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GOD’S REASSURING VOICE

Recently God walked me through a time of crises. A coup, in the country where my son and his family lived, had created a threatening environment for them. When the coup started it was uncertain as to whether they were going to leave or ride it out. The day I talked to my son, I could hear the uncertainty in his voice. As his mom, I found this very unsettling. But when the demonstrations began and the gun shots could be heard all around, my son’s advisors urged him to leave as soon as possible. Because they were to fly out on a commercial flight they had to first be tested for covid. Only if their tests were negative, would they be allowed to board the plane. But after this decision was made and he called to tell us of their plan, hearing the determination in his voice settled my mind. Now they had a plan, now they could move forward. They finally were able to board a plane and arrived several hours later, with basic necessities packed, to a safer place.

Worry and fear stood hand in hand poised and ready to defeat me. Therefore, I had a choice to make. I was either going to call upon what I knew to be true about God and His ways or I was going to suffer defeat.

Over time God had been preparing and equipping me for such a time as this. Struggle by struggle over the years, God has been training me to distinguish between His voice, the voice of my sinful nature, and the manipulation and deception of the enemy.

You wouldn’t believe, then maybe you would, how many times the temptation to fear and worry reached out to take control of my thoughts. Yet because of what I had earlier learned, God reminded me that He had not given me the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a strong mind. He whispered to my mind that I was not to worry about anything but in everything through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, I was to make my requests made known to Him. Then the peace that passes all understanding would guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. These truths formed the prayer request I sent out to family and friends.

  • -Pray for safety in getting to the airport (Prov. 29:25)
  • -Pray for freedom from fear so their actions and attitudes proceed from a sound mine. (2 Tim 1:7)
  • -Pray for wisdom for my son and daughter in law as they parent through this ordeal (1 Corinthians 16:13)
  • -Pray no weapon formed against them will prosper. Isaiah 54:17 
  • -Pray for complete trust in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6

That’s just a sampling of the weapons with which God supplied me as I rejected the thoughts of fear and worry. The choice I had to make was to either believe God or be victimized by the enemy. While I didn’t know the details of God’s plan, I did know that because I was praying (as well as thousands of prayer warriors from all over the world) God was working on it.

I am no super saint, but through years of training on how to connect God’s word to the struggles I faced, His familiar voice was loud and clear as He guided me through this recent crises. There was no fear. There was no worry. Just a sober calmness as I listened to God’s reassuring voice.

Moving forward though trials persist

   

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Trials and Temptations

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

    Once we grasp the truth that God has a plan for our lives, (and that hopefully happens early on) we begin to move forward in that plan. As we exercise our faith muscles, our faith increases in strength. The more mature our faith grows, the wiser we become.  The expectation is that we would move forward consistently as our faith develops. 

     Our new nature, given to us at our spiritual birth, desires to please God. Yet, we will always struggle with our old nature always wanting its way.  Trials come and trials go, but with every one our character is improved upon. 

     But what about those trials that refuse to ‘go away’? They perhaps contain the strongest of life lessons.  You know, those every day trials that prevent us from living life victoriously. 

     Trials of this nature usually involve learning how to get along with others.  Nothing we say or do brings improvement in them or the relationship. Instead of growing wiser and resolving the situation, despair sets in. Satan manipulates and deceives our flesh, our old nature. Lying to us about what is wrong and setting our focus on ourselves. 

     We are primed to become distracted by human reasoning and false assumptions. Without realizing it, we have become influenced by Satan to do his will.   We get mired down in these kinds of trials with every lie cast upon us by the enemy. We take on the attitude that nothing is going to change and spiritual growth and/or pleasing God fades into the mist. Blindness rules on both sides of the equation.

     Perhaps accepting things the way they are in these situations may be the best way to move forward through them. By moving on we leave it up to God to make changes in His timing and will. Forgiving and accepting permits us to throw off the shackles of judgement and condemnation. The liberty to breathe free is ours to claim by the power of God’s word. This sort of example, is a lifeline for those  searching for comfort in their own stubborn trials .

     So, when trials persist without bringing the desired solution, there is still a way to move forward. Moving forward is possible but it takes a mindset that requires a high level of trust in God. A trust that even though the desired solution has not been realized, our confidence that God is in control and is working out His plan remains steadfast.

 Remember: God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are higher than ours.

He ALWAYS knows what is best.

Weathering the storms…

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     The years 2020 & 2021 have completely upended our lives! We have been challenged to seek solutions to problems that are unprecedented.  Our days are interspersed with highs and lows. Nothing seems constant. And just when we think we can breathe easy, pow!  Suddenly, we are knocked off our feet again!!!!

     Trying to live life under these circumstances with any measure of victory is humanly impossible. As Christians many are looking to us (whether they or we realize it or not) watching for any clue as to how to stay afloat as the storms rage.

     We know to cry out to the LORD but I wonder how long do we wait around to hear His voice? If He doesn’t remove the problem, bring the healing we ask for, or miraculously intervene to make everything better, we throw up our hands in despair. 

     I’m learning that when it gets this rough, there are choices we can make that will rebuff the enemy and strengthen our witness. First of all, we need to examine our expectations. Do we really think that being a child of God’s means we will know nothing but blessings? Suffering will be minimal and problems will be easily resolved? Do you know any Christian whose life can be described as such? I sure don’t!

   The fiery darts’ intent is cause us to feel abandoned by God, feel overwhelmed by our problems, or wander around aimlessly when we fail to understand why God allows us to suffer.  By focusing on negative thoughts such as these, the truths of James 1:2-4 are hidden from our view. We are of little help to ourselves or to others. 

     If God removed every problem, healed every sickness, or never allowed us to suffer what would that accomplish? Satan doesn’t want us to consider that question. For he knows that solutions are never realized unless there is a problem  to resolve. It is in the exertion of muscles that increases strength.  A diamond becomes a precious jewel due to intense and lengthy pressure. Satan doesn’t want us exercising our faith muscles. We might get too strong for him, if we do!

Here’s the point:

     Like Peter, we will sink when we allow the storms of our days to overtake us. Cooperating with God as He protects and strengthens our witness through the storms will be a lifeline to others to weather their present tempest. 

What to do?

Version 2

What do we do when in spite of all that we know and believe, the darkness continues to stalk us? We wait and wait but the hoped for relief remains a no show.

Instead of giving in and sinking lower and lower, try putting one foot in front of the other. Whatever we do we do not give into the hopelessness.

Instead we hold up our shield of faith and extinguish all the fiery darts of the enemy. (based on Ephesians 6:16.) One fiery dart at a time.

We replace every fiery dart thought with a Truth thought from God.

We keep moving forward, depending on God’s strength.

 

And if in spite of all of this, the darkness remains?

Remember, God’s way is the only way. There is no other way that will bring the help we need. Focus on trusting God to come through for us.

This will require faith. Maybe more than we have at the moment. Trust God to supply what we lack.

Ask for help to shut out the negative debilitating thoughts; to replace them with God’s thoughts. .

Maybe it’s been lingering far longer than we could imagine.

That doesn’t make God’s Word any less true.

Yet the stalking negativity sometimes keeps hanging around.

Then just keep putting one foot of faith in front of the other. Looking neither to the right or the left. 

Keep in mind, everyday won’t be like this. There will be better days here and there. We won’t drown in just one day. 

Hebrews 10:36, You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

POWER OF PRAISING

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     Ever feel like as a Christian you are letting God down? When your thoughts are consumed with the burdens you bear. You make a valiant effort to spend time with God in prayer and His word. Yet, the weight of the burdens persist. Somedays you are able to believe God. Somedays, not so much. Especially as the burdens bear down upon you and new ones are added. You don’t doubt God as much as you doubt yourself. For you know God’s word is true and powerful. It’s just that the power to tap into those truths keeps evading you. 

     It’s in times like these that we must recognize the fiery darts of the enemy. Here’s what happens when our thoughts are consumed with our problems. The more we focus on our problems, the more pity we feel towards ourselves. Negative focus=fiery darts. Hope begins to drain. No solutions come forth from such a focus. 

But there IS a solution.

     It’s not so hard. But it takes deliberate effort. The temptation to dwell on our problems is strong.  It’s our default reaction. However, as Christians the power of the Holy Spirit is stronger. When you are strong in God’s word and prayer, then Satan must use another tactic. When he won’t succeed at causing us to doubt God, he will cause us to doubt ourselves. It’s nothing but a ploy of the enemy. Here’s how we counter his attack:

Step One

     Make a list of all the reasons you have to praise God. Especially, concerning your problems. Yes, even in the midst of your problems, there are reasons to praise God. 

Step Two

     Make a list of praise verses (Hint: go to the internet and type in the phrase ‘verses of praise’. (I recommend: http://www.biblegateway and http://www.biblehub.com)

     Next time you find yourself drowning in the negativity of your problems, pull out your lists. Allow praise thoughts to saturate your thinking. In all likelihood your problems will remain. But your perspective toward them will have changed. Now they will not overwhelm you.

Some benefits of praise?

     Praising God (even in the midst of your problems) empowers you to rise above those problems. Because you are focusing on God not on yourself. 

     Praise shapes your perspective. Preventing the enemy from draining hope from your thoughts.

     Praise provides you with the means to escape the darkness when in moments of weakness, you revert to your default of centering your focus on your problems. (We are human, after all)

     Praise builds your confidence in God and His Word. (A sure way to stand against the enemy.)

     Praise increases your success route. Did you know that with God on your side, your chances for success go through the roof (a thought from The Word for You Today, p.6, 6/4/19). That’s empowering, isn’t it!

PRAISE IS YOUR POWER, NOW ATTACK!

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. 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

God Alone is Enough!

   Fiery darts can be defeated. If you have followed my blog, you know this to be True. Yet, some attacks take longer to defeat than others. And if you’ve noticed, the fiery darts that attack us within the realm of personal relationships, are the deadliest–especially if you have struggled with these attacks for years on end.

   Fiery dart attacks that we are still wrestling with after years of seeming defeat, push us to the brink of despair, frustration, and hopelessness. During such an ongoing battle we are tempted to loose our focus and like Peter we can feel ourselves sinking beneath the waves of the storm. But even as we feel ourselves sinking, like Peter, we must remember to cry out, “Lord, save me!”

And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”… Matthew 14:29-30

   These ongoing attacks require a strong & singular faith. A faith that is based on God and God alone; even when our prayers have proven fruitless. In these situations, when things don’t turn out  as we had planned and don’t look like they ever will, God has to be enough. Even in the midst of seeming defeat, God assures us that we can know victory!

Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights! Habakkuk 3:17-19

   Just remember, the enemy’s plan is to control our focus and lock it onto the things we think we lack instead of the all consuming presence of God where we discover we lack nothing! For in this state we wake up to the Truth that when we have God in Christ we have everything we need!