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Oppression or Depression?

stronghold pic ps. 9:9

I was sharing with a friend not long ago, about the heaviness of spirit that seemed to plague most of my waking hours. It was a struggle for me to make sense of what was feeling like depression.

Why?

   In Depression – My Story, Nov 17, 2017, I define depression and how  I had been instructed to defeat it. I learned depression (a type of bondage) could not take root as long as I planted my thoughts securely in God’s Word.

   Yet, here I was again, feeling defeated and discouraged. In spite of the fact that I knew how to fight the negative thoughts and was aware of the resources from God’s Word to extinguish them. 

   My friend listened to me, then offered this insight. What I thought was depression, was more likely oppression. Satan was exercising his power to plant thoughts (fiery darts) that would weigh heavy on my mind. Thoughts that would produce emotions of discouragement and defeat. 

   The fact that I did not get caught up in a downward spiral was a clear indication for me that this was oppression, not depression. With depression, I was inclined to believe the negative thinking and the downward spiral was set in motion. 

   But with oppression, I did not believe the fiery darts to be true. I kept fighting back with God’s Truth thoughts. Though I became emotionally drained by the struggle, God’s Word kept me afloat. My focus during those days was the following:

 1 John 4:4, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

   Once the confusion was eliminated, I could see clearly what I was fighting against. I knew who was behind the oppression and I knew how to counter attack. I discovered anew, that the power of God’s Word always prevails in setting free the oppressed. (based on Luke 4:18)

 

 

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!

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Identifying the 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.  We can become so distracted by these arguments that 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

   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!

 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

 

 

 

Some relief please!

   Does your life seem complicated at times?  Do you feel like you just don’t have God’s full attention? You pray for guidance but it seems God remains silent. Does the peace you earnestly seek for continue to elude you? You fast, but the answers and the peace do not come. And while you are still waiting for answers, you get punched in the gut with more problems! 

  Yet, you have the sense to know that answers won’t come from any other source. Therefore, you know you must persevere. So you keep on asking the LORD.  All the while wondering when the relief will come.

  In the meantime, fiery darts are messing with your resolve to seek the LORD. They plant doubt and confusing thoughts into your mind. With these fiery dart thoughts,  your seeking the LORD grows more complicated. For now you must sort through these dark thoughts to be able to hear from and be guided by God’s Truth thoughts. 

What do you do in these valley times? 

   Might I suggest that you attack the fiery dart thoughts (those thoughts of negativity, hopelessness, discouragement, doubt, fear, impatience, etc) as soon as they enter your mind. Replace them with Truth thoughts such as Isaiah 54:17, Jeremiah 29:11, Hebrews 11:1, John 14:27, James 1:2-4, Philippians 2:13, Isaiah 43:4. Words from God to encourage you, give you hope, and to lift you up.

  And we’ve all lived long enough to know that sometimes the answers won’t come quickly (which seems the rule not the exception). At times, we might find that we just have to wait for the answers that seem so long in coming. It is during such times that we must arm ourselves with verses that instruct us as we wait.

waiting on God

  It is good for us to remember, that these dark times have a purpose. (Romans 8:28) God will use these times for our benefit and His glory.  Therefore, focusing on the following word from God, will keep our heads above water. And though the answers still may not come for awhile, these words will give us the relief we need to keep on keeping on. 

 Isaiah 48:17, “This is what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says:  I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go.

 

From despair to freedom!

   There was a time when despair lurked beneath the surface of my thoughts almost constantly. In hindsight and especially after my lessons on fiery dart thinking, I now know that I was being victimized by fiery dart thinking. Or using a term you might relate to easier, negative thinking.

   My schooling in spiritual warfare taught me a lesson that transformed my walk with God.  Being the people pleaser that I was, I cared too much about what others thought of me. I lost my focus as to who I was in Christ. Instead my self worth had more to do with what I thought others thought of me. Obviously, if their treatment of me left me wounded, then my self worth plummeted. 

   I now realize that my temptation to despair had mostly to do with the thoughts in my head. If they were negative (and way too often they were) then a hopeless despair pulled at me constantly. 

   Learning how to reject those negative thoughts (fiery darts) and replace them with God’s Truth thoughts (Ephesians 6:16) set me on a road to recovery and to freedom. A lengthy process, I admit, but one well worth embarking upon; life saving in fact!

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No matter what others thought of me, or what I thought they thought, the Truth thought is found in Isaiah 43:4. I learned to make that my focus.

 

Defeated?

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The Spanish Armada

   That is a word that rings too loudly and too often in many people’s heads. For some it rings for the sole purpose of influencing defeat, especially in a Christian’s life. It rings so loudly that it drowns out the Truth thoughts of God. Which is precisely it’s purpose. 

   Isn’t it odd that this happens to Christians! Christians have God on their side and He can defeat anyone or anything that is set against His will. But it happens!

Why?

   When we first become Christians we are like infants. And like infants, we must be consistently fed and nourished in order to grow and mature. However, many Christians today have experienced arrested development. This happens because we have not remained constant in feeding upon the Truths of God’s Word. And because we have not remained constant in prayerful communication with God, we have failed to develop in a healthy manner. 

   The unavoidable results of such neglect, produces such a weakened state that Christians  find themselves easily distracted by anything that is designed to keep them from these two disciplines. Eventually, we begin to live our lives not for Christ, but for ourselves. We turn our ears to listen to the World, instead of God. 

If this describes our state of existence as Christians, then Defeated will be the word that will define our existence.

   Do you feel defeated, confused, frustrated?   Please understand that these thoughts stem from your flesh, and Satan uses them to design fiery dart thinking, meant to undermine the wonderful plans God has for you. If these thoughts are ruling your thinking, then you have been cooperating with the enemy. Perhaps, you were unaware of this. But it doesn’t have to continue. 

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The following are Truth thoughts that will ensure the victory God has planned for us!

And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 ESV

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV

You can break free of strongholds

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 Recently, in the midst of a joyous time of my life (externally), I have been plagued by an onslaught of negative thinking. Odd though it may be that I would be attacked like this when my days were filled with happy events, considering my bent I’m not surprised. For there was a time (starting in my mid twenties and intensifying as the years passed) when negative thinking and God’s Truths waged a battle royal and too often negative thinking won out.

   Over the years this negative thinking on my part forged a stronghold that continuously threatened the spiritual renewal that had taken place in the early years of my adulthood.  Afterwords as life began to happen, I struggled with maintaining a consistency in my bible study and prayer life. Predictably, the spiritual renewal that was burning within me instead of increasing in strength began to dwindle, leaving me vulnerable to negative thinking. Thus bit by bit, negative thoughts laid the groundwork for a stronghold that could have ruined my life had not I cried out to God for His rescue. Psalm 18:6  God indeed rescued me and enabled me to survive those dark days, but it was only since learning about the enemy’s tactics in the use of  fiery darts that I began to make sense out of the whole mess.

   This was the stronghold that God addressed when He began exposing the enemy’s tactics that had held me captive for too many years. As dominant as this stronghold was in my life, I now realize I must be diligent in my prayers and bible study (nothing else can substitute). I know my vulnerability and to the degree I stay diligent in these two disciplines, the power this stronghold has over me can be overthrown.

   So in the midst of this recent attempted attack by the enemy, God faithfully guided me towards the following words from Jesus Calling:

Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings… It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings.

   As I read the above words, it clarified for me how it was that I could harbor such internal negative feelings while in the happy throws of a long awaited family celebration. As long as I was more focused on negative thoughts, my negative feelings would not be displaced, no matter what was going on externally.

    So when the enemy tempts me with fiery dart thinking, I have learned that to know Peace I must make a deliberate choice to turn my focus toward God and His presence. It’s been my experience that’s the only sure way to break free of the enemy’s stronghold. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5