Saturday, January 3, 2009

new year, same old tricks...

Even though it is a new year, I find that the enemy is up to his same old tricks. His favorite game is to do whatever he can to get us to doubt God, to be fearful, to live in bondage rather than in the freedom Christ purchased for us with His very blood. He can't stand to see us deepen our relationship with God or to hear us praise God for Who He is or what He is doing, and he does whatever he can to destroy that trust, rob the joy, or disturb the peace in our hearts.

I've also noticed that the enemy usually knows our weak areas--our areas of brokenness--and tends to come back time and again to those places to use them against us however he can. At least that's what he does with me. He knows a couple of specific areas in my life where I am sensitive and tends to focus on those.

I didn't use to see his attacks as clearly, but in the past couple of years, God has been working in certain areas in my life and opening my eyes to some of the more subtle ways the enemy attacks, trying to draw my trust away from my Father.

One of the areas where I have seen consistent enemy attacks in my life is in the area of my finances. As I've become more aware of his methods, I have been learning to recognize, and even anticipate, when he is at work--or when he WILL be at work. It has become quite predictable--whenever God is doing something big or deep in my heart and life, or when I have made a victorious step in my walk with God, within a few days, the enemy of my soul tries to rob it from me. He sneaks up on tiptoe, quietly approaching, usually while I am loudly shouting God's goodness. And when I quiet myself, he attacks... with his darkness and his lies.

It was only two days into the new year, and he was already about his business...

Over the past few months, I have been working on resolving some difficult financial issues. And, it felt as though each time I would get a plan in place, it would get thrown off by one more (negative) financial surprise. In spite of this, however, I had finally gotten my finances set up in a manner that made me feel as though I would be moving forward rather than just spinning my wheels-- a workable plan to pay down some difficult debt and a solid (albeit tight!) budget. All the pieces were finally in place, and the puzzle was coming together.

On New Year's Eve, I was talking with my good friends about it, and I said I was finally feeling like I could DO this... like I was on the right track with it...not feeling the "frustration of the impossible task" but finally feeling empowered and positive about it. (obviously, this is all with God's help, as it is He Who gives me the life and breath to get up each day and to work and to live!! in no way discounting His providence and grace!!)

Then, that very night, as I got into my car to drive home, the car started behaving strangely. The engine wasn't running right, and I could tell something was wrong. I asked God to heal it (yes, I do that!) and reminded Him that we have a "plan," and it doesn't involve major, unexpected car repairs at this point. When I drove it to work yesterday morning, the problem was still there and was growing worse than the night before.

As I was walking from the parking garage to my office, I could feel the frustration building in me regarding 'one more hit' to my finances. I could feel a sense of hopelessness threatening my peace of mind and heart and the beginnings of anxiety and fear. The voice in my head (which sounded so very much like my own) said "You know, I never should have said I felt empowered or hopeful about my finances."

And, then, all of a sudden something clicked... (a tap on the brain by the Holy Spirit, perhaps??!) and I found myself actually angered by that thought! NO! my mind (or the HS within!) said, "That's not truth! I SHOULD be able to tell others that I feel hopeful. I SHOULD be able to BE hopeful about it!"

And it became so very clear that the enemy, the deceiver, the thief, was up to his old tricks! But this time I was NOT going to listen nor was I going to play his game. I told myself (and him, if he happened to be listening) that I was NOT going to let fear move into that place of peace and hopefulness and confidence in God! I was NOT going to be anxious about it or become discouraged by this. I was going to TRUST that God had helped me come up with "the plan," and He would help me to walk it out, whatever bumps or obstacles may be in the road along the way. Despite what it looked like, I was NOT going to go to that place of fear or anxiety.

A couple of lines from a Dylan Thomas poem came to my mind--

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I decided I was NOT going to go gentle into that place of darkness and discouragement. My heart and my mind were suddenly 'raging against the dying of the light'! And, it was a bit strange--this feeling of 'rage.' But that's what it felt like. It was a raging at the absolute wickedness of the enemy and the way he rips us off of the good things of God whenever he can--how he tries to give us death in place of the life Christ gives us. And this time, I could see it so clearly.

I will not go gentle into the darkness which the enemy has planned for me! I follow the Light of the World...and where there is Light, there is NO DARKNESS! ("God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." ~1 John 1:5) I will fight. I will stand my ground. I will believe Truth. And I will hold onto hope--because that is how my God would have me to an attitude of hope and trust and confidence in His goodness.

I tell you this (in my long-winded fashion!) as a testimony to God's goodness and as a reminder... that wherever God is at work, the enemy will try to find a foothold to destroy that work, to cause you to doubt God, or to rob you of the peace, joy, and hope He is working in your heart.

As we begin a new year--full of possibilities and opportunities-- we fix our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith. We give Him this year ahead and look forward to what He desires to do in us and through us. Let us be aware of and alert to the one who would try to stop us from experiencing the life of abundance and fullness our awesome Father has planned for us this year, and let us not let him steal even one moment of our confidence, our trust, our joy, our peace.

(to Him be the glory for ever and ever!!)


  1. Good words my friend! Stand your ground and satan WILL flee from you. He will have to return what he has stolen. God is your husband and your provider! Great testimony.

  2. comment actually from Kara (

    Amen! It is true, the evil one is up to his same ol' tricks. I myself experienced the same thing (an attack, but in a different area) just two days into the new year as well. He's sneaky, but we know that we can overcome, for greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world! His attacks can even be encouraging... God must be doing or about to do something huge, and the enemy wants to stop it. Keep fighting hard for the kingdom and glory of the King! Thanks for sharing. ~Kara~

  3. Sharilyn,

    Right on with this post!

    Recently God had me camp out in a hospital (2 actually) for 113 days straight. It was a faithbuilding time for me. I felt like He wanted me to share my faith with others there. One of the first times I did, something terrible happened... the woman's baby died the next day. I was sooo angry and confused by God. The mom came to me and cried and said, "You even prayed for her." I was speechless and felt like Satan had a choker around my neck. But the Lord stayed by me and helped me through that and encouraged me to continue sharing Him with others. That is one of my goals this share God more and listen to Satan less.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. It is good to know we are scattered but all fight together.

  4. Dear Sharilyn,

    I truly agree much how Satan actually works sneakingly behind, that shameless. And how foolish I be if I were to fall into his trap and not remember that my God is FOR me!!

    Satan attacked me as early as this year too as I meditated on my way to church and reflected on much still-gray areas in my life. I was a little down and disturbed. Somehow, a voice within kept whispering, ' it's going to be tough again this year, a lot of uncertainties, a lot of insecurity... ' and wham, it just got me. Then a verse flew into my head and said, 'God will not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear...' Later, in church, the pastor actually referred to the same verse that's in 1Cor10:13 : No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

    I was troubled, what exactly it is that God was trying to say to me. Then I began to imagine all the negative scenes and I was once again fearful. But when I quietened my heart later and chose to listen to the Holy Spirit, I'm reminded that God has not promised anyone a storm-less life but His presence is assured and He will not leave us as orhpans. Why should I be troubled when I already got His assurance in 1Cor13?

    I want to claim that promise God has for me and stand up under whatever circumstance, and still claim aloud that GOD is GOOD. No more threatenings by Satan, my God is for me. I'm so moved by this post and I feel that God is actually reassuring me AGAIN, I can put my entire hope on Him! AMEN! We've got a good year to fight against Satan, sister, and I shall be praying for your finances that Satan will have no chance to ruin your goal towards serving our great Lord. Surely, our Father has compassion and love for us who put our faith in Him. Let's put on our armor of God!

    Ephesians 6 : 10-18
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

  5. ...for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ~Ephesians 6:12

    thanks for your comments... it IS good to stand together... He is faithful!!


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