Vital Ministries News

What are you hoping for in this season? My hope lies in the promise for all to know Jesus in a real and personal way. He is our hope for the future. He truly has a plan for each one of us.

Strength and Courage

Michael

Righteous Rise

II Timothy 4:18 (NASB) The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

It’s difficult to suffer under the hand of falsehood.  For most of us, this consists of simple misunderstandings or deliberate distortions meant to discredit us or do us some form of harm.  Others, like Paul, will suffer severely under a heavy hand of falsehood, deceit, corruption and contempt. 

I have known people who have suffered greatly at the hand of deceivers, people who have lost or nearly lost everything they had including their public reputation.  I know one such person currently suffering under just such a yoke.  What amazes me is the resilience God grants to those who stand on TRUTH.  It may not be easy, and one would certainly never desire to be on the receiving end of such treatment, but when sided with truth, righteousness will always rise to the surface. 

When I see those under extraordinary persecution, it is heart wrenching but inspiring at the same time.  In these examples, to see God hold them securely and lovingly in His right hand, to grant them the strength necessary to stand under such strain, shows me how little I have to fear in the rather minor occurrences of my life.  Their example offers assurance that no matter what it is, with that kind of faith, God will rescue us from evil big or small. 

So, to those reading this, who embody this virtue, I thank you and God Blesses you.  Hold fast, stand with truth and let the promise of God’s righteousness carry you through to glory!  Have a blessed weekend.

Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Little Shadows

Around our home the past several months, we have been dealing with a 2 year old attitude which can fluctuate from kind and helpful to an unrelentingly selfish little boy.  When he is determined to do something and you offer to assist in any way, his first reply is often an emphatic “No, Me do!”  I suppose if we always let others do everything for us, we would not grow much in our development.  There are other times when this same guy can attempt something a couple times, then get frustrated, give up, and want you to do it for him.  If it is something, like taking off his socks, that he has done before and is capable of doing on his own, we encourage him by saying ‘you do it.’  This can lead to motivation or further frustration depending on the day.  So, when we are given instructions to do something opposite of what we feel like doing, what is our first response? 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;   in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

The other thing I have seen lately is that when I am around this little guy for very long, I notice that he is watching and imitating most everything I am doing.  From the way I hold my arms, to the tasks that I am working on, to the words that I say, he wants to copy me.  While this is flattering in many ways, it is also humbling, as it makes me more aware of my actions and some of the flaws in my life that I would rather not have anyone see or do.  It may seem kind of ironic, being held accountable by a 2 year old, but better someone than no one, whether young or old.  I have always been struck by the boldness of Paul, when he asks us to imitate his behavior.  Are we able to say the same to anyone…do as I do?

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.  1 Corinthians 11:1

Who are you imitating?  Is there someone you have read about or even who you may see on a day to day basis that you strive to be like?  Maybe you remember the phrase popular and possibly overused 20 some years ago that asked ‘what would Jesus do?’  He is our ultimate example of God in the flesh and how to interact with others and with God the Father in this life.  It may seem unattainable at times, but those are the times we need to ask for more help, instead of trying to ‘go it alone’ as we so often do.  So, if you have someone willing to lend you a hand from time to time, whether they be 8 or 80 years old or somewhere in between, accept that help and learn from it, so that they can do the same.  Turn to your Heavenly Father and the example of his Son when you realize you need help, instead of as a last resort.  When we ask, the answer we get may be ‘you do it’ or ‘let them help you’, either of which we may not initially like.  Give others the opportunity to teach you and to lead by example, so that you can do the same for anyone else who asks, whether a stranger or a little shadow. 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Hebrews 4:16

Courage in Christ,
Clark

 

Live a Better Story

One of the most frustrating things for me, is someone who has so much potential but lacks the drive or focus to realize it.  At the core of my being I believe we are created in the image of God and in that image we have be designed to live great stories.  I think most people believe that.  Due to that belief we know there is a better story than the one we are currently leaving, what if you really could live a better story?

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord

The promise of knowing God, being loved by God, and living the future he designed for us is a better story than we are currently living.  So think about your story… Do you know God?  Do you know the depths of His love for you?  Are you living the fullness of the future that is planned for you?

Today I want to think about the future of your life… Is your relationships reflecting God’s future? Does your finances reflect God’s blessing and generosity?  Does your time reflect God’s values?  Does your health reflect his wisdom?  Does your time alone with Him reflect His worth?

I don’t ask these questions to make you feel bad, but to challenge you to something more.  If you focused on one thing for the next few months, what would make the biggest difference?

Write it down.  Now what are three things you could do in the next 3 months that would make a difference?  When will you do these things?

GO DO IT! Make a difference and live a better story.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus 

Brandon Sereg

Special Access?

I used to help organize an event featuring a major Christian recording artist. Every year I would have many people pleading with me for special access to this famous individual. When I would explain that was not possible, as the artist’s contract was very specific on such matters, I heard all sorts of rationales about why I should make an exception. People were quick to remind me about previous favors they had done me, the amount of hours they had volunteered, their various leadership roles, a specific difficulty they had in life, etc. Everyone, it seemed, had a reason for why they deserved special treatment. We are often like this in life. We think that because we have worked so hard, accomplished certain things, suffered through certain situations, and the life that we deserve to be rewarded in some way. But, is that really how things work?

One day a group of people approached Jesus. They sought Jesus help for a local Centurion (a solider in charge of 100 other soldiers), whose son was in grave condition. The individuals, who were community leaders themselves, tried to convince Jesus of the worthiness of the Centurion. They mentioned his love for Israel, his work rebuilding the Temple, and his position of authority. Jesus followed the leaders to the Centurion’s house, but before he arrived the Centurion sent messengers telling Jesus:

Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Luke 7:6-8

Here are two big learnings from this scripture:

Faith matters more than titles and accomplishments: What impressed Jesus was not the Centurion’s rank, accomplishments, or popularity, it was his faith in the power and love of Jesus. What is interesting is that throughout history other religions have made their gods the gods of the rich and powerful. The more power and prestigious you had the more access you had to divine benefits. Jesus is saying that God does not care about all of that, what God cares about is our sincere love and faith towards him.

God’s accomplishments, not ours: Here is this Centurion, who has every right to think he deserves special treatment, approaching Jesus in humility. You see, the Centurion understood that when it comes to the miraculous it is God that provides, not us. It is God that graciously gives us salvation, not us that earn it. It is God who bestows our gifts, talents, and blessings, things that he planned out before we were born. For this reason we see Jesus recruiting tax collectors, fishermen, notorious sinners, and the like to his inner circle. What matters most to God is not our worldly accomplishments, but our faith and willingness to truly follow Him.

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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