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Rejecting the enemy and his weapons

Step 2 – Rejecting the fiery darts/lies of the enemy

As we grow in our knowledge of Truth, by comparison our ability to recognize what is not Truth grows. But even recognizing the enemy and his weapons, doesn’t insure that we won’t be fired upon. Often, and especially when we are in a weakened state, the enemy’s weapons will strike. And as he so often does, he will aim them at the areas where we are most vulnerable.

Since we have recognized the enemy and his lies, the timing of step 2 is critical, if the enemy is to be repelled. Allowing the lie to sit awhile, even if you recognize it as a lie, will only allow it to gain a footing in your thoughts. The following quote from my book paints a concise picture of how to react to the enemy’s lies and the consequences if we fail to reject it immediately.

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. Someone has said very aptly: ‘Resist the beginnings; remedies come too late, when by long delay the evil has gained strength.’ First, a mere thought comes to mind, then strong imagination, followed by pleasure, evil delight, and consent. Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry. And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.1

p. 66, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice

Believe me, it’s dangerous to continue playing and replaying the lies (fiery darts) our flesh seems to be hungry for. The enemy doesn’t care if you recognize the fiery dart as one of his lies. His aim is to plant the lie just long enough to inject its poison. The longer that lie remains the more the poison he can inject into our thinking.

He plays to our flesh, that part of us that wants what we want, when we want it. As long as we live here on this earth, this civil war will always be raging. When we give into our natural self, strongholds and false arguments from the anti-God society that is prevalent today, will begin determining our attitude and actions. Acting in tandem, Satan, our flesh, and the world will bear down upon us, tempting us at every turn.

Our skill at recognizing Satan’s weapons develops as daily we become more familiar with the Voice of Truth. So as soon as the enemy shows himself, the Voice of Truth will expose him. Without hesitation, we will act upon our training and reject the fiery dart before its poison has a chance to enter our thoughts.

After that, Step 3 will complete the battle plan.

Recognizing the enemy…

September 21, 2014 I added a page to my blog titled the 3R’s of Fiery Darts. That page contains a threefold strategy for battling the enemy. For the next three blog posts I will attempt to offer more depth and details to the use of these 3 strategies.

Every time I listen to the news, read social media, watch a tv show or movie, simply listen to the conversations around me, pay attention to the lyrics of songs, notice the magazines and books in a library or bookstore, it is glaringly obvious people are being deceived as to what is Truth.

September 21, 2014 I added a page to my blog titled the 3R’s of Fiery Darts. That page contains a threefold strategy for battling the enemy. For the next three blog posts I will attempt to offer more depth and details to the use of these 3 strategies. Every time I listen to the news, read social media, watch a tv show or movie, simply listen to the conversations around me, pay attention to the lyrics of songs, notice the magazines and books in a library or bookstore, it is glaringly obvious people are being deceived as to what is Truth….

Step 1 – Recognizing the enemy

I have often wondered how this deception became so widespread. I believe it boils down to a failure to recognize our enemy. Therefore, without the skills of recognition, we are clueless when he pulls out his weapons to steal, kill, and destroy.

Of course, I am speaking of Satan. The Bible refers to him as the fallen angel, who is hell bent on destroying the influences of God’s Truths on human beings. His hate for God is that strong. So what’s his strategy?

First and foremost, he works to distract and draw us away from the Voice of Truth. Once this has been accomplished, then a whole smorgasbord of lies and deceptions are available for his use. For example, by manipulating humankind to reject God’s Truths, behaviors that would have horrified our grandparents are now accepted as rights. Behaviors that would have been called insane in the not so distant past are now embraced and even popularized by the general media.

Satan knows that by removing the Bible and it’s Truths from our lives, then he can operate unnoticed by his victims. We won’t notice the evil behind the subtly of the distractions tempting us to rely on anything and everything but God’s Truths to guide us in our daily lives. Then the next strategy, to discount Satan’s activity in our daily lives is set in place. For when we are deluded into putting aside the Bible, Satan doesn’t get exposed. Which is exactly his plan. The stage is set for the opening of Pandora’s box of lies and deceptions to creep into our thinking. We are easy prey after that.

The Bible is right on about what happens when we loose our moral compass. It’s the situation our nation finds themselves in today. For when we discard God’s Truths, something else must fill that void. Unknowingly, we have been maneuvered into choosing our own feelings as the authoritative replacement. We think we are seeking after freedom to make our own choices. Yet, the enemy knows it’s having the license to do whatever we want to do without the discomfort of being chastised is what’s appealing to us. We are duped into thinking we are choosing freedom, when in fact, we are choosing bondage.

But then, if our feelings are based on what we want instead of what God wants, we won’t recognize the subtle unraveling of our sense of right and wrong.

Next post, Rejecting fiery darts (Satan’s lies)

Love in its purest form!

4Love is patient, love is kind.

Love does not envy,

is not boastful, is not conceited,

does not act improperly,

is not selfish, is not provoked,

and does not keep a record of wrongs.

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness

but rejoices in the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Paul’s purpose in writing the above verses was to illustrate what true love looked like. It would do us all well to study this chapter and in particular verses 4-7, in order to possess a clear picture of true love. And if we desire to have a visual of something on earth that comes the closest in comparison, we need look no further than a Mother’s love.

Consider a Mother’s love as it compares to the above description. Does it express the heart of this biblical description? Anytime, pleasing self take priority above the object of our love, we are not loving with a pure love.

But thanks for the unchangeable word of God, we will always have sources to go to when our vision of true love becomes blurred. That clear source of a Mother whose love for their children reflects the love God has for them as defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 will always reflect love in its purest form here on earth.

Why do we do what we do?

Why do we live without Christ when we don’t have too?

Why do we endure trials without having victory over them?

Why do we believe the words of man over the words of God?

Why do we choose convenience over sacrifice?

Why do we put our own needs over the needs of those we love or others?

Why is money more important to us than God?

Why do we choose pride over humility?

Why do we choose our own way over God’s way?

Why do we read books by man, rather than read the book God wrote?

Why do we live our lives as if there was no eternity?

Why do we hurt or kill the innocent?

Why do we lie instead of telling the truth?

Why do we seek to harm others?

Why do we desire to have what others have?

Why do we get what we want by stealing, instead of getting what we want honestly?

Why do we choose unfaithfulness over faithfulness?

Why do we hate, instead of forgiving?

Why do we choose turmoil over peace?

Why do we choose to do wrong over choosing to do what is right?

Why do we choose to live in bondage, when we could live in freedom?

Why do we think truth is lies, and lies are truth?

Why do we not cry out to God when we need Him so badly?

The Answer is: SIN

Everyone of us is a sinner. Our human nature wants whatever it is we want. This produces bondage of the worst kind; the eternal kind.

But by turning to God and accepting Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf, we experience freedom of the best kind; the eternal kind.

The Real Me…

Ever had a thought intrude upon your mind that made you shutter? Have you had thoughts about a situation that just couldn’t move beyond the negative? Do these types of thoughts plant seeds of concern about who you really are? If we persist in giving sway to these concerns, they will set us on a path of lies and deception.

But as Christians, we have a defense against such deception. It is clearly stated in over 100 verses in God’s authoritative word that our true identity is based on our personal relationship with God. By believing in Christ and accepting His sacrifice on our behalf, our bodies became the dwelling place of Christ via the Holy Spirit. At the moment of salvation, our old self’s took on a new identity. Therefore, my true identity, my authentic self, is based on my new life in Christ. I am no longer deceived. I have the assurance my negative feelings are not my true self. In other words, “I was one way then I was completely different and what happened in between was Him.” (Season 1, Ep. 1, The Chosen)

Ponder these Truths:

…and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV

Yet, when we reject God’s authoritative word, we open our sin nature (our old identity) to any and everything false. And today the downward spiral of the morals of our country gives evidence of the consequences of such rejection. Some have even digressed to the point that they place authority and value on feelings, over God’s transcendent truths, to define their authentic selves.

In short, the modern self is one where authenticity is achieved by acting outwardly in accordance with one’s inward feelings.

Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists redefined identity and sparked the Sexual Revolution by Carl T. Trueman

When the feelings of ‘self’ dictate our attitude and actions, we are capable of choices that fly in the face of God. Choices that will eventually set us and those directly affected by our choices on a path of destruction. Attitudes and actions that deep within our hearts we know are wrong.

Feelings as authority vs God as authority?

The Scriptures explain the nature of our old selves and why the world rejects those of us who belong to God, as well as God’s authoritative word.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 ESV

To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,..Ephesians 4:22

Consider

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

Resurrection Power?

Easter is now past. As we store our Easter paraphernalia, I wonder if thoughts of Christ’s death and resurrection will be stored away in our minds as well? Many of the decorative objects we associate with Easter have nothing at all to do with its true meaning. So if they get all but forgotten until next year, not much difference is noticed in our day to day lives. Not so with Easter’s true symbols!

As I referred in last week’s blog post, the impact of the willing sacrifice of Christ, cost Him more than we can imagine. Death of His body and separation from God, exceed our feeble attempts to describe it. Something of this magnitude cannot be casually laid aside from one year to the next.

Then there’s the power displayed in Christ’ resurrection. How can we be casual of this power that not only restored life to Christ’ body but caused massive earthquakes and raised others from their graves! This power isn’t a type of decoration that we access only once a year. If it is then it is nothing more than a decoration.

But we all know, believers and unbelievers, to bring anyone back from the dead requires something supernatural. And that sort of power was essential to Jesus’ disciples, especially the apostles, in order for them to carry out Jesus’ plan. The plan given to them at Jesus’ final earthly appearance.

That the very same power, the power of the resurrection, is made accessible to us today. It is also essential to us as we live our lives and reflect Christ to those we come in contact with. Why? Because it takes so much more than individual resolve to live for Christ. When life knocks our feet out from under us we need more than personal resolve to get back up and pick up the pieces of our broken selves. And coming forth from trials stronger than we were before the trial, requires strength beyond ourselves. But that is exactly why God supplies us with the very same power that brought Jesus back to life and secures our place in heaven. Because by such power He reassembles the pieces of our broken lives. We then move forward not only whole but stronger.

Therefore, as we cooperate with and access the resurrection power assigned to us at the point of salvation, we have all that we need to contend with the trials and trauma that is a natural part of the world we live in. We will walk and live energized by such power. It was all a part of God’s plan to rescue us from living defeated lives and prevent us from leaving this world unprepared for eternity.

God’s love and God’s wrath! Two parts to the whole.

Christmas!

What’s the character of God that defines this world encompassing holiday? I’m sure God’s love comes immediately to the forefront. Christ’s physical entry onto the world scene was fraught with great danger and close calls. Yet, God’s love for humankind prevailed! Christ, as a man, grew up and successfully, powerfully fulfilled the purpose for which He had been born. As we study the sacrificial life of Christ, we get a sense of the extreme measures God’s love was willing to take on our behalf. Measures that would ensure our eternal and permanent home in heaven, after our temporary earthly life concluded.

But what concerns me is that as we become so wrapped up in the love God gave us in the Christ-child, we fail to move forward and even acknowledge the purpose for which Christ was born. By failing to embrace both the gift of God’s love and the purpose of the Cross, we venture into a world of deception and falsehood.

Therefore, we MUST come to terms with the fact that it was God’s wrath that was poured out upon Christ as He hung on that cross. Wrath that was meant for us! God cannot tolerate sin because He is God. Therefore, there was only one way that we could even hope for a personal relationship with Him and seal our permanent residence in heaven. Someone, who was without sin, would have to be willing to stand in our stead, take our place, endure God’s wrath. There was a price to be paid for our sin and Jesus paid it. For a moment in time, Jesus was willing to allow Himself to be separated from God. As human beings, I don’t think we can even begin to imagine the horror of that moment for Christ. But He endured the cross for us in order that we would never have to experience such horror.

We don’t talk much about God’s wrath, do we. But understand we place ourselves in great peril by avoiding to come to terms with the reality of God’s wrath. For there is no greater love than what was displayed on the cross where the wrath of God was poured out on Christ.

Yet, I wonder, if by overly focusing on just God’s love, without the balance of God’s wrath, could we miss heaven?

What If…

Numbers 23:19 NKJV
“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Men lie, God does not;

Men have need of repentance, God does not;

Men don’t always do what they say they are going to do; God always does what He says He will do;

Men don’t always keep their promises; God always keeps His promises.

While sometimes we loose this perspective about God, verses like the above brings us back to the reality of who God is. But what if we don’t believe this truth? What if we are so distant from God’s word that we are unfamiliar with this truth?

If that is the case, what do we do when we someone lies to us? What do we do when someone fails to keep a promise or fails to follow through on something they said they would do? And what do we do when we need to apologize but fail to do so?

What’s our frame of reference in determining our response? What’s the authority we turn to that guides us as to how we should deal with such?

What then is our substitute for God’s truth? What we feel about such, without reference to God, will define our actions and/or reactions. But where does the reasoning come from as to how we should deal with man’s weaknesses?

If we reject God and His truths, we’ve traded lies and half truths for the wisdom, security, and comfort of God’s word. Have we thought about where those lies and half truths originated? But what if we also don’t believe Satan exists!

How to prepare for the unexpected?

How on earth do we prepare for something we didn’t even know was going to happen??????

There is a way!

But first we must identify who is in charge of the unexpected: Who do we turn to when our plans are completely upended? When our health turns against us? When suddenly we loose something or someone dear to us? When an accident completely changes the course of our lives? When for some unknown reason others turn against us? When an opportunity we were counting on doesn’t pan out? When the unexpected happens?

When the unexpected occurs, we walk about in a stunned state of bewilderment, reeling from the shock of the unexpected event. Life is no longer the same. We weren’t prepared for this. We don’t know what to do. We do not have the capacity within ourselves to move forward. Those close to us look on, seemingly unable to reach us at our point of need.

As the days pass, we become highly vulnerable to Satan’s attack team of the fiery darts of fear, doubt, confusion, and despair. If we have no prior knowledge as to how to extinguish these fiery darts or debilitating thoughts, they will be fired at us with unrelenting vigor by our enemy. Designed to entrap us in a net of manipulation and deceit.

Now is the time to acknowledge who is in charge of the unexpected!

Hopefully,we have learned that preparing for the unexpected requires the wisdom of someone who sees the bigger picture. Someone who is not surprised by the unexpected. Someone whose understanding far surpasses our own.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6, HCSB

Prayers like the following will remind us of God’s plan and purpose for us during an unexpected ordeal. And with this perspective, Satan’s plans to destroy and weaken us will be thwarted.

Lord, Thank You that what is happening in my life right now did not take You by surprise. You understand the bigger picture of what is going on and I trust You with Your plan and purposes for my life. Thank You that You are in absolute control and You are fully able to conform me to the image of Christ through this ordeal as I surrender it to You. Show me what You want me to learn through this and help me to remain teachable and sensitive to Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that You are with me, that You will never leave me, and that You are drawing me closer to You through this situation so I can experience a more intimate relationship with You. May You receive glory for how I respond to all that Your loving hand has allowed in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/women/4-ways-to-keep-it-together-when-your-life-is-falling-apart.html

Fake Faith ?

When I read the following excerpt from Mr. Little’s book, a possible answer to a troubling thought began to take form.

Doubt is a word that strikes terror to the soul and often it is suppressed in a way that is very unhealthy. This is a particularly acute problem for those who have been reared in Christian homes and in the Christian Church. From their earliest years they have accepted the facts of Christianity solely on the basis of confidence and trust in parents, friends, and minister. As the educational process develops, a re-examination of their position takes place. This is a healthy and necessary experience to bring virile faith into being.”  

Know Why You Believe, Little, Paul E. Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, @1968; Downers Grove, Illinois, p. 5

While I totally agree with Mr. Little’s words, the closing sentence begs the question, “What if this re-examination doesn’t take place?”

I am deeply troubled by the choices of young adults today who have been raised in a Christian home or at least regular attenders of a Christian church. During their youth, while under the Christian influence of their home or church. their choices generally reflected an acceptance of those Christian beliefs. Yet, after finishing high school, influences from a different source were encountered. And after a time, the eroding of their beliefs has left them unrecognizable as a Christian.

So, what happened? 

Let’s take a look at what may NOT have happened when these young adults were youth by considering these questions. Were they ever challenged to ask questions about their beliefs? Or did they just go along with what they were being taught? Perhaps no one encouraged them to study their Bibles and find out for themselves what it had to say. And perhaps, they never claimed their parent’s faith or what they had been taught in their church as their own. 

Without a personal conviction of the truths of Scripture, there is no anchor securing them to the abundant life God promised them. This leaves them at Satan’s mercy to deceive and destroy their lives.

Living life without a solid realization of who God is and who they are in Him, according to Satan’s plan, they will rationalize every contrary choice as acceptable. For it is evident that without a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and confirmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, their faith is fake. A fake faith will not have the capacity to discern when they are being tempted to compromise. Their aim will be to please their sinful nature not God.