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God goes before us!

image ps 94 19

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!

 

 

 

 

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

bobby & family 2016

   For the past year my son, daughter in law, and two small grandsons have been on stateside assignment. For 9 of those months they lived in Scotland while my son worked on his masters. Not living in a 3rd world country, we have enjoyed the luxury of easy access to them via internet.

   At present they are living with us as they prepare to return to Africa. And once again I’m faced with the painful thought that they will be leaving soon. But something unexpected happened while they were home that complicated the  emotional strain of sending them off.

Rach & family

   My husband and I have four children and two of them live near us. We take a great deal of comfort in knowing two of our daughters are close by. That was until recently! In April we were hit with the news that one of those daughters would likely be moving an 11 hours’ drive away to San Antonio, Texas. (And they did just that on August 18th)

   Therefore, this summer has been one of extreme high’s and extreme lows. There was a constant flow of children and grandchildren in our house all summer. Three of those weeks were especially momentous: Nammy Camp for the 6 granddaughters, a family vacation in East Tennessee for all 20 of us, and Nammy Camp for the 4 grandsons. The month of August our son and his family has been spent here with my husband and I.  My life was filled to overflowing with memory after wonderful memory of times spent together.

   The quote from A Tale of Two Cities (post title), describes my emotional state over this past summer quite succinctly. And predictably with every low moment I was hit with a barrage of fiery darts.

   It would have been my undoing had it not been for God’s instruction which had prepared me to not only identify fiery dart thinking but how to extinguish such thoughts as well.  While the pain persists, I’m learning by His tender mercies, how to manage it. My life moves forward as God tenderly and lovingly leads me. 

One of the most helpful Truth Thoughts I have found is Psalm 34:17:

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How does God deliver me from my present troubles and rescue my crushed spirit?

If I cooperate with God, He will give me the desire that pleases Him (Philip. 2:13) He will remind me that He will fill the void when my children move away. (Philip. 4:19).

His presence will restore my crushed spirit. Every time I began to focus on my loss, He reminds me to direct my focus towards His presence and the love He has for me. (Psalm 16:11)

He reminds me that He will work all this out for my good (Rom 8:28). 

Okay, so I have a choice!

I can pick up my shield of faith and face down the enemy with these Truth Thoughts! 

Or I can continue to focus on my losses and grow more miserable with every day!

My choice is obvious!

 

God Alone is Enough!

   Fiery darts can be defeated. If you have followed my blog, you know this to be True. Yet, some attacks take longer to defeat than others. And if you’ve noticed, the fiery darts that attack us within the realm of personal relationships, are the deadliest–especially if you have struggled with these attacks for years on end.

   Fiery dart attacks that we are still wrestling with after years of seeming defeat, push us to the brink of despair, frustration, and hopelessness. During such an ongoing battle we are tempted to loose our focus and like Peter we can feel ourselves sinking beneath the waves of the storm. But even as we feel ourselves sinking, like Peter, we must remember to cry out, “Lord, save me!”

And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”… Matthew 14:29-30

   These ongoing attacks require a strong & singular faith. A faith that is based on God and God alone; even when our prayers have proven fruitless. In these situations, when things don’t turn out  as we had planned and don’t look like they ever will, God has to be enough. Even in the midst of seeming defeat, God assures us that we can know victory!

Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights! Habakkuk 3:17-19

   Just remember, the enemy’s plan is to control our focus and lock it onto the things we think we lack instead of the all consuming presence of God where we discover we lack nothing! For in this state we wake up to the Truth that when we have God in Christ we have everything we need! 

 

 

Problems?

Problems! We all encounter them.

   We can face them as individuals or as a group. Sometimes they loom so large we fear we will be overwhelmed by them. Then again, our perspective regarding how we approach problems can be so skewed by fiery dart thinking (negative thinking, remember) that we choose a downward path, oblivous to the upward path already laid out by God for our good. 

   Here’s God’s plan!

Problems are meant to work out for our benefit!

Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

We are meant to rise above our problems; not sink under the weight of them!

 Romans 8:37, No, in all these things (problems) we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 

Problems are designed to supply what might be lacking in our spiritual makeup

James 1:2-3, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverence. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anthing.

There’s more but this is enough to make my point!

   Typically, problems create more problems. Listen to anyone or group absorbed in a problem and what do you hear? One negative statement after another. It’s seems those involved have an opinion on what caused the problem and will rehearse their negative opinion with anyone who will listen.
   I have seen the progression fiery dart thinking sets in motion. When problems occur the temptation we succumb to is to set our eyes upon the problem and think of nothing else. The darkness produced by such negativity grows with the intention to completly obliterate the Light of God’s solutions.
   I know what that is like. I have been there. It’s a no win situation. Not until, that is, you turn your gaze and ear to Jesus and begin following His instructions.

It’s likely He will open your eyes to the fact that while He has good plans for you, Satan does not.

John 10:10, A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.

He might even ask us this question: Whose plan are you cooperating with?

   If we are maintaining a negative perspective regarding the problems with which we are faced, the answer to this question is obvious.
   However, I do not believe that we intentionally choose to cooperate more with Satan’s plan than we do God’s. I do believe that we have been deceived with fiery dart thoughts that have blinded us to God’s plan. Which is why I write this post–to reveal Satan’s plan.
   Start speaking Truth to the problem–using the verses like the ones I have offered in this post. When a thought forms in your mind regarding the problem, ask yourself this question:

   Is it a fiery dart thought or a Truth thought?

Only proceed if your words will speak Truth. Then set back and watch the glory of God at work in your obedience and pour out more blessings that you can imagine. Malachi 3:10 backs this up.

 

Have we left Jesus wanting?

   For some time now, I have observed what I believe to be a much used and deceptive fiery dart successfully used against Christians individually, against their families, and against their churches. And it boils down to this: Christians living their lives more for themselves than for God. 

Can you see the inherent problem in this way of thinking?

   We go along living our Christian lives characterized by attending church regularly or at the very least semi-regularly, and maintaining a public image that promotes the idea that we are good Christians. We will engage in all sorts of spiritual activities convincing ourselves of the depth of our faith, not realizing our intentions to live good Christian lives have been bushwhacked by fiery darts!
   We bask in the blessings that God has giving us without giving much thought to a verse like Romans 2:4 where it’s pointed out that God’s goodness should be leading us to repentance. 

Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4 King James 2000 Bible

   We think of those blessings as more of a reward, I think. So who benefits the most from the life of a Christian who is living her Christian life according to what pleases herself more than in what pleases God? You probably are well aware of the answer!

Let’s consider the following characteristics of Christians living unto themselves:

   When trials come our way, we automatically pray to be delivered from them, whether it be in sickness or in problems that have come upon us. We have a tendency to move away from things or people that are creating disturbances in our lives because we can’t stand to suffer.
   In marriages we will put up with unhappiness for so long and if the situation does not improve,the fiery darts will justify our decision to leave.  If we are dissatisfied with our church, we will put up with our dissatisfaction for so long. Eventually the fiery darts will convince us that we must leave and seek a church where we will be more satisfied.
   We are easily deceived by such fiery dart thinking when we are focused mostly on ourselves and what concerns us. Sometimes, but not necessarily always, we have drifted from consistency in our prayer and bible study and our vulnerability to be deceived is increased. 
Therefore, by keeping us out of God’s Word and by keeping us from prayer, Satan ensures that we will not mature in our relationship with Christ, which explains why we live in such defeat. FD p. 62

So what’s the remedy?

   Focusing more on Jesus and what concerns Him

instead of focusing on ourselves and what concerns us. For Satan knows (even better than we do obviously) that Jesus will abundantly take care of what concerns us if we focus on Him first and foremost. 
   Think of the decisions we have made lately–we must ask ourselves this question.
Who benefitted the most from that decision?

If Jesus was left wanting, then perhaps; no, for sure, we must reconsider.