Someone Needs to do Something!

You are an observant genius! It’s a true statement, right? You frequently see things that need to be fixed, need to be done better, or which you know you could vastly improve. You drive down the road and see the pothole that needs to be fixed, see the building that could be painted a much better color, and know that you could have roofed that house much better. It something all of us do: we see things and think: that’s a problem! But here’s my question for all of us: what do we ever do about? Now, many of the things we point out as needing fixing are truly not our responsibility {you probably shouldn’t just start repairing potholes}. Yet, there are many problems we see on a regular basis that we know need fixing, which we could legitimately do something about, yet choose to do nothing.

 

If you’ve never read the book of Nehemiah you owe it to yourself to read through it. 140 before Nehemiah the city of Jerusalem had been attacked, conquered, and destroyed by the Babylonians. For 140 years the walls of the city laid in ruins, leading the city defenseless. While people frequently complained about the state of the city little was done about it. Some attempts were made over the years, but always ceased when even the smallest of difficulties were encountered. Then one day a man named Nehemiah, living 800 miles away, heard about the condition of the city {Nehemiah 1:1-3}. Like thousands before him he was saddened by the news, bringing him to tears. But, unlike the generations of Israelites before him, he chose to do something about it. First, he decided to pray {Nehemiah 1:4}. Then, he chose to take direct action, leaving his prestigious job as an assistant to the King to travel to Jerusalem and tackle the problem head on {Nehemiah 2:3-5}. His attitude was: someone has got to do something about this, and it might as well be me!

 

Like Nehemiah we see all sorts of problems that break our hearts. Poverty, hunger, the lost, those caught in drug addictions, failing marriages, broken relationships, and more. Our hearts break everyday as we see so many problems not only around the world, but also in our own backyards {and, perhaps, within our own homes}. We’ll even utter the phrase “someone has GOT to do something about this!” But do we ever follow Nehemiah’s example and finish that phrase with “it might as well be me?” Friends, if your heart is breaking over a problem in this world I want to suggest that God may very well be telling YOU to do something about it. If your heart breaks for the lost start praying for them and starting finding opportunities to share the gospel. If your heart breaks for the poor begin praying for them and seeking out opportunities to assist them. Let your prayer this week truly be: “someone has got to do something about this, and it might as well be me!”

Making Men Requires Assessing and Improving

2 Kings 13:17New International Version (NIV)

17 “Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”

I love this portion of Scripture where the old prophet Elisha is still at work while being bed ridden and unable to get about. This old prophet is still full of God’s power and ready to help Jehoash.

We see King Jehoash calling on Elisha for guidance and help. The enemy was at his gate to pounce and defeat him. Not knowing which way to turn he calls on Elisha, a man of double the portion of his mentor Elijah.

The prophet knows just what to do for Jehoash. Open the window and shoot the arrow. The arrow is significant because it shows the Lord’s power of victory over his enemy.

Then Elisha told King Jehoash to strike the arrows against the ground. The only problem is, he only strikes 3 times. The prophet gets mad and says, “Why only 3? You should have struck the ground 5 or 6 times. Beat your enemy!”

The only problem was that King Jehoash was a passive man. Three strikes got him by. He thought that was enough. This was a spiritual battle for Jehoash. The great I Am was in control and willing to conquer Jehoash’s enemy. The only problem was faith. He only had faith to get by.

The root of passivity, men, is an unwillingness to submit. When we fail and are passive to submit we lose purpose for which we were created. Failure to live up to the calling as a man is passivity.

We mush admit our passivity as men and ask God to help us improve through our weaknesses and failures. We must be willing to name them and in doing so at the moment, we break their power over us.

Like King Jehoash, God is wanting victory in our lives to defeat our enemy who knocks on our gates. Assessing and improving your life in Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform you will break your passive faith. Do you have the hairs standing on the back of your neck right now? If not, I do not know what will.

Stand against the passivity in your life. Grab it by the throat, name it, and allow God to change it! Enough said!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Teaching for next week: Requires Assessing and Improving – April 11-15 – Bring a Friend

 

May 2: Vital Men Event at Vermeer Pavilion. Go to vitalministries.org for more information

May 15: Calling all men for our Gun-and-Run Sunday. We will meet at 12:00 at the Newton Church of the Way. If you have a motorcycle or other means of transportation, come and join us. We will commute to Ames and have lunch at Hickory Park. We will then head to Johnston in Des Moines and go to Cross Roads Shooting Sports. (Please pre-sign up ahead of time to save time.) So bring your gun and let’s run for a fun afternoon.

Ephesians 4:4New International Version (NIV)

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;

Have you ever had to make that one call? It could be for an emergency, information, or to dig up something. Doing construction we always have to make that one call before we dig or it could be disastrous.

I believe we make those one calls to God as well. Calling out to Him for help, wisdom, or discernment, whatever the case may be.

Maybe today you need to make that one call for help. Our Father is always ready to take the call. Do not wait until you hit the wrong line in your life before you make that one call.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

 

All Things Are Possible…

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them”. Mark 11:24 (NKJV)  

This is a tough subject and when I felt God asking me to dig into it, I didn’t realize what He was leading me into.  

When you read a verse like Mark 11:24, Matthew 7:7 (NKJV) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”, or any other number of verses this study has led me to, how can there be so much strife, difficulty and tragedy in our lives?  If God doesn’t answer our fervent prayers, does that mean He’s not listening, listening and doesn’t care?  Does it mean that we are insufficient in faith if He doesn’t answer?

He’s listening.  The bible tells us in Deuteronomy 4:30-31 When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice 31(for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.  In Psalms 34:17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles, the bible reassures us that God hears us loud and clear.

He cares.  Luke 12:7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  Oh He cares!  Romans 8:32,34 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all… It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 

So, my faith must not be strong enough, then?  Perhaps, but not likely.  If the strength of our faith were a prerequisite, no prayer would get answered.  Aside from Jesus, no man has or ever will be fully faithful.  It’s not the measure of faith, but its presence.  Luke 17:5,6 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.  6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.   

So, the question remains, why would He not answer all faithful prayers?  Paul gives us some insight in II Corinthians 12:7-9 …a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  We can not presume to always know God’s will, why He allows certain things to befall us.  He has never promised ease and comfort in this life.  Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”  Unfortunately, often times to reach us, to get us to realize we need Him, we have to experience struggle, strife, even tragedy.  For many, they would never choose Him outside of urgent need.  Even for the most faithful, their faith is strengthened when He reveals Himself through our desperation.  That revelation may be for us personally or used to reach others through our trials.  The pain that Mary, Martha and the others felt over the loss of Lazarus, was necessary for Jesus to fulfill one of the Messianic prophesies.  If it wasn’t Lazarus, it would have been another family’s loved one.  Jesus Himself wasn’t exempt from it.  In fact, He suffered this world greater than any other, but was willing to submit to what God had laid before Him.  Mark 14:36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” 

He loves us, this I know.  He sacrificed His Son, to save us from death, because He so loves us.  I wish I could say that life should and can be easy, but I can’t.  I wish I could tell you, if you pray hard enough, have faith, believe, it will be granted, but I can’t.  However, I can say with confidence, the bible says all is possible to those who believe.  I can say with confidence, the bible says that one day, at our appointed time, it will all be over and we will live a glorious eternity in our Father’s house.  God Bless you all and take care of each other.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

 

Circumstantial

Does your love wax and wane depending on your circumstances?  Do you love your wife one day and hate her the next, or are those just your feelings that change?  We are a fairly fickle lot, and for most of us, our emotions and feelings can change at the drop of a hat, or a hammer, or when someone else drops the ball, or with the weather…you get the idea.  In our culture, we use the word love fairly loosely and recklessly, so that it loses the impact of its true meaning.  Kids can love a movie, you may love spaghetti, or you may love your child, or your wife, but all those loves should have different meanings.  Is our love for God and his love for us the same thing?  Not really. 

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  I John 4:10

We may sing of our love for God and really feel that we mean it at times.  We may read a verse of scripture that really rings true in our hearts and feel that we love God, but then circumstances change and these feelings change from one moment to the next.  The same with our thankfulness.  We may feel truly grateful one day and selfish and indignant the next, but does genuine love truly depend on our feelings and emotions? 

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Luke 6:35

Does God’s love for you depend on your behavior?  Often, we may feel we deserve his love when we are doing good things, and may feel unworthy of it at other times when our actions don’t warrant love from anyone.  But the truth is, no matter what we do, we don’t deserve his love, but he shows it to us anyway.  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Why would he show us his love when we didn’t deserve it? 

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17-19

Honestly, I cannot fathom the depth of God’s love, because mine often seems to be more conditional than unconditional.  When strangers show me kindness, I am more apt to show the same in return, and when they are selfish, my gut reaction is to act the same in return (especially on the road).  But when I am filled with gratitude for God’s love, when his Spirit overflows from me, I am more apt to filter my words and actions and be loving toward others, regardless of the circumstances.  The fruit of love is displayed in our actions.  When we feel love and compassion toward another person, we are often moved to do loving things for them.  When we don’t feel kind or loving toward others, we may still choose to show them love. 

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:31-32

So, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in today, remember to show your love to others who don’t deserve it.  Just as God showed his love to us when we didn’t deserve it, to be like Christ is to do the same.  Easier said than done, but maybe putting this on my ‘to do’ list is more important than some of the other things I have on there.  May God’s love continue to grow in your heart each day, regardless of the circumstances!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  2 Corinthians 13:14

With the Love of Christ,
Clark

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