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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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

 

 

 

True Beauty is Ageless

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   Growing old in our culture (the United States that is) can be quite discouraging and challenging. Contributing to this dilemma, is society’s obsession with an outward image. To be beautiful is to be young and agile. Beauty, therefore, is defined by an outward image. 

   If we buy into this definition, we become targets of the enemy’s fiery darts.  Thus, we may find ourselves laboring to maintain an outward youthful image. So where will that leave us when our hair turns gray, our skin has lost its elasticity, or the wrinkles in our face refuse to be concealed?

  Recently, I witnessed someone who is a contradiction to society’s definition of what is beautiful. She is an elderly woman, a former high school teacher of mine. I watched her as she slowly and carefully (and I might add gracefully) ascended the steps to her destination. While her hair is gray, and she is obviously not as agile as she once was there is one thing about her that has remained constant–her inner beauty. To me, she is as beautiful now as she was when she was my favorite high school teacher (when society only noticed her outward beauty). However, the nature of her beauty did not grow dim with age. 

   Of course, it’s not that we shouldn’t strive to look our best. It’s just that we need to understand that our true beauty comes from within. What’s on the outside will fade in time, no matter our efforts. 

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.

Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Great Disappointments

Not long ago I read, “There is a higher purpose to be discovered in times of great disappointments.”

   But trust me, when great disappointments first arrive, the last thing we want to consider is what the higher purpose might be! More than likely our thoughts are consumed by the pain such disappointments precipitates. While the pain must be processed, we must

Consider the following:

   During times of great disappointment, we are particularly vulnerable to fiery dart attacks. Such attacks give rise to an ‘all about me’ mentality. We will be set on a course chartered by self-centered thinking.

   Thoughts of false reasoning are attracted by such thinking. Therefore, the pain we  encounter, as it is filtered through false reasoning, will only be intensified. 

However,

   If we open our minds to the Comforter, our thoughts will instead be filtered through God’s Truth. We will find our hearing becoming more acute to His whisperings. We will discover that while the pain may linger, it will become more manageable. Gradually, our thoughts will settle down and we will know a peace that passes understanding.  And this is all ours, even if the particulars didn’t turn out the way we would have wished.

The higher purpose? 

   Our great disappointments surrender their power to defeat us when we focus on thoughts inspired by God’s Truths.

Trusting God in the hard times

. . . all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 HCSB

But what if God doesn’t work things out in the way we had hoped for? 

Those times are tough! And the fiery darts are merciless. We have a tendency to be mad at God.  We question God. We feel God is ignoring us. Sometimes, the way God works things out breaks our hearts. Peace evades us at times like these. We might even feel like giving up on prayer, after all what good has it done in those difficult times. We experience frustration when we open our bible because nothing seems to speak to our need. We cry out to God, “I just don’t understand what you are doing here God. This isn’t what I prayed for at all!”

We take on an ‘it’s all about me’ perspective. All we can think about is our own feelings. How disappointed we are. How hurt we are.  It’s at times like these, we must remember the following: 

We must trust God.

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 3:5-7 NIV

You know, God sees the bigger picture. He’s in charge and we have to submit to that.

We must remember that God desires what is best for us

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, Ephesians 3:20 ESV

Because He sees the bigger picture, God knows what needs to be done, so that the plans He has for us can be fulfilled.   Remember, God knows what is best for us. We only think  we do! We need to remember His thoughts are not our thoughts.   

God will sustain us (especially when things get rough)

Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalms 55:22 HCSB

God knows we won’t get any relief if we insist on carrying that burden. He lovingly and patiently waits for us to turn it all over to Him. 

God loves us:

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 HCSB

The reason we can calm down and trust God is because His love for us knows no bounds. Will God, who sacrificed His innocent Son for us, ignore us in our time of disappointment and hurt? That doesn’t even make sense. But we are tempted to forget that powerful Truth. The Truth that will set us free from the temptations meant to destroy us.

When to focus on Christmas?

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It’s the Christmas season!

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Time to get out my Christmas decorations.

You know, I would love to just be able to focus on the Christ Child.

And I will. Right after I finish decorating.

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Wait! There’s all that Christmas shopping to do.

Family, special friends, school teachers, Sunday School teachers, 

My list gets longer every year!

Perhaps as soon as I finish decorating and shopping, and wrapping presents, then I can focus on the Christ Child.

Oh, but I’ve got Christmas parties  and Christmas programs that I MUST attend, and each one requires a potluck dish or a gift to exchange.

Surely when things slow down, I will have time to focus on the Christ Child.

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Hold up! The family is coming over for a traditional Christmas family dinner.

What on earth will I fix this year? Gonna spend a wad on that grocery bill.

Surely, once that is completed I will have a moment to focus on the Christ Child.

 

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Oops! Christmas is finally over. And I’m beyond exhausted! 

Did I ever find the time to focus on the Christ Child?

I’m t-o-o-o tired to remember!

 

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Another Christmas has been undermined by fiery dart thinking! Putting our focus on the Christ Child must be done first and foremost. Then from that focus we will proceed to successfully celebrate Christmas! Amen?

There is no substitute

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 Before individuals accept Christ as their Savior, they are ruled by their flesh, or sinful nature—a nature predisposed to sin. However, when a person accepts Christ as his or her Savior, a new nature is born, ruled by God’s Spirit. Yet the old spirit remains, thus, creating the great civil war that will be ongoing for the rest of their life. 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, 3rd edition FD

Remember that the desire to sin originates with our fleshly nature. If we don’t focus on the Truths we learn from Scripture, then the temptations/fiery darts, will become harder and harder to resist or even recognize! Knowing the Truths found in the Bible makes us wise to the lies of fiery darts that bombard our minds on a daily basis. Prayer and bible study are effective in keeping us keen to those lies and supplies us with the power to resist them. There is no substitute!