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, June 20, 2013

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: June 17, 2013                        
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

One of my all time favorite songs is “Friend of God.” I don’t care when I hear this song it always makes me smile and my spirit is lifted. In my inner circle of “sisters in Christ;” a few of them have been known to see me twirling around with my hands raised like a little kid as I claim these words as my own. Let me share just a few lines of this uplifting tune. If you want to hear it in its entirety I usually enjoy listening to Travis Cottrell’s version of the song. It is truly amazing to be called a “friend of God!”

Friend of God
Who am I that You are mindful of me?
That You hear me when I call
Is it true that You are thinking of me?
How you Love me
It's Amazing

How you Love me
It's Amazing

I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
He calls me friend

The great news of having a friendship with Jesus Christ is the promise that if it is genuine, it will never end. I love the account of restored friendship with Jesus at Calvary. When Jesus was crucified two criminals were on each side of him. “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:40-43).

Last week I was compelled to encourage you as it relates to the brevity of life. I hope you had a chance to read that devotion. I cannot think of anything more important than to continue to help others experience the value and blessing of being in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus the ultimate “BFF” has you on His mind every second of every day and that should cause you to twirl around with joyful anticipation of Heaven.

The two criminals on each side of Jesus represent the choice each of us will be required to make at some point in our life. For some this decision will reflect that of the sinner who decided at the very end to turn to Christ. Although we need to praise God that salvation is still possible as long as we have breath in us; I have to ask, "why would one want to forfeit the rewards (blessings) of His faithful friendship until mortality becomes a reality?" Wouldn't it be better to turn to God early on to experience His amazing love, forgiveness, grace, mercy and fellowship throughout life?

Tragically some will chose the path of the other criminal. They will deny Christ to death and forfeit paradise. Today it is my prayer that “few” would become “many” as I end with Jesus’ teaching about entering the Kingdom.

Luke 13:22-30
Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He replied,
“The door to heaven is narrow. Work hard to get in, because many will try to enter, but when the head of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. Then you will stand outside knocking and pleading. ‘Lord, open the door for us!” But he will reply. “I don’t know you.” You will say, “but we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets. And he will reply, “I tell you, I don’t know you. Go away, all you who do evil.” And there will be great weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets within the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out. Then people will come from all over the world to take their places in the Kingdom of God. And note this: Some who are despised now will be greatly honored then; and some who are greatly honored now will be despised then.”

“Work hard to get in” seems to contradict the teaching that it is by faith alone that we are saved. It’s important to understand that Jesus was not saying that we have more “good works" to do in order to earn a place with Him in Heaven. He is reiterating a relational aspect. The Life’s Application explains it this way. “Obviously we cannot save ourselves – there is no way we can work ourselves into God’s favor. We “work hard to get in” through the narrow door by earnestly desiring to know Jesus and diligently striving to follow him whatever the cost. We dare not put off making this decision because the door will not stay open forever.

Knowing Jesus and being known by Jesus does not manifest void of repentance and acknowledgement of our sins. Jesus is explaining that despite the fact that many people will claim to know something about Him, only a few will actually acknowledge their sins and therefore accept His gift of forgiveness. We are told that there will be many surprises in God’s Kingdom.

It would be a tragic mistake to think that God will be looking at us through worldly eyes. It will not matter who we were, where we lived, what kind of status we held, our nationality, how much money we have, or who we knew. What is going to matter is this; were we committed to Christ? Did He know our voice? Were there common values between us? Did our actions reflect obedience to that of which He taught in His Word?

Friends, there is going to be a Heavenly feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Word seems to clarify that in order to be admitted, we must be known as a friend of the King (Malachi 4:16-18). Imagine for a moment the blessing it will be for the King to announce you as His friend. Imagine this introduction. “Today my friend is in paradise with me. We have known each other for many years. I have taught, he/she has listened and allowed me to help him/her every step of the way. It’s not always been easy and I have had to exercise much patience with him/her, but it’s been so worth it to have my friend here with me forever.” May your decisions bring about eternal blessings?

In Christ by faith,

Going Deeper:
What happens after death?

No comments: