Tag Archive | fiery darts

The Secret of Survival

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   My summer has been jam packed with mountain top experiences. As much as I could, I lived in the celebration of every moment. Yet, I knew that come the end of August, it would all come to a screeching halt. Then would come the valley.

   I think one of the most troubling aspects of my valleys is that I am tempted to forget what I know to be true about God.  The reason being is that Satan never lets up with those fiery darts. With all those fiery darts swirling around in my thoughts, it’s hard to sort through all that mess and find those Truth Thoughts.

   And I know that if my low times become severe enough, depression can set in. Depression is a wicked thing! One of the most deadly tactics used by Satan in depression is to drain our thoughts of hope. He will shoot one lie after another, clothe them with common sense truths, and if we fall for it… Yep, depression!

Because of that common sense truth, we will entertain the thought, and the poison of the lie will permeate our thinking. It is the lie that will motivate our actions, which is contrary to God’s will. p. 38, 3rd Edition FD

  In a previous blog, I wrote about my summer of extreme highs and lows. I had a future to face that looked bleak to me. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to face it or handle it. Then one night as I was reading my bible, I came upon the following verse: Proverbs 23:18

   The key words for me in this verse were ‘future’ and ‘hope’. As I meditated upon this Truth thought, the darkness began to recede. I’m still in the valley, but I’m not in despair. It’s still hard, but it’s not hopeless. 

   Then just yesterday, a friend shared another verse with me: Jeremiah 31:25

   I have been languishing, for sure. And I certainly am weary. Yet, I know that it is vital for me to ‘receive’ those Truth’s. That’s the secret of my survival.

  Therefore, I take one day at a time (that’s scriptural) and proceed forward. Perhaps with caution, but nevertheless forward. 

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The benefits of a valley experience!

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   If you’ve noticed you haven’t heard from me in awhile, you would be correct. It seems I am, and have been for quite some time, in a valley. A valley that just stretches out before me with no exits or mountain tops in sight.

   Being the author of a book about negative thinking, I have a working knowledge of how to fight the negative thoughts (my constant companions in this valley). Therefore, I know that God’s Truth thoughts are the key to finding my way out. And for brief periods of time, those Truth thoughts lit up a possible exit. But alas, it was only short lived.

   At this point, I still find myself in the valley. And I don’t have much hope of  leaving this place any time soon. So, what should I do? 

   May I insert here that while I am living in the valley at the moment, it is NOT a dark valley. God’s Truth thoughts which I focus on prevent such darkness. It is not a valley without hope of finding a way out. While the negative thoughts of despair, discouragement, and thoughts of giving up do tempt me, they do not rule my thinking. They do not prevail! 

   Also, I find that in this valley, I am tempted with thoughts of self-condemnation. This judgmental attitude towards myself and others (especially those I have complaints against) keep my vision clouded. And yes, I am weary of the fight against feeling sad, disheartened, and discouraged.

So what’s the answer here?

   Giving into these fiery darts will only plant me permanently in this desolate valley. I DO NOT DESIRE THAT! Nor does God! 

   Here’s a thought! Why not just accept this valley time? I ask myself, “Why on earth would I do that?” To which I believe God gave me this reply:

Isaiah 48:17, This is what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel says, I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you for your benefit who leads you in the way you should go.

   If I cooperate with the LORD, and instead of asking Him to lift me out of this valley (because really, it’s unpleasant and I don’t like being here), then my time in this valley will produce benefits for me.

   So! I should quite spinning my wheels trying to escape this valley I’m stuck in! Instead, I should turn my energies towards cooperating with God in order to learn the lessons He has for me here. Keeping in mind that it is for my benefit.

To Which I reply!

“Okay, not the answer I was striving for! My flesh would much rather You would just lift me out of this valley. Make things easier, you know! But I recognize those fiery darts for what they are. There’s only one way out. That’s Your way, not my way!”

 

GOD’S DESIGN

   Too often our minds are cluttered with thoughts not of God’s design. Cluttered thinking prevents us from hearing God’s quite voice. Life get’s confused and complicated. Solutions to problems evade us. Our vision becomes clouded and we loose our direction. Thoughts such as these are what I call ‘fiery darts.’ Designed to undermine the work of God in our lives.

   If you have ever been plagued with such thoughts, perhaps the following will give you a lift:

God’s Design

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Beyond the boundaries of my front porch view, lies a world troubled and confused.

A world full of people who have lost their way.

People who can no longer recognize the beauty of truth.

Peace escapes them, in spite of all their grasping.

Solutions to problems remain unfound.

Life is lived at a fast pace, so, little is heard of God’s voice.

Loosing sight of what’s valuable, is the result.

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But here on my front porch, time stands still.

Allowing me to pause and experience His quietness:

A dove cooing in the distance, joins the bird chorus nearby.

Hummingbirds buzzing near my porch feeders.

Silky, gentle breezes offers accent to my reverie.

I feast on the green of the hay fields, and mown lawn laid out before me.

Trees in the spring freshness of their green bordering my view,

Allow me to bask in a morning set at the perfect temperature.

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As I gaze upon the scene before me,

Disturbing thoughts of worry and fear give way to thoughts more sublime,

Thoughts more in keeping with God’s design.

Motherhood? His Calling?

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   I love being a mother! I love being a grandmother! I have always felt these roles to be more of a calling for me than anything else. My perspective on Motherhood finds its basis within that calling. Motherhood fulfills me like nothing else.

   Yet, I raised my four children in a time when Motherhood had begun to loose its splendor! The feminist movement had a lot to do with that, I think. Fortunately, my mother and my maternal grandmother were splendid role models. Their positive influence offset the negative influence of society’s changing perspective on Motherhood for me.

   But the most powerful force that shaped my mindset regarding Motherhood was the awareness that God had called me to this role. 

   His calling on my life, carried me when I felt like a failure as a mom. His calling gave me strength to mother when I felt I had none of my own. His calling motivated me to respect the individuality of my children. His calling influenced  me to take a positive approach with my children. His calling impressed upon me the importance of being a godly example to my children. His calling kept me grounded in what was truly important concerning my children. His calling defined the values I wanted to instill in my children. His calling helped me to teach my children how to stand against the world.

   I could go on and on. But suffice it to say, having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, made ALL the difference in how I mothered my children. It was  His calling  that helped me recognize the fiery darts that were set to undermine my role as a mom. His calling empowered me to reject the lies the World declared about Motherhood. His calling implanted His Truth in my mind and replaced those lies.

   Too many women have allowed the world’s concept of truth to alter their thinking about Motherhood. Rejecting the role given to them by God, they have given themselves over to lies and manipulation. Removing God’s Truths from their lives and replacing them with the lies prevalent in our society has deadly consequences. For the unbeliever, obviously, but for the believer as well.

Christians, weakened in spirit, will not have the strength to stand against the world. It stands to reason, then, that the weaker Christians are spiritually, the more likely they will succumb to fiery dart attacks, designed to alter their attitude and actions toward what’s going on in the world. p. 48 FD, 3rd Edition

WHILE YOU WAIT

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I sit by an open window.

Gazing upon the greenness of the fields and trees in view,

Feeling the cool gentle breezes brush across my face,

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Listening to the sweet songs of the birds,

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As I pour my heart out to You.

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With all this the fiery darts compete,

Blinding me from the view from my window,

Distracting me from the comfort of the cool gentle breezes,

Drowning out the sweetness of the bird’s songs.

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And the answers I seek don’t come.

I wonder how long must I wait?

Then the serenity of the view from my window,

The cool gentle breezes caressing my face,

The sweet songs of the birds blessing my hearing,

Awaken my senses.

It’s then that I see, feel, and hear Your voice,

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Do not fret or worry, for I’m working on your problem.

While you wait, take comfort in the serene view from your window,

Relax as the cool gentle breezes caress your face,

Allow the sweet songs of the birds to calm you.

They are gifts from Me to you,

To comfort you while you wait!

 

 

Are We Satisfied or Discontented? We choose!

Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Hebrews 13:5, 

  Anyone who reads the above verse would identify immediately the wisdom of these words. We know that if we had our anchor in the Truth thought that God will never leave us or forsake us, we would be able to be satisfied with what we have. Right? Then if we know these words are true, then why is it that it’s hard to be someone who is free from the love of money?

   I would venture to say that the fiery dart of ‘comparison’ would be at the root of our dissatisfaction. It is just natural to compare ourselves to others who have more than we do.  We begin to feel sorry for ourselves. We might even notice jealously creeping into our thoughts. 

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   The nature of these fiery darts is to steal our satisfaction with what we have been given by God. We aren’t able to be content because we always want more. And not being content will lead to a whining and complaining attitude. That’s a miserable way to choose to live!

   So when we find ourselves wrestling with comparing ourselves to others who have more and find ourselves becoming discontented with what we have been blessed with,  be smart and recognize them immediately for the fiery darts they are. And every single time   these fiery darts invade your thinking, reject them and replace this thinking with Hebrews 13:5.

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   Focusing on the Truth thoughts in this verse will lead to a satisfied and contented attitude towards life. That is a blessed way to choose to live.

Sometimes we just need to fast!

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Sometimes there is such a controversy going on in our heads between fiery darts and Truth thoughts, that we find we just can’t think straight! Some fiery darts are obvious! So we simply reject them. Some fiery darts make a lot of sense (common sense truth, p.38, 3rd edition FD)! Those are harder to sort through but reject them we must. And each and every time we reject a fiery dart, replacing it with a Truth thought is mandatory. Otherwise, more fiery darts will rush back in (to keep our thinking murky)! (The 3 R’s of FD’s page of this blog)

Clear thinking seems to be beyond our grasp at times like these. But clear thinking is just what is required to gain the peace we long for. If our problematic situation leaves us frustrated, discouraged, disheartened, angry, (all fiery darts, by the way) and our prayers are flavored with these menacing thoughts, then I recommend fasting!

Fasting isn’t a very popular spiritual discipline! We are willing to try praying a little more, counseling with a friend, or reading the Bible more. But fasting? We admit defeat before we even start with that one. Too hard! Can’t do it!

And oh my, what if we make the valiant effort  but feel impressed to fast more than once! Fast until the light begins to dawn, and our thinking becomes clear? Until we finally get the answer to that problem we fasted over in the first place? Hold on, we may find ourselves asking. Is that really necessary?

Listen, we are not going to be encouraged to fast. (The natural bent within us is to avoid fasting) But there are some problems that just don’t find their solution any other way. It’s a heavy Truth! But one we must not wrangle with God over. If, we truly are seeking answers!

I have a few suggestions. Listen to Christian music during your fast. Reason being, we need to be reminded of the things the fiery darts would have us forget while we are fasting. Do this in addition to pausing now and then to read the Bible. We have to be deliberate about what we focus on. And journaling our thoughts and the whisperings of the Holy Spirit during a fast will prevent forgetfulness. 

And remember, one time may not be enough. (Most likely it won’t) Just be open to following God’s lead in this. Pray for God’s strength to persevere until the answer or the peace comes! Keep in mind, the fiery darts would tempt us to quit (though the breakthrough or the turning point may be just steps away)!

 

 

Money or Faith? What do we need more of?

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   It’s the end of the month. You hold your breath as you juggle the figures to see if you are going to be able to keep your head above water. For many this scenario plays out on a monthly basis. 

   Thoughts (or fiery darts) such as despair, fear, and panic have the potential to sap us of any hope that things will get any better. We avoid looking into the future. It’s just too scary!

   All this negativity makes us hard to live with. It’s difficult to focus on anything but our dire financial circumstances. We anger easily, and patience with those we love is in short supply. Worry is our constant companion. 

   In our personal attempts to find relief, we too often fall flat on our face. Even if we achieve that financial relief we are desperate for, it can too often be at the expense of relationships that depend upon us. 

   What I’ve just described is how it goes down for those of us who are ruled by fiery dart thinking. This kind of thinking blinds us to what our greatest need is during a financial crises. Which is:

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FAITH!

   It’s life changing (and not natural) to face a financial crises and say to yourself, “What I need here is more faith!” 

   Admitting we need more faith in a financial crises, will direct our thoughts to verses like the following:

Luke 12:24

Matthew 6:31, 34

Philippians 4:19

Psalm 34:10

   These are some examples of the Truth thoughts that should be ruling our thinking during financial difficulty. Every time a fiery dart thought attempts to take root, reject it and replace it with Truth thoughts (p. 93, 3rd edition FD’S)  like the ones mentioned above. 

   The result will be to give us a new focus, a hopeful focus. We won’t be afraid to look into the future.

   Hey, I know it’s easy to read these words. And I also know that its no easy task to deliberately and persistently reject natural thinking fiery darts with Truth thoughts. 

   But if we do, God will begin working out His plans for us and our money problems will find their solutions in Him. It’s hard to believe this but it’s true! Our greatest need in a financial crises is to trust God with it.  

 

 

If you have been wounded by anger, perhaps you need to read this!

There’s the person who exhibits anger (last post).

Then there’s the person who gets wounded by such anger (this post). 

   Okay, someone close to you has a temper and far too often you bear the brunt of it. How do you deal with it?  Do you coward down and allow yourself to become victimized and manipulated by their anger? If this is the case, then let’s be clear about where this path will lead.

I would encourage you to remember that you choose victory or defeat. And know that by refusing to choose, you actually choose to fall and suffer defeat. p 65, 3rd edition FD

The Bad News!

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   Living in fear (heavy duty fiery dart) that something you might say or do will incite an angry response from a loved one is like living in a dark dungeon. The darkness hides any route of escape. The longer you remain in that darkness, the more your thoughts will be controlled by that darkness. You will become vulnerable to the lies of one fiery dart thought after another (each one progressively worse). You will become so distracted by this fiery dart thinking that it will begin to rule you. Satan’s plan to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10a) is set in motion.

That’s the bad news! The good news is that we possess the means to undo Satan’s plan to sow the seeds of destruction . . . By becoming a student of God’s Word and communicating with God on a regular basis, we are in possession of everything we need to foil Satan’s plan. It’s that simple! p. 70, 3rd edition FD

The Good News!

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   The very very first thing you must do is to collect a store of Truth Thoughts (refer to the 3 R’s of FD’s page of this blog)  with which to extinguish each and every fiery dart thought that’s aimed at you. I offer the following practical advice on how to do this:

I have also found a simple electronic concordance to be especially helpful when searching for verses to combat fiery darts. Or try doing an Internet search for a verse that relates to a struggle you may be having with a fiery dart/negative thought. p 62, 3rd edition FD

   Remember, your loved one isn’t the enemy!

   They are being controlled and manipulated just as you were by Satan’s fiery darts. By focusing on the Truth Thoughts God will lead you to, you will learn how to center your thoughts on God. This will have the blessed benefit of shining light into that dark dungeon you were in. And your route of escape to the abundant life God has planned for you (John 10:10b) will be revealed. 

   This will transform your thinking and how you respond to the anger of your loved one. You will begin to see beyond their anger and will be in a position to lead them to their own freedom and healing. 

Learning how to let God help!

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I’ve come to realize that crying out to God concerning my problems is not all there is!

   Pouring out our hearts to God does offer some relief from the burdens we carry.  But, if we walk away after depositing our load at Jesus’s feet, then we have left prematurely! And I wonder if it’s not too long before we find ourselves carrying that very same burden again, finding it just as heavy as it was before. 

Ever been there? Then join the club!

   For most of my Christian life, unloading my burdens in prayer was a faithful ritual. The temptation (or fiery dart) of that was in thinking that was all that was required of me. My real problem was I had been doing a lot of talking, but very little listening. 

If I could put into words, here is what I sensed my LORD was saying to me:

  You pour your heart out to me, pretty consistently! That is good! And I listen to you, but I can’t say that you listen to Me.  I want to help you with your problems, but you will have to do less talking and more listening for that to happen. 

    You see I was going to the Source for the answers to my problems but as soon as I got through unloading them on God, I’d say Amen, then go on my way. I would ask God for His help, but I wouldn’t hang around long enough to find out how He planned on helping me!

   You know what? I didn’t really know how to listen to God. Which meant I didn’t know how to let God help me. 

  So, how do we let God help us?

   When we spend time with God as we read and study the Bible, He will lead us to the very verses that addresses our problems. It’s in accepting and applying those truth’s to those problems that will lead to the solutions we are so desperate for. That’s how we listen! That’s how we learn!