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

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: March 21, 2016                                      
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  – John 3:16

GUEST OF HONOR                                                                                                                               
Until one understands the full magnitude of what Jesus Christ endured for them at Calvary and why He did it; I suspect Easter will be just another man-made day of celebration for some. Until we allow our hearts to enter into this love story and let it change us from the inside out; it may just continue to be an insignificant event that pops up on the calendar every spring.  On the other hand, when we choose to remember, reflect, and honor Jesus Christ for taking our place on that cross Easter takes on a whole new look. This all came to life for me after watching Mel Gibson’s presentation of The Passion of the Christ several years ago. As hard as it is to re-watch the brutality of Jesus' death in this movie, I do it so that I will never get desensitized to what really happened to my Savior. He gave it all for you and me. 
The Passion clip                                                                                   

“But he was pierced for our transgression, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5

“He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.” –Romans 4:25

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. “ – Corinthians 15:17

In light of this amazing, wonderful truth; those new clothes, chocolate eggs and bunny rabbits, along with that delicious garnished ham are means to celebrate a day but they should never be the sole means of celebrating such a beautiful guest of honor. It is my opinion that there is nothing wrong with looking nice for your church service or your family gatherings. There is nothing wrong with having a special meal and enjoying some goodies on Easter or Resurrection Sunday as some prefer to call it.   However, participating in any Christian holiday without Christ is leaving out a very special detail.

Friends, If you believe Jesus is alive then you have to know that He will be sitting amongst your celebrations well beyond the church service. So, how can you give Jesus a voice at your Christian holiday celebration?  Only you can answer how that might look like in your home. 

Someone once told me: “For Jesus to be present amongst your circle of influence Pam, you will have to be His voice.” I didn’t understand this at first, but then I learned that the Word of God is the voice of God. Within our Bibles we have everything we need to know the character, commands and the promises of God. We have everything we need to understand the life and death of Jesus. And, from it we have everything we need to share Him with others. We have everything we need to include Jesus in His day. The only thing we have to find in ourselves is the courage to do so.

I didn’t always get this. In fact it took me a very long time to step away from how I was accustomed to celebrating Easter. Jesus was generally reserved for the timeframe of the church service. Afterwards the shift went towards Peter Cottontail and the eating of my chocolate cross. We brought Jesus back in for a bit when it was time to say our scripted prayer before our meal. You know “God is good, God is great, thank you for the food on our plate. Amen!” Sadly I look back and see how easy it was to simply carry on the traditions of the generations before me. 

When Jesus is nothing more than a character in a story, you don’t see it. But when Jesus comes to life in your heart as a result of His story, it becomes a powerful illustration of His great love for that which He created and died for. It causes you to shift your worldview from bunnies to blood shed. 

A celebration without Jesus grieves my heart these days. It is no different than when someone I love is left out of something that I know they desire to be a part of. As a result of what I have discovered I try very hard to make Jesus the central focus of the day when I am the hostess. I do this in the way I decorate my home and prepare my table. I carefully select Scripture to share at the meal. This is my way of inviting Jesus to speak to myself and my guests. Now of course everybody doesn’t always get it and that is ok. I do it because I want to honor my "guest of honor" and I trust Him with those I love. Next I try to make prayer personal because that is the way Jesus sees it. I sometimes invite my guests to verbalize a particular challenge that they could use encouragement in. Or, maybe it’s a praise report that we can all celebrate. Then we lift our voices in prayer to the One who is sitting with us. I like to envision Him smiling at the Amen!  Then we dig in and carry on with the celebration and fellowship of the day. 

It will be important to be mindful of the activities that you participate in within the day and how you talk and conduct yourself. Consider doing it with respect of God, yourself and your guests. Keeping Jesus in the celebration throughout the day will be evident in how we treat one another. It will be evident in how we talk to one another. Are we being respectful even to those who are hard to get along with?

When believers and non-believers come together it can be quite the challenge. Keep in mind that it is not impossible to emulate Jesus when He is present in you. I am learning to keep the focus on Jesus and what is pleasing to Him. Then, the day is a blessing instead of a disaster. Ask Him to help you love as He loves. Respond as He responds and watch Him work. Ask Him to bind anything in you that is not pleasing to Him and then choose to obey what you know is the right thing to do. Give yourself permission to take a break from the crowd if necessary. Hit the pause button when negativity or insult is spewed. Where this is drunkenness keep a good distance and never try to make a point with someone who is intoxicated. It is a waste of energy. Remember this statement "everything does not warrant a response." Keep in mind that  God promises to right every wrong in His timing and His way. So when necessary, walk away and pray. Wait and watch him work! 
"Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels."- 2 Timothy 2:23

This Easter week I encourage you to spend time on your knees as you plan for your celebration of Jesus’ death and the miracle of His resurrection. Ask Him for whatever you discover to be lacking in your faith or your preparations. May He bless you with His presence, peace, and a day of calm this Easter. Most importantly may you be blessed to experience the gift of His shed blood. He died so that we can have life. Live it well. 

In Christ by grace,

Lead Me To The Cross - Hillsong United                                                       

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