Tomorrow many Christians will still be struggling about voting. Why? Because they cannot vote for either candidate with a clear conscience! For some of them, they feel their choice is not to vote! I believe that good, God-fearing individuals have become convinced that is their only option.
But I respectively ask them to consider this!
There are only two possible candidates that have a chance to be elected. Therefore one of those two will win the election. That is reality! No matter what your feelings are about either one.
Therefore, since this is reality, you are faced with a question!
Is there one more so than the other that you do NOT want to be your next president?
If you choose not to vote, then by that choice you have increased the chances that the person you don’t want to be your next president will win the election.
Since the race is closer than was previously reported, I believe it will be Christians who will cast the deciding votes! Leaders like Dobson and Graham are urging Christians, especially, to vote.
I hope those of you who are struggling about who to vote for or about voting at all, will consider the fact that you are struggling against a fiery dart that is designed to confuse, and to cloud your judgement, in order to keep you from voting!
Consider these Truth Thoughts*:
Not voting is a form of voting, as it will influence the outcome. We need to take responsibility for our actions, as well as our lack of actions. I Peter 1:13
Voting publicly recognizes that we submit to the authority of the political system in our nation as established by God. Romans 13:1-7
Voting is a simple yet significant way we can do something about politics in our nation. ‘All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing, Edmund Burke. Psalms 34:14
For quite sometime now, I’ve been threatened by an annoying dark cloud lurking on the periphery of my thoughts. For the most part, I’ve been able to avert its intrusion. I realize, because I wrote a book about it, that fiery darts are the culprit. Therefore, holding up my Shield of faith, sustains me.
But lately, while I’ve not lost my resolve to reject these fiery darts and to replace them with Truth thoughts, I’ve come too close to the brink of despair and that bothers me. I’ve struggled to find the word that would label this battle, feeling that if I could know what I was fighting, I would be more savvy in choosing my weapons. And I did come up with the label, ‘bewildered!’
Yes, that did help but not entirely. This negative storm, while never succeeding in hiding the Son, was wearing down my resistance. I pray unceasingly, read scriptures, and, yet, the storm does not dissipate.
Today as I was reading from a book, In This Mountain, by Jan Karon (my favorite author), I came across an excerpt by Oswald Chambers:
At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him. . . . Watch where God puts you into the darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet. . . . When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.
I think it’s pretty clear what God is saying to me. “My child, you are consumed with pouring your heart out to me with your continual pleadings, but you don’t let Me get in a word in edgewise. Why don’t you come to Me, and remain quiet? I know what all is going on with you, you’ve certainly shared that with me in excess. Now, all that is left is for you to remain quiet and just listen.”
I’ve never been good at listening quietly following my prayers, so it’s going to take some practice on my part. Therefore, I will resist the temptation to reiterate my problem (I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have anything new to add) and practice being quiet.
This is pretty bold of me to post this. I can hear the fiery darts now: What if God remains silent? What if you don’t succeed in being quiet? What if you miss what God is saying? What if you don’t understand what He is saying. What if you fail?
While I expect to be pelted with fiery darts (Satan doesn’t give up ground easily), I will lift up my shield of faith as I stand on the following verses:
Ephesians 3:20, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (It depends on Him, not me)
Psalm 17:6, I call on You my God, for you will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. (God will answer me)
Recently, in my research about the battle that goes on between our old nature and our new nature as a Christian(1), I came across a reference that described this battle as a civil war. I think that is an apt description.
You see, it’s like this. We have this old nature, by means of our physical birth, which is predisposed to sin. It is what rules us until we experience a new birth, that is salvation, which seeks to please God. After the new nature moves in, the old nature is no longer in charge and self gets dethroned. Now the battle royal begins!(2) And this is where our will (you know that part of us that makes choices) must be understood. Upon becoming a Christian, our will seeks to please God and willingly forsakes the throne to give it up to Christ. However, our old nature was quite attached to that throne and will make repeated attempts to persuade our will to again choose in its favor. So, what do you think? Are our wills making some bad choices? Why? Consider the following:
Unsurprisingly, if you aren’t even aware of the existence of this civil war within yourself, or if you only know of it vaguely and aren’t consciously engaged in fighting it, then you will inevitably be defeated. You can’t possibly win this battle against your flesh unless you know what is going on and are determined to fight. Once you realise that you can then start to make decisions, with your will, so as to take the side of your new man in opposing and resisting the old man. – See more at: http://www.realchristianity.com/world-flesh-devil/introduction.html#sthash.1h2HgYZZ.dpuf
How do we fight this battle and win?
First, we must accept the fact that our winning is not just a one time event. Every day, for the rest of our lives, we must be ready to go at it again refreshed by our time spent in God’s Word and in communication with Him. A little here and a little there won’t cut it for this battle. There is too much at stake.
Again I must emphasize the necessity to persevere in prayer and Bible study! We must grasp the fact that there is no other substitute. As we fellowship and worship in these two disciplines, everything we experience in life will be filtered through what we learn there. FD p. 76
A spirit weakened by too little nourishment cannot stand against the constant onslaught of the enemy’s fiery darts. And pay attention to the word ‘constant’. For constantly we must seek the nourishment available to us as we pray and seek God’s Truths. Thereby strengthening our will to choose for Christ and against our old nature (replacing those fiery dart thoughts with God’s Truth thoughts).
A few days ago I came across a book entitled, God in My Unbelief by J. W. Stevenson. ( a book written by a Scottish minister that portrays what it is like to be a Christian in a community) Prior to this discovery, I had been struggling with over focusing on condemning thoughts towards myself and toward others.
Lately, I have come to realize that condemnation whether it’s of ourselves or others, is a fiery dart that, if not brought under control, tends to eat away at our self esteem and our relationship with others. Condemnation tempts us to think thoughts that pull us down, that cause us to not think well of ourselves, that focus too much on our troubles. Condemnation creates thoughts of confusion about what we should do, thoughts that worry too much about our future well being. We become suspect that others are condemning us, and on and on it goes.
Temptation to think condemning thoughts toward others seems to be a constant fiery dart to resist. Condemnation fed by our sinful nature prevents us from trying to understand others. We don’t want to see their need and our need of God’s forgiveness as equal. It will tempt us to see those who we feel are condemning us as the enemy; instead of seeing Satan as the enemy.
I have gleaned from this book such thoughts as:
It is easier to condemn than understand.
We draw the mercy of God when we had known our need to be the same as the need of him whom we condemn.
Over focusing on the condemning thoughts towards myself and others, keeps me from truly seeing the Cross.
The Truth thought that God would direct our attention to so that we could resist the fiery darts of condemnation is:Romans 8:1,”Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,…” HCSB
Concerning myself, I hear God asking me this question when the fiery darts of condemnation harass me,
“Why are you condemning yourself? I don’t condemn you!”
And the same question is asked when the fiery darts of condemnation toward others assail me,
“Why are you condemning them? I don’t condemn them!”
Can you imagine the bondage we place ourselves in when we allow the fiery darts of condemnation of ourselves and others rule our thinking?
Can you imagine the freedom we would know if we would focus on Romans 8:1?
What if we were to accept ourselves in Christ and believe that Christ makes us worthy?
What if we were to understand that God brings conviction so that we can be restored and made more like Christ?
What if we were to see other’s need to be rescued by God on the same plane as our need to be rescued by God?
What if we were to love others and accept them the way they are and leave it to God to convict them of their sin. (Even when we feel their sin is against us!)
Finally, let us understand the difference between condemnation and conviction.
Satan condemns with the intention of destroying us.
God convicts us of our sin with the intention of restoring us to Himself.
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!
Because my missionary mom’s blog: http://missionarysmom.wordpress.com is a direct application of how to defeat the fiery dart of fear, I have reposted it here. So if you read one, you have read them both. But realizing not all of my readers following both blogs, for their benefit this post will be found in both blogs.
Today, I am dealing with a lot of temptations in the form of fiery darts. You know, negative thinking! Thoughts, that tempt me to fear for my dear ones living far away! So far, because of God’s marvelous grace and love, and because I have been counseled and tutored by the Holy Spirit on how to resist such temptations, fear and worry are being held at bay!
Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, is a book of the lessons God taught me on how to resist negative thinking. You can order your copy by clicking on the following link:
Because of recent news reports, the enemy has upped the pressure in tempting me to succumb to the fiery darts of worry and fear for my loved ones. Therefore, I am faced with a choice–give into the fear and worry, or resist them. I choose to resist them, of course! The plan of action is that every time these fiery darts of fear and worry attempt to gain entrance into my mind, I call on the power of God’s Word to turn them away.
Of course, this is not easy! The temptations are powerful! Therefore, I do what I’ve been trained to do:
1-Recognize the thoughts of fear and worry for the fiery darts they are
2-Resist them by calling upon God’s strength
3-Replace the fiery dart thoughts, with God’s Truth Thoughts from God’s Words
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
No weapon that is formed against (my loved ones) will prosper. Isaiah 54:17 (my words in parenthesis)
You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you. Isaiah 26:33
Do not withhold your mercy from (them), LORD; may your love and faithfulness always protect (them). Psalm 40:11 NIV (my words in parenthesis)
And you know, before I got finished writing this blog, I got a word from my loved ones that they are all okay. Things are tense there but they are okay!
We can face them as individuals or as a group. Sometimes they loom so large we fear we will be overwhelmed by them. Then again, our perspective regarding how we approach problems can be so skewed by fiery dart thinking (negative thinking, remember) that we choose a downward path, oblivous to the upward path already laid out by God for our good.
Here’s God’s plan!
Problems are meant to work out for our benefit!
Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
We are meant to rise above our problems; not sink under the weight of them!
Romans 8:37, No, in all these things (problems) we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Problems are designed to supply what might be lacking in our spiritual makeup
James 1:2-3, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverence. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anthing.
There’s more but this is enough to make my point!
Typically, problems create more problems. Listen to anyone or group absorbed in a problem and what do you hear? One negative statement after another. It’s seems those involved have an opinion on what caused the problem and will rehearse their negative opinion with anyone who will listen.
I have seen the progression fiery dart thinking sets in motion. When problems occur the temptation we succumb to is to set our eyes upon the problem and think of nothing else. The darkness produced by such negativity grows with the intention to completly obliterate the Light of God’s solutions.
I know what that is like. I have been there. It’s a no win situation. Not until, that is, you turn your gaze and ear to Jesus and begin following His instructions.
It’s likely He will open your eyes to the fact that while He has good plans for you, Satan does not.
John 10:10, A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.
He might even ask us this question: Whose plan are you cooperating with?
If we are maintaining a negative perspective regarding the problems with which we are faced, the answer to this question is obvious.
However, I do not believe that we intentionally choose to cooperate more with Satan’s plan than we do God’s. I do believe that we have been deceived with fiery dart thoughts that have blinded us to God’s plan. Which is why I write this post–to reveal Satan’s plan.
Start speaking Truth to the problem–using the verses like the ones I have offered in this post. When a thought forms in your mind regarding the problem, ask yourself this question:
Is it a fiery dart thought or a Truth thought?
Only proceed if your words will speak Truth. Then set back and watch the glory of God at work in your obedience and pour out more blessings that you can imagine. Malachi 3:10 backs this up.