Vital Ministries News

How is your pursuit of alone time with Jesus? Are you reading your Bible? Are you taking time to listen to the Holy Spirit? If you are, stay the course. If you have fallen from it and need to get back, do it TODAY! Do not let another day pass.

Obediently Graceful

John 6:38-40 (NKJV) “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

The mission entrusted to and expected of Jesus Christ by His Father.  Obedience to the will of God, and grace to all of God’s children who faithfully believe and surrender to the Son.  That’s it in a nutshell.  It’s what Jesus was sent for and it’s what He lived out.

It’s also an expectation He has for each one of us.  He expects us to be fully devoted to Him and obedient to His commands.  He expects us to listen to Him in all matters, and respond appropriately.  To know what His will is, requires knowing Him intimately, walking faithfully and devotedly with Him.

He expects us to extend grace, measured by His standard to our fellow man.  When we get let down, disappointed and injured by others, He expects us to extend grace “7 times 70 times”.  It’s hard, but it’s what He does daily for each and every one of us.  Daily we disappoint, let down, and injure Him, yet grace is His response. 

When we lose hope in others, they hurt or disappoint us, forgiveness is the order of the day.  When someone doesn’t think about or feel about something in the same manner as we do, grace is the order of the day.  We have no right to judge another for what they say or do.  We have no right to withhold grace when Jesus never withholds it from us, despite our repeated offenses.  We are expected to turn our focus first and always to the Son of the living God, pray for our “enemies” and forgive.  We do not know the condition of another’s heart, only they and God have access to that knowledge.  We have no right to presume, therefore we have no right to do anything other than pray, forgive and move on. 

When we walk daily with the Lord, desire to devour the Word, to know Him, focus on Him, obedient gracious responses to all matters become natural, muscle memory.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

Relatives

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.  James 3:13-16

I have been casually shopping for a new or used vehicle over the past several months and I often become fixated on a certain make or model for a while, then I open my eyes up to other possibilities in the same ballpark, some I never even knew existed.  It is easy to become envious of any new shiny thing that catches our eye.  Anything can become relative and start looking better or worse than what we have if we try hard enough.  In doing this, at times I have to give myself a gut-check and say ‘what are you doing, because you don’t really need any of these things you are looking at.’  When we get caught up in any pursuit in life, we often benefit from a voice of reason from someone to keep us from doing something foolish or stupid, that we will later regret.  The consequences may not be as significant when grocery shopping, but may have greater ripples when it involves a job, a house, relationships, someone else’s wife, or your children.  We never set out to make stupid decisions when we get up in the morning, but it is often a series of poor choices that lead us there, without someone to question what we are doing.  Who is that voice of reason in your life? 

I’m sure others have said the same thing, but often when driving through the countryside at sunrise or sunset, I comment that ‘everything looks perfect in the right light.’  It could be a rundown farmhouse, rusty old car, or whatever, and it truly does look nice at that moment when the light hits it just right.  I’m sure the same can be said for each one of us, with the right photographer.  Throughout the day, we also catch glimpses of the lives of others, and often those lives may appear ‘perfect’ or in some way, better than ours, if we just look at that one thing, whether it be someone else’s clothes, car, job, wife, house, etc.  Most of us are pretty good at hiding our flaws and trying to keep shameful things out of the public light, but in reality, none of us are perfect.  None of us can always measure up to the expectations of our boss or even our family members, much less God, and we can let them down at times.  So, when we get the full picture of what others are dealing with, we may not be as envious as when we just see what is on the surface. 

So, take a look at your motives for everything you are doing.  What is driving you to get up for work, to make that purchase, to serve where you do, or to make time for certain things or people in your life?  When we look to what others have and become envious or jealous, we should reconsider why we are desiring that thing.  Do we feel we are missing something in our lives?  Maybe we should look to the non-tangible qualities in others such as compassion, patience, generosity, integrity, and love and seek after these things more than items that can be bought and sold.  Whatever you are desiring today, run it by God and ask Him if there is something else that would serve you better.  Give thanks for those things that are good in your life and any envy may stay at bay for a while or forever. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

Yours in Christ,
Clark

 

When Pigs Fly: Changed for the Better

As a Cubs fan I heard the phrase “when pigs fly” A LOT. It seemed an apt phrase, as the thought of the Cubbies making a World Series (let alone WINNING one) seemed about as likely as pigs bursting through the roof of a hog confinement and soaring through the air. Even when the Cubs had a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the 9th in game 6 of the NLCS I STILL doubted them (I was not alone. Watch the video of the ninth and watch the expressions on Cub fan faces. It’s panic, not joy.). When they finally did win it all it was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. Not simply because my team had won, but because something I thought was impossible had finally happened. 

There are many things in life we’ve decided will only occur when pigs fly. Over the next few weeks I want us to think deeper about a few of them. Today I want us to think about change. I think most of us walk around with a laundry list of things we don’t think can be changed in our lives. Sinful behaviors, bad habits, illness, fully serving Jesus, bad relationships, our financial situation, our career, and so on. We’ve probably tried a lot of things to change these things, but they always seem to fail. So, whether we want to admit it or not, we’ve come to hold a “when pigs fly attitude.” We’ve simply given up on change ever coming to our life. There was a man in the Bible whom I sure thought change would come to his life only when pigs fly: 

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:1-5, 11-12

A paralyzed man in Jesus’ day not only had zero chance of getting better, but he also had little to no chance at a good and long life. Yet, this man had faith in Jesus, and Jesus not only healed him physically, but spiritually as well. See, God desires to change your life for the better. He wants to help you break your bad habits, heal your wounds, mend your relationships, and cease your sinful ways. And, more importantly, He has the power to do. But most importantly, God has already changed you in a permanent and perfect way: by His grace you have been given the gift of eternal life. The gift that overcomes every problem you will ever experience in this world. Lets stop looking at things in our lives as only changing when pigs fly, and instead begin having the faith that God can change us now and forever. 

No Colored Allowed

Galatians 3:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

By today’s heading, you might be asking, “Did I just read that correctly?” Sadly, you did. For me, the month of July is a month of reflection of our country. Our history, our independence, and our way of life has all come with a sacrifice and battle.

One portion of our history that saddens me is how our country has dealt with race. I love to read the stories of triumph of how people have overcome those obstacles placed before them.

There is a story of one of these Americans who overcame. His name is Myrtis Dightman. He was a black man who entered the profession of bull riding in the cowboy arena. He was the first black American to qualify the 8 second rule of riding a wild bull. I encourage you to read in greater detail his triumph as a black man living in America.

It said that in the 60’s is was posted at the rodeo in bold letters, ‘No Dogs, No Negros, No Mexicans’. Yet, he went in anyway and pleaded with those in charge to allow him to compete. This man did not allow that sign to stop him.

Myrtis Dightman was a man with grit. He fought to be equal in a professional sport. He is the first living Black American to be inducted in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1997.

Myrtis Dightman is now in the latter stages of his life, and he lives in the great state of Texas. He goes to a Baptist Church, and these are his words that he shared with the man who wrote his story, “I’ve lived a good life. I was a cowboy.”

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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