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Dear Partner,

God gave the people of Israel a stern warning through Moses before they ever crossed over Jordan to possess the "Promised Land." God said,

Num 33:55  But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.

God wanted Israel to fully "possess" the land because He wanted Israel to fully "enjoy" the land. That "Promised Land" is a type and a shadow of the "Abundant Life" that Jesus came to give all who trust in Him. Jesus said,

John 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

I have never met a Christian who does not have a testimony about the "giants" that were slain in their lives when they were first born again. In my own case the giants of "alcohol dependence" and "materialism" were quickly driven out of my "land" (life). Many other harmful "enemies" of the "abundant life" were also driven out of my life in those early days.

But I, like most Christians, did not allow the Spirit of Christ to completely drive out all of the "enemies" in my life. I just learned to live with some of them over all these years. And, true to God's word, those things became pricks in my eyes and thorns in my side. In other words, they have hindered me from fully possessing and enjoying the abundant life. What are these enemies that keep us from fully enjoying the fullness of life that Jesus wants us to have?

2 Cor 10:4-5  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Paul describes these enemies as being "imaginations" and "high things" that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. For all practical purposes they erect strongholds in our soul (intellect, will, and emotions) that stand against us and prevent us from fully possessing and enjoying the abundant life. I have often heard Pastor Dave Roberson say, "An imagination is a thought process empowered by emotions." An imagination is more than just wrong thinking. Education is the cure for wrong thinking. Education alone, however, is not normally enough to deliver a person from a stronghold of bondage created by an imagination.

A good example of what I mean is a person who suffers from extreme claustrophobia. There are recorded instances of people who literally died from the fear of being confined in a small space. Picture a person with claustrophobia who is locked in a closet. There is nothing in the closet that would physically harm them. You could educate their intellect and logically assure them that they are not in danger. Yet the emotions attached with their wrong thinking overpowers them to the point they begin to perspire, their heart rate increases dramatically, their blood pressure soars and for some the physical strain becomes too much and they physically die. Education alone was not enough. The problem was more than just wrong thinking. It was a stronghold created by an imagination a thought process empowered by emotions.

Claustrophobia is an extreme example. Most of us do not suffer from such intense strongholds. But most of us can usually find ourselves somewhere in the following list of strongholds taken straight from the bible: Unforgiveness, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking, blasphemy, hatred, drunkenness, gluttony, envy, greed, doubt, worry, etc. Most of us can find "enemies" in this list that are still living in our "land." Said another way, we have simply learned to live with certain of these characteristics because we've never found a way to permanently drive them out of our lives.

Education is good. Counseling is good. Much good is accomplished by these things and we all rejoice over that fact. But the truth of the matter is, education and counseling are normally not enough to deliver us from the "emotional" empowerment of strongholds in our lives. It takes the supernatural power of God to set us free from lifelong destructive patterns. Now, let's take a look at our foundational verse again with a certain segment of the verse capitalized:

2 Cor 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but MIGHTY THROUGH GOD to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. [Emphasis mine]

The weapons given to us for the pulling down of every stronghold are MIGHTY THROUGH GOD! Said another way, these weapons employ the SUPERNATURAL power of God Himself to knock down the walls of every stronghold and drive the enemies completely out of our lives forever! Praise be to God! Next month we'll begin exploring these supernatural weapons one by one. They have been given to every believer, not just those in the ministry. Why? Because God wants each of us to fully enjoy the Abundant Life that Jesus paid such a terrible price for us to have.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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