Tested and True

 

When I was young, I enjoyed learning and applying the scientific method in a variety of ways to the world around me.  The basic premise is that you observe how things in the world work to build a hypothesis, test these assumptions/hypotheses, and then discard/expand/refine them accordingly, based on your results.  You can do controlled experiments that test your assumptions to find out whether they hold water, or not.  One of the key factors in experiments is controlling for all the variables (Heat, time, impurities, etc) that can affect an outcome.   We can’t always account for every variable, which may explain why our results vary somewhat also.  Science is a term used fairly loosely these days (for both good and bad science), but the principle can be applied in most any area of life.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.  I John 4:1

The same way we test the world around us can be applied to our spiritual lives as well.  When we apply the principle and practice of forgiveness in our lives, what is the result?  Forgiveness dissipates anger, bitterness, and resentment.  When we experience God’s forgiveness through Christ, we are born again and made new in multiple ways.  Forgiveness provides a place for love to grow in our lives.  It works, just as much as when we receive it from God and others, as when we forgive others. 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8

When we realize that we are supposed to pray, we put it to practice and learn from the results, or lack of results.  As we mature, we learn not just to pray for what I want, but grow to listen more than ask to understand what God wants.  Our prayers eventually become less self-serving and more selfless as we serve.  Our heart desires what God wants more than what we want.  We test and see how God works and allow him to prove himself true in our lives.  We should learn as much from our mistakes as we do from getting what we expect. 

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:7

Take a moment and write down examples through your life of how your faith has been tested and found true.  Where are areas you are still struggling to understand or to live out as God is calling you to do?  None of us are perfect in this lifetime, but when we allow God to refine us, we become just a little more like Him each time he works in our lives.  It is not often easy, or enjoyable, or evident as to how he is working, but when we are tested and found true, we realize that He has been working on us.  Encourage one another through the process of being found tested and true in your faith!

Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

How could this be good?

Have you ever had to take a pill so big you had to chew it first?  It is a terrible experience!  Bitter does not even begin to describe the taste, my own vomit tastes better than this!  So why would I do that more than one time? Great question… I want to not be sick more than I want to not taste the pill.  I know the pill is going to be good for me in the long run.

photo-1463114680351-75863cab5bf3When it comes to taking medicine, I rarely feel better the next day.  I have to trust that the Doctor knows what he is talking about.  I think my pill experience is a lot like my faith experience.  

This last week I was singing a song about God being good and He never lets us down.  The song lyrics were “You are good, good” over and over.  Every time I would sing it I would visualize one of the worst days of my life.  I could see one of my spiritual mentors telling me they had an affair.  I can see the room where a pastor fired me twice.  I can see a family member telling me they were hoping for my marriage to end in divorce.  I can remember a coach telling me he couldn’t build a team on a senior quarterback.  I can remember some tense moments in my marriage.  I can remember when my parents told me they were getting a divorce, multiple times. I can remember thinking my wife was going to die when she had miscarriage in our shower.  I can remember when our son was born not breathing and blue.  I can remember sitting at an intersection thinking about driving in front of a semi. I would see these moments in my mind like I was there, I remember where people were in the room, and how I felt. 

Genesis 50:20  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good

So many times I have experience real pain, and it could have taken me out.  These broken moments have been the times where I have experienced God’s grace, strength, compassion, forgiveness, and love the most.  I can see now how God has taken these dark days and brought me to a new place of understanding who He is.  In all the disappointment, loss, rejection, compromise, and death I believe more than I ever have that God is good and He is for me.  What other people intended to harm me, God intended it for good!

So where do you need to declare God is good in your life?  Where does God need to reveal who He is in your life?  Go to Him now! Let His goodness heal you, restore you, forgive you!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

True(ish)

imageLet’s play a little true/false game. True or False: the Bible is the most shoplifted book in the world? That would actually be true. Second question: you can burn 100 calories by kissing someone? While some of us may wish that to be true, it’s actually quite false. Last one: a good life=a successful life? While most of us quickly answer that as false, the way we live our lives often tells a different story. We spend a ridiculous proportion of our lives striving after worldly success: career success, financial success, success in the eyes of others, athletic success, and on and on. We may know that a good life doesn’t necessitate such success, yet we seem to lust after success nonetheless.

Take a moment to checkout the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:13-21. Here is this farmer who experiences such a successful crop that he is able to build all new buildings, and still have such a fortune leftover that he can take an early retirement. This farmer definitely believed that a successful life=a good life, so once he had succeeded he figured he could simply sit back and enjoy his fortune. Unfortunately, he met his death the very next day, with his fortune simply going to waste As I look back on my life, I’m ashamed at how much effort I have expended chasing after success. I chased after popularity so hard in high school that I ended up with a drinking and drugging problem. In college I was so hungry for A’s that I worried only about myself and was a self-conceited jerk. In recently years I’ve even found that my thirst for athletic success (running and triathlon) has at times taken precedence over being a husband and father. And, in the end, what have I really gotten from all that? A yearbook full of signatures and silly sayings I no longer understand, a gold “honors” stamp on my diploma, and a drawer full of medals. All stuff that someday my kids will toss in the dumpster. It makes me wonder: if I would have expended some of that energy on helping other people how big of an impact could I have had?

The Parable of the Rich Fool ends with Jesus telling us in verse instead of living for personal success we need to be “rich towards God.” This means that we take all of the riches of our lives: our talents, our finances, our success, the knowledge of our salvation, and share them with others. The impact of our sharing richly has a far longer and lasting impact then any worldly success. When we share the gospel with someone God can take that and save someone for all eternity. When we share our income with a relief organization someone may receive medicine that otherwise would have died prematurely. When we share love and encouragement with our neighbor we may turn them from a destructive addiction to a far better life. I really challenge you this week to focus less on achieving personal success, and more on living richly for God and others.

It Is Not The End!

1 Thessalonians 4:16New International Version (NIV)

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Today we observe not only those who have passed away or died for our country, but we also observe those who have died and gone on to Heaven to be with the Lord. We decorate our streets, our cemeteries, our downtown squares with American Flags.

In the town in which I live, our street is decorated with American Flags for many blocks. It is exhilarating to drive down the streets and see the sight. It is an honor to be an American in which we live, the Land of the Free and the Brave.

I will also visit the graves of my mother, grandparents, uncles, and cousins. I will stand and look at their headstones and remember their lives they lived between the two dates. Scripture gives me comfort knowing it is not the end, but it is the beginning of the next life of being in the actual presence of Christ.

It is also in my mind that this will be the end of my life on earth if Jesus does not return in my lifetime. I am thankful to the Father to get a chance to live, to make a mark on the time I have been given.

Today is a true day to remember to give tribute to all who have left this earth. We only have one chance in life to be a good man. What will your life be remembered for? It is a sobering thought, but truth is remembered from the life you lived.

I am going to end today with this thought from General George S. Patton, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

No Greater Sacrifice

John 15:13New International Version (NIV)

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

This coming Monday is a day we set aside to honor those who have sacrificed their time and some their lives, so that we may have freedom in this country we live in. We will go out as a nation and decorate the graves of those who gave.

The Apostle John wrote about sacrifice. No greater love to lay down one’s life. Love of God and country has been a commitment to those who have served in our military. Many I believe came to know who God was either in the fight in a fox hole or on the battle field. They gave so that we might be free. 

I believe that our country still believes even though the media might point another way. Today, we are free men. We also can experience freedom in Christ, the one who ultimately gave with no greater love.

The best Vital Men News I can give us today is to walk in your freedom. Visit the memorials and give regard to the One True God. Jesus Christ is our King who gave no greater sacrifice.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

Listen to Mike Sereg on kBOE 104.9FM

LISTEN NOW

Sign me up!

  • Yes, I would like to receive the the Vital Men Daily Devotion email. Sign me up!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.