Call For Confirmation

Judges 6:17New International Version (NIV)

17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.

We see in the Bible, the story of Gideon’s fleece. A man who asked the Lord several times about confirmation about direction for his life and leading the people of Israel.

Their are always times in our lives that we seek confirmation from the Lord. We see in Scripture that God did not condemn Gideon for wanting confirmation, and I believe that still holds true for us today.

As we seek God for guidance and confirmation, we can ask these questions to confirm how God is speaking to us.

  1. Does it align with the Bible? God’s voice never disagrees with the written Word.
  2. Does Godly counsel agree? What are other men or your wife saying about the matter? Do not just go to those who you think might agree with you.
  3. Does peace reign in your heart? Do you have peace in your decision? 

Maybe today you are looking for confirmation in some situation in your life. Allow these 3 principles to direct you in your decision.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Rest…oration

I enjoy being tested, challenged.  I believe it is one of the greatest methods to achieving rapid rates of gain.  As an archer I get better by challenging myself with more difficult shots.  As a hunter, my skill and expertise advances more quickly when I’m placed in a challenging environment, pitted against cagey prey.  As a student, the acquisition of knowledge is accelerated when posed a difficult question.  The kind of question that sends you on a quest.  Today’s commentary is about such a quest.

I am not a theologian.  I have no “formal” education to tout or shingle to hang above my door.  I am a believer in Jesus Christ, a child of God.  That’s it.  I read His word because I love Him and I want to know Him.  I want to realize the fullness of life He offers me and how He would use me to accomplish plans He has set in motion.  From time to time He challenges me by way of another’s inquiries.  Today is one of those days.

Isaiah 58:13,14 (NKJV) “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LordAnd I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

 I received a text from a good friend of mine, asking my thoughts on Isaiah 58:13-14.  I read it, backed up to secure the context and replied,  “He’s telling us how God blesses those who observe the Sabbath.”  He responded, “what do you think He means when He says, ‘not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words’?”  This is too much for text, time for a phone call.

Interesting enough, God has been preparing me for just such a conversation and provided just such a conversation to guide me to the conveyance of all concerned here today.  A couple months ago, God led me through a study on the significance and obligation of Sabbath observance.  Though I am completely unqualified to do so, I feel He has compelled me to express my discoveries and reflections.  

In Exodus 20:1-17, God instructs us in His ten commandments.  The fourth commandment being, “Remember the Sabbath day.”  Early on God is structuring our lives around a 6 day work week and one day of rest.  That holy day is to be one of remembrance of God’s glory and restoration of spirit and body, something that we as mortal beings require to be effective.  

Enter Jesus Christ in Mark 2:27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”   The Sabbath is a gift, given to us by God, to satisfy our need for restoration, not something merely to observe so that you may check it off a list. 

In Romans 14:5,6 Paul gives us some more clarity as to the impact of the fourth commandment under our new covenant in Christ Jesus saying, One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.”  

It would appear, according to Paul, unlike the other 9, the 4th commandment falls in with the “ceremonial” laws of the Mosaic covenant.  Therefore, making it’s observance, non-observance, and on which day, all days or no day, a matter of conscience.  

So, the answer to my friend’s question, “what did He mean by, not doing your own ways…”, is a question of the heart. Jesus (reiterated by Paul) is telling us that it is not the what, the how, or the when we are observing the Sabbath, but the why that’s important.  Are we doing so to restore ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually?  That’s why God gave us the Sabbath, after all.  For our benefit, restoration and drawing nearer to Him.  What are the motives of our heart?  Are our observances done so to the Lord?  Not doing your own ways, simply means, doing what God wants for us with Him on our hearts and minds in the process.  Every day is of Him, holy, “Sabbath”, so pursue Him from waking to sleep, read His word, pray and converse, executing every thought and action with Him in the foreground.  That’s what matters.  What it looks like is between your heart and His.  Have a blessed weekend!

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Grounded

If someone came to your door or called you and said they had something for sale that you really needed, how would you know if they were telling the truth?  How could you tell if they really had your best interest in mind?  More often than not, they probably don’t, but whether or not it is something that may benefit you, is up to you, as you should know yourself better than they do.  If we try hard enough, we can likely convince ourselves that anything may be good for us (have you ever had buyer’s remorse after you made an emotional purchase).  If others try hard enough or blow enough smoke, they may be able to convince us that something is true even if it is not.  How can you tell the difference?  If you know yourself and your family well enough, you know what is good and what is not good for you.  Know the truth and then what is false is easier to disregard. 

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

These days, there is a lot of discussion in politics and the media about what is true and what is not.  In fact, the word of the year from a couple sources was ‘post-truth’ and ‘surreal’.  When lies and half-truths are being regularly delivered, it is easy to get muddled in what to believe or not from a variety of people.  Instead of being swayed by someone’s emotion, hold what they say up to the gold standard – what we know is true.  In a post-modern culture which holds truth and tradition as suspect anyway, it is fairly normal for many to disregard the truth and hold fast to many a lie.  As Christian, be thankful that we have something that has proven true yesterday, today, and forever…God and his Word. 

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.  1 Timothy 4:6

Some people cringe when they hear the word ‘doctrine’.  They may feel that it is harsh, stifling, academic, and restrictive.  They may say that all you need is love and Jesus, but even good intent, when misguided can be harmful.  Even with a basic knowledge of the Gospel, you can share this truth with others.  But when people throw back dozens of objections and smokescreens, they are not open to hearing the truth, but often just want to argue away your faith.  You can decide which conversations are worthwhile and which may not be productive, but holding to the truth is imperative.  Even with believers, you can become drawn into discussions where you are splitting hairs over fine details of doctrine or interpretation, but for your own sake, it may be good to explore some of these issues and hold them to the truth of the scriptures.  Being graceful in your speech while holding to the truth is not always easy, but is helpful to avoid either party becoming angry or hostile.

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.  2 Timothy 2:23-25

So, look for opportunities to engage others in conversation, and test whatever you hear or say against the truth found in scripture.  It will make God’s Word more true in your life and much easier to discern what is truth from what is false in the world.  Encourage others by sharing these truths and living them out as well.  Share the truth in love with one another and be thankful you are standing on the Rock instead of a foundation that could easily give way.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  Ephesians 4:14-15


Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

3 Kinds of Friends Part 1

Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. 

Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

These are just a few of the many verses referencing healthy friendship.  I have found that there are 3 kinds of friendship that all of us should have.

  1. Core Friends

wa-gs5r58ga-tim-marshallJesus had the 12 disciples but Peter, James and John were His core.  He shared and showed more to them than the other 9.  When you have the right core friends.  All of your core friends should be strong believers and unless you are married to them or blood related, they should all be the same gender. These friends are the ones you share your life with.  They give you insight and strength.  When you have the right core friends, the roots of your faith, character, and relationships dig deeper and give you greater capacity for the next levels of friendship.  A tree with shallow roots and broad branches will never weather a storm.  Jesus said we would have storms and modeled keeping a strong core to have strong roots.

2. Squad Friends

These friends are the ones you spend a lot of time with.  You have fun and love doing life with these people.  Most of the friends in this group should be believers.  To do this level of friendship well and not destroy your roots you need to know how to do relationships here. This is not the group of people who you look to for advice, and you will need to have some strong resolve in two areas: 1. I will never let my friends distract me from God’s plan.  Jesus was on a mission to lay down his life to save the world, but the 12 tried to encourage him not to go to the cross. Jesus deep roots and clear resolve kept him on mission.  2. I will never let my friends continually tempt me to sin. Temptation is inevitable, but we all know the people that intentionally tempt us to compromise our values.  That is why in this relationship you HAVE to be the influencer and not the one influenced.  If you cannot do that the best thing you can to is separate this friendship to the next level.

3. Missional Friends

I am going to write more about this next week.  How do we lead people far to God to Him?  Jesus was clear to GO!

So do you have the right people in your core?  Who do you share your heart with that shouldn’t be in your core?  Who is in your squad that distracts you from God’s plan or tempts you continually?  Get the right core so your roots can dig deep and your reach of God’s plan for you life can reach it’s potential.  Show me your friends and Ill show you your future.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Take a Chance

Straddling the border between Switzerland and Italy, the Matterhorn is known for its unique shape, and historic difficultly to climb. Many of the world’s top climbers attempted to scale the Matterhorn, but few even got close (and may died in the attempt). The common belief was that the mountain was unscalable from the Swiss side (the side usually shown in photographs). The Italian side appeared significantly easier, so every serious climber made their attempt from the Italian side. After failing eight times to ascend from the Italian Edward Wymper decided to take a second look at the Swiss side. After substantial study he concluded that while the Swiss side looked unclimbable when viewed with the naked eye it was actually a much easier climb. Wymper concluded that the apparent unscalability viewed from the Swiss side was an optical illusion, and that if one actually tried to climb from the Swiss side they would find it to have a natural staircase. Wymper’s theory proved correct, with him successfully scaling the Matterhorn from the Swiss side on July 14th, 1865.

It amazes me that no one had ever bothered to check out the viability of scaling the Matterhorn from the Swiss side. They simply took one glance and wrote it off as impossible. As Christians, I fear we often do the same thing. We look at someone in our lives and see them as unreachable. We look at problems in our world and communities and believe them to be unsolvable. Like those early mountain climbers we declare defeat before we actually check things out. There is a great example of this in Numbers 13. The people of Israel have just made it to the border of the Promised Land, and Moses sends spies to explore the land. They reported back that the land is as grand as they had all imagined, but there is a major problem. The land is inhabited by warlike peoples that they could never defeat. The spies conclude they should stay out of the land. There was one spy, named Caleb, who saw things a bit differently. Caleb did three things upon seeing a difficult task that I think all of us need to do. 

  1. Envision the good: Caleb saw all of the positives in the land: its great soil, its beauty, its size, and its abundance of crops. He could envision his people thriving there generation after generation. When you see a difficult situation don’t just ask “what if I fail” ask “what if God makes this happen?” 
  2. Name the difficulties: Instead of just saying its too hard, too much work, or that we don’t have enough time actually name the specific problems. In verses 28-29 we see a pretty detailed account of the difficulties the people would face. Name the specific problems you will face, and pray to God for assistance and guidance in facing them. 
  3. Be God’s servants: Caleb declared: Let us go up at once and occupy the land, for we are well able to overcome it. Numbers 13:30. Sometimes we just need to serve God, even when it seems impossible. We do so knowing that while we may not be able to accomplish the task, but that with God’s help it may well be possible. 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

Listen to Mike Sereg on kBOE 104.9FM

LISTEN NOW

Sign me up!

  • Yes, I would like to receive the the Vital Men Daily Devotion email. Sign me up!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.