A stronghold is a false premise that denies God's promise. It sets itself up against the knowledge of God (v. 5 NIV). It seeks to eclipse our discovery of God. It attempts to magnify the problem and minimize God's ability to solve it. Does.
Heavenly Father, loosen my grip on the things of this world. Lead me in the dance of spontaneous, cheerful giving, and let that generosity remind me always of your grace toward me, which I in no way deserve. In your Son's name I pray, amen.
Bloodstains, tearstains are everywhere. Joseph's heart was rubbed raw against the rocks of disloyalty and miscarried justice. Yet time and time again God redeemed the pain. The torn robe became a royal one. The pit became a palace. The broken family grew old together. The very acts intended to destroy God's servant turned out to strengthen him.
The purpose of the Bible is to proclaim God's plan and passion to save his children. That is the reason this book has endured through the centuries. It is the treasure map that leads us to God's highest treasure: eternal life.
This is why he refused to close his fist. He saw the list! What kept him from resisting? This warrant, this tabulation of your failures. He knew the price of those sins was death. He knew the source of those sins was you, and since he couldn't bear the thought of eternity without you, he chose the nails.
God is fond of you. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. If He had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Face it, friend, He's crazy about you.
To others, Jesus was a miracle worker. To others, Jesus was a master teacher. To others, Jesus was the hope of Israel. But to John, he was all of these and more. To John, Jesus was a friend. You don't abandon a friend—not even when that friend is dead. John stayed close to Jesus.
The snake pulled back the curtain to the throne room and invited Eve to take a seat. Put on the crown. Pick up the scepter. Put on the cape. See how it feels to have power. See how feels to have a name. See how it feels to be in control! Eve swallowed the hook. The temptation to be like God eclipsed her view of God.
Maybe your family is more drama than delight, more crazy than kind? I can't say that your family will ever understand or bless you, but I know God will. Let God give you what your family doesn't. If your earthly family doesn't support you, then let your heavenly one take its place.
God dispenses his goodness not with an eyedropper but a fire hydrant. Your heart is a Dixie cup, and his grace is the Mediterranean Sea. You simply can't contain it all. So let it bubble over. Spill out. Pour forth. And enjoy the flood.
Like Joseph, you've been dumped into the pit. And, like Joseph, you choose to heed the call of God on your life. It's not easy. You're tempted to get even. But you choose instead to ponder your destiny.
To wait, biblically speaking, is not to assume the worst, worry, make demands, or take control. Nor is waiting doing nothing. It is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief. To wait is to rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him (Psalm 37:7).
God sees us with the eyes of a Father. He sees our defects, errors, and blemishes. But He also sees our value. What did Jesus know that enabled Him to do what He did? Here's part of the answer: He knew the value of people. He knew that each human being is a treasure. And because He did, people were not a source of stress, but a source of joy.
For years I thought my assignment or the Church's assignment was to articulate the Gospel and nothing more. Now I believe that if we don't support the verbal expression of the Gospel with physical demonstration of compassion, we are not imitating Jesus.
God owns everything and gives us all things to enjoy. He is a good shepherd to us, his little flock. Trust him, not stuff. Move from the fear of scarcity to the comfort of provision. Less hoarding, more sharing. Do good . . . be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share.
Out of the lions' den for Daniel, the prison for Peter, the whale's belly for Jonah, Goliath's shadow for David the storm for the disciples, disease for the lepers, doubt for Thomas, the grave for Lazarus, and the shackles for Paul. God gets us through stuff.