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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. 

Memories, thoughts, and weapons

Nammy's Camp 2018

   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! 

kathy & kids leaving 2018

   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. 

What 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. 

  Remember, the enemy cannot defeat us, if we use the weapons of God’s design. 

 

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!

sunrise

 

There is no substitute

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 Before individuals accept Christ as their Savior, they are ruled by their flesh, or sinful nature—a nature predisposed to sin. However, when a person accepts Christ as his or her Savior, a new nature is born, ruled by God’s Spirit. Yet the old spirit remains, thus, creating the great civil war that will be ongoing for the rest of their life. Satan takes full advantage of the struggle between the old nature (the flesh) and the new nature (God’s Spirit). His first attempt will be to weaken our new nature by tempting our old nature with distractions meant to diminish our desire to study the Bible or spend time with God in prayer. p 46, 3rd edition FD

Remember that the desire to sin originates with our fleshly nature. If we don’t focus on the Truths we learn from Scripture, then the temptations/fiery darts, will become harder and harder to resist or even recognize! Knowing the Truths found in the Bible makes us wise to the lies of fiery darts that bombard our minds on a daily basis. Prayer and bible study are effective in keeping us keen to those lies and supplies us with the power to resist them. There is no substitute!