Recently I was thrilled to entertain 8 of my 10 grandchildren at what our family has termed, Nammy Camp. It’s a kid-driven camp. The grans provide the fun ideas. I plan the menus, and provide the venue. There is only one restriction–no electronics!!
Instead, my grandchildren spend time outside: swimming in my above ground pool, taking walks on trails in the woods, exploring, trying their hand at cooking, taking rides on a 4-wheeler, eating most of our meals outside on the picnic table, interacting with extended family members at a cookout, using their imaginations to build a brick fort, getting wet in a high spirited game of water balloons, learning a new game called ‘ladder ball toss’; playing chess, organizing a spa day for facials, manicures, and hair do’s; enjoying movie night with popcorn, rising early to watch a sunrise, and chasing fireflies at twilight!
The time they were running around, laughing, and playing proved all too short. Fortunately, I didn’t have to say goodbye all at once. They left in 3 stages. Inevitably though, the final send off arrived. After waving goodbye from the front porch, as our last grandchildren drove off, I could sense the beginnings of a struggle.
The struggle to reject the fiery dart thoughts of overwhelming sadness! For now my house was silent and empty. I walked around the yard picking up pool toys and trash left behind by my campers. Storing lawn chairs and pool inflatables in the shed kept my mind from dwelling on the obvious.
As each moment passed, the temptation to give in to the sadness grew stronger. But before I could be overwhelmed, God offered me a two-fold weapon. One aspect of this weapon was to reject the sad thoughts so that they would not rule my thinking. Thoughts of this nature would influence negative attitudes and actions (p. 93, FD’s 3rd ed). The second aspect was to choose thoughts that would lift my spirits.
Indeed, I had a hefty supply of memories from the previous days to draw upon. Truth thoughts from Scripture provided a rich source of strength and resolve.
As the hours passed, the force of the enemy’s attacks lessened. By filling my mind with hopeful words from Scripture and happy memories, there was little room for the sad thoughts to plant themselves. By wielding God’s weapons, we can overcome the enemy when he attacks.
For the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said:” You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence. But you are not willing.” Isaiah 30:15 HCSB
Choosing Our Way
The last sentence of this verse is shocking! We all desire to be delivered from our trials. Quiet, confident strength sounds heavenly, doesn’t it! But like the people of Judah, we are often unwilling to listen to God’s way.
The temptation to seek our own resolutions is strong. Our flesh is naturally bent to go its own way. Perhaps it’s a control issue.
But if we listen to the fiery darts, and reject God’s way, who is doing the controlling? The truth is our choices have led to our bondage. In actuality, we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated. And we are only fooling ourselves to think we are in control.
We seek deliverance, rest, and strength. But the whispering voice of the enemy purposes to convince us to reject God, His Word, His Way. Knowing deliverance, rest, and strength will continue to allude us!
Our enemy’s fiery darts are powerful. We should never underestimate that. What we all desire can never, and I repeat never, be obtained by listening to Satan’s lies. No matter how cleverly they may be concealed.
Choosing God’s Way
Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for Him are happy. Isaiah 30:18 HCSB
Sadly, many of us will have to come to the end of our rope before we are willing to choose God’s way. And when that point in time happens and our sight is restored, we will see God standing there, waiting!
And what is He waiting to show us? Mercy and compassion.
Please don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need God when making choices in this life. We don’t have to come to the end of our rope before we choose God’s ways. We only have to choose to believe His Word.
There are times when our thoughts seem to become more anxious by the moment.
Recently, anxious thoughts took center stage in my mind. They indeed appeared to multiply. The fiery darts of worry and fear joined forces with doubt and confusion. The problem loomed large. My ability to handle it grew smaller. I was close to feeling overwhelmed. I needed peace of mind.
Then God gave me a Truth thought that settled me down.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
As I meditated on this verse, I gained a new perspective on my problem.
God had gone on before me. You know out there where that problem was.
When I get to the point where I have to face the problem, I am not going to be by myself. God assures me He will be with me the whole way!
Fear and discouragement get left behind!
Now that’s what I call Consolation!
I asked God for a physical sign that He would protect me and not allow me to be taken advantage of. Normally, I don’t ask God for a sign. But this time, I felt it was necessary, considering my weakness. He gave me that sign!
So every time, the fiery darts of doubt, fear, discouragement, etc., attack, there’s my sign reminding me of God’s promises from Deuteronomy. That’s when the verse from Philippines 4:6-7 comes into play.
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. NIV
Did you notice God’s peace (which I am sorely in need of) will guard my heart and mind, surpassing all those multiplying anxious thoughts!
Now, I must focus on these verses whenever I’m tempted with anxious thoughts. If I take this approach, I will face the future, where my problem looms, with confidence in God. He has gone on before me, remember!
The question that came to my mind as I was reading the verse above was, “How would your attitude toward your problems change, if you really believed this?”
Would I worry so much about my future, if I really believed the LORD Himself was already there preparing a solution?
Would I be so susceptible to fear and discouragement, if I really believed God was with me constantly and had NO PLAN to forsake me?
Of course, we would desire to have the kind of faith Deut. 31:8 makes reference to. So, why is it we succumb so easily to the fiery dart that this kind of faith is impossible for us? Why is it we believe Satan’s lies before we believe God’s Truths?
If Satan can deceive us into discounting the power of a fiery dart, and then add to that our unfamiliarity with God’s Word (caused by a lack of realization of its power), is it any wonder why we fall prey to fiery darts … p. 40 FD’s 3rd edition
Satan doesn’t want us to believe God. Therefore, if we aren’t familiar enough with the Truth’s found in Scripture, then Satan’s trap is set. He will be able to manipulate us into believing the lies of fiery darts. We have a choice to make dear readers.
Are we going to believe Satan?
Are we going to believe GOD?
I would like to present a rather radical explanation, in our time anyway, to describe a common occurrence concerning relationships in our society.
During the time of adolescence, there is a stirring that becomes keenly apparent to girls early on, and typically to the guys a bit later. It has been assumed by our society that this stirring heralds the beginning of “the search” for a future spouse, and as a result, girls and guys begin counting the days when they will become old enough to date. And, as our society relaxes its standards, the age to begin this search becomes younger and younger. When you add to that the ease of communication between our young people, guy/girl relationships develop in their intensity long before the individuals have reached a level of maturity to be able to handle such intensity. p 71, 3rd edition FD’s
Society’s definition (a powerful fiery dart) of what the stirring is all about sets individuals, particularly parents, on a hazardous path. Just take a look at the wrecks that have taken place on such a path. In examining these wrecks we find travelers who became disoriented. Their focus became blurred and many lost their way. Their emotional and spiritual health suffering extensive damage.
Relationships that are formed based on society’s premise of the stirring, are often at risk for failure. Resulting in divorce rising to such proportions that society is tempted to do away with marriage all together. Living together is seen as a viable option to marriage.
However, consider this
Remember in Part One, I said that Satan has a plan for our lives and that is to kill, steal, and destroy whatever it is that God has planned for us. Let’s go back to that “stirring” I mentioned earlier. Could it be that the stirring in our heart, which initiates a search for true love, is the Holy Spirit calling us to a love relationship with our Creator? I think so! Why else would Satan enforce a plan to do everything he could to make sure that we misunderstand what this stirring encompasses? p 74, 3rd edition FD’s
An attitude such as the one above, sounds positively radical to someone who has bought into society’s definition of the stirring. But let’s examine the nature of the path one would encounter if the above attitude was adopted.
If we could be grounded in our understanding of true love, by spending time learning about true love from the very source of true love, God, then we would enter relationships as whole, healthy, and complete individuals. We would handle problems we encounter in those relationships from a healthy perspective. Having been taught to recognize genuine love, we would avoid relationships that offered anything less. p 74, 3rd edition FD’s
Therefore, we are faced with a choice.
Which path as an individual should we choose?
Which path would we as parents want to prepare our children for?
I was sharing with a friend not long ago, about the heaviness of spirit that seemed to plague most of my waking hours. It was a struggle for me to make sense of what was feeling like depression.
In Depression – My Story, Nov 17, 2017, I define depression and how I had been instructed to defeat it. I learned depression (a type of bondage) could not take root as long as I planted my thoughts securely in God’s Word.
Yet, here I was again, feeling defeated and discouraged. In spite of the fact that I knew how to fight the negative thoughts and was aware of the resources from God’s Word to extinguish them.
My friend listened to me, then offered this insight. What I thought was depression, was more likely oppression. Satan was exercising his power to plant thoughts (fiery darts) that would weigh heavy on my mind. Thoughts that would produce emotions of discouragement and defeat.
The fact that I did not get caught up in a downward spiral was a clear indication for me that this was oppression, not depression. With depression, I was inclined to believe the negative thinking and the downward spiral was set in motion.
But with oppression, I did not believe the fiery darts to be true. I kept fighting back with God’s Truth thoughts. Though I became emotionally drained by the struggle, God’s Word kept me afloat. My focus during those days was the following:
1 John 4:4, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Once the confusion was eliminated, I could see clearly what I was fighting against. I knew who was behind the oppression and I knew how to counter attack. I discovered anew, that the power of God’s Word always prevails in setting free the oppressed. (based on Luke 4:18)