The Illegitimate Son

Judges 8:31 New International Version (NIV)

31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek.

Gideon has an illegitimate son from his concubine who will eventually lead to having his other seventy sons killed by the half blood brother. This was all because of power and greed.

Abimelek became a judge over Israel. There was no fame in his name and especially his actions. God does not prize popularity, humor, or intelligence. God looks at the heart of every man. 

Abimelek was a wicked judge who wanted the people to praise and admire him, and this eventually ended his life. When you read his story in Judges, we see God using his judgement and the tools of rebellion against those who went against him.

Gideon made a poor choice in sleeping with a woman that was not by God’s design. The consequences of his decision brought calamity to his family.

My mind goes to the power of a moment. A moment is which changes the trajectory of a person’s life. It can be a financial decision, a sinful decision, or it can be words said to another that cut and break relationships.

Abimelek was a man all about himself. He lived a life of power and deceit. In the end, it all cost him his own life.

How are your moments? 

Is Christ the center of them?

Does the Holy Spirit reign?

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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The End of the Story

This past Saturday I had the honor of officiating the celebration of life of one of our saints.  This was my first time being ask to do this, and with all humility I was honored that they would ask me to be a part of it.

I never had the opportunity to meet this woman in person.  However, I met with the family on Thursday evening.  During that couple hours, and through their incredibly vivid and candid sharing, I felt like I was able to develop a solid sense of the woman we were to honor on Saturday.

As I prepared for Saturday, there was a couple points the family touched on that truly captivated me.  The first of these was something they told me she kept saying to them towards the end of her struggle.  “I want to know how the this story ends.”  She was talking about her family’s story.  She loved, protected, guided and encouraged them.  She didn’t fear death, but rather, feared leaving them to complete the story without her.  What dawned on me was, she knows the “end of the story”.  Afterall, she was a vital author of the story.  Her influences, her legacy will continue to shape and contribute to her family’s story for all future generations.  Secondly, she knew the Lord, she knew His promise, therefore she knows the end of the “Ultimate Story”  That is, there is no end.  

That leads me to the second thing they shared, that had a profound impact on me.  They told me she was at complete and utter peace.  She had no fear as she neared the end of her days here.  She went as far as to encourage her son in her final moments, telling him to “have courage”.  She had peace because she knew that, though her time on earth was drawing to a close, it was merely the beginning of a life in Glory with her Father in heaven.  What a wonderful thing to know.  Notice, I said know, not believe.  Though I’ve not knowingly faced the end of my temporal life, I find it hard to believe that anyone could have that level of peace and comfort by belief alone.  That kind of peace, acceptance and surrender can only come from knowing God and knowing the Son’s promise.  She knew.  

For me, to be a part of this woman’s celebration of life, to hear the things her family shared, to learn about what she wanted and what she knew, brought me peace, joy, hope and reassurance.  In being allowed the opportunity to share a little of the woman they loved, I will forever be connected to them and I become a small piece of her legacy and the “end of the story”.  Have a blessed weekend.

John 14:1-6 (NASB) “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”  Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

Power Up

Back in the day, when you played video games, you were always on the lookout for a mushroom or other object that increased your power, often multiple times, to help you get through the game.  If you didn’t find them, or got hit too many times, it was Game Over.  What things do you use to get energized each day?  A good night sleep, a good meal, a mug of coffee, a run, a nap, some reading, or just alone time?  Each of us likely has a preferred routine to help us get going in the morning, and stay going throughout the day.  Lately, for a variety of reasons, I have not been sleeping well, feeling more exhausted earlier in the day than I should, etc and it affects all areas of my life.  I need to figure out where I am off, and do something different to help get back to full power.  What can you do different to help you optimize your health, attitude, faith and efficiency through the day? 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

When you rely only on your own strength, it is usually motivated by selfish reasons, to make you look good and seek the admiration of those around you.  I take a close look at my life and ask, what are the things that drive me every day?  One of the biggest is commitments.  I have committed to do my job, and I want to do it well and earn my paycheck.  I want to keep my word and follow through on my commitments to others.  I want to provide a good home for my family.  After I try to follow through on doing all these things, what is left?  Sometimes, we spend more time and energy on things that don’t matter so much in the long run, and short ourselves and others short on the things that truly do matter.  The key is to seeing this in our lives and making changes to do something about it.    

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.  Psalm 71:18

When things get rough, it may be helpful to admit that we can’t always do it on our own, and seek help from an outside source.  To some, asking for help (from others, from God) may feel like they have given up, or are less of a man because they couldn’t do everything they set out to do.  It is often a reality check, to help re-prioritize one’s life, and to ask if everything I have been doing has bee worth it, or if I should have spent time, energy, money, on other things.  Also, when we try to make everything ‘work out’ on our own, we tend to become more self-centered than we already are, pride becomes more central, and before we become burnt out on life, we refuse help from most who care about us, even God.  Our love for God is most easily reflected in how we love others, either we are usually doing both well, or not so well. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

So, if you are trusting in your own strength to get everything done, it is a sure recipe for crash and burn, at some point.  When you are connected to God, it energizes your relationships with others as well.  Take a few minutes to assess where you are on that spectrum and where God is asking you to trust Him more with your life.  Hand over a few things to Him, and eventually you may trust Him with everything in your life.  You will have more power that comes from a source much greater than your own!

Yours in Christ,
Clark

The Pace of Grace pt 2

Joshua was born a slave. He was taught to believe he was property.  It was all his family had known for 400 years.  Then one day a man who grew up in the royalty of Egypt named Moses demands this nation of slaves be set free.  Pharaoh of course refuses.  Then Joshua witnesses God do 10 plagues and set them free. Can you image the first day free?  Then God divides the Red Sea as they walk across on dry land. The Egyptian army follows behind only to have God crush them with the sea.  Then they are led by fire by night and cloud by day where to go.  3,000,000 people wake up each day to food on the ground for them to eat.  God gives this group of people who do not have military training victory in battle miraculously.  Joshua knows God is awesome!

Can you imagine?  Then Moses sends 12 spies including Joshua. 10 spies get intimidated by the giants and the walls they find and convince the rest of Israel not to trust God to give them victory.

I think this happens to all of us.  We know God is able and there are promises He has put in us.  We go and inspect the place He promised and sure enough there are walls and giants that stand in our way. 

Moses dies and Joshua is the new leader to take them into the promised land.  He is grieving the loss of His spiritual dad and now the weight of leadership sits on his shoulders.  He crosses into enemy territory and guess what he finds… A WALL.  

If you are Joshua, you want to make a first impression. Surely a catapult, battering ram, or a trojan horse would do the trick.  

Joshua 6:You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can.

God’s plan is to walk and worship.  Does not sounds like a battle plan that builds the glory of man or leader.  I think that is the point.  God want His name to receive the glory.  He wants you to experience victory but simply because He gives good gifts to His kids.  

Before each one of us stands a wall or a giant.  We have spent time trying to strategically bring down the wall or slay the giant.  The battle, it’s victory, and all the glory belong to God.  God will let us wear ourselves out trying to bring down the walls.  God’s has a plan where we rely on the PACE OF GRACE.  We can stride with Him because He does the heavy lifting.  Grace is God’s enablement to do what you cant alone.  The pace is not in a hurry or on our timeline.  Rest easy knowing God is a God who does the supernatural and He wants to reveal His glory and grace through you!

Today, ask God to bring down your wall and stride with him while your soul is at peace.

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
www.thevibrant.church

 

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