Tag Archive | trials

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.

 

 

 

Thanks for my trials!

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give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:8

In All circumstances?

How can we be thankful for the not so good circumstances?

   I have come to understand the answer to this question quite vividly as I was counseled by God during the writing of Fiery Darts.

   For too many years, my walk with God was characterized by more defeat than victory. Then, just a few years ago, I began to experience a gradual, yet powerful, transformation in my faith walk. As God continued to shed light on the darkness, which had plagued my walk with Him, I began to identify the source of my defeat. It became glaringly clear that negative thinking was at the core of my problematic walk with God. p. 14  FD 3rd edition

The Results?

   I learned to identify the great civil war (p.44 FD) that was going on within me. Eventually, I became more skilled in  distinguishing between the thoughts originating from my flesh, my natural bent, and those which were being whispered to me by God.      

     Finally, the attacks from my enemy, which were designed for my defeat, began to fall short of their mark. With every trial, I gained more strength, as long as I saw it from God’s perspective and rejected the fiery darts!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3 NIV

The reason I can be thankful for the trials?

    Some trials I continue to wrestle with! But now instead of despair, I know joy. Instead of defeat, I know victory! It’s God’s battle plan for our trials. 

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3, NIV

Where does your strength come from?

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   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)

Suffering? Nope that’s not for me!

It’s only been a month since I returned from my 2 1/2 month stay in Africa where my son, daughter-in-law, and newborn grandson serve as missionaries.  And I am still processing the numerous lessons I was introduced to while there.  But there’s been one on my mind that continues to surface on a regular basis.

One of the conversations I had with my son as he was helping me get through a difficult time was the conflicting attitude many Christians here in the U.S. seem to portray.  It has to do with our attitude towards suffering.

SUFFERING?  Nope that’s not for me!

If I have lived my life as a good Christian should, then God will bless me.  And if something bad happens to me, I am going to pray and get as many  as I can to join with me, asking God to deliver me from this bad thing.

Please notice the following excerpt from my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, p. 38

Ever noticed how reluctant we are to suffer for Christ?  When someone gets sick, we automatically ask God to heal.  Take the suffering away and we deprive ourselves from learning how to handle suffering and as a result grow more like Christ.  Does anyone think that this life can be lived without suffering?  Not really, so why do we recoil from it when it comes our way?

Life can’t be lived without experiencing difficulty.  Yet the fiery darts persist in trying to convince us that if we live our lives as a good Christian should then our lives will be blessed and that should result in an easier life.  I don’t really think any Christian would say they believe such nonsense, but by the way we ‘recoil’ from suffering and automatically begin praying to be delivered or be healed, I think we are acting as if we do.  You think?

We want an easy life, or at least that’s what the fiery darts will try to convince us of.  But we experience salvation, the hope of eternal life, abundant life in the here and now–and the list goes on and on–JUST BECAUSE someone was willing to suffer on our behalf.

Be ever so careful my dear ones when hard times come your way.  There’s a sweetness in that trial that will only be tasted as we submit our wills to God and trust Him to work it all out for our good.  (Just like Romans 8:28 says)

James 1 encourages us to count it all joy when we suffer from trials and tribulations.  Why? Because there is something lacking in our lives and if we will only cooperate with God as we go through these trials, then whatever is lacking will be supplied by that trial.

Oh, I can just hear that fiery dart being whispered in your head about now.

“Are you kidding me? Whatever it is that’s lacking, I’m sure is something you would rather live without, right?”

You see, the fiery darts want to cloudy up your thinking so that you won’t remember verses like Jeremiah 29:11, where God reminds us that His plans for us are good plans that will give us a hopeful future.  The Holy Spirit reminds us, we have to cooperate with God as He works out those plans.

Are you going through a hard time right now?  As God to help you identify the fiery dart thinking that is keeping you from identifying the power God supplies you with to be victorious.  As a matter of fact, refer to p. 79 in my book and learn how to attack the fiery darts that are designed to pull you down so you will know NOTHING of the victory God has planned for you in that trial!