The Stronghold

The Stronghold

Key Text: Psalm 9 selected verses

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,

   a stronghold in times of trouble.

Those who know your name trust in you,

for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.


Scripture speaks of strongholds in several ways.

There is the kind that we are to avoid, or if possible, tear down in our lives. They are the things that would take control of us, or draw us away from God.

Then there is THE stronghold – the One and Only One – the One in whom we can find true security.

That stronghold, of course, is God.

Think for a moment of all the things is life that

  • Compete for our attention and devotion
  • Threaten to become obsessions or compulsions or addictions
  • Glitter like gold but, when closely examined are false idols

Those are the “high places” and “strongholds” that must be torn down in terms of our devotion to God.

Then, think for another moment, of how compared to God these things pale in significance.

Strongholds – the wrong kind – are everywhere.

The good news – so is God and His amazing grace – and once we cling to THAT stronghold – we won’t easily be shaken again.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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