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


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of: May 28, 2012                                  pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford


Zephaniah 2:1-3
Gather together and pray, you shameless nation. Gather while there is still time, before judgment begins and your opportunity is blown away like chaff. Act now, before the fierce fury of the LORD falls and the terrible day of the LORD’S anger begins. Beg the LORD to save you – all you who are humble, all you who uphold justice. Walk humbly and do what is right. Perhaps even yet the LORD will protect you from his anger on that day of destruction. – NLT

ON THE FRONT LINES
As we celebrate Memorial Day this week the focus is rightfully on the many men and women who have served or are serving our country. When we think of our armed services and the many others who put their life on the line day in and day out, may we lift them and their families in prayer often?  It came to my mind that we should also pray and celebrate the bravery of the many men and women who have served or are serving on God’s battlefield everyday. It’s not always the most comfortable or safest place to be despite the fact that we have the freedom to be there.

Many of the Old Testament prophets were on the front lines. They announced news that destruction was eminent and they attempted on many occasions to help people avert God’s judgment. Their message was rather simple – choose obedience to God, turn from sin, and humble yourself.  

So often New Testament believers will read or listen to the Old Testament teachings with a sense that that was the climate of that era. Some have argued that it is not really relevant for today. This is dangerous thinking my friends!  Although we have been blessed with a "New Covenant," we would be foolish to dismiss the warnings and directives of our Sovereign LORD whose teachings remain the same for yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Back in Micah’s day people believed that God’s message of judgment was too harsh. I hate to break it to you but people of our day still believe that God’s message is too harsh and they chose to disregard it willfully. As many work to bring clarity of the Gospel to the people, opposition and persecution is rampant. As Micah was teaching about God’s judgment the people responded “Don’t’ say such things,” the people say, “Don’t prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!” (Micah 2:6)  It is my personal opinion that in America, many are going about life as if disasters will never touch them. Even though we have experienced brief glimpses of destruction, I think we have no idea the magnitude of what can happen if we continue in direct disobedience to what God expects from mankind.

Let us not forget for a moment that God will have the last word when it comes to the final judgment. He was working to get Israel back on the right path and God is doing the very same thing for us today. He has many avenues for people to hear His Word and the work continues for both the Jew and Gentile people of our day. If all we want is God’s comforting messages we’re going to miss something spectacular. May our free-will not blind us into complacency

Being open to the entire content of the Bible is critical to spiritual maturity. The message may not always be easy to absorb, but its accuracy (2 Timothy 3:16) is not to be missed. Romans 14:11 says “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee will bow to me and every tongue shall confess to God.” 

In the Gospels and all throughout the Old Testament; you hear the voice of God and those appointed by Him to share the Good News speaking truth for the purpose of warning others. Because we do not know the day or the hour (Matt. 24:36), we might consider the urgency of today. One day the battle will end and we will be called to judgment. Those who have positioned themselves behind God need not fear. But for those who choose to align to the opposition, the warning is crystal clear “And whosoever was not found in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). 

Life’s Application Commentary:
"Some people think of God as an indulgent heavenly grandfather, nice to have around but not a real force in shaping modern life. They don’t believe in his power or his coming judgment. But God is holy, and therefore he will actively judge and justly punish everyone who is content to live in sin, indifferent to him, or unconcerned about justice. When people are indifferent to God, they tend to think that he is indifferent to them and their sin. They will be surprised to find that the “terrible day of the LORD is near.”

There is still time for God’s people to put on their uniforms and get in the battle. There is still time for the Word to be shared and the truth to be spoken. It is only the redemptive work of Christ on our behalf that will outlast the prophecy of destruction. Today is the day to gather and pray for our nation. Today is the day to pray for God’s created people; those who believe that He is “the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), and for those who are in rebellion to Him. 

I came across the following Scripture in my study of The Book of Zephaniah which brought this all home for me. Zephaniah 2:6 says “And I will destroy those who used to worship me but now no longer do. They no longer ask for the LORD’S guidance or seek my blessings.” As I read this my heart jumped out of my chest.  So many of us, myself included, are so distracted by the lure of this world and our own personal issues that God, His Word, and our passion for the salvation of others is secondary. When I listen closely to the words “I will destroy,” I can only repent for the many years I didn’t get the privilege I have to intercede for others. 

Let’s not be like the people of Zephaniah and Micah’s day. May we have courage and a new sense of boldness to reach out to others without fear of rejection? So often we restrain ourselves and we keep silent in fear that we will offend someone by calling them to task. Think about this for just a moment, what would be worse?  Would it be saying nothing at all knowing full well the outcome is destruction, or stepping out in love by being willing to give a gentle nudge when the Holy Spirit prompts? I don’t know your answer but I do know the one that makes sense to me. Let's not miss this!

In Christ by grace,
Pam

“Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds."
(Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV)

"This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed


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