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How to keep from being devoured! Or how to not give up when you have lost hope.

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    There are seasons in our lives when in spite of what we read in the Bible, we feel abandoned by God. (and if we aren’t reading our Bible then we, for sure, feel abandoned and even hopeless) We walk around in a cloud where hope is vague and happiness is something we grow more unfamiliar with by the day.

So what should we do? How do we survive such desolate days?

Keep a proper perspective

     We all have a singular enemy! He is called Satan! He has plans to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10). He influences false assumptions, prideful thinking, and deceptive human reasoning. (2 Cor 10:3-5)

Then how is it that we are so easily devoured by Satan’s plans? 

     I’ve been told that the lion stalks those who are distracted and weak. Therefore, Satan is on a constant vigil to detect the weak among us. Those who rarely feed on God’s word, are most vulnerable to his manipulation and deception. Those who have become more familiar with the lies of the world than the principles declared in the Bible are easily led astray and distracted. 

     Without a healthy understanding of how much we are loved by God, of His good plans for us, of how His plan is for all things to work together for our good, we can easily be consumed by the burdens of life. Therefore, Satan’s foremost attack is to make us ignorant of such understanding. By doing so, he can easily convince us that God has forgotten and abandoned us. He feeds our thoughts with negativity and lies. Our hope soon gives way to hopelessness and despair. 

How do we counter Satan’s attack?

    Satan attacks us first in our thoughts. A weapon referred to as fiery darts. If we don’t know how to recognize those fiery darts, then we are doomed to falling prey to their poison. How we feel will be filtered by the fiery darts we have allowed to take root in our thinking. Consider the following excerpt from my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice:

First we entertain a thought. That thought will cause certain related feelings. Thus, our behavior is influenced by our thoughts and feelings. Psychologists say that if behavior is to be changed, then the flow must be interrupted, either at the initial thought or at the feeling point. p. 28 3rd ed FD’s

     Satan must be defeated at the first thought level. When we accomplish this, then the darkness will diminish. We won’t succumb to the deception of the enemy. We may have to deal with unhappiness but our joy remains. And instead of becoming overwhelmed we will discover that

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-16 NLT

 

Who do we believe?

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Why do we so easily believe the lies of fiery darts? But struggle to believe Truths from God’s Word?

   If the darkness of the world, Satan, and our flesh influences our thinking more than God’s Word, then our thoughts, attitudes, and actions will reflect that darkness.  Thus our focus will be on the darkness, blinding us to the light of God’s truth that lies beyond it. 

  Yet, if we desire to believe God over the lies of the enemy, we must do the following:  

We must seek God.

When God speaks we need to listen.

When God speaks we need to believe.

When God speaks we need to act on His words.

Take to heart the following:

…when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. Is 43:2 ESV

The LORD is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you. Do not be afraid or discourages. Deut. 31:8

Don’t be afraid anymore, only believe. Mark 5:36 NASV

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

   Yet sometimes the problems we face threaten to overwhelm us. We believe God,. We believe His Word. We go to it daily.  We talk to God about it a lot, but the hoped for solution evades us! What do we do in situations like that?

We wait!

   As we wait, we continue to pray and search the Scriptures. We focus on verses like the ones above. We become alert to the encouragement God sends us as we go about our day. Through those encouragements and God’s word, we grow in our faith and perspective of the problem.

   We learn to recognize the fiery darts and how to reject them. We learn to replace them with the Truth thoughts from Scripture that God directs us to.

   We may not feel so good about the way things are going, but we must remember that if God says He will never leave us, that He will not fail us, then in spite of how things look, we must take Him at His word. 

Our well being depends on who we believe!

 

Clarifying the Plans

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.John 10:10a (HCSB), “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.” So what is it that the Enemy desires to steal, kill, and destroy? The answer is obvious—anything God has planned for us!      p 13 FD’s 3rd edition

   It’s obvious that America is in trouble. Chaos reigns in hot spots throughout our land. Too many of our leaders have called upon human reasoning and false arguments to replace the Christian principles upon which our country was founded. Slowly but surely the foundations of our country are being eroded away.

  But you know the same is true for individuals. Rejecting God sets us on the same course of depending upon human reasoning and false arguments. The outcome of such a choice places our lives, families, and ,therefore, our country at risk.

And because we are not motivated to spend time with God in prayer and in His word, we are ignorant of the following Truths:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

The second half of John 10:10 reveals an aspect of God’s plan for His children, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” p 13 FD’s 3rd edition

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ p 24 FD’s 3rd edition

 

How about we examine the two plans

Cooperating with God’s plan produces

… Galatians 5:22-23. This is the familiar verse describing the fruits of the Spirit. When God puts a thought into your mind, then, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or selfcontrol, for example, is the desired end. The purpose behind thoughts influenced by God is meant to conform us into the image of His Son. p 54 FD 3rd edition

Rejecting God’s plan produces

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. Galatians 5:19-21

So why do individuals choose Satan’s plan over God’s plan?

In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.         2 Corinthians 4:4 HCSB

 

Please open our eyes LORD. Lead us out of our darkness into Your Light!

Blindness isn’t always obvious!

 

She doesn't event realize that fiery dart thinking has contributed to her blindness!

She doesn’t event realize that fiery dart thinking has contributed to her blindness!

   Oh how my heart breaks when I see yet another Christian fall victim to Satan’s manipulation via fiery darts. And what disturbs me even more is that these very same Christians, who have been so duped by fiery dart thinking, have unknowingly cooperated with the enemy in allowing him to steal the peace and joy that once existed within their hearts and minds.

I know how it happens though!

Again I must emphasize the necessity to persevere in prayer and Bible study! We must grasp the fact that there is no other substitute. As we fellowship and worship in these two disciplines, everything we experience in life will be filtered through what we learn there. p 76 FD

May I ask you some questions?

   Has your desire to faithfully attend church weakened? Are you easily hurt or angered by fellow church members-especially when things don’t go the way you think they should?

   Do you find yourself dishonoring those you love by your words and actions? And in that same context, are your needs more important to you than your loved one’s needs? Do you become easily angered by those you love? Do you focus more on their wrong doings than you do your own?

   Do you find yourself justifying actions and attitudes that you use to reject as disobedience? Do you feel you are more enlighten now about such things and therefore they are no longer wrong for you?

   Do you find pleasing yourself or others trumps pleasing God?

   If you answered in the affirmative for any of the above questions, it’s pretty obvious that what you have been filtering your experiences through has not been the Word of God and prayer.

   Those who drift away from prayer and Bible study become easy prey to Satan’s anti-Truth thinking. Slowly and subtly his victims become blinded to Truth and the world’s concept of truth begins to sway their thinking.

Eventually, they will become blind to God’s Truth and they won’t even realize it!

By tempting us to spend little time in God’s Word, our ability to recognize the lies of fiery darts is equally diminished if we give in to that temptation. In the place of God’s Truth, the world’s concept of truth begins to define our thinking. p. 23-24, FD
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32