Proverb of the Day

For the last several years, I have been reading the Proverb of the day.  There are 31 proverbs and 31 days in the longest month.  I have grown so much in wisdom and my love and dependance on the Lord’s wisdom grows daily.  I read the same Proverb every month and every month I see new things and new perspective. 

Today’s Proverb 6:1 My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt
    or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger—
if you have trapped yourself by your agreement
    and are caught by what you said—
follow my advice and save yourself,
    for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy.
Now swallow your pride;
    go and beg to have your name erased.
Don’t put it off; do it now!
    Don’t rest until you do.
Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter,
    like a bird fleeing from a net.

What I hear in this is debt is a trap.  Being a cosigner for someone could cost your relationship. If you were to watch the discovery channel and watch the gazelle run from the lion, or watch a bird try to flee a falling net, there is an intensity to it.  Run from debt with the intensity of a gazelle.

Here is what Proverbs 1 says about wisdom:

Proverbs 1:1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
    to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
    to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
    knowledge and discernment to the young.

Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
    Let those with understanding receive guidance
by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

The promises are wisdom, insight, discernment, knowledge, discipline, success, and guidance.  Who among us doesn’t need that?

It is not about you getting in the Word of God daily, it is about getting the Word of God in you daily.  It is not about religion, legalism, or you should do this.  It is about humility saying we need wisdom, insight, discernment, knowledge, discipline, success, and guidance.  It is saying we don’t have it all.  

So to start of 2016 right, I encourage you stop trying harder!  Stop doing religion!  Stop! Start pursuing wisdom! Start pursuing revelation from the Word of God!  Start getting the Words of Jesus IN YOU!

Papa, I pray right now that 2o16 would be the blessed year ever as these Vital Men walk as sons at your table.  I pray for a spirit of wisdom and revelation as the get Your Word in them.  I pray the would know your voice and be submitted to your will. In Jesus Name!

Go Be Vital

Recklessly, Obsessively Following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

When God Doesn’t Make Sense

If you are anything like me the dawn of a new year brings exciting thoughts. You make big goals, dream big dreams, and draw up long lists of things you hope transpire. All of that is perfectly fine and healthy, and indeed setting goals is something we should always be doing. Do we, however, ever think about what we are going to do when things don’t go according to plan? Because friends, here is the reality: things will not always go your way this year. Things you hope will happen will never occur, and things you wish to never occur will come to pass. There will be moments this year when you find yourself thinking that God simply doesn’t make sense. Instead of waiting for those moments to come, and not being prepared, its important to spend a few moments pondering what we do when God doesn’t seem to make sense to us.

 

The truth is, God will not always make sense. This is for two big reasons. First, human sin has messed up God’s perfect creation. God made our world perfectly, and formed humans in his image. Humanity was to live in blissful harmony forever, but our sin messed that all up, bringing suffering, death, and all other ills into the world. I once met with the family of a man who committed suicide. As if his death was not tragic enough, they had to endure person after person telling them that his death was God’s plan. We cannot forget that God’s plan was never for us to suffer, it was us who brought suffering into this world. God, in His perfect love and grace, gives us the perfect antidote to all pain and suffering: eternal life in a perfect heaven. No matter the difficulties this world hurls at us Jesus suffered and died so that we may have an eternity that is entirely perfect, devoid of any of the suffering we experience in this world.

 

Here’s the second thing we need to understand when God doesn’t make sense: God is so much greater then us that we can’t possibly fully comprehend Him. God has a plan for all of humanity for all of eternity, while we tend to get laser focused on what’s going to happen to us 15 minutes from now. The fact that God is not giving you what you want today does not mean He is not present, it just may mean He has a better plan then you do. Almost a decade ago I felt God making it clear I was supposed to turn down what appeared to be a dream job. In the months that followed, especially as I experienced difficulty in my job, I could not understand why he had me turned the position down. Yet, in the years that followed, it became so clear that turning down that job was absolutely what God needed for my family, my ministry, and myself.

 

There will be moments in 2016 that God will not make sense. When that happens, understand that God is right there will you, both now and for all eternity.

 

 

Looking For Courage

 

Ezekiel 22:30 New International Version (NIV)

30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.

 

A gap represents a place of weakness, vulnerability, and danger. God expressed to Ezekiel his longing to find faithful men who would have the courage to stand in the gap against moral failure that was growing in that time amongst that generation. He was looking for a few courageous men who were committed to building their lives in righteousness.

The Lord is still seeking men who will stand for the moral law of God. He is looking for men to stand in the gap and confront the enemy with God’s help. Yet, it will take men who have the courage to stand and face adversity straight in the eyes.

As men, we often face those challenges with fear. We must meet our fears in order to know the courage that each of us has inside. We will not just freeze in that moment, but we take that fear and face it and have the courage to stand.

Fear can be paralyzing, and it can keep us from growing into the men God has called us to be. Standing in the gap, we can acknowledge our fears and confront them head on.

I believe that today our God is still looking for men with courage. We will stand in the gap for our wives, families, and our country. Men who stand for righteousness stand in the gap. Men who have the quality of being morally right stand in the gap.

We cannot be perfect in righteousness for it is impossible to attain. The good news is that it is possible by the cleansing of sin by Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’. This means we are made righteous in the sight of God.

This is how we can stand in the gap and be men of courage. Yes, we will have fears. This is good because it causes us all the more to lean on Christ in becoming the men he has called us to be – Courageous!

Strength and Courage

Mike

 

 

 

Crazy Faith

 

2 Timothy 2:13 New International Version (NIV)

13 if we are faithless,
    he remains faithful,
    for he cannot disown himself.

 

It has been said by Dr. J. Oswald Sanders, “Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen.” How many of us live in assurance of things hoped for? When was the last time you made a decision with the future in plain sight? Is that what people mean when they say, “You just need more faith.” How do I know how much faith I have?

What if your crazy faith cost you everything? That was a question, I believe, that the disciples grappled with while they walked with Jesus, and as he ascended back to heaven. Look at this portion of Scripture in Matthew 17:20, ‘You do not have enough faith.’ Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

Jesus is rebuilding the disciples because of their lack of faith from being able to cast out a demon in a boy. It was all because of faith.

All of us have the crazy faith moments. We either seize up in that moment or have a little faith as the size of a mustard seed and believe. This year I am challenged with the one word, ‘Deeper’.

I want to have the crazy faith of believing I can see the miraculous in my life. I want to have deeper encounters with Jesus. I want to be called a friend of God like Noah, Moses, and other men of God.

I want to have the crazy faith in 2016 of seeing people come to Christ, addictions broken, marriages saved, cancer beaten, and life given. That takes crazy faith, but I pray to have it.

Where is your crazy faith for 2016? Want to walk on water? Want to see demons flee? Want to see the spiritually dead come back to life? It will take crazy faith on your part. It will take reading God’s Word, cultivating a deeper prayer life, and resisting the devil. Join me in ‘Crazy Faith’.

Strength and Courage

Mike

 

I came across the name of a man today.  It is a name with which I’m very familiar, but I was led to read a little more in depth.  The man is Norman Borlaug.  Some of you may know who he is, but for any who do not, I’ll give you a brief account of his life and accomplishments.

Norman Borlaug was born March 25th 1914 to a farm family outside of Cresco, Iowa.  He had a prototypical upbringing for a midwestern farm kid of the age.  He grew up hunting, fishing and working the family’s 106 acre farm.  His primary education took place in a one room school house, and he was baptized and confirmed in the Saude Lutheran church.  He graduated from Cresco high school, where he also participated in football, baseball and wrestling.  

Through an Depression-era program known as the National Youth Administration, he was able to enroll at the University of Minnesota.  While earning his Bachelor of Science in forestry, Norman, like most had to take jobs to support himself.  One such job was as a leader in the Civilian Conservation Corps.  Many of the people who worked for him in those days came to him starving.  Though he didn’t realize the impact at the time, the scars those images left would forever change his life and the lives of over a billion others.

 Before and after graduation, Norman worked for the US Forest Service.  He had his career and life coursed out and was headed down it.  It wasn’t for long, though, and due to budget cuts he lost that job.  That’s a pretty significant blow to be dealt, for anyone.  I’m sure he thought, as most of us would, he had arrived.  He had made it.  Then blindsided.  Have you ever felt like that?

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Well Norman returned to the University of Minnesota and under the tutelage of his mentor Elvin Charles Stakman, received a master of science degree in 1940 and Ph.D. in plant pathology and genetics in 1942.  He went to work for Dupont, where during World War II a number of his projects worked to aid our soldiers in combat.  Impacting lives.

After the war years his research and efforts changed complexion.  He remembered the look of starvation in the faces of his past workers.  The rest of his life was dedicated to the development of high yield, disease and drought resistant crops.  Crops that could be grown in regions ravaged by hunger, where conventional crops and farming techniques were useless.  His life’s research led him to countries around the world, Mexico, South America, Asia, India and finally Africa.  

Norman Borlaug became the man God would use to feed the world.  Norman’s life work is credited with saving over a billion lives from starvation.  All this from a boy who started from such humble beginnings.  A young man who’s life course was set, or so he thought.  However, God had different plans for Norman.  

As I read about Norman’s extraordinary contributions to the world, I can’t help but think about how it almost wasn’t was.  I think about the chain of events required to bring God’s plan for his life to fruition.  I wonder how often Norman felt stuck in the mud, that things weren’t going according to plan.  I find my heart overflowing with faith in the knowledge that Norman’s life played out by design.  God’s design.  What reassurance can be found in this story.  Reassurance that no matter what happens in our own lives, though we may not see it, want it or understand it, if we hold onto that faithful knowledge that it is by God’s design, great things will happen.  

I think about all the people that God brought into Norman’s life.  Each person necessary in the development of “the man who fed the world”.  I wonder how many of those people lived an entire life not knowing the contribution they made in his development, their role in feeding the world.  Not all of us are destined to be Norman Borlaug, but every Norman Borlaug needed a great many of us to realize their design.  

As I go forward from this day forth, I will try to be more mindful of the “Borlaug Effect”, how my life impacts others, who in turn affect others, who affect others who will affect the next man who feeds the world.  

Lord let me no longer doubt the plan and design You have for my life.  Heavenly father erase from me the doubt of the significance and effect my life has on those around me, rippling out to the rest of the world and generations to come.  How great is Your design and plan, Lord?  I can’t see it fully Lord, but this I know, the gift of faith You fill my heart with assures me that it is a grand and perfect design.  I pray Lord that my ripple in this world will have the effect You desire.  In Jesus’ precious name Amen.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy

Scott Pace 

 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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