Tag Archives: strongholds

Strongholds (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about strongholds, what they are, where they come from and how to defeat the ones that are created by the Enemy.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Scriptures
o    John 8:44
o    2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Materials
o    PowerPoint file – “Strongholds – Bricks.ppt  (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
o    A board or wall of some sort to stick the bricks to.
o    Glue, paste or tape for making “bricks”
o    Tape or push pins for sticking the “bricks” to the wall (depending upon whether or not you use a cork board)

o     Scissors

Preparation
o    Print the bricks from the “Strongholds – Bricks.ppt” file.  (You can also create your own if these don’t suit your audience.  The positive sides of the bricks represent the Fruit of the Spirit.  The negative sides of the bricks represent the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit.  I’ve included many different options for the negative sides so that you can pick the ones that the audience will identify with most, but you may also want to have several different words for the negative sides.  You might also want to print several copies of each brick so that you can build an impressively big “stronghold.”)
o    Fold each “brick” page in half along the dotted line, and then tape or paste them together.
o    Trim the bricks along their borders, and discard the white space that’s left over.
o    Make tape “donuts” (circles of tape), and put them where the volunteers can get to them quickly.
o    Arrange all the bricks with the negative side facing up, and put them in easy reach of the volunteers.
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We are in a spiritual war between God and Satan, and the battlefield is our minds.”
•    “Satan wants to control and destroy our minds, and God wants our minds completely devoted to Him.”
•    “Satan wants to control and destroy our minds, because it is the only way he can hurt an all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere God.”
•    “He tries to wound the Creator through His creation.”
•    “If we want to help God win the war, we need to know how the battle is fought.”  (Ask volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.)
•    “We do not wage war as the world does.  We have different weapons.”
•    “We don’t use bazookas or fighter jets or nuclear missiles to fight this war, because it’s not a physical war – it’s a thought war!”
•    “We are fighting to give control of our minds and thoughts to God.”
•    “Regular weapons won’t do anything against thoughts.”
•    “But this Scripture says that our weapons have divine power to demolish strongholds!”
•    “That sounds pretty powerful!”
•    “What are these weapons that this Scripture is talking about?  Does anyone know?”  (Listen to responses.  If no one mentions them, let them know that our main spiritual weapons are prayer, the Word and the name of Jesus Christ.)
•    “Okay, so now we know our weapons.  What about strongholds?  Does anyone know what those might be?”  (Listen to responses.  You are looking for the idea of a fort or a military position that is very strong – a “strong hold” on some territory.)
•    “In war, a stronghold is a place that one side has built up and fortified.”
•    “They have a ‘strong hold’ on that place, so it’s an effective place for them to use to wage war against their enemies.”
•    “Whether it’s a good or bad stronghold depends upon whose stronghold it is.”
•    “You can find examples in Scripture of both positive strongholds (held by the allies of God) and negative strongholds (held by the allies of Satan).”
•    “In the thought war between God and Satan, spiritual strongholds are habits of thinking.”
•    “There are three ways for thoughts to get into your mind: you can think them yourself, God can put the thought into your mind through His Spirit, or Satan can put the thought into your mind.”
•    “Even when you think the thoughts yourself, they are heavily influenced by the habits of thinking you have developed by listening to either God or Satan when they gave you thoughts.”
•    “By the way, if you want to hear God’s thoughts in your mind, you have to listen carefully.  He rarely shouts them like Satan does.”
•    “So, it’s really important to know where the thought came from.”
•    “If they come from Satan, we don’t want to listen to them.”
•    “Jesus said that Satan is ‘the father of lies,’ that ‘when he lies, he speaks his native language,’ and that ‘there is no truth in him.’” (John 8:44)
•    “Everything Satan says to you is a lie, and everything God says to you is the truth.”
•    “Satan starts lying to you when you are a very young child, because he wants to build strongholds of lies in you mind.  He wants you in the habit of believing his lies.”
•    “Let me give you a picture of what this looks like.”  (Ask for three or four volunteers to come up front, and tell them that you want them to use the tape donuts to stick the “bricks” to the wall or board you are using for this lesson.  Tell them to stick them so that they look like bricks in a wall, and ask them to show only the red lettering on the bricks.  If you didn’t print them in color, you may need to mark the bricks in some way so that your volunteers can tell which side is the lie and which side is the truth.  While they are working, continue with the lesson.)
•    “When Satan gives you a thought, you have a choice whether or not to agree with it.”
•    “If you agree with it, or if you choose to just passively receive it and not evaluate whether it is right or wrong, it becomes a brick in Satan’s stronghold of lies.”
•    “Once Satan finds a lie that you will agree with or passively allow into your mind, he works full time to reinforce that particular lie until it forms a ‘strong hold’ on the way you think.”
•    “The volunteers are showing us how Satan builds his stronghold.”
•    “All of these are lies that he wants us to believe.”  (Read some of the bricks out loud.)
•    “Brick-by-brick, lie-by-lie, he builds up this stronghold, and it changes the way we think and how we see the world around us.”
•    “The worst part is, once we develop the habit of thinking in this way, we start to do Satan’s work for him.”
•    “We add bricks to the wall without him even having to lift a finger, and it gets stronger and stronger.”
•    “Now, when God’s truth comes into your mind, Satan will attack it from his stronghold.”
•    “You could be sitting in church and listening to a sermon or talking to a godly friend or reading something with truth in it.”
•    “God will often use these things to give you a truth He wants you to hear.”
•    “It enters your mind, but Satan attacks it from his stronghold of lies and convinces you it’s not true.”
•    “As long as Satan has this stronghold in your mind, it will be difficult for God’s truth to survive.”
•    “But I have some good news for you!”  (Ask volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 again.)
•    “The Scriptures say that we can demolish the strongholds with our weapons that have divine power.”
•    “Here’s how to do it!”
•    “First, stop allowing thoughts to come into your mind unsupervised.”
•    “You’re at war!  No military commander allows some stranger to enter his base of operations without an armed escort!” (Ask for a volunteer to come join you at the front.)
•    “Let’s pretend this person is a thought and that I’m your mind.”
•    “If I recognize that I’m in a thought war, am I going to do this… (have volunteer approach you while you act out the following)  Yo! Whassup, man?  Don’t know who you are and don’t care.  Come join the party!”  (Have volunteer pass you by.)
•    “What do you think, is that how I should greet this thought?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “Of course not!  He could be a terrorist bringing in a mind bomb!”
•    “Let’s do this again the right way.”  (Have volunteer go back to his/her original place and then try to pass by you.)
•    “Halt!  Who goes there?  Are you friend or foe?”  (Tell your volunteer to say he/she is a friend.)
•    “Oh, yeah?  Well, we will see about that!  I’m taking you to my General!”  (Gently, but playfully grab the volunteer’s arm and lead him/her to another place in the room.  Then look up as if you are praying and say…)
•    “General Jesus, I found this thought trying to gain access to our military command.  Is he friend or foe?”  (Pretend that Jesus tells you he is a foe.)
•    “He’s the enemy?  Thank you, sir.  I will dispose of him right away.”  (Playfully escort the volunteer back to his/her original starting point.  If he/she resists, you might need to ask another adult in the room to help you escort him/her.)
•    “Now that you know that thought is a lie, never let it back into your mind.”
•    “Each time Satan tries to sneak it through, reject it.”
•    “You might say something like, ‘I know that’s a lie, and I reject it in the name of Jesus!’”
•    “Whenever you reject a lie, you’ve got to replace it with the truth.”
•    “It’s not enough to say, ‘That’s not true!’  You’ve also got to replace it with what is true.”
•    “For example, take a look that the Enemy’s stronghold that these volunteers have been building.”  (Point to board or wall where the volunteers have been adding the bricks.)
•    “It’s good to say that this isn’t true about me.”  (Read off one of the bricks.)
•    “But then I also need to replace it with a similar truth.”  (Turn the brick over, and move the tape or pin to the other side so that you can stick it back to the board on the green / Fruit of the Spirit side.)
•    “So I ask God what is really true about me, and He gives me the truth He wants to occupy my mind.”  (Stick brick to the board.)
•    “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘Ask God what HE wants you to think!’”  (Allow a moment for them to do this.)
•    “The more I do this, the more I trade Satan’s lies for the truth of God.”  (Have your volunteers start flipping the bricks to the positive side.)
•    “And when you do this, you’ve got to believe what you hear God say.”
•    “It isn’t always easy, because God’s truth sometimes looks wrong compared to what is going on around us and what we thought was true before.”
•    “You may have to pray, ‘This is hard to believe, Lord, but I trust You.  Help me to see the truth in this.’”
•    “This is called taking every thought captive before Christ, and it demolishes strongholds.”
•    “In fact, it replaces Satan’s strongholds with God’s strongholds in your mind!”
•    “Then, when Satan tries to send a lie your way, God’s truth will attack it from God’s strong hold in your thinking.”  (Even if they haven’t completely finished flipping bricks, thank your volunteers, and let them return to their seats.)
•    “Let’s recite a Rhyme Time that will help us remember today’s lesson:

Satan’s strongholds really stink!
I’m letting God choose what I think!

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Filed under Belief, Brain, Christianity, demons, Jesus, Mind, Object Lesson, Spiritual Warfare, thinking, Thought war, thoughts

Guard Your Gates! (OBJ LESSON)


Time

20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the need to protect our hearts and minds from the evil things that might get in them.

Materials

  • Small box
  • Heart-shaped object
  • A handful of candy or a few candy bars

Preparation

·You might need a confederate when you try to tempt the “gate-keepers” to let you into the city.Talk to one of the older children ahead of time, and let them know you want them to let you in the gate after you’ve tempted them some – maybe when you offer the candy.Ask the child to keep this a secret.

·Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “I am going to tell you a story from the book of Nehemiah.”
  • “In the time of Nehemiah, there was a temple in Jerusalem, but there were no walls around the city.”(Ask for a few children to volunteer to come be your temple.Have them stand together and hold the small box in the center.)
  • “This box represents the Ark of the Covenant.”
  • “The Ark was the most important thing in all of Israel.It represented where God came to meet with His people.”
  • “Now, without walls around the city, the temple was unprotected.”
  • “At any time, the enemy could just walk in and steal the Ark of the Covenant, because there was nothing to keep the enemy out.”(Pretend to be the enemy, and show how easy it is for you to come in and steal the Ark.)
  • “Now, the Ark of the Covenant is gone today.No one knows for sure what happened to it.”
  • “I think that’s because we don’t need it anymore.You see, God replaced the building that was called “The Temple,” with our hearts.He now meets with us in our hearts instead of in a building.”
  • “The Bible says that God removed our ‘heart of stone and gave (us) a heart of flesh.’” (Ezekiel 11:19 – Replace the box with the heart-shaped container.)
  • “And our enemy is Satan.He wants to steal our hearts so that God can’t use us for His purposes.”
  • “So, the temple is like our heart today.What did Nehemiah need to protect the temple?”(Walls)
  • “Right!And Nehemiah was smart.He put together a team of people, and they began building those walls.”
  • “But if Nehemiah needs physical walls to protect the temple, what do you think we need to protect our hearts?”(Spiritual walls)
  • “Exactly!We need spiritual walls!Well, just like you build physical walls stone by stone, you build spiritual walls piece by piece when you do good things for God.”
  • “Can anyone give me an example of a ‘stone’ you might put in your spiritual wall?”(Look for examples of spiritual disciplines and good works for God.As kids mention them, have them come up to be part of the wall around the temple.Examples include: Bible study, giving, helping others, prayer, meditating on God’s word, solitude, going to church, worship…Keep taking examples until you have a complete wall around the temple.)
  • “There!We have our spiritual wall to protect us from Satan’s attacks.If we didn’t have our spiritual walls up, Satan could come right in and steal our hearts.”
  • “Walls are good to have, but we are missing something.We also need gates!”
  • “Without gates in the wall of Jerusalem, the good stuff, like food and supplies couldn’t come into the city.”
  • “In the same way, without gates in our spiritual walls, there is no way to let in good things like God’s Word.”
  • “So, we need gates – can anyone think of what our gates might be?Where does the good stuff come into our minds and hearts?” (Ears, eyes, mouth)
  • “I’m going to make these people our gates keepers.”(Pick two or three pairs of children and have them hold hands to designate that they are the gates.Make sure you include your confederate if you are using one.)
  • “Having gates is good, because they let the good stuff in, but they can also let in bad stuff.Your gates are the weakest part of your spiritual wall, and Satan will try really hard to get in through them.”
  • “Can anyone give me some examples of things Satan might try to get past your ear gates, your eye gates or your mouth gate?”(Take examples, and if needed, supply the following:

omusic with bad lyrics

obad scenes in movies

oprofanity

opictures in magazines

ogossip

orumors

othings you might feel jealous about

omean words

othings that might make you feel bad about yourself

odrugs or alcohol (because they make you do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do – like open your ear gates and eye gates to really bad stuff)

oother peoples’ personal things that are not to be shared (like a diary)

oviolent scenes)

  • “Wow!Satan has thought of a lot of stuff to try to get in through our ear gates, eye gates and mouth gate.”
  • “Let me show you how he works.”(Go to one of your gate-keeper pairs and try to tempt them to open the gate to let you in.)
  • “Hey, guys!How are you today?Say, I would really like to get into that gate.Would you mind opening it for me?”(Assuming they say, “no,” try some of these temptations.)

o“Aw, c’mon, do it for your friend!We’re friends right?You don’t want to be uncool do you?”

o“Wait until everyone hears what a loser you are!”

o“What if I offered you this candy?Would you open it for me then?”

o“You would be my best friend ever!”

o“Those guys over there let me in all the time.”

o“If you let me in, I’ll give you something really cool!”

o(Add other temptations that you think might work.If no one succumbs to the temptations, use your confederate to get into the city.)

  • “HA!I knew I could get in!Now that I’m in here, I think I’m going to set up camp.”
  • “When Satan gets into your heart and sets up camp, the Bible calls it a stronghold.A stronghold is the place in your heart that Satan holds, and it’s where he attacks you from.”
  • “There is a story in the last chapter of Nehemiah in the Bible that tells about when one of Nehemiah’s enemies came to live inside the temple!”
  • “Nehemiah had left the country for some time, and while he was gone, some of the people who were friends with Nehemiah’s enemies let a man named Tobiah move in!”
  • “That’s like letting Satan live in your heart!Who wants that?”
  • “The good news is that Nehemiah was a man of God.When he found out that Tobiah had moved into the temple, he kicked him out of the temple and out of the city.Then, he bleached the place and filled it up with temple furniture and offerings.”(Nehemiah 13:4-9)
  • “So if Satan gets past our gates with his junk, what do you think we ought to do?”(Throw him out just like Nehemiah did!)
  • “That’s right!Kick him out of your heart and mind!Then close those gates, and don’t let him in again, because if you keep letting him in, he’s not just going to want to live in your heart – he’s going to want to steal it for himself!”(Demonstrate stealing the heart-shaped container from the temple.If, as often happens when I conduct this object lesson, you are mauled by the children, it’s best to give up the heart before you incite a riot.)
  • “So, how many of you are going to be careful to build your walls and guard your gates from now on?”

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Filed under Christianity, Coping skills, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Warfare, temptation