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2 Chronicles 29:1 New International Version (NIV)

Hezekiah Purifies the Temple

29 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.

Hezekiah was a man of action. When you look at the kings of Israel and Judah, they will take up about half of a chapter. King Hezekiah receives 3 1/2 chapters about his reign.

We see qualities in this man of action that we can learn from and apply to our lives.

  1. Thankfulness in his life: He was thankful for having a second chance at life. He got 15 years added to his life. On his death bed he thanks God for his life, but also repents and asks God to grant him more years.
  2. He does the right things quickly: He did not put off what he could do today. Men of action step into those moments with intentions of doing the right thing.
  3. He makes personal decisions: He did not wait for the crowd. Men of action see something in their life and they step into the moment.
  4. He loved other people: He was bold in his outreach. He saw what could be in people and their potential. He helped them live it out.
  5. He gave grace to those who needed it: A man who was given much grace is more willing to give grace to others.

Get into the action, man!

Do not live a life standing around wondering what just happened.

Step into the moments given to you, so that later in years or even in death, ‘There Lies a Man of Action’.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Vital Bikers Couples Ride

June 28-30

Clear Lake in Cerro Gordo County.

Enjoy fellowship with other couples and enjoy the ride!

Miracles

I had to travel for work this week, which gave me the opportunity to listen to several sermons, while I drove.  There was one, in particular, by Francis Chan that really resonated and has become the topic for today’s discussion.

He was delivering a sermon at a conference for pastors.  In this sermon he was talking about what he believes to be the most valuable asset for a pastor to possess for the health of their particular congregation.  I would add, that it would apply to the church outside our walls as well.  That asset was how the pastor prayed.  Specifically, does he pray for members of the church by name and does he fall to his knees and pray as Paul did in Ephesians 3?

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NASB) ‘For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. ‘ 

His point, is to mirror Paul, not just in deed but in heart.  Paul so loved his brothers and sisters, he so desired for all the world to be saved and to know the love of the Father and the Son, that he would pray for them in a way that was calling on the Father to bless them with the in-dwelling of the immeasurable power of the Holy Spirit.

As I thought about this prayer, I honestly could not recall a time when I prayed like that for someone with that depth of love and determination.

I often pray that God will see a particular person through a difficult time.  I pray often for Him to grant them peace, wisdom, joy, strength and especially healing.  These are important prayers, for sure… prayers I will continue to bring to Him.  I do believe that the prayers of the righteous are heard and answered.  I believe He does work miracles, unbelievable miracles that can only be attributed to His power and doing.  When those miracles are witnessed they serve as a powerful testimony to His ultimate supremacy.

However, what about when those prayers aren’t answered in the way we ask?  What happens when He doesn’t grant the person with miraculous healing?  Does that diminish Him in the eyes of those who prayed for it or those who heard or knew of the prayer.  It shouldn’t, but perhaps it might.  Does that make Him any less God, because He didn’t do what we asked?  

That’s where this prayer in Ephesian 3 comes into play.  We all know that God is not always going to provide what we want or need in the way that we want.  We all know, that despite our prayers, people we know, people we care about will go through difficult times.  We ourselves, despite our prayers and the prayers of the righteous will still experience struggles, illness, and death.  This prayer in Ephesians 3 is a gift we ask for to strengthen ourselves and others, so that when those times come, illness, pain and death, how we handle it and how others see us handle it is a direct reflection of the endless power and authority of our Father.  It is a prayer that we be so filled up with the power of the Holy Spirit that no matter what is happening, good our bad, what the world sees from us is Jesus Christ, His power and His glory.  It’s a prayer that we be so filled up that all we can focus on is doing the same for others so that they may experience it and do the same in turn.  

Miracles are glorious, no doubt.  They are powerful witness to God’s immeasurable power, love and devotion.  My contention, so is how we reflect Jesus by the working of the Holy Spirit within us when things aren’t as we would like them to be, when “our” miracle isn’t provided.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Present

What’s the best present you have ever received?  Was it an unexpected gift someone surprised you with that you continue to cherish today?  Was it some teaching or advice that you continue to use and live by years later?  Maybe even more than any material thing, the best present was just the presence of someone in your life.  Weather it was a special moment with someone you care about deeply, or just the influence they have had on you over time.  Maybe there are several people who fit this description for whom you are grateful.  Maybe this person is even God the Father, the Son, the Spirit, who guides and directs you each day.  Whatever that present means to you, maybe you can continue to give the same gift to others, so that it continues to have influence in the world, going forward. 

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

One morning earlier this week, I was rushing to get things ready for my work day and eventually got on the road and it was about 20 minutes into my drive when I noticed that everything was frosted like it was about to be put out on the shelf as a Christmas decoration.  I kind of wondered if I had just driven into an area where this was the case, but then realized, probably not.  I had just been so focused and thinking about other things, that I didn’t see the beauty all around me.  Some nay-sayers might comment that there is nothing nice about Winter, but they are blind to the truth as well.  We have seen much snow lately, and this past week, one day had some big flakes falling softly to the ground.  It was as mesmerizing as gazing into a fire and you just get lost in the powerful gentleness of what it is.  Each season of the year and of life has something marvelous for us to see if we just stop for a moment to witness the miracles all around us. 

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.  Psalm 19:1-2

It seems I often get so caught up in what I have to get done, or do next, that I can miss opportunities and moments where I should stop and be more fully involved and present.  I don’t fully realize this until I do stop and engage with someone longer, or just sit and enjoy the company of others without feeling the need to rush off soon.  A month ago, I thought I would just stop to say hi to some old friends, when I had about 200 miles to travel yet.  We ended up visiting for 3 hours, and it flew by like it was 20 minutes.  I then wonder if I even desire to spend time like this talking to and praying with my God and my Lord, or whether I would be willing to carve out a portion of my day or night to do so, because more often than not, I do not seem to have any prolonged time to spend in His presence.  It is when I consider where I am spending my time and energy that helps me better see when my priorities are out of place.

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

How about when you encounter any trials or struggles in your life?  Do you ever see these as a gift from God?  More often than not, it is something that you pray to God to help you get through and overcome, instead of something to learn or grow from.  Maybe when you look back on some of the things you have gone through, at that point you can see it as something that was good for you, but it is very seldom we realize this in the midst of that struggle.  Not everything bad that happens to us always turns out to be good, but there is usually something we can learn from it to help us grow or teach others.  If there is something frustrating you are dealing with now, it doesn’t hurt to talk to God and even ask Him to show you what if any good may result from it, or how to redeem something of value from the messes we deal with in life.  If there is anything that our God is in the business of doing, it is redeeming good from a bad situation.  As you move forward each day, may you see beyond the current crisis to a new joy which lies beyond!

Yours in Christ,
Clark

Smite Thy Enemy

Have you ever had someone go out of their way to make your life miserable?  Like they have an agenda to embarrass and shame you infront of people. Then we play out what we wish we could do to them or we have these fake conversations in out head with them.  We tear them apart in our heads.  Some of us actually do those things.  We get even with them!

Then you come across the words of Jesus:

Matthew 5:43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 

Most of the time we are like “He is Jesus. He can do that. I can not.”  Or we think ok I will pray for them… “God get them, smite them, destroy them, expose them.” I do not think that is the kind of pray Jesus was encouraging.  Love your enemies.  Love those that go out of their way to make you miserable.  Love those who intentionally hurt you. 

Then if you actually do, something deep in you happens.  The pain of what they did hurts less. The hatred toward them goes away.  Here we feel like they are getting away with it.  What if God telling us to love our enemies was actually about us too.  What if He knew holding on to the pain and resentment would steal life from us? What if we would just let Him have our hurt we walk away free?

Then what about them? What if when they see you responding in love instead of anger, they see who the Father really is?  

So loving your enemies heals you and shows the offender the nature of the God.  So who do you need to forgive?  Who would God have you pray for?  Who do you not want to pray blessing over?  Go do it!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
@brandonsereg
@thevibrantchurch
www.thevibrant.church

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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