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)!
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!
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!
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.
Tonight 2016 comes to a close and tomorrow 2017 starts out anew and fresh!
Yet, in spite of the hope of fresh beginnings, despair has the potential to overshadow such optimism.
How does this happen?
It’s quite simple, actually! But, oh, so powerful!
It’s a matter of focus.
Despair consistently and predictably acts like a magnet, attracting thoughts of self. The force of this pull is powerful. One self-focused thought after another bombards our thinking, and the downward progression begins.
When our thoughts reflect less of what we are learning during our study of the Bible or what God’s Spirit communicates to us in prayer then a downward progression is set in place, p 46 3rd Edition FD
In the past, I fell victim to this force time after time! With each thought, I became more confused as to what Truth was. I felt justified in my thinking and condemned all at the same time. Depression was the outcome!
Recently, that all too familiar pull of despair, began to invade my thoughts. And in spite of the hope of fresh beginnings of the New Year, I felt myself tempted to surrender to its force.
But I was reminded of those dark days prior to learning about how to counter the attack of fiery dart thinking. I now was living in freedom from that bondage and I was determined not to go there again!
I knew what my plan of action must be. I knew that God’s Word contained the answers to resist the temptation to despair. Therefore, I began making a conscious effort to replace the lies that attempted to rule my thinking with the Truth thoughts below.
To fight the lies that God doesn’t hear me.
To fight the lie that there is no hope.
To fight the lie that my weakness is too great.
To fight the lie that I am all to blame.
To fight the lie that God will not act on my behalf.
Once again Satan came at me with lies that in the past had prevailed over me. But not this time. Not since God taught me the Truths that would displace those lies!
Tomorrow many Christians will still be struggling about voting. Why? Because they cannot vote for either candidate with a clear conscience! For some of them, they feel their choice is not to vote! I believe that good, God-fearing individuals have become convinced that is their only option.
But I respectively ask them to consider this!
There are only two possible candidates that have a chance to be elected. Therefore one of those two will win the election. That is reality! No matter what your feelings are about either one.
Therefore, since this is reality, you are faced with a question!
Is there one more so than the other that you do NOT want to be your next president?
If you choose not to vote, then by that choice you have increased the chances that the person you don’t want to be your next president will win the election.
Since the race is closer than was previously reported, I believe it will be Christians who will cast the deciding votes! Leaders like Dobson and Graham are urging Christians, especially, to vote.
I hope those of you who are struggling about who to vote for or about voting at all, will consider the fact that you are struggling against a fiery dart that is designed to confuse, and to cloud your judgement, in order to keep you from voting!
Consider these Truth Thoughts*:
Not voting is a form of voting, as it will influence the outcome. We need to take responsibility for our actions, as well as our lack of actions. I Peter 1:13
Voting publicly recognizes that we submit to the authority of the political system in our nation as established by God. Romans 13:1-7
Voting is a simple yet significant way we can do something about politics in our nation. ‘All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing, Edmund Burke. Psalms 34:14
Today’s post is going to be a bit personal.
For quite sometime now, I’ve been threatened by an annoying dark cloud lurking on the periphery of my thoughts. For the most part, I’ve been able to avert its intrusion. I realize, because I wrote a book about it, that fiery darts are the culprit. Therefore, holding up my Shield of faith, sustains me.
But lately, while I’ve not lost my resolve to reject these fiery darts and to replace them with Truth thoughts, I’ve come too close to the brink of despair and that bothers me. I’ve struggled to find the word that would label this battle, feeling that if I could know what I was fighting, I would be more savvy in choosing my weapons. And I did come up with the label, ‘bewildered!’
Yes, that did help but not entirely. This negative storm, while never succeeding in hiding the Son, was wearing down my resistance. I pray unceasingly, read scriptures, and, yet, the storm does not dissipate.
Today as I was reading from a book, In This Mountain, by Jan Karon (my favorite author), I came across an excerpt by Oswald Chambers:
At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him. . . . Watch where God puts you into the darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet. . . . When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.
I think it’s pretty clear what God is saying to me. “My child, you are consumed with pouring your heart out to me with your continual pleadings, but you don’t let Me get in a word in edgewise. Why don’t you come to Me, and remain quiet? I know what all is going on with you, you’ve certainly shared that with me in excess. Now, all that is left is for you to remain quiet and just listen.”
I’ve never been good at listening quietly following my prayers, so it’s going to take some practice on my part. Therefore, I will resist the temptation to reiterate my problem (I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have anything new to add) and practice being quiet.
This is pretty bold of me to post this. I can hear the fiery darts now: What if God remains silent? What if you don’t succeed in being quiet? What if you miss what God is saying? What if you don’t understand what He is saying. What if you fail?
While I expect to be pelted with fiery darts (Satan doesn’t give up ground easily), I will lift up my shield of faith as I stand on the following verses:
Ephesians 3:20, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (It depends on Him, not me)
Psalm 17:6, I call on You my God, for you will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. (God will answer me)
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