Light in the Darkness

Have you ever thought about writing out your future story?  Maybe you have not written it but thought about what you would like your life to be like later in life.  Those pages and thoughts would be full of great stories, adventures, love, and accomplishments.  However, life doesn’t usually get written that way. 

Everyone of us has a story, two, or years of stories that we would not have written into our story.  Some of those stories are a result of choices we made or friends we spent time with. Others were things that happened to us.  Some of those stories led to resentment towards someone or a group of people.  Others led to deep regret which is resentment turned inward.  Again there is no way we would have written that into our story. 

Joseph (Not Jesus dad) was born into a family of 11 other brothers from 4 mothers and one dad.  Joseph was born into a family where the wifes and brothers fought for Jacob’s attention, affection and position.  In the midst of this Joseph starts having dreams from God about being put in position over his dad and older brothers.  Like many young men he shares this dream and his brothers hate him for it.  

The brothers conspire to kill him but don’t want the guilt of his death.  So they sell him into slavery to the Egyptians.  I am sure that was not apart of Joseph’s dream. However in slavery, he is loved by his master.  Then his master’s wife offers herself to him, he refuses.  She becomes angry and accuses him of rape.  So Joseph goes to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. 

In jail, he is loved by the warden and is put in charge of the whole prison. In prison, he meets some people who have some dreams.  Joseph interpreted those dreams.  One person who got an interpretation, goes to work for pharaoh.  However, he is forgotten.  

His story changes when pharaoh has a dream and the man remembers Joseph can interpret dreams. That day he is brought before pharaoh and impresses pharaoh so much he is made 2nd in command of all Egypt. Later his brothers show up and Joseph confronts them.  

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

Joseph was able to look through the mess of his life and see God was able to use it.  He even sounds grateful for it.  He was able to see past his pain and hurt.  What about you?  What part of your story do you wish wasn’t there?  What would happen if you invited Holy Spirit to heal and forgive?  What if God could use even the darkest stories to reveal His great light?

I challenge you right now to pray and ask God to highlight one moment from your past, and ask Him to heal, forgive, and use it for for His glory.  I want to let you know doing this does hurt, often very deeply.  But when you watch God use that story to help someone else it will all be worth it!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

GOAT

In recent years the term GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) has become widely used in sports. In football it often gets tossed around when referring to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, and in basketball in the seemingly never-ending Michael Jordan vs. Lebron James debate (IMHO its CLEARLY Michael Jordan). In fact, it seems that there can hardly be a sports broadcast without discussion of who the GOAT of that sport, team, position, etc. is. All of this talk about the GOAT seems to be indicative of our human obsession with greatness. Lets face it, many of us worry about greatness more then we’d like to admit. We worry if we are living a life of greatness, if others will remember any great accomplishments from our lives, or if anyone we include our actions in their lists of great things.

This obsession with greatness is far from new. In fact, it dominated conversations in Biblical times as well. Jesus’ disciples famously debated about which of them was the greatest, and achieving greatness was a common question in the cities Paul visited. In fact, people spent considerable time and energy trying to make their personal cases for greatness in the ever fickle court of public opinion. This was particularly the case in the city of Rome, where the attainment of fame and prestige often took center stage. It was in this atmosphere of obsession over greatness that Paul wrote the following:

Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

See, true greatness comes not from our abilities, our fame, or our achievements, it comes only from the grace of Christ. Yes, we can accomplish things that may be cheered and deemed “great” by some for a time, but such greatness fades away. The only way we achieve that which is truly great, eternal life in a perfect heaven, comes from the sacrificial death of Christ Jesus on the Cross. This year, instead of spending so much time and energy searching for greatness in the eyes of others, let us remember that the greatest thing about all of us is not what we have accomplished, but what Christ has accomplished for us.

Subdue It!

Genesis 4:7New International Version (NIV)

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain did not listen to the Lord. I find it interesting that Cain is actually hearing from God himself, yet he does not listen.

We often get caught up in the same thing. We will hear something the Holy Spirit is saying to us. We will read something in the Bible, and it speaks to our heart. We may hear from another person who is speaking godly wisdom, but we choose not to listen. The web of sin entangles us.

There is another part of this verse where God tried to empower Cain, and I think it needs another look. God told Cain to subdue his sin and be its master. There is power here, men.

When sin entices us, this comes from our heart. We have been given power from God which is for us today. The power of the Holy Spirit helps us to master our sin. Did you get that?

So, when the enemy who crouches at our door and tries to entice us, you can master that enticement. Grab that sin by the throat and say, “No!” Get the thought away. Click off that website. Do not tear someone down. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you be the master over sin.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

We start our new teaching series in 1 Peter. We will study in this text what it means to have living hope! Life does not determine hope, but the faith of life does. Faith and hope in Jesus determines hope. Invite friends and do not miss this study!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Inter…Dependent!

…  12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ…  25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 be angryand yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:12, 13, 25-32 (NASB)

As I grow older, wiser and more mature in life, both temporal and spiritual, I’m amazed by God’s plan.  For the sake of today’s discussion, specifically, our intricately woven interdependence.  There are very few things, none actually, that I can claim sole credit for their accomplishment.  Every thing that I am, have, will do or have done is the result of the tapestry of relationships God has woven me into. 

From the very beginning, in the garden, God established man to be an interdependent being.  First, in his relationship with God, Himself.  Secondly, when He brought forth Eve, Adam’s interdependent companion.  That interdependent nature has carried out ever since, despite our pressing desire for independence. 

Our work ties us to one another.  We work to provide for another’s wants or needs, and are rewarded for that labor.  In turn, we pay another for goods or services we want or need, so on and so forth.  Interdependent.

Our relationships serve to fill emotional, intellectual, recreational and physical needs.  We share our time, energy, support, counsel, our lives with others, who in turn do the same for us.  Interdependent.

God Himself is an interdependent being, the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Each of them contributing to One Another, interdependently.  God the Father, from which all things originate, The Son, the mediator, whom all things most go through and The Holy Spirit, through whom all things are executed… Interdependent.

None of us, despite how vehemently we try to convince ourselves otherwise, have not and will not ever, EVER, accomplish the most minute achievement independently.  Our very individual existence is the result of thousands of years of interdependence on and of God, as well as generations of other interdependents.  What a beautiful tapestry He has woven.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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