Archives

From despair to freedom!

   There was a time when despair lurked beneath the surface of my thoughts almost constantly. In hindsight and especially after my lessons on fiery dart thinking, I now know that I was being victimized by fiery dart thinking. Or using a term you might relate to easier, negative thinking.

   My schooling in spiritual warfare taught me a lesson that transformed my walk with God.  Being the people pleaser that I was, I cared too much about what others thought of me. I lost my focus as to who I was in Christ. Instead my self worth had more to do with what I thought others thought of me. Obviously, if their treatment of me left me wounded, then my self worth plummeted. 

   I now realize that my temptation to despair had mostly to do with the thoughts in my head. If they were negative (and way too often they were) then a hopeless despair pulled at me constantly. 

   Learning how to reject those negative thoughts (fiery darts) and replace them with God’s Truth thoughts (Ephesians 6:16) set me on a road to recovery and to freedom. A lengthy process, I admit, but one well worth embarking upon; life saving in fact!

th-28

No matter what others thought of me, or what I thought they thought, the Truth thought is found in Isaiah 43:4. I learned to make that my focus.

 

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. 

 

 

Defeated?

th-7

The Spanish Armada

   That is a word that rings too loudly and too often in many people’s heads. For some it rings for the sole purpose of influencing defeat, especially in a Christian’s life. It rings so loudly that it drowns out the Truth thoughts of God. Which is precisely it’s purpose. 

   Isn’t it odd that this happens to Christians! Christians have God on their side and He can defeat anyone or anything that is set against His will. But it happens!

Why?

   When we first become Christians we are like infants. And like infants, we must be consistently fed and nourished in order to grow and mature. However, many Christians today have experienced arrested development. This happens because we have not remained constant in feeding upon the Truths of God’s Word. And because we have not remained constant in prayerful communication with God, we have failed to develop in a healthy manner. 

   The unavoidable results of such neglect, produces such a weakened state that Christians  find themselves easily distracted by anything that is designed to keep them from these two disciplines. Eventually, we begin to live our lives not for Christ, but for ourselves. We turn our ears to listen to the World, instead of God. 

If this describes our state of existence as Christians, then Defeated will be the word that will define our existence.

   Do you feel defeated, confused, frustrated?   Please understand that these thoughts stem from your flesh, and Satan uses them to design fiery dart thinking, meant to undermine the wonderful plans God has for you. If these thoughts are ruling your thinking, then you have been cooperating with the enemy. Perhaps, you were unaware of this. But it doesn’t have to continue. 

th-8

The following are Truth thoughts that will ensure the victory God has planned for us!

And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 ESV

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV

Facing the Future, whatever it brings!

    Once again we are wrapped up in a presidential election. Once again the fiery darts of negativity are being aimed and far too often are reaching their mark. In the past, I have allowed these fiery darts to victimize my thinking, tempting me to hopelessness and despair as I endured yet another presidential election, but NOT THIS YEAR!

   How could I possibly face such a bleak future as seems likely for our country, considering the insecurity cast by the growing threat of terrorism, the rebellion reflected in the moral upheaval in our courts considering abortion and same-sex marriage, the rejection of our country’s foundational principles evident in congressional decision, etc?

   For I know that when society collectively rejects God, then we are set on a path of destruction. And as long as society collectively continues to reject God, there is no hope that things will improve–on the contrary, things will continue to deteriorate. 

   Again, I pose the question, “How could I possibly face such a bleak future and not feel overwhelmed by despair and hopelessness?”

Here’s how!

 Every time I am tempted with despair and/or hopelessness, or any other fiery dart thoughts of a similar nature, I put the following plan into action: 

First

I recognize those thoughts for the fiery darts they are. I know that focusing on them will eat away at my faith, weakening me with every attack. 

Second

 I reject such thoughts, so as to prevent them from taking root and influencing further attitudes and actions.

Third 

I replace such hopeless thinking with Truth thoughts and those thoughts become my focus from which my attitude and actions spring from. 

Truth thoughts such as:

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV

   I would like to quote Tony Evans’s comment from Decision magazine, February 2016, titled Prayer That Turns A Nation, p. 13

“If enough Christians in places of responsibility in the fields of medicine, law, government, education, the media, and even the church begin to humble themselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways, we could influence this culture and make the presence of Christ felt top to bottom and bottom to top.”

   But what if that doesn’t happen? What’s a Truth thought for that despairing question?

My dear readers, the day will come when:

. . .  that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth —and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:10-11

   And those of us who are Christians, what does the future hold for us in the midst of society’s rejection of God?

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 HCSB

   Therefore, I face my personal future and my country’s future with the confident assurance promoted in the above verses. On a daily basis, I commit to cooperating with God as He works out His plans for me making sure that my attitudes and actions are based on Truth thoughts not fiery dart thinking. And daily I pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 for myself, my family, my friends, and my country. 

Merry Christmas?

th-5

 

   As wonderful as the message of CHRISTmas is, the sad fact is that multitudes of people miss it; don’t  even get it, don’t realize they need it, or have never heard of it! The holidays only serve to accentuate the fact that they are alone, depressed, forgotten, ignored, or even angry!

   All of the above, and even more, are examples of the types of fiery darts aimed at our minds to keep us in the dark about the hope offered during this time of the year. The enemy’s intent is to keep us so deep in darkness, so self-absorbed with our misery, that we won’t be able to notice the lifelines available to us or awaken us to our need for the hope offered–all the work and effect of fiery dart thinking!

   Why is it that we reject the babe born in the manger and all that His birth offers and embrace, instead, any and every insipid substitute that makes claim to posses a Christmas spirit? The  enemy’s efforts to darken our understanding and separate us from the life God has planned for us, as is pointed out in Ecclesiastes 3:11, exposes why.

   Now can you understand why the birth of the Christ child is such Good News? Because of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection we have access to the power that will prevent our understanding from being darkened and will prevent us from being separated from the life God has planned for us.  WE DON’T HAVE to feel alone, forsaken, embittered, depressed, or unloved during the holidays.

   Time and time again within the pages of the Holy Bible we find verses that promise us that God will never leave us or forsake us that we are loved no matter what that we have worth that we are forgiven and that we can forgive that we matter that He cares for us. That dear readers is the Good News our enemy relentlessly works to conceal-especially at Christmas!

Therefore, this Hope is ours to choose:

  But we MUST begin by refusing to believe that we have no hope, that we are unloved or forsaken or worthless. We must refuse to believe that there’s no way out of our darkness, or depression; that we have no control over the state we find ourselves. We must reject such thinking and as soon as we can get our hands on a Bible we must search for the Truth thoughts with which to supplant these negative thoughts (fiery darts) the minute they enter our minds. In the meantime, camp down on this:

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

Words for Parents!

   Image-1

   There are some youngsters near and dear to me that have recently embarked upon that vulnerable journey in life referred to as adolescents. And I am being reminded of the pitfalls that await our children during this section of their life’s journey as I learn of the struggles my loved ones are facing.

   Therefore, I pass along the following in the hopes that if you or your adolescent is having a difficult time maneuvering through the challenges of this time, you may find these ‘words’ to be the lifesaver for you that they were for me. 

*    *    *    *

   As my children came along, I knew, from my own experience, that I had to find a way to protect them from the damage negative words could inflict, especially negative teasing. Thus I believe God prompted me to establish a rule in our household of “no negative teasing”. 

th-3

   Negative teasing at some level inflicts pain. Sure on the surface we may be laughing but down deep we aren’t! It certainly doesn’t build up someone to teasingly call them ‘stupid’ now does it?

   But the most revealing and powerful force to defeat the negative thinking that years of hurtful words had produced in my own life, regretfully didn’t come to me until I was in my 50’s. Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice is the compilation of lessons given to me in how to overcome and/or heal from the damage caused by hurtful words.

power10 

   It is from this perspective of healing that I offer these words to parents, for we must pass on to our adolescents an awareness of the Truth thought found in Ephesians 4:29 (opening photo)! We should model the Truth of this verse in the words our children hear coming from our mouths before we try to impress upon them how to filter their words through this Truth.

NEXT

   We need to teach our children how to handle the hurtful words (whether teasing or otherwise) that is inflicted upon them. For without this guidance our children will be tempted to believe things about themselves that are nothing but lies.

   We must teach our children that God’s Word is the most powerful of all weapons to destroy the enemy’s fiery dart attacks. However, we must first learn how to use that weapon for ourselves then we will be equipped to pass along successfully what we have learned to our children.

   Within the Bible are counter attacks for every fiery dart Satan throws at us and our children. Therefore, it is imperative that we teach our children (after first learning for ourselves)  how to recognize Satan’s fiery darts, then how to call upon God’s Word to defend themselves. (Ephesians 6:16)

the_sword_of_truth_2_by_eblackmore-d4zm1i9

A FINAL WORD

   Please remember that the flesh is weak. If we do not arm ourselves with the Sword of Truth, our flesh will not be able to resist the temptations that will arise from the fiery dart attacks. But by wielding the Sword of Truth against every hurtful word, the tempter’s plans to weaken us will be demolished. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

 

Not all temptations are obvious!

Most anyone of us reading this post could define temptations, but how keen are we at recognizing them? For while some temptations are obvious, others are not.

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. p. 25-26, FD

   My prayer and purpose in writing Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, was to alert anyone who would read it to the weapon of the enemy in undermining the plans God has for us through the subtly of negative thoughts (fiery darts). When we do not recognizing negative thinking as a weapon in its earliest form, we do so at our own peril. 

Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks. Someone has said very aptly: ‘Resist the beginnings; remedies come too late, when by long delay the evil has gained strength.’ First, a mere thought comes to mind, then strong imagination, followed by pleasure, evil delight, and consent. Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry. And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.”  p. 46, FD

   As we pull further and further away from God’s Word and communication with Him in prayer, then our capacity to recognize these early temptations for the weapons they are is weakened. 

   It is glaringly clear that our country’s corporate mind, having been tempted (and having succumbed) to forsake the principles on which she was founded, has lost her ability to recognize those temptations that contradict those principles. Therefore, she is being manipulated to think that government policies, economic policies, or changes in leadership is the key to the problems we face. This has been the pattern of our thinking for much of our past and look where it has gotten us; a country under the judgement of God!

   If our land is to be healed, we must first recognize the fiery darts that have deceived us, then  we must reject them, and, finally, replace the mindset of lies that seems to prevail in our leadership today with the following Truth thought (it’s our only hope):

 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)