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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

 

Who do we believe?

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Why do we so easily believe the lies of fiery darts? But struggle to believe Truths from God’s Word?

   If the darkness of the world, Satan, and our flesh influences our thinking more than God’s Word, then our thoughts, attitudes, and actions will reflect that darkness.  Thus our focus will be on the darkness, blinding us to the light of God’s truth that lies beyond it. 

  Yet, if we desire to believe God over the lies of the enemy, we must do the following:  

We must seek God.

When God speaks we need to listen.

When God speaks we need to believe.

When God speaks we need to act on His words.

Take to heart the following:

…when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. Is 43:2 ESV

The LORD is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you. Do not be afraid or discourages. Deut. 31:8

Don’t be afraid anymore, only believe. Mark 5:36 NASV

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

   Yet sometimes the problems we face threaten to overwhelm us. We believe God,. We believe His Word. We go to it daily.  We talk to God about it a lot, but the hoped for solution evades us! What do we do in situations like that?

We wait!

   As we wait, we continue to pray and search the Scriptures. We focus on verses like the ones above. We become alert to the encouragement God sends us as we go about our day. Through those encouragements and God’s word, we grow in our faith and perspective of the problem.

   We learn to recognize the fiery darts and how to reject them. We learn to replace them with the Truth thoughts from Scripture that God directs us to.

   We may not feel so good about the way things are going, but we must remember that if God says He will never leave us, that He will not fail us, then in spite of how things look, we must take Him at His word. 

Our well being depends on who we believe!

 

Tempted to despair in this New Year?

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Tonight 2016 comes to a close and tomorrow 2017 starts out anew and fresh!

Yet, in spite of the hope of fresh beginnings, despair has the potential to overshadow such optimism.

How does this happen?

It’s quite simple, actually! But, oh, so powerful!

It’s a matter of focus.

   Despair consistently and predictably acts like a magnet, attracting thoughts of self. The force of this pull is powerful. One self-focused thought after another bombards our thinking, and the downward progression begins.

When our thoughts reflect less of what we are learning during our study of the Bible or what God’s Spirit communicates to us in prayer then a downward progression is set in place, p 46 3rd Edition FD 

   In the past, I fell victim to this force time after time! With each thought, I became more confused as to what Truth was. I felt justified in my thinking and condemned all at the same time. Depression was the outcome!

   Recently, that all too familiar pull of despair, began to invade my thoughts. And in spite of the hope of fresh beginnings of the New Year, I felt myself tempted to surrender to its force.

   But I was reminded of those dark days prior to learning about how to counter the attack of fiery dart thinking. I now was living in freedom from that bondage and I was determined not to go there again!

   I knew what my plan of action must be. I knew that God’s Word contained the answers to resist the temptation to despair. Therefore, I began making a conscious effort to replace the lies that attempted to rule my thinking with the Truth thoughts below.

To fight the lies that God doesn’t hear me.

Psalm 34:17-18

To fight the lie that there is no hope.

2 Corinthians 4:8

To fight the lie that my weakness is too great.

2 Corinthians 12:9

To fight the lie that I am all to blame.

Romans 8:1

To fight the lie that God will not act on my behalf.

Psalm 37:3-6

   Once again Satan came at me with lies that in the past had prevailed over me. But not this time. Not since God taught me the Truths that would displace those lies!