Wait a Minute

We live in a culture that does not promote patience.  We are bombarded almost daily with messages that say ‘if you want it now, you can have it, and we’ll help you get it.’  We are turning into an on demand society.  When I was a kid, I remember filling out an order form from a catalog and after mailing it in, you waited 2-3 weeks for a package to arrive.  Anymore, if it takes more than 2-4 days, it is slow.  When was the last time you wrote something using a typewriter?  I remember becoming frustrated when I made mistakes on this years ago, but it taught me to make fewer mistakes.  What have we learned, besides impatience, from demanding and getting things faster every time?  Where are you impatient?  Where are you wasting time?

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14

What is our reaction when something does not go our way?  We look for alternate routes to the same destination.  Abraham did this after God promised a blessing through him and his descendants, as it did not come about in the manner and time he expected.  Maybe we tend to do this as well.  We may half-heartedly offer up a prayer to God, and if we do not hear back what we were looking for within an hour or a day, we blaze our own trail toward what we were seeking.  Can you imagine waiting for decades like Abraham or Moses and the Israelites.  At what point would your patience start to wane?

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans  5:2-4

Where are you struggling today with waiting on the Lord?  Maybe there are some hopes and dreams you had long ago that you are starting to doubt will come about.  Are you refining your desires as you wait and realizing that some things you had dreamed about were not as important as you once thought?  For some of us, it may take going through some bad experiences before we realize that putting our own desires first does not always play out how we would like it.  Sometimes our eyes are opened when we walk with friends or family through some heartache and realize we are on a similar path unless we change some things.  Hopefully, as time moves forward, we develop more patience as we wait on the Lord for better things.  Sometimes those better things do not even come about in this lifetime, but afterward.  May you be blessed as you learn and grow and come to understand His timing, as it is always just right.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Courage in Christ,
Clark

 

 

Sacrifice

The past couple of weeks I have been in Israel. It was an incredible experience!  I had 10 days with my dad and together we got to experience a tour through several places in we read about in scripture.  I am super humbled to have been in the very places Jesus taught and men of God who walked in tremendous faith.  I learned so much and cannot read the Bible the same.

One of the things that I learned was the value of water.  Israel is a sub-tropic climate and water is not alway consistent and drought is common.  One of the times of drought was when Elijah was a prophet of the Lord and the prophets of Baal and government leaders were killing the prophets of the Lord.  God had sent a drought to Israel during this time and it all led to a climatic moment where Elijah, prophets of Baal, and the people of Israel.  Elijah offers a challenge: create a sacrifice and ask their god’s to start the fire of their sacrifice.

The prophets of Baal passionate try to convince Baal to start the fire.  Elijah mocks them and Baal and nothing happens

1 Kings 18:30 Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 31 He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, 32 and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. 33 He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood.

Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.”

34 After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, 35 and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench.

Imagine three years of drought, water is scarce, sacred, and more valuable than anything else.  Gold has little value compared to the source of keeping your family alive.  You do not waste water in a drought.  Elijah asks the people to pour out their most valuable possession as an offering for the Lord.  It had to have seemed irrational to them wasteful even.  I am sure they could have reasoned their way out of this offering. They didn’t and they filled the trench.  Elijah calls down fire from heaven and the wet bull and the trench burn.  Water does not burn unless God is involved.  After this they kill the prophets of Baal and Elijah prays for rain, rain comes, and the drought ends.  When the people were desperate enough to give irrationally, God showed up and brought freedom.  

Where and how is God asking you to give irrationally?  Will you obey or rationally talk you way out of if?  Do you want God sized blessing and favor or do you trust mostly in yourself to provide?

Friends I will not financially gain anything from this!  God wants to pour out His blessing and favor in you life, but He wants to know if He can trust you with what you have. GIVE OBEDIENTLY, AND IRRATIONALLY IF HE ASKS.  You CANNOT out give God. Your sacrifice will be in vain! GO, OBEY, GIVE!

Recklessly, Obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Burning Obstacles

There is a scene in 1 Kings 19 that has long challenged me. The prophet Elijah has been standing up and proclaiming the truth about God for quite awhile, but he has reached a breaking point. Seeking refuge in a cave he cries out to God: I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too. 1 Kings 19:14

God responded to his cry by laying out a plan for him. The Lord said to him, Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there… anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 1 Kings 19:15-16

Elijah followed these instructions, finding Elisha farming. Knowing that he is recruiting for a position with an extremely high probability of painful death Elijah adopts a brilliant recruiting tactic: he walks up to Elisha, throws his cloak on him (thus declaring him the Prophet), and walks away. A dazed Elisha ran after Elijah, saying he had many things to do before he could consider leaving his farm. Elijah challenges him with the phrase: what have I done to you?, insinuating that he can go and say his goodbyes, but that he must quickly follow the calling God has bestowed on him. Elisha takes this call seriously: he kills his oxen and uses his plow as the firewood on which to cook them. He quite literally burned his career and livelihood to follow God’s calling.

I think all of us Christ followers find ourselves in either the position of Elijah or Elissa at some point.

Elijah: we get overwhelmed by the ministry we are asked to do. We don’t have enough time, get tired of the conflicts, fail to see the fruit, feel ill-equipped, and more. Quite simply, we want to throw up our hands and give up. When we encounter these feelings we, like Elijah before us, need to express our feelings to God. Ask God for advice, and be ready to follow His leading. In this case God lays out a plan for Elijah, and calls Elisha to assist him. We too need to seek God’s advice and be willing to seek out others who can minister with us.

Elisha: I’m sure all of us have been asked to serve in some sort of ministry, but we’ve been reluctant to do so. We make excuses such as: “when I have more time, there must be someone better then me, etc.” When we feel God’s call however, we need to have an attitude that more resembles Elijah. We need to burn the things keeping us from serving God, and trust that God has a plan that is greater then ours. Even more so, we need to trust that God will be with us every step of the way, guiding us to serve in His name.

Failing Men – Rising

Isaiah 60:1New International Version (NIV)

The Glory of Zion

60 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

The prophet Isaiah called for Jerusalem to wake up. A new day is rising for Israel. The light of the sun was hot, but he was talking about the glory of God shining on his city.

I have had the opportunity recently to travel to Israel and see the sun rise over Jerusalem. Without a doubt you have the keen sense knowing that God still has his hand on the city. Like any city it goes about its day, but this city still follows God and his decrees.

Without a doubt the people of Jerusalem and all of Israel who is Jewish believe that there is a God, but the sadness that I felt in my heart is they still do not recognize Jesus to be the one true Messiah. They are still waiting and seeking.

Often times I see us in America still doing the same thing. People will say, “Oh, I believe in God.” But they fail to see Jesus, God’s Son. Jesus was the one who was chosen to take our place on a hill called Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.

I visited that location. It is a horrific site. Today a bus parking lot sits in front of it, but the images of the crucifixion are still there if you ask the Holy Spirit for Kingdom eyes.

All but one of the disciples failed Jesus at his death. They ran, hid, and wept. But the story does not stop there. These same men, all but one, chose to rise and faced their failure. How about you today? Have you been running? Are you running from what Jesus has called you to be? Today is the day of rising, men. Let’s not hold on to how we have failed, but choose to rise along side King Jesus!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

This coming week we will be starting a new teaching series, ‘Failing Men – Rising’. We will look at the lives of the twelve disciples. We will see how their lives impacted the world even though they failed Jesus before his crucifixion.

I believe, men, that we find strength in these men as they as they had to face their failures, just like we do. I always remind men who have felt they have failed in life that it is not how we fail, but it is all in how we ride back up.

Do not miss our final weeks together in Vital Men.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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