Month: June 2024

216 – Are You Ready for Attacks? Part 2

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Are You Ready for Attacks pt 2 on Write from the Deep with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young

As we discussed last week, there are things happening in our country and around the world that many of us never believed could happen. Riots, protests, increasing terrorist activity, science being ignored and twisted, vitriol becoming the norm toward any who disagree with society’s agendas… all of which we’ll tackle. Along with how to prepare for the enemy’s attacks!

But first, thank you to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

It seems insane, but in reality, it’s not. It’s warfare. Spiritual warfare. And the “enemy” is not people who have bought into the insanity. It’s not even the people spewing hatred and violence against those with whom they disagree. The enemy, plain and simple, is the creature known as satan. That “father of lies” who seeks to devour and destroy any who believe in God and stand for His truth. 

You may have already experienced attacks against your heart and soul, attacks designed to undermine your faith and immobilize you as one who writes or speaks truth.

If you haven’t, know that the time may well come when you will. When you’ll be asked to surrender God’s truth, exchanging it for lies and deception. Such things are already happening to Christian writers. So the question is, are you ready? 

How Do We Prepare?

So, how do you prepare for whatever the enemy throws your way? First, you must know where you’re vulnerable. Here are some common vulnerabilities along with possible solutions to help you overcome them. 

Vulnerability #1:  Attacks when we Feel Weak

Whether you’re feeling weak physically, emotionally, or spiritually, these are moments that leave us open to attacks. And we’ve all been there…those times we’ve done everything we know to do in our work as writers, and nothing seems to be working out. 

When we are dealing with illness or injury, and feel as though we’ll never be strong again. When we’re worn down from trials or battles or just life, so tired of the struggle, so weak, that’s when doubts come knocking at our heart’s door. So let’s consider solutions for those three types of weakness: Physical, emotional, and spiritual.

 Solutions for Physical Weakness

It’s so tempting, when we’re weak physically, to believe we just…can’t. Can’t work, can’t write, can’t deal with people or relationships, can’t do anything we want to do. Which is why it’s so important to take even small steps to refresh and restore yourself. To steal yourself against attacks when you’re weak. Some things you can do:

 Get Moving. It may seem counter-intuitive, but exercise can help when you’re feeling weak physically. I know how much I just want to sleep when I’m in this place, but then I remember what my dad always told me: “Talk a walk before you take a nap. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel.” And you know what, he was right. 

 Rest. Sometimes, though, you really do need to just rest. I (Erin) suffer from bouts of chronic fatigue. When they hit, I can’t do anything BUT rest. I don’t necessarily mean sleeping,  although that can be helpful, but by finding a restorative place or activity to rest and relax.

Sometimes I just sit on my deck or on  my couch and watch the birds. Sometimes I just lie on the floor in my bedroom—cuz it has cozy carpet—and I shut out everything in my mind and look out the window at the sky and trees and think about one Bible verse and let God’s presence and his Word give me rest. God is the source of our ultimate rest and protection against the enemy’s attacks.

I know we’re talking about physical weakness, but for me, my mind is very much a part of that physicality.

For me (Karen), that’s often my back porch, where I can watch the birds, listen to the wind rustling the trees, and see my flowers growing. 

 Hydration. Believe it or not, sometimes that weakness is simply dehydration. According to FamilyDoctor.org, “Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly.

“For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate your joints. Good hydration is important for overall good health.”

See Your Doctor. If this weakness goes on for too long, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor. You might have something going on that needs medical intervention.

Solutions for Emotional Weakness

Emotional weakness or exhaustion comes when the stresses in our lives wear us down. If you’re at a place where you think you can’t handle one more bad or hard thing, where you’re at the “end of your rope,” you may be facing emotional exhaustion. 

The devastating consequences of this particular weakness is that we often get the sense that we have little to no power over our own lives. That we just have to take the hits, no matter how long they keep on coming. And we all know how it seems impossible to be creative and write in the face of emotional exhaustion! 

Find Power in Prayer. Regardless of your feelings, you do have power. Because you have prayer. When you take your emotional exhaustion to the Father, when you lay it at His feet and ask for mercy, He will answer you. No, that doesn’t necessarily mean things will suddenly be better. But it does mean He will uplift and strengthen you. He promises you that in Isaiah 40:29-31:   

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” 

Let Friends Help. I know, I know, it’s hard to ask for help. Expecially when you’re emotionally weak. But just make one phone call. Send one email. Reach out to one person who you know will respond. Ask for company, prayer, Scriptures…whatever you need.

You don’t have to go through this alone. Nor should you. Hanging out with people who truly love you, who are as comfortable with your silence as with your talking, who are willing to just be with you can be powerfully restorative. 

Journal. Hey, we’re writers, yes? So write what you’re feeling and why. Write out prayers to God. Write down helpful Scripture or quotes. It can help you in so many ways, from getting it out of your head and onto paper to helping you better understand what you’re going through.  

Take a break. Get away from everyone and everything. Find a safe place to be with God and seek His restoration and healing. 

Solutions for Spiritual Weakness

Ah, spiritual weakness. This, above all others, is the most attractive weakness to satan . He is delighted when we fall into this vulnerability, and believe you me, he will attack this weakness with vigor. 

As much as we hate to admit it, we are all susceptible to this vulnerability. But why? Well, often because we don’t truly understand the nature of God.  

Two of my favorite moments in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia are when:

(1)   Lucy asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is safe. His response? “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

(2)   When Mr. Tumnus adds, “He’s wild, you know. Not a tame lion.”

 As much as we talk about understanding that God’s ways are not our ways, that His thoughts are not our thoughts, we still often hold expectations that God will be…safe. Tame. That He’ll do what makes sense to us. And when that doesn’t happen, in whatever way it may happen, we’re shocked. Disappointed. And doubts start to creep in. 

If God’s all good, then why did He let this happen? 

If God loves me, why didn’t He protect me?

Where was God when this happened?

If God can allow innocents to be slaughtered, He must not be good. 

And on and on we go, measuring God by our standards, our expectations, and our human thought processes. Which often leads us straight into spiritual weakness. 

Some of the signs that you’re feeling spiritually weak. You: 

  •      struggle with anger and hopelessness
  •      have no desire to be with God’s people
  •      stop reading the Bible or spending time with God
  •      feel abandoned by God
  •      can’t seem to accept the coexistence of God and pain 
  •      start to doubt what you know to be true about God 

If you’re in this kind of place, here are some possible solutions:

Seek sound counsel. Go to those who you know will listen to your struggles and questions without condemning you. Be honest with them about your feelings and the reasons for them. Then let them give you biblical counsel and guidance.  

Read Hebrews. Why Hebrews, especially? Jon Bloom on desiringGod.org explains: “I love Hebrews for many reasons. I love how it radiates with the transcendent glory of God the Son. I love its magisterial grasp of how the old covenant is fulfilled and surpassed by the new covenant. And I love the beautiful, compelling portrait of the cloud of witnesses, who by their remarkable examples call us to live by faith in the unfailing promises of our faithful God.” 

He goes on to say, “I also love Hebrews because it is a letter to weary Christians, some of whom are standing right on the cliff’s edge, tempted to ‘throw away [their] confidence, which has a great reward’ (Hebrews 10:35).”

Be honest with God. Pray and let God know what you’re feeling, why you’re struggling. God can handle all our doubts and frustrations, our anger and despair. In The Message, Matthew 11:28-30 tells us:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” 

Give Yourself Time. Dealing with these soul-deep questions and struggles takes time. Don’t get down on yourself if it takes longer than you want to find peace in the situation. Remember that God is with you, He loves you without reserve, and He will guide you home. 

Other Vulnerabilities

So what are other vulnerabilities we need to watch for? Here’s an interesting one:

Attacks When we feel close to God or other believers

I know, at first that doesn’t seem to make sense.  But have you ever gone to a Christian writers’ conference or retreat? There’s such a high when we’re surrounded by people who share our beliefs and trust in God. Who share our passion for writing about Him and His truth. It’s exhilarating! And the worship together is profound. God is RIGHT THERE!  

But what happens next? You get home, and boom! There are bills to pay, kids to parent, spouses to listen to, chores to be done. All normal life, but you miss that unity of purpose, that gathering with people who really get you. And the contrast is so profound that you start to feel alone. Even when surrounded by those who love you.  

These emotional letdowns are perfectly normal, but if we aren’t careful, they can open a door to the prowling lion. 

Solutions for these attacks

Realize you’re dealing with emotions, which are true to how we feel, but aren’t always reliable in terms of what the Bible says is true. Speak God’s truth into those emotions. Thank God for the time you shared with those of like minds and passions. Savor the time you had together, the lessons you learned.

But recognize that ultimately your relationship with God is between just you and Him. Get to know Him as well as you know your friends and family. Spend as much time alone with Him as you do with others that you love. And remember that while your family and friends may not “get you” like other writers, they love you. 

Spend time with other believers. It may not have the same impact as a conference or retreat, but being with other believers in a Bible study or fellowship group may help. Sometimes just being with a Christian friend, even for a short amount of time, can help as well. Go for a walk together, go out to dinner, even just sit and talk. 

Remember you’re never really alone. The God who knit you together with other believers is always right there beside you. He is always ready to talk, to listen, and to show you His love. He’s waiting for you. Listen to what the Psalmist says in Psalm 27:8, and I love how the New Living Translation puts it: “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” 

Lord, I Am Coming

We’ve got more vulnerabilities to explore, but that’s for a future podcast. For now, friends, let Psalm 27:8 be your response to your loving Father. “Lord, I am coming.” In every vulnerability, in every attack the enemy throws at you, “Lord, I am coming.”

Take it all to Him, lay it in His all-powerful hands, and walk away covered in His promises and grace. He will NEVER abandon you. No matter what circumstances seem to say, the Lord has spoken His truth and promises over you. And nothing the enemy does can erase or stop them. 

Amen

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What is one vulnerability you strengthen against attacks?

How should we as writers prepare ourselves for the enemy’s attacks? Know our vulnerabilities and what to do about them. Share on X
THANK YOU!

Thank you to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

Special thanks to our June sponsor of the month, June sponsor of the month Kimberley Woodhouse! She’s an award-winning and bestselling author of more than forty books.  Her books have been awarded the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Reader’s Choice Award, Selah Award, Spur Award, Christian Market Book Award, Golden Scroll Award among others.

A popular speaker/teacher, she’s shared with over 1,000,000 people at more than twenty-five hundred venues across the country. Check out her latest book: Set in Stone available now and we’ll link to it in the show notes!

Many thanks also to the folks at PodcastPS for their fabulous sound editing!

STAY CONNECTED

Want the latest news from Karen and Erin? Click here to join our newsletter and get an exclusive audio download.

215 – Are You Ready for Attacks?

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So much of what’s happening in the world today is mind- and spirit-boggling. Things we never expected to see or experience in “The Land of the Free” are happening left, right, and center. Attacks on freedoms and faith are on the rise.

As writers, we need to understand what is causing all this. As Believers, we need to know how to prepare ourselves to respond.

But first, thank you to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

America the Beautiful?

I love watching old movies about America being a bastion for free speech, supporting the downtrodden, and protecting those who’ve been beat down. I miss those days. Sure, America is still is all of that to a certain degree, but much has changed.

180 degrees.

Not in My Lifetime!

Recently we’ve seen something I never thought to see in my lifetime: people in the world of academia––students and professors––screaming hate-filled antisemitism, calling for the death of Jewish people. Such hate speech would not have been tolerated even a few years ago..

But even hate speech is covered by the first amendment. Unless it includes:

Hateful Hate Speech
  • Imminent lawless action, or telling people to immediately commit a crime, and
  • True threats: knowingly causing someone to fear for their safety, and
  • Fighting words: words intended to provoke a violent reaction.
It’s Happening Now!

All of which have taken place in the recent anti-Israel protests on college campus.

For example, a Cornell University student was arrested for posting threats to shoot and stab Jewish people on campus, and to “shoot up” the Kosher dining room. (He was kicked out of the college after being arrested.)

Over the past ten years or so, we’ve also seen traditional and Christian beliefs attacked with increasing vehemence. Those who find such beliefs offensive spew vitriol and organize to criminalize those whose beliefs offend them. Are you ready for such attacks?

Students’ Troubling Attitudes

In 2023, Newsweek reported on a new poll from the Buckley Institute, which surveyed students at four-year colleges. The results of this poll?

“Young Americans are turning their backs on basic American principles of free speech, tolerance, and due process, in a way that’s so drastic it genuinely endangers the future of our political order. And this disintegration is only accelerating.

“The Buckley Institute has conducted this poll for nine years, yet this year, for the first time ever, more students support shouting down speakers they disagree with than oppose this kind of mob censorship…”

Censorship, Anyone?

The article goes on to say, “What’s more, 46 percent of students now believe that ‘offensive’ opinions should get other students reported to the university administration…and more than 50 percent of students literally believe certain topics should be banned from being debated on campus.

“There’s also an alarming violent twist to the censoriousness rising among Gen Z college students. A whopping 45 percent of students told pollsters it is justified to use physical violence to prevent people from expressing hate speech or making racially charged comments.

“This radical, un-American idea is only becoming more popular: Back in 2017, for example, only 30 percent of students supported this same proposition.”

Justice for All?

Something else I never thought I’d see in American is citizens being jailed, but rather than being given their rights to defend themselves, they are incarcerated for an indeterminant amount of time with no way to defend themselves or pursue justice.

Or people who demand we “follow the science” on one issue completely ignoring it when it comes to what gender people are. Try to argue, and you get attacked. Especially on social media.

These changes in America toward elitism and intolerance don’t stop with politics.

Christians Under Attack

Are you ready for an attack in your church? Hostility and violence against churches in America is at an all-time high, according to a recent Family Research Council report. They documented more than 430 incidents in 2023—more than double the number in 2022.

That’s an 800% increase in incidents since 2018 and an average of 39 attacks every month!

Christian Business Are Targets

Christian-owned businesses have been sued for not accepting jobs that go against their beliefs. Chick-fil-A has been picketed and harassed for designating some of its charitable giving to churches and church-related organizations that hold to the biblical view of marriage.

In fact, San Antonio blacklisted the company from doing business in their city for not supporting LGBTQ charities.

Christian writers have lost contracts because they won’t revise history to fit today’s agenda.

It’s Getting Worse in America

So many of us have considered America immune to attacks on faith. However, according to a 2024 study titled “The Intensifying Intolerance Toward Christians in the West”, which was conducted by the Family Research Council, most religious liberty violations in the Western world in the last few years took place in America.

Predators Where We Least Expect Them

Are you ready for an attack in places where you feel safe?

Just a few years ago the Christian publishing world was shocked when women attending Christian writers conferences reported years of sexual misconduct and harassment by male faculty members.

I knew such things were happening in churches, but I’d been teaching at these conferences for more than 20 years! And the men on faculty whom I knew––and know––well were above reproach.

However, I became more attentive––and reported the few instances I saw.

Twisted Ideals and Truth

More and more, both in the world and in Christian communities, we see the ideals and truths on which America was founded being twisted and ignored. The same for biblical truth. And anyone who resists the twisting can count on an attack.

Wrong is called right, truth is called lies, faith is called racism or worse. So what does all this mean for you and me today, in this very moment? Several things.

What All This Means
  1. We who follow the risen Christ should not be surprised or afraid. We’re seeing the fulfillment of Scripture.
  2. The adversary is hard at work. And we need to know how to identify his attacks, and how to equip ourselves to face them.
  3. We could, at any time, come under fire for our beliefs, so we need to be ready to take a stand for Christ.
  4. Bellievers cannot look to the world for our justice or to defend us.
  5. Christians who are writers MUST be grounded in God’s truth, willing to write what God tells us even if it’s not popular or puts us in the crosshairs for an attack.
Fufillment of Scripture

Jesus told us many times that, in this world, we would see trouble (John 16:33) and that the world will hate us (John 15:18-19). In 1 Timothy 3:12, Paul wrote, “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”=

2 Timothy 3:1-5 tells us: “You should know … that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control.

“They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”

Shameless Spin

David Mathis, of DesiringGod.org, says, “[As] New as the recent trend of shameless spin, and outright lies, may seem to some, Christians with Bibles in hand do not number ourselves among the surprised. Long has the devil trafficked in half-truths, subtle deception, and ‘disinformation’ — from the beginning, in fact.

“This has been his strategy, and main trick, as ‘father of lies,’ from the garden. Even if the social manifestations now appear plainer and, at times, more jarring, those informed by the truth of Christian Scripture take it in stride.

“Two millennia ago, one of our apostles informed us that unbelievers ‘suppress the truth’ and ‘exchanged the truth’ for lies (Romans 1:18, 25).”

Sound familiar? Too much so, in fact. So it’s no surprise, in light of Scripture, that such craziness is happening today.

The Adversary is Hard at Work

Scripture also gives us a clear picture of the enemy of our souls. In 1 Peter 5:8 we’re told, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

This comparison to a lion is especially appropriate. An article by Marshall Segal on desiringGod.org shares the following:

“Mountain lions detect vulnerabilities in their prey and attack the weakest — the young, the sick, the injured. Studies have confirmed this instinctive cruelty. It’s how the mountain lion lives, following the scent of suffering and feasting on whatever he finds.

“The enemy of your hope and happiness hunts with that same instinct, with a cold-hearted and ruthless hunger for the weak or hurting…And because he’s clever, he spends a lot of his time among the suffering.

“He lies in wait with lies, wanting to consume the fragile and vulnerable.”

The Enemy Doesn’t Give Up

Though we know from Scripture that satan’s fate is already decided (spoiler: he loses), he doesn’t give up trying to attack and destroy us. As Billy Graham wrote, “Satan never gives up and decides to let us alone, because his goal is to draw us away from God — and he always hopes he’ll be able to do this.

“And let’s face it: Sometimes he’s successful. This is why the Apostle Paul warned, ‘If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!’ (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Never Forget The Cougar is Prowling

Just as the cougar stalks its prey, watching and waiting to spot any vulnerability, and then STRIKES with speed and vicious force, so the enemy of our souls is there, watching and waiting for any possible way to strike. With a force more vicious than we can imagine.

Know Your Vulnerabilities

So what do we do? Well, first, don’t be afraid of the enemy. He’s NOTHING compared to almighty God, who watches over and protects us.

Second, know your vulnerabilities.

And third, submit those vulnerabilities to God the very moment you realize they are there, and seek His help to address them.

Which is exactly what we’ll dig into in our next podcast!

Until then, why not do some study to prepare yourself now for the enemy’s attacks?

Strategy for Study
  1. Scripture is your first source, of course. What wisdom do you find in God’s word about dealing with the enemy’s attacks? Consider:
    • 2 Corinthians 10:4––the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
    • James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
    • 1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
    • Psalm 91 – He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. …he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day…
More Scriptures for You
    • Luke 10:19 – Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.
    • 1 John 5:4-5 – For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
    • Isaiah 54:17 – No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.
Books to Read
  1. Read some of the books out there about this issue. Such as:
    1.  Overcoming the Adversary: Warfare Praying Against Demon Activity by Mark Bubeck
    2. Victory Over the Darkness: Realize the Power of Your Identity in Christ by Neil T. Anderson
    3. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
Other Strategies
  1. Talk and pray with fellow believers, and fellow writers, about the enemy and his attacks. Cover each other in prayers for God’s protection and wisdom when the attacks come.
  2. Review Ephesians 6:10-18, ensuring you understand and are using the full armor God has given you.
  3. Be aware of attacks that come against you in your work as a writer. Take every negative thought captive the second they come to you, submitting them to the Author of Truth for verification or dismissal. Don’t let negative emotions set in when things don’t go the way you hope. Keep your focus set on The Master of all creativity. Trust Him, even when everything around you seems to be saying otherwise. He will sustain you, He will protect you.
A Final Word

As unsettling as it is to realize we are the targets of a supernatural battle, that a being that hates God hates us as well and is actively at work to “devour” us, you do. Not. need. to. be. Afraid. Hollywood and books and so many other sources of information have filled our minds with the terrifying images of satan and his work. And, indeed, the evil he perpetrates against God’s creation and people is horrific.

And yet…God is with us. Who can be against us? God is sheltering us. Who can harm us? God IS. And satan was defeated before he began.

Know, friends, as sure as you know anything, that He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. God has you covered. Never doubt that.

Amen

Over the past ten years or so, we’ve also seen traditional and Christian beliefs attacked with increasing vehemence. Those who find such beliefs offensive spew vitriol and organize to criminalize those they feel have offended them. Share on X
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What is one thing you can do today to be ready for the enemy’s attack?

THANK YOU!

Thank you to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

Special thanks to our June sponsor of the month, June sponsor of the month Kimberley Woodhouse! She’s an award-winning and bestselling author of more than forty books.  Her books have been awarded the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Reader’s Choice Award, Selah Award, Spur Award, Christian Market Book Award, Golden Scroll Award among others.

A popular speaker/teacher, she’s shared with over 1,000,000 people at more than twenty-five hundred venues across the country. Check out her latest book: Set in Stone available now and we’ll link to it in the show notes!

Many thanks also to the folks at PodcastPS for their fabulous sound editing!

STAY CONNECTED

Want the latest news from Karen and Erin? Click here to join our newsletter and get an exclusive audio download.