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It’s Up to Us!

Many, especially for those of us who are Christians, are familiar with the following verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14

14 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.

There are some particular points contained in this verse that should require our focus.

-It’s written to God’s people, the Church (all of us Christians). We, not the unsaved, are required to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked way!

I think the key requirement here is to ‘seek God’s face.’

But what does that mean actually? It means we want to get to know God, understand Him better, and become accustomed to His voice. How do we get to know Him better? By spending time with Him in prayer and His word. In getting to know God, we will have a more honest view of ourselves. That’s humbling. Knowing God better through His word, allows the Holy Spirit the freedom to point out areas where we need to repent and seek His forgiveness.

Repenting is more than just feeling sorry for our sins. It must go further to be genuine repentance. This kind of repentance focuses on God and how our sins affect Him. Remember our sins drove Jesus to the cross. A genuinely repentant heart desires to please God. And when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, we will do whatever we must to achieve God’s pleasure. Obviously turning from our sin.

On a personal level, our lives will be characterized by love, joy, peace as we get to know God better and understand His ways. Even as we experience trials and storms. This applies to the Church as a whole also.

But while we are familiar with verse 14, what about verse 13?

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,

Does a plague among my people sound familiar? It’s one of those things God wants to heal our land of. And not only are we physically sick from the plague of COVID, we are spiritually sick as well. America, our land, needs to return to her Christian roots?

As individual Christians, we must grasp the truth that God isn’t waiting on the unsaved to humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and repent. No! It’s up to us to come to our senses and seek God’s forgiveness. Then the healing will come! On an individual basis and as the corporate Church.

Do we want our land to be healed?

The Secret of Survival

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   My summer has been jam packed with mountain top experiences. As much as I could, I lived in the celebration of every moment. Yet, I knew that come the end of August, it would all come to a screeching halt. Then would come the valley.

   I think one of the most troubling aspects of my valleys is that I am tempted to forget what I know to be true about God.  The reason being is that Satan never lets up with those fiery darts. With all those fiery darts swirling around in my thoughts, it’s hard to sort through all that mess and find those Truth Thoughts.

   And I know that if my low times become severe enough, depression can set in. Depression is a wicked thing! One of the most deadly tactics used by Satan in depression is to drain our thoughts of hope. He will shoot one lie after another, clothe them with common sense truths, and if we fall for it… Yep, depression!

Because of that common sense truth, we will entertain the thought, and the poison of the lie will permeate our thinking. It is the lie that will motivate our actions, which is contrary to God’s will. p. 38, 3rd Edition FD

  In a previous blog, I wrote about my summer of extreme highs and lows. I had a future to face that looked bleak to me. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to face it or handle it. Then one night as I was reading my bible, I came upon the following verse: Proverbs 23:18

   The key words for me in this verse were ‘future’ and ‘hope’. As I meditated upon this Truth thought, the darkness began to recede. I’m still in the valley, but I’m not in despair. It’s still hard, but it’s not hopeless. 

   Then just yesterday, a friend shared another verse with me: Jeremiah 31:25

   I have been languishing, for sure. And I certainly am weary. Yet, I know that it is vital for me to ‘receive’ those Truth’s. That’s the secret of my survival.

  Therefore, I take one day at a time (that’s scriptural) and proceed forward. Perhaps with caution, but nevertheless forward. 

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To Worry or not to Worry! That is My Question!

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I have a hard time trusting God when it comes to money matters. I wonder if those reading this blog do as well.

  For example, I was led to believe that a small monthly increase would be starting in January with an income check I receive, but guess what? The cost of insurance payments increased as well! So much so that those increases ate up that pay raise and left me receiving less this year than last year. Ouch!

  Oh yeah, the temptation to worry is poised and ready to inflict my thoughts with worry. Yet my training has taught me I must resist such thinking and replace it with  Truth thoughts (p. 93 FD 3rd edition).

  I desire to be like the flowers who don’t worry. But this is an area where I am especially vulnerable to Satan’s fiery darts.  It’s a challenge for me to trust God with such abandon.  Calling upon verses like the following is my only recourse:

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

  Knowing what I know, I am faced with two questions,

What if I choose to worry over this dilemma ? 

It’s vital that you keep in mind Satan’s plan to steal, kill, and destroy. When a suspicious thought enters your mind, ask yourself this question, “If I consider this thought and act upon it, will good come from it?” If you cannot answer in the affirmative, then put up your shield of faith and stand your ground in deflecting such thinking! p. 54 FD 3rd edition

Or what if I choose not to worry?

On the other hand, consider Galatians 5:22-23. This is the familiar verse describing the fruits of the Spirit. When God puts a thought into your mind, then, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control, for example, is the desired end. The purpose behind thoughts influenced by God is meant to conform us into the image of His Son. p. 54 FD 3rd edition

Therefore, if I choose to keep my thoughts centered on God’s faithful provision then the enemy looses. His grip weakens and my spiritual muscles grow stronger!

 

 

 

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. 

OUR ONLY HOPE!

About-Tour

                                                              The Tour
“America is at a crossroads, and I believe we should take every opportunity to stand up for the things of God and His Word.” –Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham is traveling to all 50 states in 2016 to hold prayer rallies, to preach the Gospel, and to challenge believers to take a stand and take action. He’ll be urging Christians to vote, to live out their faith in every part of their lives, and to pray for our nation just as Nehemiah cried out to God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore hope to His people.

    *     *     *     *

   I think and pray a lot about what’s in store for our country in 2016. Something captured my thoughts the other day concerning the presidential election in the context of the fiery dart message.

   It seems to me that most of what I hear focuses on getting the person of our choice in the White House as if that would solve America’s problems. However, I see that as a fiery dart attack on the mindset of many Americans.

Why?

   Because the enemy is using this line of thinking to keep us distracted from  the one and only thing that can save America. I have chosen my candidate–one whose platform lines up with what is taught in God’s Word. But unless our country takes to heart the message Franklin Graham will be delivering to the whole of America in 2016 there’s little hope that any candidate can turn the tide for Her.

   I shutter to think what the future holds for America if we fail to heed the warning of 2 Chronicles 7:14,

14 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.

   America must understand that unless we become wise to the enemy’s plan (John 10:10a), forsake it and turn to the plan our Creator has for us, (John 10:10b) then there is little reason to hope for a brighter future.

   But please note to whom 2 Chronicles 7:14 is addressed:

‘my people’

   That’s Christians dear people! First, we must confess our sins, then turn back to the Bible and familiarize ourselves with the Truth that we should be living by. Too many Christians have strayed from prayer and bible study, and as a result we have so compromised our faith that we have become blinded to Truth. We have accepted lies in place of the Truths we once embraced.

   Therefore we must return to the mandates given to us by God, so that we can act accordingly. We must pray, seek a candidate that stands by those mandates from God, and get out and vote. Consider the following numbers from a previous presidential election:

– 10 million evangelical Christians were eligible to vote but were unregistered.
– 9 million evangelical Christians were registered but did not vote.

19 million Christians allowed themselves to be manipulated by the enemy to believe their vote didn’t matter or would make a difference.

That, my dear readers, is a fiery dart that will destroy our nation.

 

 

Our Nation’s Peril and Our Nation’s Hope

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   First of all, may I ask you a few questions?

Do you condemn yourself or put yourself down?

Do you think others, especially close to you, don’t think well of you?

Do you over focus on your fears?

Do you find yourself doubting God?

Do you struggle with inconsistency in reading your Bible and praying?  

   Have you recognized questions such as these as the fiery darts Ephesians 6:16 identifies? Satan knows quite well, that these fiery darts will never permeate the Shield of Faith. Therefore, what do you think his first plan of action will be with individuals? Of course, tempt an individual to search everywhere but God’s Word for the answers to questions like the ones above. And if he can manipulate enough individuals to reject God and/or His Word, then his plan to destroy a nation falls easily into place.

   Our country’s leaders, some even calling themselves Christians, speak and act in ways that contradict God’s ways. For example, the Bible makes it quite clear how God feels about abortion. Yet, some of our most powerful leaders stand firm in their support of organizations that promote abortion! I just don’t get it. Why would anyone, claiming to be a Christian, support something God is against? But wait, I think I do!

   People who have rejected God and His word, are easily manipulated into seeing lies as truth and truth as lies. You recall those questions I started out with? Well, Satan’s plan is to get us so self absorbed that we loose sight of who God is and the good plans He has for us.(Jeremiah 29:11) We can’t believe that He can take the bad things we are experiencing in life and turn them into something good and thereby enrich our lives by them. (Romans 8:28)

   We look for solutions to the problems we encounter in our lives and Satan makes sure that our search for answers takes us no where near the Scriptures. Every idea we get from him may feel like an answer at the beginning but only serves to intensify our problems and complicate our lives even more. (Proverbs 14:12)

  As Christians, we must seek God’s will and wisdom and apply them to the problems we face. As we hold up our Shield of Faith, then we are protected from being manipulated and distracted by the fiery darts aimed at us by Satan.

   Here’s how it works!

    God’s light will shine forth for all to see and as God helps us, then we can help others. (2 Corinthians 1:4) As His light is experienced and shared then that light grows and the darkness is dispelled. (John 1:5) Eventually, as individuals turn back to God, then a nation has hope. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

  

 

What is our calling in this era of persecution? What are the fiery darts that will distract us from that calling?

     Slowly but surely the Sleeping Church is being awakened to the horrific persecution against Christians in Iraq. Those who react with disbelief cannot deny the pictorial reports of innocent children lying dead in the arms of ISIS soldiers. Suffering and persecution seems rampant from Africa, to China, to the Middle East, and even America (remember 911?)

AND STILL THE CHURCH SLEEPS?

MAYBE NOT!

WAKE UP TO SATAN’S TACTICS TO KEEP US DISTRACTED WITH FIERY DARTS.

RECOGNIZE that Fiery Dart thinking will insure the Church remains dormant!

-Of course, the initial response for many is to pray.  But the fiery darts will attempt to convince us that praying is a hopeless effort. 

-The fiery darts will have us focus on the horrendous images in the news, on the internet to the extent that we will be overwhelmed. We will begin to despair that the evil cannot be overcome and will continue to spread, no matter what we do.

-Guilt, is one of the most effective of fiery darts. It’s poison will have us feeling guilty for every blessing that is ours, feeling guilty because we aren’t over there trying to help, feeling guilty because the fiery darts have tricked us into believing there is nothing we can do. The guilt will increasingly weigh us down with every passing day.

-We turn our eyes and thoughts away from the genocide because the fiery darts induce us to think it’s too horrible to bear. So we coil up within ourselves and hide from the evil. Besides it’s far far away from us. Perhaps, it will eventually die down and just go away!

BUT HERE IS WHAT GOD HAS TO SAY IN RESPONSE!

-First and foremost Pray!

     Especially, Christians all over the world, but especially those of us in the USA. Can you imagine anything more horrible than children being beheaded and entire Christian communities being assaulted by rape and death? I can’t. Then what would only add to this gruesome image would be for Christians to think that praying was a feeble act.

(REJECT THIS THOUGHT)

(REPLACE  THE FIERY DART THOUGHT WITH THIS TRUTH THOUGHT)

But here’s how Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 felt about prayers: 

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers,2 of mthe affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us nrely not on ourselves bout on God pwho raises the dead. 10 qHe delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. rOn him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 sYou also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf tfor the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.-

I would like to share with you a commentary made by a fellow blogger about the above verse as it relates to the heinous events taking place in Iraq and around the world.

The grievous trial that made them despair of even living was given so that they would not trust in themselves, but in the God who raises even the dead (He became their ONLY hope) AND the PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS HELPED HIM!  Can I just shout it again?  THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS DELIVERED A GIFT TO HIM THAT EVEN THEIR PRESENCE COULD NOT

http://robertsfamilyhope.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/awake-oh-sleeper/

Don’t know how to word your prayers? Here’s some help!

http://www.radical.net/blog/2014/08/take-action-looming-humanitarian-catastrophe/

  • Ask the Lord to awaken the world to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Iraq and to provide pathways for Christians and others to respond.

  • Ask God to miraculously protect the Yazidis and other Kurds who fled into the mountains; ask Him to provide a means of rescue and temporary homes for the refugees.

  • Pray that ISIS leaders and soldiers would experience the love of Jesus Christ and that their lives would be transformed.

  • Ask God to preserve and embolden the small remnant of believers in Mosul and Kurdistan, so that one day through their witness, every Iraqi might have the opportunity to hear the Gospel.

AND MIGHT I ADD TO FERVENTLY PRAY 2 CHRONICLES 7:14. 

You can also GIVE and here’s how!

BP: “Help respond to Iraq’s refugee crisis by donating to the International Mission Board’s general relief fund or by texting imbrelief to 80888, which will donate $10 to that fund. To give through Baptist Global Response, visit gobgr.org/donate or text bgr to 80888.” (More info here)