Don’t Give it Away

It is somewhat expected in the missionary community that you hire an empleada (aka a housekeeper). This was tough for us, because obviously in the US having a housekeeper is a pretty big luxury. It felt weird spending our raised funds on hiring a housekeeper (even though we pay above the normal rate our share is only $25USD per week). However, the reasons hiring empleadas is encouraged is because its a way to create needed jobs, build relationships with Nicaraguans, and get some needed assistance around the home. We share an empleada with our neighbors, a sweet mother of two whose husband was killed a few years ago in a car crash. This morning my wife and I had a “passionate discussion” about what is and is not the role of our empleada. The discussion centered upon whether or not we could more or less cede most household responsibilities to her, or if we should still make an effort to keep up with certain chores (i.e. doing our own laundry and dishes).

This got me to thinking about our roles as men. We cede far too many of our Biblical responsibilities to others, especially when it comes to our roles as husbands and fathers. As long as our kids go to Sunday school and our wife attends her Bible study we’ve fulfilled our responsibility right? Let the leaders of those groups disciple them, because besides, they are more gifted for it anyway. The problem is that’s the role the Bible assigns to us as men. Today, I want us to read the following verses and really ask ourselves if we are living out God’s designed role for us as fathers and husbands. If you have not taken on those roles yet in life I encourage you to start thinking about how you will once you are a husband and father. Let’s stop giving away our responsibilities and embracing the role God has given us.  

Model holiness: Keep a close watch on your life and doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:16 

Provide: But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8

Discipline and guide: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 

Nurture: For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. Ephesians 5:29

Disciple and teach: These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:7

LeadHe must manage his own household well, with all dignity. 1 Timothy 3:4

Love: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25

Faith Killers

Hebrews 12:15New International Version (NIV)

15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Bitterness is a big faith killer. I have seen it change a person from the inside out. Once having faith but allowing the seed of bitterness into their heart, and they allow it to grow. Here it will eventually allow you to become a person you do not want to be.

The seed of bitterness will also destroy marriage. The seed is usually dropped because of hurt. Your spouse will hurt you in such a way that the seed is dropped, and it eventually may take root.

I like to use the analogy of a dandelion. The rood of a dandelion can actually go 15 feet into the ground. Many people think if they cut it off from the surface that the plant will eventually die. It will not. The only way to kill the dandelion plant is to use a plant killer chemical.

Bitterness is the same way. Trying to only deal with the problem at the surface will only create a short term response. To kill the root of bitterness will take willingness of the person. If you look at Luke 6:22 it says, ‘But to you who are willing to listen.’ Then Jesus talks about forgiving.

Are you willing to kill the root of forgiveness? It will require a person to be obedient to what God’s Word says about forgiving. Will you forgive a debt, a sin, and a trespass that your spouse has committed?

Only by being obedient to the Word of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to keep our hearts pliable can we overcome bitterness. As Jesus says, ‘Are you willing?’

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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The teaching is called the Christian Atheist, believing in God but living as if he does not exist.

 

Little Thing

Luke 16:10 (NKJV) He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 

I had some gentlemen in the archery shop in need of some “tuning up” for Iowa’s upcoming archery opener.  The first man’s struggle was consistency.  He stated that he just couldn’t get dialed in.  That no matter what he tried, he just couldn’t put consistent groups together.  He came to the conclusion that the issue was with him.  There was something that he was doing wrong or inconsistently that was to blame.  After his description, I asked for his bow.  I had never worked on it, or looked it over prior to this visit.  As I examined it, a number of things immediately jumped to my attention.  I explained to him what I saw, how it was wrong, and the effects these flaws would have on his performance.  They were seemingly small details, indistinguishable to the untrained eye, but had a dramatic impact.  In fact, all of the inconsistencies he was describing, could very likely be attributed, at least in part, to these “little” things.  

The problems this man was having, were the result of the previous person’s lack of attention to detail, the “little” things.  Now, because I was willing to take care of this man’s “little” issues, when he needs help with a bigger issue, wishes to refer a friend somewhere, wants to make a more expensive purchase, where and with whom is that likely to be?  Why would he entrust a major need or purchase with someone who was unsuccessful in executing the “little” things.

Well, my friends, God handles the delegation of opportunity the exact same way.  Far too often we focus on the big picture, the big event, the big opportunity or big desire, perhaps beg God for our “BIG” chance, but we haven’t paid attention the details, executed the “little” things and earned the right to the “BIG” one.  We even sit back and wonder why, all the while God’s wondering when we will start paying attention to the “little” things He asks of us so that He can entrust us with the bigger ones.  Those “little” things are precisely what God uses to train up and prepare us for the “BIG” one.  

Next time you catch yourself wondering when God is going to give you your “BIG” chance, your patience is wearing thin, you start thinking, “it’s my time… when Lord, oh when”, take a moment and think about all the “little” things He asks of you.  Take a good, hard, long look, be honest and answer the questions; Did I execute?  Did I deliver on what God wanted?  Did I prove to Him that I can handle the “little” things in preparation for the “BIG” one?  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

In Harmony

Life seems to flow so  much better when things are in harmony.  Whether it is with our work, health, home life, relationships with others, or our relationship with God, we may seldom have everything in balance, but when things are, we know it.  Some of the greatest musical groups are known for their vocal harmonies including, but not limited to the Beatles, Beach Boys, Statler Brothers, and one of my favorites, Acappella.  The dictionary defines harmony as 1. the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect.  2. agreement or concord.  I suppose we could also say we know something is in harmony when we hear it or see it.  How about you?

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:36-40

When we sum up the 10 commandments, we say the first four are about loving God, and the rest are about loving others.  As Christ said, these two sum up the whole of God’s law.  Is it possible to do one and not the other…to love God and not love others, or to love others and not love God?  Not really, as the two are tied to one another.  If we say we love God, the natural outflow of that is to love those around us, and to repent when we are not doing so.  If someone does not acknowledge God as their source of love, trying to love others from our own will and strength has significant limits and ultimately draws us back to selfishness.  We love because He first loved us, we forgive because He forgave us, we serve because Christ taught us how to serve.  We are made in His image. 

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  James 2:17

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1 John 4:10

All our relationships work best when we are in harmony with one another, including our marriages.  If things are out of compliance on either side, things do not seem to go very well.    We do not have to look very far for bad examples of this.  When we live with a servant heart and an attitude of love toward others, we don’t get as worked up about the little things, or the big things, for that matter.  When we demand things be done our way, sparks will inevitably fly when we butt heads with others.  So, as you go about your day, let your life song sing in harmony with God’s will and those around you will hear it loud and clear.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:16,25

Yours in Christ,
Clark

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