Vital Ministries News

2 Timothy 3:14New Living Translation (NLT)

14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.

What do you believe and what do you hold onto when you face true adversity about your faith? Do you stand up for what you believe when all others slowly stop believing, move to another ministry, have a change of life, or simply leave?

There is a new movie coming out this weekend called, Hacksaw Ridge. It is about a young man named Private Doss who was in WWII fighting in the Pacific. He believed that while those around him took life, he would save life.

In the Army’s eye, he was a coward, unwilling to fight, and not a soldier. It is said that this man saved 75 wounded men on the field of battle. He prayed this prayer, “Lord, help me get one more!”

I look at this and see the bravery of a young man who believed in his calling, and he faced adversity. He stayed faithful to the call of what Christ had on his life. He stayed faithful when others in his unit turned against him, when the military turned against him, and even some of his closest friends turned on him.

What are you called to face today? Maybe you are in a company that is facing hard times. Maybe your marriage is breaking at the seams. Maybe cancer is knocking at your door. There could be a wayward family member that is not coming back to Jesus. What do you do when you face adversity?

I choose to believe. Even in ministry there will be those who leave or move on, but I choose to believe. I ask the Lord for strength and courage. I ask the Lord to help me get one more.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

Where Then is My Hope

facebook_1478214866172Job 17:15  Where then is my hope? As for my hope, who can see it? (NKJV)

I do not know a single solitary person, who, travelling through this life, hasn’t felt moments of despair, hopelessness.  In chapter 17, Job is crying out for relief.  He’s praying to the Lord for Hope.  

Maybe you are struggling, right now, with something seemingly insurmountable.  Perhaps it’s just merely the strain of day to day, stumbling blocks, obstacles that create a feeling of uncertainty and frustration. No matter how big or small, manageable or seemingly not, we all experience these times in our life.  The point is, we all find ourselves, at some point, asking, “where is my hope?” 

There is hope abounding all around, even through the midst of our trials, and within our deepest despair. There is hope within the darkness, by the light of the moon, that sunrise is coming, that it most assuredly is coming.  In the gloom of winter, bleak, cold and solitary, we can have hope that spring will come, as it always does.  So, ask again, with new perspective, joyous vigor, “where’s my hope?”  It is all around you. It is in the blessings big and small, that you choose to grab a hold of and focus your gaze upon.  Your Hope is in the knowledge of Jesus’ promise to never leave you, to never forsake you.  Your Hope is in knowing that regardless of the trials and tribulations of this earthly life, you have Hope in the eternal gift bestowed by the grace of God, a promise in spite of the things you are enduring here and now.  

I have not had an exceedingly difficult life, comparatively.  I’ve had my struggles, but I know a great deal of people who have endured far greater difficulty than I.  I’ve even been accused of being aloof, obtuse or uncaring when problems arise.  That is not the case at all.  I choose not to loose hope when those situations come up.  I look back through my life and see over and over again where God has guided and directed me through troubled waters.  It’s not a case that you just sit back and wait for God to “fix” things for you.  More often than not, it requires effort on our part.  But, I’ve come to understand that God will make a way.  He will direct our steps if we chose to trust in the Hope He promises. 

This world is a temporary home.  Consequently, so are its and our struggles.  My Hope is the Hope born by God and directed by Him.  I will not sit idly by, but I will trust Him.  That’s where my hope is.  Have a blessed weekend.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

Seasons

Cedar Rapids is nicknamed the “City of Five Seasons“, for the “fifth season“, which is time to enjoy the other four.  I hope you are taking time to enjoy the seasons you are in right now.  The most notable one, for me, is leaf season, where leaves are changing color, falling, blowing into the yard and eventually raked or cleared away.  Autumn is usually my favorite season, and this year is exceptional with some wonderful warm days to enjoy before the cold sets in.  We are also in the thick of Football season, as Basketball season is just starting.  As I write, there is much anticipation as the Major League baseball season ends tonight with the culmination in game 7 of the World Series.  In the morning, there will be one group of fans elated with the victory, and one discouraged for what might have been…so close.  Whether or not you care at all about sports, often there are just as many highs as lows in life, just as there will be simultaneous rejoicing and mourning at the end of tonight’s game.  Where do you find yourself?    

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Similar to sports, the seasons in our life tend to overlap and blend into each other a bit as well.  There are joys and challenges in each season.  Whether that is just as you progress in age from infancy to childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, and into the Golden Years, or as your life situations change.  There are seasons with children and without them, including grandchildren.  There are different seasons based on the jobs you have or where you are living and going to school.  There are seasons of growth and prosperity, and seasons of loss, including the death of our loved ones.  Again, many of these events may happen close together, but as time goes on and when we step back, we may get a bigger perspective on our lives.  We can also start to see God’s influence and how He has been shaping our lives and using different situations in life to help us grow and become more like Him, at times reluctantly. 

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Romans 12:15

Whether you are rejoicing, mourning, or indifferent as the day starts today, be aware of those around you and where they may be in the different seasons of their lives.  Engage in ways that build others up and encourage them in their walk with God, or share your experiences, especially if they have not been walking with Him.  The closer we walk with the Lord, the more He helps us understand and fully live out the seasons in our lives.  As you interact with those around you, let your joy be evident to all.  The joy that comes, not from temporary things, but from eternal things, from the presence of Christ in your life.  Whatever seasons you find yourself encountering now, may you live them to the fullest with those around you and Christ living through you!

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:2-3

 

Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

Where Did I Put God?

where?Incase you haven’t noticed, life is often incredibly hard. There have been times in my life when I’ve gone through difficult trials and wondered: where is God in all this? I think that’s a pretty common feeling. Where is God in cancer? Where is God when my bank account is empty, but my pile of bills in overflowing? Where is God in a broken relationship? If you’ve ever asked that question you are far from the first. It’s a question asked over and over throughout scripture. Here’s just one example:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?” Psalm 42:9-10

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about. Maybe the question isn’t where is God, but rather, where have we put God? The reality is that God never leaves us. Joshua 1:9 puts it this way: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” God is always present, loving and guiding us. It is us that tend to push him to the side when things get tough. I think we do this in three big ways:

We wall Him out: We refuse to let God into our problems because we’ve bought into the idea that we can do it ourselves. In fact, as men, we’ve been conditioned to believe that real men never need help. Thusly, instead of enlisting God’s help, we wall Him out when we need Him most.

We compartmentalize Him: We let God into some situations in our lives, but not all. It often becomes “God, enlarged my bank account, but don’t ask me to share it. God, bring health to my loved ones, but don’t ask me to serve you.” I think we all have certain sections of our lives that, for one reason or another, we refuse to let God into.

We Ignore Him: Sometimes we just simply put our fingers in our ears and yell “lalalalala!!!” when God is trying to get our attention. Maybe He is calling attention to our sins, challenging us to do something new, or helping us face a difficult reality. Whatever the case, we far too often choose to ignore his presence, love, and advice.

Here’s what I think is really interesting. While we are doing all of these things to keep God out of our difficulties, do you know what God is doing? He is loving us! While the aforementioned Psalm 42 asks about where God is, it also remind us that God is always present showering us with love: By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me Psalm 42:8. When you are in the midst of difficulties make sure you are not keeping God out, but rather opening yourself to his amazing love for you. Pick up your Bible, turn to God in prayer, and turn on your favorite worship music. Be forever reminded of God’s great, perfect, and ever present love.

The Foundation

Proverbs 10:25New Living Translation (NLT)

25 When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away,
    but the godly have a lasting foundation.

How is your foundation? Quite a question to think about. Most of the time we acquire the word foundation to an actual one. This is something that holds up a building or a house.

I was raised putting in foundations from the time I was 14 to 29 years old. That was what I did. I worked for my father in the summers while going to school. Then as a young man, I continued. I packed 3’x8′ forms in and out of basements.

Most of the time a foundation required a footer and a 8″x8′ wall. Most people think that is all that is to that, but there is more. I learned to understand the dirt after the dig by assessing the color and the consistency of the soil which are factors in the formation of a solid foundation. 

Now for the spiritual foundation. How is your spiritual foundation? Many times we have heard it said that Jesus in my Savior. We see the word Savior used 36 times in the Bible. The key to your spiritual foundation is allowing Jesus to be Lord. Lord is written 7,800 times in the Bible.

The word, Savior, describes the work Jesus did for us on the cross. The word, Lord, describes his position in Heaven as Lord and King.

So the full measure of your foundation is to deny yourself and allow Jesus to be your Lord and King. This is denying self and allowing Jesus to be the supreme authority over your life. When we do this, men, your foundation in him is rock solid. Nothing will take it out.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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