It Is Not The End!

1 Thessalonians 4:16New International Version (NIV)

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Today we observe not only those who have passed away or died for our country, but we also observe those who have died and gone on to Heaven to be with the Lord. We decorate our streets, our cemeteries, our downtown squares with American Flags.

In the town in which I live, our street is decorated with American Flags for many blocks. It is exhilarating to drive down the streets and see the sight. It is an honor to be an American in which we live, the Land of the Free and the Brave.

I will also visit the graves of my mother, grandparents, uncles, and cousins. I will stand and look at their headstones and remember their lives they lived between the two dates. Scripture gives me comfort knowing it is not the end, but it is the beginning of the next life of being in the actual presence of Christ.

It is also in my mind that this will be the end of my life on earth if Jesus does not return in my lifetime. I am thankful to the Father to get a chance to live, to make a mark on the time I have been given.

Today is a true day to remember to give tribute to all who have left this earth. We only have one chance in life to be a good man. What will your life be remembered for? It is a sobering thought, but truth is remembered from the life you lived.

I am going to end today with this thought from General George S. Patton, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

No Greater Sacrifice

John 15:13New International Version (NIV)

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

This coming Monday is a day we set aside to honor those who have sacrificed their time and some their lives, so that we may have freedom in this country we live in. We will go out as a nation and decorate the graves of those who gave.

The Apostle John wrote about sacrifice. No greater love to lay down one’s life. Love of God and country has been a commitment to those who have served in our military. Many I believe came to know who God was either in the fight in a fox hole or on the battle field. They gave so that we might be free. 

I believe that our country still believes even though the media might point another way. Today, we are free men. We also can experience freedom in Christ, the one who ultimately gave with no greater love.

The best Vital Men News I can give us today is to walk in your freedom. Visit the memorials and give regard to the One True God. Jesus Christ is our King who gave no greater sacrifice.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Burden of Proof

facebook_1463723276317 There are a great many out there who require proof. They want the tangible empirical evidence to the validity of the Bible. I understand you, believe me, I understand you. I am very much a proof’s in the pudding kind of man. I’ll believe what you are telling me, just prove it to me. Black, white, right, wrong pretty well sums up how I see things. So, praise God that He side stepped that need in me for this purpose. He saw fit to strongly instill in me the spiritual gift of faith. Due to that, I have no difficulty in accepting scripture as irrevocable truth. It is probably the only thing I can. For some time now, I have been studying the evidence that supports the veracity of God’s word. It is astounding the volume of empirical, archaeological, eye witness, manuscript (biblical and secular) evidence known to us. As compelling, the lack of any such evidence to refute it is staggering. Through my research, thanks to the blinder freeing faith, God has been loading my gun. Someone reading this has questions, wants proof, needs convincing. Guess what, the disciples of Christ’s time needed proof too. When He was captured, they fled. When He was murdered, they hid. When the tomb was discovered empty, they pondered, wondered, doubted. It was not until God proved it in the flesh, that their faith was restored. To me, their behavior is the greatest testimony, the most enticing evidence that Jesus Christ was and is who He claimed to be. Jesus’ followers were lost, scared, grief stricken. They were hardly the picture of champions of a world changing movement. They abandoned Him, they hid and contemplated their return home. It was over for them. Then, suddenly they are emboldened, rejuvenated and proclaiming the Gospel of the resurrected Christ. Men and women in the state they were in do not simply flip a switch and spin 180 degrees. At least not to maintain a fiction. No one could muster the courage, joy, patience, vigilance and willingness to be martyred as they did. No one. Show me any other example in human history of such a transformation. There’s only one logical conclusion to draw from this. It is subjective evidence bearing witness to the objective fact that Jesus Christ arose on the third day. For only a risen Christ could have such transforming power on a person’s life. John 20:29 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy, Scott Pace

Cute

 

This is one of the most superficial words I know.  It is used a bit more than I am comfortable hearing as well.  It is used 10x more by women than men, but for most of us, it is a cute fact of life.  Remember, men and women are not better than one another, just different.  If you use Facebook, Instagram or any other social media with photos, the word ‘cute’ is often used to describe anything from a baby to a living room, shoes, family photo, house, car, potato peeler, etc, you get the idea.  It is typically used in a complimentary context, which is nice, but it also generally refers to the outward appearance or first impression only.  What do you think is cute?  Where do we go from there?

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

When my wife asks my opinion of any furniture, wall hanging, or other decorative thing for the house, I often just say it is nice or cute, which is not always what she is looking for.  I have some preferences, but generally defer to her for most of those decisions.  I have said before, I can (and have) lived with any color wall or style of furniture, as function tends to trump form on my priority list.  Most men would probably say the same for most things in that we want things that work well instead of/in addition to things that look nice.  Can the same be said of the people in our lives?  Do we try to surround ourselves with an outward appearance that will try to impress others/God, or people with genuine substance and depth of character.  Maybe we try for both, but which is our priority?  We may like to have a cute house and a cute family that others can see, but hopefully, when people get to know us, we are much deeper than can be seen from first impressions. 

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  Isaiah 53:2

Hopefully, you are not taken in by celebrity news/gossip, as it is full of people trying to get their name in the headlines, and others wishing their mistakes were not broadcast for public ogling.  There are few celebrities who are genuinely humble and try to downplay their role as popular.  The best example I can think of is Jesus.  Word got around that a new guy was doing some pretty amazing things…healing the sick, speaking with authority, forgiving sins.  Yet he was not one to seek a crowd and become a celebrity, but in fact did the opposite.  He told some he healed not to tell anyone what had happened, which goes against human nature.  He enabled the blind to see the appearance of things in the world around them for the first time, though they probably knew true beauty and ugliness better than those who could see.  Christ knew the true motives of all those around him and often called them out.  What would he have said about me?

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.  Philippians 1:9-10

As we mature in our faith, may we continually be able to discern the true motives in what we see before us.  May we be able to understand the spiritual forces in everything that we encounter throughout the day.  Don’t disparage another’s comment about how cute something is, but rather help them dig deeper into why it matters.  Help your friends and family develop depth of character and not just a superficial appearance of one.  Seek to be a Christian in name and substance and you will honor the one who’s name we claim!

Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

Disappointing God

contemplating-1379133-1279x717I recently disappointed someone. We could sit here and argue over whether or not I truly messed up, but the reality is that regardless of my intent the result was them feeling let down by me, and I hate letting people down. I’m actually not sure what feeling is worse: disappointing someone or being the one that is disappointed. Both feelings are, in my opinion, incredibly unpleasant and unwanted. Yet, as we go through life we end up being on both sides of disappointment a fair amount of times.

 

As I’ve though about disappointment I’ve thought about how often I must disappoint God. Every time I bend the truth, ignore someone in need, take the easy way out, hoard my time, money, and resources, or choose the selfish path I disappoint God. See, God did not create any of us to be sinners, but rather to be masterpieces. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Here are two things I think we can learn about disappointing God from that verse.

  1. Instead of disappointing God by sinning, we do the good things he created us to do. God didn’t just make us to live an ordinary live, but to live a life that makes a profound impact. He formed each of us to make a positive impact on the world, and it is our responsibility to make that impact. Take a moment to examine your life today. In what ways are you doing the good things God has made you to do? In what ways are you falling short? Choose to cut out the bad, and to add in as much good as possible.

 

  1. When we disappoint God, he never holds a grudge: This is how God is so radically different from us humans. He loves and cares for us unconditionally. No matter how many times we fail to live up to his standards he continues to forgive and love us. When we disappoint God there are two steps we always need to take: we ask forgiveness and sincerely work at changing our ways. While we often see the act of admitting our wrongs as repentance, the truth is that it is these two steps together that actually equal repentance. True repentance is confessing our sins and choosing to change our sinful behaviors. When we are truly repentant God does not hold a grudge or constantly rub our wrongs in our face, but instead creates us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

 

This week let us all strive to be the masterpieces God created us to be, and when we do inevitably disappoint God let us be quick to truly repent of our actions by confessing and changing our ways.

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