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Faith, Hope, and Love, (God’s plan to defeat fear, hopelessness, and hate)

Fear, Hopelessness, and Hate

   All across our land and beyond, seeds of fear, hopelessness, and hate (just to address only 3) are being sown. You do realize why I would label these as fiery darts, right? Because if the enemy can keep our focus on such negative thinking then he can manipulate us into creating our own destruction. The enemy will stop at nothing to create a climate designed to give rise to the fruits of such fiery darts. His diabolical efforts to maintain this climate are evidenced by the rise of persecution here and abroad.  People everywhere are living lives and making choices that have been poisoned by fear, by hopelessness, by hate!

BUT GOD HAS A PLAN!

 The enemy is counting on his victims being uninformed about who God is and the plan God has set in place to empower us to defeat evil. A personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ allows us access to all  we need to counter the attack of fiery darts and defeat our enemy. The Bible tells us what to do in every situation:
The Truth expressed in Ephesians 6:16 (HCSB) “In every situation take the shield of faith and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one,” took on new meaning. FD, p. 33
   Christians who are fervent in spending time with God in prayer and avail themselves to being taught by God as to how to identify fiery darts and how to replace them with Truth Thoughts, will overcome their enemy. And added to that, their witness will lead the way for others to follow in victory.
   In the face of fear, hopelessness, and hate, God offers us the direct opposite–Faith, Hope, and Love. The following are the Truth Thoughts of Faith, Hope, and Love.  Should we choose to use them, they will solidly defeat our enemy. 

FAITH

…to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’Proverbs 24:20 

HOPE

 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

LOVE

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

 

Parent’s Alert: Fiery Darts of “The Stirring”

 

  When our children begin to experience this stirring, if we parents haven’t availed ourselves to the connection between it and God, then we become prime targets for Satan’s fiery darts. Therefore, for lack of knowledge, we will usher our children along a path that we never would have desired. We will  assume, right along with society, that our children are reaching the ‘dating age’ (and alarmingly, in our culture this happens earlier and earlier) when the search for ‘true love’ naturally begins.

Just what Satan has planned!

But wait, here’s what he is attempting to keep us (especially Christian parents) from realizing:

The Stirring – According to God

Remember in Part One, I said that Satan has a plan for our lives and that is to kill, steal, and destroy whatever it is that God has planned for us. Let’s go back to that “stirring” I mentioned earlier. Could it be that the stirring in our heart that initiates a search for true love is the Holy Spirit calling us to a love relationship with our Creator? I think so! Why else would Satan enforce a plan to do everything he could to make sure that we misunderstand what this stirring encompasses? FD, p. 54-55

   As parents, if we buy into this misconception of ‘the stirring’ then our focus regarding our children and dating will be completely out of balance. We will think how else are they going to find that one that God wants for them. For in the process, they will grow in their understanding of love and how to recognize the real thing, right?

Sounds logical, doesn’t it!

   Indeed, we do need to help our children learn how to recognize genuine love. But the place to start is in committing their lives to God then sitting at Jesus’s feet as He teaches them about the love He displayed for them. They then go from there putting into practice what they have learned from Jesus about genuine love, but first within the context of their own families; romantic love following much later.

If in those early years we set our focus on cooperating with God as He teaches us the true meaning of love, then our future attitudes and actions will reflect an appropriate definition of love because our textbook was God’s Word; in particular, verses like 1 Corinthians 13:1-7. . . We could do nothing better to prepare us to live life and love others, especially a future spouse successfully, by studying and applying the truths about love from the Book written by the Author of love!  FD, p. 55

   There’s much more on this subject in my book. If you are interested then check out the sidebar about how to order, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice. (By the way, it would make a great Christmas gift!)

Just read the Book!

     Recently, I came across a Facebook post of a young woman that troubled my heart. Her words revealed that fiery darts had completely obliterated her understanding of genuine love. Her words spoke of a relationship that was deceptive, inflicted pain, played games, desired what was not theirs! A relationship much like her divorced parents. What troubles me? Both the young woman and her divorced parents are products of the Christian church.

     Sadly, too many Christians have succumbed to the fiery dart (the temptation) to spend less and less time in prayer and Bible study. Much of the pain and trouble we have come to know in our marriages can be traced back to this fiery dart.  The more time we spend away from God the more disconnected we become and the more cloudy becomes our understanding of how to live life! 

. . .Again I must emphasize the necessity to persevere in prayer and Bible study!. . .What we teach our children, how we define true love, how we view our marriage, how we deal with difficulties, etc., will all be influenced by what we learn from God’s Word and prayer. FD, p. 76

     Is it any wonder that when we push the map (God’s Word) aside, we loose sight of how to get to where we need to go? The Bible, for instance, gives us precise instruction as to the purpose of marriage in Ephesians 5:25-26. But if we don’t avail ourselves to this wisdom, then we have the bloody mess (sorry, but I’m feeling this pretty strongly)  we find ourselves in today! 

. . .They don’t see how fiery darts have so dulled their sensitivity toward the things of God, that they honestly think they have no alternative other than divorce. Because, you see, that marriage was all about them; they just couldn’t see that it was an instrument of God’s to conform them into the image of His Son and draw an unbelieving world to Himself! FD, p. 75

    Did you realize that most people are clueless about why God designed marriage. Though we are without excuse, many of us in the church are as well! Please consider reading my book and in particular chapters 7 & 8, for more insight into love and marriage and God’s design for both.  

How do you spell love?

Because Valentine’s Day is coming up, I think it is the appropriate time to address a relevant issue covered in my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, concerning the definition of love.

      When a marriage lacks “love” as defined by society, that is romantic feelings, it becomes inconceivable to those subscribing to society’s definition to remain in the relationship.  When it is romance that fuels our relationship then our focus is on the performance or lack thereof of our spouse.  (p.72)

         In defining love, could it be that we have succumbed to another fiery dart?  When we define love according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, we find that, “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs;love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.” (NIV)  This is the kind of love Jesus has for us.  It is a God-centered view of love.  This kind of love will preserve marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to the reconciling love of its Creator.Do we think that we could love like this if we never encountered the situations that had the potential to teach us how to love in this manner?  This love is not performance based; it does not require that our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations must be met; it is not self-seeking, which unfortunately defines, for too many us, the basis of our love for others.  This type of love can only be found by sitting at the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to teach us how to love as He loves. (pp.72-73)

         A clear understanding of the love we should have, as described in the Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13), expands our definition of love.  As Christians we were taught to define love by Christ’s example.  I suspect the only way we can love like this is to become more like Christ as we handle the problems we face in our marriages. (p. 73)

         So why do I insert this section from my book?  Because I believe that Society is out of balance in defining love.  We have put way too much emphasis on the romantic aspect of love.  It might even be said of Society’s definition of love that if you’re not experiencing romance, then you’re not experiencing love!  And to that, I say, “Society! You are way off on your definition!”  If we go by Society’s definition then all those married couples who for one reason or another have stayed together in spite of the fact that the romance has gone out of their relationship are fools.   Well, maybe that’s a bit strong!  How about ‘crazy’?

I would like to encourage all those ‘crazy’ married couples out there who are hanging in there without the benefit of the glue of romantic feelings!  First of all, God bless you!  Thank you for showing by your example that ‘love’ is spelled ‘c-o-m-m-i-t-m-e-n-t’.  By your example, you are redefining ‘love’ and getting closer to its truer meaning. So keep on keeping on! God has some pretty awesome plans for you. Remember Jeremiah 29:11?

“‘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,

To be sure, romance is desirable in a marriage.  For those of you who are blessed to still have that, how wonderful!  But do not despair if your marriage doesn’t.  Learn how to fight the fiery darts that have disheartened and discouraged your marriage.  Hold on to the hope that once you have acknowledged and learned how to wage war on the fiery darts attacking your marriage, then the healing of your marriage can begin.

Remember:  Romance is a by-product of love but it does not define love!  Yep, if you’ve got commitment, then you’ve got a lot of love in your marriage–you are just learning to spell it differently!