Proof

John 20:25New International Version (NIV)

25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Thomas takes on a bad rap in this portion of scripture. Could we all of had said the same thing? Yes, some had seen him from the disciples, Mary Magdalene, and the followers on the road to Emmaus, but not Thomas.

We forget Thomas’ words in John 11:16. Thomas says to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go too and die with Jesus.” Heading back to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead was going to get them all killed. Yet, he says, “Let’s go and die.”

Only a man with a deep devotion to a person or cause would ever make such a statement. Thomas was truly loyal, but he had doubt, and for him, only physical proof would satisfy his pessimistic view.

If you look deeper into what is there in scripture and read between the lines, you will find a man having deep love for Jesus. Remember, he gave up everything to follow him. In that love, you find a man paralyzed on the inside over Christ’s death.

I know it does not say this in Scripture, but for a moment Jesus walked through the doors in John 20:25 just for Thomas. What a moment it was. Jesus asks for Thomas directly. “Thomas, put your finger here and look at my hands. Put your hand in the would on my side. Do not be faithless anymore. Believe!”

What a moment! We never again hear of Thomas being pessimistic. He now had proof! Later we see Jesus saying that he believed because he had seen Jesus. Then the Lord gives a blessing to us, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

At times, we get pessimistic and encounter doubts needing proof that Jesus hears our prayers. It is in those moments, men, that we hold onto the blessing of not seeing. That is called faith.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Vital Men’s Breakfast

May 6 at the Newton Perkins

7:00 A.M.

Men, Fathers, Sons, Grandfathers, Friends

Come have breakfast, hang out, and have a short devotional time together.

Hope you can make it!!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Seek, Then Tell Them

Colossians 3:1 (NKJV) If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

        I read this verse the other day and it was the first time that I read it for what it really says. Every time prior, I had read this as a question, a matter of doubt, “if then you were raised…” When I read it this time, Paul’s intent was made clear to me. This is a statement of confident victory.  Paul is flatly stating, “YOU WERE RAISED…” This is a proclamation. Christ died, God raised Him from the dead, and with Him so too were you raised. Now, focus, fix your gaze, heart, mind, every ounce of your being resolutely on the things above.

Colossians 3:2,3 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Too many Christians freely receive the gift of salvation and that’s where the journey ends. In other words, they carry out their days on earth with two minds, their Christian mind, and then their secular mind, bouncing back and forth as they deem the situation calls for.

A.W. Tozer talks about Christians being 30, 60 or 100-fold Christians. The 30-fold receive Jesus’ gift of saving grace, but go no further. They stay trapped, catching a glimpse of the promise that lays just outside their grasp, because they refuse to let go of the things of this world. They refuse to resolve to live in one mind. They refuse to fix their gaze and, “seek those things which are above.”

The 100-fold Christian sells out 100 percent. His gaze is firmly affixed on Jesus and the promise He lays before him. He is determined, unwavering and because of it, he is fruitful. God can use men like this and men like this get to experience the fully promised life in Christ.

John 17:17-22  Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.  18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:

In John 17 we read Jesus’ prayer for His disciples.  He prays for our protection from evil, but in 17-22 He prays that God would sanctify us in truth.  Why? It is so that we can go out into the world, with our gaze perfectly affixed to “those things which are above,”  and proclaim the gospel message to those still trapped in darkness.

Where is your focus? What do you live for, think about? Why do you do the things you do, in the way that you do them? You were raised for something far more exquisite than any of us could ever imagine, but it requires of us. You must look to, focus on, and pursue the unimaginable glory of God.  Then you must go out into the world and tell them what you see!  Have a blessed weekend.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace

No Fair

We start hearing from a young age that life is not fair.  When we see someone else gets a bigger piece of pie, we don’t get all we asked for at Christmas, someone else won MVP, we soon realize inequality is a fact of life and pitching a fit doesn’t always help.  All around the world, there are things that happen every day that are not right, whether trivial or life changing.  People steal from one another, hurl insults in person and online, the poor are exploited, minorities are ostracized and condemned, people are exploited.  We may not see this blatantly done in our cushioned Midwest hometowns, but it still happens.  Kids are slighted and bullied in schools, and domestic abuse happens in every community, but in some parts of the world, it is just a struggle to survive, much less thrive.  We have all experienced injustice to some degree, and may have even been the instigator at one time or another, but what can we do about it now? 

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.  Proverbs 31:8-9

We have been trying for centuries to make things right, and as much as technology and laws may have improved life in some places, there are still atrocities that are taking place this very day.  That is because there is still one thing that doesn’t change from each generation and that is the human heart.  Each person is born in sin and has the capacity for great evil, but also great love.  We all have a need for forgiveness and a Savior.  When we realize this, we are then more capable and empowered to love and seek justice for ourselves and others in this world. As much as we may ‘improve’ as a society, there will always be needs and wrongs to be righted all around us.

We love because he first loved us.  1 John 4:19

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?  Jeremiah 17:9

So, what can we do about injustice in the world and even in our own community?  When we see it, speak up for those who do not speak up for themselves.  Alert those in authority when laws are broken or something can and should be done to intervene.  If no one else will take action, who should, do what you can to make things right, though not in a Batman/Robin Hood vengeance sort of way.  Get to know and give to organizations that can and do make a difference to correct wrongs and help those who truly need help.  Lastly and most importantly, pray for those in difficult situations and ask of God what part you can play in truly helping.  Love with your words and actions in ways that are honorable to God and your fellow humans and stand for His truth!

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.  Ephesians 6:14

In Christ,
Clark

I want to QUIT!!

Have you ever just wanted to quit?  Have you ever felt like you and maybe one other person were fighting for something good and everyone else just bailed on you?  It is easy to feel alone in a battle and sometimes we are.  I think it is in these moments that reveal our character. My senior year high school I wanted to quit football.  I was not being treated fairly or kindly.  I had coaches and players who made it clear they did not want me there.  All that was in me wanted to quit. I would come home with tears in my eyes so frustrated.  When I was a kid, my parents would tell me “Sereg’s do not quit!”  So I resolved in my heart early, if I start something I will finish it.  The decision of not quitting my senior year was made years before when I decided to stay on the team.  The depth of my character was built as a kid and revealed as a senior.  One of the coolest scriptures in my opinion is…

2 Samuel 23:9 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. 10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!

Can you imagine being Eleazar?  Your fellow army retreats but your king stays to fight.  You have a choice… run and live or fight with your king.  Eleazar made his a long time before the heat of the battle.  He would never allow his king to fight alone.  So he chose what had to feel like death.  Statistics and odds are only valid unless the God of your king is THE GOD.  Then two men can take on an army all alone.  Could you imagine fighting until you were too tired to pick up your sword?  Quit was not in this man or his king.

What about you?  Where do you want to quit?  Job, school, relationship, a dream, or yourself?  It could be any number of things.  But anything worth having always comes with a battle and at times it can feel we fight alone.  Often we feel tired of fighting.  That is not the moment that builds character but will reveal it.  You decide now before the heat is on whether you quit or keep going.  You decide your level of too tired.  You decide whether you will fight with someone even when it hurts.

NO BATTLE… NO VICTORY…

The army did eventually show back up when it was all over to get all the reward.  Could you imagine David and Eleazar watching the deserted army show back up for the reward?  Could you imagine Jesus watching us receive our reward?  So decide today… Now… What is the depth of your character the depth of your fight?

Recklessly, Obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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