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, February 20, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of: Feb. 20, 2012                                      pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

                                                Hebrews 12:5-6
"And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said. “My child don’t make light of the LORD’S discipline and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” (NLT)

LOVED BY THE KING
When I was a kid and my parents disciplined me, I certainly didn’t see it as and act of love. No, I saw it as two mean people who wanted to ruin my life!  What was the big deal I often thought? Surely, they were making more out of it then were necessary. Now, as an adult and a parent myself, I realize that love was exactly their intention. I certainly would not have admitted this back then, but they were attempting to follow God’s protocol. What seemed harsh to me was actually an act of love.

I was thinking about the word “discipline” and how most of us tend to associate that word with the act of punishment. When my parents were angry with me for doing something wrong, they usually took something from me that I loved. Although this usually got my attention, it often left me angry too. Eventually, many years later I would come around to the understanding that discipline is actually a method of correction. More importantly it is an act of love.

According to the website gotquestions.org, “God’s love, as described in the Bible, is clearly unconditional in that His love is expressed toward the objects of His love (i.e., His people) despite their disposition toward Him. In other words, God loves because it His nature to love (1 John 4:8), and that love moves Him toward benevolent action. The unconditional nature of God’s love is most clearly seen in the gospel. The gospel message is basically a story of divine rescue. As God considers the plight of His rebellious people, He determines to save them from their sin, and this determination is based on His love (Ephesians 1:4-5).”

Let’s look at this topic of discipline as it aligns to our relationship with God and His love for His people. Scripture tells us that when God disciplines His children, He is acting out of love. I have to wonder, is that how we see it? When we sin, when we willfully choose to be disobedient to God’s Word, do we really get that the consequences at hand are a result of God’s unconditional love towards us? Do we comprehend that He is working to correct something in us, or do we question why we have to endure the consequence? Have you ever considered that when God is correcting it is for the purpose of bringing us back into the center of His will? If you are a believer, God is your Heavenly Father (John 8) and He’s not going to let you continue to play with fire. He’s going to discipline/correct you to get your attention. If He didn’t, what kind of father would He be?  

Correction is a deep act of love on the part of a parent. According to Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries, “You aren't demonstrating love if you fail to apply discipline (Prov. 13:24); in fact, you are setting kids up to reap disastrous, painful results from their uncorrected behavior and destructive choices (19:18). A good parent disciplines disobedient sons and daughters to 1) protect them from further rebellion that could hurt themselves and others, and 2) restore them to health and wholeness.
Some parents, however, discipline out of anger, not love. They may think it wise to make children fearful of punishment, but that's not God's motive (1 John 4:18). Because He is a loving Father, His desire is to give us what we need to live fully.


God's unconditional love and His discipline are not contradictory; they go hand in hand. No matter how we fail to measure up, our Father is always working to lead us back onto a life-giving path. When we respond to His correction, He ultimately works out painful circumstances for our good.”


Friends, Dr. Stanley is speaking truth. I know it because I have experienced the blessing of correction. Yes, I said blessing!  My only regret is not learning the lessons much earlier in life, because I know that I could have spared myself some pain.To know you are loved by the King is amazing!  It makes me want to shout to everyone, just repent! Get it over! Ask Jesus into your life and ask Him to change you from the inside out. Ask Him to help you become obedient to His commands. Determine to align yourself to what God directs and begin experiencing His blessings.  


I imagine that was what my parents were trying to get across to me oh so many years ago. So today I say whatever you have in your life that does not match to God’s Word, lay it down! If you need to forgive someone, forgive them. If you’re stealing, stop stealing. If you’re lying, tell the truth. If you’re having an affair or you’re in a homosexual relationship, end it. If you’re bitter, angry or resentful, pour out that poison. If you are dependent on drugs/alcohol/sex, get professional help. If you’re living together outside of marriage, move out or get married. 


Get free from the junk in your life! Get free from the things that can hold you back from receiving God’s best. Whatever it might be, learn what God has to say about it, and determine to live it out. Start with a Bible Concordance. Seek out a good Bible based church and make God first in your life. I think I can say with confidence that choosing God’s way will not end in regret. His mercy is new each day and I encourage you to consider tapping into it sooner than later. 


The Bible closes with these words in Revelation 22:14-15. I personally take this as a warning. “Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. Outside the city are the dogs – the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.” It doesn't get any clearer than that. Let's not overlook the eternal value to obedience. Be blessed.


In Christ by grace,
Pam


Loved by the King  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQI5wxtH6OY
I am forgiven by Chris Tomlin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcuM8n_OciI&feature=endscreen&NR=1
           



Monday, February 13, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of: Feb. 13, 2012                                  pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford


I came across the following devotion just after I pressed “publish post” on my last Blog writing. No coincidence I’m sure. That writing was about my manila file folder lesson and things I cannot understand.  If you missed reading that one, consider going back before reading on. I believe the following words of Joel and Victoria Osteen might help us expound on trusting God in our disappointments. I don’t always agree with everything they put in print, but this one aligns to what I desire to share forward. Our disappointments do not have to hold us in bondage. I am personally working to get free in order to experience God’s very best. Be blessed. HAPPY VALENTINES DAY.

In Christ by grace,
Pam

He Has another
Seed for You


TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“...For God has appointed another seed for me...”
(Genesis 4:25, NKJV)


TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

In Genesis, Eve went through a great disappointment. Her son Cain killed her son Able, the first murder in the Bible. I’m sure Eve, like any mother, was devastated and heartbroken at the passing of her son. But I love what Eve said in Genesis 4:25, “God has appointed another seed for me.” In essence, she was saying, “I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make sense, but I trust God. This is not the end. He has appointed another seed.”
Friend, when you go through things that you don’t understand, it is not the end. Nothing is lost in the kingdom. God is going to appoint another seed, and that seed represents the future. It indicates what is coming. If you will let go of what didn’t work out, let go of the hurts and pains, then for everything you’ve lost, God will appoint another seed. You’ll give birth to more in the future than you lost in the past. Keep praying, keep believing, keep hoping because God is for you. Trust Him and embrace the good things He has in store for your future!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father God, You are the giver of all life! You give life to my dreams, life to my relationships, and life to my mortal body. Today I choose to release the past and embrace the gift of life You have in store for my future in Jesus’ name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of Feb. 6, 2012                                     pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Job 1:21
He said, "I came naked from my mother's womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die.
The LORD gave me everything I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!"

FILE AWAY
I use to have a file folder titled “Things I do not understand.” Within that folder you would find things that have happened in my life, which I just couldn't make sense of. You would also find some questions that I might ask God if I had the opportunity.Inside my folder were things you might also find familiar. Although I had quite a few categories tabbed, you may relate to titles such as “broken relationships, health issues, social injustice, divorce, rebellion, financial woes and job security concerns.” These are things that once we are in them; they are extremely hard to understand. The primary reason we cannot understand might be that we never planned for it to work out the way it has.  So what do we do with our disappointments?  How do we reach a place of peace when our prayers remain unanswered?

What I am about to share with you has not come easy to me because I am an “I’ve got to figure it out” kind of gal.  May I just say that this kind of nature is exhausting! Thankfully, God has revealed a better way to me through a simple object known as a manila folder and the Holy Bible.  When things happen in our life that we cannot make sense of, it is common nature to expend our energy on trying to reason it out in the mind.  When something happens that we have not planned for, we might find ourselves in frenzy. What usually ends up happening is that we become frustrated and confused. This is also primetime for doubt to enter our mind. And, if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves in the sin of bitterness.  

I have discovered that filing away the hurt is not the answer. I had to learn to pray diligently through the circumstance. I had to learn to trust that God is at work behind the scenes, whether I got the answer I expected or not. I also had to come to the realization that I am not in control of a single thing. Yes, God may use me within a circumstance to bring about His outcome, but in the end, the result belongs to Him. Once I surrendered to the fact that I have no real power to change the heart or mind of another person, and sometimes circumstances are out of my control; I was on my way to experiencing some peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7). I believe in order to experience God’s kind of peace; we must surrender to His sovereignty. I am so praying to get there.

We are God’s creation and He alone holds the original design for our life. Unfortunately, sinned entered the world and what was intended to be a perfect plan, was thwarted by personal choice. Now I’m not saying that everything we endure is our fault. What I am saying is that because of sin, we now experience things that God never intended for us to know (Gen. 2: 15-17). Sin changed the dynamics of creation and there is no getting around this fact.

The Book of Job has been very helpful to me in understanding that no matter how bad it might get, I am to hang in there with God. Job is an example of someone that experienced pain beyond our imagination. Despite it, he would not let go of God. We read that his wife in her own pain encouraged Him to curse God (walk away, give up, don’t trust). His friends also tried to insinuate that maybe he had done something to deserve what he was receiving. May I just say here that we really do have to be careful when receiving counsel from man? If you don’t know the Word of God we can be deceived. We can also cause harm to others when our opinion doesn't match up to truth. It is never my intention to mislead you. If something doesn't sit right with you, then check it against God’s Word please. 

Romans 8:28-29
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Life’s Application Commentary:
“God works in “everything” – not just isolated incidents – for our good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long range good. Note that God is not working to make us happy but to fulfill His purpose. Note also that this promise is not for everybody. It can be claimed only by those who love God and are called by him, that is, those whom the Holy Spirit convinces to receive Christ. Such people have a new perspective, a new mind-set. They trust in God, not in worldly treasures; their security is in heaven, not on earth. There faith in God does not waver in pain and persecution because they know God is with them.”

When God finally reveals His perfect plan to His children; the Bible tells us that it’s going to be worth it!  It might not seem so today, and I’m sure it didn’t seem so for Job as he watched his world crumble. However, Job lived as a child of the Most High. He knew that today is not all there is. He knew that his trials were things he could not understand, but he never let go of hope. Let’s learn from Jobs example. I want his confidence! I want his faith! How about you?

Friends, even if God never turns our situations around this side of Heaven, we can rest assured that if we have asked Jesus into our hearts, if we have repented of sin, God will do just what He has promised. He hears our prayers. Let’s be still and know He is God
(Psalm 46:10). Be blessed as we file this Scripture into our minds.

Revelation 21:4
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (NIV)

With this said, I have sent my folder to the shredder. I no longer need to hang onto the things of which I do not understand. I don’t have to revisit discouragement, and I don’t have to relive pain. Instead, I am going to chose to trust that whatever I endure, it has purpose. I might not like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that if it was allowed to touch me, God knows about it and He’s working behind the scenes to respond to my prayers in His way, His timing. This is so very freeing!

In Christ by grace,
Pam


Want to explore this in greater detail?
http://www.gotquestions.org/bad-things-good-people.html

Be Still by Stephen Curtis Chapman