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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. 

 

Which Way Will We Choose?

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For the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said:” You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence. But you are not willing.” Isaiah 30:15 HCSB

Choosing Our Way

   The last sentence of this verse is shocking! We all desire to be delivered from our trials. Quiet, confident strength sounds heavenly, doesn’t it! But like the people of Judah, we are often unwilling to listen to God’s way. 

   The temptation to seek our own resolutions is strong. Our flesh is naturally bent to go its own way. Perhaps it’s a control issue. 

  But if we listen to the fiery darts, and reject God’s way, who is doing the controlling? The truth is our choices have led to our bondage.  In actuality, we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated. And we are only fooling ourselves to think we are in control. 

   We seek deliverance, rest, and strength. But the whispering voice of the enemy purposes to convince us to reject God, His Word, His Way. Knowing deliverance, rest, and strength will continue to allude us!

  Our enemy’s fiery darts are powerful. We should never underestimate that. What we all desire can never, and I repeat never, be obtained by listening to Satan’s lies. No matter how cleverly they may be concealed. 

Choosing God’s Way

 

Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for Him are happy. Isaiah 30:18 HCSB

   Sadly, many of us will have to come to the end of our rope before we are willing to choose God’s way. And when that point in time happens and our sight is restored, we will see God standing there, waiting!

And what is He waiting to show us? Mercy and compassion. 

  Please don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need God when making choices in this life. We don’t have to come to the end of our rope before we choose God’s ways. We only have to choose to believe His Word. 

The path to true love!

I would like to present a rather radical explanation, in our time anyway, to describe a common occurrence concerning relationships in our society. 

   During the time of adolescence, there is a stirring that becomes keenly apparent to girls early on, and typically to the guys a bit later. It has been assumed by our society that this stirring heralds the beginning of “the search” for a future spouse, and as a result, girls and guys begin counting the days when they will become old enough to date. And, as our society relaxes its standards, the age to begin this search becomes younger and younger. When you add to that the ease of communication between our young people, guy/girl relationships develop in their intensity long before the individuals have reached a level of maturity to be able to handle such intensity. p 71, 3rd edition FD’s

   Society’s definition (a powerful fiery dart) of what the stirring is all about sets individuals, particularly parents, on a hazardous path. Just take a look at the wrecks that have taken place on such a path. In examining these wrecks we find travelers who became disoriented. Their focus became blurred and many lost their way. Their emotional and spiritual health suffering extensive damage.

   Relationships that are formed based on society’s premise of the stirring, are often at risk for failure. Resulting in divorce rising to such proportions that society is tempted to do away with marriage all together. Living together is seen as a viable option to marriage. 

However, consider this

   Remember in Part One, I said that Satan has a plan for our lives and that is to kill, steal, and destroy whatever it is that God has planned for us. Let’s go back to that “stirring” I mentioned earlier. Could it be that the stirring in our heart, which initiates a search for true love, is the Holy Spirit calling us to a love relationship with our Creator? I think so! Why else would Satan enforce a plan to do everything he could to make sure that we misunderstand what this stirring encompasses? p 74, 3rd edition FD’s

    An attitude such as the one above, sounds positively radical to someone who has bought into society’s definition of the stirring. But let’s examine the nature of the path one would encounter if the above attitude was adopted.

   If we could be grounded in our understanding of true love, by spending time learning about true love from the very source of true love, God, then we would enter relationships as whole, healthy, and complete individuals. We would handle problems we  encounter in those relationships from a healthy perspective. Having been taught to recognize genuine love, we would avoid relationships that offered anything less. p 74, 3rd edition FD’s

Therefore, we are faced with a choice.

Which path as an individual should we choose?

Which path would we as parents want to prepare our children for?

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!

 

To Worry or not to Worry! That is My Question!

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I have a hard time trusting God when it comes to money matters. I wonder if those reading this blog do as well.

  For example, I was led to believe that a small monthly increase would be starting in January with an income check I receive, but guess what? The cost of insurance payments increased as well! So much so that those increases ate up that pay raise and left me receiving less this year than last year. Ouch!

  Oh yeah, the temptation to worry is poised and ready to inflict my thoughts with worry. Yet my training has taught me I must resist such thinking and replace it with  Truth thoughts (p. 93 FD 3rd edition).

  I desire to be like the flowers who don’t worry. But this is an area where I am especially vulnerable to Satan’s fiery darts.  It’s a challenge for me to trust God with such abandon.  Calling upon verses like the following is my only recourse:

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 HCSB

  Knowing what I know, I am faced with two questions,

What if I choose to worry over this dilemma ? 

It’s vital that you keep in mind Satan’s plan to steal, kill, and destroy. When a suspicious thought enters your mind, ask yourself this question, “If I consider this thought and act upon it, will good come from it?” If you cannot answer in the affirmative, then put up your shield of faith and stand your ground in deflecting such thinking! p. 54 FD 3rd edition

Or what if I choose not to worry?

On the other hand, consider Galatians 5:22-23. This is the familiar verse describing the fruits of the Spirit. When God puts a thought into your mind, then, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control, for example, is the desired end. The purpose behind thoughts influenced by God is meant to conform us into the image of His Son. p. 54 FD 3rd edition

Therefore, if I choose to keep my thoughts centered on God’s faithful provision then the enemy looses. His grip weakens and my spiritual muscles grow stronger!