Tag Archive | fiery darts

Oppression or Depression?

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I was sharing with a friend not long ago, about the heaviness of spirit that seemed to plague most of my waking hours. It was a struggle for me to make sense of what was feeling like depression.

Why?

   In Depression – My Story, Nov 17, 2017, I define depression and how  I had been instructed to defeat it. I learned depression (a type of bondage) could not take root as long as I planted my thoughts securely in God’s Word.

   Yet, here I was again, feeling defeated and discouraged. In spite of the fact that I knew how to fight the negative thoughts and was aware of the resources from God’s Word to extinguish them. 

   My friend listened to me, then offered this insight. What I thought was depression, was more likely oppression. Satan was exercising his power to plant thoughts (fiery darts) that would weigh heavy on my mind. Thoughts that would produce emotions of discouragement and defeat. 

   The fact that I did not get caught up in a downward spiral was a clear indication for me that this was oppression, not depression. With depression, I was inclined to believe the negative thinking and the downward spiral was set in motion. 

   But with oppression, I did not believe the fiery darts to be true. I kept fighting back with God’s Truth thoughts. Though I became emotionally drained by the struggle, God’s Word kept me afloat. My focus during those days was the following:

 1 John 4:4, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

   Once the confusion was eliminated, I could see clearly what I was fighting against. I knew who was behind the oppression and I knew how to counter attack. I discovered anew, that the power of God’s Word always prevails in setting free the oppressed. (based on Luke 4:18)

 

 

What Will We Believe?

I read in my devotion time recently the following:

   “Evidence of Christ’s resurrection has been examined more carefully than evidence of any other fact in history. (The Word for you Today, March p. 19)” Yet, people continue to question this pivotal historical event.

   More than once, authors have set out to write books that disprove Christ’s deity, existence, death, and His resurrection. Only to end up embracing and defending the very Christ they set out to disprove. 

Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ

Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict

Dr. Frank Morison, Who Moved the Stone

Lew Wallace, Ben Hur

So I ask you, why in the face of such evidence, men & women continue to reject or deny Christ’s deity, existence, death, and resurrection?

Scripture is clear in describing Satan’s plan in John 10:10a (HCSB), “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.” So what is it that the Enemy desires to steal, kill, and destroy? The answer is obvious—anything God has planned for us! p. 13, FD’s 3rd edition

   You see, Satan’s knows there is a God, he knows God sent Christ to redeem mankind, he knows Christ’ resurrection really happened!

   He also knows that if we believe in God, confess our sins and accept Christ as our Savior, then when we die we will go to heaven for eternity–(see page 2 of this blog)

   But Satan is jealous of God.  He will do any and everything he can to keep mankind from discovering the Truth. 

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, FD’s 3rd edition

   I see people, playing right into Satan’s hands! Human reasoning, false arguments, and rebellious thoughts, are fiery darts Satan uses to destroy and deceive mankind. But choosing God’s weapons can set mankind on a different course, if we will only learn how to use them.

   We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

But we must make a choice. Will we believe God or Satan? Will we choose life or death?

Accessing the Light

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 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.

 

 

 

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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Depression – My Story

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   My first bout with depression lasted for 2 years and occurred after I gave birth to my first child (43 years ago). I survived it but that’s all.  Having a little one who depended 24/7 on my ability to care for her, prioritized my daily routine. Then two years and 4 months later my 2nd daughter was born. Now the well being of two precious little girls depended on my getting it together. After two more children, a daughter and a son, life demanded that I focus on the needs of my 4 children. However, the darkness of depression continued to stalk me.

   During a retreat I attended only recently, I listened as a young mother described her bout with depression. Eventually, she was diagnosed with post partum depression (suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue).

   I’m pretty sure that my initial years of depression was an undiagnosed case of post partum.   During those first two years, I established a pattern of destructive thinking. My times spent in Scripture were consistent but brief (3 to 5 min). Any help I might have gained from them to combat such thoughts was drowned out by the lies swarming within my brain.  My thoughts were ruled by those lies. I remember during those dark days my prayers became nothing more than, “God hold on to me.” I had a sense that those negative thoughts were lies but my weakened spiritual state was no match for their dark power.

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   Several years ago I reached a turning point when God prompted me to take notice of the thoughts that were so troublesome to me. This prompting resulted in increasing my time spent in prayer and bible study. As my knowledge of God’s Truth increased, the lies within those fiery darts were exposed. Eventually, I began to break free of the chains that for years had held me in bondage.

    While I continue to battle fiery dart thinking, it no longer rules my thoughts. My thoughts are becoming saturated with God’s Word. Through prayer and bible study, I am learning to recognize & extinguish the lies of fiery darts.  Remember, depression stems from the lies of fiery darts.  But depression cannot take root in the soil of God’s Truth.

  In looking back on my journey, I have often pondered why it took so many years for me to reach the path that led me out of the darkness of my negative thinking. . .Therefore, my hope is that by sharing the lessons I learned, your journey out of the darkness will not be nearly as lengthy as mine. p 14-15, FD 3rd edition

Faith! It’s a scary thing!

   Why would I, a committed Christian, make such a statement? Christianity is all about faith. You wouldn’t think God would make it scary, right? 

Well, He doesn’t! But remember, 

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. p. 46, 3rd ed FD

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   Folks, it’s that great civil war that feeds our fears and doubts (alias fiery darts). Especially, when we can’t see where the path might be taking us.  Inevitably obstacles will show up along the way only adding to our fears. 

   Yes, it can be very scary to forge ahead.  Therefore, our confidence to take those forward steps must be fueled by Truth thoughts like the following:

and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 HCSB

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Exercising our faith in the face of fear will diminish our fear and increase our faith! 

Giving into fear will diminish our faith and give rise to more fear.

 

Out of the ashes!

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   The Las Vegas tragedy leaves us feeling that evil has the upper hand. The enemy of all of mankind, Satan, would have us  drowning in despair. He would have us questioning God as to how something so horrible could happen. He would have us becoming angry with God. His aim is to manipulate our thoughts so that we can’t find anything to feel hopeful about. 

  There’s a verse in the Bible, John 16:33, that tells us that in this world we will have tribulation. Well, we certainly know that’s true. Las Vegas only confirms it. We know from personal experience as a nation and as individuals that trials and troubles are a common thing in this fallen world we live in, Yet, our initial reaction when tragedy strikes is to cry out, “Why God? How could you let this happen?”

In times such as these, we must remember :

   God has warned us and tried to prepare us for the consequences of sin. After we messed up His original plan, He didn’t give up on us. He made a way where we could know peace in the midst of turmoil and tragedy. Because He knew that our rejection of Him would bring inevitable and sometimes tragic consequences.

But take heart:

   Jesus not only has overcome the world but He will return and straighten out the mess Satan has made of it. But until then we must not allow the fiery darts of hopelessness, anger, or despair blind us.

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   May we light the candle of faith. Only then will we see good triumphing over evil in Las Vegas. It’s an unspeakable horror, yes! But we can’t let that rule our thinking. Instead we must focus on the truths of God that pour forth in abundance from the beautiful stories rising out of the ashes of Las Vegas. 

   One by one, prayer by prayer, people are seeking God for His strength in overcoming this evil. They are reaching out to each other to assist, protect, or bring healing, With every act of bravery, self-sacrifice, love, compassion, etc. the enemy is being defeated.

 

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