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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.

Some relief please!

   Does your life seem complicated at times?  Do you feel like you just don’t have God’s full attention? You pray for guidance but it seems God remains silent. Does the peace you earnestly seek for continue to elude you? You fast, but the answers and the peace do not come. And while you are still waiting for answers, you get punched in the gut with more problems! 

  Yet, you have the sense to know that answers won’t come from any other source. Therefore, you know you must persevere. So you keep on asking the LORD.  All the while wondering when the relief will come.

  In the meantime, fiery darts are messing with your resolve to seek the LORD. They plant doubt and confusing thoughts into your mind. With these fiery dart thoughts,  your seeking the LORD grows more complicated. For now you must sort through these dark thoughts to be able to hear from and be guided by God’s Truth thoughts. 

What do you do in these valley times? 

   Might I suggest that you attack the fiery dart thoughts (those thoughts of negativity, hopelessness, discouragement, doubt, fear, impatience, etc) as soon as they enter your mind. Replace them with Truth thoughts such as Isaiah 54:17, Jeremiah 29:11, Hebrews 11:1, John 14:27, James 1:2-4, Philippians 2:13, Isaiah 43:4. Words from God to encourage you, give you hope, and to lift you up.

  And we’ve all lived long enough to know that sometimes the answers won’t come quickly (which seems the rule not the exception). At times, we might find that we just have to wait for the answers that seem so long in coming. It is during such times that we must arm ourselves with verses that instruct us as we wait.

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  It is good for us to remember, that these dark times have a purpose. (Romans 8:28) God will use these times for our benefit and His glory.  Therefore, focusing on the following word from God, will keep our heads above water. And though the answers still may not come for awhile, these words will give us the relief we need to keep on keeping on. 

 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.

 

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!

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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.

 

You can break free of strongholds

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 Recently, in the midst of a joyous time of my life (externally), I have been plagued by an onslaught of negative thinking. Odd though it may be that I would be attacked like this when my days were filled with happy events, considering my bent I’m not surprised. For there was a time (starting in my mid twenties and intensifying as the years passed) when negative thinking and God’s Truths waged a battle royal and too often negative thinking won out.

   Over the years this negative thinking on my part forged a stronghold that continuously threatened the spiritual renewal that had taken place in the early years of my adulthood.  Afterwords as life began to happen, I struggled with maintaining a consistency in my bible study and prayer life. Predictably, the spiritual renewal that was burning within me instead of increasing in strength began to dwindle, leaving me vulnerable to negative thinking. Thus bit by bit, negative thoughts laid the groundwork for a stronghold that could have ruined my life had not I cried out to God for His rescue. Psalm 18:6  God indeed rescued me and enabled me to survive those dark days, but it was only since learning about the enemy’s tactics in the use of  fiery darts that I began to make sense out of the whole mess.

   This was the stronghold that God addressed when He began exposing the enemy’s tactics that had held me captive for too many years. As dominant as this stronghold was in my life, I now realize I must be diligent in my prayers and bible study (nothing else can substitute). I know my vulnerability and to the degree I stay diligent in these two disciplines, the power this stronghold has over me can be overthrown.

   So in the midst of this recent attempted attack by the enemy, God faithfully guided me towards the following words from Jesus Calling:

Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings… It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings.

   As I read the above words, it clarified for me how it was that I could harbor such internal negative feelings while in the happy throws of a long awaited family celebration. As long as I was more focused on negative thoughts, my negative feelings would not be displaced, no matter what was going on externally.

    So when the enemy tempts me with fiery dart thinking, I have learned that to know Peace I must make a deliberate choice to turn my focus toward God and His presence. It’s been my experience that’s the only sure way to break free of the enemy’s stronghold. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

 

Loosing the Civil War?

Who tells the Truth?

   Recently, in my research about the battle that goes on between our old nature and our new nature as a Christian(1), I came across a reference that described this battle as a civil war. I think that is an apt description.

   You see, it’s like this. We have this old nature, by means of our physical birth, which is predisposed to sin. It is what rules us until we experience a new birth, that is salvation, which seeks to please God. After the new nature moves in, the old nature is no longer in charge and self gets dethroned. Now the battle royal begins!(2) And this is where our will (you know that part of us that makes choices) must be understood. Upon becoming a Christian, our will seeks to please God and willingly forsakes the throne to give it up to Christ. However, our old nature was quite attached to that throne and will make repeated attempts to persuade our will to again choose in its favor. So, what do you think? Are our wills making some bad choices? Why? Consider the following:

     Unsurprisingly, if you aren’t even aware of the existence of this civil war within yourself, or if you only know of it vaguely and aren’t consciously engaged in fighting it, then you will inevitably be defeated. You can’t possibly win this battle against your flesh unless you know what is going on and are determined to fight. Once you realise that you can then start to make decisions, with your will, so as to take the side of your new man in opposing and resisting the old man. – See more at: http://www.realchristianity.com/world-flesh-devil/introduction.html#sthash.1h2HgYZZ.dpuf

   How do we fight this battle and win?

   First, we must accept the fact that our winning is not just a one time event. Every day, for the rest of our lives, we must be ready to  go at it again refreshed by our time spent in God’s Word and in communication with Him. A little here and a little there won’t cut it for this battle. There is too much at stake.

Again I must emphasize the necessity to persevere in prayer and Bible study! We must grasp the fact that there is no other substitute. As we fellowship and worship in these two disciplines, everything we experience in life will be filtered through what we learn there. FD p. 76

   A spirit weakened by too little nourishment cannot stand against the constant onslaught of the enemy’s fiery darts. And pay attention to the word ‘constant’. For constantly we must seek the nourishment available to us as we pray and seek God’s Truths. Thereby strengthening our will to choose for Christ and against our old nature (replacing those fiery dart thoughts with God’s Truth thoughts).  

(1) John 3:6
(2) Romans 8

God Alone is Enough!

   Fiery darts can be defeated. If you have followed my blog, you know this to be True. Yet, some attacks take longer to defeat than others. And if you’ve noticed, the fiery darts that attack us within the realm of personal relationships, are the deadliest–especially if you have struggled with these attacks for years on end.

   Fiery dart attacks that we are still wrestling with after years of seeming defeat, push us to the brink of despair, frustration, and hopelessness. During such an ongoing battle we are tempted to loose our focus and like Peter we can feel ourselves sinking beneath the waves of the storm. But even as we feel ourselves sinking, like Peter, we must remember to cry out, “Lord, save me!”

And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”… Matthew 14:29-30

   These ongoing attacks require a strong & singular faith. A faith that is based on God and God alone; even when our prayers have proven fruitless. In these situations, when things don’t turn out  as we had planned and don’t look like they ever will, God has to be enough. Even in the midst of seeming defeat, God assures us that we can know victory!

Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights! Habakkuk 3:17-19

   Just remember, the enemy’s plan is to control our focus and lock it onto the things we think we lack instead of the all consuming presence of God where we discover we lack nothing! For in this state we wake up to the Truth that when we have God in Christ we have everything we need! 

 

 

Merry Christmas?

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   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)