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, June 9, 2015

Quiet-Time Reflections

Print
Week of: June 8, 2015
Sharing by: Pam Crawford                                             pmcrawford1@gmail.com

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

UNTIL THAT DAY
Like so many of you I am watching people that I love suffer physically, emotionally, and spiritually. At times I feel so helpless to comfort or encourage properly. It's often very difficult to know what to say or even how to be helpful. I believe there are no right words during ones personal pain. In fact more times than not, it is not "words" that one is looking for at all. I know during my own personal times of despair; I am often comforted by just knowing that someone cares and if I need to, I can reach out to them and they will be there. So for those of you that I am watching battle through cancer, those saying good-bye to a loved one through death or the act of divorce, to the one battling to get victory in depression or those struggling with addictions, the confused broken heart, and that single parent trying to make ends meet (this list could go on and on)... I desire for you to know that I do care and that I have offered up prayers to the Heavens on your behalf. More importantly I want you to know that even if humanity let's you down, you have a comforter and a guide in God. He promises in His Word to never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). May He comfort and care for you as only He can.

There is one set of words we might be careful to use in times of despair; "hang in there." Translated this phrase means "for a short time you can do anything." I don't know about you but when I'm trying to just "hang in there," it feels anything but temporary. I love 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 because it represents hope. It not only encourages us to endure through the tough stuff, but it also points out that what we see before us today is only temporary. Maybe the better phrase would be "hang onto hope." 

When things are not going as we had planned, hang on to what Paul has shared. He clearly came to a place where he didn't simply have to "hang in there," he could "hang onto hope." He knew the difference between temporary and eternal - life and death. Listen further to Paul's words in his time of suffering. "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you" (Corinthians 4:8-10 (NIV). The Life's Application commentary explains this verse: "Paul reminds us that though we may think we are at the end of the rope, we are never at the end of hope. Our perishable body is subject to sin and suffering, but God never abandons us. Because Christ has won the victory over death, we have eternal life. All our risks, humiliations, and trials are opportunities for Christ to demonstrate his power and presence in and through us." 

Paul knew that everything he suffered through had a purpose. He concluded that even if it lasted his entire lifetime; he would see it as temporary, compared to what he understood to be the hope of eternity. He asked to have his thorn (that which caused him pain) removed, but God in His wisdom decided it was best that it remain with Paul. I think it was not only left for Paul, but it was left  as an example for you and me. Even with the thorn of affliction Paul still became a wonderful example to others. Paul was a human being and I imagine he was tempted on many occasions to lose hope or to throw in the towel. What kept him from that? Friends, I believe that Paul had a true perspective of God's character, purpose, and His passion for His children. As I have stepped into Paul's world through studying the Bible, I have found evidence all throughout it that hope is not dead. Don't let the enemy of your soul tell you anything different.

One day friends it does all end. But, that doesn't mean we cannot experience true joy despite our sorrows this side of Heaven. There is a final chapter and for the believer in Jesus Christ it turns out well. God will remove the sorrows of this life and He will wipe away every tear (Revelation 21:4). No matter what you're going through today, there will be true fulfillment and eternal joy for those who love God and have placed their faith in Him. If this is not you, may today be the day of opportunity. Jim Elliott once wrote "Make sure when you die - all you have to do is die." After death there are no more chances to explore or embrace Jesus. No more chances to wrestle with your doubts or seek answers to your questions. There will be no more time to make a different choice. Today is that day! 

This life will bring about unwanted changes. We will suffer. And, disappointments will work to destroy our relationship with God and our relationship with others. Satan comes to "kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). Jesus came so that we could have life in all its fullness. If we understand that happiness and joy have different meanings, we can make the choice to remain in joy despite how we feel or what is going on around us. Happiness is a feeling, an emotion, but joy is a choice. Joy is what we retain when we stand on the firm foundation of faith. It's what we keep when we know who God is and who we are in Him. It is the revelation that in the end, WE WIN! "In this world there will be trouble but take heart I have come to overcome" (John 16:33).

Life's Application Commentary: 
Our ultimate hope when we experience terrible illness, persecution, or pain is the realization that this life is not all there is - there is life after death for believers! Knowing that we will live forever with God in a place without sin and suffering can help us live above the pain that we face in this life.

As Christians, we should expect continuing tension with an unbelieving world that is "out of sync" with Jesus Christ, his Good News, and his people. At the same time we can expect our relationship with Christ to produce peace and comfort because we are "in sync" with him. 

"What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope for the meaning of life."
                                                   - Emil Brunner

Today's prayer: Heavenly Father I lift to you all who are in places of suffering and confusion. I ask you Lord to reveal yourself in the hearts of all who do not yet know you as Lord and Savior. For those who do, I ask that you encourage them as only you can do. Use these words I have written to bring life into the heart of someone who is weary and downtrodden today. Teach us that our constant attachment to you is the very thing that ushers in true joy when everything else around us is in chaos. Thank you for your heart and your love Father. Thank you that you want and desire the best for those who call you Father. Thank you that you are out there with your eyes on the lost and in your timing and your way, bring them home. In Jesus precious name I ask you to hear this prayer.

In Christ by grace,
Pam

"You can face any circumstance with confidence and hope, because it is not your strength, wisdom, energy, or power that brings victory. Triumph comes because of God's ability, and when you place your trust in Him, you tap into an irresistible force that no one and nothing can successfully oppose. "
-Dr. Charles Stanley


©2014 Getting The Word Out. Used by Permission.
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts and provide a hyperlink to this page. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Getting The Word Out.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Pam Crawford. ©2014 Getting The Word Out. Website: pmcrawford.blogspot.com





No comments: