Rewind

 

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 New International Version (NIV)

13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.

 

The Bible is very clear as to what your purpose in life should be. We see men in both the Old and the New Testament seeking out the purpose of life. Even Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, discovered futility of life in the world. Solomon says that life is all about honoring God with our lives and thoughts by keeping His Commandments.

Yet, we have those moments in life that we wish we could push that rewind button. Have you ever had that moment? I wish I would have handled that situation differently. I wish I could go back and take back those words.

This past week we had a funeral of a man who was 46 years old. He died in a tragic accident, and he left behind a wife and three children. He was a husband, father, brother, son, and to many a friend.

What I noticed as I sat and waited my turn to pay my respects to the family and console the family were the pictures that were being projected on a screen showing the life of this family and this man. It was a rewind button of pictures. They showed the good memories.

This man has now been ushered into the presence of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We will stand before God, and he will account for all we did in this life. We have only one life, and everything we do will be revealed.

Our purpose in life is to glorify God. We do this by fearing and obeying Him. Keep your eyes fixed on the prize of Heaven and knowing Jesus. Be known as a friend of God.

Strength and Courage

Mike

 

He’s the Boss!

I just returned from a four day working vacation.  I say vacation, because it was fun work.  I spent four days in Louisville, KY at the annual Archery Trade Association show.  As usual, it was an awesome trip.  I got to spend time with a couple buddies, meet some notable figures in the industry, see all the latest and greatest in the world of archery, learn quite a few new things and make some great connections.  All around, it was a worthwhile adventure.

God was working too. This comes as no surprise to me, as I’m sure it doesn’t for you either.  As I draw deeper in my relationship and am more sensitive to the work that God does around us every single day, my wonderment at the work of His hand continues to amplify.

The first experience I would like to share with you is one of speaking truth.  Speaking for myself, it typically comes with little reservation and the closer to the Lord I get, the more prepared I am to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities He places in my path.  On the night before the show started God gave me such an opportunity.  One of my closest friends on this earth began asking questions about salvation, heaven and hell.  Seems simple, but with this particular friend, conversations like these are generally fairly blunt and fairly heated.  I wanted to avoid the conflict, but after quickly praying God armed me with truth, that try as he may to dispute, God followed up with solid rebuttal after rebuttal.  It took a while but, God’s truth finally began to soak in.  My friend’s wheels are turning with the truth God wanted shared and his heart is softened.  If only a little, still a tremendous victory for the Lord.

The second experience I would like to share is an open profession, in public that I was witness to.  This happened on the 2nd morning of the show.  Let me set the stage.  We are in the middle of an enormous expo center, filled with thousands of people and vendors.  I’m standing at a booth checking out product.  David Blanton, a noted TV personality in the industry, is standing a few feet away engaged in a conversation with another gentlemen.  I wasn’t eaves dropping, I promise, just couldn’t help but over hear.  David was talking about his prayer life and routine.  He was sharing a story about the conversation he had with a perfect stranger at breakfast.  The story was how in just taking the time to engage this other man, the Lord used the opportunity to witness to a perfect stranger.  He shared with him some of his prayers for the day, including confession of areas he falls short in and how he gives them to God to help him work through them.  It reminded me of James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  (NKJV)  Amidst all that was going on around him, David’s priority was on the Lord, prayer and confession and he was confiding in and sharing with others.  Priority number one, God!

My third experience came from reflection during my 10 hr drive back tonight.  I thought about all I got to see and experience.  From a business standpoint, this show is very important for me.  In that regard it was very successful.  God has blessed me with opportunity to work at something I truly enjoy.  I thought about that and how He doesn’t have to, but He does.  He loves me and wants me to be blessed and joyful.  I was humbled by that realization, grateful. These thoughts lead me down a trail of reflection and introspection.  Am I using this blessing to Glorify Him?  As I thought about the work I saw Him doing through others, I wondered if I am doing the work He expects of me?  This brought to mind Colossians 3:23,24  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (NKJV)  Today, ask yourself the question, do I work as if the Lord is my boss?  Is what I’m doing, to the best of my ability?  Am I making the Boss happy?  

Every day we should start and continue in prayer.  Those prayers should include opportunities to speak Truth.  Those prayers should include the strength and desire to glorify God in the work that we do.  The opportunity to speak truth is a blessing!  The work we do, the occupation we have is a blessings!  God is our employer.  How does He want us to perform?  

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy!

Scott Pace     

 

Sacrifice

 

We have it pretty good. We live in a land flowing with milk and honey, as well as drinkable water, coffee, orange juice, soda, wine, beer, candy, meat, nicotine, gasoline, or whatever else we want at the local convenience store that suits our desires. If any of these were to dry up and never be as easy for us to get as they are now, would we feel slighted? That our rights to the availability of these things has somehow been infringed upon? When we give up any of these conveniences in life, such as for Lent, we may feel we are making a considerable sacrifice in our lives. Are we? In our on demand, have it now society, if we don’t get our selfish way all the time, we may cry injustice, without a real sense of what true justice is.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

When I took economics as a freshman in college, besides the supply-demand curve, I recall that most transactions and decisions we make have a cost and a benefit. Even if we decide not to do/buy something, there is a cost to that, an opportunity cost. If we choose not to have insurance, maintain equipment, or have an emergency fund, it may cost us more at a later time. When we choose not to invest time, money, or energy into the growth, development, and education of our children, ourselves, or others, we may only regret those decisions later on down the road. When we keep choosing only what benefits us instead of others in life, the outcome is fairly sad.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

When I read the above verse, I used to think that laying down one’s life meant ‘taking a bullet’ for them. It can mean this, but it can also mean living for the benefit of others instead of just myself. It can mean taking a few minutes to help someone in need even though I am running behind schedule. It can mean tough love toward a child or a friend who has trouble seeing the consequences of their actions. It can mean living a life of integrity over the years in front of those who look up to you, or to others who don’t share your faith. It can look a lot of different ways in each of our lives, but in almost every way, it looks like what Jesus would do.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.  Philippians 3:7-8

Christ is our perfect example of how to live a life of sacrifice. We may never live up to the example or notoriety of Mother Theresa, Albert Schweitzer, or others in the impact of our sacrificial living, but to those in our lives, it can make a huge impact. In our own lives, while they were not perfect, we can look to our own mother or father and consider what they gave up for our own benefit. When we look at the cross, we start to learn what true sacrifice really is. The cross serves as a reminder of what Christ did for us, of how we ought to live for others, of how selfish we can become. It reminds us that we can live for something greater than just ourselves and what is in this world. It stands in stark contrast to what the world stands for. It stands for love.  What do we stand for?

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Living for Him,

Clark

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.

 

 

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