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, February 16, 2016

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: February 15, 2016          
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Romans 15:13
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

February 12th represents the darkest day of my life thus far. It has been over 30 years since that fatal morning when a fire destroyed our family home and claimed the life of my brother and cousin. I can’t help but remember how badly I wanted that scene to be a bad dream. Sadly it was not and we began living out the new reality before us. I tell you this for sole purpose of giving hope to anyone who does not believe they can overcome their greatest pain in this life.                                                                                                       

There is a saying in the Bible that indicates that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:16). I am here to tell you that that Scripture is an accurate statement. Without God’s help this gal would never have survived the charred ruins of that day. I still cannot fully understand the loss of someone you love through a tragedy that is so difficult to wrap your mind around.

Back in my 20’s when this happened I did not know God in the manner that I know Him today. So, you can imagine the anger and disappointment I experienced towards Him. How could a loving God that I had been taught about for so many years let that happen? Did he not know how hard it would be to rise from those ashes and move on? Did he even care? Where was he!? Are these questions familiar to anyone?

It has taken me a very long time to come to the place that I am today. However, I can tell you that I have no doubt that February 12th played a huge role in making me into the woman of faith I am today. Wrestling with God was a necessary element for spiritual and personal growth. This journey has led me to a "peace that surpasses one's understanding." I pray for everyone experiencing the sting of death. That they will be gifted this same blessing as they do the work necessary to rise out of the pit of grief.  

A genuine surrender of my personal expectations enabled me to work through the pain and disappointment of experiencing something I could never have imagined. I have to tell you that I no longer question God as I have determined in my heart that it is a waste of valuable energy going forward. God's plans and His purpose will prevail (Proverbs 19:21) despite my best effort to understand or change them. As I have studied the Word of God over these past 15+ years, I have come to recognize that some things will remain a mystery this side of Heaven. 

In the Book of Isaiah 55:8 we are told “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”  What I do know is that God’s way, his original plan for that which He created was good. The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:31 that “God looked over all that he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way” (NLT).  Sadly as you read on in Genesis chapter 3 you discover the sin that lead to the fall of mankind. Satan wormed his way into the head of Eve and caused her to second guess God. Well, the truth is Satan wormed his way into my head on February 12, 1984. He proceeded to tell me all kinds of lies about the goodness of God. And, had it not been for the encouragement to fight against those lies, I would not be encouraging you today.

Thankfully, the way I have battled back against Satan’s attempt to “kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10) me and the future God had planned for me; was to journey through the Word of God with an attentive ear and an open heart. What I learned about God, His character and His attributes over the past 30 years has led me to a more solid foundation of faith; something we must have to withstand Satan’s constant method of attack.

Satan is clearly the father of lies (John 8:43-44) but he only has the power that we give him. In my 20’s I had collected a lot of religious knowledge through attending church, but I really didn’t know the Creator of all things good. I was no match for the enemy when I was physically and emotionally beaten down. If I was to survive my pain I would have to tap into a power greater than myself. On my own I was failing miserably and that was evident by a nervous breakdown of sorts and years of battling depression. A result of extreme sadness. 

As I reflect this year on the death of those I hold close to my heart; I believe God allowed that season of testing to eventually show me how strong I could become connected to Him. My Heavenly Father who sacrificed Jesus in my place so that I can live life to its fullest (John 10:10b) this side of Heaven; will continue to walk me through the tough things of this life. I now know that in my heart learned through personal experience. As I anticipate future loss because no one lives forever, and God has the right to call His children home as He pleases; I pray for the ability to always remember how God's light sustained me and got me through. I pray for the power and strength to reject the whispers of the evil one going forward. 

God is and has always been right there every step of the way just as He promises in His Word (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). We just have to be willing to look for Him within our sadness and grief. When I did that I saw a loving Father who extended His loving arms to rescue His two boys from the flames that charred their earthly bodies. He spared them from physical pain and a life-time of mental suffering. For that I am forever grateful.

My brother knew the Lord at a young age and this brings me great peace. Through the gift of salvation I know that one day I will set eyes on him again and I imagine that my heart will burst with joy. For now I continue to move onward in life as I know he would want me to. As a memorial to my brother, I do my best to help others understand the value of a genuine surrender to Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. The Bible is clear there is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). 

Friends, you can be a "good person" and still miss the Heavenly reunion through the rejection of Jesus. Why waste another day questioning the goodness of God or trying to figure it all out before you surrender your life to His. Instead step out in faith and look forward to living forever with the One who created you and loved you enough to die for your sins. Invite Jesus into your heart and watch how He transforms your life. I am so grateful that God helped me take this advice. And for those of you who know this truth too, I celebrate with you. 

Some say I'm wrong about this Jesus stuff but I would simply respond, "what if I am right?" I would rather err on the side of salvation and celebrate my status as a child of The Most High God; than to err on the side of the father of lies and spend eternity with him in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15). There is just too much at stake here to make a deadly decision like that. Choose life and be blessed. 

In Christ by grace,
                                  “Praise is the song of a soul set free.” 

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