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Fear Reveals Our Focus

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     My first night in Israel, I woke up around 1:30 am (Israel time) and wasn’t able to go back to sleep. Thoughts were popping into my mind, demanding I pay attention to them. (I had to be considerate of my friend who shared the room with me and not turn on any lights). Finally, there was nothing to do but grab my phone, go to my Word app, and begin recording those thoughts. The following are the words that forced themselves upon my mind that night. At the time, I thought they were a personal word for me. Up to a point they were. But after I returned home following my pilgrimage to Israel right smack in the middle of the Coronavirus fallout, I feel those words were also meant for such a time as this.

     Two themes encased my thoughts that early morning–Perspective and Fear.  Our perspective is determined by our focus. But before we choose our focus (and it is a choice, by the way) there is a viewpoint to be considered.

     First,

we need to view our lives within the context of God’s plan for them. He has given us assignments that are fashioned by that plan. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Second,

we need to be aware that Satan also has a plan:

To steal, kill, and destroy God’s plan for us. (from John 10:10a)

     Unfortunately, our human nature is too often susceptible to the manipulation and deception of our enemy, Satan. When we succumb to his temptations, we limit ourselves from fulfilling God’s plans for our lives. How does this happen?

    Satan’s premiere plan is to keep us ignorant of God’s plan. So how does Satan pull this off?

     By distracting us from spending time with God in prayer and His word. Make no mistake about it, that is the foundation stone on which Satan’s destructive tactics are built.

     Now, let’s bring this all down to the trial we are facing at present–the Coronavirus.

     Do we think for one minute that those thoughts of fear and despair come from anyone other than Satan? Of course not! But we are being tempted to take on a perspective of fear, are we not? Then how can we avoid or resist such temptation?

Consider the following:

     A fearful thought will come to our mind. That thought, if allowed to take root, will produce more fear and put us in panic mode. We will begin to behave irrationally. Thoughts of self-preservation at all costs will be entertained.

    YET, if we will but recognize that thought as a fiery dart from the enemy, there is a plan to nullify its effect. Here’s how it works:

Recognize that thought of fear as a fiery dart

Reject it outright. Don’t allow its deadly poison to take root

then Replace it with Truth thoughts.

     This is critical. We can’t just reject fear and expect to be done with it. But when it returns it needs to find no room to plant itself. This is where Truth thoughts come into play. The Truth thought found in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”, will quench such a thought. Just as it says in Ephesians 6:16, “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”

Therefore, the plan we focus upon will determine our perspective in facing the Coronavirus pandemic.

     

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Even when the answers don’t come

     Somedays, I feel my dreams are slipping away.  Somedays, I feel I am a solitary soldier. Somedays, I feel abandoned. Somedays, I feel overwhelmed. And no matter how much I pray and attack these fiery dart thoughts, relief and/or victory just doesn’t happen.

So what does one do at times like these?

     Well, I’m going to keep fighting and resisting those fiery dart thoughts. I’m going to replace every fiery dart thought with verses of hope. Verses that remind me of who God is and how much He loves me. I’m going to remind myself of the abundance of God’s blessings and answers to prayers from my past.

     Satan’s fiery darts are unrelenting at times like these. Therefore, I must be persistent in my resistance. Like Winston Churchill reminds us

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     So, even though the relief, victory, the answers haven’t arrived, I won’t forget that each and everyone of my problems is something God cares about. And that

It won’t always be like this! 

 

Retreat Highlights

Lydia's House of Prayer poster

 

It was my joy to speak to a group of ladies from Lydia’s House of Prayer during their Spring Retreat. These ladies left with a renewed sense of the spiritual warfare they must fight daily. Now they are equipped to

1-Recognize the fiery darts

2-Reject the fiery darts and

3-Replace the fiery darts.

 

 

 

 

 

      

 

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!

 

Positive power vs negative power

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Positive thinking has positive power. Negative thinking has negative power!

     I bet you knew that! “That’s just logical,” you might say. But there’s a vast difference between knowing about this power and feeling the impact of such power.  

     I know all too well the effect of negative thinking. I wrote a book, entitled: Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, based on  my first hand experience of this destructive force. Regretfully, it took me many years before my eyes were opened.   Thankfully, I didn’t live my whole life ignorant of the enemy’s power. 

Positive power at work

     Recently, while in a low mood (prime time to get attacked by fiery darts) my mind strayed to the recent departure of two of my children. Both lived relatively close to me. And with a son living in Africa, their closeness was a constant source of comfort. Then a few months ago, two of my three daughters, moved in opposite directions about 11 hours away. The negative power of sadness began to claim my thoughts. 

     Yet, in these moments, the following thoughts began rising to the surface: “During the times your children and grandchildren lived nearby you made a ton of wonderful memories. Why don’t you focus on those instead? Start thanking God for those memories.” So I did. As I filled my mind with one blessed memory after another, the negative power fueled by negative thoughts diminished. The more I praised God for those sweet memories, the better I felt. 

     But not one to give up easily, Satan sent me another fiery dart. My thoughts were redirected towards another situation in my life that has the potential to create burdensome thoughts. On the tails of my recent reminder, I was prompted to find the good that came out of that burdensome situation. A bit harder perhaps, (Satan’s is clever like that) because the burden is something I continue to wrestle with. Yet, the good is there! Once again, the negative was drained away and the positive began to soothe me.

     As a Christian, I live by the God’s Truth and not the lies of fiery darts. My mind is being renewed every time I spend time with God in prayer and His Word (the Bible). 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV

     So, think about it. A mind not experiencing renewal by God’s Truth, is a mind subject to negative power. The negative power of Satan’s lies and manipulation. A decision to take to heart John 3:16, allows us the resources to expose Satan’s negative power. A power that is no match for the positive power of God’s Truth. 

 

Cooperating with the enemy!

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   It’s been about 6 years since I first began  promoting the message contained within my book, pictured above. My heart has been encouraged time and again when readers share with me their testimonies of successfully defeating a fiery dart attack after applying the concepts from my book. These testimonies motivate me to persevere in promoting this liberating message. (As a matter of fact, I am working on an expansion of my book–adding chapters covering parenting, teens struggle with self-worth, and difficulties of loosing a spouse to death. I will need your prayerful support for this is a daunting task!)

   But as I listen to comments from some of those who have been exposed to the message of fiery darts, it is apparent that something is missing. Even for those who are making the connection between fiery darts and negative thinking, I’m still hearing comments flavored by too much defeat and frustration.

   When I think of the bondage in which negative thinking held me, on how it almost destroyed me then compare it to the freedom in which I now live, I can’t imagine why anyone would desire to remain in such bondage!  

   I do believe people are becoming more aware of how to identify the fiery darts with which they are wrestling, especially after making the connection between negative thinking and fiery darts. However, I’m getting the feeling that they think the battle is over just by identifying the fiery dart thought that attacked them. Yet, just saying, “That’s a fiery dart,” does absolutely nothing to deflect the negative thought.

   May I respectfully remind you that after the fiery dart is acknowledged, it’s imperative that it be rejected, and following that you MUST replace it with a Truth thought! (refer to the tab entitled, The 3R’s of Fighting Fiery Darts, of this blog)

WHY?

Because that fiery dart will return until its mission has been accomplished.

(which is, remember, to steal, kill, and destroy the works of God in your lives!) 

   Just acknowledging the fiery dart’s attack does little to eradicate it. And rejecting it only leaves a void that must be filled. When it returns, as it surely will, if it is does not find a Truth thought in its place each and every time it attempts to enter your mind, it will pick up where it left off, poisoning attitudes and actions designed to weaken your faith and make you ineffective as a Christian. Just what the enemy had in mind all along. 

 

 

 

How to spoil the enemy’s plan!

   Recently, I encountered a major fiery dart attack. It was the type of attack that previously had defeated me (before I became schooled in how to successfully fight fiery darts). The attack tempted me to become angry. I was tempted with feelings of worthlessness  and feeling another did not think well of me. In the past this kind of attack sent me spiraling into depression.

BUT THIS TIME

I refused to open the door and allow the poison to infiltrate my thinking.

“Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.” p. 46 FD

I brought the 3 R’s of fighting fiery darts into play.

First, I recognized the negative thoughts for the fiery darts they were.

Second, I resisted the fiery darts

Third, I replaced the fiery darts with God’s Truth thoughts:

Thoughts of anger were replaced with:

1 Corinthians 13:5, Love. . .is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.

Thoughts of worthlessness were replaced with:

Philippines 3:9, . . . not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (My worth is defined by my relationship with Christ. No earthly relationship was designed to give me that)

Thoughts that another did not think well of me:

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Knowing God loves me and rejoices over me, trumps and destroys any negative thought that another does not think well of me. And, please understand that the thought that another did not think well of me was a fiery dart itself. One that in the past nailed me, but not now!)

   God’s Truth spoiled the plans Satan’s fiery darts had for me. God protected me from being victimized by the lies the fiery darts would have poisoned my mind with by opening my understanding to the enemies tactics and how I could fight successfully against them. 

   This can happen for you. My book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, will show you how!

*Click on the image of my book in the sidebar to order