind created default locations for cities and states. But IP mapping is very imprecise. Some addresses are mapped only to a country.

When IP addresses have no specificity more than being in the United States, the IP locator points them to the center of the United States. The center of the United States is in northern Kansas near the Nebraska border. For simplicity, it was defined by a nearby latitude and longitude, 38°N, 97°W, which happens to be in the front yard of Joyce Taylor’s house. And it escalated from there.

When law enforcement agencies ask companies like Google and Facebook for the IP addresses used by suspected criminals, the MaxMind locator points to the front yard of Taylor’s house. Because of this horrific Internet mapping glitch, the Taylor Ranch is trapped in digital hell.

One of the more well-known stories in the Old Testament regards the life of Joseph, the great-grandson of Abraham. Because of the jealousy and animosity of his brothers, they wanted to do away with him. Joseph was ambushed, thrown into a pit, and eventually sold into slavery in Egypt. There, his life was marked by early triumphs, then tragedies. Remarkably, he became Egypt’s prime minister and was finally reconciled with his brothers.

REFLECT & PRAY

“Joseph is a prime illustration of the truth that adversity is a setback from which we take our greatest leaps forward” (Stanley).

Father I do not ask for an easy path; I only ask that You be with me wherever You take me.

INSIGHT

Joseph exemplifies a child of the King who trusted the Father and triumphed over the most challenging circumstances (Wiersbe). What was the secret of Joseph’s success in both good and bad times? The Father was with him (Genesis 39:2,21,23).

Genesis 39:3 The LORD was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did.

Joseph became a slave in Potiphar’s house. Because the Father was with him as he served Potiphar, he had good success in all he attempted. Soon Potiphar realized that Joseph’s God was with him. Potiphar took full advantage of the blessings the Father poured out on Joseph. They trickled down to Potiphar and his entire household (Genesis 39:1-6). There was just one problem. Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and tried to seduce him. This was not a one-time event but a daily, repeated occurrence.

Genesis 39:10-12

 10 She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible.

 11 One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work.

 12 She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, “Come on, sleep with me!” Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.

That could have been the end of the story right there. But we have all heard the well-worn, old stereotype, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” If she could not have Joseph, she would ruin his life once and for all.

Genesis 39:13-15

 13 When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled,

 14 she called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running. “Look!” she said. “My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed.

 15 When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.”

The plot thickens. Potiphar’s wife had “evidence” of a crime not committed.

Genesis 39:16-20

 16 She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home.

 17 Then she told him her story. . ..

 19 Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her.

 20 So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained.

That could have been the end of Joseph’s life. But the Father was only getting started.

Genesis 39:21 The LORD was with Joseph in prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD gave Joseph favor in the sight of the prison warden.

As a result, he was successful and became a great blessing to others. While in prison, he became a trustee and eventually the warden’s right-hand man. He used his gift as an interpreter of dreams to foretell the future of fellow inmates.

Then Pharaoh himself had a dream that no one could interpret. One of Joseph’s fellow prisoners, the Pharaoh’s cupbearer, who had been found innocent, was released from prison and returned to the Pharaoh’s service. The cupbearer told the Pharaoh about Joseph. Joseph was brought before Pharaoh. Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams. Joseph quickly interpreted them (Genesis 41:16-32).

Joseph recommended steps of action, beginning with finding the right man for the job.

Genesis 41:33 Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt.

Pharaoh was amazed and impressed. He realized that there was only one man for the job.

Genesis 41:38-42

 38 So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?”

 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are.

 40 You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.”

 41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.”

 42 Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck.

Proverbs 16:7 When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them.

Any child of the King can be blamed for doing something when they are innocent. So it was with Joseph and . . .. 

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Seductive subordinate allegiances

Seductive subordinate allegiances

Who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? – Luke 14:28

Luke 9:57-62

 57 Someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

 58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”

 59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, saying, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”

 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”

 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”

 62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

“Smart leaders understand that their job requires them to identify trade-offs, choosing what not to do as much as what to do. Grading the importance of various initiatives in an environment of finite resources is a primary test of leadership.”

“A better way to establish priorities is to put rank ordering aside and return to first principles. To wit: There are three interdependent variables that are essential for executing any initiative – objectives, resources, and timing. You can’t produce the desired effect of a project without precise objectives, ample resources, and a reasonable time frame. If you push or pull on one leg of this triangle, you must adjust the others.”

“All three variables are important, but resources reign supreme. Resources are what enable an objective to be accomplished within a set time; without dedicated means, an initiative is pure fantasy. Once a leader decides what resources will be allocated to achieve which objectives over what periods of time, she has no more need for ranking. She will be forced to acknowledge three kinds of priorities: critical, important, and desirable” (HBR).

The Lord Jesus Christ calls us to follow Him. His call takes precedence over all other allegiances. His call is not only desirable and important, but it is also critical! “Anything that hinders unqualified commitment to him . . . must be set aside” (ESV, Notes).

This requires a paradigm shift of our priorities, followed by a single-minded focus on critical priorities. Sadly, noncritical priorities slowly but surely blur our focus and consume our efforts. We begin to struggle with the seductiveness of subordinate allegiances. Dr. Richard H. Seume refers to this process as “the lure of the lesser loyalty.” Often, the little things, not major crises, steal away our time from the Father.

They nibble away on our commitments, and we lose our laser focus. We hardly notice the erosion of our commitment and devotion to the Father’s prime directive for us.

Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!

“Foxes are pests that wreak havoc in vineyards (e.g., they will eat the grapes). The foxes represent some hindrances that are threatening to spoil their relationship” (ESV, Notes).

REFLECT & PRAY

“The path of Christianity is strewn with the litter of straying saints. Invariably, each who has strayed has chosen to be led by a lesser loyalty” (Swindoll).

Father the sad and mournful words “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love” haunt me whenever I sing them. They bring tears to my eyes as I recall my own tendency to wander off from the Father I love. Take my heart and seal it. Seal it for your courts above.

INSIGHT

Robert Robinson (1735 – 1790) was not well-known for his sermons. They have been more or less lost to history. However, the words of one of his hymns, Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, have become immortalized. Robert Robinson was led to the Lord by George Whitfield in 1755 when he was 20 years old. Two years later, in 1757, he wrote a hymn that expressed his joy and confidence in his new faith.

Sadly over the years, he drifted away from his commitment to the truth of Scripture. He became “a great soul racked and rent by the clash of inward loyalties” (Graham W. Hughes). “The allurement and siren song of “intellectual” speculations loosed him from his theological moorings until he drifted far from shore and became shipwrecked in heresy” (Doug Kutilek). He lost his ability to enjoy his own words.

An unverifiable story is told that while he was riding in a stagecoach, a lady asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming. He responded, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then” (christianity.com).

How tragic it is that any child of the King can be lured away by the seductiveness of subordinate allegiances.

How can we avoid drifting away?

As we decide upon our priorities, we need to calculate and see if we have the resources and the means to follow through and complete the Father’s assignment he has for each of us. We are called to be His disciples, and discipleship is very costly. It involves significant sacrifice.

Luke 14:28-32

 28 But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?

 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.

 30 They would say, “There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!”

 31 Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?

 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away.

These Scriptures provide striking truths. Regrettably, it is possible to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ without ever committing to be a disciple. A story has been passed down regarding someone speaking with a great scholar about a younger man. He said, “So and so tells me that he was one of your students.” The teacher answered, “He may have attended my lectures, but he was not one of my students” (Barclay).

Tragically, there are so many believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and so few faithful, committed disciples.

Counting the cost of following the Lord Jesus Christ is extremely important. “But if we are daunted by the high demands of Christ, let us remember that we are not left to fulfill them alone. He who called us to the steep road will walk with us every step of the way and be there at the end to meet us” (Barclay).

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.

Take my heart; O take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.

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© Dr. H 2022

Tearing down fortresses of false beliefs

Tearing down fortresses of false beliefs

If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you! – Jeremiah 15:19

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,

 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds (fortresses) of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.

 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Upon reflection, we realize that we are often prisoners of our past. Frequently, our present is not only informed but also controlled by our history. As we review our past, we recall many disappointments and failures, poor decisions, and consequences. Our history, along with subconscious insults and traumas to our souls, can be recalled and dealt with.

What are we to do? Our trials and frustrations can become the stepping stones and foundation of a better present and a more fulfilling future.

Life is a journey, and we must make the best of it. “Your journey will be much lighter and easier if you don’t carry your past with you (Anonymous).”

“The past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited, and or erased. It can only be accepted” (Anonymous).

“Every pain gives a lesson, and every lesson changes a person” (Anonymous).

“Forget the mistake. Remember the lesson” (Anonymous).

“The past is meant to teach you, and the hard times are meant to strengthen you” (Anonymous).

“Never be a prisoner of your past. It was just a lesson, not a life sentence” (Anonymous).

Modern counseling and psychology offer a great deal of advice on developing life strategies for overcoming former times by learning to “take out the garbage.”

The Scriptures are replete with sound advice from the Father on how to carry this out. The real enemy is not visible but invisible. The struggle we face is not fleshly but spiritual. The Father has given us supernatural weapons to fight.

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

We are to separate what is essential from what is superficial and superfluous. We focus on the wheat and discard the chaff.

Jeremiah 15:19 You extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman.

REFLECT & PRAY

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Mother Theresa

INSIGHT

Paul advocates waging a spiritual battle with the Father’s mighty weapons to identify and knock down strongholds, fortresses of human reasoning, and false beliefs.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds (fortresses) of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.

 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Physical fortresses in the ancient world were typically made out of bricks. Spiritual strongholds are made out of spiritual bricks. These bricks have been referred to as basic life beliefs. Basic life beliefs are what we believe, whether true or false. We live out what we believe.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

As we change what we believe, our basic life beliefs, our thoughts, and actions change.

Where do our basic life beliefs come from? They tend to be caught rather than taught when we are young children. They are often programmed by our society, our families, or the influences of our socialization. The mastermind, the strategist behind our programming, is the enemy of our souls; consequently, much of what we believe is lies.

The Father has provided a remarkable process that allows us to rid ourselves of the lies we believe. We begin by identifying these false beliefs and the triggering events that opened us up to accept them. This often comes through prayer, reading the Scriptures, or the wise, godly intervention of spiritual counselors.

Once we identify a lie, we find a corresponding truth in the word of God that should be believed instead. Through an act of the will, we exchange the truth of God’s Word for the lies we believe. We discard false beliefs and replace them with the Truth. In other words, we pluck out the false belief, the brick that the enemy has implanted, and replace it with a biblically-based brick from the truth of the Word of God.

For example, suppose we believe the lie that we are unlovable and unacceptable. We research the Scriptures for an appropriate truth to exchange for false belief. Below are two Scriptures related to being loved and accepted.

Ephesians 1:6 He has made us accepted in the beloved. (KJV)

Jeremiah 31:3 I have loved you, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.

Like it or not, the enemy has declared war on the children of the King. We are at war. It is a battle of the mind. The Father has given us all the power we need to fight this war effectively. His power takes captive and demolishes strongholds and fortresses. Strongholds are anything we rely upon for security, self-esteem, or survival.

The Greek term translated as strongholds or fortresses is ochuroma. Ochuroma is found only in 2 Corinthians 10:4. Outside of the New Testament is used in both a literal and figurative way. Military strongholds provided “the imagery used in Cynic and Stoic philosophers, and in particular by Seneca, a contemporary of Paul, to describe the fortification of the soul by reasonable arguments to render it impregnable under the attack of adverse fortune” (Kruse). These “mental walls” fortify people against the invasion of the Truth, and ultimately the knowledge of God (Wiersbe).

The enemy uses lies, false information, and speculations to contradict the truth of the Word of God. The enemy implants his false belief system in our hearts. It is up to us to identify and extract our false basic life beliefs. (bible.org/seriespage/lesson-8-tearing-down-walls-2-corinthians-101-18).

The weapons the Father has provided allow us to “put an end to the strength of the enemy” or “tear down defenses that are difficult to destroy” (UBS).

2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

In the same way we exchange our sin for God’s righteousness, we also exchange our false beliefs with the Truth. As we learn and hide the Scriptures in our hearts, we consciously replace our false beliefs with His Truth.

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© Dr. H 2022

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