Message From Matt | January 18, 2019

Breaking Free!
Have you heard the story about Jayme Closs in Wisconsin?  I have and all  I can say is that it’s an amazing story of survival!   On October 15th, Jake Thomas Patterson, age 21, decided to kill Jayme’s parents, kidnap her and take her to his cabin about an hour away from her home.  There, for 88 days, he kept her locked up, many times under a bed for hours at a time.  When people would come over to his house to visit, he would put her under the bed and stack things all around it and play loud music to keep people from hearing her.  Once, he left for an extended time to visit family leaving her chained to the bed with no food or water.  This girl, only 13 years old, had witnessed her parent’s murder, was deprived of food, water and security, and locked up like an animal, but somehow was able to escape after 88 days and find help!  
As I have read about this story, I have been thinking about how powerless Jayme must have felt!  She’s a young teenage girl and he’s an ex-military guy at the prime of his strength.  It had to seem that she was in a no win situation and that her life would end in that cabin….but thankfully she was able to break out of that stronghold and run to freedom.
A stronghold is defined as “a fortified place” or “a place of security”, but for Jayme it definitely was not a place of security but the opposite.  The strongholds that I am talking about are something that we feel locked into because of family dysfunction, or our personality, or the experiences that have shaped our thinking.  These strongholds are things that have formed in our brain and have us locked into negative thinking that we will never be freed from.  Although none of us (I hope anyway) have gone through what Jayme has been through, we all have some strongholds that we have been in before or might currently be in that we need to have a break out experience from. 
Some might have problems with addictions and feel that they are genetically disposed to the addiction and there is no hope of freedom…they need to break free from the stronghold of their thinking!
Some have insecurity problems that have haunted them for a lifetime…they need to break free from the stronghold of their thinking!
Some find no joy in their life as their purpose has been sidelined by bad choices and bad thinking…they need to break free from the stronghold of their thinking!
The list could go on and on, but I think that you get the point.  We all have had things that have happened in life that can cause strongholds in our thinking and leave us lifeless!  However, God wants to help you break out of those strongholds and live life to the fullest!  How do we do this???
“(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; – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
How do we do this?  We obey God’s Word and use His power to break these strongholds from us!  Our mind is powerful, but it can be swayed by either good or evil.  The things that we put in our mind will determine how successfully we will live for God!  If we allow the devil to have free reign in our minds or allow our minds to be influenced only by the world…we will be in bondage!  
Maybe that is you today!  Let me give you some hope – you can be free!!!
With God’s help, we can break free from the grips of the strongholds of our minds!  Focus your mind on God’s Word, follow it and you can be free!  
Is there more to it?  Come Sunday morning and we will talk more about recognizing and breaking free from strongholds that we have in our mind!