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What does it mean to think like a Christian, or not?

Who should I listen to?

Before becoming a Christian, our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors were ruled by our personal desires. The aim of such desires is to fulfill thoughts centered on self, not God. Such thoughts and desires are heavily influenced by society. And if we allow today’s society to define what is good (instead of God’s word) then we enter a world darkened by the absence of God’s truth. As a result, our self-centered thinking sets the course of our lives, not God’s truth. So, if God’s truth is not our ‘go to’ authority on what is good for us, then what is?

The authority of inner feelings is now hailed as the authority of the day.(Back in the 60’s when the ideology of the day was “if it feels good do it” is nothing more than an update but with a wider following today on that same ideology) Better yet, if society endorses our feelings then we can feel free to express those feelings. And guess what, those thoughts will reinforce the idea that this is truly who we are! Back in the day, we called it rebellion. Today we call it expressive individualism.

The problem with this is that if an unchanging absolute authority does not define truth for us, then truth becomes something that is in a state of flux. What we determine as truth and what we reject as not being truth today, cannot be counted on to be the same tomorrow!

In contrast, upon becoming a Christian, our desire to please only ourselves, is put aside for the desire to please God. That voice inside our head telling us what is right and what is wrong, finds its source in the word of God. A Word that is absolute and unchanging.

Yet, as Christian we know that as long as we are alive, we now have two voices that compete for control of our thoughts. (Keep in mind that thoughts determines attitudes, and attitudes forms behavior.). Additionally, we know that the voice that speaks the loudest is the one we focus upon. Therefore, in order for God’s truths to speak the loudest we must be able to readily recognize it. If we do not consistently absorbs His truths, by spending time daily in God’s word and with God in prayer, then the voice of our flesh will take advantage of this lack of knowledge and drown out the Voice of truth.

Remember, to think like a Christian we need to have a sense of how God would want us to think. We aren’t going to know that unless we become familiar with what God thinks, right? And, the main place to find that out is in His Word. Otherwise, we will be allowing what we think to be determined by our self-centered nature.

Replacing lies with Truth thoughts…

We have Recognized. We have Rejected. Now it’s time to replace!

Replacing fiery dart thoughts with Truth thoughts

Something that often gets overlooked, is the necessity of replacing the lies of a fiery dart. For the empty space left when the lie was rejected, needs to be filled. Otherwise when the lie returns, and it will return, the lie gains reentry. This is when Truth thoughts come into play. For thoughts about what is true are required to fill the void left by the rejected lie. And to know what Truth thoughts to call upon, we must be familiar with the source of where they are contained. That, of course, is God’s word, the Bible. Therefore, we must be prepared and stand ready to wield this Sword of Truth, if these lies are to be extinguished.

Doubt and confusion, resided in the background of my thoughts. Every ready to spring into action when given the opportunity. Even though I had been a Christian for many years, I had allowed too much of the world’s concepts of truth to influence my attitudes, perspectives, and actions. It was easier to listen to the world rather than take time to delve into the Bible for answers. Needless to say, doubt and confusion were given many opportunities to inject their poison. Plain and simple – I didn’t know enough of what the Bible had to say, in regard to my doubts and confusion. As a result, my skill in the use of my Sword of Truth was sorely lacking.

My only hope to gain strength and successfully fight off the lies of the enemy, was to daily expose my thoughts to the Truths of Scripture. It is the main food for any soldier in God’s army. In my weakened state, God nourished me with a simple but powerful Truth to rebuff the enemy. By applying the Truth of Isaiah 54:17a, “No weapon that is formed against you will succeed;” to refer to the weapon of fiery darts, the lies were thwarted.

This verse has become the first swipe of my Sword of Truth in my attack. This affords me the opportunity to search for a specific word from God to extinguish a specific lie. Thereafter, I could wield my sword with tailor made precision to attack and extinguish the lie.

The benefit of searching for specific scriptures to add to our weapon cache, is obvious. The more our weapon supply is increased, the greater our victories over the enemy. That translates into our becoming more knowledgeable of the Truths of God’s Word. Knowledge that empowers us to be equipped with the weapons needed to counter Satan’s attacks.

This taste of victory over the manipulation and deception of the lies is sweet. It is the one thing that guarantees our release from the bondage we have been tricked into believing is freedom. This Truth sets us free from the lies that have created our bondage.

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?

Where are we headed?

Jesus will return for His church before His 2nd coming. The Rapture, as it is called, is when Jesus will miraculously take to heaven all those who have come to know Jesus as their Savior. This is an event that could happen at any time. Will we be ready?

Or if our departure from this world takes place before Jesus comes for His church, what will be our destination?

In the meantime, what are we to do while we wait?

In the physical world we know that by exercising our muscles to do hard things, we grow stronger. It’s the same in the spiritual world. Life in this world is fraught with problems, things that are hard to deal with. And for those who have been through tough times, because of what we’ve learned from God’s word, we will endure.

It is having to depend upon God and what He teaches us in His word, that keeps us from being overwhelmed by the troubles of this world. It is in God’s word where our enemy, Satan, is exposed. It’s where we learn how to wage war against him.

Spending time with God in His word and in prayer, teaches us how to live life and develop endurance for the trials that come our way. It teaches us the perspective we should have about things like the pandemic and the political turmoil our country finds herself in. It helps us make sense out of the personal and family problems we endure and lights our way to move forward, without destroying the relationships around us. Satan would use those same trials to alienate us from friends and family. God’s plan is to work it out for our good and then some.

Why would we go to any other source when God’s ways bring peace, strength, restoration, joy and, yes. even long-lasting happiness.

From Jesus’s teachings we learn this earth is not our permanent home, heaven is. Earth is where we make preparation to get there. There is a question that must not be left unanswered. Where will we go when we leave this earth?

What to do?

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What do we do when in spite of all that we know and believe, the darkness continues to stalk us? We wait and wait but the hoped for relief remains a no show.

Instead of giving in and sinking lower and lower, try putting one foot in front of the other. Whatever we do we do not give into the hopelessness.

Instead we hold up our shield of faith and extinguish all the fiery darts of the enemy. (based on Ephesians 6:16.) One fiery dart at a time.

We replace every fiery dart thought with a Truth thought from God.

We keep moving forward, depending on God’s strength.

 

And if in spite of all of this, the darkness remains?

Remember, God’s way is the only way. There is no other way that will bring the help we need. Focus on trusting God to come through for us.

This will require faith. Maybe more than we have at the moment. Trust God to supply what we lack.

Ask for help to shut out the negative debilitating thoughts; to replace them with God’s thoughts. .

Maybe it’s been lingering far longer than we could imagine.

That doesn’t make God’s Word any less true.

Yet the stalking negativity sometimes keeps hanging around.

Then just keep putting one foot of faith in front of the other. Looking neither to the right or the left. 

Keep in mind, everyday won’t be like this. There will be better days here and there. We won’t drown in just one day. 

Hebrews 10:36, You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

God’s plan to extinguish Fiery Darts

FD's bk & me (6-23-19)

     Today it was my pleasure to share the message of Fiery Darts to an endearing group of ladies at Mt Lebanon Baptist Church during their Sunday school hour. We dealt with how fiery darts relates to the following questions:

1 – Am I free from trying to win the approval and acceptance of other people, even those who are closest to me (such as spouse and children)?

2 – Have I learned what it means to take every thought captive and make them obedient to God’s truth that is clearly revealed by His Word and His Spirit?

3 – Am I well equipped to fight battles in my thinking, circumstances, and relationship and as a result stand strong in my faith?

 

     We learned that our answers to the above questions are largely determined by where our thoughts dwell, the carnal realm or God’s Word.

 An excerpt from Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice added a foundation for our discussion.

When a person becomes a Christian they are given a new nature, one that is the direct opposite of their old nature. Formerly, their will was directed by their old nature, but at the point of salvation, their old nature was dethroned. Their will is now directed by their new nature. (This civil war is fully explained in Romans 8:1-11, see page 95.) With this comes a hunger to study the Bible and to maintain consistent communication with God through prayer. The old nature, the flesh, resists such desires. Eventually, Satan arrives on the scene with his first and most formidable fiery dart—tempting their old nature with powerful distractions, making it harder and harder for new believers to commit to consistent Bible study and time in prayer. P 43

     Satan knows that our sinful nature (flesh) is set against God, as well as the values and priorities of the unsaved world. He uses that to deceive and manipulate us.

      A sure fire way to avoid his deception and manipulation is found in

Rom. 12:2, Do not be conformed to (the world), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

     How are we going to renew our minds and become discerning as to God’s will?  By devoting ourselves to prayer and the study of the Bible.

     As we mature in wisdom and understanding, what we learn from spending time with God in prayer and His Word will expose the enemy’s plan (John 10a, the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy) and reveals God’s plan (John 10:10b & Jer. 29:11)

But in God’s Word in particular Ephesians 6:16 reveals God’s plan to undo Satan’s plan,

In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one.

Something to keep in mind

Jesus convicts in order to restore.

Satan condemns in order to destroy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even when the answers don’t come

     Somedays, I feel my dreams are slipping away.  Somedays, I feel I am a solitary soldier. Somedays, I feel abandoned. Somedays, I feel overwhelmed. And no matter how much I pray and attack these fiery dart thoughts, relief and/or victory just doesn’t happen.

So what does one do at times like these?

     Well, I’m going to keep fighting and resisting those fiery dart thoughts. I’m going to replace every fiery dart thought with verses of hope. Verses that remind me of who God is and how much He loves me. I’m going to remind myself of the abundance of God’s blessings and answers to prayers from my past.

     Satan’s fiery darts are unrelenting at times like these. Therefore, I must be persistent in my resistance. Like Winston Churchill reminds us

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     So, even though the relief, victory, the answers haven’t arrived, I won’t forget that each and everyone of my problems is something God cares about. And that

It won’t always be like this! 

 

Choose Easter’s Victory

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“He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” – Genesis 3:15

It’s important to remember Easter is ultimately a spiritual battle between Christ and Satan

 

   When God created man and Satan tempted Adam and Eve, the great civil war between man’s spirit and flesh began. Then Christ came and as a man and as God, resisted Satan. Easter makes a way for us to resist Satan’s fiery darts. By accepting Christ’s death for ourselves, we can be assured that after our death, just like Christ, we will ascend to heaven. 

   As I grow older and move closer to my life’s end, the thrill of heaven, being with Jesus, becomes more intense. Therefore, I do not fear death. Nor should any believer.

You see that’s the victory we as Christians have over the plan of Satan’s to steal, kill, and destroy. 

   Satan’s plan to remove the influence of God’s Word and spending time with God in prayer, makes possible the fulfillment of his plan. Just look around at all the people in our country that see nothing wrong with abortion, homosexuality, divorce, or lying to gain an advantage, etc. When we remove what the Bible says about either of these, and have no personal relationship with God, Satan easily victimizes us. And you know what, we won’t even realize how we have been deceived and manipulated. 

   When the world accuses Christians for standing firm on these issues, we get accused of all sorts of hateful actions. And Satan will make sure that our accusers don’t open up their Bible. Why? Because he doesn’t want the world to know about God’s love, compassion, forgiveness, redemption of those involved with the sins I mentioned above.

   Remember, if you ignore the Bible and prayer, you are easy prey to the enemy. He will lie to you with such skill, that you can become convinced that right is wrong and wrong is right.

   This Easter, choose Christ. Choose victory. Defeat the enemy. Begin cooperating with God as He gives us the desire and power to do what pleases Him. 

   Refuse to allow ourselves to be manipulated, deceived, and blinded by Satan.

Satan has come to condemn us; Christ has come to restore us.

Avoiding Regrets

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     My greatest regret in life is not spending time with God daily in prayer and reading my Bible. I think about the unnecessary trauma I have gone through over the years simply because I  wasn’t listening to God (you know, spending time with Him by reading and meditating on His word)!  

     Now that I am retired and spending that time daily with God, I am realizing the HUGE EFFECT it is making in my thoughts, attitudes, and actions. I think about all those years I failed in allowing God to show me the path I should have taken. I could have avoided so much pain, so many mistakes, pitfalls, detours, etc., if I had been familiarizing myself daily with what God had to say about what I was going through. 

     I could have you know. But I allowed myself to be manipulated and deceived into allowing busyness to keep me out of God’s word. Sure my life was busy when I was raising four children, working full time, and being deeply involved with my church. But I paid the price for putting all of that before my personal time with God. Not only did I pay the price but those I loved paid the price as well.

Remember:

The more we pray and the more we study, the more of Christ is revealed to us. Our faith is strengthened and our access to the power of God is increased. Our ability to recognize fiery darts becomes keener, and we do not succumb to their influences so readily. We will recognize the battle going on between our flesh and our spirit and we will choose to cooperate with God’s plan instead. p 80 FD’s 3rd ed 

     So please, please heed my warning. You are not doomed to repeating my mistake. Know that the enemy is whispering the same lies into your thoughts as he did to mine. Be aware only the power of God’s word can successfully expose Satan’s lies.

     So go get your Bible. Open it up and start reading it everyday. (I recommend a read your Bible through in a year plan.) I can’t tell you how many times God will highlight a verse for me in my daily readings that speaks directly to something I’m dealing with. I add that verse to my prayer notebook (oh yeah, keeping up with verses like that helps keep them in your focus).

Start NOW letting God’s Truth’s rule your thinking and not Satan’s lies.

You will never regret it!

 

Who do we believe?

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Why do we so easily believe the lies of fiery darts? But struggle to believe Truths from God’s Word?

   If the darkness of the world, Satan, and our flesh influences our thinking more than God’s Word, then our thoughts, attitudes, and actions will reflect that darkness.  Thus our focus will be on the darkness, blinding us to the light of God’s truth that lies beyond it. 

  Yet, if we desire to believe God over the lies of the enemy, we must do the following:  

We must seek God.

When God speaks we need to listen.

When God speaks we need to believe.

When God speaks we need to act on His words.

Take to heart the following:

…when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. Is 43:2 ESV

The LORD is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you. Do not be afraid or discourages. Deut. 31:8

Don’t be afraid anymore, only believe. Mark 5:36 NASV

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

   Yet sometimes the problems we face threaten to overwhelm us. We believe God,. We believe His Word. We go to it daily.  We talk to God about it a lot, but the hoped for solution evades us! What do we do in situations like that?

We wait!

   As we wait, we continue to pray and search the Scriptures. We focus on verses like the ones above. We become alert to the encouragement God sends us as we go about our day. Through those encouragements and God’s word, we grow in our faith and perspective of the problem.

   We learn to recognize the fiery darts and how to reject them. We learn to replace them with the Truth thoughts from Scripture that God directs us to.

   We may not feel so good about the way things are going, but we must remember that if God says He will never leave us, that He will not fail us, then in spite of how things look, we must take Him at His word. 

Our well being depends on who we believe!