Redemption Value

The other day, I drove by the can recycling place and saw three people standing in line with several large bags of cans and kept on driving…not worth the wait.  I stopped back later after finishing a few things and was in and out in about 45 seconds…score!  I used to redeem my cans at a different place years ago and recall standing in line for over 20 minutes at times and thinking ‘this is not even worth the effort.’  I know some who don’t even bother taking in their Iowa cans for the nickel, while others walk miles along the road looking for a few random cans.  How can the same thing have such variable value to so many people?  What determines the value you place on a can or on a person’s life? 

You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.  I Corinthians 6:19-20

When you see a pile of trash bags, your first thought may be to ‘get rid of that before it starts stinking up the place!’  Others may say, ‘Wait, some of that can be used again’…proving that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  One phrase that has been popular in encouraging people to lessen the amount of waste they produce is to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  Reducing the amount of things you buy and consume will naturally cut down on waste and improve your budget.  If there are good things you no longer use such as clothes, furniture, tools, etc, then sell or donate them to someone who can use them.  Of all you have left, take it somewhere that will recycle it and make it into something useful.  We probably recycle 90% of what most people would toss out including paper, metal, plastic, cardboard, glass, and the like.  Even most food waste not eaten by the dog goes into the compost pile and eventually into the garden.  Sure, it takes a little extra effort, but the satisfaction is worth it. 

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:27

Can you see the same intrinsic worth in other people that you might see in a pile of things?  Do you determine someone’s worth based on what they can do for you, their ability to work hard, the clothes they wear, vehicle they drive, or their physical attractiveness?  Suppose someone comes along with a reputation, a criminal record, wild hair, or a lot of other baggage…would you give them a chance to prove themselves and work with you?  When we devalue others because of their physical appearance, disability, shade of skin, past actions, or other criteria, we devalue the God who created them.  Don’t get me wrong, there are bad people out there who would like to harm or take advantage of you, but what would happen if someone shared the good news of salvation and redemption in Christ with them?  God only knows.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.  Genesis 50:20

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.  Psalm 107:2

So we may look at someone who has squandered much of their life, someone who has wronged us in some way, or even our own life and ask ‘what good are they to society or to God?’  We need only look to the countless characters throughout the bible to see how the life of a murderer, a thief, an adulterer, a prostitute, a maniac, and countless others can be redeemed and used for the greater glory of God.  If God doesn’t give up on them, why should we?  We may even look at our own lives and say, ‘there is nothing special about me or my testimony that would make others take notice and change their lives’, but apparently you have never tried.  God uses the willing more than he uses the wonderful.  An ordinary person willing to take a step forward to be used by God and to speak the truth is worth more than 100 golden boys basking in their own glory, or the countless cold timid souls afraid to say a word.  Am I willing to look for the value in others that God does, and am I willing to go where He leads me? 

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Mark 10:45

Courage in Christ,
Clark

 

Asking for Help

Last week one of my American friends in Nicaragua came down with a virus. Most Nicaraguans don’t visit the doctor, but instead go straight to the pharmacist (a prescription is not required for most medications here, you simply go the the pharmacist, explain your symptoms, and they will give you the appropriate medication). While many foreigners will go to a doctor my friend wanted to do things the Nicaraguan way, so they visited the nearest pharmacy. They speak very little Spanish, so they used Google Translate to produce a “script” for their conversation with the pharmacist. They practiced this script, and must have delivered it well, because the pharmacist not only understood them, but preceded to respond rapidly in Spanish. Not wanting to let on that they had no clue what was being said, they simply nodded and said si a lot, finally leaving with three different medications. Upon arriving home they realized they had no idea how to use them. Another interesting factor here is that they often don’t give you the finished product at the pharmacy. For liquid medicines they give you a powder that you then have to mix with water to create the medicine. Once again, since my friend had said si over and over they had no idea how strong to make the medicine. So, they just guessed. As you can imagine, my friend ended up OD’ing on medications, and nearly had to be taken to the emergency room. They’ve learned that next time they need to admit they don’t speak Spanish and take someone with them who can translate. 

I share this story because most of us hate to admit we don’t know what we are doing, and we REALLY hate to ask for help. This is especially a problem for us as men. We would rather suffer mightily then ask for help. If you think about that for a minute, that’s really a ridiculous sentiment! Yet, nearly everyday we chose to go it alone instead of asking God to help us with the many trials we face. Look at what Jesus tells us about asking for God’s help and guidance in life: 

 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:12-14

God desires to hear our needs in life, and God desires to help us with our needs. God never meant us to go through life alone based solely on our own abilities. He desires to hear us and to help us. We need to realize that it is actually VERY manly to ask for God’s help. This week, share with God all of the challenges you are facing and the struggles that you have. Stop suffering needlessly, and start asking for help from the creator, sustainer, and savior of all. 

 

Not Fair!

James 1:12New International Version (NIV)

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

We have all had those moments of ‘It’s not fair!’ This past week I had one of those moments. I do a radio show every week on our local radio station and I usually only do teachings on it. I will keep reminding myself of that more.

There was this one candidate who was running for a local office and was struggling in knowing what to do next. So this person called me and shared the frustration. In a moment without thinking it through, I said that I would interview this person on my radio program and talk about faith and how faith helped this person. This brought on a chain of unexpected events.

Two weeks later after this radio interview, I was called by the station manager explaining to me that what I had done could not be done. It got the radio station crossways with the other candidates. The consequences could cause my radio spot to come to an end.

In my mind, I ranted, “It’s not fair!” It was on of these dirt kicking moments. I was angry. I thought I had done a good thing, so I thought.

Later that day, I spoke to my son about it. He stated that I needed to humble myself and apologize. 

The next day, I had a meeting with the station’s operations manager. I walked in and owned the mistake. I humbled myself and was ready to pay the consequences. The manager said, “Mike, we like your show and what it brings to our listeners. I accept your apology. What I need is for your willingness to have another candidate on your show, and things will be smoothed over.”

Wow! I was thankful for the opportunity to do this and to keep my spot on the station. I humbled myself, and Jesus gets the glory. What I learned was that life is not always fair. It is how we act in it that changes us. Men, as a good friend always tells me when those situations happen, “Onward and upward. Be a man of character.”

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Calling all men!! We start Vital Men in all locations!!

We will be studying the book Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson.

We are looking forward to studying what it means to chase after that lion in your life. We have listed 6 communities to which you can get plugged into being with other men.

Tuesday:

Knoxville meets at the Marion County Fair Grounds 6:30-8:00

Oskaloosa meets at the Vital Ministries Building 6:30-8:00

Ottumwa meets at Country Kitchen 6:30-8:00

 

Wednesday:

Pella meets at The Well 6:30-8:00

 

Thursday:

Newton meets at Bridgehouse 6:30-8:00

New Sharon meets at First Christian Church 6:30-8:00

Grandeur!

Job 12:7-10 (NKJV) “But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you ; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; And the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know That the hand of the Lord has done this, 10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?

I sit at the foothills of the Rockies, drafting this day’s devotion.  As, you read this, I will be atop an 11000 foot ridge in the Uinta Mountains of Utah.  I do not know if tags have been filled yet.  However, I know I’m surrounded by God’s glorious creation, one of my favorite gifts of the Lord.

As I read 12:7-10 from Job, I’m struck with an epiphany.  I’m headed to the mountains, a beautiful awe inspiring place.  Most reading this would be rocked by the majesty of God’s creation in this instance.  How many are equally awed by it in their every day life? 

God’s workmanship is all… ALL around us.  It is in every single facet of the world around us… in us, down to the smallest singular component of existence, an atom.  AWE-inspiring!!!  How many can say they really think about our everyday in this light?  The beasts, birds, fish, the earth itself knows and screams the might and majesty of God, His creation and the breath He gives.

I’m headed to the mountains and I will ask the beasts, birds and earth to teach me.  They will and I will learn.  It’s a humbling experience to be there and see such grandeur.  However, thanks to Job and the witness of ALL of God’s creation, I will be more mindful of the grandeur about me every single day, as well.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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