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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)

  

 

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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!

The Darkness of Fiery Darts vs the Light of God’s Truth!

Some days are worse than others when it comes to fiery darts.  It’s amazing to me how powerful some fiery darts are.  I think those that come through people who are closest to us has the greatest potential for destructiveness.  The person through whom the fiery dart comes is often totally clueless that they have become the vehicle of such a force.  Nevertheless, their encounter with you leaves you wounded and likely they are oblivious to the onslaught of fiery darts with which you now must deal.

Okay, you’ve been attacked, wounded, and are now struggling with the fiery darts of the minions of destructiveness.  How do you respond?  It’s important, I think, to not react but to respond.  Reacting predisposes that you are acting without thinking.  Reacting to fiery darts, which is our natural bent, is not the best way to deal with fiery darts.  Nope! We must respond, which implies thoughtful actions.  And for those of us who are Christian, prayer is a vital component of those thoughtful actions.

Fiery darts bring darkness and it seems to me that the more fiery darts you encounter the darker it gets.  I suppose that’s why it’s important to follow the advice of Thomas a’ Kempis, author of The Imitation of Christ whom I quoted in my book, if you don’t want to be overcome by the accumulated darkness of fiery darts.

Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.


You need light, the light of Truth, and lots of it at these moments.  Pull out your Bible (or whatever means you have to the Scriptures) and focus on gleaning as much light as is possible on your present situation.  Remember, to fight the darkness of the fiery darts you need to absorb as much light as you can.  So immerse yourself in the Light of God’s Word from the git go. (You are just trying to dispel the darkness at this point.)  Eventually, you will begin to receive direction concerning the specifics of your situation.  Then it will be the light of God’s Truth that will define your attitudes and actions as you deal with the attack of fiery darts that you have encountered.

I would like to share with you the following about a man named Steve Saint who has become a beacon of light for God as is evidenced by the manner in which he has responded  to a recent tragic accident in his life.   At one point early on in this video, Steve shares how he dealt with a menacing fiery dart thought of how much easier it would have been if the accident had cost him his life.  Listen carefully for the light of Truth he has come to know that exposes the darkness of such thinking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP3q_b4zKxQ

To find out who Steve Saint is go to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Saint

Man Opens His Mouth & God Speaks–Final note!

What I would like to share with you next should come straight from Echelon’s blog.  Therefore, I will give you the link for you to go to so you can read for yourself how the event played out.

http://echelon-africablog.blogspot.com/2012/07/life-death-ransom-part-3-4.html

Then after you get all updated, I’d like for you to read Jay’s commentary titled:  The Lion AND the Lamb!  Very insightful!

http://echelon-africablog.blogspot.com/2012/07/lion-and-lamb.html

*    *    *    *

As I reflect upon the darkness that seems to prevail in America at present and ponder the extraordinary events my son and his fellow team members are experiencing in Africa, I leave you with this thought.  The spiritual warfare you have just read about is not limited to that small African village on the other side of the world. We cannot pretend that such events occur only in a land where witchdoctors reside and hold sway over the thoughts of those driven by fear.

Unlike our African brethren who knew mostly darkness, we here in America have the Light all around us. Hundreds of Christian churches exist in every state of the Union.  We can hear the Good News broadcast as often as we care to turn on a tv, listen to a radio, or go online.  If we want to know about Jesus, there is an abundance of ways to secure that information.

So how is it that being in possession of such a great Light, we do not notice more evidence of it’s effectiveness?  It is my strong opinion that we have through fiery dart thinking, among other things, hidden our light under a basket as is illustrated by Matthew 5:15.

When we allow Hollywood’s agenda to have more sway over our thinking than we allow the Bible, when we allow our religious beliefs to be muzzled in the public arena, and when we allow evidence of our rich religious heritage to be erased from our children’s textbooks why should we be surprised that darkness and light is so indistinguishable in our land?  And while the government can’t take our God given rights away from us (unalienable you know), I suppose we (the people) in effect could give those rights away by continuing to hide our Light under that proverbial basket!

In that small African village, the Light is shining brightly, is dispelling the darkness and is expanding God’s kingdom.  A people who have walked in darkness are breaking free to walk in the Light.

If we desire to walk in the Light as our African brethren, then first we must acknowledge the darkness in our own lives and allow the Light of the Gospel  to lead us to repent of that darkness.  Then we must forsake the destructive course our past choices have determined for us and walk the path that will be illuminated for us as we study God’s Word.  I close with an excerpt from Echelon’s blog:

http://echelon-africablog.blogspot.com/2012/07/swallow-your-missiology.html

Everyday new people came to us and told us they wanted to follow him.(Jesus) Then after following him they began proclaiming the Good news to those who have not heard! . . . We simply told them that if they are ready to repent of their old ways and begin to FOLLOW Jesus every day. Then please come to us and we will show you his path. 

I ask you, how can you light the path for others when you don’t have enough light to walk your own path?