My first night in Israel, I woke up around 1:30 am (Israel time) and wasn’t able to go back to sleep. Thoughts were popping into my mind, demanding I pay attention to them. (I had to be considerate of my friend who shared the room with me and not turn on any lights). Finally, there was nothing to do but grab my phone, go to my Word app, and begin recording those thoughts. The following are the words that forced themselves upon my mind that night. At the time, I thought they were a personal word for me. Up to a point they were. But after I returned home following my pilgrimage to Israel right smack in the middle of the Coronavirus fallout, I feel those words were also meant for such a time as this.
Two themes encased my thoughts that early morning–Perspective and Fear. Our perspective is determined by our focus. But before we choose our focus (and it is a choice, by the way) there is a viewpoint to be considered.
we need to view our lives within the context of God’s plan for them. He has given us assignments that are fashioned by that plan. (Jeremiah 29:11)
we need to be aware that Satan also has a plan:
To steal, kill, and destroy God’s plan for us. (from John 10:10a)
Unfortunately, our human nature is too often susceptible to the manipulation and deception of our enemy, Satan. When we succumb to his temptations, we limit ourselves from fulfilling God’s plans for our lives. How does this happen?
Satan’s premiere plan is to keep us ignorant of God’s plan. So how does Satan pull this off?
By distracting us from spending time with God in prayer and His word. Make no mistake about it, that is the foundation stone on which Satan’s destructive tactics are built.
Now, let’s bring this all down to the trial we are facing at present–the Coronavirus.
Do we think for one minute that those thoughts of fear and despair come from anyone other than Satan? Of course not! But we are being tempted to take on a perspective of fear, are we not? Then how can we avoid or resist such temptation?
Consider the following:
A fearful thought will come to our mind. That thought, if allowed to take root, will produce more fear and put us in panic mode. We will begin to behave irrationally. Thoughts of self-preservation at all costs will be entertained.
YET, if we will but recognize that thought as a fiery dart from the enemy, there is a plan to nullify its effect. Here’s how it works:
Recognizethat thought of fear as a fiery dart
Rejectit outright. Don’t allow its deadly poison to take root
thenReplaceit with Truth thoughts.
This is critical. We can’t just reject fear and expect to be done with it. But when it returns it needs to find no room to plant itself. This is where Truth thoughts come into play. The Truth thought found in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”, will quench such a thought. Just as it says in Ephesians 6:16, “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
Therefore, the plan we focus upon will determine our perspective in facing the Coronavirus pandemic.
Ephesians 6:4, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the LORD.” NKJV
Where or from whom does a person first learn of God?
It’s in the home, in particular the father, (not from mom and not the church) where God planned for children to get their first lessons about who He is. The family unit was to be an earthly reflection of God’s design for the personal relationship our Heavenly Father wanted to have with His earthly children. It was God’s intention that earthly fathers would not only reflect God to their children but, in addition, model God’s character by the way they loved and provided for their own families.
About those fiery darts!
John 10:10a, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;…”(NIV) So what is it that the Enemy desires to steal, kill, and destroy? The answer is obvious – anything God has planned for us! p. 1, FD
Let’s consider the position of earthly fathers in introducing their children to their Heavenly Father. If Satan can manipulate a father to misunderstand the impact his position has in God’s plan, then not only has he set in motion the destruction of the father, but his children as well.
If a father attempts to love his children without God’s direction, it will be an incomplete type of love. There will always be something missing. Their children will suffer from the lack of that missing component. Which is exactly Satan’s plan.
And may I reassert, if the father is a Christian, the very first thing Satan will do will be to pull father’s away from the Bible and time spent with God in prayer. If the father is not a Christian, then Satan’s job is so much the easier. For we live in a society that has rejected God and fathers of this present society are influenced to feel God or a relationship with Him is no longer necessary.
Our country desperately needs our father’s to return to God in repentance. Assume the responsibilities of introducing their children to God and His ways by reflecting God’s ways and character before them. The place to begin is in spending consistent time in prayer and the study of God’s Word to remind fathers that the relationship they have with their children will either be one that will turn their children to God or away from Him.