Tag Archive | John 3:16

Trusting God in the hard times

. . . all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 HCSB

But what if God doesn’t work things out in the way we had hoped for? 

Those times are tough! And the fiery darts are merciless. We have a tendency to be mad at God.  We question God. We feel God is ignoring us. Sometimes, the way God works things out breaks our hearts. Peace evades us at times like these. We might even feel like giving up on prayer, after all what good has it done in those difficult times. We experience frustration when we open our bible because nothing seems to speak to our need. We cry out to God, “I just don’t understand what you are doing here God. This isn’t what I prayed for at all!”

We take on an ‘it’s all about me’ perspective. All we can think about is our own feelings. How disappointed we are. How hurt we are.  It’s at times like these, we must remember the following: 

We must trust God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths. Proverbs 3:5-7 NIV

You know, God sees the bigger picture. He’s in charge and we have to submit to that.

We must remember that God desires what is best for us

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, Ephesians 3:20 ESV

Because He sees the bigger picture, God knows what needs to be done, so that the plans He has for us can be fulfilled.   Remember, God knows what is best for us. We only think  we do! We need to remember His thoughts are not our thoughts.   

God will sustain us (especially when things get rough)

Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalms 55:22 HCSB

God knows we won’t get any relief if we insist on carrying that burden. He lovingly and patiently waits for us to turn it all over to Him. 

God loves us:

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 HCSB

The reason we can calm down and trust God is because His love for us knows no bounds. Will God, who sacrificed His innocent Son for us, ignore us in our time of disappointment and hurt? That doesn’t even make sense. But we are tempted to forget that powerful Truth. The Truth that will set us free from the temptations meant to destroy us.

Be prepared!

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Yahweh is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never grows faint or weary;
there is no limit to His understanding.
 He gives strength to the weary
and strengthens the powerless. Isaiah 40:28-29, HCSB

   Isaiah was writing to the Israelites who were in captivity in Babylon. God through Isaiah meant to encourage them as they looked forward to returning to Israel. And as they waited for the promised hope, thoughts (of a fiery dart nature) would tempt their minds with discouragement. They would grow faint and become weary. 

   But God had promised them they would return to their beloved homeland. And because He is everlasting, the Creator of the whole earth, He had a ready supply for their weariness. They knew that His strength could be their strength from the promise of His Word. Therefore, each temptation to despair could be extinguished by these true and powerful words from their Creator God. 

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   We live our lives with the hope of John 3:16. And like the Israelites, we must wait for that hope to be fulfilled. In the meantime, things can get pretty rough can’t they. And if we are not on our guard, those trials can overwhelm us. Especially, if our minds are not saturated with the words of God. With every trial, our strength can be worn down and our power can be depleted. In such a state we become vulnerable to the destructive force of fiery dart thinking. Ill prepared to receive the promised hope.

   You see, as we wait for the sure hope of heaven, Satan is working on a plan to impair our witness. He tempts us with thoughts of doubt concerning God. He secures the success of this plan by tempting us to ignore God’s word. Ever felt too busy to read the Bible and pray? We put it off till later but often later doesn’t come. 

   But if our minds are saturated with God’s words, fiery darts get exposed pretty quickly. Verses like Isaiah 40:28-29, remind us that God is our strength and source of power to defeat the enemy’s fiery darts.

   As we encounter weariness and become weak from the trials we face, it would be helpful to remember Isaiah 40:28-29. Yes, the reality concerning our life here on earth is that it is fraught with trials and temptations. Yet, those very trials can make us stronger and more prepared to receive God’s promise. God’s strength will become our strength and we will have more power to resist temptations. 

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Merry Christmas?

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   As wonderful as the message of CHRISTmas is, the sad fact is that multitudes of people miss it; don’t  even get it, don’t realize they need it, or have never heard of it! The holidays only serve to accentuate the fact that they are alone, depressed, forgotten, ignored, or even angry!

   All of the above, and even more, are examples of the types of fiery darts aimed at our minds to keep us in the dark about the hope offered during this time of the year. The enemy’s intent is to keep us so deep in darkness, so self-absorbed with our misery, that we won’t be able to notice the lifelines available to us or awaken us to our need for the hope offered–all the work and effect of fiery dart thinking!

   Why is it that we reject the babe born in the manger and all that His birth offers and embrace, instead, any and every insipid substitute that makes claim to posses a Christmas spirit? The  enemy’s efforts to darken our understanding and separate us from the life God has planned for us, as is pointed out in Ecclesiastes 3:11, exposes why.

   Now can you understand why the birth of the Christ child is such Good News? Because of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection we have access to the power that will prevent our understanding from being darkened and will prevent us from being separated from the life God has planned for us.  WE DON’T HAVE to feel alone, forsaken, embittered, depressed, or unloved during the holidays.

   Time and time again within the pages of the Holy Bible we find verses that promise us that God will never leave us or forsake us that we are loved no matter what that we have worth that we are forgiven and that we can forgive that we matter that He cares for us. That dear readers is the Good News our enemy relentlessly works to conceal-especially at Christmas!

Therefore, this Hope is ours to choose:

  But we MUST begin by refusing to believe that we have no hope, that we are unloved or forsaken or worthless. We must refuse to believe that there’s no way out of our darkness, or depression; that we have no control over the state we find ourselves. We must reject such thinking and as soon as we can get our hands on a Bible we must search for the Truth thoughts with which to supplant these negative thoughts (fiery darts) the minute they enter our minds. In the meantime, camp down on this:

 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)

God does care! Keep on praying!

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   Obviously, there are those in our country who simply don’t understand the purpose of prayer. From their public words they espouse the negative thought (fiery dart) which promotes the idea that God doesn’t care about what we are going through and isn’t about to fix the problems associated with the recent terrorists attacks. 

   They don’t realize that God, indeed, is going to fix this problem with evil once and for all when Jesus Christ returns (Matthew 24:44). But God has a timetable, and He has a plan, and we must trust Him to work things out in His way and in His time. In the meantime, we must trust Him and,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippines 4:6-7

Why?

   Because apart from God, deep and lasting peace is unattainable. Because it’s at times such as these when we are falling apart that we need a strength outside ourselves to see us through. Praying opens us up to receive this strength which comes from God. For He knows suffering is going to affect us all and His plan is to provide a way to handle our suffering and come out on the other end of it stronger than when we entered it. Therefore, suffering, which is inevitable, can refine us if we choose to pray for God’s strength, or it can ruin our lives, sending us into despair and defeat. 

We therefore must make a choice, and I recommend the following plan of action:

1.Recognize these negative thoughts for the fiery darts they are

2. Reject this thinking; don’t let it take root

3. Replace the fiery dart thought with a Truth thought. (The Bible is full of them)  

For example:  

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7, (gives us the strength to resist the temptation to fear).

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (shows us just how much God cares for us)

“…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 (confirms the power of prayer)

It’s all about me!

   The temptation of such a narcissistic way of thinking isn’t embraced suddenly. Before it can plant itself into someone’s mind, the soil (so to speak) of the mind must be made ready. This is accomplished subtly, as one fiery dart after another gains entrance. Over a period of time then an individual’s mind becomes ripe for the planting. 

   I want you to understand something though. Satan dangles this choice fiery dart before each and every one of us. But remember, it is what is within us that determines whether we will open our minds to it or not. 

   So, what happens in the minds of those open to an ‘it’s all about me’ mentality?

   Self and what self desires become the rule of thought. Eventually, they will rationalize away anything that keeps them from doing what they want to do–even if what they want to do is illegal or immoral, etc. If doing something makes them unhappy, then they won’t do it, instead they will do whatever it is that does make them happy. Because:

Achieving personal happiness is all that really matters.

   Fiery darts poison the thinking of someone who is driven by this mentality. That thinking fashions and shapes attitudes, then actions, to the point that the very definitions in their mind of right or wrong become challenged. Therefore, right becomes whatever makes them happy (because remember, It’s all about me). Wrong becomes whatever makes them unhappy.

   Truth no longer means what it use to mean! As fiery dart thinking moves and shapes those caught up in it to find ways to justify their self centeredness, it should come as no surprise that a simple act of redefining Truth, would open the doors to the freedom for which they so long desired.

    In recent months and days, we have witnessed the lengths those who are entrapped by fiery dart thinking will go to, in the name of achieving personal happiness. In addition, those whose thinking has been negatively influence by fiery dart thinking seem to be waging a campaign to have punished those whose desire is not to condemn but to live by their religious convictions.  

   Individuals whose minds have been clouded and confused by fiery darts (temptations which they have embraced) are unaware that they have been manipulated to exchange true freedom (freedom that in the past was called license) for a life of bondage. 

There is a pathway that seems right to a man, but in the end it’s a road to death. Proverbs 14:12 (ISV)

The answer to their dilemma, therefore, is found in:

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)

A Truth Thought when embraced will empower them to deflect fiery dart thinking that has held them in bondage;

Then you (they) will know the truth, and the truth will set you (them) free. John 8:32 (NIV)

Follow the pattern!

   Christian parents, I would urge you to seriously considered the message of my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, especially where it concerns your adolescent/s. As parents, we need to prepare our adolescent/s to live in a world that will do everything within its power to turn them away from the things of God. Negative thinking, or fiery darts, will seek to control their minds, and as adolescents they are most vulnerable.

   Considering that our sin nature will always be struggling with our Christ-like nature, we need to equip our adolescent/s with the Truths thoughts they will need to overcome those temptations. You are going to discover those Truths, as you prayerfully considered the Truths of Scripture.

   How we parent our adolescents in large measure determines the outcome of how our adolescents will fare as they face such temptations. As parents we should be encouraged for  God, our Heavenly Father, has given us a pattern for parenting in the way He loves (parents) us, (His children)!

So, Consider this:

   God (our Father) does not condemn us or punish us out of anger (His children) when we go wrong. No, He brings us under His loving hand of conviction which is designed to bring about healing in our lives. Why? Because He delights in us and wants what is best for us. He corrects in love; not in anger.

 For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12

 God loves us because we are His. Therefore, we don’t have to work to earn His love and acceptance. We have faith in that. We trust in God’s love because we know He sacrificed His only Son for our sakes. His is a sacrificial love. We feel loved and accepted just the way we are for that’s how God loves us. When we grasp that sacrificial, faithful, everlasting love we feel whole and complete. 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
“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

  Because we are complete in God, we have no need to seek another human being’s love to complete us. We know true love because we learned it from our Heavenly Father, therefore when we encounter someone who expresses a love for us that falls short of the love that we have been taught to value, then we will not be persuaded to settle for something less. 

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9

  We have no need to look at others and compare ourselves to them. We feel good about ourselves because we are secure in God’s love for us. We trust God and will follow wherever He leads because we trust the wonderful plans He has for us. No one or no thing in this life has more to offer, therefore we are less vulnerable to Satan’s victimization via fiery darts.

 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 futures. Jeremiah 29:11

The best thing we can do for our adolescents, therefore, is to parent them the way God parents us! 

 

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