Moments

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 The Message

After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live. Take care of yourself, have good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.

When I read these verses from The Message, I think of moments. Moments of good health come to mind. Moments of enjoying come to my mind. And moments of enjoying what I do for a living enter my mind. In that we give back to God all of our moments in life to glorify him.

Moments of good health have a price. Some we control and some we do not. In these moments, I have made a choice to work on getting into shape and watch more of what I eat. I hope my days are lengthened if its God’s will to run this race we call life.

In my moment of family, my wife and I have made choices to make family a priority. We want to be available for our kids and grandkids. They grow up fast, so we treasure the moments we have with them.

As for the moments of my job, I feel blessed in doing what I do. the door to doing the Lord’s ministry is open for me. I am able to do Vital Men, be an associate pastor in my home community, and to continue ministry in construction. I have been greatly blessed with moments.

As the writer says, “It’s a gift!” God deals out the joy in the present, the now. I pray that my moments bring fame to Jesus. He is the source of my joy and the giver of my moments.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

 

Trust His Light

Matthew 6:22,23 (NKJV) “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

I was riding home on the bike the other evening, right at dusk.  As I rode along, I marveled at how difficult it was to see.  This is not a new observation, but the ponderance it led to is.  

In my opinion, this time of day is the most dangerous to be riding your bike.  For one, the deer are moving.  They are transitioning from their bedding to feeding areas.  There is just enough ambient light to drawn out your headlight and render it virtually useless.  However, there is not enough to enable you to see.  The colors blur together, contrast is lost and it is very hard to quickly discern things.  It’s this little bit of light that intrigued me, though.  You see for most, it’s just enough to lure them out, lead them into a false sense of security, make them believe they can see when they really cannot.  Therefore, off they go to “beat the dark.”

I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard, “sun’s setting, we better get going before it gets dark.” These people are fooled into believing that weak glow that melts everything together, makes it so incredibly difficult to discern, is safer than a dark path illuminated by the headlight.  Guess what… it’s not.

So it is in our faith walk.  I believe so many are tempted to travel down the sunset lit path of life, lured by the illusion of blurred, dimly lit sight. When, they should have waited until darkness set in, and allow God to turn on the headlights at a time that we can realize how much better our sight can be.  So many get lured into easy believe-ism, or the notion, “well I’m not that bad… it’s only… I can always…”  So, they set off down the highway at dusk, full of false securities, hazarding their way to possible catastrophe.  

Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV) Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

To know your path fully and confidently, you need clear vision, a good light.  The light of dusk is a trap, an illusion.  Sometimes one must faithfully wait for the darkest hours and trust in His light to pierce through to spectacular clarity.  Have a blessed weekend 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Why Me, Lord?

Have you ever asked that question?  It might be in the context of wondering why something bad has happened to you in any given situation.  Maybe you have had a friend confide in you and ask why God would allow such a thing to happen.  We often don’t have good answers for such questions.  When a loved one suddenly dies, it is difficult to see any good that can come from the situation.  I admit, when major things and even little things don’t go the way I had planned, the thought often wants to creep into my mind.  What about you, have you ever asked God, why?

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:  “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?”  Job 38:1-2

I have spoken to a few war veterans over the years and often, deep down, this is one question they struggle to answer.  If a good friend of theirs lost their life in the war and they were spared, the question of why they remain is not an easy one to answer.  A parent who loses a child may ask the same thing, and often would rather have given up their own life in place of them.  It is often our tendency to somehow assume that some of these people deserve the tragedies that befall them, that they are somehow cursed by God to satisfy the curiosity of why?  People asked Jesus the same question.

Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?   I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.  Luke 13:4-5

Have you ever said the same thing in the opposite situation?  The other side of the coin is to ask the same question when you feel blessed beyond what you deserve.  If you are a Christian, you most likely have experienced this the first time you understood the full depth of forgiveness offered to you by God in Christ’s sacrifice.  Even when you revisit this reality, it humbles you to the core and you realize you don’t deserve anything, and are grateful for the life you have, no matter how good or bad.  This sentiment has often been expressed through words of thanks and even in popular songs over the years.  When is the last time you asked ‘why me’ with a heart of gratitude?

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;  his love endures forever.  Psalm 118:1

As I heard someone state earlier this week ‘the only offering we bring to God is our sin.’  The only thing any of us deserve is death, and it is only through Christ’s sacrifice that we are given anything more than that.  Though we often fail to grasp the measure of this contrast, when we seek God, He often gives us a glimpse of it and it should always bring us to a place of humility.  The measure of his love and grace should always leave us in awe and then call us to action.  Would anything less than acting in love be an appropriate response?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

Courage in Christ,
Clark

3 Ways to Grow

Have you ever seen someone who when they talk about spending time with Jesus, the Word is alive in them, prayer is rich, and the Spirit is strong in them?  I remember meeting these people and wishing my relationship with Jesus looked that way.  Wishing didn’t change anything for me.  Here are three things I have done that have helped me grow in relationship with Jesus:

1 Corinthians 9:26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.

Commit to a plan to win

photo-1462690417829-5b41247f6b0e (1).jpegNot all plans help.  If you plan is to obey one verse a day by randomly opening your bible and reading you might find “Judas went out and hung himself” or “Joshua circumsized all the men of Israel.”  Life goes really bad for you this way.  Pick a good time of the day for you to read scripture, pray, and listen to God.  I like my kitchen table, other people like outside.  I like highlighters, pens, and space to spread out.  Also, get a translation that works for you.  I like the NLT.  It is written at an 8th grade reading level and it is easy to understand.  The KJV was written in 1611, and word do not mean the same thing they did then.

Feel free to change it up.  I have friends who write songs for Jesus.  They sing scripture.  Some go on nature walks, listen to the bible through YouVersion, or use art for engagement.  What I have learned… Have a consistent time, place, and plan.

Get the right coach

Growing up in sports, I recognized really early that I needed someone who could see what I couldn’t see.  Someone with a trained eye.  I ran faster, had better technique, and won games more ofter with a coach.  Not every coach I had was a good one, I learned some bad habits from them.  With the right coach everyone got better.

I have learned that I cannot do life alone.  I grow the most when I invited a man who is farther down the road than me and has a perspective that I cannot see.  Who is someone that is the same gender as you, that you can invite into your life to confess sin, ask for prayer, get wisdom, and seek guidance?

Beware of comparison

I have been married to my wife for 11 years, by far the majority of her adult life.  She has some friends that she has been walking with for 2 years, and they do not know here the way I do.  Isn’t that an unfair comparison.  Yet isn’t that what we do with other people.  Compare our relationship with Jesus to theirs.  They may have been following longer or shorter than you and it is not a fair comparison.  Your relationship is unique.  You have been following Jesus for as long as you have, maybe 3 days maybe 3 decades.  You have one focus… Grow.  They way you grow is to spend quality time together.  There are no short cuts…. just our most valuable non replenish able thing… TIME!!!!

So get a plan, get a coach, and don’t compare.  Go be in relationship with Jesus!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

FLLY DVTD

You may have seen that over the past week pop music superstar Taylor Swift has been involved in a trial in Denver, Colorado. She was being sued because she reported a radio DJ of inappropriately touching her, he subsequently lost his job, and therefore he decided to sue her for millions (totally makes sense to me). The most interesting thing about the trial was the daily line of fans to watch it. Swift fans (seriously known as Swifties) drove hundreds of miles and stood in long lines for a chance to see the back of her head in a court room. Talk about devotion! Actually, as far as Swift fans go, that’s hardly intense. One fan built a 35,000 piece Lego sculpture of her in his backyard. When techno artist Diplo (rival of then Swift beau Calvin Harris) mocked her on Twitter he received legitimate death threats. And, every week, Swift receives dozens of expensive gifts from fans all over the world. Talk about a devoted fan base!

I’m guessing few readers of this blog are Swifties, but I’m quite sure there are things you are highly devoted to. It may be a sports team, NASCAR driver, hobby (hunting, golf, your Harley, etc.), or any number of things. It’s not necessarily bad to be devoted to any of these things. I actually think it quite healthy to have a hobby and a variety of fun interests. Where we can run into problems, however, is when we trade in God for the things God created for us. And, if we are being honest, this is a problem most of us run into. We turn down opportunities to serve God to spend time on our hobby. We skip Bible study to watch a sporting event. We don’t truly tithe, not because we don’t have the money, but because we choose to spend it on things God created instead of on God. If we are being honest I think we’d have to admit that we are not fully devoted to God, but rather find ourselves routinely trading God in for things that are far less great and important.

The Apostle Paul summed this up in his typically amazing (and blunt!) way:
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Romans 1:21-22, 25

I love that line: we exchange God’s truth for a lie and worship the creature rather than the creator. This week, ask yourself: am I truly living FULLY DEVOTED to God, or am I overly devoted to lies and created things? What do you need to change this week in order to be more devoted to your creator, sustainer, and savior?

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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