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, January 30, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of January 30, 2012                       
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

If I have any readers left after the past two lessons, let’s dig in.

2 Peter 3:17-18
“Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever.”

2 Corinthians 10:4
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

I will begin by telling you right out of the gate that I am “fighting” mad. I am so tired of the destruction being reported all around me that I could just scream! What is wrong with us! Do we not see what is happening? Have we put away our weapon of warfare? 

A long, long time ago this country’s history reflected a time when selfishness was set aside as respect to the Word of God. People were more than willing to step outside of themselves to obey God and serve others. They didn't just give up, or walk away. Many were trying to make a better life for themselves and those they cared about. They battled toward victory not away from it. They fought for the family unit and they worked to protect what was valuable. It was also a time when people truly cared and they worked hard to make a difference. They did not allow the busyness of their day to hinder progress. I imagine the words “I’m too busy" were not muttered very often if at all. Now I get that this was not everybody, but I like to think it was the majority. It doesn’t seem like it today in 2012. Although there are certainly many people still living within these principles, many have fallen into the “it’s all about me” mentality, and friends this scares me. We might describe society today as a self focused, looking out for number 1 culture. 

When we're too busy, we are less likely to reflect Jesus in our lives and the lives of others. I imagine this is one of Satan's best strategies. If we're wrapped up in sin, we'll stay self-focused and ineffective to fulfill our God-given purpose. If we're too busy to help someone else, we'll overlook the need. Now, I understand that we can’t physically help everyone, but we can help through prayer and by sharing from that of which we have experienced. Sometimes its just knowing that someone else cares. I imagine if you think about it, you can probably relate to knowing someone who is hurting right now. That someone might very well be you. It is not my intention to minimize the despair of God’s people in any way. However, if possible I want us to shift our focus off of ourselves and onto the heart of God. I want us to understand that we can grieve the Spirit of God through our busyness and sin.  

It is my hope that we are not “too busy” to study all we can about God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the one thing of value that we too can take hold of in our time of despair and uncertainty. In Christ we are never alone. God has provided all that we will ever need to survive life this side of heaven. It might not always feel that way, but feelings are fickle. Truth on the other hand empowers us! Listen to how Jesus explained this to the disciples of His time.

John 14:15-18 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

So the million dollar question today is; “do you know the One who deserves to be honored and praised? Have you carved out adequate time to get to know Him? If the answer is yes, then you know nothing is too big for God to handle. And, nothing God asks of you will be impossible to achieve! He promises to be there every step of the way. If you answered no, or maybe you're thinking you're just way too busy right now for this kind of stuff, won't you reconsider your response. There is no better time than the present to develop a personal relationship with God. A relationship that can change the direction of your life and the circumstances that surround you.  Ask Him to come into your heart, confess your sins before Him and invite Him in to counsel you through His Word. Determine to obey Him and set aside time exclusively for Him and protect it at all cost. We can learn to discern the voice of God by exploring His Word with Him.  I know from experience  that God is more than willing to speak when we're willing to listen. Let's read on.

John: 14:19-21“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you will also live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever obeys my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” 

Drop down to verses 24-27 – “He who does not love me will not obey my teachings. These word are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Does peace sound like something you’re willing to fight for? How then do we achieve God's peace in a world that appears to have gone mad? How can we turn our troubles into triumphs? How do we step outside of self? How do we walk this earth without fear? I believe the answer is; we determine to listen to our Counselor! We would be wise to refrain from getting so busy that we cannot hear Him. Refrain from becoming so busy that we cannot serve Him. Refrain from doubt, unbelief, worry, anger, and a spirit of impatience. These things are sin and they hinder forward progress. Instead, open God’s Word every opportunity you have and ask Him to speak to your heart. 

While you’re waiting, consider asking God to help you become a blessing to someone else. It's helpful to redirect our focus. That’s what I attempted to do today before I sat down to write for you. I pray you have heard my heart for God.  It is a heart similar to Peter’s. I want to use the words Peter used as he addressed his friends about the coming day of the Lord. If you have time please read 2 Peter, chapter 3 in its entirety. For now, listen to these words as we close and be blessed.

2 Peter 3:17-18 - “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the errors of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever.” And, to that I say AMEN!

Today’s prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for being a relational God. Thank you for providing us Your Word so that we have what we need to make it through this life, the good and the bad. May we glorify you with a thankful heart and a grateful spirit? Help us to trust that You are at work behind the scenes despite what we might be viewing with our own eyes. Help us also surrender to the truth that You desire to bring good from evil, light from darkness and hope from hopelessness. In Jesus name, we pray. AMEN! 

Rest, pray, study, reflect and worship with this song "Give me Jesus."

In Christ by grace,

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