Appointed Time

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NASB) ‘There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven- A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace. ‘ 

I was reading in Ecclesiastes and when I came to this passage, I read through it several times.  With all that is happening in my life at this moment, this passage gave me pause and cause for reflection.  

Everything has a time, a season and a reason.  There are times and seasons when things will be going well, times we can sing and rejoice, harvest, dance, and enjoy life and cultivate precious moments and relationships.  There are other times and instances where the opposite is true, times we will be leveled with pain, sorrow, death, we may have to let go of something we hold dear or farewell to someone precious to us. 

As, I read through this passage, there’s a peace in knowing that no matter what we are experiencing, what life throws at us, everything has it’s appointed time.  We may be struggling at the present time, but something wonderful will be coming at its appointed time.  Just as the rough moments are appointed, so are the good ones.  Therefore, don’t waste them.  Cherish those appointed times, gaze a little longer, laugh a little louder, hug a little firmer, take it all in to its fullest, because it’s appointed time to will expire.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace   

Thank You, Jesus

It has been nearly 2 months since many stopped to give thanks for things during Thanksgiving.  Have we stopped to give thanks since?  The question I ask is, ‘have I stopped appreciating what I have and thanking those who have given it to me?’  During an average day, how often to you simply tell someone else, ‘thank you’?  If you ever stand in line at the store, you see a variety of reactions from gratitude, to impatience, to entitlement.  Just ask someone who has ever worked in retail about some of their worst customers.  That’s not a good way to be remembered.  Who do you thank each day as you go through life?  Your employer, your children, your spouse?  Do you do this with your voice, by written word, or with other actions like a thank you gift?  Maybe you do it so often that you really don’t mean it sometimes.  Is it ok to say thanks to someone, even when they don’t deserve it?  Do you like to be appreciated by others in your life? 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Psalm 107:1

More often than not, we give thought to what we want or do not have than what we already have in front of us.  How much of your day and thought life is filled with, ‘what do I have to do or get done next’?  Its not bad in that it propels us forward to get things done, but seldom allows us to stop and appreciate what we have or what is going well.  Instead, we may blow a gasket when something happens to derail our plans and things don’t go as we think they should.  Whether that is a family member, co-worker, or stranger that fails us and causes us to change our plans, it may also cause us to lose sight of the things that are really important in our lives.  How often do you give thanks for the people who are important to you in your life? 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  1 John 3:1

How often do you give thanks to God?  I questioned how many times I audibly say, ‘Thank You, Jesus!’ and if I would do it more often, would that help me appreciate him more?  We regularly stop to give thanks for food and other things relevant to our day when we sit down to eat as a family.  It’s a good chance for me to stop and look at what is going on today and find things to appreciate, even if the day hasn’t gone particularly well or as planned, which to some degree is most every day.  Aside from grace before meals and worship in church, how often do we stop to say thank you?  Maybe in prayer time, starting by being grateful for the relationship we have with God, and for His gift of salvation can put us in a state of humility and willingness to hear from Him.  The more we look, maybe the more we can find things to be thankful for and time to do it. 

Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

An even bigger question beyond ‘are you thankful’, is what do you do in response?  Does being thankful cause you to do something?  Maybe there have been people in your life that you really appreciate now, but never got to tell thank you.  Maybe it was a teacher, coach, mentor when you were younger, who helped you in ways that you never appreciated at the time.  Is it ok to tell them thanks now, after many years have passed?  Many of us focus on the negative aspects of our parents and never really appreciate what they have done for us.  Maybe it compels you to do better and go the extra mile for others in your life.  Often, when I realize the enormity of how much God has forgiven me, and how he generously loves me and others in this world who don’t  deserve it, it causes me to feel and act in a similar manner toward others.  To have compassion, patience, love, and even kind words for those who don’t deserve it that I may encounter each day.  What will you do today to demonstrate to someone the love and gratitude in your life? 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

 

Yours in Christ,

Clark

The Jesus You See

Do you ever feel like some people’s relationship with Jesus is at another level? It certainly can be.  Now we all know people who give a lot of words to talk about how close God is and see right through it.  Yet then we meet people who are the real deal.  I think in all of us we want a closer relationship with Jesus and just dont know how.  Here is a key I have found:

Mark 6:1 Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.

Now Let me show you another experience:

Mark 10:46 Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. 47 When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48 “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!”50 Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

The Jesus they saw determined the Jesus they experienced.  Some only saw a carpenter.  They heard his teaching and it did not transform their lives and impacted the amount of miracles they experienced.  Now a blind man saw the Son of David, which refers to Jesus as the Messiah. He receives healing.  The experience and relationship is dictated by what they saw. 

So what do you see… Really… what do you really see?  Do you believe Jesus is the I AM?  The I AM is Jesus saying I AM EVERYTHING YOU NEED for this season.  I do not know what you are facing in 2019, but the way you see Jesus will determine if you trust in your own self, your work ethic, your religion, your intellect, or if you trust in the Son of David, the I AM.  I assure you He is for you, and He doesn’t give us what we want all the time, but He does give us what we need.  Some times He gets you out of your circumstances, but often He gets you through your circumstances.

So what do you see Jesus to be?  What are you looking for in your relationship with Him?  Do you see a Jesus that did THAT THERE in someone else’s life, or a Jesus who can do THIS HERE in your life?  Today go to the Jesus has plans to bless and prosper you and give you a hope and a future!

Helping people live a better story

Brandon Sereg
www.thevibrant.church
@brandonsereg

 

God Will Be With You

There are some phrases in life that drive me nuts. I can’t stand when I’m told by someone that “I’ll be with you in a second.” What that often means is “I may be with you in a few minutes if I feel like it, but more then likely I won’t, because you really aren’t that important.” I know, that’s probably not what they’re thinking, but I sure fear it is. Another phrase I can’t stand, though I say it to my kids a lot, is “just be patient” (yes, I fully realize this makes me a hypocrite). Yes, I know I should be patient, but man, I really don’t want to be patient sometimes! And besides, telling me to be patient seldom helps. If anything, it just reminds me that I’m in a hurry and have no desire to be patient!

I think another phrase that is in danger of invoking similar fillings in us is “God will be with you.” It certainly didn’t seem to calm Gideon’s anxieties in Judges 6:11-17. This is a perfectly fine and theological phrase, but we frequently misunderstand it. I’ll be honest, there have been times when I’m struggling with something and someone says “God is with you” that I don’t find the phrase overly helpful. Yet, it is always true that God is with us who have given our lives to Him. So, what does it really mean that God is with us? Let me break it down in the form of an acrostic, using the word WITH

Walks with Us: No matter what we are going through in life God is actively loving and listening to us. This is a REALLY  big deal. God never abandons us. I encourage you to get in the habit of regularly taking a break from the craziness of life to remember God’s love for you and to share your thoughts, concerns, and praises with He who is always listening. 

Inspires Us: God guides, helps, and inspires us by the Holy Spirit. What this looks like differs from person to person and situation to situation. The reality is that God moves and inspires. Sometimes its small nudges in our hearts. Other times God works through people in our lives. Sometimes its the Word or a sermon that moves us. Whatever method, God is with us to inspire us in ways both large and small. 

Teaches Us: God does not leave us to our own devices. He does not just toss us into this complicated world and tell us to simply figure it out. Instead, He teaches and advises us by the Word and the Spirit. We are so blessed to have the Bible, the inspired Word of God, to advise and teach us. Are you taking enough advantage of this amazing gift God has given us? 

Heals Us: God heals us from our sins and transgressions for all eternity. This is something that no one else could do, yet God does it freely for us. It is the absolute greatest way anyone could ever be with someone else, in good times or bad. 

Gold In The Garbage

Luke 19:5 New International Version (NIV)

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Jesus saw something in Zachaeus that no one noticed. He saw gold! Now, I am not talking about something materialistic, but he saw the gold in a man who was a tax collector. Zachaeus was a Jewish man who not only collected taxes, but he worked for the unclean Gentiles.

We see Jesus having this moment as he entered the town of Jericho. I could only imagine the crowd that flocked around Jesus. There would have been pushing and shoving to get a glimpse of the man who did miraculous healings.

I believe Jesus had people on his mind. He had his mind on those who were considered the garbage in life. He spent time with tax collectors, prostitutes, drunkards, and those who were looked down upon. As a matter of fact, we see throughout Scripture in the Gospels, he even knows them by name.

It is amazing what can happen in our own lives when we refuse to settle for the ‘garbage’ view, and we stay dedicated to the ‘gold’ view of people.

What if we chose to start seeing the potential of others like the addicts leading transformed lives and being part of our communities. Seeing those that have been imprisoned working to lead better lives. It takes seeing the ‘gold’ in people in the way Jesus does. Choose to be a finder of gold in others.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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