Tag Archive | negative thinking

The significance of Thanksgiving!

 

   720936f75ec4eef1793ec0a2f3345d33     wyndham 7-17 all 20  retreat friends   th-10

 

 

  Obviously, the significance of Thanksgiving is that it is a time to pause and contemplate all the things we have to be thankful for. 

   Some broad categories for which I am thankful are Faith, Family, Friends, and Country, just like many of you, I imagine. But in this post, I will zero in on a significant aspect within the category of Faith whose impact carried over into Family, Friends, and Country.

   It was about 9 years ago, when God first introduced me to the concept of fiery darts.  That instruction opened my understanding of how I had been victimized by my own thoughts. Negative thoughts or what I eventually began to see as fiery darts. I shudder to think the course my life would have taken, had I not been awakened to the destructive force of fiery dart thinking.

   As my training proceeded, I began learning how I had been deceived by my old nature (my thoughts and attitudes prior to my becoming a Christian), and the world’s concept of truth (a truth void of God’s Truth). I discovered that the world’s concepts of truth held more sway over my thinking than God’s concept of Truth.

   That deception was advanced by my lack of spending time with God in His word. Notice, I didn’t mention that I did not spend time with God in prayer! Because I spent a lot of time praying. But you know what that amounted to? I spent a lot more time talking to God rather than listening to Him. For we hear God’s voice when we read the Bible. 

   When my talking to God and my listening to God got in balance, then and only then, did I find my way out of the bondage I had placed myself in with fiery dart thinking.

   This balance impacted how I dealt with problems within the context of family  and friend relationships. It encouraged me to take those problems to God. Faithfully He would lead me to a particular scripture or scriptures that would shed light on how I should respond. 

   There hasn’t been an area in my life that this balance hasn’t impacted. For example, instead of despairing over the negativity of our recent political climate, God reminds me of 2 Chronicles 7:14. My prayers for my country are worded according to God’s Word, not my despair.  

   When disaster strikes our nation, I’m reminded of verses such as John 16:33. My prayers are worded with the hope found there, not my fears. 

   Knowing how to counterattack the temptation to think negatively about our problems, presents us with a perspective that will identify solutions. 

   My expressions of thankfulness this holiday will be centered on the gratefulness I feel towards God for opening my understanding to what fiery darts are and how to defeat them. For that knowledge has enhanced the gratefulness I feel towards

my Faith, my Family, my Friends, and my Country. 

Fiery darts defined!

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

   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. 

 

 

I WILL NOT GO THERE AGAIN!

   We often don’t realize when we are in spiritual bondage. The work of fiery darts is to keep us blinded about such things; it’s the old ‘you can’t see the forest for the trees’ dilemma.

   When I think of the years (far too many) that negative thinking (you know, fiery darts) held me in bondage, I stand amazed all the more of God’s deliverance, for I was in my 50’s when God broke through my blindness and began cutting away the scar tissue wraught by years of fiery dart attacks. 

   In looking back on my journey, I have wondered at times why it took me so long to recognize the path out of the darkness of negative thinking that God had illuminated for me. FD p.3

   Recently, a particularly potent fiery dart that kept me enslaved for years and from which God tenderly and patiently has and continues to deliver me, reared it’s evil head. Those former negative emotions came in like a flood, attempting to pull me into the depths from which God’s lessons on fighting fiery darts had long since rescued me. 

   But this time, oh but this time,

I had had several years of experience (and healing) in fighting such temptations, and knew that I knew, I was not going there again! By God’s healing grace and by the power of His Word, He equipped me to resist and the impact of those ugly fiery darts fizzled in their power to pull me back into its bondage.

   Dear Readers,

do you ever get blindsided like this; an old wound that by God’s grace and your faithfulness in calling upon God about it, suddenly opens up attempting to pull you back into its bondage? I’m sure you won’t have any trouble identifying it for the fiery dart that it is, but because of its potency you may find yourself reeling from it once again (I know I did). This is when you summon all of your training in fighting this fiery dart and wield the force of God’s Word against it. For me and in this instance, God provided Galations 5:1. 

Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.

   Knowing this attack was on its way, God had prompted me to include this verse in my prayer journal weeks prior to this recent attack. It was there ready and waiting for me to grab and use to defeat my enemy. 

   Therefore, when the enemy attempts to blindside you as he did me, I would confidently remind you of the following:

…Victory is yours as Deuteronomy 20:4 reminds us, “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (NIV)  FD, p. 45

Want to know more about how you can defeat your own fiery dart attacks? Order Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice (check sidebar to order)

Stealing Christmas!

th-2

   Today, the circumstances of not being able to conveniently shop online for only a couple of  the gifts I needed to buy and have them speedily delivered to my home in just two days, forced me to join the horde of holiday shoppers in search of those two elusive gifts! For me, shopping within this context is anything but pleasant and is a constant challenge to resist the negative thoughts or fiery darts that attack my thinking. Thus a not so pleasant me was molded and shaped by my own thoughts! My face was set in a frown, I sighed a lot, and my patience wore thin.

   Sadly there was no fruit for my labors today!  And all afternoon I battled with negative thoughts. After walking out of the 4th store with still no treasures to claim, my frustration level, lack of patience, and all around bad attitude were steadily on the rise.

   The more commercialized we become during the Christmas season (which begins right after Halloween) the more I resent the effect this quest for gifts has on the Christmas spirit. I love Thanksgiving for all the reasons I’m beginning to dread Christmas. Thanksgiving is about being together as a family and guess what, “No gifts–just sweet togetherness!” And that is sweetly enough!

Do you see what was happening? My negative focus was producing a negative attitude. All I could think about was buying the gifts; not giving the gifts. A vast difference and not the attitude that would embrace the joy of Christmas, right?

I HAD TO MAKE THE DELIBERATE EFFORT TO RESIST THE NEGATIVITY!

  As I drove toward my home in the country, the grip of negativity began to lessen. I love driving past scenery where I see more land than buildings; where I see cows and horses grazing contentedly in their pastures. 

   In a more pleasant frame of mine, I arrived home. I opened up my computer and began reading a blog that helped me to recognize this day (with all that had transpired) as a gift. The blog went on to say that each day is all we get. I agree! And I was determined that I wasn’t going to allow the enemy to steal the gift God had given me in this day.

  So as we face this Christmas season, be aware of the enemy’s plan to aim the fiery darts of frustration, anger, greed, impatience, selfishness, etc. at us. Thoughts such as these will blind us, preventing us from receiving and sharing the splendid joy God has planned for all of us in this season. Giving into fiery darts such as I have mentioned will only allow the enemy to steal the Christmas God would desire for us to have.

Where does your strength come from?

god-strenght

   What keeps a person, who finds themselves in the darkness of a trial, from finding the light needed to escape the trial? Why is it that often they find themselves spiraling downward as one trial after another bears down upon them–draining them of any hope of rescue?

   As Christians we know that trials are a part of life. No one can escape them! Yet, when they happen to us we are tempted to think God is against us, that He doesn’t care that we are struggling or hurting, that God has forgotten us, that we don’t deserve what has happened to us and we wander around in our negativity confused and unable to come to terms with the trial.

   Sometimes we become so focused on the trial that like Peter we begin to sink in it (Matthew 14:22-33). Hope gives way to despair and we ask ourselves, “Where are you God?” And if we don’t get the answer we desire, we begin to pull away from God. Slowly our faith is drained away, leaving us in an anemic spiritual state, unable to believe we matter to God.

   My heart breaks for individuals who find themselves in such a state. For I know that in this weakened state, we are particularly vulnerable to negative thinking (fiery darts). Satan takes advantage of our loss of focus and attitudes are formed which lead to actions of destruction.

Chapter Three of Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice explains:

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 temptations to act negatively will be harder for us to resist. p. 15, FD
The psychologist will say that if behavior is to be changed, then the flow must be interrupted either at the thought or feeling point.p.16, FD

Look to the Light of God’s Word for therein lies your Hope!

   First we must recognize the temptation to think negatively for the fiery dart that it is. Keeping in mind that Satan’s plan is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10a) the abundant life God has planned for you (John 10:10b).

   For you see, those very trials that are an inevitable part of life, if responded to as God planned, have the potential to provide a greater strength and a deeper joy than we had prior to the trial.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:1-4

  We will find our hope and our direction as we search the Scriptures for Truth thoughts that address our trial. Perhaps, discovering that the source of our weakness was in neglecting time with God in prayer and absorbing the counsel of His Word. (the Source of our strength)

Cedar trees and fiery darts!

cedar trees

   Recently, I came across an article written by “the pioneer woman’s husband” (wow, the cool thing is that with this little bit of info most of my readers will know who I am talking about) God bless ’em!

http://thepioneerwoman.com/blog/2012/03/why-we-chop-down-cedar-trees/
. . . cedars look like harmless little trees. But left unchecked, those little trees will eventually produce thousands of seeds and spread across the property like wildfire. As they get bigger and more populous, they will eventually shade out the grassland and crowd out the better varieties of trees. I’ve seen many pastures where cedars have completely taken over an area, reducing the grazing capacity by seventy to eighty percent.

   For those of you have read my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, perhaps you thought, like I did when I read Mr. Drummond’s article, “umm, that sounds rather familiar.” I knew immediately where to look for that familiar thought and found it on page 25 of my book.

   Perhaps we have taken more seriously the larger weapons of temptation:  “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:19, HCSB)   What’s going on in our heads, the thoughts we have though not necessarily evil, aren’t taken as seriously as these larger temptations. For example, the confusion that keeps us from taking a step of faith would not be thought of as a serious temptation when compared to something like the temptation of sexual immorality.   So it’s pretty clear why the subtlety of a fiery dart is such an effective weapon. For those initial thoughts, while not as alarming as something like sexual immorality, if left unchecked can lead to gross sin. p. 25, FD

   I am a visual learner and in reading Mr. Drummond’s description of the destructive power of seemingly harmless looking cedar tree seedlings, I got a high definition picture of why we should take negative thinking (fiery darts) more seriously. 

   I have discovered in living life and in writing my book, that seemingly harmless negative thoughts (fiery darts), if left unchecked, will eventually produce an ever growing crop of lies. As they become more populous those fiery darts will begin to crowd out God’s Truths, and our ability to distinguish between the lies of fiery darts and God’s Truths will be severely diminished. 

praying%20hands-bible

There is a two-fold plan to prevent this from happening:

1) stay close to God in prayer

2) stay grounded in God’s Word

Cooperating with the enemy!

copy-book-pic1.jpg

   It’s been about 6 years since I first began  promoting the message contained within my book, pictured above. My heart has been encouraged time and again when readers share with me their testimonies of successfully defeating a fiery dart attack after applying the concepts from my book. These testimonies motivate me to persevere in promoting this liberating message. (As a matter of fact, I am working on an expansion of my book–adding chapters covering parenting, teens struggle with self-worth, and difficulties of loosing a spouse to death. I will need your prayerful support for this is a daunting task!)

   But as I listen to comments from some of those who have been exposed to the message of fiery darts, it is apparent that something is missing. Even for those who are making the connection between fiery darts and negative thinking, I’m still hearing comments flavored by too much defeat and frustration.

   When I think of the bondage in which negative thinking held me, on how it almost destroyed me then compare it to the freedom in which I now live, I can’t imagine why anyone would desire to remain in such bondage!  

   I do believe people are becoming more aware of how to identify the fiery darts with which they are wrestling, especially after making the connection between negative thinking and fiery darts. However, I’m getting the feeling that they think the battle is over just by identifying the fiery dart thought that attacked them. Yet, just saying, “That’s a fiery dart,” does absolutely nothing to deflect the negative thought.

   May I respectfully remind you that after the fiery dart is acknowledged, it’s imperative that it be rejected, and following that you MUST replace it with a Truth thought! (refer to the tab entitled, The 3R’s of Fighting Fiery Darts, of this blog)

WHY?

Because that fiery dart will return until its mission has been accomplished.

(which is, remember, to steal, kill, and destroy the works of God in your lives!) 

   Just acknowledging the fiery dart’s attack does little to eradicate it. And rejecting it only leaves a void that must be filled. When it returns, as it surely will, if it is does not find a Truth thought in its place each and every time it attempts to enter your mind, it will pick up where it left off, poisoning attitudes and actions designed to weaken your faith and make you ineffective as a Christian. Just what the enemy had in mind all along.