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

Friday, October 25, 2013

Quiet-Time Reflections

Sharing by: Pam Crawford                          
Guest writer: Karl Benzio, M.D.
Lighthouse Network - Stepping Stones Devotional

What Are You An Activist For?
 October 25, 2013
Transformational Thought
We seem to be living in a me-first era, except when it comes to personal responsibility. We exercise less restraint over our impulses, doing whatever gives us immediate satisfaction without regard to the consequences of our actions. These consequences have harmful effects not only on the doer, but on other people as well. Although this me-first attitude has been going on since Cain and Abel, the last 40 years seem progressively worse.

But, ironically, the positive effect of this me-first mentality is that we get to live in a time when people are activists who advocate for all sorts of causes. People stand up for the rights of dogs, dolphins, eagles, deer, elephants, and almost every animal. People campaign for trees, oceans, deserts, the ozone layer, swamps, and creeks. We have people supporting choice of religion, sexual orientation, political party, wearing clothes or going nude. We have people standing up for everything imaginable, and even willing to die for many of their causes.

I love my wife and kids and I, too, would fight to the death if someone were attacking them. David knew what was worth standing up for because he spent a lot of time praying to, learning from, and trusting in God. David couldn't stand to hear Goliath blaspheme his heavenly Father whom he loved so dearly, His true and living God. Without fear or hesitation, and with great confidence, David was ready to stand up and fight the mighty, giant warrior whom everybody, even Saul, feared. Why? Because David knew God stood up for him all the time, and later his messiah, Jesus, would make the ultimate stand for him.

Isn't it time that we, as Christians, stand up for our Creator and what He stands for? Rarely do we need to be belligerent, mean-spirited or put others down when we stand strong. Our goal is to act and speak boldly with a Christ-like heart, and to raise up God and His principles. But we can’t be worried about the consequences, even if it means our death, unemployment, loss of a friendship, or even a loved one. To David, standing up for God was a no-brainer. What about you?

Today, stand up, be heard and don’t be ashamed of the truth, which is found in Christ … no matter what the consequences! Be a Lighthouse, speaking the truth excitedly and boldly through your actions and attitudes. If it is a testy situation, speak calmly, revealing God’s love and compassion. But don’t be afraid to stand up clearly for our Savior and His name. Whether you stand up for God or shrink back in fear of man is your decision, so choose well!

Prayer: Dear Father God, even though I don’t express my thanks and gratitude very well by my actions, thank You so much for standing up for me when You didn't have to. Thanks for bearing my burden for me. Draw me closer to You today, and make me more passionate for those around me. Help me to love You more than myself, so I will die to myself, take up my cross, and follow You. Help me see You clearly, and not be deceived by my fear of other’s opinions. Give me the strength and the words to stand up for You. I pray in the name of the One who hung on a cross for me, my Savior Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!

The Truth: “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Mark 8:38

Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. Acts 5:41

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bible Study - SNIP IT

Sharing by: Pam Crawford                                     
Excerpt from Dennis & Barbara Rainey
Moments with You - Oct. 16th

A New Legacy
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Joshua 1:8

As a people, we are healthier but not happier. We are drenched in knowledge but parched for wisdom. Materially we are wealthy, but we suffer a profound poverty of the soul. The longer I live, the more I see that our nation needs a spiritual reformation in its inner spirit.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the state of the family. The biblical values that built our great nation--once passed on from each generation to the next as a national treasure--are being questioned and dismissed. As a result, never before have we seen such deterioration in our homes: Never before have so many children grown up in broken homes. Never before has the definition of marriage been altered to allow for two people of the same sex.
Never before has the marriage covenant been viewed with such contempt by a generation of young people.
Never before have parents been ridiculed for seeking to raise children with biblical values. Never before have so many Christians laughed, shrugged their shoulders or did nothing about adultery, divorce and sin. Never before has materialism been so flagrantly embraced over relationships. Never before has the family been in such need of a new legacy.

The pivotal national issue today is not crime; neither is it welfare, health care, education, politics, the economy, the media or the environment.The pivotal issue today is the spiritual and moral condition of individual men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and families.

Nations are never changed until people are changed. The true hope for genuine change in the heart lies only in the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. Through Him, lives can be rebuilt. Through Him, families can be reformed.

How has the deterioration of our homes affected your family? Your extended family?

Pray that change in our country will begin with change in your lives and home.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: October 7, 2013                       
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Ephesians 4:17-24
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

If you think it's ok to steal you WILL take from another. If you think it's ok to use foul language you WILL drop the “F” bomb as a form of natural talk. If you think it's ok to have an affair you WILL cross the line. If you think its ok to view violence and sex, you WON’T turn the TV channel or leave a theater  If you think it's ok to live with someone outside of marriage you WILL embrace cohabitation. If you believe marriage is about being with whomever you want, you WILL be an advocate for same-sex marriage. If you think it is your right to do with your body whatever you darn well please, you WILL align to a pro-choice viewpoint. If you believe it is ok to tear down others with your words, you WILL engage in slander. If you believe you have a right to hold onto hurt, you WILL not work to forgive others as your Heavenly Father has forgiven you. The list could go on and on.  

"What you believe is how you will behave." - Charles Stanley

This week my thoughts are directed to those of us who claim to be of the Christian faith. As a fellow believer I am concerned over how many people appear to be falling into the trap of tolerance and the acceptance of a philosophical and non Biblical viewpoint. What I hear being spoken out there, and the things that I see posted on social media sites these days seems to indicate a shift from standing upon the solid foundation of God’s Holy Word; to throwing oneself onto a pile of shifting sand. We don’t want to rock the boat so we scurry away from standing upon the truth like little red ants. Friends this is dangerous ground!

Although the content of this devotion is lengthy, please don't be tempted to discard or stop short of reading it in it's entirety. We are in a battle that we must be prepared in.

We are now living in a culture that is on the cusp of proclaiming Christianity as the enemy of America. Christians all over this great land are struggling to stand on solid ground and they are compromising what is clearly taught in the word of God. They are doing this for several reasons. First, it is out of sheer ignorance. Many Christians admit they have never even read the Bible let alone stand on what they would find inside of it. Second, Christians don’t want to ruffle feathers. We have bought in to the enemy’s deceptive lie that there are two things you don’t engage others in, politics and religion. My question would be “how is this working for us?” The political arena is having a “free for all” at our expense and the Christian religion in America is now becoming the proclaimed enemy. Brothers and sisters you better brace yourself, I am afraid we have not seen the worst of it.

It is time to wake up dear Christian family. Listening to a homily or a sermon on a Sunday morning will not be enough to stand up against the enemy of your soul. Satan comes to “kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10) and if you look around our world today you will have to admit he’s gaining a hefty portion of ground. Christian families are being destroyed at an alarming rate through divorce, relational conflict, addictions, and financial stresses. We don’t look any different that that of a faithless society. We continue to abort babies in the name of a women’s right to do what is best for her life. And now in the year 2013 many Christians are embracing a sector of immorality in the name of our civil rights.

Tragically many Christian leaders are watering down the Gospel message so as not to offend anyone. I wonder how many have stopped long enough to consider that when they do this; they are actually offending God himself. The Gospel is more than “God loves everyone and you can come as you are.” Although this is true, God does love what He has created and you can come as you are; in Christ, you cannot stay as you are! When we invite Jesus to live in our heart, the beginning of true Christianity, we begin a new journey that includes personal transformation. You can not end the same way you began. To give the Gospel without the message of repentance is deception (Acts 2:38-39). We are called to turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14) and obey God.

When we claim Christianity; we are in essence saying that we believe in God and we believe in what He inspired others to write down over 2,000 years ago. We should understand it was given to teach, correct, and rebuke us when we’re off course (2 Timothy 3:16). To move forward in genuine faith we must know what we believe. We must respond to it through our actions and be ready to defend God’s Word at all cost. If we don’t, we will fall prey to heresy as we embrace the teachings, opinions, doctrines and philosophies of this fallen world. Christians are to be aligned with Christ through the Word of God and a personal surrender.

Heresy( any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.

The truth is, one cannot defend that of which he does not understand. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can gain wisdom and insight for the battle ahead. If you place your faith in Christ, God will help you every step of the way. He will help you understand His Word and when you are willing, He will empower you to obey it. May I say here that there is no better time than the present to do a U-turn to get onto God’s path?

Take a listen to a warning found in the Book of 2 Timothy chapter 3 before we end. It might sound a bit familiar to you, listen carefully. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them ( 2 Timothy 3:1-5).”

We are living in a culture that is filled with many spiritual dangers. There is a constant temptation to compromise our morals and that of which we value in order to be part of the in crowd. No one wants to be on the outside looking in. It takes God’s wisdom, courage and His power to stand firm in our convictions and to confront wrongdoing in the face of opposition. When you discover something is misaligned with the Word of God, believer, take up your position. Stand firm and uphold truth always with a spirit of genuine love and concern. Get on solid ground and defend your Creator, not this culture! In the end dear friends, the culture loses.

Revelation 22:12-16
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright morning start.”

DIG DEEPER: Watch "False Doctrine" by Dr. Charles Stanley

Please help to spread The Word by sharing Quiet Time Reflections with your circle of influence.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: Sept. 29, 2013                              
Guest writer: Mary Southerland

It’s Time to Do Something!

Today’s Truth
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:11, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I could not tear my eyes away from the television screen as the 33 miners began to emerge from the depths of what could have been their mass grave. The men had been trapped for more than two months in the collapsed Chilean copper mines nearly half a mile underground. Everything I have read or heard about the tragedy is extraordinary.

The miners survived the early days by rationing food and working together as a team. Each man was assigned a job, one of which was to maintain peace and harmony until they were rescued. The selfless mining supervisor who insisted on being the last to leave his underground prison showed the world what it really means to put others first. I was amazed at the selflessness of the rescue worker who became the initial guinea pig for the rescue capsule and then chose to stay behind – alone - while the world celebrated above.

We all know what it is like to be trapped in a pit of some kind. It is probably not a collapsed mine, but pits are all basically the same. 

Our world has collapsed under the weight of fear and pain.No one seems to care. In fact, a lot of people have written us off as a lost cause. People are too busy to recognize or understand our hopelessness. Darkness prevails and rescue seems impossible. We are wounded, sick and tired. We withdraw from the very people we love and need the most. Civil war rages in our soul as we struggle to obey God instead of giving in to sin.

I truly believe that every day is filled with divine appointments – opportunities to rescue people who are trapped in some kind of pit. We miss the emptiness reflected in the eyes of the sales clerk, or we simply choose to ignore the homeless man begging for money so he can buy food. After all, we are in a hurry and have more important things to do. The sales clerk would probably be embarrassed if I said anything, and that homeless man would probably just use the money for drugs or alcohol.

The ringing phone is someone in need, but we don’t care enough to answer. Our neighbor does not know God. But her life is a mess and we really don’t want to get involved. Instead of taking action and doing what we know God wants us to do, we decide that it is enough to pray for that neighbor and leave the messy part of God’s work to someone else.

I am so guilty of walking away from someone in need instead of running to them. I am in pain, too, and my pain is more important than theirs. I may not actually say those words, but I don’t have to. My actions are blatant illustrations of my own egotism and self-absorption.

I do not want to be like the priest who nonchalantly strolled by the wounded and bleeding man lying on the road. I want to be like the Good Samaritan who stopped and saved the wounded man’s life. I want to be “God with skin on.”

One day, just as rescue workers descended into that Chilean mine, Jesus Christ will descend into this broken world and rescue us from the pit of human frailty. Until then, let’s be His hands and feet. Let’s love Him so much that we just have to do something about it.

Let’s Pray
Father, I come to You today with a heart of praise for the way You meet every need in my life and how You constantly rescue me from the darkness. I want Your heart, Lord. I want to be Your hands and feet to the people You place in my path. Give me eyes to see their need and the courage to do something about it. Please guard my heart against pride and selfishness. I want to please and honor You alone.
In Jesus’s name,

Now It’s Your Turn
It is sometimes hard to love someone in need, but God calls us to look beyond the rough exterior and see the pain hidden there.

Read Ephesians 4:2  “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Notice the action words. What would your daily life look like if you took action and lived out this verse?
Is there someone in your life who is hurting? How can you ease their pain?
Is there someone in your life who is wounded? How can you help them heal?
Is there someone in your life who has fallen into some kind of pit? How can you help rescue them?
Make a specific plan to meet a specific need in someone’s life today. Then do something about it!

More from the Girlfriends
We are living in tough times. It is easy to get so wrapped up in our own problems that we fail to see the needs of others. Today, I am issuing a challenge to all of us, girlfriends! Look around. Find someone in need and then take action. We are never more like our Father than when we love and serve someone in His name.