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.
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
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!
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?
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
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.
As wonderful as the message of CHRISTmas is, the sad fact is that multitudes of people miss it; don’t even get it, don’t realize they need it, or have never heard of it! The holidays only serve to accentuate the fact that they are alone, depressed, forgotten, ignored, or even angry!
All of the above, and even more, are examples of the types of fiery darts aimed at our minds to keep us in the dark about the hope offered during this time of the year. The enemy’s intent is to keep us so deep in darkness, so self-absorbed with our misery, that we won’t be able to notice the lifelines available to us or awaken us to our need for the hope offered–all the work and effect of fiery dart thinking!
Why is it that we reject the babe born in the manger and all that His birth offers and embrace, instead, any and every insipid substitute that makes claim to posses a Christmas spirit? The enemy’s efforts to darken our understanding and separate us from the life God has planned for us, as is pointed out in Ecclesiastes 3:11, exposes why.
Now can you understand why the birth of the Christ child is such Good News? Because of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection we have access to the power that will prevent our understanding from being darkened and will prevent us from being separated from the life God has planned for us. WE DON’T HAVE to feel alone, forsaken, embittered, depressed, or unloved during the holidays.
Time and time again within the pages of the Holy Bible we find verses that promise us that God will never leave us or forsake us that we are loved no matter what that we have worth that we are forgiven and that we can forgive that we matter that He cares for us. That dear readers is the Good News our enemy relentlessly works to conceal-especially at Christmas!
Therefore, this Hope is ours to choose:
But we MUST begin by refusing to believe that we have no hope, that we are unloved or forsaken or worthless. We must refuse to believe that there’s no way out of our darkness, or depression; that we have no control over the state we find ourselves. We must reject such thinking and as soon as we can get our hands on a Bible we must search for the Truth thoughts with which to supplant these negative thoughts (fiery darts) the minute they enter our minds. In the meantime, camp down on this:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)
My Dramatic Transformation
As God exposed the weapons of fiery darts that for years Satan had skillfully used against me, my spiritual walk underwent a dramatic transformation. By teaching me what fiery darts were and how to counter their attack, my walk along the path God had set before me so many years before was illuminated to such an extent that my skill in recognizing Satan’s tactics dramatically improved along with my ability to successfully fight against the fiery darts. FD p. 6
A Pivotal Question!
For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people?. . . Galatians 1:10 (HCSB)
No Christian ever wants to admit that they are more concerned about pleasing people than they are pleasing God. But that is exactly what I, the people pleaser, was doing! God revealed this to me several years ago in the midst of a tumultuous episode when a particular decision I had made resulted in creating discord among many.
For the first time in my adult life, people were severely displeased with me and I couldn’t handle that! At first! But after much counsel and doing some honest soul searching about the Galations verse, my course was redirected. My downward spiral was interrupted as God reached down and rescued me from the plans that Satan had concocted.
Pleasing God now trumped pleasing people! It was quite liberating to live life that way! And on top of that I had the reassurance that,
When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7 (HCSB)
Another powerful lesson learned during those days was how something that Satan meant for bad was turned into something good by God. Therefore, I saw all those involved as instruments of God’s will in helping me understand how important it was to please Him above all others. As a result there was no anger or bitterness on my part towards anyone.
As I look back on events such as the one I just described through the lens of fighting fiery darts, I gain clarity about the work of Satan’s manipulation. Of how he can take my weaknesses and victimize me with my own thoughts. Now when those fiery darts try to infiltrate my thinking, by God’s design, I have a plan in place to reject them thus averting the devastation those weapons formerly imposed.
No more downward spirals; depression has been defeated!
These are perilous days in which we are living!
Over the weekend another beheading took place and an attack on an US embassy by a terrorist group was foiled in a major African country. U.S. citizens there are being asked to be watchful and careful!
Fighting in Israel has disrupted daily life now for months. In my own country, a Jewish friend fears for her safety when attending the synagogue to celebrate upcoming holy days. I understand that it’s typical to have armed guards surrounding the synagogue during these events.
All over the world, persecution of Christians is on the rise. Much of it originating within terrorists cells, not only targeting Christians but Jews as well.
I have friends in the city where the US embassy was put on guard. They are okay at present but have been warned to be careful and alert. I also have family members living in a not too distant area from there.
Am I tempted to fear? You bet, I am!
Do I give into fear? Not as long as I do the following:
First, as soon as the temptation to fear enters my mind, I RECOGNIZE it as a fiery dart.
Second, I put up my shield of faith and RESIST it.
Third, I REPLACE the fearful thought with a Truth thought, and in this case it’s 2 Timothy 1:7,For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Every single time a fearful thought seeks to embed itself into my thinking, I shift into Recognize, Resist, and Replace mode of behavior.
What is the effect of this behavior?
God tells me that fear is not something from Him. So on that fact alone, I reject it! ! ! ! !
God tells me He has given me the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, instead. Therefore, any action I take, any words I speak, or thoughts I think, having to do with the evil running rampant in this world today should be defined by what God has given me–
NOT FEAR! ! ! ! ! !
Based on the following blog post: https://fierydarts.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/the-3-rs-of-fighting-fiery-darts-revised-plan/
Are you depressed over your present reality?
Do you find yourself wishing things in your life were different?
Are you a negative thinker, more often than not?
Well, my dear readers, don’t look now but you have become a victim of fiery dart thinking. A fiery dart thinker has some curious characteristics. Here’s only a few:
Sees a cup half empty; instead of half full!
Focuses on self–primarily!
Knows little of contentment!
Is quick to find fault with others!
Lacks appreciation and gratefulness!
Has a difficult time accepting their reality; gets upset easily!
Nobody would want it said of them that they possess any of the characteristics from the list above. And the good news is that while we may have such a negative bent, it can be overcome and brought under control. But there are some things of which we need to become aware.
I have found in my own life, that there came a time when I needed to stop wishing things were different and to pray for grace to accept things they way they were. When my problem was defined and I came to realize the power of negative thinking, only then did the light begin to shine:
As God continues to shed light on the darkness that plagued my walk with Him, I am developing an understanding of what has gone so wrong for so many. For it has become glaringly clear that negative thinking,. . . was at the core of my problematic walk with God…(FD p2-3)
While this game changing revelation didn’t occur until recent years (Oh how I wish it had but my reality is that it didn’t. I accept that and focus on all those powerful lessons I learned and am learning that I have to share with you), I have discovered some pretty exciting things. Here’s a sampling:
I can be at peace in the midst of my storms! (now I am not saying this occurs immediately but I get there a lot sooner than I use to!)
I see cups that are half full more often than not!
I’ve got more fight in me to resist those fiery darts so the negative thinking does not rule me as it once did!
I get attacked but I don’t fall down! (Hey, that sounds familiar doesn’t it!) Well, it ought too, read this:
We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.2 Corinthians 4:8-9 English Bible (CEB)
And may I add, that after an attack, I don’t dive into depression and turn on myself like I use to. Those fiery darts just have lost their power to rule me! Yes, they grab me sometimes and depending on the degree of fire in them may shake me, but my training (you know, my lessons on fiery darts. It’s a book now!) empowers me to break free. Hallelujah!
And you know that sense of contentment that seems to elude us far too often? Well, let me just say, it doesn’t elude me anything like it use too. And this verse contains the secret:
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in what whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippines 4:11-13 NIV
And finally, I’m learning to pick and choose what I allow to influence me. Certainly, not the world. No tv show, actor, or actress, or the negative attitude of others. Nope, I resist those fiery darts (and like I said, some are tougher than others, but I plant my feet and resist) and turn my gaze upon what’s important to Jesus!
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Sometimes, we encounter some pretty unpleasant and difficult realities in this world, but take heart we get to choose how we deal with them,
I would encourage you to remember that you choose victory or defeat. And know that refusing to choose is a choice to fall and suffer defeat. Victory is yours as Deuteronomy 20:4 reminds us, “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (NIV) It is your choice! We know that Satan’s plans are to destroy us, but take heart for God has plans for us as well. Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”(NIV) FIERY DARTS: SATAN’S WEAPON OF CHOICE, p. 45
In the past, long before I had learned about waging a successful war regarding fiery darts, I was in bondage to some pretty devastating thoughts. One in particular was the idea that if I failed in a particular area of my life that would automatically spill over into all other areas of my life and inflict damage on them as well. The unfortunate thing regarding these lessons on fiery darts that have now secured my freedom, is that way back then I was clueless about how the fiery darts were messing with my mind and ensuring my extended bondage. That’s the bad news, but the good news is
In looking back on my journey, I have wondered at times why it took me so long to recognize the path out of the darkness of negative thinking that God had illuminated for me. . . . My hope then is that by my sharing what I have learned on my journey out of the darkness of negative thinking, you will be able to recognize much sooner than I did your own path out of the darkness that God has illuminated for you. (pg. 3, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice)
Therefore, if you will permit me, I would like to encourage your heart with a Truth God has often sustained me with.
Isaiah 43:18 “Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. 19 Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
Just because you have experienced failure in the past, that doesn’t mean that because of that particular failure, you are doomed to fail or at least not measure up in all areas of your life. I carried that burden of a lie for more years than I care to remember. Only by God’s grace and what He taught me concerning fiery darts have I been set free.
You have only to research some of the Greats of Scripture to see what God thinks of failure. Look at David, in spite of his serious failures, the Bible calls him, “a man after God’s own heart”. How is that possible after what he did–murder and adultery to name only two? I think I’ve discovered something here. The righteousness of David had it’s source in God. Read what Paul said about that kind of righteousness:
And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Philippians 3:9
Ok, we confess our failure to God and ask His forgiveness, then we move on with our lives and by His grace break free of the bondage that the knowledge of our failure has the capability to place us in. As a Christian we have a very unique course set for us as we deal with the failures in our lives. First of all, we don’t allow one failure in our lives to convince us that we are a failure at life! That’s a big huge ole fiery dart. It’s nothing but a lie. Aren’t you glad that the Bible greats didn’t fall for that?
Trials have the potential to highlight areas in our lives that when responded to appropriately can increase our faith and produce endurance. Take a look at James 1:
2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing o your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
How you deal with your crisis, what you learn from your crisis will all work together to reestablish your credibility. (Rom. 8:28) Others may come against you (these are instruments of fiery darts remember) but if in your own mind you have come to the successful and healing conclusion that God can still use you, then you’ll know how to put up your shield of faith and ward off those fiery dart minions!
So go ahead and rejoice with God in those areas where you don’t feel like a total failure. Be thankful for them and praise God for them. Don’t allow the fiery dart that says you’d be a hypocrite to think you could still be used of God when you have failed Him so miserably. There are some areas in your life that you have gotten right so know that you have a valid testimony in that area.
Look again at the phrase, ‘a way in the wilderness’. You have two choices to make. You can choose to focus on the wilderness or you can focus on ‘the way’. You could choose to focus on the negatives if you like, but be prepared a cloud of negativism will become your constant companion. On the other hand, you could choose to focus on God’s faithfulness to lead you out of the wilderness. You can choose to focus on the good He brought out of that wilderness experiences, how He strengthened you. And I’ve got a sweet thought for you, if you focus on how God brought you out of the wilderness.
The more you focus on the good, the more good you’ll notice AND the better you are going to feel. The more hopeful you’ll become. Goodbye, despair; for hope and despair don’t share the same space.
Gotta a verse for you:
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.