Pause

I tell people that sometimes I don’t know my limits until I have exceeded them.  As we get older, there is hope that we are wiser in the decisions we make for ourselves and our family.  In any given week, we all probably have good days and not so good days, but we keep pressing on to what lies ahead, doing the best with what we have.  Last week, I had a few busy days in a row and tested the limits of what  my body could do.  After limited training, I biked 70 miles on Thursday with 2 hours of sleep, and then on Friday, I had to clear out a storage area and worked long into the evening.  I moved some appliances around by myself and recall thinking close to midnight that I could move a stove, but would likely get hurt doing so and decided to leave it for another day.  I probably pushed my limits in some areas, but kept from getting hurt as well.  What were some good choices and not so good decisions you have made this week?  Are you getting better at it?

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10

Sometimes it is good to dive right in and tackle a job to get it done faster, and sometimes it is better to stop and consider another way to get it done.  I often say “there is probably an easier or better way to do this” but move ahead with the information I have.  Asking for advice often helps you discover another avenue, or redirects your priorities to another task as you get more information.  Sometimes, just stopping to ask God to direct your steps is all it takes to move in the right direction.  It may seem small or inconsequential, but often it produces good results.  If we stop and listen to someone with more knowledge than us, it is often beneficial, even if we think we know best.  So, stop and ask for advice from the One who made you and the earth.  He may have something to say!

Yours in Christ,
Clark

When Scripture Speaks to You…

Several years ago, my life was not in a good place.  My marriage, job, family, finances, vehicles and a few other things were all wrong all at the same time.  I was overwhelmed.  I was completely discouraged.  Everything seemed to be spiraling out of control until one day…

I was spending time in scripture just like any other day. There was one verse I had read many times that just popped off the page. 

John 10:10 A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy.

I know I have a real enemy. He complicate things that should come easy.   He speaks lies to me that do not sound like lies. He tries to lead me to find comfort in things that do not satisfy. When I partake in these short term comforts, I find myself chained to the thing I went to for comfort. Joy stolen and hope slaughtered. The shame and confusion that follows leads to justifying myself doing what I know is wrong.  Then I do not know what is truth and what is a lie. The problem with deception is I am deceived. You see my enemy is alive and he is working for my complete destruction.

That same enemy is doing the same to you!  Then he tells you that you are the only one with those struggles.  Another lie!

Now here is the second part of the verse…

But I have come to give you everything in abundance,  more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!

For as much as I have an enemy out to destroy me, I have King who is my friend who is out to bless me in abundance, even more than I expect. He said His plan for my life is “Life in its fullness until I overflow!”  When I read that and looked at my life, I saw a massive gap between His promise and my reality.  I had made poor decisions in my marriage, family, finances, etc. and made them in abundance. Ever feel that way?

So I began to pray.  I asked God for mercy because I did not deserve His promise.  I asked Him to forgive me and give me the grace to change.  I asked Him to bless me in the fullness of what He said in John 10:10.  My behaviors began to change.  I had to ask forgiveness for new things even after this for sure.  I sought mentors to help me.  Overtime my marriage was in a great place, we got out of debt but the house, family relationship were restored, and the vehicles story is for another day! My life is far from perfect, but it is far from the day I mentioned above.

Here is what I learned.  We have Jesus and an enemy looking to lead us. We choose who we follow.  God’s mercy and grace are greater than you expect and the life He has planned for you if “fullness until you overflow.”  You can’t change yesterday’s decision, but you can choose today whom you will follow. I pray God’s grace leads you to follow His Son.  It will not be easy. I will be hard often.  But there is faith, hope and love on the journey and that satisfies!

Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

Follow Me: We Follow Jesus in Everything

Many years ago my friend Erik went on a vacation with his friend Tom (not their real names). After a week in Colorado, they began their return trip to Des Moines. Tom offered to drive the first leg, as Erik had not gotten much sleep the night before. A couple of hours into the trip Erik woke up and asked Tom how it was going. Tom reported that everything was going great, and that they were making such great time that they had passed Cheyenne, Wyoming about 30 minutes before. That’s right, they had been driving in the wrong direction! Erik soon got Tom turned abound, and they headed back towards Iowa. About an hour later Erik fell asleep again. He once again woke up a few hours later and asked Tom how they were doing. Tom apologized for going the wrong way earlier, and said he had been driving extra fast to make up time. In fact, they were doing so well that they were almost to…New Mexico! This time Erik was smart enough to kick Tom out of the driver’s seat and to drive the rest of the way back to Iowa himself. 

I share this crazy story because it illustrates a reality we often face. When we let the world control our lives we end up like Erik in this story: we end up all over the map, and seldom do we end up where we really should be. Yet, we so often let the world drive our lives anyway. We listen to others, to social media, to people on TV, to non-Christian friends, and to all sorts of other advice. We end up bouncing all over the map instead of handing the keys over to the one who really knows the way: Jesus. 

One of my favorite scriptures is Jesus’ calling of four of the Disciples: 

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Matthew 4:18-22

Each of these men was faced with a choice. The first choice was that they could do exactly what the world told them was important. They could stay at their jobs, keep living their current lifestyle, and have a relatively safe life. Or, they could take a leap of faith and follow Jesus, who had a plan to use them for a greater purpose. While many of us would likely choose the far easier worldly way, each man IMMEDIATELY chose to follow Jesus. They chose to have the faith to say: Jesus I am trusting you with all the plans for my life. Lead the way! The question for us this week is: who are we following in our lives? Are we following the world and ending up all over the map, or are we entrusting our lives to Jesus? 

Doughnuts and a Devo August 10

Doughnuts and a Devotional on August 10

Vital Ministries Building

7:00-8:00 a.m.

Come and join us as we gather as men to fellowship and get into God’s Word.

Be Encouraged

Acts 18:9-10 New International Version (NIV)

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”

Jesus always reminds us to take courage. When we look to our own circumstances, we can get overwhelmed and even discouraged. It is the battlefield of the mind and the enemy hits us hard there many times.

Paul struggled with those thoughts, as well. Paul was in the great city of Corinth. He was teaching in the Jewish Synagogue to the Jews and was getting nowhere. He talks to them about Jesus, but they will not listen. They are stiff necked and religious. This is a bad combination. So. Paul gets discouraged.

I love how Jesus meets us in our discouragement when one door closes, another opens. Since the Jewish people would not listen about Jesus, he is sent to the Gentiles at Corinth. Jesus said many people in the city belong to me. Go preach to them.

We have many people in all cities that belong to Jesus. They just have not heard to Gospel Message. We are called to be voices in our city. So do not be afraid to speak out. Many will come because of our stories of how Jesus changed us.

Men, today is that day. Jesus is with you like he was with Paul. Share the Good News of the Gospel, and most of all ‘Live it’. 

Be encouraged, by brothers, many will come to Jesus because of our Courage.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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