Tag Archive | Proverbs 14:12

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)

  

 

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)

God does not want you to be unhappy or to suffer.

The title of this post contains two powerful fiery darts that when working in tandem produce a force so powerful that few can withstand it.  Sadly even Christians, (especially those who have been desensitized to God’s Truth), fall prey to the deceptive destruction of this wicked duo!

Folks, I’m convinced, the world (and desensitized Christians), have a misconception of suffering.  I think I can figure out why the world doesn’t understand suffering but why Christians?

Here’s my explanation!

Before Satan can be successful with the use of fiery darts, he must do a little groundwork.  As I mentioned in the latter part of Chapter Two, in order for us to be desensitized toward the lies of fiery darts, we must have our understanding of the Truths of Scripture diminished.  By tempting us to spend little time in God’s Word, our ability to recognize the lies of fiery darts is equally diminished if we give in to that temptation.  In the place of God’s Truth, the world’s concept of truth begins to define our thinking. p. 23, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice

Okay, in a nutshell!

Christians don’t read and study their Bibles enough!

And because they don’t read and study their Bibles enough, they can be more easily persuaded that their goal in life is to be happy (with as little suffering as possible).  But no one lives this life without experiencing suffering–no one.  So where did we get the idea that we aren’t suppose to suffer?

When the world’s concept of truth trumps God’s Word in people’s minds (and I’m talking about church going people) then their minds become a target for fiery dart thinking. Thinking that keeps us from understanding that it’s not the suffering that’s the problem.  It’s how we react to suffering that is the problem!

When we begin to grow unhappy in a relationship, say a marriage, then fiery dart thinking will tempt us to justifying leaving the marriage.  For instance, the following thoughts are typical of the line of reasoning your thoughts might take:

“God doesn’t want me to be miserable.  Staying in this marriage makes me miserable, and that’s not good for my children.  If I could be happier with someone else then my children would be better off.”

Our world today tells us that if you aren’t happy in your relationship then the most logical and best solution is to break it off.  And since that is what most want to hear, it’s embraced as Truth.  But you know what the Truth is here?  Read this:

There is a way that seems right to a man,But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12

I’m pretty sure that the root of our problem lies on p. 67 of Fiery Dart: Satan’s Weapon of Choice.

Because of the Adamic Curse everything in this world serves our flesh.  Therefore, relationships will exist to serve our wants and needs.  This is why the fiery dart that “marriage exists to make us happy” is so powerful.

BUT HOLD ON, THAT’S JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG,

READ ON: (As Mr. Bennett says)

Something basic to living life as a Christian must be nailed down here before we can successfully move forward.  The purpose for which we exist is to be conformed into the image of Christ. Colossians 3:9-10: “Do not lie to one another, for you have taken off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself.” (Good News Bible)

That means that everything and every relationship in our experience exists to serve the purpose of conforming us into God’s image in order to bring us into a full knowledge of Himself.  As we become more like Christ, we are going to grow into a fuller knowledge of God.

         So, how does the purpose for which we are to exist relate to the purpose of marriage?  In the book entitled, Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas, an intriguing question is asked, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” pp. 67-68, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice

READ ON:

Therefore, if marriage is designed to make us holy, then that involves conforming us into the image of Christ.  But how is that accomplished?  Scripture answers this question by pointing out that marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church.  Ephesians 5:25-26, p. 68, Fiery Darts

READ ON:

The husband, then, is to love his wife using the way in which Christ loved the church as his blueprint and the wife is to respect her husband using the church’s submission to Christ as her blueprint.  The sanctification process, that is the process of making us holy, is the motivation for the husband to love his wife and the wife to respect her husband. When you see yourself and your spouse as objects of sanctification then how you treat each other will be defined by that understanding. p. 69, Fiery Darts

There’s a lot more in my book on this subject but honestly when I read Gary Thomas’s book, I confess the concept of the purpose of marriage to make us holy was news to me! ! ! ! !  But folks, it makes sense.  A lot of sense.

Have you ever thought, “I’m not happy anymore in this marriage (relationship),” and began contemplating ending the relationship?  Perhaps, you should read the rest of my book!

When bad looks good!

In recent days the headlines have been buzzing with the performance exploits of a certain young entertainer.  She presented herself onstage as someone who was not constrained by any sense of right or wrong, proper or improper public behavior.  And much of the nation was shocked!

And why were we shocked?

Why, because this young lady started out portraying a wholesome image, and parents (many of them Christian) put their stamp of approval on her by encouraging the idolization of their young daughters for her.  Her motivation for wholesomeness apparently wasn’t based in pleasing God, therefore did she ever get off track! Then when she went to the ‘dark side’ suddenly these same parents were horrified at the influence this young lady might now have over their daughters.

Consider this.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20 HCSB

A commentary on this verse nails it when it comes to describing what is going on in our country today:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil,…. That call evil actions good, and good actions evil; that excuse the one, and reproach the other; or that call evil men good, and good men evil; Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Let’s face it, we live in a country that is seeing the verse in Isaiah 5:20 played out in almost every level of society and in every venue.  How did we get so far off track?  A quote from my book should shed some light.

 “… allowing society to have more of an influence on our understanding … than we allowed God to have.” pp. 76-77 Fiery Darts

In chapter 7 of Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, I make the point that loving God and pleasing Him (not the world) is the best motivation in determining how we should behave.

When we have a clearer understanding of true love then much will change in our lives depending on the extent of our level of what we have misunderstood. We will want to change things like our dress, our attitudes, our activities, our speech and the manner in which we behave towards others.  When we are motivated by a pure love for God, then we will want to please Him in all our ways as 1 Timothy 4:1a points out, “Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God,…” (NIV) Therefore, when we identify things in our lives that don’t please God, we will desire to eliminate those things.

If you identify things in the lives of others that do not please God, why would you want to give them the preciousness of your focus and admiration?  When you choose your objects of admiration, make sure their ways please God.

So parents and young people alike.  Your focus and admiration is a valuable commodity and it should be directed toward those who are worthy.  Don’t throw away your admiration on someone who has fame and fortune just because they have fame and fortune, Duh!.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12, HCSB

Remember, fiery darts are designed to make something that is bad look good.  Just like it says in Proverbs, it may look good to man but it’s a dead end path.

So what must you do as parents?  Model for your children what is worthy of our admiration and what is not.  Talk about why it’s worthy or not worthy.  Be smart about what the Word says about those seeking our children’s attention and direct them towards those whose ways please God.  And most of all:

Dig deep into the Word of God so you will not be deceived by fiery dart thinking and pass what you learn there along to your children.