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Seasons! some good, some not so good

 

      Each season possesses beauty unique to its time. Sometimes the beauty is obvious and a wonder to behold and experience. Some seasons, however, the beauty is less obvious. Those seasons require an extra effort on our part to experience the beauty. Nevertheless, the beauty is there; waiting to be known. 

     Life is like that too! There are seasons that present quite the challenge to discover its beauty. Seasons change. Some changes are sudden and completely upend our lives. Some changes happen slowly but inevitably. 

     These changes bring with them a most undesirable host of temptations. (I call them fiery darts, remember) Fear, doubt, discouragement, anxiety, depression, anger (just to name a few!) have the potential power to overwhelm us (even destroy us). And they will, if we face them unequipped.

     There is only one source that I would recommend that is capable of extinguishing the temptation of such powerful negative emotions. 

Consider the following:

Fear 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7  Do not receive what has not been given to you by God.

Doubt

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6  Without faith, fear will overwhelm us. 

Discouragement

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 God is with us and goes before us all at the same time. He can do that because He is God. He is preparing the solutions ahead of time to our problems.

Anxiety

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 Worry and anxiety are sin. But the world will tell us it’s normal. We can’t help it. Oh! but this verse wipes out such a false assumption. Do we desire peace or anxiety? It’s a choice we make! 

Depression

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalms 42:1 Without hope, depression can get the best of us. Think about God, how He loves us, the extreme measures He went to to assure us of hope. Don’t allow the enemy to steal that from us. 

Anger

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20 Anger can be brought under control. Take the measures recommended here to defuse it.

     For every fiery dart that attacks us in those not so pleasant seasons of life, there is a Truth thought that will extinguish them. Only then will we have to vision to uncover the beauty they hide. If we can but remember Romans 8:28,

 

 

 

God’s plan to extinguish Fiery Darts

FD's bk & me (6-23-19)

     Today it was my pleasure to share the message of Fiery Darts to an endearing group of ladies at Mt Lebanon Baptist Church during their Sunday school hour. We dealt with how fiery darts relates to the following questions:

1 – Am I free from trying to win the approval and acceptance of other people, even those who are closest to me (such as spouse and children)?

2 – Have I learned what it means to take every thought captive and make them obedient to God’s truth that is clearly revealed by His Word and His Spirit?

3 – Am I well equipped to fight battles in my thinking, circumstances, and relationship and as a result stand strong in my faith?

 

     We learned that our answers to the above questions are largely determined by where our thoughts dwell, the carnal realm or God’s Word.

 An excerpt from Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice added a foundation for our discussion.

When a person becomes a Christian they are given a new nature, one that is the direct opposite of their old nature. Formerly, their will was directed by their old nature, but at the point of salvation, their old nature was dethroned. Their will is now directed by their new nature. (This civil war is fully explained in Romans 8:1-11, see page 95.) With this comes a hunger to study the Bible and to maintain consistent communication with God through prayer. The old nature, the flesh, resists such desires. Eventually, Satan arrives on the scene with his first and most formidable fiery dart—tempting their old nature with powerful distractions, making it harder and harder for new believers to commit to consistent Bible study and time in prayer. P 43

     Satan knows that our sinful nature (flesh) is set against God, as well as the values and priorities of the unsaved world. He uses that to deceive and manipulate us.

      A sure fire way to avoid his deception and manipulation is found in

Rom. 12:2, Do not be conformed to (the world), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

     How are we going to renew our minds and become discerning as to God’s will?  By devoting ourselves to prayer and the study of the Bible.

     As we mature in wisdom and understanding, what we learn from spending time with God in prayer and His Word will expose the enemy’s plan (John 10a, the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy) and reveals God’s plan (John 10:10b & Jer. 29:11)

But in God’s Word in particular Ephesians 6:16 reveals God’s plan to undo Satan’s plan,

In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one.

Something to keep in mind

Jesus convicts in order to restore.

Satan condemns in order to destroy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teens and Fiery Darts

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     Recently, I was invited to speak to a group of teenage girls on the subject of Fiery Darts. A subject we ALL are affected by, no matter our age. I was thrilled to be able to offer these precious young ladies advice that would prepare them to follow the path God has chosen for them. 

     They learned that every attitude or behavior (acceptable or unacceptable) begins with a thought. Unacceptable thoughts can originate from their own 1)sinful nature, 2)the World, and 3)Satan.  Satan uses all three to deceive and manipulate the formation of our thoughts to suit his purpose in ruining our witness.

     We compared God’s plan (Jeremiah 29:11), Satan’s plan to steal, kill, and destroy (fr John 10:10a) , and God’s plan to equip them to defeat the enemy (Ephesians 6:16) From 1 Peter 5:8 they were warned to take seriously the enemy’s attacks.

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     They were informed that without God’s filter of what is true;  lyrics, books, movies, websites, and even social media that is contrary to God’s truths, will begin to shape how they view sin. 

     It was impressed upon them that if they ignore God by spending little time with Him in prayer and His word, then the lies of fiery darts will infiltrate their minds and will begin to rule their thinking.  Eventually, they will see wrong as right and right as wrong.  

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness…

 

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They were reminded that

God has plans to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.     

         Satan’s plans are to destroy you and your future. He will lead you to your destruction one fiery dart at a time

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         The following steps were given to counter Satan’s attacks

  1. Recognize the fiery darts of the enemy (absorb God’s word where you will become wise in recognizing the difference between thoughts that come from God and thoughts that do not) 

  2. Reject such thoughts immediately. (the longer you think about them the more their lies will take root)

  3. Replace fiery darts with God’s Truth Thoughts. (every time that thought enters your mind, quote a God Truth. 

By applying these lessons regarding fiery darts, the benefits of the following verse will be theirs to claim.

Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds (as you spend time with God in prayer and His word) so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.  (and not be so easily manipulated and deceived by the enemy)  Romans 12:2 ISV

 

 

Even when the answers don’t come

     Somedays, I feel my dreams are slipping away.  Somedays, I feel I am a solitary soldier. Somedays, I feel abandoned. Somedays, I feel overwhelmed. And no matter how much I pray and attack these fiery dart thoughts, relief and/or victory just doesn’t happen.

So what does one do at times like these?

     Well, I’m going to keep fighting and resisting those fiery dart thoughts. I’m going to replace every fiery dart thought with verses of hope. Verses that remind me of who God is and how much He loves me. I’m going to remind myself of the abundance of God’s blessings and answers to prayers from my past.

     Satan’s fiery darts are unrelenting at times like these. Therefore, I must be persistent in my resistance. Like Winston Churchill reminds us

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     So, even though the relief, victory, the answers haven’t arrived, I won’t forget that each and everyone of my problems is something God cares about. And that

It won’t always be like this! 

 

Retreat Highlights

Lydia's House of Prayer poster

 

It was my joy to speak to a group of ladies from Lydia’s House of Prayer during their Spring Retreat. These ladies left with a renewed sense of the spiritual warfare they must fight daily. Now they are equipped to

1-Recognize the fiery darts

2-Reject the fiery darts and

3-Replace the fiery darts.

 

 

 

 

 

      

 

Who said that?

     So how do we recognize fiery darts? Examine the effect the “suspicious thought” has on you. Does it produce confusion, fear, doubt, anger, inferiority, indecisiveness, jealously, judgment, or selfishness, for example? It would be wise to consider where such thoughts could lead. For example, thoughts of self-sufficiency can lead to a decreased dependency on God. Thoughts of jealously could lead to revengeful actions. Thoughts of judgment toward ourselves or toward others fosters condemnation. (Remember, God convicts. He does not condemn.) “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1, HCSB) and “For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him”(John 3:17 HCSB). I’m sure you get the point. p 53-54, 3rd ed FD’s

     The above excerpt from my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, provides essential advice on how to identify thoughts of the fiery dart kind. Recently, I was made aware of an additional technique. 

     I was listening to a sermon when this question was offered as a way to recognize the influencer of our thoughts.  It’s a simple question we ask ourselves. But the answer is powerfully revealing. So here it is:

who said that

     But there’s a catch in being able to answer such a question. We need to know about the character of God. And we also need to know the character of Satan.  When we do, then we can recognize where our thoughts have originated. For example:

     I have a tendency to be self condemning. Therefore, I battle this fiery dart often. So when a condemning thought troubles me, I ask, “Who said that?” I can answer with confidence, “Well, it sure wasn’t God.” How do I know that? Because the Bible tells me that God brings conviction; not condemnation. And conviction is given in order to restore. Condemnation, on the other hand, is given in order to destroy.  This knowledge empowers me to reject the condemning thoughts; preventing them from ruling my thinking. 

     The Bible reveals God’s character as well as Satan’s. Those of us who are not familiar with either can easily be deceived and manipulated. Pretty obvious isn’t it as to  why  Satan would be so determined to keep us from reading our Bibles? If we can’t recognize the influencer of a troubling thought then we are primed for deception and manipulation.  

     So allow me to pose this question: If we aren’t reading our Bibles due to thoughts such as, “You don’t have time. It isn’t really all that necessary. The Bible isn’t relevant to our day. It won’t make any difference.”  

“Who do we suppose is saying that?”

The significance of Thanksgiving!

 

   720936f75ec4eef1793ec0a2f3345d33     wyndham 7-17 all 20  retreat friends   th-10

 

 

  Obviously, the significance of Thanksgiving is that it is a time to pause and contemplate all the things we have to be thankful for. 

   Some broad categories for which I am thankful are Faith, Family, Friends, and Country, just like many of you, I imagine. But in this post, I will zero in on a significant aspect within the category of Faith whose impact carried over into Family, Friends, and Country.

   It was about 9 years ago, when God first introduced me to the concept of fiery darts.  That instruction opened my understanding of how I had been victimized by my own thoughts. Negative thoughts or what I eventually began to see as fiery darts. I shudder to think the course my life would have taken, had I not been awakened to the destructive force of fiery dart thinking.

   As my training proceeded, I began learning how I had been deceived by my old nature (my thoughts and attitudes prior to my becoming a Christian), and the world’s concept of truth (a truth void of God’s Truth). I discovered that the world’s concepts of truth held more sway over my thinking than God’s concept of Truth.

   That deception was advanced by my lack of spending time with God in His word. Notice, I didn’t mention that I did not spend time with God in prayer! Because I spent a lot of time praying. But you know what that amounted to? I spent a lot more time talking to God rather than listening to Him. For we hear God’s voice when we read the Bible. 

   When my talking to God and my listening to God got in balance, then and only then, did I find my way out of the bondage I had placed myself in with fiery dart thinking.

   This balance impacted how I dealt with problems within the context of family  and friend relationships. It encouraged me to take those problems to God. Faithfully He would lead me to a particular scripture or scriptures that would shed light on how I should respond. 

   There hasn’t been an area in my life that this balance hasn’t impacted. For example, instead of despairing over the negativity of our recent political climate, God reminds me of 2 Chronicles 7:14. My prayers for my country are worded according to God’s Word, not my despair.  

   When disaster strikes our nation, I’m reminded of verses such as John 16:33. My prayers are worded with the hope found there, not my fears. 

   Knowing how to counterattack the temptation to think negatively about our problems, presents us with a perspective that will identify solutions. 

   My expressions of thankfulness this holiday will be centered on the gratefulness I feel towards God for opening my understanding to what fiery darts are and how to defeat them. For that knowledge has enhanced the gratefulness I feel towards

my Faith, my Family, my Friends, and my Country.