Treasure

Proverbs 2:4New International Version (NIV)

and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,

It is obvious this portion of the Bible is talking about the wisdom of God, but for me, I also like to think of treasure in my spouse. As men, we like to go and divide and conquer in our work and life.

I have always regarded my wife as a treasure from the Lord. She is a help mate, my companion, and the love of my heart. But we can get in a rut in the road and continue through life and assume our wives just know we treasure them.

The greatest gift that I can give to my wife, the treasure, is to help her know I have got her spiritually. What I mean by that is I pray for her daily, and I also pray with her daily. That has become the most special moments in our marriage.

When we pray, it is not about the kids or every day life. I pray a hedge of protection over her. I pray for her physical health. I also pray against the enemy. I pray about 2-3 minutes over her. Men, my wife knows where she is in my heart. She is a treasure.

I want you to think about this challenge in praying with your wife. Yes, at first it is a little awkward, but I promise that you will get over it quick. By praying over your wife, men, it can be some of the most special moments of your day.

Lead, men. That is the key that opens the treasure.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Vital Ministries News

Ephesians 5:33New International Version (NIV)

33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Are you set for Valentine’s Day? Yes, are you, not your wife making plans? Often, as men, we allow our wives to make the plans or give suggestions for Valentine’s Day. That is not the right way, men. Let’s look at a few suggestions that will keep you out of the dog house and into the right way of looking at the big day.

  1. Actually plan ahead – Make a plan for Valentine’s Day, get suggestions from her, but you take the initiative to make the call.
  2. Give her a card – I suggest you add a small letter attached with the card, letting her know that she is the woman in your life, and let her know she is a treasure.
  3. Meet her for lunch – Ask her out for lunch, that would shock her, and get the fire started early in the day.
  4. Intimacy – Without a doubt, that is a part of the plan. The beginning of the day has been established and make it all from the heart.
  5. Lights Out – When all is said and done, a small token showing her she is special will make her feel treasured: A bottle of her favorite perfume, body lotion, or something that is special to her.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Live There

I John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

Every year, when I strap on my pack, grab my bow and disappear up some distant mountain side, I’m rusty.  I’ve spent the past 50 weeks at 800 feet elevation, generally within a stone’s throw from a roadway and mere walk to the fridge for food.  My senses do not need to be razor sharp for me to get through the day to day.  Now on the mountain, different story.  Each year, it comes back to me a little easier, but nonetheless, it takes some acclimation.  What it requires is a total immersion.  I must dive off into that environment, smell it’s smells, hear it’s sounds, feel it, taste it… live it.  There’s the key… I must live it.  I must abide in those surroundings, among the wild things before I can really start to get in tune, to think and anticipate as is necessary to be successful.

During my Wednesday evening men’s group, one of the guys spoke about some of his struggles and frustrations following Jesus.  He stated, at times he thinks about how much easier aspects of his life were before he knew the truth of the gospels.  Before he “knew”, there were areas of his life, thanks to prior oblivion, he could just sail through and not have a moment’s pause.  Now, it can be a struggle, stressful.  Another thing he expressed was frustration and impatience in hearing from God.  We talk about hearing God’s still small voice, guiding, encouraging and correcting us.  My friend said he struggles with that, discerning God’s voice in his day to day walk.  He said he wishes God would just shout His desires, get His attention so that there’s no doubt as to His will.  

I get it.  I agree with it.  His points are very valid and I too find myself struggling and at times wishing the same.  As I went away from that conversation, I continued to meditate on what he was saying, wondering why it is the way it is.  I think most disciples would express very similar dilemmas and many will live out their walk stuck in that frustration.  So, how does one go about correcting that?  

I found myself thinking about my experiences, struggles as well as successes, as a bowhunter.  I recognized some very strong parallels.  My success atop a mountain, usually comes after really tuning into the environment.  The game is not shouting from the ridge line, “hey, I’m over here!  You need to do this, then that and you’ll be on your way.”  What it requires is patience, development and immersion.  I have to live there.  It’s only after I truly abide on that mountainside that I develop a level of awareness that allows me to pick up on the seemingly invisible sights, inaudible sounds and subtle smells.  My level of alertness begins to match my surrounds and I can more fully recognize and realize those hard to perceive nuances.  

If we want that level of connection with and awareness of the Lord, His wants, plans and desires for us, doesn’t it only make sense that it would require a total immersion in Him?  How can we expect to be able to discern His voice from our own or the other ambients striving to drown Him out, if we don’t live, abide in Him? 

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”   From the moment we heed that call, we recognize and receive it readily, His call to our salvation, His grace and mercy.  Unfortunately, that’s where too many stop.  We don’t get to realize the fullness of what He is offering, life in Him, because we don’t continue on into verse 29,Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,  for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Then we wonder, “is this it?  Ok, I’m saved, but I thought there would be more.”  

The good news, there is more!!!  Jesus tells us in John 15:4, Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”  He’s telling us, come and live in me and you will experience the fullness I have prepared for you!  That’s it, My Friends!  You want to know the fullness, ease, peace and glory God has for you, abide in that Mountain!  Devour His word, converse with Him, pray, make yourself a permanent resident.  That’s what He wants.  He wants you to learn from Him, to be in tune, perfectly aware.  But, the only way that happens is to live there!  Praise God!  Have a blessed weekend!

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Out of Control

I tell my wife that there are usually 1-2 days a year that I would like to have an all-wheel drive vehicle, and on those days, I probably shouldn’t be out anyway.  The rest of the time, I usually get by just fine with front wheel drive and good tires.  If you were out and about in the past 24 hours, maybe you saw a vehicle or two in the ditch, hopefully not yours.  I put in quite a few miles over the snowy roads and though I drove fairly conservatively, a couple of times I had a wake-up call that things might not be going my way.  It wasn’t even more than a second, but I could feel the tires slip on the pavement, letting me know that I was not fully in control of the situation.  The second time, just a moment after I noticed a 4 wheel drive truck off the shoulder in a ditch, the car did a slight side slide at highway speeds again.  I was extra cautious the next mile or so.  It doesn’t take more than a moment for life to go from cruising speed to sideways or upside down, given the right circumstances.  Where do you turn when you lose control of the situation?

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Psalm 46:1-3

I find that experiences with a vehicle can provide many metaphors that may apply to life in general.  Taking a variety of routes to get to our destination, mechanical failures, overkill, dealing with adverse conditions, accidents, road rage, etc. can all teach us something about how we live our lives.  Trying to negotiate mud roads without sliding off, driving through a blizzard, and having engine trouble have all led me to turn my attention to God for help when things were not going as planned.  Maybe these are teachable moments where He can get my attention more quickly than in other ways.  Or, it is a quick reminder that all my actions have consequences that also impacts others, regardless of the situation.  May God open our eyes to the reality of any selfish or destructive habits we have picked up in our lives. 

In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.  From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.  Psalm 18:6

Where do you turn for strength and stability when life takes a U turn?  Whether that is a career change, financial trouble, illness, or death of someone in your life, sometimes the future may seem gloomy.  When going through some of these seasons when the outcome seems out of our hands, we can deal with it in healthy or destructive ways.  Trying to ‘go it alone’ and isolating ourselves is not the best route in the long run.  We may even take this negative attitude toward God when we believe we are being punished, treated unfairly, or getting what we deserve.  Talking it out with God and/or a trusted friend may help us get beyond the gloom of our current circumstances to see the bigger picture.  When things are out of our control, often we have to trust in the experience or expertise of others to help us get through it.  If you know someone going through a difficult time, offer to spend some time with them where you can listen, just as God would do for you. 

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

So, the next time your life takes an unexpected turn, dip, or dead end, remember that you will get through it.  Life almost never goes as planned, but with the right relationships and perspective on life, we can deal with it.  An when we each reach the ultimate end of this life in our physical death, may we be reminded that something better awaits us through that trial as well.  When life goes out of control, remember to put your trust on the One who is in control of all things.  May the peace of God be with you now and always.

Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

Who is your guide?

I have spent a lot of time recently looking through the different seasons of my life and what contributed to the good seasons and the challenging ones.  Here is what I have learned.  Who I allowed to speak into my life determined the quality and direction of my life.  When I was in college, I had a mentor who was rough, offensive, arrogant, and caused hurtful waves in relationships.  Sad to say in those years and some to follow I was rough, offensive, arrogant, and caused hurtful waves.  It brought challenges in the relationships I valued most.  I did not know any better.  Today my heart grieves some of the things I have said and did that hurt the people I love.  I have had to repent to so many people as a result.

hkuoyzj4rtu-davide-cantelliProverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

A couple of years later, I got a new mentor.  He was a peacemaker.  Do not get me wrong… He was strong, direct, loving, and by no means passive.  He taught me, corrected me, and at times lovingly rebuked me.  Often it hurt and challenged the way I had been living, all the things that I had learned from my previous leader.  This new mentor made me better, helped me find spiritual strength, and told me the truth.  

King David had 3 relationships that made him a better man. Samuel was a prophet looking for a new king for Israel.  Jesse (David’s dad) brought all of David’s brothers to meet Samuel thinking one of his oldest and strongest would be chosen.  Samuel by the power of the Holy Spirit saw something in David that no one else saw.  Everyone else looked at the outside but God looks at the inside.  Samuel made David better because he call out the gift of God in him.  David also had Jonathan.  Jonathan was King Saul’s son.  There was a time David was ready to give up on what God had called him to do and Jonathan approached him and said…

1 Samuel 23:16 Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. (emphasis mine)

Jonathan helped David find spiritual strength.  David also had Nathan.  Samuel the prophet had died and Nathan took his place.  Later in David’s life, he fell into sin and tried to cover it up.  David is king now and hold the power to do what ever he wants.  Nathan learns of David’s sin and rebukes David in a way he did not expect. David repents of his sin and spends a large portion of his life trying to resolve the consequence of his sin.  Nathan loves David enough to tell him the truth.  

So who is your Samuel, your Jonathan, your Nathan?  You will never be who God has called you to be without them.  Get humble, seek God for who He wants to play those roles in your life.  Go ask them!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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