Statement of faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

"The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word.
- Warren


Monday, April 24, 2017

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of: April 24, 2017
Sharing by Pam Crawford
pmcrawford1@gmail.com

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

RISEN INDEED. Now what?
With the Easter remembrance celebrations now in the rear-view mirror, one might ask what now? According to the American calendar we look ahead to Memorial Day. Another opportunity for a day off and a gathering of family and friends. But can we stick with Easter, the resurrection of the Savior, just a bit longer? I truly believe the picture of the empty tomb is relevant to how we live going forward.

The tomb was empty but the One who had been laid in it was very much alive. All throughout Scripture we uncover the mission of Christ; He came to serve [Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45]. I love how Dr. Charles Stanley explains this. In his devotion titled Sent to Serve he writes: “When we look at the life of Christ, we can clearly see that His coming was no accident and His time was not wasted. He lived His life on target. Scripture shows without a doubt that Jesus came to accomplish a goal. Many times in the Gospels, Jesus refers to having been sent by the Father. That word implies focus and intent. Our Savior didn’t stumble upon the earthly scene. His coming was not an accident or a happy coincidence. The idea is not that Jesus just appeared, He was sent into the world for a clear purpose. And what was that purpose. Matthew 20:28 reveals that Jesus came not to conquer, but to serve. His life reveals a clear mission, and everything He does in the Gospels points back to His purpose: to reveal the Father, die for sin, save the lost, and provide abundant life. No matter where He was, who He was with, or what He was doing, the Lord was always mindful of the reason for His coming. What’s more, just as Jesus was sent by the Father, so we are sent by Christ – to carry His message of hope throughout the world.”

As believers in Jesus Christ? How do we carry His message of hope? Personally, I had the answer affirmed to me through the book It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado. He writes: “What would change if we finally found our place – and lived it? For our entire lives we’ve been urged to look out for number one. To find our place in the sun and soak it for all its worth. To make a name for ourselves as if we are the headlines in life’s drama. But what happens when the sweet life we imagined proves to be sour? When our expensive toys break and our work is no longer needed and our bodies grow soft? What’s next when all our efforts to take care of number one leave us feeling unsatisfied and the thrills we were promised turn empty? What would happen if we all took our place and played our parts? If we started living like "Son” reflectors rather than individual stars and suns? If every person’s priority became a divine pursuit, not a performance?” Please refrain from reading on until you let this soak in a moment. What if belief in the Easter message actually became the motivating factor in your life going forward?

When Jesus was giving up His life, beaten and bruised for the transgressions of all mankind; He did two things that stand out to me. One, He instructed John to care for His mother [John 19:26-27]. And two, Jesus interceded for people by asking God to “forgive them because they know not what they are doing" [Luke 23:34 paraphrased]. What an amazing picture of moving beyond one’s own interests to the interests of others.

We have a common bond as sinful people. We all played a role in putting Jesus to death. Because there had to be a sacrifice for the hope of eternal life, God made the way [John 3:16]. Jesus instructed and Jesus prayed, don’t miss that! What I love about the Gospel message is that Jesus saw beyond His own circumstances. He looked ahead to the coming glory that is promised to anyone who places their faith in Him. Jesus lived out the message of forgiveness and service; a central theme of His life, death and resurrection.

“…and forgive us our sin, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.”                         - Matthew 6:12

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” By faith I choose to move forward in forgiving and serving others however God directs. I don’t have to have all the answers or an abundance of time or ability. Today I am simply stepping away from some of my “busy” to write in order to serve others while my granddaughter is sleeping. When she wakes up we will take a walk out in the sunshine. I cannot do this every day, but when I can it blesses me. Tonight I get to serve at an assisted living home, something I never thought would be inside of me. I cannot do it every day, but when I can it blesses me.

Realizing that this life is really not “all about me” has been life-changing. As God works in my heart, He also provides the time and the means to accomplish His tasks. I love watching Him work. He is so gracious to redeem any bit of lost time in my day. I can’t help but smile at His faithfulness. Now it is true; we cannot answer “yes” to every need out there, that would not be healthy.  But, we can say “yes” to be the example of Jesus in the life of another.  Ask God to help you discern His plans and purpose for each remaining day that He gifts you to live. You won’t be alone in this, I will be doing the very same thing. As you go forward from the Easter message, find what blesses you and use it to bless others. The world is in need of you. 

He is RISEN Indeed! Now what?

 In Christ by grace,
Pam


What Is Your True Purpose?

Ask Me Why?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhEkZeCTwCU


©2014 Getting The Word Out. Used by Permission.
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts and provide a hyperlink to this page. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Getting The Word Out. Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Pam Crawford. ©2014 Getting The Word Out. Website: pmcrawford.blogspot.com











Monday, April 17, 2017

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of: April 17, 2017                               pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

“Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."  – John 20:27

SHIFTING POSITIONS
Have you ever taken time to locate yourself in the Resurrection Story? This Easter season I did exactly that. I started off by inserting myself into the crowd which Historians have reported were present before, during and after the death of Jesus Christ. Tragically many are not convinced that these events ever happened because they have never taken the time to explore for themselves whether it is possible that they actually did happen. http://nypost.com/2017/04/14/smithsonian-channel-tells-real-story-of-the-life-of-jesus/

The purpose of this article is not to convince you of anything, but rather it is to ask you to merely consider where you might have been standing; or where you are standing today as it relates to the Easter story. “Were you there when they crucified my Lord…Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross? Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb? Were you there when the stone was rolled away?” [Lyrics to Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.]

Were you there? I certainly was! I was present in Judas, a friend who was looking after number one. A friend who made a few poor choices from a promise that there was something to gain. Now before you say “you betrayed a friend?” Yes, I have betrayed friends and I imagine you have too. While I have never sold someone out for money, I have betrayed their confidence. I also let others down in their expectations of me. I have looked past their needs to make sure mine were the priority. I’ve gossiped about a friend and I have failed to keep my promises. Need I go on? Yes, I have been a betrayer. [Matthew 26:47-56]

I was there present in Peter, someone who would deny Jesus out of fear. Fear of what others might think. Afraid of what it would cost me to be a true friend of Jesus. Would those who know me reject me if my belief in Jesus was actually a part of my daily living? Could I withstand the ridicule, persecution, mocking, and loneliness of being a follower of Christ? Or could I just slip undercover and continue on quietly in my religion? [Matthew 27:69-74]

I was there present in Pontius Pilate. How many times I have backed down in my lobbying for Jesus [standing up for truth] because the crowds don’t really want to hear it. You know it looks something like this. You start a conversation about Jesus and you get “let’s not talk about religion” so you don’t. [Matthew 27:11-26].

I was there at one time present in one of the thieves hanging next to Jesus. In my pride and rebellion against religion; I refused to believe that I may have had Jesus, the Bible and Heaven all wrong. When faced with hell, my attitude was “heck if my friends are all going there, I’ll be in great company. Who wants to float on clouds all day long and listen to the harp?” Yes, it sounded way too boring for this gal. Who knows maybe I am alone in this ridiculous way of thinking. [Luke 23:39-43]

Now to make it personal. How I praise God that I can now see myself standing in a much better place in the Resurrection Story. Like the Centurion who finally got it because he could no longer deny what he had seen, I get it!  Although I don’t believe I would have yelled “crucify Him,” I do believe I may have been in the back of that crowd crying silently about the injustice I was witnessing. I may have even left the crowd so I would not have had to look at the reality of what was happening before me.

He is risen indeed, now what? The following is a excerpt of my personal Easter journal this year. I pray "My Story" can encourage someone in the journey ahead.

4-16-17: “Today I recognize myself in the resurrection story of Jesus. I once was very much dead in sin, lost and floundering through life. After many years of doing it my way, I had lost my joy and I was dead in the hope that I could ever rise above the lies that I came to believe about myself and my circumstances. I had come to feel like a failure as a wife, mother, daughter and friend. Satan convinced me that life would be better lived without me in it and he almost succeeded in his plan to destroy me [John 10:10a]. But one morning in 2001 Jesus intervened from the cross into my story [John 10:10b]. He called me out of my tomb and began to resurrect my hope through a surrender of my will to His. The best day of my life because I now value the best days of my life as gifts. 

Being called from the tomb was just the beginning of the process of transformation that is ongoing in my life today. It all began with a simple question in the deepest part of my heart “Do you believe?” How I answered that question was the determining factor of  how I desire to live out the rest of my days. I praise my Heavenly Father and Savior for the call from the tomb that day. Although I was ready to take my hands off the wheel, Jesus had His nail scared hands firmly placed around mine. I am grateful every day that by His love and through His Spirit I have what I need to live out my remaining days of this life [John 14:15-19] in confidence. I believe God is who He says He is. And, I believe I am who God says I am [Beth Moore, Believing God], chosen, forgiven and free. 

Hell no longer has its grip on me. Like Jesus, someday I too will be called home to the Father, and on that day there will be true joy. But for now I live with hope and in anticipation of how God will bring Heaven to me on this earth. I now understand that the joy of this life is a mere glimpse into my eternal future. When I look into the eyes of those I love, I see the gifts I have been given and I celebrate them. When I make a mistake now I know I have the ability to correct it. When I'm feeling discouraged I know Satan is prowling around hoping I have not attached myself firmly to the vine. Through Christ I have the ability to send him on his way. 

Death for the believer in Jesus, has been crushed by Jesus. The cross now represents something very holy to me. Jesus alone has made the way. I didn’t earn my salvation, I simply decided to shift my position to receive it without further questioning it. I am free to be the daughter God created me to be. Do you believe Pam? Yes I believe Lord! My chains are gone and I have been set free. Free to live the remaining days of my life on this earth with an open heart to what God has for me. Free to believe that even in the storms of life, You are right there beside me. Free to move forward in the work you have for me knowing I have everything I need. I have been ransomed at a great price Father and I will choose to honor that gift through obedience and respect of You. Help me everyday to do just that. My salvation is secure and I have been sealed by the blood of Jesus. THANK YOU LORD for making the way of discovery."

Friends two sinners were nailed to a cross at Calvary, one on each side of Jesus Christ. The Bible indicates that one resides in Heaven and the other chose hell. There is no better day than today to consider your own choice. Where are you standing? Do you need a shift of position? 

Jesus answered them “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

In Christ by grace,
Pam  

Blessed Assurance by Alan Jackson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9XZ_HSquUQ
                                                                                                                             

©2014 Getting The Word Out. Used by Permission.
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts and provide a hyperlink to this page. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Getting The Word Out. Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Pam Crawford. ©2014 Getting The Word Out. Website: pmcrawford.blogspot.com