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, December 31, 2015

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of: December 28, 2015                                  pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

As we wrap up 2015 it has certainly been a year of both personal joy and corporate sadness for me. Like no other time in my history on this earth; I am watching my country America, transition from One Nation Under God to One Nation Under Self. The passage of gay marriage, the continued disrespect of human life through abortion and laws in some states that now make it ok for you to take your own life; and the constant assertion of "my rights," is clearly setting the stage for a country and world that is no longer interested in what God instructed through His Holy Word.

 “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." 
 - Revelation 22: 14-15


A NEW DAY
America and the people that reside in it are now on the slippery slope of accepting a gospel based solely on a concept of a false doctrine and we are clearly seeing people discard the whole gospel of Jesus Christ for the portions they deem acceptable in their life. One example is the argument over this thing we call "love." You hear it everywhere in the public square as it pertains to the acceptance of homosexuality. The argument; "All people deserve to be loved. Everyone deserves to be happy." You hear "it's time we all except one another without judgment." And, if you don't agree with this you are the evil, judgmental, close-minded Christian.

News flash dear friends. No one in this world deserves anything! In our flesh, we are all a sinful group of human beings bent on asserting our free will into the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because there is no one deserving; we have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23-24). With that said, it might be high time we reconsider that the gospel of Jesus Christ is much bigger than the world's definition of "love." Love is not a feeling, it's an action, a being.  The Bible actually tells us that "God is love" (1 John 4:8) not "Love is God."

The world we live in with its selfish view of love has turned the idea of God and what He has instructed into a contaminated understanding of love. Yes God has called us to love Him and love others, but that doesn't mean we throw away everything else God has instructed to bring about what we want to be ok and acceptable in our life (Leviticus 18).  And as far as judgment, let us not forget that there are two kinds of judgment; righteous and foolish. A righteous judgment is in agreement with the Word of God. It agrees that sin is not ok in the eyes of the Creator and we should not be engaging in it. Foolish judgment reflects a free for all.

By claiming solely the "love" gospel and never standing against sin; you join the world's viewpoint that love is whatever makes a person feel good. You join in on the thinking that because people all deserve to be happy and find love however they desire, sin is ok. You agree that it's all right to sacrifice moral principles and the rights of others to obtain such "love."

Real love is like God, who is holy, just and perfect. If we truly know God, we will love as he does (LASB) and we will align our lives accordingly.  And, if we love as He does then we will come to the understanding that love also corrected injustice, rebuked the sinner, and taught the way to the Father. Love was a heart response to the greatest gift ever given to mankind - Jesus.  If you claim Him, you align your life to His. This will mean living differently than the world (Romans 12).

In 2016, I would encourage every reader to spend some time looking at the story of Jesus's response to the sinful woman at the well. found in the book of John chapter 8 verses 1 through 11. This was another time in history when leaders were disregarding the law to bring about self-will.  Don't miss the response of those ready to throw the stones, and the response of the woman being accused. They both contrast an eye-opening event. Now is a perfect time for us to take a honest and fresh look at our own life. It's a good opportunity to recognize our sinful nature as it relates to the acceptance of things that are contrary to what God has instructed through His Word.

Life's Application Commentary - John 8:10-11
"Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" "No Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more." 

Jesus didn't condemn the woman accused of adultery, but neither did he ignore or condone her sin. He told her to leave her life of sin. Jesus stands ready to forgive any sin in your life but confession, and repentance, mean a change of heart. With God's help we can accept Christ's forgiveness and stop our wrongdoing." - LASB

So yes, God has called us to love Him and to love others. He wants us to be people of compassion, grace, and love. He desires that our lives reflect love but never at the cost of compromising His Holy instructions. Never at the cost of rebellion against what He has taught. It's time we understand that God gave three types of laws through His Word; ceremonial, civil and moral. The birth and death of Jesus removed the ceremonial. We no longer have to offer atonement for sin as Jesus' death took care of that. Rituals are no longer necessary for salvation. There is only one thing that saves us and that is belief in Jesus Christ (John 3:1-21). Civil laws of old and new testament times are the laws that kept order. If we disregard them completely all hell breaks loose. And the moral laws have not changed either. God still expects us to live as holy people and He gave us standards to follow. Those standards are our plumb line and they remain in effect still today. We cannot pick and choose in order to live our way. One day we will give an account for our decisions (2 Corinthians 5:10, Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10-11).

The Bible tells us that doing things our way will bring about great consequence. So often we like to jump to the end of a story so that we don't have to bother reading or watching it through. So at the end of 2015 let's jump to the end of the Bible (Revelation 22:12-21). Here we can see the result of disobedience to the moral laws of God's Word. I pray you will heed these words as you move forward in life. HAPPY NEW YEAR and may blessings be a part of your future.


Love the sinner - that is the example of Jesus.
Condone, encourage, support, embrace, or celebrate the act of sin - a very dangerous practice. 

Revelation 22:12-21 (NIV)                                                                                           Epilogue: Invitation and Warning
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega,the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “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. 15 Outside are the dogs,those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

In Christ by grace,

Pam


©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



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Quiet-Time Reflections

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Week of: December 14, 2015                                        pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

The holiday season can stir up in us a sense of sadness when we have experienced loss. It's a time of year when the enemy of our soul attempts to keep us from focusing on the true meaning behind the celebration. And, he uses our personal circumstances to do just that. The following is a portion of a talk I prepared for a bereavement group that included individuals who had lost children.  I pray it will encourage someone out there this Christmas season. MERRY CHRISTMAS and may you experience a bright light of hope through these words which are a part of my personal testimony of loss.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:7 

OPEN HANDS - HEALED HEART
You might say you have never buried a child and you would be absolutely right. Because of this I cannot experientially know the brokenness of your heart.  What I can share with you is that I know very personally the sadness of loss. I have had to say good-bye to more people that I cared deeply about in my 55 years than I care to list. One such relationship was my young brother who left this world in a tragic house fire when he was just 13 years old and I was 23. I also lost my cousin that day. He had been spending the night with my brother, he was 14 years old. We also lost our family home which was full of our personal memories. Praise God my sister and her dad were able to escape the flames. So yes, I never buried a child that I gave birth to thus far, but I have buried valuable pieces of my heart. 

With that said, I want to share a revelation that God has gifted me with and I hope it brings encouragement to you. It is the very thing that helps me see hope in loss. This revelation hit me recently as I sat with my hands folded in prayer for several children fighting life-threatening illnesses. My heart aches for their parents and the families that were hoping for a miracle. Some will get that miracle through healing, but others will feel as if they have been jipped through death. 

My message today may be very difficult to hear especially if you currently find yourself in the midst of personal loss. I encourage you to stay with me.  For those of you who have not yet discovered the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, my words may sound like clanging cymbals in your ears. I encourage you to stay with me also.

Friends, when we think death is the end there will be no hope! But for those who have been gifted to understand God’s Holy Word; you know that death is not the end, it is the first moment of eternity. This is where believers  find hope in personal loss. I did not always have this. Today as I cling to the reality of what God did for me at the cross where His One and Only Son hung beaten and battered for the sin of all of mankind, I can in a sense, contrast His feelings of grief with my own. Separation is painful but it doesn’t have to be the end. Knowing Jesus’ life story opens the door for eternal hope. If you don't know this story I am speaking of  I would be happy to talk with you personally. 

I was in my early 20’s when our tragedy hit. I had been in church all my life and knew about God, but the reality is I really did not fully understand the true character of God. So, when Satan began to point out how God failed to rescue my brother and my cousin, and  when he pointed out God’s inability to save our family home which I could physically see as charred rubble; I began to buy into his deception through a heart of anger. You see,  I expected God not to let me down ever! I prayed often.  I went to church most Sunday's. I put some money in the offering plate. I said my rosary and went to my religious classes. This was not supposed to happen to good people! Because of this mindset I was ill-prepared for the sudden and unexpected loss that cold February morning. 

Nothing prepared me for the overwhelming emotions that would invade my mind for many, many years to come. On that day there was no time to process how I should react as a professed child of God.  I kept begging God to let this be a bad dream and when it was my reality, I wanted nothing more to do with God.  I asked some of the questions I imagine some of you have asked. “Where were you God?” “How could you let this happen?” “Why, why, why? echoed in my head constantly. 

As I reflect back now I recognize that this was a defining moment in my life where Satan entered  my heart through the deception of my mind.  The last thing the enemy of my soul wanted, was for me to get to the place that I am today with God and he has been relentless against me ever since I have rejected his lies. The last thing he wanted me to understand is that “I WIN” whether I walk onward on this earth, or whether I am called home. The same is true for those I love. I cannot hold onto them with a closed fist any longer, they are not mine. They belong to God. He created them for His purpose. I am a guardian for those I love. And, if I am ever to survive loss in my future I must hold my hands open. 

The truth is no one was physically created to live forever so we will have  times of separation from those we love.  But, we don’t have to live and grieve as people who do not know. The enemy wants us to see life through his distorted viewpoint.  He wants us to see the storms and disappointments of this life as reinforcement of his deception that if God was so good, He would never allow death or suffering. In this fallen world we have the foretelling that that is a lie. Let's take a look at John chapter 16 verse 33. 


We were not created to be of this world (Romans 12:1) we were created to make a difference in this world. Some of us will walk many years trying to accomplish this and others will do it in a very short period of time before they are called home. This doesn’t mean God isn’t good or that He wants to withhold something good from you. When we view our loved ones as exclusively ours we will always end up where I was back in my 20’s. But when you begin to allow yourself to embrace that God creates human beings for an eternal relationship and purpose with their Heavenly Father, your hands begin to open and your heart will soften. You begin to understand that He has the right to call them to Himself whenever He desires to do so.  Whatever time we are given to share in their life is a gift. 

I am so grateful today for the 13 short years I had with my brother. I thank God that I was privileged to be his sister on this earth. I praise God that we had many, many beautiful moments of humor and love in that short time. And one day through our faith in Jesus Christ together we are going to have a wonderful day of reunion in the presence of Jesus. 

What changed in my heart? I allowed God back in the heart reserved for Him. I allowed Him to show me His Son coming to rescue my brother from eternal death on that day,  I saw it in three ways. The first was through the declaration of my brother that he knew Jesus was The Way. This brings me comfort in knowing his soul resides with his Creator. Secondly it came through a vision of Jesus coming into that burning home and carrying the boys out before the fire ever touched their souls. And finally I was reassured through a dream in which my brother let me know he was ok.  It was a dream that I didn't want to wake up from. I hang onto that dream because it reflects a Father that desired me to have peace as I go on without my brother. You too can have that peace through a heart of surrender. The alternative is living the rest of your days with a heart of anger, bitterness and personal turmoil. It is living with grief that will consume you. It is unhealthy!

This Christmas, let God help you see who He truly is. Open up His Word and let Him comfort you through His presence. Spill out your heart before Him, He can handle it. Ask Him to heal you of your broken heart so you too can be used to comfort others as I have attempted to do today.  Take His heart and allow it into yours. I can assure you this is where the peace that surppasses ones understanding comes from.

Be blessed broken souls. Beauty can arise from ashes. 

In Christ by grace,
Pam 

Praise to the God of All Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5


Good good Father by Chris Tomlin

©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