Red Letter Day: It is Finished

It’s officially the start of baseball season, which is always one of my favorite times of the year. For many years I entered each season hoping against hope, as I’ve been a Cubs fan all my life. The old Cubbie phrase “hope springs eternal” was my Facebook status for many years, as I hoped against hope for a Cubbie World Series. Yet, a couple of years ago they FINALLY ended their drought and won the World Series. For me, all the years of waiting and suffering were over once and for all when they carried that trophy off the field. 

As we continue our series on the final days of Jesus we look at Jesus declaring “it is finished.”

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

When Jesus uttered these words he was not only saying his life was over, but that sin and death were defeated once and for all. Because of the work Jesus did on the cross we have the perfect hope of eternal life, a hope that no one can take away from us. 

  1. Hope really does spring eternal: I used to live on a lake in Wisconsin, and every winter the frigid temperatures froze the lake nearly solid. All except one small section near our house. That’s because a small spring fed into the lake there, and between its warmer water and constant movement that small section never froze. No matter what happens in our lives, disease, economic collapse, depression, the death of loved ones, etc. our lives never freeze completely over. Even in the most wretched of circumstances God’s hope is constantly bubbling up in our lives. What is that hope? The promise that He made to us—eternal life 1 John 2:25. It is the GUARANTEE we have of eternal life in a perfect heaven. No matter what goes wrong in our lives (and trust me, plenty of things will) no one can ever take away the guarantee of eternal life we have because of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross. As long as we confess our sins and believe in Him the ultimate reward is already on reserve for us. 
  2. We need to celebrate eternal life daily: Not to be mean, but it’s kinda sad that the greatest joy I’ve ever witnessed in others is due to the outcome of a baseball game. Let’s be honest: we take God’s grace for granted. We sit around and bemoan our situation in life, and we forget to celebrate daily the reality that we’ve been saved for all eternity. Here’s what Paul tells us in Romans 5:1-2: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Let’s take time EVERY day to praise God for what He has done for us, and to let the gift of God’s grace flood over us. 

A Fool’s Day

Proverbs 18:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their opinions.

A fool is someone who is unwise, lacks sense, and lacks good judgement. A fool does not want to know the truth, rather, they laugh at truth. Fools believe they are wise in their own eyes. They fail to take wisdom and advice which becomes their ultimate down fall.

There is a quote by Plato that says, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”

We are in a time in which we live that men call themselves wise, but lack wisdom. We have men and women, today, telling our young people there is no God, and that you are your own god.

King David says this about the fool who says there is no God in Psalm 14:1, “Only fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good.”

Today, we need less fools who think they are wise. We need more men walking in the wisdom of the Lord, trusting in the direction of the Holy Spirit, and calling Jesus Christ their Lord. We need men who chase after the Father who loves us so much.

Play your pranks and have your fun on April Fools Day, but do not play the fool. Study God’s wisdom in your Bible.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Invite another man to coffee or a coke next week. Sit down and have a conversation. Talk about how life is going. Be active in your listening and responding. Show you care. This will require courage for the ‘ask’ and the ‘ear’ to listen.

The reward will be eternal.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

To His Glory, Not Your’s

Matthew 6:5,6 (NASB) ‘ “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. ‘

Humility and motives of the heart have been a recurring theme brought to my attention.  When you do something for someone else, a service, give them a gift, offer advice or encouragement, our motive for that should be merely to love on another as Christ loves on us.  It should never be done with the intention of reward in return.  

Likewise, when we pray and converse with the Lord, while certainly there are times to share our thoughts and conversations to the Lord with others, they should never be spoken or on display in such a manner as to say, “look at me in all my righteous awesomeness”.  

Make sure that ‘whatever you do, you do for His glory and His alone’.  It is so easy to fall into this, especially when doing things for others.  If a person’s lack of response or their level of expressed gratitude toward you and your act, doesn’t meet your expectations, is the problem their’s or is the problem found in the motive of your heart?  A piece to ponder.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Chasing

What are you looking for in life?  There are a lot of different things people chase after in a variety of forms, such as recognition, fame, love, pleasure, riches, amusement, etc.  We seek notoriety in our jobs, and relationships with others.  We seek to one-up our competition and win that prize.  We try to look and play the part that everyone expects of us.  We chase after a lot of things to the point of exhaustion.  We distract ourselves with entertainment of all sorts to make our minds numb and put off dealing with reality.  There is a lot of real-world click-bait that tries to take us away from doing what we should really be doing in any given moment.  Does this mean that we should get rid of everything and just live a quiet, simple life?  Maybe for a few, but for most of us, it is recognizing that we can get wrapped up into things that take us away from what matters most, and from what we ought to be doing.  I’m sure you have had at least a few wake-up calls to make you aware of this.  What do you do about it? 

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  James 4:8

There are many of us who just want to do the right thing in whatever roles we are playing in life, as father, husband, son, friend, employee, etc.  We just want to get it right, more often than not, and more or less to be a good guy.  There are times when we mess up and get it wrong, but we try to keep these instances to a minimum, or try not to repeat them.  We can struggle between being kind to others, and putting our desires first.  But when it comes down to it, we can compare ourselves to others and ‘feel’ good about that, but we know deep down that we still mess up.  We are in a constant state of a need for forgiveness, from God and from others.  In our minds, somehow, we think we should be getting better, and we may be in many areas, but we are still not, nor will ever be perfect.  Does that frustrate you?

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.  Psalm 51:16-17

So, instead of trying to always get it right, or to give up all together and seek after other selfish things, we should focus on our long-term relationship with God and to be close to Him.  This will have an influence in all other areas of our life.  How we relate to Him will guide our relationship with all others.  It will re-prioritize how we spend our time, our money, or resources, and our lives.  Our sense of love and worth we receive from Him will guide and direct how we give this to others as well.  Its really a simple premise.  What are you doing that fosters this relationship and what are you doing that hinders it?  May you continue to grow in trust with your Creator each day. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33

Yours in Christ,

Clark

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