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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. 

God goes before us!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

Oppression or Depression?

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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)

 

 

What Will We Believe?

I read in my devotion time recently the following:

   “Evidence of Christ’s resurrection has been examined more carefully than evidence of any other fact in history. (The Word for you Today, March p. 19)” Yet, people continue to question this pivotal historical event.

   More than once, authors have set out to write books that disprove Christ’s deity, existence, death, and His resurrection. Only to end up embracing and defending the very Christ they set out to disprove. 

Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ

Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict

Dr. Frank Morison, Who Moved the Stone

Lew Wallace, Ben Hur

So I ask you, why in the face of such evidence, men & women continue to reject or deny Christ’s deity, existence, death, and resurrection?

Scripture is clear in describing Satan’s plan in John 10:10a (HCSB), “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.” So what is it that the Enemy desires to steal, kill, and destroy? The answer is obvious—anything God has planned for us! p. 13, FD’s 3rd edition

   You see, Satan’s knows there is a God, he knows God sent Christ to redeem mankind, he knows Christ’ resurrection really happened!

   He also knows that if we believe in God, confess our sins and accept Christ as our Savior, then when we die we will go to heaven for eternity–(see page 2 of this blog)

   But Satan is jealous of God.  He will do any and everything he can to keep mankind from discovering the Truth. 

Satan takes full advantage of the struggle between the old nature (the flesh) and the new nature (God’s Spirit). His first attempt will be to weaken our new nature by tempting our old nature with distractions meant to diminish our desire to study the Bible or spend time with God in prayer. p. 46, FD’s 3rd edition

   I see people, playing right into Satan’s hands! Human reasoning, false arguments, and rebellious thoughts, are fiery darts Satan uses to destroy and deceive mankind. But choosing God’s weapons can set mankind on a different course, if we will only learn how to use them.

   We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

But we must make a choice. Will we believe God or Satan? Will we choose life or death?

Accessing the Light

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 As I survey people, in particular Christians, there is something I find troubling. It appears to me that an alarming number of Christians are walking life’s path without the benefit of  light! And when the trials come, the lack of light allows Satan to move stealthily.  

His first attempt will be to weaken our new nature by tempting our old nature with distractions meant to diminish our desire to study the Bible or spend time with God in prayer. p. 46 FD’s 3rd edition

   When trials come, and that’s a given, without the light of God’s word we will find ourselves stumbling around in the dark. Having become so accustomed to the darkness  we fail to see the solutions the light reveals.  Before we realize it, we find ourselves walking along life’s paths using the same human reasoning and false arguments anyone in the World would use. Without the light provided by God’s Word, we become confused, disillusioned, frustrated, etc. as we seek solutions to our trials from other sources. 

   As Christians do we really desire to live this way? Satan’s fiery darts will attempt to convince us that this is normal. But God tells us that He has a better plan:

…the second half of John 10:10 reveals … God’s plan for His children, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” p 13, FD”s 3rd edition

However, Satan’s plan is to keep us in the dark.

But remember, his plan can’t succeed as long as we access the light provided in God’s word.

 

 

 

Seasons of Attack

   No matter what season of life we may find ourselves, Satan knows exactly how to attack. Unwittingly, we succumb to the lies of fiery darts (for lack of time spent in prayer and bible study). Lies that tempt us to accept the stresses and strains of every seasons of life as, “Well, that’s just the way it is!” We don’t recognize them for the fiery darts they are. For example:

Spring

   Growing up in a Christian home, accepting Christ at nine, growing in my commitment to God. Reaching a turning point at 21…life took an abrupt turn and my relationship with God got a lot more personal.

Yet, fiery darts took advantage of my immaturity. 

Summer

   Being a young wife, wrapping up college, moving away from home, focusing my energies and thoughts on marriage, school, and living this new life! New home, new church, new college, new surroundings, no family…it wasn’t easy to maintain a consistent walk with God.

   I fondly remember those younger years as a mother of four. Always busy, running from one activity to another. Life was packed full with church events, caring for children, home, marriage. It didn’t leave time for much else.

Fiery darts found an entry as I began to be distracted from focusing on God.

Autumn

   Children growing up, the nest starts emptying. Transition after transition throws obstacles in my way. Becoming a bit bewildered about how to handle life. Some problems have hung around so long, it’s a strong temptation to just become resigned to them. 

The fiery darts reflect a life too busy to sit at Jesus feet. Thoughts of confusion, frustration, and doubt coupled with fear tend  to rule my thinking. 

Winter

   Because of my age there are troubling concerns. Will my health hold out. Will I be able to make it financially? And as children move away (taking my grandchildren with them), loneliness begins to stalk me. Then there are some problems stubbornly hanging around with no solution in sight. And searching for a new purpose can be a bit daunting!

The fiery darts are defined by the fear and doubt lurking behind every troubling thought.

   In looking back on my journey, I have often pondered why it took so many years for me to reach the path that led out of the darkness of my negative thinking. I may never know the answer to that question. But I do know that while my journey was lengthy, so were the lessons I learned. pp 14-15 FD’s 3rd edition.

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   Please don’t wait until the autumn of your life as I did, to have Satan’s attack plan exposed. Start learning it now, teach it to your children, grandchildren! 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 holds the key as to where to begin:

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. NLT

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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