Making others Better

I’ve come to the opinion that cookies are able to simultaneously be the absolute best and worst things for me. They are the best because, let’s face it, a really good, warm, and fresh chocolate chip cookie is just about the best thing there is. On the flip side, however, is the fact that eating just four of these scrumptious creations blows my ENTIRE calorie allotment for the day. Every time I see an awesome looking plate of cookies I’m faces with that tension of I know it’s a wonderful thing, but I also know it can be a bad thing if I’m not careful.

As crazy as it may sounds, our relationships (friendships, marriages, work, etc.) can be very similar. Few things in this life are better then a thriving relationship. A solid relationship can make you better in so many ways, offering you encouragement, helping you through difficulty, drawing your nearer to Christ, and answering questions. A bad relationship, however, can lead to immense pain, conflict, and more. In fact, broken relationships may be the number one non-medical related problem I see people really struggling with in life is relationships.

While relationships can take on many facets and be incredibly complicated, let me offer up one piece of advice today: the overall goal and focus of every relationship we are in is to make the other person better. The point of a relationship should never be about what we get out of it, but about what we are giving to others. If we all adopted this view of relationships we would rather quickly see the extinction of gossip, slander, betrayal, bruised feelings, and the like. Philippians 2:3 puts it like this:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

Relationships can be one of the greatest aspects of our lives, or one of the worst. To make the most out of them heed Paul’s advice in Philippians and make the goal of every relationship not the betterment of yourself, but the betterment of others.

What About Honor?

 

1 Peter 2:17 New International Version

17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

 

Peter tells us to honor those who are in authority over us. This includes a mayor, a governor, and the president. We need to remember the fact that God gives all governing authorities.

I am especially reminded of this as we head into this year’s presidential election. I am mindful that our vote is a privilege and honor that we have been given from our founding fathers in the beginning of our nation.

It is essential for us to know of the candidates and what they stand for. We need to know who they are as a person. We need to know their previous stances in how they have voted. Every election is important. It is our American right to vote, and it is a good right.

I would encourage us all to look at the person we vote for as to their Christian beliefs and what kind of a family person they are. This speaks volumes into the honor of such a high position as president.

Remember that honor is not always about awards, wealth, political clout, worldly power, or celebrity status. Those who seek and thrive at the world’s honor are not mindful of things of God. It becomes all about them. 1 Peter 5:6 says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’

I like the quote, ‘A man who would die for something has everything to live for’. 

Jesus did that as the Son of Man. Jesus is the ultimate authority and a man of great honor.

Let’s be Vital Men and respect those who are in authority over us. Let’s be ‘In the Know’ as we seek the next person who will be in authority over us as president of our country. Keep in mind the characteristics of being humble before our Lord Jesus Christ.

Strength and Courage

Mike

 

 

 

Vital Ministries News

Praising Jesus

John 4:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

Worship without truth does nothing for us and God rejects worship that is not done in truth. Truth without the Spirit is a man made worship. It is important for us as men to realize as we joined together on February 1st, that both worship and truth came together.

I was so encouraged by the Vital Man Band in how they brought us into worship. I was also challenged by the truth that was brought up in our new teaching, ‘Destiny’.

Men, the hour has come, and now is the time for us to be real in our worship to God. Listen and act upon the truth we received from God’s Word. Let’s be challenged by what we received in worship and truth. Allow our lives to be continuously transformed by the Truth and the Word.

 

Next Quarterly Event

May 2, 2016

Vermeer Global Pavilion

Supper Provided by Country Catering

Speakers: Schmidt x 2 = Andrew Schmidt, Celebrate Church, Knoxville + Marty Schmidt, Bridgeview Church, Ottumwa

The Charlie Koopman Band Will Lead Worship

More Information Coming Soon.

 

 

Vital Men ONLY Motorcycle Event

June 3, 4, and 5

Road Tripping to Northwest Iowa

Organizer:  Buck Kraft 641-780-1295

This is a great opportunity to bring another man or son who can ride on this three day trip.

Strength and Courage

Mike

 

 

 

Pride, Nothing but a Roadblock

Each week, the topic for Friday’s devotion generally comes from a study that an event or conversation prompts.  This week is no different.

 

On Wednesday, I received a phone call from a man dear to me.  This man has been battling a number of difficult circumstances over the last several years.  One of his primary battles came to a head this week.  The long and short of it, he has been backed into a principled corner.  He chose to stand on his convictions and what he believes is the Godly position and, consequently, the folks on the other side of the battle have meted out harsh punishment.  He has chosen to stand resolute on this, despite a wavering support structure, hardship and uncertainty.

As I listened to him explain these happenings and the backlash and difficulties that have arisen, I couldn’t help but feel proud of him.  He feels certain that his beliefs are correct and his response justified.  He knew the ramifications of the course of action he was choosing and chose it anyway.  This showed to me a great measure of integrity,  a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values, incorruptibility.  (see last Friday’s devotion ‘Marrow of a Man’)

However, as I listened to him, it became clear that not everyone sees his actions that way.  It made me realize how often that is the case.  I started to think about all the times in my life that I have stood so firm, resolute and stubbornly on an ideal, but have many around me in stark opposition.  Am I right or are they?  God has the answer, but you have to let Him be able to convey it.    

This conversation allowed me to see myself in this man.  I am a proud man.  In fact, pride is most certainly my worse fault and unchecked will certainly be the cause of my doom.  Proverbs 11:2 (NKJV)  When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.  I wanted to help him with this and perhaps in doing so could help myself and any of you reading this.  You see, at this point in the conversation, I could see this man’s pride getting in the way and clouding his judgement.  I’m not saying the principles he is fighting for or the course of action he took is wrong.  I can’t know that, but at this point I don’t think he can either.  I do the same thing.  When I become so firmly convinced that I’m standing on the side of right, I shut myself off to any discussion, opinions and feelings contrary to my own.  Here’s where it gets tricky.  God and His word have firmly convinced me that there is always a right and wrong, period.  However, I have come to the realization that I can be right in ideal, but wrong or too resolute in my response.  This pride and stubbornness will oftentimes blind me to seeing the multiple avenues of action for response.  When we get so firmly set in our own understanding of what is right and wrong, unyielding and unwavering, we often times will miss other “right” responses or better solutions.  We will often times dismiss and hurt others involved and do more damage than good, even though we are standing on what we believe to be right.

Confused?  Me too!  This is very hard to write, by the way, but stick with me.

What do we do?  First, you must humble yourself.  Check your pride.  You think you know, but in reality what we “know”  is microscopic in the grand design.  The bible says, “The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way”.  Psalms 25:9 (NKJV)  You will not know God, hear His voice, receive His guidance and understand the Godly path if you do not humble yourself first. Pride is a road block, dump it.

Now that you have removed the road block, pray.  Open up a line of communication with the good Lord.  Talk to Him, ask for His guidance and support and read His word.  The bible says it very simply, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”  Jeremiah 29:12 (NKJV)  We often times jump to action, knowing we are right, but don’t stop first to consider what God has to say to us.  Take the time to ask and let Him guide you.  

Next, seek out good, wise Christian counsel.  Talk to a strong Christian friend, pastor, counselor, someone you trust and believe capable.  Be careful.  You must be very selective in your choice.  Pray for guidance.  Christians need a “Circle of Counsel”, comprised of mature Christians capable of wisdom supported by scripture.  I have six men I consistently seek out for sound guidance.  Often times, just putting a second or third set of eyes on the situation will give you all the clarity God needs you to have.  

Proverbs 1:5 (NKJV)  A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,

Proverbs 24:6 (NKJV)  For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.  

I’m not saying that the man in the conversation responded incorrectly or even that there was a better response.  That has yet to play out.  I’m just imparting the lesson that the good Lord is hammering on my heart.  That as men especially, we have a tendency to allow pride and self certainty to rule our responses and that closes us off from the guidance God would provide.  We need to push the pride roadblock out of the way, so that we have a clear avenue for Him to drive into our hearts.  God bless you and have a great weekend!

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Jesus for President

 

If you live in Iowa, you probably noticed a significant change in the atmosphere from this time a week ago. Phone calls and political ads have decreased from the flurry of what they were. Whether you caucused for your favorite candidate or not on Monday, you may be breathing a small sigh of relief for the break in all the activity.  Are you still for the original candidate you supported initially?  Are you going to be fore them till the end? 

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

As humans, it is natural for us to like people who are like us, and to be more suspect of those who are different from us. Whether these similarities or differences are based on your faith, sex, skin color, background, political party, or any number of things, the more like you the better, right? At least that is how most of us tend to behave. As a Christian, are we looking for the sinner who is most like Christ, and do we want the most ‘christian’ candidate to be president, or are there more important criteria? In fact, we had the option of choosing between several candidates who claimed to be Christian, with varying evidence to support their claims. What criteria are most important to you in choosing a President, a city official, an employee, or a spouse? Does it vary? Why?

 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Matthew 5:44-45

From the time we are in preschool, we like to categorize people. We can say they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on what they do and how they treat us. This can change, after what people do or say toward us or our family offends us or we are unwilling to forgive, they may change from good to bad in our eyes. This may also apply to our view of God. When things go well for us, we can say He is good, and when we encounter struggles and trials, or when things don’t go our way, we may question how much he cares.  How committed are you to caucusing for God when things don’t always seem to be going your way?  Do you say ‘I didn’t vote for him’ when this happens, or are you still with him when He is criticized? 

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  I John 4:10-11

Are you for God if the economy is good or bad? Are you for him even if you don’t agree with him 100% of the time? If the candidate you think is best for president doesn’t make it in, does that mean God doesn’t care? I venture that He does care, but may not be working in ways that we would not, or do not like. Are you an advocate for Jesus in the good times and bad? When the tide does not seem to be trending for him, are you still for him? Continue to back the best candidate whether you are the only one speaking for him, or not.  Instead of condemning everyone who disagrees with your views, show them kindness and respect, even if they do nothing to deserve it.  Just as Christ died for us in our sins, we also ought to love and forgive others, as he would.  His platform has not changed with the winds of public opinion, but is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Win others to be for Jesus by treating all of the voters as he treats them. 

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:16-18

For Christ,
Clark

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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