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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

 

Where does your strength come from?

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   What keeps a person, who finds themselves in the darkness of a trial, from finding the light needed to escape the trial? Why is it that often they find themselves spiraling downward as one trial after another bears down upon them–draining them of any hope of rescue?

   As Christians we know that trials are a part of life. No one can escape them! Yet, when they happen to us we are tempted to think God is against us, that He doesn’t care that we are struggling or hurting, that God has forgotten us, that we don’t deserve what has happened to us and we wander around in our negativity confused and unable to come to terms with the trial.

   Sometimes we become so focused on the trial that like Peter we begin to sink in it (Matthew 14:22-33). Hope gives way to despair and we ask ourselves, “Where are you God?” And if we don’t get the answer we desire, we begin to pull away from God. Slowly our faith is drained away, leaving us in an anemic spiritual state, unable to believe we matter to God.

   My heart breaks for individuals who find themselves in such a state. For I know that in this weakened state, we are particularly vulnerable to negative thinking (fiery darts). Satan takes advantage of our loss of focus and attitudes are formed which lead to actions of destruction.

Chapter Three of Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice explains:

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 temptations to act negatively will be harder for us to resist. p. 15, FD
The psychologist will say that if behavior is to be changed, then the flow must be interrupted either at the thought or feeling point.p.16, FD

Look to the Light of God’s Word for therein lies your Hope!

   First we must recognize the temptation to think negatively for the fiery dart that it is. Keeping in mind that Satan’s plan is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10a) the abundant life God has planned for you (John 10:10b).

   For you see, those very trials that are an inevitable part of life, if responded to as God planned, have the potential to provide a greater strength and a deeper joy than we had prior to the trial.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:1-4

  We will find our hope and our direction as we search the Scriptures for Truth thoughts that address our trial. Perhaps, discovering that the source of our weakness was in neglecting time with God in prayer and absorbing the counsel of His Word. (the Source of our strength)