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Thomas McDaniels planted his first church in 1989 in Kilgore, Texas.
Since that humble beginning he and his wife, Charlotte,
have successfully planted 3 additional churches.
Pastor Tom has a unique gift of starting churches without a team or a staff.
His strategy was simply to begin a weekly Bible study
and allow the church to grow through word of mouth.
He has a vision to plant or cover 12 churches
and network them to advance the Kingdom of God.
Tom and Charlotte are currently the Lead Pastors
of LifeBridge Christian Center in Longview Texas.
LifeBridge is a vibrant soul winning church focused on community impact.
Tom is passionate about soul winning and reaching the lost of East Texas.
He has expanded his passion for reaching souls to Tyler Texas
with a new church plant in February 2014.
Tom is also an inspiring regular contributor (LifeWriter) here at LifeLetter Café
and is today’s featured contributor to “Find It Only Here On Friday”.
His Café exclusive “Strongholds” can be found below,
BUT FIRST . . the Café thought you just might want to know
how an Encouragement Leader like Thomas McDaniels
has been encouraged in his own faith.
In his own words …
As a Pastor of over 30 years I have done my best
to keep my relationship with the Lord as fresh and vibrant as possible.
One way I have consistently done this is to maintain my passion for personal prayer.
I am careful to separate my personal prayer time from my sermon prep prayer time.
I believe this is vital for Pastors.
There is a time to read the Word for study and to pray for staff and services
but the greatest priority is for the minister to make it a daily priority
to intimately connect to the Lord. I found this to be my most effective way
to stay fresh and full of God’s Spirit.
Find It Only Here On Friday
Pastor Thomas McDaniels
Jesus is our freedom fighter …
and the only way to true freedom. God’s word clearly reveals that knowing truth is the first step to freedom…Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. This means that truth is not a doctrine but a person. The world and the church must come to the knowledge that knowing Christ is the first step to experiencing genuine freedom.
John 8:30-36 NKJ
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him,
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants,
and have never been in bondage to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you,
whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
And a slave does not abide in the house forever,
but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free,
you shall be free indeed
When sin develops into a stronghold it becomes a way of life!
Notice the contrast in the scripture above…freedom and sin. In other word’s it is primarily sin that opposes the possibility of us living in freedom. As Christians we should and can live free lives because freedom is something we should constantly pursue in our spiritual journey. It is also important to remember that freedom is a process and not a destination. It is a promise from God’s word. Freedom is a lifestyle, and requires that we continually make good choices to stay free once we are set free!
In our journey we …
often encounter struggles and challenges. It is in these challenged areas that we open the door for the enemy to invade our heart or soul. We must also know the enemy has a plan to disrupt your life. His plan is the total opposite of God’s plan. His plan is to keep us in bondage.
He does this in a variety of ways. Most often He uses our own desires or He finds a door or temptation or failure that he can enter through. Another strategy he often uses is to twist the scripture, breathing lies into our minds or attacking our personal relationships. These are just a few methods that create open doors for strongholds to set up in our soul realm.
super cells of negative thoughts and lies that have been fortified to protect against any invasion, a place where a particular cause, belief, or event has built a fortress to protect itself.
Most strongholds enter in the childhood years. These strongholds normally begin in dysfunctional areas such as; family, personal abuse, neglect, or generational curses. Strongholds also are developed through trauma (molestation, verbal abuse) or a tragedy (accident). These areas skew our view of God. These traumas also tempt us to blame God for them being allowed into our lives. These create moments of entrance and attachment of the enemy.
Every stronghold has a moment of attachment, a lie, and a strongman that is fortifying its presence.
The truth is: all sin is laced in a lie. The enemy stays close to the truth so that we can’t distinguish truth from lies. Another way we fall prey to the enemy’s lies is when we give our strongholds virtuous names. We must remember strongholds build walls around lies that keep God out.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (ESV)
For though we walk in the flesh,
we are not waging war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh
but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion
raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
being ready to punish every disobedience,
when your obedience is complete.
Solomon wrote, “As a man thinks so is he (Psalm 23:7).” So our thoughts form our beliefs. Our beliefs also create our behavior. Strongholds are difficult to discern because we often give bad behavior a virtuous name. This can also strengthen bad behavior and keep us in bondage.
An example of this may include giving fear a name like wisdom. Or we give greed a virtuous name like stewardship. I think you get the idea. This is the reason we must discern strongholds properly and call them by their real name.
Strongholds can be recognized where:
- There is a cycle of failure
- There is repetition of sin
- We begin to give excuses for our sin
- We lie to soothe our sin and circumstances
- We are so deceived that we give our sin another name
A great way to test freedom is….
to examine the areas where we have hope. In other words where there is hope we have experienced the liberating work of Christ. Strongholds are most often dominated by hopelessness, lethargy and apathy. They also position us for total unbelief in God’s ability to destroy their hold on us.
A sure sign that a stronghold is in place is the areas we feel absolutely hopeless to conquer.
We often respond to strongholds in the wrong way. The first challenge is determining the root from the fruit. We often treat the fruit of strongholds and fail to uncover the root. Our responses may include a secret life, jumping from job to job, spouse to spouse, or situation to situation.
Breaking this cycle is the first key to genuine freedom.
We also try to deal with these areas in our own strength. Our mind, intellect and will are no match for flesh or the enemy. The natural mind has no ability to tear down spiritual strongholds. The Word of God and the weapons of God are the only match for this level of warfare.
the very thing that we hate,
and keep us from the thing . . that we want most!
1. We cannot wage war in the flesh
The writer is saying; this is not a battle of the mind, intellect, will, or the natural man. This is a spiritual battle and the natural man is no match for the enemy. We can’t rebuke the flesh and make it better. It must be crucified and the strongholds must be destroyed and removed.
When we battle in the flesh there can be no victory, and where there is no victory there is no freedom. We must develop a hatred for our enemy and our bondage. What we tolerate we can never eradicate.
2. We must access our spiritual weapons
Good soldiers know their key weapons. This is the reason for boot camp, training, and military excursions. In battle the soldier becomes intimately acquainted and trained with a variety of weapons. It is sad to say, but most Christians are not aware of their spiritual weapons. God has given us divine power to destroy strongholds and a complete arsenal of weapons to destroy our enemies.
Our Weapons include….
- The WORD – the sword
- The Armor of GOD,
- Fervent Prayer (the prayer of agreement, anointed with oil)
- Worship and a Sacrifice of Praise!
- The Name of Jesus (David) – I come at you in the Name of the Lord of HOSTS!
- Faith, Hearing God & obedience (Joshua and the walls)
- Speaking the truth
- Gifts of the Spirit – are weapons against the enemy and weapons of empowerment
- Fruit of the Spirit – peace is a weapon, joy is a weapon.
We must access our weapons and use them effectively.
The weapons of God are powerful.
3. Strongholds must be pulled down
Pulled down is defined as taken down; made obsolete; made extinct. Notice the word extinct. One sign of extinction is the loss of ability to reproduce.This means that when those negative thoughts arise that we must not allow that thought to reproduce to your emotions and our mind.
We must cast down every argument and every thing that exalts itself against God and His word! Arguments are defined as imaginations, thoughts; or mental reasonings. We must learn to give these arguments no place, no access, and no permission to reproduce in US. In other words we take every thought captive and make it a prisoner!
When the devil has our mind he has access to every area of our life.
4. Punish all disobedience
This is not passive. This thought from scripture is entwined with intensity and aggression. God does not want us to consider our enemies a half friend. Your deliverance hinges on the passion that you take this seriously. A major part of our strongholds are that we have decided it is OK to live in partial freedom. We must remember half the truth is full bondage.
True freedom demands a passionate resolve. We must conquer our enemies and divide from them forever. Our freedom requires that we capture, punish, and destroy our spiritual enemies.
This is a necessary part of our complete deliverance. Every thought in your journey becomes captured when you are ready to punish all disobedience to God’s Word; then our obedience is fulfilled!
Notice this key! When we are prepared to obey, then we are ready to punish and destroy all disobedience!
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