The Cycle of Strongholds

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

The enemy works in five ways:

  1. The power of suggestion
  2. Mentalities
  3. Strongholds
  4. Reprobate mind
  5. Apostasy

The Power of Suggestion

The power of suggestion takes place when Satan comes to your mind, as he did with Eve and Jesus, and the thought seems to be yours because you don’t always see that it is Satan’s. The enemy will always come to you during your weakest moment; when you are emotionally or spiritually tired. You have to remain spiritually strong and constantly align your mind and spirit with the Word of God. When these thoughts come, you have two options: you can fight them or entertain and meditate on them. For example, no one commits a sin from one day to the next, and no one gets divorced overnight. Everything begins with a thought that you entertain rather than avoid or rebuke.

You need to take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. The atmosphere, media, and modern culture are designed to place the enemy’s thoughts in your mind. For example, the greatest temptation sent by Satan against the youth takes place in the sexual area. Satan plants the thought and leaves you to cultivate the seed and do the rest of the work.

Mentalities

A mentality is an established thought pattern. It is fixed in the mind which means that you focus on it all day long.

  • Your mentality will determine the path your life will take.
  • If you focus your mind on something specific, that is your reality. For example, if your mentality is of sickness, that will become your reality.
  • Wherever your mentality is, that is where it will lead you. I ask you: What do you think about all day long?
  • Habits originate in your way of thinking. When a habit is birthed, you begin to continuously do certain things until the habit becomes a part of you.
  • Your behavior begins to change. For example, if you have thoughts of fear all day, you will begin to make decisions based on fear rather than basing them on faith.
  • When that mentality is there, you become what you think. Your way of thinking comes from your reality.
  • You conform to your way of thinking. You bind yourself to the thought. This acts like a yoke that controls your life and doesn’t allow you to move freely. You have placed various yokes on your life. For example, the yoke of sickness, passivity, fear, and others.

Strongholds

  • These are Satan’s lies that wait for you to approve and agree with them while they hide within your human reasoning.
  • These thoughts make sense to you because they are based on fact.
  • They are real to you but not to God or other people. You need to act above the facts.
  • People get offended when you challenge their strongholds. God never called you to be average. He called you to move in the supernatural.
  • People with mental strongholds seek places where they are approved; hence, they attract each other.
  • Your mentality, not your race or your past, separates you from other people.
  • Your realities are different because they are formed by the way you think.

Reprobate Mind

  • God turns your mind over to the enemy because you are so focused on your stronghold and mindset that you get closed off to spiritual things.
  • You return to sin and don’t feel bad about it.
  • You begin to argue and reason trying to convince yourself that what you are doing is correct. For example, you think that having a drink once in a while is not bad, but the problem is that you walked away from it and if you return, you will become an alcoholic.
  • Satan’s goal is for you to return to where you came from.
  • I often see young people who were on fire for Jesus turn their attention to something else and then return to the world.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. —Romans 1:26

Apostasy

  • There are two sins that God doesn’t forgive: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which consists in attributing Satan the things done by God; and the other is apostasy which is to mock the supernatural after knowing the truth.
  • The Bible says that if you know the truth and return to the place where you came from, you will find judgment.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.. —2 Corinthians 10:3-6

You need to rebuke the thoughts as they come. You need power and authority to destroy those strongholds. When someone speaks of fear, it paralyzes your imagination—imagination is the only place that has no limits and where Satan attacks with thoughts of fear.

You are a son or daughter of God and more than a conqueror. You have not received the spirit of fear but of power, love, and sound mind. You are called to move mountains and to go to another level. Change your mentality!

You need to experience the truth before sharing it with others.

When the enemy releases thoughts, you take them captive to the obedience in Christ, and you have the right to punish the enemy.

When you speak the Word and cast out a thought, spiritually speaking you are punishing the enemy; but you still need to obey. This means that if you are trying to take captive the thoughts of poverty but you are not tithing, then what you say will not come to pass. If you are trying to take captive thoughts of fear, you must first repent of those thoughts.

If you don’t obey, when you try to cast out the devil, he will mock you.

How to be Free

  1. Recognize that you have allowed Satan to place thoughts in your mind.
  2. Repent wholeheartedly.
  3. Crucify the flesh, daily; the more you die to self, the harder it will be for the devil to place thoughts in your mind because they will not be appealing to you.  If Satan comes with thoughts and you entertain them, he will know that they are attractive to you and will continue to send you those kinds of thoughts. Don’t respond to them!
  4. Get ready to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Cast out those thoughts immediately.

The Strongest strongholds are:

  • Fear of man
  • Tradition or religion
  • Mammon
  • Sexual
  • Poverty
  • Rebellion
  • Fear
  • Disbelief

How many of you recognize that you have allowed the devil to bring thoughts to your mind?

If you want to repent and destroy strongholds, repeat this prayer: “Heavenly Father, I recognize that I have allowed the enemy to establish thoughts in my mind. I repent and, with all of my heart, I ask you to forgive me and to cleanse me with Your blood. I renounce every stronghold in my mind and believe that you have given me the power to destroy and to cast them out. Right now, in the name of Jesus, I order every stronghold to leave.  I renounce every form of thinking that comes from the enemy. I am free, now! Amen!

How to be Free from Strongholds

Strongholds are lies of the enemy waiting to be agreed with and accepted.

The moment that a stronghold forms in our mind, it becomes our comfort zone. People become so used to thinking about their sickness or fear that they become comfortable with it, and that comfort keeps them from wanting change.

Steps that lead to creating a stronghold:

  • A suggestion
  • A mindset
  • A stronghold
  • A reprobate mind
  • Apostasy

A thought produces a habit. A habit becomes a set behavior. Behavior forms character. Character produces a destiny.

A thought can abort your destiny.

People come to church with things they have been thinking about and leave the same way because they have given the enemy the legal right to dwell in their mind and lives.

What causes strongholds?

  • Culture
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Abuse
  • Religion
  • Home and family

Categories of strongholds:

  • Personal
  • Cultural
  • Denominational
  • National

What do we fight daily?

  • Fear of man
  • Religion
  • Money
  • Sexual inclinations
  • Poverty
  • Rebellion
  • Unbelief
  • Fear

What do strongholds do to us?

  • Strongholds block our spiritual perception.
  • Strongholds modify our behavior.
  • Strongholds limit God’s perspective of the future.
  • Strongholds stop our progress.
  • Strongholds cause stagnation.
  • Strongholds can cause us to abort and/or delay our purpose and destiny.
  • Strongholds can control us.
  • Strongholds can constrain us.

How can we be free of strongholds?

  1. Acknowledge the thought

Before we repent, we must acknowledge our condition. We can’t repent if we don’t acknowledge that we have a stronghold. Once we acknowledge it, the next step is repentance.

Preachers, you must repent for not leading the people to repentance. Self-help gospels do not lead people to repentance; they make people believe that they can live in their own terms, strength, and ability. We can’t do it in our own strength, but God will give us supernatural grace to repent. When we repent, the stronghold is destroyed and removed.

  1. Repent for entertaining bad thoughts

Repent for entertaining the thoughts of unbelief, immorality, and the desire to quit. Preachers, repent for not leading people to repentance and acknowledge that you cannot change anything until you repent. If you lie, gossip, lack faith, or watch pornography, that’s sin. Jesus—at the cross—removed every stronghold, but we need to appropriate that deliverance. When we repent, we change the way we think. We might think that no one is aware of our thoughts, but God knows.

Flies are attracted to decay—bad thoughts and actions—and in the spirit realm, an antenna is coming out of you to attract demons to you. Repentance must come from the heart to unravel what the enemy has been attached to. It is hard to repent if we are not willing to die. It’s hard to repent when we like sin. We need to die to the carnal self and repent; otherwise, strongholds will rise in and around us.

Discipline and Self-control

God cannot do this for us. He will do the supernatural, but we need to do the natural. We must purpose in our hearts not to do the wrong thing or to think the wrong thought. We must remind ourselves where we came from and decide that we are not going back—not even in thought. We have to decide to rebuke every thought that is trying to build viper’s nests in our mind. When we do our part in the natural, God gives us the power and the authority to rebuke carnal thoughts.

Submit and take captive every thought to the lordship of Christ.

“Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,  and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:5-6

Arguments are different than reasoning. The devil always has an argument that will make us feel guilty. If the argument and thought don’t go away, it’s because we are still disobedient in that area. If we choose not to repent in that particular area, the thought will not go away. We must be in complete obedience in that area. When we do that, we remove the right of the enemy to control us in that area. Don’t let the enemy stay in your mind; do not give the enemy a foothold.

Pray in the Spirit

“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” 1 Corinthians 14:2

In most churches, people have stopped praying and singing in the spirit because they are afraid of offending people. Praying in tongues surpasses arguments and reason. When we pray in the spirit, we pray beyond reason and beyond our mind. We will face situations that we will not understand, but if we pray in tongues, we will bypass reason and conquer the situation.

Praise and Worship

“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3 

Let us put on the garment of praise. Even when we don’t understand everything that is going on around us, we need to put on the garment of praise, and praise Him. Praise is a sacrifice. Regardless of how we feel or if we do or don’t feel like it, we should lift up our hands and praise Him—make that sacrifice! Praise breaks up the atmosphere of our thinking. When we praise, we create something new around us. Let us praise and worship and create the atmosphere of heaven everywhere we go. Worship is like therapy that synchronizes with our mind. If we listen to worldly music after worshipping God, it creates an atmosphere where good soil will be made available for the enemy to plant his seeds of destruction.

Continually Renew the Mind

When the mind is not renewed, we tend to repeat the same cycles in our life. If we are not continually renewed, within a few months, we will be back where we started.

The offense will always come, and there will always be people that get offended. Not letting go of an offense is a sign of immaturity. Offended people eventually leave the church and begin to criticize the things they used to do while in the church. The moment people disconnect, they become stagnant and return to where they came from. The moment we stop renewing the mind, we begin to disconnect from the things of God, and the things we used to consider sin eventually become acceptable and no longer a sin.

We need to be strengthened, changed, transformed, and delivered. When we stop renewing our mind, what we have left is religion. The renewing of the mind is supernatural, not natural, and it is guided by the Holy Spirit.

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalms 27:13

Thank God for His goodness. Praise Him for His mighty works, and worship Him for who He is! Don’t just thank Him with words; give Him an offering too. He doesn’t need money in heaven, but it’s a way to give Him thanks.

Call to Action

Right now, wherever you are, repeat this prayer:

Father God, I come before you today as your son/daughter. In the name of Jesus, I repent and I acknowledge that I have been entertaining thoughts that the enemy has sent to my mind; thoughts of doubt, unbelief, judgment, and self pity. Lord, I repent. I acknowledge my condition. I acknowledge, therefore, I repent. I change my thinking. Forgive me, Lord, for entertaining, playing with, and giving the enemy the opportunity to invade my mind. Cleanse me with your blood. I receive and appropriate your forgiveness. I stand up and speak to myself. I exercise self-control. I crucify my flesh, thoughts, and desires, and I let Jesus live through me. I renounce every thought that rises against the knowledge of Jesus. I cast them out and remove every thought sent by the enemy, and I declare myself free! Jesus, I decide to renew my mind and to be continually renewed by the Holy Spirit, His presence, and Your revelation. I renounce every stronghold in my mind. Right now, I am free! Amen!

Honoring God with our FirstFruits

God always judges intentions and motives; thus, we should always commit to honor God with the following three things at the beginning of each year:

1. Fasting – presenting the body in sacrifice.

“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” Matthew 6:16

2. Prayer – communication with God.

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” Matthew 6:9 

3. Giving – honoring God.

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Matthew 6:1-3

Using these scriptures will bring the greatest breakthrough in your life.

What is honor?

The origin of honor is God. The first person God honored was Himself. In Matthew 6:9, we find the word “hallow” which means to honor. Honor is a principle established by God to put Him first. In society, in the family, and in the church, we have seen a loss of honor. This is because we have not had an understanding of the principle.

Honor means to “respect,” “revere,” “value,” “esteem,” and “consider being precious.”  For example, a son honors, respects, values, and esteems his father.  We are to honor, respect, value, esteem, and revere God.

When we honor God, it is evidence
of spiritual maturity.

Honor must be a revelation to us. If we lack understanding of honor, we will not do it. We must have a personal revelation of what honor is because when we understand the principle of putting God first, we will perceive who the person is and what he carries in the spirit realm.

Honor is currency, as is faithfulness and loyalty.  These virtues are well rewarded in the Kingdom of God.

The Revelation of Honor

There are levels and measures of authority in the Kingdom. You must discern the level of the person’s authority, or you will become familiar with that person, think you are equal to him, and despise him. For example: Parents become friends with their children, and the children begin to think they are equal to their parents and no longer honor them.

There is an impact of revelation of honor; if you honor a prophet then the anointing, grace, and favor over their lives may come over your life.

Through honor you have access to what a person carries in the spirit.

You do not need to wait for an apostle to lay hands on you and impart. It begins in your hands.

Honor places a demand on what a person carries.

Once you understand and have revelation of the principle of honor, you must work the principle and demonstrate honor to those who are above and equal to you.

The Firstfruit Offering Honors God

“And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?” Genesis 4:3-6

What touched God’s heart that made Him honor Abel’s offering? Abel was the keeper of the sheep and Cain was the tiller of the ground. Abel brought the firstfruit of the flock and their fat, and Cain brought an offering of fruit of the ground. The Lord honored Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. Cain brought just an offering. It involved no sacrifice.

What is an offering of firstfruits?

A firstfruit offering says, “God is first to me.” A firstfruit offering is made from a place of sacrifice. Abel brought his firstfruit offering from a place of sacrifice. It goes beyond normal giving; above what you usually give.

When you put God second, you give from a place of convenience. It is not a sacrifice to you, and it is not a sacrifice to God.

That which is not a sacrifice to you will not be a sacrifice to God.

Honor puts to work the law of exchange.

“Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” 1 Samuel 2:30 

Abel made a spiritual offering from a sacrifice. The blood offering represented something that cost him something, and that cost was beyond normal. Something had to die for something to live.

“Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10  

The firstfruit offering is the root that governs the rest.

What you do with the first portion will determine what happens the rest of the year.

A firstfruit offering has the power of redemption; anything left will be multiplied by God. A firstfruit offering brings favor. You cannot have favor until you honor God.

Honor God this month, and everything you receive for the rest of the year will be increased and multiplied. Any firstfruit offering that you give will be multiplied; all that is stolen will be lost. If the firstfruit offering is holy, the rest will also be holy. It will insure your finances, protect you, rebuke the devourer, and more. You had increase, blessing, and favor last year; now, honor God with your firstfruit!