‘Stronghold’ – Johnny Hunt

This links to Shame – Two Perspectives.

Two reasons why I picked the book up – Ravi Zacharias’ commendation on the front cover (I have read/studied/trusted a fair deal of CS Lewis, JI Packer, Timothy Keller. Thus I now turn to Ravi Zacharias, albeit indirectly.) The second reason, ‘strongholds’.

Johnny Hunt’s book, a sincere attempt, defines ‘strongholds’ as ‘any habit that got hold of you.’ (p.21).

One other learning point:

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. [Proverbs 28:13, ESV Old Testament]

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. [James 5:16, ESV New Testament]


Demolishing Strongholds: Finding Victory Over the Struggles That Hold You Back. (2017). Harvest House Publishers. [Bible versions used – English Standard (ESV); New King James (NKJV); New International (NIV)]


Shame – Two Perspectives

General similarities between two articles by Jon Bloom and Joseph (Joe) Beckham

In Breaking the Power of Shame (15 Jul 2016), it seems that Bloom does not refer to the elimination of shame but rather its management. Shame (according to him) is usually the interaction of human failings and defensive pride. We therefore exert control through hiding (resulting in some form of false front). The antidote is to seek refuge and resolution through Jesus Christ.

Beckham in The Three-Headed Monster: Shame, Fear & Control (12 Jun 2014), points similarly to shame; as well as Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden.


In contrast however, shame is a sense of being “hopelessly flawed” (this is in line with Restoring the Foundations’ perspective – information is found in Beckham’s article).  The application of the concept(s) seem to take different paths. But I shall restrict my focus to the term ‘stronghold’ found in Verse 4.

There is reference to 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (New Testament, English Standard Version below); absent from Bloom’s piece.

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,

Beckham’s citation:

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of stronghold [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”

Based on Biblehub’s commentary section, it seems Beckham’s interpretation of the term is inaccurate in the sense that it is too wide; being conflated with fear and control. [The biblical Greek for the word is unique in the New Testament. See Vincent’s Word Studies and Pulpit Commentary on the same webpage.]

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible: “all that opposes itself to Christ; the learning, and eloquence, and philosophical subtleties on which the Corinthians prided themselves.

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers: “possibly … the great system of idolatry and impurity enthroned at Corinth and throughout the Empire, possibly of those of pride and obstinate rebellion in the hearts of his individual opponents. The context favours the latter interpretation.

Barnes’ Notes: “strongholds (ὀχύρωμα ochurōma) means properly a fastness, fortress, or strong fortification. It … denote the various obstacles resembling a fortress … designed and adapted to oppose the truth and the triumph of the Christian’s cause. All those obstacles are strongly fortified. The sins of his heart are fortified by long indulgence and by the hold which they have on his soul. The wickedness of the world which he opposes is strongly fortified by the fact that it has seized on strong human passions; that one point strengthens another; that great numbers are united. The idolatry of the world was strongly fortified by prejudice, and long establishment, and the protection of laws, and the power of the priesthood; and the opinions of the world are entrenched behind false philosophy and the power of subtle argumentation.

To conclude (at this juncture), the strongholds appear to be built on “arguments and every lofty opinion” (Verse 5) of reasoning and arrogance/self-importance/condescension which is probably supported by Satan/Devil (to a degree).


Purpose, Meaning and Faith

Heidelberg Catechism (1563) Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647) A Reason for Living  (1994)
Q6. Did God create man thus wicked and perverse?
No, but God created man good, and after His own image, that is, in righteousness and true holiness;
that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love Him, and live with Him in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him.
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
It is to know, love and serve Jesus Christ (the Son of God).

The above conclusions are based on various Bible verses. Dependent on your source, you may find more or fewer verses. Further, there were (arguably minor) wording differences for the Heidelberg Catechism (I included the source* under References).

Heidelberg Catechism

  • “…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24, New Testament, English Standard Version)
  • “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” (Colossians 3:10, New Testament)
    • Newness of life consists in knowledge which transforms man to the image of God his maker, that is to say to the sincerity and pureness of the whole soul. [Geneva Study Bible note from Biblehub]

Westminster Shorter Catechism

  • Listed as Biblical basis from two different sources: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, English Standard Version, New Testament).
  • “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:25-28, English Standard Version, New Testament). 
  • “I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me… You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:7 and 11, English Standard Version, New Testament).

A Reason for Living

  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, New Testament). Preacher Timothy Keller, translates ‘Word’ as reason for life/living. To critically analyse this, see John 1. Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/cambridge/john/1.htm. Biblehub.
  • Generally, this is supported by Colossians 1 (New Testament, Geneva Study Bible), in particular, 1:16: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”


  1. The Heidelberg Catechism tried to mend ties between Protestant groups in 16th century Germany. It was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, it was translated into more than 25 languages with the passage of time. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (1 Feb 2015). Heidelberg Catechism. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Heidelberg-Catechism. Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. Various. (1563). The Heidelberg Catechism. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/heidelberg-catechism-1563/. Ligonier Ministries.
  3. *Reformed Church in America. Heidelberg Catechism. https://www.rca.org/resources/heidelbergcatechism. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  4. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (8 Jan 2016). Westminster Catechism.  https://www.britannica.com/topic/Westminster-Catechism. Encyclopædia Britannica.
  5. The Westminster Shorter Catechism. http://www.westminsterconfession.org/confessional-standards/the-westminster-shorter-catechism.php. The Westminster Presbyterian.
  6. Timothy Keller. (27 Feb 1994). A Reason for Living (audio recording: Redeemer Open Forums). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU69so6VjHA. Gospel in Life, YouTube.
  7. On a related note, see Romans 8:29 (New Testament) and Ecclesiastes 12:13 (Old Testament).

Technical Reference:

  1. HTML.am. (no date). http://www.html.am/html-codes/tables/.



The brevity of life

We in the (generally) rich and developed state of Singapore are not free from disease and ill health. Consider the following…

Rising Trend of Young Onset Dementia Patients with Substantial Social Challenges and High Economic Burden. (5 Feb 2016). https://www.nni.com.sg/AboutUs/Newsroom/news-releases/2016/Pages/RISING-TREND-OF-YOUNG-ONSET-DEMENTIA-PATIENTS-WITH-SUBSTANTIAL-SOCIAL-CHALLENGES-AND-HIGH-ECONOMIC-BURDEN.aspx. National Neuroscience Institute. Singapore.

The next day.

‘Alarming rise’ in younger dementia patients. (6 Feb 2016). http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/alarming-rise-in-younger-dementia-patients. The Straits Times. Singapore.

Once again in 2017.

Young onset dementia on the rise in Singapore at an ‘alarming rate’. (24 Apr 2017). http://alz.org.sg/young-onset-dementia-on-the-rise-in-singapore-at-an-alarming-rate/. Alzheimer’s Disease Association. Singapore.

The question is though, how can we make fruitful use of our time in these short several score (20) years? Is it not time to focus on the truly important things while we are still able to?


Cook on Opportunity Cost

We are the most focused company that I know of or have read of or have any knowledge of. We say no to good ideas every day. We say no to great ideas in order to keep the amount of things we focus on very small in number so that we can put enormous energy behind the ones we do choose.

Apple Chief Operating Officer speaking in 2010 to the Business Insider [Apple COO Tim Cook: ‘We Have No Interest In Being In The TV Market’] Raised earlier on p.95, by Tony Crabbe.


Twain on Land

Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.

Mark Twain (p.147 of Economics Demystified)


Entertainment – Audio Books

I’ve been wanting to write this for a long time.

I had the privilege and joy of listening to Robert A. Heinlein’s Farmer in the Sky. (1950). http://www.audible.com.au/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Farmer-in-the-Sky-Audiobook/B00FOA6T2E last year. It’s about 6.5 hours. It contains science fiction, farming, geopolitics and a vivid picture of family life and loving, helpful neighbours. Give it a listen :  )

Currently, I am listening to the abridged (at 3 hours, thankfully) version of Call of the Wild. American Jack London originally wrote the series in The Saturday Evening Post, June 20-July 18, 1903. Its main protagonist is a dog.

Well, consider giving your eyes a break and simply focus on the voices?  :  )  They are available from the NLB, Singapore and probably a plethora of other sources.

Side note:

London died at 40 from drugs and alcohol… The 100 best novels: No 35 – The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903). The Guardian. (19 May 2014).