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


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of: November 26, 2012                        pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Love this encouragement!
Pride, Prodigals and Holy Scars
by Dennis Rainey

For we all stumble in many ways. 
James 3:2

When two parents set out to raise their children, it's easy to begin with the thought, We can do a better job at this than everybody else. Despite our inexperience, we believe that by mixing in ample amounts of prayer, Scripture memory, family devotions, worldview teaching and church attendance, we can almost guarantee our children will turn out the way we want them to. Put the right stuff in, we'll get the right stuff out.

There's a term for this kind of attitude, however: "spiritual pride." I know, because Barbara and I felt the same way when we started out on our parenting journey. But we learned one thing really quickly about children: If you want a guarantee, buy a new set of tires or a car battery ... because children don't come with any guarantees. Being a parent may be the greatest risk we take in our lifetimes.

Ask those who've had a prodigal child come through their home. Ask us. We'll tell you. But we can also tell you something else: God is sovereign. He is more than able to turn your children's lives around. As you release your children to make their own decisions, you may worry that their wounds will leave a permanent mark, disfiguring their lives forever. Yes, sin does have consequences. But as my friend Dan Jarrell says, "God delights in taking those wounds and turning them into holy scars that are useful for His purposes."

After all, the perfect Father, God, had a couple of children Himself who didn't fare too well in the Garden. He's had a lot of others along the way who've messed up pretty badly, as well. So don't lose heart. God can heal wounds and turn them into "holy scars" that declare God's grace, mercy and purposes.

Discuss
Think of a prodigal that God has rescued for His purposes. What can you learn from this person's story?

Pray
Pray for the prodigals you know ... that God will restore them in His time. Pray, too, that your children will learn to trust God without having to become a prodigal.


In Christ by grace,
former prodigal
broken of "spiritual pride"

Pam

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quiet Time Reflections

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Week of: November 19, 2012                    pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Although in America we celebrate Thanksgiving on a particular day; let us not forget as Christians, everyday is an opportunity for thanksgiving. We don't need a specific day to give thanks and praise to our Creator but I have to say, I love that we still have this day set apart in America to gather as family and friends around a dinner table to share a meal and the goodness of our Heavenly Father. I look forward in anticipation to a day when this will happen everyday with the Father present and visible. But until then may I say that although we may not be sitting at the same table this year, how exciting it is to know that believers everywhere are privileged to bring God into the celebration. Let's do it!

The following is a wonderful reminder for us as we prepare our tables for the celebration. Let's not forget the life-giving water. From my home to yours, HAPPY THANKSGIVING. I am grateful to serve you through these writings and I pray that you shall be blessed. Drink up.

In Christ by grace,
Pam

Diagnosis: Dehydration; Cure: Living Water
Stepping Stones Devotional
Transformational Thought
When I was a kid, people weren’t obsessed about health. Fitness clubs didn’t exist, nobody ran unless they had to, grease and butter were an actual food group, fast food was the new Utopia, and cigarettes were just a smelly habit. Now my wife says my Fruit Loops aren’t healthy. She keeps putting vegetables on my plate even though the only vegetable I eat is french fries.

Everywhere I go nowadays, I see water bottles. I still have a hard time paying for water, but it seems like we have water bottles all over the house. Martine and my girls tell me water is healthy for me and that I don’t drink enough. Well, the experts seem to agree with them. They say that if you feel thirsty, you are most likely already dehydrated. A recent report title said it all: “You are not sick … you are just thirsty.” All the medical experts agree on this one; we need to drink water continually through our day. So it seems like we are all dehydrated.

Well, not only are we physically thirsty, but we are born spiritually thirsty as well … empty … dry. All of our “sickness” is actually due to our spiritual dehydration. You see, we constantly thirst for God … His love, acceptance, and security. Only He can fill these essential needs … our neediness for everything! Only through Him do we find purpose, fulfillment, contentment, connection, engagement, passion, competence, peace, joy … and especially, pure and true love.

But we are constantly using “spoiled,” even poisoned, water to substitute for the true living water that only God, through Jesus, truly is. But Satan is sharp. He doesn’t put the poisoned water in a bottle with a big ‘X’ on it. He doesn’t place a “Poison Warning” or skull and crossbones on the label. No. Satan packages this poison in an attractive, fancy bottle, with an enticing ad and alluring promises on the label. Drinking this contaminated water leads to depression, anxiety, addictions, hopelessness, anger, brokenness, stress, agitation, loneliness, and frustration. But we still drink it thinking it actually cures these problems.

It sounds easy to avoid. So why do we still drink the poisoned water? One reason is that we don’t drink regularly. Then once we become dehydrated, out of desperation and discomfort we grab any bottle to sooth ourselves, thinking something is better than nothing. That is like drinking salt water when you are thirsty. Instead of making the situation better, the situation actually becomes dangerous.
Today, commit to taking sips, or short prayers, of living water. Confess a sin immediately. Stop to thank Him for a blessing you take for granted. Ask His advice on an issue. Tell someone why God makes a difference in your life. Take sips throughout the day from the river of living waters offered by Your Lord and God. Waiting until you’re dehydrated or taking in His living water regularly is your decision, so choose well.

Prayer
Dear Father God, I am so thirsty, Lord, and I know this means I am spiritually dehydrated. Daily, my tank is low and I thirst for more. Please give me wisdom to avoid contaminated water. Help me, Father, to drink and eat only what is good for me so that my soul may delight itself in Your abundance. Help me not to be complacent, but instead, to talk to You and recognize You more often in my day. I pray in the name of the One who died so I might drink from the living waters, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!

The Truth
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38
Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; and you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come; buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Isaiah 55:1-2
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” John 4:10, 11,13-15




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of: November 12, 2012                              pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Matthew 11:28-30
"Then Jesus said, "Come to me all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."

Like many of you I struggle with finding rest within my burdens. The past few weeks have challenged my faith in areas that I haven't yet been required to explore. Thankfully I have been blessed to learn, and I will not waiver from the truth, that the only way we make it safely through adversity and disappointment is by staying tightly connected to the best power source available to mankind. In the above passage Jesus is offering us an alternative to Satan's schemes of discouragement, despair, and defeat. "The rest that Jesus promises is love, healing, and peace with God, not the end of all labor. A relationship with God changes meaningless, wearisome toil into spiritual productivity and purpose"(LASB).

Spiritual attacks are a common occurrence in the life of a believer and they come in many forms. We would be wise to remain on guard and to recognize disappointment and adversity for what it is. If Satan can get us to doubt the goodness of God in our circumstance then he has us right where he wants us. A "fool" walks away from that which he is unwilling to work at. I am confident in this statement because I have been that fool and the end result has never been rest.

Faith is not just a word or something we associate with religious doctrine. No, faith is an outward expression of obedience within that of which we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). I have included an article by Jon Walker titled Show Your Faith by Obedience to help us better understand our responsibility within this thing we refer to as faith. Although we cannot see or touch God we can know Him through His Word. I believe it will be the very thing that helps us rise above the temptations and challenges of this world.  I pray to be blessed by the instructions of the Master. I cannot cower from what God reveals, and what a privilege it is to ask God to help anyone in need of His kind of rest and revelation  God loves to hear from us. He gave us His Son to learn from and praise God that the Holy Spirit is available to anyone seeking rest. Be blessed through your relationship with the Father and I encourage you to share your love for Him with others.

“Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the 
unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting 
on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and 
lightly.” (Matthew 11:29-30 MSG)

Jesus calls us to a level of intimacy that can only be sustained by his
constant presence in our lives. He says, “Walk with me and work with 
me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” 
(Matthew 11:29-30 MSG). 

Jesus is real, and so our response to him must be real. In other words, 
we can’t just say we have faith; we must show our faith by doing what 
God tells us to do. Deitrich Bonhoeffer, an influential theologian who was 
martyred under the Nazi regime, says, “For faith is only real when there 
is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of 
obedience.”

But taking a step in and of itself doesn’t mean we obey Jesus. He is very
specific in what he tells us to do. He doesn’t say “Follow some general 
biblical principles” or “Submit yourself to a certain doctrine.” Jesus 
doesn’t present a plan for positive thinking or suggest seven simple steps 
to becoming his disciple. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and we do just that. 
Bonhoeffer also says, “Discipleship without Jesus Christ is a way of our 
own choos­ing. Even if our choice leads us to martyrdom, it is devoid of 
promise and Jesus will certainly reject it.”

Bonhoeffer notes we can never follow an idea in personal obedience.
“Christianity without the liv­ing Christ is inevitably Christianity without
discipleship; Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without 
Christ.” “It remains an abstract idea,” says Bonhoeffer, “a myth which has 
a place for the Fatherhood of God, but omits Christ as the living Son. And 
a Christianity of that kind is nothing more or less than the end of 
discipleship. In such a religion there is trust in God, but no following of 
Christ.”

Talk About It
  • What does a faith that is real look like?
  • What step of faith is Jesus telling you to take but on which you                        have hesitated to act? Focus on obedience to his command                            and not on what may or may not happen once you’ve taken                             the step.


While I'm Waiting by John Waller
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3b2jw1rjBc


In Christ by grace,
Pam








Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of: November 5, 2012                            pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Romans 8:5-8
"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God."

In light of the direction that our country appears to be heading; I believe we may need to know how to answer some pretty tough questions in the future. Several people asked me yesterday if I was surprised by the outcome of the Presidential Election here in the United States? With all honesty, I responded "not at all, I actually expected it." We may have to agree that the President's strategy to draw in select groups of people by telling them exactly what they wanted to hear was brilliant. In case you haven't noticed; today in America we have a new minority and I'm not sure I'm going to like the benefits that come along with the status.

Although I was on my knees in prayer throughout this whole election process, I did not expect we would receive a heavenly bailout. "We the people" of this country appear to be depicting a people who have turned away from doing things God's way. There is undeniable evidence that we have become a true "entitlement society" and its quite likely we are now heading towards the path of self destruction. This "it's all about me" mentality is contrary to God's plan and the Word is crystal clear, God is not going to stand for it forever.

Yes, the majority has spoken; but pardon my candid nature when I give my opinion that the majority just may have gotten it wrong! I encourage you to pay close attention to the devastation all around us; that of which has already occurred on our soil and that of which will occur in the future. Let us not overlook this truth, GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED (Galatians 6:7)! We cannot discard human life, redefine the family unit, and turn our backs on the nation of Israel and expect to live as a prosperous, safe nation. It's just not going to happen!

As I was reflecting on how we got to this place I came across this article by Dave Brannon. Coincidence, I think not. One day there will be no more time for excuses. May I encourage you to keep the Word open to avoid the temptation to compromise. In the end winning the popular vote over what God values will prove deadly. Pay attention the instructions have been given. Chose the blessing.

How Was I to Know?
by Dave Brannon
Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

   "It was high-school concert season, and the music students were preparing for the big Christmas extravaganza. The teacher had clearly communicated every detail to the students and to the parents - on two separate occasions - and the time for mandatory rehearsal was clearly spelled out.
   But on rehearsal day one panicky mother called during practice to see what time her teenager was supposed to show up. Another called to say; "Oh, we're taking Tommy to Grandma's. It's okay if he misses rehearsal, right?" When the teacher reminded the parents that this required practice had already started, she heard, "Why didn't somebody tell me? How was I to know?".
   Just at this teacher was troubled that her clear instructions were ignored, is it possible that God is troubled by our tendency to ignore His clear instructions? In 1 Thessalonians, Paul reminds us that his God-inspired message tells us "how to live in order to please God" and that those instructions have "the authority of the Lord Jesus" (4:1-2 NIV). The Lord is grieved, Paul explains when we ignore His teachings and live our own way (Ephesians 4:30 - 5:2).
   Let's make a point to read God's instructions and then live by them - with no excuses." - DB

God's Word was given for our good
And we are to obey,
Not choose the parts that we like best,
Then live in our own way. - Hess

"There is no good excuse for ignoring God."

In Christ by grace,
Pam