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

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: April 2, 2012                                       
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

1 John 4:7-8
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God – for God is love.” – NLT

Francis Frangipane in his article titled This Day We Fight wrote: Truly, I am for peace, but I recognize that I cannot have peace unless I am first trained for war. It is my training for war that secures my ability to have peace. Indeed, it was during the times of warfare - of struggle and battle - when I have grown the most in courage, in faith, in sacrifice, and in love. The battle stretched me beyond the boundaries of my spirituality. Yes, when I was fighting for my family, church or community, it was the fight itself that defined and established my spiritual growth. Regardless of the battle before us, no matter how dark the spiritual atmosphere becomes, we must fight for the purposes of God in the earth. We cannot relax our intercession nor surrender our vision for our nation's future. We have not entered the day of irreversible darkness.”

Being stretched beyond our boundaries of spirituality can sometimes leave us in a state of weariness if we’re not careful.  But it is in these times that we have the ability to fight our best fight if we’re willing to align ourselves behind God, the commander and chief who promises us a spiritual victory (Matt. 19:26).

Oh how I yearn for peace in my life. How about you? I bet like me, you have some things in your life that have the potential to keep you down and out if you allow them to. And when you look around this world today, you might be tempted to declare defeat. What a mistake that would be! Despite how things appear, we should never lose sight of the fact that God gets the final victory over darkness (Rev. 20:9-10).

In the midst of a particular battle of my own, I have been reminded of how important it is to have the correct battle plan in place. I am learning that this plan cannot be void of love. If we expect to achieve victory in that of which we suffer in; we better understand the need to be well equipped at any moment for any type of battle. Sometimes the battles will be quick and not all that significant, and at other times they will be fierce. Without something firm to stand upon the arrows have the potential to destroy you.

If you have been following my writings for any length of time, I believe you might recognize that I stand firm upon the truths found within the Holy Bible. With all that said, I want you to understand that it is not about what I stand upon that is going to bring the victory, it’s about whom I am standing with. If I don’t learn to do it “love’s” way, I can expect to be defeated.

With human beings there is always some type of conflict in the air. It is actually one of Satan’s favorite strategies for serving up defeat. You see, if he can get us stirred up against one another then there is really no room for love. 1 John 4:8 clearly states that “God is Love.” Can you imagine if we all learned that love has nothing to do with how we feel? But rather, we learned that it has everything to do with obeying God. When we get this revelation we can begin to grasp God’s message of forgiveness, mercy and grace.

How many of you know that there is no perfect human being walking this earth? If we know this, then why is it so difficult for us to set aside our hurts to obey God’s command to love one another despite how we feel? I believe it is when we come to the understanding that we must love one another as God has loved us, that we gain the right perspective on resolving conflict God’s way.

1 John 4:19-21
“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 

Life’s Application Commentary:
“God’s love is the source of all human love, and it spreads like fire. In loving his children, God kindles a flame in their hearts. In turn, they love others, who are warmed by God’s love through them. It is easy to say we love God when that love doesn’t cost us anything more than weekly attendance at religious services. But the real test of our love for God is how we treat the people right in front of us – our family members and fellow believers. We cannot truly love God while neglecting to love those who are created in his image.”

The command to love others is not any easy one as we are not only called to love those who are easy to love. We are called to also love the rascals in our life. Matthew 5:44-45 tells us but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”.

This devotion has been an extremely challenging assignment because it hits close to home. It’s also difficult because I have several severed relationships in my family circle that I have not yet seen God’s victory in. For those of you who know me intimately, you know my heart today as it relates to these situations. It hasn’t always been open to resolve and I take responsibility for my part in the relational breakdown. I pray that God will soon be the commander and chief in all of our lives because then and only then, will we begin to truly forgive one another and move towards reconciliation. I imagine that’s going to be a day when God will certainly celebrate the victory. Until then, I am choosing to stand upon God’s truth that goodness and love can win over evil. Love can dispel darkness if we’re willing to fight for our family and our friendships. 

From this day forward it is my intent to begin forgiving at the point of conflict. I think this might be a good strategy to stop Satan from advancing to the victory line. Now the test will be living out what I know is best. I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of helping Satan win. How about instead of helping him, we simply ask God to “deliver us and those we love from the evil one.” As we obey we can expect the door of new blessings to open. Let’s begin with working to obey this. “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” – Luke 11:4, KJV. 

When you study this Scripture you learn that because God has forgiven us; we must also forgive others who have wronged us. To remain unforgiving indicates that we don’t value that of what we have received. Imagine if God dealt with us in the same manner that we deal with others. The Life’s Application commentary puts it this way. “When we don’t forgive others, we are setting ourselves about Christ’s law of love.”

Could it be that the victory comes when we understand that forgiveness is the cornerstone of healing? Forgiveness like love is not a feeling, it’s an action. When we allow God to love unconditionally and selflessly through us, we defeat the enemy. It’s the only battle plan that works because it’s designed by God.    

So what will I do as I wait on this battlefield?  I will stand firm in this reminder. “In every situation God is always doing a thousand different things behind the scenes that you cannot see and that you do not know.” – John Piper

Today I chose to trust that my Father is at work. This Easter let’s consider tearing down some walls so we can get to the celebration. Be blessed. – HAPPY EASTER.

LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.
Keeping a record of sins (or holding a grudge) is like building a wall between you and another person, and it is nearly impossible to talk openly while the wall is there. God doesn't keep a record of our sins; when he forgives, he forgives completely, tearing down any wall between us and him. Therefore, we fear (revere) God, yet we can talk to him about anything.
When you pray, realize that God is holding nothing against you. His lines of communication are completely open.

Additional Scripture read: Ephesians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 13:13

In Christ by grace,

Easter reflection song:
The Hurt & the Healer by Mercy Me

In Christ by grace,

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