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Exposing the Hidden Enemy

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 We have an enemy that must be identified! After horrible tragedies like the one we saw in Parkland, Fl., we grasp at an array of judgements in a frantic attempt to identify the enemy. Tragically, we chase one argument after another, never zeroing in on who the real enemy is. Therefore, the real enemy remains hidden.

   Obviously, Satan is our enemy, our adversary. He is the one who cunningly designs temptations that will steal, kill, and destroy (from John 10:10a).  Satan tempts that part of us that wants our own way and doesn’t like to be told what to do…that part that seeks to exalt ourselves…our fleshly nature. 

Consider the following:

What we think determines how we feel, and what we feel influences our actions. A negative action is often the result of negative thinking. Understandably, if Satan can negatively influence our thinking, then the temptation to act negatively will be hard for us to resist… p. 27, FD 3rd edition

   The weapon of negative thinking or fiery darts, is Satan’s most powerful weapon. But how is it that we as Christians, and even those who aren’t Christians, can be so easily manipulated and deceived? Sad to say, it’s very simple: 

When we don’t spend enough time in God’s Word, our ability to recognize the lies of fiery darts is equally diminished. In the place of God’s Truth, the world’s concept of truth generally begins to define our thinking. p. 43, FD 3rd edition

Of course, for those who have rejected God, it is obvious how they have been blinded to God’s Truth. The world’s concept of truth and their sinful nature defines truth for them and God’s Truth bears little, if any, weight. Satan’s job of manipulation, therefore, takes little effort. p. 43 FD, 3rd edition

   Fiery darts are designed to create a wedge of sin between us and God. Eventually, we will become blinded to the Truth, and we will be deceived into rejecting God’s plan for our lives.

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10b NKJV

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   Thought by thought our lives will take a downward turn. And individual by individual our country will spiral downward, as well. However, there is hope, if we genuinely desire healing for ourselves and for our country!

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Defeated?

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The Spanish Armada

   That is a word that rings too loudly and too often in many people’s heads. For some it rings for the sole purpose of influencing defeat, especially in a Christian’s life. It rings so loudly that it drowns out the Truth thoughts of God. Which is precisely it’s purpose. 

   Isn’t it odd that this happens to Christians! Christians have God on their side and He can defeat anyone or anything that is set against His will. But it happens!

Why?

   When we first become Christians we are like infants. And like infants, we must be consistently fed and nourished in order to grow and mature. However, many Christians today have experienced arrested development. This happens because we have not remained constant in feeding upon the Truths of God’s Word. And because we have not remained constant in prayerful communication with God, we have failed to develop in a healthy manner. 

   The unavoidable results of such neglect, produces such a weakened state that Christians  find themselves easily distracted by anything that is designed to keep them from these two disciplines. Eventually, we begin to live our lives not for Christ, but for ourselves. We turn our ears to listen to the World, instead of God. 

If this describes our state of existence as Christians, then Defeated will be the word that will define our existence.

   Do you feel defeated, confused, frustrated?   Please understand that these thoughts stem from your flesh, and Satan uses them to design fiery dart thinking, meant to undermine the wonderful plans God has for you. If these thoughts are ruling your thinking, then you have been cooperating with the enemy. Perhaps, you were unaware of this. But it doesn’t have to continue. 

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The following are Truth thoughts that will ensure the victory God has planned for us!

And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 ESV

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV

You can break free of strongholds

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 Recently, in the midst of a joyous time of my life (externally), I have been plagued by an onslaught of negative thinking. Odd though it may be that I would be attacked like this when my days were filled with happy events, considering my bent I’m not surprised. For there was a time (starting in my mid twenties and intensifying as the years passed) when negative thinking and God’s Truths waged a battle royal and too often negative thinking won out.

   Over the years this negative thinking on my part forged a stronghold that continuously threatened the spiritual renewal that had taken place in the early years of my adulthood.  Afterwords as life began to happen, I struggled with maintaining a consistency in my bible study and prayer life. Predictably, the spiritual renewal that was burning within me instead of increasing in strength began to dwindle, leaving me vulnerable to negative thinking. Thus bit by bit, negative thoughts laid the groundwork for a stronghold that could have ruined my life had not I cried out to God for His rescue. Psalm 18:6  God indeed rescued me and enabled me to survive those dark days, but it was only since learning about the enemy’s tactics in the use of  fiery darts that I began to make sense out of the whole mess.

   This was the stronghold that God addressed when He began exposing the enemy’s tactics that had held me captive for too many years. As dominant as this stronghold was in my life, I now realize I must be diligent in my prayers and bible study (nothing else can substitute). I know my vulnerability and to the degree I stay diligent in these two disciplines, the power this stronghold has over me can be overthrown.

   So in the midst of this recent attempted attack by the enemy, God faithfully guided me towards the following words from Jesus Calling:

Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings… It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings.

   As I read the above words, it clarified for me how it was that I could harbor such internal negative feelings while in the happy throws of a long awaited family celebration. As long as I was more focused on negative thoughts, my negative feelings would not be displaced, no matter what was going on externally.

    So when the enemy tempts me with fiery dart thinking, I have learned that to know Peace I must make a deliberate choice to turn my focus toward God and His presence. It’s been my experience that’s the only sure way to break free of the enemy’s stronghold. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

 

I WILL NOT GO THERE AGAIN!

   We often don’t realize when we are in spiritual bondage. The work of fiery darts is to keep us blinded about such things; it’s the old ‘you can’t see the forest for the trees’ dilemma.

   When I think of the years (far too many) that negative thinking (you know, fiery darts) held me in bondage, I stand amazed all the more of God’s deliverance, for I was in my 50’s when God broke through my blindness and began cutting away the scar tissue wraught by years of fiery dart attacks. 

   In looking back on my journey, I have wondered at times why it took me so long to recognize the path out of the darkness of negative thinking that God had illuminated for me. FD p.3

   Recently, a particularly potent fiery dart that kept me enslaved for years and from which God tenderly and patiently has and continues to deliver me, reared it’s evil head. Those former negative emotions came in like a flood, attempting to pull me into the depths from which God’s lessons on fighting fiery darts had long since rescued me. 

   But this time, oh but this time,

I had had several years of experience (and healing) in fighting such temptations, and knew that I knew, I was not going there again! By God’s healing grace and by the power of His Word, He equipped me to resist and the impact of those ugly fiery darts fizzled in their power to pull me back into its bondage.

   Dear Readers,

do you ever get blindsided like this; an old wound that by God’s grace and your faithfulness in calling upon God about it, suddenly opens up attempting to pull you back into its bondage? I’m sure you won’t have any trouble identifying it for the fiery dart that it is, but because of its potency you may find yourself reeling from it once again (I know I did). This is when you summon all of your training in fighting this fiery dart and wield the force of God’s Word against it. For me and in this instance, God provided Galations 5:1. 

Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.

   Knowing this attack was on its way, God had prompted me to include this verse in my prayer journal weeks prior to this recent attack. It was there ready and waiting for me to grab and use to defeat my enemy. 

   Therefore, when the enemy attempts to blindside you as he did me, I would confidently remind you of the following:

…Victory is yours as Deuteronomy 20:4 reminds us, “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (NIV)  FD, p. 45

Want to know more about how you can defeat your own fiery dart attacks? Order Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice (check sidebar to order)

How to spoil the enemy’s plan!

   Recently, I encountered a major fiery dart attack. It was the type of attack that previously had defeated me (before I became schooled in how to successfully fight fiery darts). The attack tempted me to become angry. I was tempted with feelings of worthlessness  and feeling another did not think well of me. In the past this kind of attack sent me spiraling into depression.

BUT THIS TIME

I refused to open the door and allow the poison to infiltrate my thinking.

“Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.” p. 46 FD

I brought the 3 R’s of fighting fiery darts into play.

First, I recognized the negative thoughts for the fiery darts they were.

Second, I resisted the fiery darts

Third, I replaced the fiery darts with God’s Truth thoughts:

Thoughts of anger were replaced with:

1 Corinthians 13:5, Love. . .is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.

Thoughts of worthlessness were replaced with:

Philippines 3:9, . . . not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (My worth is defined by my relationship with Christ. No earthly relationship was designed to give me that)

Thoughts that another did not think well of me:

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Knowing God loves me and rejoices over me, trumps and destroys any negative thought that another does not think well of me. And, please understand that the thought that another did not think well of me was a fiery dart itself. One that in the past nailed me, but not now!)

   God’s Truth spoiled the plans Satan’s fiery darts had for me. God protected me from being victimized by the lies the fiery darts would have poisoned my mind with by opening my understanding to the enemies tactics and how I could fight successfully against them. 

   This can happen for you. My book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, will show you how!

*Click on the image of my book in the sidebar to order

Speaking Truth to the Problem!

   We live in a day when Truth has been redefined. For quite some time now only what has been politically correct has been considered Truth. The numbers of those who support this redefined Truth have increased through the years in power, influence, and intimidation.

   It is alarming to me that during most of the these years of redefinition the Church has maintained a low profile. We know the Truth, the real Truth, and yet we have fearfully kept it to ourselves! Why fearfully? Because we were threatened by those who sought to live in license, (being able to do what they wanted to do, when they wanted to do it, without being made to feel guilty about it). They were convinced in their own minds that Truth had forced them to live in bondage and if they were to be able to live free of this bondage, the old Truth had to be discarded and replaced with a new truth. (The fiery darts call bondage Truth and Truth bondage, remember)

   Political correctness served their needs more than sufficiently. And while the Church for a period of time coward in fear, I am encouraged to see the Church is stirring. Yes, we gave over ground to the enemy but increasingly Christians are waking up to the fact that we must retake that ground. We are becoming wise to the fact that Satan’s camp can in no way compare to the army of God. 

  This boldness will cost us. All over our country, people are loosing their business because they refuse to compromise their Christian convictions. Christian governmental workers and Christian businessmen and women are being ostracized for their convictions and some are loosing their jobs. 

Can you see how bold Satan has become?

   His poisonous fiery darts have permeated the minds of those who are weak in the faith (remember they have been tempted to look elsewhere for Truth other than Scriptures), and especially those who have rejected God. And, in my opinion, the entertainment industry and even some of our own political leaders have been Satan’s keenest agents in influencing us to redefine Truth.

   If it were not for what God has taught me concerning fiery darts, I would be in despair. Yet, because I know how all this plays out (Satan looses) I have every reason to raise my eyes toward heaven and accept the hope God offers.

   But there is much to do.

   First and foremost, prayer and study of God’s Word must be taken more seriously than ever before.  We must resist the fiery darts that will attempt to convince us that we don’t have time to do either one.

   As God raises up godly leaders who boldly speak forth the Truth,(and I am thinking of two men right now who are doing just this; but there are more)  we must commit to pray for them faithfully. Also we must follow their example and speak forth the Truth in our personal lives. We must not be afraid. We must remember that:

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 2 Timothy 1:7, HCSB

We must never forget that true and genuine freedom is found in knowing the Author of Truth:

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:32,HCSB

Who’s Messing With Your Self Worth?

The Cognitive Triangle

The Cognitive Triangle

First we entertain a thought. That thought will cause certain related feelings. Thus, behavior is based on our thoughts and feelings.  p.16, FD

     Several years ago and over a two year period of time, I suffered from a serious bout of depression. I remember battling suicidal thoughts and deep sadness to the point that my prayers became a desperate cry for God to hold on to me because I had no strength left to hold on to Him.  I survived that dark time in my life but that’s about it. It wouldn’t be until several years later as God initiated my training in fiery dart recognition that I would be able to recognize the bondage that defined my existence during those two years. 

Here’s what happened to me and I see this same overused but deadly effective tactic of Satan’s still being used today!

     Refer to the diagram above. In my case I was a people pleaser. If I felt significant people in my life approved of me, then life was good and I felt good about myself. On the other hand, if there was strife or conflict in these relationships life was not good and I became convinced I had little reason to feel good about myself. Self approval you see was strongly connected to what others thought of me. (Or what I thought they thought!)

Do you see the pattern?

     First this negative thought (fiery dart remember) would plant itself into my head producing some very negative feelings or emotions. Never mind that these negative thoughts had no basis in Truth! The poison of these fiery darts seeped into my thinking producing destructive attitudes and behavior. 

     The purpose of these fiery darts, you see, was to diminish any sense of self worth that I might still possess. I was an easy target because it was way too important for me to have the good opinion of those significant people in my life. As relationships with these people deteriorated, so did my self worth.

I wonder if I have touched a nerve? 

     Are you sad seemingly all the time? Are you convinced you don’t measure up and that significant persons in your life don’t approve of you? Does the dangerous thought that your family would be better off without you ever sneak into your mind? Please hold on, for I have glorious news for you in my next post. In the meantime hold on to the following verse,

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11