Tag Archive | fiery dart thinking

Be prepared!

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Yahweh is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never grows faint or weary;
there is no limit to His understanding.
 He gives strength to the weary
and strengthens the powerless. Isaiah 40:28-29, HCSB

   Isaiah was writing to the Israelites who were in captivity in Babylon. God through Isaiah meant to encourage them as they looked forward to returning to Israel. And as they waited for the promised hope, thoughts (of a fiery dart nature) would tempt their minds with discouragement. They would grow faint and become weary. 

   But God had promised them they would return to their beloved homeland. And because He is everlasting, the Creator of the whole earth, He had a ready supply for their weariness. They knew that His strength could be their strength from the promise of His Word. Therefore, each temptation to despair could be extinguished by these true and powerful words from their Creator God. 

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   We live our lives with the hope of John 3:16. And like the Israelites, we must wait for that hope to be fulfilled. In the meantime, things can get pretty rough can’t they. And if we are not on our guard, those trials can overwhelm us. Especially, if our minds are not saturated with the words of God. With every trial, our strength can be worn down and our power can be depleted. In such a state we become vulnerable to the destructive force of fiery dart thinking. Ill prepared to receive the promised hope.

   You see, as we wait for the sure hope of heaven, Satan is working on a plan to impair our witness. He tempts us with thoughts of doubt concerning God. He secures the success of this plan by tempting us to ignore God’s word. Ever felt too busy to read the Bible and pray? We put it off till later but often later doesn’t come. 

   But if our minds are saturated with God’s words, fiery darts get exposed pretty quickly. Verses like Isaiah 40:28-29, remind us that God is our strength and source of power to defeat the enemy’s fiery darts.

   As we encounter weariness and become weak from the trials we face, it would be helpful to remember Isaiah 40:28-29. Yes, the reality concerning our life here on earth is that it is fraught with trials and temptations. Yet, those very trials can make us stronger and more prepared to receive God’s promise. God’s strength will become our strength and we will have more power to resist temptations. 

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Fiery darts defined!

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   In conversation with my grandson, after my 3rd edition of Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice was published, he asked me a very pointed question. “So what is a fiery dart?”

If you have wondered this too, read on.

   First, while Satan cannot read our minds, he can influence our thoughts. Thus, the Bible instructs us to “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”  (Eph 6:11 NIV)

   So how do we recognize fiery darts? Examine the effect the “suspicious thought” has on you. Does it produce confusion, fear, doubt, anger, inferiority, indecisiveness, jealously, judgment, or selfishness, for example?  p 53, 3rd edition

   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, 3rd edition

   A realistic view of our areas of vulnerability, or weaknesses, in our flesh, or sin nature, is vital for understanding how the Enemy will attack us. While each of us may have different areas of vulnerability, we need to understand that our area of weakness will be the prime target for Satan’s fiery darts. p 29, 3rd edition

   When a person becomes a Christian they are given a new nature, one that is the direct opposite of their old nature. Formerly, their will was directed by their old nature, but at the point of salvation, their old nature was dethroned. Their will is now directed by their new nature. … With this comes a hunger to study the Bible and to maintain consistent communication with God through prayer. The old nature, the flesh, resists such desires. Eventually, Satan arrives on the scene with his first and most formidable fiery dart—tempting their old nature with powerful distractions, making it harder and harder for new believers to commit to consistent Bible study and time in prayer. p 44, 3rd edition

Therefore,

  If our (Christians) clarity of right and wrong has been diminished by infrequent time in Bible study and prayer then our vulnerability towards Satan’s temptations (fiery darts) is seriously compromised. And those temptations can influence our minds to think negatively.  

    If we allow ourselves to continue avoiding these two disciplines (bible study and prayer), then, our will is more easily influenced by our flesh and is drawn more to the world. Our attitudes and actions will begin to contradict the choice we made to follow Christ’s example. The weaker we become in our Spirit, the more easily we can be manipulated by Satan’s fiery darts.p 47, 3rd edition

To Wrap it Up

Fiery darts are the temptations of Satan.

Fiery dart thinking is the result of giving into those temptations. 

 

 

Tempted to despair in this New Year?

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Tonight 2016 comes to a close and tomorrow 2017 starts out anew and fresh!

Yet, in spite of the hope of fresh beginnings, despair has the potential to overshadow such optimism.

How does this happen?

It’s quite simple, actually! But, oh, so powerful!

It’s a matter of focus.

   Despair consistently and predictably acts like a magnet, attracting thoughts of self. The force of this pull is powerful. One self-focused thought after another bombards our thinking, and the downward progression begins.

When our thoughts reflect less of what we are learning during our study of the Bible or what God’s Spirit communicates to us in prayer then a downward progression is set in place, p 46 3rd Edition FD 

   In the past, I fell victim to this force time after time! With each thought, I became more confused as to what Truth was. I felt justified in my thinking and condemned all at the same time. Depression was the outcome!

   Recently, that all too familiar pull of despair, began to invade my thoughts. And in spite of the hope of fresh beginnings of the New Year, I felt myself tempted to surrender to its force.

   But I was reminded of those dark days prior to learning about how to counter the attack of fiery dart thinking. I now was living in freedom from that bondage and I was determined not to go there again!

   I knew what my plan of action must be. I knew that God’s Word contained the answers to resist the temptation to despair. Therefore, I began making a conscious effort to replace the lies that attempted to rule my thinking with the Truth thoughts below.

To fight the lies that God doesn’t hear me.

Psalm 34:17-18

To fight the lie that there is no hope.

2 Corinthians 4:8

To fight the lie that my weakness is too great.

2 Corinthians 12:9

To fight the lie that I am all to blame.

Romans 8:1

To fight the lie that God will not act on my behalf.

Psalm 37:3-6

   Once again Satan came at me with lies that in the past had prevailed over me. But not this time. Not since God taught me the Truths that would displace those lies!

 

You can break free of strongholds

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 Recently, in the midst of a joyous time of my life (externally), I have been plagued by an onslaught of negative thinking. Odd though it may be that I would be attacked like this when my days were filled with happy events, considering my bent I’m not surprised. For there was a time (starting in my mid twenties and intensifying as the years passed) when negative thinking and God’s Truths waged a battle royal and too often negative thinking won out.

   Over the years this negative thinking on my part forged a stronghold that continuously threatened the spiritual renewal that had taken place in the early years of my adulthood.  Afterwords as life began to happen, I struggled with maintaining a consistency in my bible study and prayer life. Predictably, the spiritual renewal that was burning within me instead of increasing in strength began to dwindle, leaving me vulnerable to negative thinking. Thus bit by bit, negative thoughts laid the groundwork for a stronghold that could have ruined my life had not I cried out to God for His rescue. Psalm 18:6  God indeed rescued me and enabled me to survive those dark days, but it was only since learning about the enemy’s tactics in the use of  fiery darts that I began to make sense out of the whole mess.

   This was the stronghold that God addressed when He began exposing the enemy’s tactics that had held me captive for too many years. As dominant as this stronghold was in my life, I now realize I must be diligent in my prayers and bible study (nothing else can substitute). I know my vulnerability and to the degree I stay diligent in these two disciplines, the power this stronghold has over me can be overthrown.

   So in the midst of this recent attempted attack by the enemy, God faithfully guided me towards the following words from Jesus Calling:

Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings… It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings.

   As I read the above words, it clarified for me how it was that I could harbor such internal negative feelings while in the happy throws of a long awaited family celebration. As long as I was more focused on negative thoughts, my negative feelings would not be displaced, no matter what was going on externally.

    So when the enemy tempts me with fiery dart thinking, I have learned that to know Peace I must make a deliberate choice to turn my focus toward God and His presence. It’s been my experience that’s the only sure way to break free of the enemy’s stronghold. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

 

Blindness isn’t always obvious!

 

She doesn't event realize that fiery dart thinking has contributed to her blindness!

She doesn’t event realize that fiery dart thinking has contributed to her blindness!

   Oh how my heart breaks when I see yet another Christian fall victim to Satan’s manipulation via fiery darts. And what disturbs me even more is that these very same Christians, who have been so duped by fiery dart thinking, have unknowingly cooperated with the enemy in allowing him to steal the peace and joy that once existed within their hearts and minds.

I know how it happens though!

Again I must emphasize the necessity to persevere in prayer and Bible study! We must grasp the fact that there is no other substitute. As we fellowship and worship in these two disciplines, everything we experience in life will be filtered through what we learn there. p 76 FD

May I ask you some questions?

   Has your desire to faithfully attend church weakened? Are you easily hurt or angered by fellow church members-especially when things don’t go the way you think they should?

   Do you find yourself dishonoring those you love by your words and actions? And in that same context, are your needs more important to you than your loved one’s needs? Do you become easily angered by those you love? Do you focus more on their wrong doings than you do your own?

   Do you find yourself justifying actions and attitudes that you use to reject as disobedience? Do you feel you are more enlighten now about such things and therefore they are no longer wrong for you?

   Do you find pleasing yourself or others trumps pleasing God?

   If you answered in the affirmative for any of the above questions, it’s pretty obvious that what you have been filtering your experiences through has not been the Word of God and prayer.

   Those who drift away from prayer and Bible study become easy prey to Satan’s anti-Truth thinking. Slowly and subtly his victims become blinded to Truth and the world’s concept of truth begins to sway their thinking.

Eventually, they will become blind to God’s Truth and they won’t even realize it!

By tempting us to spend little time in God’s Word, our ability to recognize the lies of fiery darts is equally diminished if we give in to that temptation. In the place of God’s Truth, the world’s concept of truth begins to define our thinking. p. 23-24, FD
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

It’s all about me!

   The temptation of such a narcissistic way of thinking isn’t embraced suddenly. Before it can plant itself into someone’s mind, the soil (so to speak) of the mind must be made ready. This is accomplished subtly, as one fiery dart after another gains entrance. Over a period of time then an individual’s mind becomes ripe for the planting. 

   I want you to understand something though. Satan dangles this choice fiery dart before each and every one of us. But remember, it is what is within us that determines whether we will open our minds to it or not. 

   So, what happens in the minds of those open to an ‘it’s all about me’ mentality?

   Self and what self desires become the rule of thought. Eventually, they will rationalize away anything that keeps them from doing what they want to do–even if what they want to do is illegal or immoral, etc. If doing something makes them unhappy, then they won’t do it, instead they will do whatever it is that does make them happy. Because:

Achieving personal happiness is all that really matters.

   Fiery darts poison the thinking of someone who is driven by this mentality. That thinking fashions and shapes attitudes, then actions, to the point that the very definitions in their mind of right or wrong become challenged. Therefore, right becomes whatever makes them happy (because remember, It’s all about me). Wrong becomes whatever makes them unhappy.

   Truth no longer means what it use to mean! As fiery dart thinking moves and shapes those caught up in it to find ways to justify their self centeredness, it should come as no surprise that a simple act of redefining Truth, would open the doors to the freedom for which they so long desired.

    In recent months and days, we have witnessed the lengths those who are entrapped by fiery dart thinking will go to, in the name of achieving personal happiness. In addition, those whose thinking has been negatively influence by fiery dart thinking seem to be waging a campaign to have punished those whose desire is not to condemn but to live by their religious convictions.  

   Individuals whose minds have been clouded and confused by fiery darts (temptations which they have embraced) are unaware that they have been manipulated to exchange true freedom (freedom that in the past was called license) for a life of bondage. 

There is a pathway that seems right to a man, but in the end it’s a road to death. Proverbs 14:12 (ISV)

The answer to their dilemma, therefore, is found in:

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)

A Truth Thought when embraced will empower them to deflect fiery dart thinking that has held them in bondage;

Then you (they) will know the truth, and the truth will set you (them) free. John 8:32 (NIV)

Refusing Admittance!

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     In observing the effect fiery dart thinking has on people, I am drawing some disturbing conclusions. I have listened and observed as people (whose lives exhibit some semblance of Christianity) describe a lifestyle that is in direct contradiction to the one given to us by God. They attend church ( perhaps not regularly) and know all the familiar Christian lingo. But they live as if there is no contradiction in their lifestyle.

How can this be?

     Could it be that they have lost their sensitivity to sin? They seemingly are not bothered with conviction about their lifestyle. Even though their lives are marked with pain and unfulfilled dreams, the realization that their disobedience could be the source of their disillusionment never kicks in.
     I know that when we are first convicted about sin in our lives, the temptation is to ignore it, deny it, or to begin justifying it. And though this is where the Enemy is most easily conquered, this is where for many Satan gains full entry.
“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. . . .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.” p. 46 FD (Thomas Kempis)
     This, I conclude, is how an individual can live contrary to God and in alliance with the world without apparent guilt! The fiery darts that justifies their sin, if not resisted, will eventually release so much poison into their thinking that they become blinded to God’s Truth. Therefore, they may be convinced they are something they are not! You know, right becomes wrong!

But there’s good news!

These poisonous thoughts (fiery darts) CAN BE conquered dear reader! Not overnight, but by attacking one thought at a time, as directed by the prayer and Bible study I refer to in Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice! It will take some longer than others depending on the amount of poison that has infected their thinking, but there is a future for them that is free of this bondage! It’s God’s plan:
“‘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) Jeremiah 29:11

THIS MAY NOT BE MUCH!

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     Recent news about the persecution of Christian in Iraq has pierced my heart and my mind. I awake each morning thinking of the mothers and grandmothers who along with their children and grandchildren have been murdered by ISIS in Iraq! As I go about my day, I think about those families that have escaped and are hiding in the mountains hoping to be rescued and  desperate for water and food! I go to bed heartbroken because families have been murdered for no other reason than that they are Christian (just like me)!
     Fiery dart thinking attempts to persuade me that there is nothing I can do. Fiery dart thinking lulls me into a false sense of security because I am so far removed from the horrors going on in Iraq to women like me. Fiery dart thinking turns my focus onto a president and his cohorts who look the other way and do little to intervene to eradicate the ISIS and their abhorrent deeds. These thoughts, if I allow them to, will grab my focus and entrap me into thinking that because my own country is hiding in the bushes, there is little I can do to help. 

     BUT I REJECT SUCH FIERY DART THINKING AND INSTEAD,

   I am going to pray like I have never prayed before!

     I am going to urge others to pray!

I am going to research and publish on my Fiery Dart Facebook page and in this blog facts about the persecution towards Christians in Iraq!

I am going to remind my fellow believers right here in my world that our brothers and sisters in Christ in Iraq are being murdered because they believe in Christ (just like us). Fathers, mothers, children, grandparents, etc. are dying because (just like us) they are Christians!

I am going to contact the IMB and give towards helping the refugees and am going to urge my friends and fellow believers to do the same!

 “Help respond to Iraq’s refugee crisis by donating to the International Mission Board’s general relief fund or by texting imbrelief to 80888, which will donate $10 to that fund. To give through Baptist Global Response, visit gobgr.org/donate or text bgr to 80888.”

I AM GOING TO REMEMBER,

that greater is He that is in me than he who is in the world!

I am going to remember that God and God alone is our refuge and strength in times of trouble!

I am going to remember that through the prayers and acts of many these persecuted Christians will be helped and delivered!

And finally, I am going to remember that Jesus is returning (maybe sooner than we think) and will set all things right! He will once and for all rid this world of its darkness, shinning His brilliant light of peace and truth healing our land!

TRUE, THIS MAY NOT BE MUCH AND I AM ONLY ONE PERSON BUT I HAVE TO BEGIN SOMEWHERE, SOMETIME! 

What is our calling in this era of persecution? What are the fiery darts that will distract us from that calling?

     Slowly but surely the Sleeping Church is being awakened to the horrific persecution against Christians in Iraq. Those who react with disbelief cannot deny the pictorial reports of innocent children lying dead in the arms of ISIS soldiers. Suffering and persecution seems rampant from Africa, to China, to the Middle East, and even America (remember 911?)

AND STILL THE CHURCH SLEEPS?

MAYBE NOT!

WAKE UP TO SATAN’S TACTICS TO KEEP US DISTRACTED WITH FIERY DARTS.

RECOGNIZE that Fiery Dart thinking will insure the Church remains dormant!

-Of course, the initial response for many is to pray.  But the fiery darts will attempt to convince us that praying is a hopeless effort. 

-The fiery darts will have us focus on the horrendous images in the news, on the internet to the extent that we will be overwhelmed. We will begin to despair that the evil cannot be overcome and will continue to spread, no matter what we do.

-Guilt, is one of the most effective of fiery darts. It’s poison will have us feeling guilty for every blessing that is ours, feeling guilty because we aren’t over there trying to help, feeling guilty because the fiery darts have tricked us into believing there is nothing we can do. The guilt will increasingly weigh us down with every passing day.

-We turn our eyes and thoughts away from the genocide because the fiery darts induce us to think it’s too horrible to bear. So we coil up within ourselves and hide from the evil. Besides it’s far far away from us. Perhaps, it will eventually die down and just go away!

BUT HERE IS WHAT GOD HAS TO SAY IN RESPONSE!

-First and foremost Pray!

     Especially, Christians all over the world, but especially those of us in the USA. Can you imagine anything more horrible than children being beheaded and entire Christian communities being assaulted by rape and death? I can’t. Then what would only add to this gruesome image would be for Christians to think that praying was a feeble act.

(REJECT THIS THOUGHT)

(REPLACE  THE FIERY DART THOUGHT WITH THIS TRUTH THOUGHT)

But here’s how Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 felt about prayers: 

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers,2 of mthe affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us nrely not on ourselves bout on God pwho raises the dead. 10 qHe delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. rOn him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 sYou also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf tfor the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.-

I would like to share with you a commentary made by a fellow blogger about the above verse as it relates to the heinous events taking place in Iraq and around the world.

The grievous trial that made them despair of even living was given so that they would not trust in themselves, but in the God who raises even the dead (He became their ONLY hope) AND the PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS HELPED HIM!  Can I just shout it again?  THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS DELIVERED A GIFT TO HIM THAT EVEN THEIR PRESENCE COULD NOT

http://robertsfamilyhope.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/awake-oh-sleeper/

Don’t know how to word your prayers? Here’s some help!

http://www.radical.net/blog/2014/08/take-action-looming-humanitarian-catastrophe/

  • Ask the Lord to awaken the world to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Iraq and to provide pathways for Christians and others to respond.

  • Ask God to miraculously protect the Yazidis and other Kurds who fled into the mountains; ask Him to provide a means of rescue and temporary homes for the refugees.

  • Pray that ISIS leaders and soldiers would experience the love of Jesus Christ and that their lives would be transformed.

  • Ask God to preserve and embolden the small remnant of believers in Mosul and Kurdistan, so that one day through their witness, every Iraqi might have the opportunity to hear the Gospel.

AND MIGHT I ADD TO FERVENTLY PRAY 2 CHRONICLES 7:14. 

You can also GIVE and here’s how!

BP: “Help respond to Iraq’s refugee crisis by donating to the International Mission Board’s general relief fund or by texting imbrelief to 80888, which will donate $10 to that fund. To give through Baptist Global Response, visit gobgr.org/donate or text bgr to 80888.” (More info here)

Sometimes, we just need Mercy!

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     Sometimes we struggle to walk the path that has been set before us. And though we are confident this is the right path, we find ourselves making little progress.(ugh!) This leaves us feeling doubtful and confused. After all, being on the right path should not be fraught with such experiences, right?   Taking our frustrations to God, we earnestly seek God’s wisdom and guidance by faithfully searching His Word, but the verse that would give us the affirmation and/or direction we need continues to elude us. 

When this happens, what should we do?

     I would suggest that we examine the thoughts that are producing the doubt and confusion. And ask ourselves the following question from Chapter Five of my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice.

Does it produce confusion, fear, doubt, anger, inferiority, indecisiveness, jealously, or selfishness, for example? (FD p. 33)

     It’s crazy, I know, but there are times when in spite of our best efforts we seem to be mired down in the mud of our own negative thinking (you know, fiery darts) and progress just doesn’t happen for us.  Therefore, once we examine the thoughts, then we:

Apply the 3 R’s of fighting fiery darts (published 02/17/2014)

1. Recognize

2. Reject

3. Replace

 

So, join me in an exercise of replacement!  

God isn’t listening to me.

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,  Psalm 10:17 

I can’t figure this thing out.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:5-6 (p. 42 FD)

I’m not smart enough to know what to do.

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30 (p. 42 FD)

I can’t manage this.

 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

It’s just too confusing!

 . . .for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, I Corinthians 13:33

 * * * * * *

     Fill up your mind with the Truth-thoughts from verses such as the ones listed above.  (your own search will produce the verses that apply to your particular fiery darts) This powerful exercise will prevent the fiery darts from overwhelming you and sending you into despair when the answers are slow in coming.  And I have found that Lamentations 3:22-23, is just what’s needed in times such as these. 

Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!