Tag Archive | fiery darts

What does it feel like to be a double decker sandwich?

Not so good actually! Blocked in on both sides. Feeling bad about this situation makes you feel bad about yourself. Most days are dark. Most people don’t understand how you feel. Feel taken advantage of! God is the ONLY thing that offers light or hope. And much of that light or hope comes from faithful children.

Caring for an elderly mother and recently an elderly mother in law defines my double decker image. Not a place I ever expected to be but here I am. It’s a day by day of putting one foot in front of the other, or stumbling over my own feet.

Then there are those from whom I need the most help, seem to be clueless as to what that should look like. Thank you’s are meaningless, when really what I need is some empathetic act that will lessen the load, relieve the pressure, or cheer me up. You know like repairing something that’s been broken for way too long. Or completing a task that has been all but forgotten. Oh, and I’m going to be blunt here, doing something nice for me just because they know I like it so much (though they don’t)! Sigh……

While I certainly feel tested during this time (the demands are overwhelming), my grade hovers around a ‘C’ sometimes but a ‘D’ most often. At least, that’s my take on it. Yet Romans 8:1 contradicts those fiery darts of condemnation I am so swift to embrace right now.

I’ll just hang on, though I’m making no great strides. Just can’t muster the strength to handle this like I know I should or like others think I should. So, I’ll just keep getting up in the morning and go through the motions of what is expected of me. God continues to whisper to me that all this will work together for my good.

Well, the only sure thing in all this is God’s truths that apply to my situation. And though the light is dim, I will continue to walk toward that light. Eventually………

Dispelling dark clouds!

For the Lord your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deuteronomy 20:4

Somedays it seems I just can’t shake this dark cloud that seems to follow me every where I go. Keeping me in the shadows where the warmth and comfort of the Son is diminished. These times occur more often than not when I am alone. When I do not have the helpful and healing distraction of the presence of friends and/or family. Even during my quiet times while enjoying the rural scene and accompanying melodies of the birds from my front porch, the dark cloud can intrude. Casting its shadow over my time alone with God.

The words that clamor for dominance take the advantage as the cloud hovers. And when I take a look at 2020/21 and the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, along with chaos within our own nation, the suffering in Afghanistan, and my personal failings, I grow weak under the weight of it all. How does one find joy and peace in the midst of such a dark cloud of suffering?

Then yesterday during my quiet time the above verse caught my attention. And today, as I was listening to a podcast that very same verse was highlighted. I’ve been a Christian long enough to recognize when the LORD desires to get my attention. So I began focusing on that verse.

I came to realize the dark cloud was a tool of the enemy. Manipulating my thoughts by having me dwell on the realities of suffering all around me. In that verse, God reminded me that I wasn’t fighting this tool of the enemy on my own. God was fighting with me for me to give me victory over the fiery darts of the enemy (dwelling on the suffering). When I grasp the vision that God is in this battle with me, then His victory becomes my victory! The dark cloud is dispelled!

Goldfinches: God’s little messengers!

                                                                                                       

For two years I have actively tried to attract Goldfinches to my yard.    I hung thistle socks and  even dressed up a thistle feeder with a yellow ribbon. My desire to attract these yellow charmers was fueled by the fact that they frequented my sister in law neighbor’s yard regularly. I concluded, if they gathered in her yard, why not mine? 

Last year was a bumpy road. Potholes of problems were a constant contention. While the end of the year revealed the removal of one major issue, others stubbornly remained. Thankfully, the removal of that major issue gave me some breathing space. Though difficulties remained, God was true to His promise in Isaiah 43:2 that they would not overwhelm me. 

I recall a time early in this present year, when discouragement threatened me at every turn. Negative thoughts, aka fiery darts, tore away at my resolve to allow God’s word to direct me. 

Just as soon as my path led me to a clarifying high point, it would be followed by a dip into dismay. I grew weary of this up and down existence. Yet, the truths of God’s word sustained me and kept me on track.

Often, I would plead with God to intervene and guide me along straighter paths. The fiery dart of doubt invaded my thoughts repeatedly. The highs and the lows were too close together and my peace was dwindling. 

It was during such a time that I sought God in prayer to affirm that He was listening. He gave me Psalm 66:19-20, “However, God has listened; He has paid attention to the sound of my prayer. May God be praised! He has not turned away my prayer or turned His faithful love from me.”

In my desperation to stay on track and follow God’s lead, I made a particular request. I asked God to direct the Goldfinches to my yard. Nevertheless, I was prepared to believe God was listening whether the Goldfinches showed up or not.  

6/21/20 first sighting

It was while I was sitting in my kitchen talking to my daughters, that one of my grandchildren exploded into the room shouting, “Nammy! There’s a Goldfinch on your feeder!”

Running to look, I asked, “Are you sure?” 

And sure enough, hanging on the thistle sock in the crepe myrtle bush positioned by the deck, was a bright yellow male Goldfinch. Tears spilled down my face. God’s little messengers had accomplished their mission! And the bonus is that since that first sighting, daily appearances of God’s little messengers continues to assure me.

7/4/20 Now they even feast on sunflower seeds!

Undeserved Gifts

 

I would like to give my readers a break today. Let’s focus on something other than the out of control violence running rampant in our land. After you read this, those concerns will still be there.  But may this respite of a read introduce some calmness into those concerns.

      I get to live on a farm! I’m 71 years old (next month I’ll turn 72 but that’s irrelevant). Sometimes, I feel guilty about getting to live here. Why?  Because I don’t contribute to the maintenance of the farm. But my daddy (Daddy has 4 children, 3 of us live here on the farm. We still, even in our 70’s and 80’s, refer to this man as Daddy. It’s our farm culture. The way we speak.)

     But I digress. I live here because it is a gift from my daddy. I didn’t do anything to deserve this acre of land I live on, other than being a child of my father’s.

     Wow, does that remind me of something! Isn’t that the way of things in the spiritual world, too? Let’s examine the parallels. As Christians, we are born into God’s kingdom. That spiritual birth entitles us to the abundant life and eternal life that Jesus died for. It’s our birthright as God’s children. We did nothing to deserve this life. It is ours due to our spiritual birth into God’s family and Christ’s sacrifice.  

     My life here on the family farm was ultimately provided by my Heavenly Father. It was about 26 years ago, that my family of 6 moved onto the homeplace. This was made possible by a gift from my earthly father.

     Stepping out onto my front porch while enjoying the welcomed coolness of a late spring morning, I heard the revving of the mower’s engine, signaling the first hay cutting of the season.  I won’t go into all the beautiful details of why this is one of my favorite pleasures of living in the corner of a big ole hayfield. Yet my reverie of thoughts was waylaid with the intrusion of thoughts of guilt. I was reminded (and we all know the source) that while my brothers and nephews work hard for this farm, I can make no such claim. 

     Why, on earth, you may ask would I spoil this picture of drawing in the sweet fragrance of new-mown hay, as I watched the birds perched on electrical lines anticipating the goodies the mower uncovers for them? Well, it’s Satan’s way. Attacking us with negative thoughts, for the purpose of undermining the perspective God sacrificed to give us. 

     But I know something too. I don’t have to give into such thoughts. (I call them fiery darts) My perceptive daughter in law reminded me (not long ago) that I have what I have because of who I was born to. And when I take on that perspective then I am at peace about enjoying this undeserved gift. 

    So, Satan be forewarned. Every time you try to plant that fiery dart thought into my head, I will remind you that like the undeserved gift of my salvation, my home here is an undeserved gift as well. I choose to honor both my fathers with a thankful heart for the undeserved gifts that my birth permits me to enjoy. 

Spoiling our Perspective

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It’s all in how we look at it!

For example:

     My eyes watch as delicate snowflakes accomplish the task of blanketing the landscape outside my window. Winter birds flit and flutter around the birdfeeders grasping for the sunflower seeds, now that food is in short supply. A lone little squirrel scampers to and fro searching for hidden acorns. From within, the fireplace offers an accent of crackling burning wood. 

     Such a scene has the power to call forth a variety of emotions. Positive flavored emotions of peace, calmness, serenity, thankfulness, or a sense of well-being may settle upon us. On the other hand, such a scene can bring forth negative flavored emotions of unrest, sadness, loneliness, or a sense of despondency.

     If the recent circumstances of our days have been troubling, don’t be surprised if our emotions default to the negative. If that’s the case, it’s not an easy matter to suppress such emotions. Satan, remember, comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Therefore, he will design fiery darts meant to manipulate and deceive how we perceive our world.  

      But we have but to remember that our loving God has come to give us life more abundantly. Therefore, when fiery darts assail us we have but to call upon our shield of faith to extinguish all those fiery darts.

    Something our enemy doesn’t want us to realize is that we can choose to embrace a positive perspective or a negative one. Yep, we don’t have to be victimized by fiery darts. It may take a lot of meditation on God’s Truths to send Satan packing, but it can be done. We don’t have to allow him to spoil our perspective. 

What do fiery darts have to do with making disciples?

Recently I was privileged to speak to a group of ladies highlighting the connection between fiery darts and making disciples. Here’s some excerpts from my presentation:

image_e0cd94a2-91ee-495f-a44d-4233da788f56.img_7328     Satan has very cleverly devised fiery darts aimed to create confusion concerning how evangelism and making disciples work together to fulfill the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19)

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     Terms Satan does not want us to understand:

Conversion which leads ultimately to salvation begins with an awareness of sins that we’ve committed, as well as the fact that we have a nature inclined to sin.

Conversion makes us a follower of Christ; not necessarily a disciple.

Discipleship is about teaching; teaching new converts how to obey the commands of Christ.

A disciple is one who learns from another disciple how to live the Christian life, then shares what they are learning to produce more disciples, who share and produce more disciples. . . (But a disciple must be a convert)

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What is Satan up to by concealing from individuals the importance of making disciples?

His plan is to manipulate us into thinking that once we are born into God’s family, then that’s all there is. (thus concealing our need to be discipled) John 10:10a

By not being discipled our spiritual growth can be hindered thus rendering us weak and ineffective as Christians. A weakened Christian looks no different from a non-Christian. Matthew 5:13

Due to the lack of training in understanding the truths from the Bible and how those truths apply to our daily lives, our foundation lacks stability. And the assurance of our salvation becomes sketchy. John 10:28

Without discipleship, we are uninformed on how to handle life’s problems. We are doomed to be manipulated and deceived by the enemy. Ephesians 6:16

Christianity becomes something we consume for ourselves; for what we can get out of it. Bible study after Bible study, without applying those truths and sharing those truths with others, benefits no one but ourselves. Matthew 5:15

Satan doesn’t want our foundation to be established upon the Rock; no he plans for it to be formed on sinking sand (without discipleship this is a real possibility.) Matthew 7:24-27

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Next time, let’s delve into what is accomplished by concealing the importance of discipleship in our churches. 

How to keep from being devoured! Or how to not give up when you have lost hope.

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    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?

Keep a proper perspective

     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

 

The Fiery Darts of Abortion

     I hardly know where to begin with this post. How can the purposeful death of an unborn child be justified? Yet as we recently witnessed in the news, abortion is  not only justified, it is celebrated. (bringing to mind visions of ancient rituals of offering up children to death, while people dance in mindless celebrations)

     But this can’t be. We are civilized. We are America! We would never be a part of or condone such barbaric behavior! Yet several states allow, by law, abortions up to 9 months! Since Roe vs Wade over 60 millions babies have had their chance at life brutally eliminated. 

And for what reasons was their chance at life snuffed out?            

Here’s a few: ( I call them fiery darts)

The reasons most frequently cited were that 

having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); 

that she could not afford a baby now (73%); 

and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%). 

Nearly four in 10 women said they had completed their childbearing, and almost one-third were not ready to have a child. 

Fewer than 1% said their parents’ or partners’ desire for them to have an abortion was the most important reason. 

Younger women often reported that they were unprepared for the transition to motherhood, 

while older women regularly cited their responsibility to dependents.

 

Here’s what God has to say about life

  13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

     Our culture is being deceived and manipulated. We have been desensitized to God’s Truth about unborn life. Even in the womb God has plans for that yet to be born child. 

      Before a woman will turn aside from hearing the truth (based on 2 Timothy 4:3-4) and exchange the truth of God for a lie (based on Romans 1:25), she must be desensitized to the truth.

in order for us to be desensitized toward the lies of fiery darts, we must first have our understanding of the Truth of Scripture diminished. By tempting us not to spend 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 (which is no truth at all) begins to define our thinking. p 35-36 FD’s 3rd edition

 

Believing lies (fiery darts) that justifies abortion, prohibits a woman from acknowledging and accepting the hope, love, forgiveness, and peace God offers her when she chooses life for her unborn child. 

 

Consuming God’s Word Daily: The key to spiritual health!

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     December 31, 2018, I read the final verses of the Daily Bible Reading booklet you see above. The result of this year long effort was that I had read though the entire Bible. Then starting January 1, 2019, I started all over! My goal is the same; to read through the Bible again! For the last two years, I have maintained a consistency in daily reading my bible, thanks to this program! 

     Yet, off and on through the years, I have attempted to read my bible daily. But no matter how  diligently I began, after a time I would fizzle out. Pretty discouraging!

     Since writing Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, I have come to understand why I was such a washout in developing a daily bible reading routine. Why negative thinking ruled my thoughts. Why I became susceptible to Satan’s manipulation. 

     If he (meaning Satan)can keep you from consistent Bible study and prayer, then you will not possess the ability to recognize the lies of fiery darts, and your thinking will be vulnerable to Satan’s manipulation. p 79, FD’s 3rd edition

Satan’s plot to render us ineffective as Christians is simple. “Just keep us from reading the Bible.”

If we didn’t eat, what would happen to our bodies.

If we only ate every so often, what would happen to our health?

     Well, to a Christian, reading the Bible is like eating. To keep us spiritually healthy, we must consume a daily portion of God’s Word.

 

 

Christmas – The Enemy’s Plan

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If we keep Christ out of Christmas,

Then we live without the love, peace, joy, hope, and forgiveness He offers?

No other source offers ALL of the above! No matter what the fiery darts may claim! 

Do we really want to live without these gifts?

That’s the enemy’s plan!