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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!

 

Accessing the Light

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 As I survey people, in particular Christians, there is something I find troubling. It appears to me that an alarming number of Christians are walking life’s path without the benefit of  light! And when the trials come, the lack of light allows Satan to move stealthily.  

His first attempt will be to weaken our new nature by tempting our old nature with distractions meant to diminish our desire to study the Bible or spend time with God in prayer. p. 46 FD’s 3rd edition

   When trials come, and that’s a given, without the light of God’s word we will find ourselves stumbling around in the dark. Having become so accustomed to the darkness  we fail to see the solutions the light reveals.  Before we realize it, we find ourselves walking along life’s paths using the same human reasoning and false arguments anyone in the World would use. Without the light provided by God’s Word, we become confused, disillusioned, frustrated, etc. as we seek solutions to our trials from other sources. 

   As Christians do we really desire to live this way? Satan’s fiery darts will attempt to convince us that this is normal. But God tells us that He has a better plan:

…the second half of John 10:10 reveals … God’s plan for His children, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” p 13, FD”s 3rd edition

However, Satan’s plan is to keep us in the dark.

But remember, his plan can’t succeed as long as we access the light provided in God’s word.

 

 

 

Clarifying the Plans

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.John 10:10a (HCSB), “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.” So what is it that the Enemy desires to steal, kill, and destroy? The answer is obvious—anything God has planned for us!      p 13 FD’s 3rd edition

   It’s obvious that America is in trouble. Chaos reigns in hot spots throughout our land. Too many of our leaders have called upon human reasoning and false arguments to replace the Christian principles upon which our country was founded. Slowly but surely the foundations of our country are being eroded away.

  But you know the same is true for individuals. Rejecting God sets us on the same course of depending upon human reasoning and false arguments. The outcome of such a choice places our lives, families, and ,therefore, our country at risk.

And because we are not motivated to spend time with God in prayer and in His word, we are ignorant of the following Truths:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

The second half of John 10:10 reveals an aspect of God’s plan for His children, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” p 13 FD’s 3rd edition

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), ‘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.’ p 24 FD’s 3rd edition

 

How about we examine the two plans

Cooperating with God’s plan produces

… 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 selfcontrol, 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

Rejecting God’s plan produces

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. Galatians 5:19-21

So why do individuals choose Satan’s plan over God’s plan?

In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.         2 Corinthians 4:4 HCSB

 

Please open our eyes LORD. Lead us out of our darkness into Your Light!

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)

  

 

Life or Death–You Choose

   When I think about all that God offers those who would believe in Him and compare that to what is in store for those who don’t, my mind is overwhelmed as to why anyone would not choose God. Yet, far too many not only reject God but set out to destroy those who do. I read in the Bible of the blessings and curses that come with choosing God or not choosing God. Deuteronomy 30:11-20 gives us the following:

Choosing God

Life

Prosperity

Increase

Be blessed by God

Will live an abundance of years in the land you possess

Rejecting God

Death

Destruction

Curses

Will not live long in the land you possess

   

   Who in their right mind would deliberately choose from the Rejecting God list? Yet, many do. They don’t realize what they are doing actually. Because, you see, if they have rejected God, then they have rejected God’s Word. And if they have rejected God’s Word then everything in this world, every experience they encountered will be defined by a context that excludes God. They live in darkness, while Satan is promising them the world!

            Satan would give Christ the world if He would only worship him! After all, 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God,” (NIV) p.39, FD

   In America, today, it seems our country is being taken over by those who have rejected God. Satan has released one fiery dart after another successfully blinding those who discount and reject God into believing they have been enlightened and they have finally broken free of all the restrictions of Christianity.

   They are bent on changing wrong into right, just so they can live anyway they want to without guilt.  They refuse to acknowledge sin and it’s consequences. Satan ‘s fiery darts have hit their mark once again in manipulating them into believing they are seeking freedom. Because they have been taken over by fiery dart thinking, they don’t see that it is license they are pushing for; not freedom.

   Daily I pray for my country, 2 Chronicles 7:14: (NIV)

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.

   And while in the meantime we as believers may have to suffer, we always have the following hope:

 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

Who’s Messing With Your Self Worth?

The Cognitive Triangle

The Cognitive Triangle

First we entertain a thought. That thought will cause certain related feelings. Thus, behavior is based on our thoughts and feelings.  p.16, FD

     Several years ago and over a two year period of time, I suffered from a serious bout of depression. I remember battling suicidal thoughts and deep sadness to the point that my prayers became a desperate cry for God to hold on to me because I had no strength left to hold on to Him.  I survived that dark time in my life but that’s about it. It wouldn’t be until several years later as God initiated my training in fiery dart recognition that I would be able to recognize the bondage that defined my existence during those two years. 

Here’s what happened to me and I see this same overused but deadly effective tactic of Satan’s still being used today!

     Refer to the diagram above. In my case I was a people pleaser. If I felt significant people in my life approved of me, then life was good and I felt good about myself. On the other hand, if there was strife or conflict in these relationships life was not good and I became convinced I had little reason to feel good about myself. Self approval you see was strongly connected to what others thought of me. (Or what I thought they thought!)

Do you see the pattern?

     First this negative thought (fiery dart remember) would plant itself into my head producing some very negative feelings or emotions. Never mind that these negative thoughts had no basis in Truth! The poison of these fiery darts seeped into my thinking producing destructive attitudes and behavior. 

     The purpose of these fiery darts, you see, was to diminish any sense of self worth that I might still possess. I was an easy target because it was way too important for me to have the good opinion of those significant people in my life. As relationships with these people deteriorated, so did my self worth.

I wonder if I have touched a nerve? 

     Are you sad seemingly all the time? Are you convinced you don’t measure up and that significant persons in your life don’t approve of you? Does the dangerous thought that your family would be better off without you ever sneak into your mind? Please hold on, for I have glorious news for you in my next post. In the meantime hold on to the following verse,

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

The Light of Christmas!

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year but the further away we get from celebrating the birth of Christ then the more challenging it becomes to experience all the wonders this blessed holiday has to offer.  The fiery darts that so cleverly counterfeit the joys of Christmas have overshadowed this blessed holiday to the point that we have all but forgotten the child whose birth we are supposed to be celebrating.

And what’s been the results?  Christmas has become the most stressful time of the entire year for many people.  The worship of self has overshadowed worship of the Christ Child.  People are more concerned with what they are getting than in what they are giving.  And with the economy on a downturn like it is, the lack of money to spend on Christmas presents creates depression of an alarming nature.

As I see this darkness growing and spreading its evil tendrils across our land threatening to extinguish the Light of Christmas, I am tempted to despair.  That is until I open my Bible and I read John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

You see the light referred to in this verse is Christ.  What reassurance, what hope we have in these dark days that the light of Christ will overcome the darkness!

Recently our nation has witnessed darkness in its most evil form attempting to eradicate everything of life and light of Christmas.   Those directly affected by this dark evil were left with no heart to celebrate Christmas and who could blame them?  Yet, today I read that though many of those affected by this evil had extinguished their Christmas lights, slowly but surely these hurting people were turning their Christmas lights back on! The Light of Christmas in turn shines bright upon them, eradicating the dark evil while sending forth its blessed healing rays.  Their simple but bold and courageous act affirms unquestionably the rock solid truth expressed in John 1:5.  

Darkness, no matter how evil will never overcome the light!