Let's return to the things of the normal world. In other words I am not continuing to look at the strongholds from the evil world. Some of you were a little shocked by that subject matter and by the one example I
shared. So let's return to the normal way strongholds develop. I have told you already of how God pointed out two of my strongholds:- Taking me back to the moment when I was nine behind my bedroom door at a Jack Winter meeting. Forcing me to deal with it and not push it aside and try to ignore it. Rather facing it head on and going to my father to forgive him. The second issue that came to mind as I prayed one day was to realise that my reactions to fixing things around the home stemmed from my father's irrational, impatient responses to me and the stronghold of thought that had developed over fixing things - sowing the message that I couldn't do it; therefore, don't even try.
I referred in the first of these Nuggets on Strongholds to the fact that the Greek word nikē [νίκη] sits behind the text on issues related to “overcoming” and gaining “victory”. I like the Nike ads which pick up on the saying - Just Do It. I used the concept in my sermon of the Nike ad but turned it into the saying "Just Deal With It". That is the solution that we have to apply when it comes to the matter of strongholds in our lives.
The following are the bullet points straight from my sermon together with the quotes I used for those who didn't get them down, or were not there for the sermon. Together with further explanation I did not have time to give you in the sermon.
I used these past Gem quotes:
It is human nature to lie to ourselves. What are you pretending isn't a problem to you? The truth sets you free but it takes courage. Rick Warren
It's not enough to rage against the lie. You've got to replace it with the truth. Bono
To decide to tolerate one deceit is to violate the whole truth. Plato
What Not to Do
1. Don't pretend words don't hurt you. – Realise the power of words spoken over you in your life and deal with the results of those lies. They are untrue and not a commentary on who you are at all. They are lies from the pit of hell. Learn how to deal with them.
2. Don't ignore the words hoping they will go away. – They don’t. You have to address the lies you have believed and seek to know what God says about you in order to replace them. That means finding rhema words in His Word or having the Holy Spirit speak a word to you which frees you from the lies you have believed. When God tells you something it becomes more powerful than the lie you believed. God’s written word in the Bible is referred to as the logos in Greek. Jesus is the Logos, the very embodiment of the Word of God – the principles of God and that which is true. The Greek term rhema is used to refer to the quickened word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the moment when a verse leaps off the page of the Bible and you know it is a specific word for you personally. (It is not as clear a line of demarcation as that between logos and rhema but for our purposes it will suffice. I don’t want to go into superfluous detail on the difference.)
Examples of Logos words for you are:
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8) If God loved you while you were still a sinner and living as though He didn't exist, how much more must He love you now that you are seeking to hear His voice and follow Him as best you can?
For the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. (John 16:27) Many of us are living at the level of the children’s song - "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so." But we don't truly know that the whole of the Godhead loves us. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We accept that Jesus loves us but God the Father couldn’t love me Ian. I have done too much to disappoint Him. No, you don't understand that Father, Son and Holy
Spirit love you with a passion. Don’t let your memories of your earthly father cloud your view of God and His love for you. Believe for yourself the truth of John 16:27. I used the story in my sermon of D L Moody (to name one) who said to an interviewer when asked what was the greatest truth he’d gained from the Bible after all these years. “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” To which the interviewer responded, “You mean the greatest thing after all these years of studying the Bible that you can say is “Jesus loves me.” To which Moody said, “No, I said this I know!” The issue is do you KNOW that God loves you? That requires His revelation to your heart and your inner being. If you don't have it then seek it!
Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. (Isaiah 49:15,16a) - to help those of you who suffer from the lack of a mother’s love for one reason or another. (See the story below.)
3. Don't retaliate. - I learned that my father couldn’t help the fact that he was stuck down in a hole and couldn't get out. There was no use blaming him for what he had become. Instead I could help him out of his hole. I used a quote which came to me precisely at the time I was talking about this during the sermon – the process I have told you already is called hupomimnesko – when Holy Spirit reminds us of the things in our past which relate to what we are talking about in the here and now. That happened to me in the middle of the sermon. That is why the following quote was not on screen, because it came to me at the moment I was saying don’t retaliate. The quote is: If you have pain: Don’t curse it, nurse it, rehearse it; just give it to God and He’ll reverse it. Jussar Badudu
4. Don't give up. – Strongholds take time to develop over years. They are often the result of habitual, repetitive actions that we have done for a long time. The habits that we have formed which we find hard to break. That’s because they match the Portal of Power of Ceremonies, Rituals and Agreements. If satan can get us to do something habitually then we become trapped in a habit formed by repetitive action which is hard to break. It takes time to unravel something which we have allowed into our life for a long period of time. Much more could be said about this. Examine your habits and why you do them. What started you off on this track? Was it to comfort yourself? Was it a way to opt out of your reality at that time and pretend things were just fine?
Now it is time for an Ian Story. This one is not my own but one I will share from my experience when helping another.
One day a woman came to be me to ask for help. She told me her mother was coming for a visit. My mother-in-law (Tania’s mum is visiting at the moment). Sometimes such visits are positive but at other times such visits are not positive. If it had been my mother coming to visit it would have been pleasant. If it had been my father coming to visit it would not have been pleasant. I said to the woman, “Oh that will be nice.” She said, “No, Ian it is not a good thing. I can only stand my mother visiting for a few days. But she is coming for two weeks. I am so stressed and uptight at the prospect of her being with me for two weeks. I need help!”
She then proceeded to tell me, “My mother still treats me like I’m a five year old without the ability to think for myself. I would love to have an adult relationship with my mother but it seems impossible because of the way she treats me. We can’t have an adult conversation: mother and adult daughter. Rather she forces me to bow to her wants, desires and will. I have no say in the matter. That’s just how it is.”
I responded by telling her how it plays out. I said, “Oh I know what happens. She tells you something and when you don't agree and you tell her what you think, she assumes the role of the mother with a small child and speaks down to you as though you are still a five year old. If that doesn't work she switches to using ridicule and cuts you down with her words, belittling you. Then if that doesn’t work, and you still insist that what you said was true, she raises her voice and shouts at you thinking that the volume of her voice will beat you into submission. If that still doesn't work and you protest that you are right in what you say, she turns on the tears and when you see your mother crying you cave in and submit to her will.”
The woman was staring at me incredulously and said, “Ian it is like you have been there when it is happening. How did you know that? You have just outlined exactly the process that happens each time I disagree with my mother. That is exactly the course it takes and in the end I just cave in. it is just like you said. How did you know that?”
I said, “it was easy. That was the exact same process that I went through when talking with my father.” He used condescension, ridicule, shouting me down, then finally crying to get his own way. It is a classic approach. I also saw it in my grandchildren when they were small. It is probably universal. It is a strong indication that your mother is co-dependent on you and so treats you like a child to get her own way. It is like she has not grown up and become an adult and manipulates you to get what she wants. What you have to do is to help her grow up. You have to treat her like you would a small child.
When she starts talking to you in a condescending way, tell her, ‘Mum, I am a thirty five year old woman. I long to have an adult conversation with you where we can talk woman to woman. But you treat me like I am five years old. Mum, I will talk with you when you stop talking to me like I am a five year old. Ok!”
When she starts ridiculing you, tell her, ‘Mum, I am your grown up daughter. Let’s talk woman to woman. Don’t ridicule me Mum. Accept me for who I am and recognise that I have valid things to say on the basis of what I too have learned from life. I will talk with you again when you stop ridiculing me. Ok!”
When she starts shouting at you, tell her, ‘Mum, don’t shout at me. Don’t get angry at me because of what I told you. You need to hear it. If you insist on raising your voice to me then go to your room until you can cool down and we can talk rationally. Come back and let’s talk when you can talk without shouting at me. Ok!”
When she starts crying realise it is just a ploy to manipulate you. Don’t enter into an agreement with her that crying will allow her to get her own way. Simply tell her quietly but with insistence, ‘Mum, I am no longer going to let your crying manipulate me. I am your grown-up daughter who longs to have a true mother-daughter relationship with you. Stop crying and let us talk like adults about it. If you can’t, then go to your room until you can control the tears. I will talk with you again when you stop crying.”
She sat there stunned and said, “Ian I don't know if I can talk to my mother like that. That is going to be the hardest thing to do.”
I said, “You need to realise that your mother is down in a pit, trapped in her reactions to her past. If your mother were a paraplegic or a quadriplegic you would have pity on her and want to help her. You have to realise your mother is incapacitated but not physically. Rather it’s emotional in origin. Joining her in the pit is not helpful to either of you. You have to be strong enough emotionally to help her out of the pit.”
I said, “At least try what I suggested and I will pray for you to be able to do it. It is what needs to happen. Your mother either hasn't learned to leave dependence behind and becoming truly independent herself. Or she is trying to manipulate you and hold you in the position of the child in your relationship with her because that is what she needs. You have to help her out of that mindset. That is what I had to do with my alcoholic father. You can do it and I will pray for you.” She went off rather unsure about the possibilities of this working but agreed to try it.
She came back at the end of the two weeks ecstatic. She told me, “Ian, I did what you told me and for the first time in my life I ended up being able to talk with my mother as a grown-up. It was amazing. Thank you so much. I didn't even have to go through all the stages. She listened to my input and she realised she needed to change. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I trust that little piece of advice might help you in your relationships with mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, bosses or whoever else you have found difficulty with because you sense there are overtones of manipulation involved or strongholds which need to be broken.
Talk to me and ask me to explain things that aren’t clear to you or ask me to explain other aspects which I only briefly touched on. I will keep this process open ended like I do with the Gems when I am gemming a book of the Bible live. I will go back to that when I begin the book of Philippians soon - when the new website is launched. Not long to go now.