Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: a crisis of faith

Do You Believe Me Now?

The idiom “seeing is believing” was first recorded in 1639.  This saying is based upon the words of Thomas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples.  Based upon the passage below, Thomas doubted that Jesus could rise from the dead following his crucifixion.  Thomas developed a mindset that only physical or concrete evidence could convince him otherwise.  Unfortunately, this same thinking is prevalent today, keeping many in the dark, void of the faith necessary to believe in modern day miracles.

But Thomas, one of the twelve [disciples], who was called Didymus (the twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the marks of the nails, and put my finger into the nail prints, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe,” John 20:24-25.

Thomas wasn’t the only disciple to experience a crisis of faith.  Apparently, several disciples did not believe the initial news that Jesus has risen from the dead.  Yet, these same men witnessed Jesus walk on water, turn water into wine and raise his friend Lazarus from the grave, cancelling a funeral in progress.  In addition, Peter, James and John watched Jesus transform into a heavenly figure, communicate with Elijah and Moses and cast demons out of formerly crazed individuals.  When seeing is believing becomes your motto for life, faith is powerless, preventing believers from ever experiencing the abundant life Jesus promises in John 10:10.

Now Jesus, having risen [from death] early on the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and reported it to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe it. 12 After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them as they were walking along the way to the country. 13 They returned [to Jerusalem] and told the others, but they did not believe them either, Mark 16:9-13.

Only three out of a thousand Americans make close to a million dollars per year.  Those who don’t have the education, experience or knowledge to earn this annual salary may enter contests, gamble or pursue gameshows to attempt to strike it rich.  For a few, this pursuit may become reality.  Yet, many will remain in their current situation, struggling to pay all of their bills while trying to put enough food on the table.  When Jesus was hungry, prayer and a few resources fed thousands of people.  With these previous miracles in mind, perhaps its time to believe in God’s power now so that tomorrow will bring daily bread, manna from heaven and a storehouse of blessings.

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

Lost Opportunities

While listening to a sermon last weekend, a spirit of guilt began to consume me.  Like a movie playing within my mind, highlights of the person I could have been flashed before me.  Yet, a lack of faith, money and resources has caused me to chose a different path.  Part of me wants to make the most of what God has given me, but for now all I can see is a bunch of lost opportunities.

From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem, Acts 13:13.

I guess you call this a crisis of faith or a mid-life crisis.  Either way I feel like I could do so much more with my life, but have lost the desire and passion to fulfill my potential.  In the book of Acts, Luke writes about someone who becomes homesick, leaving the mission field to return home.  This same individual eventually won back the apostle Paul’s trust and wrote the Gospel of Mark.  Since I am not a finished project, perhaps there is still hope for me.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

After reviewing the Old Testament, I am reminded of the long detour taken by Israel on their way to the Promised Land.  A trip that was suppose to take a little over a month ended up lasting for 40 years.  This past failure helps me realize that I am not alone.  Though I don’t feel any better, this example provides insight about how disobedience disrupts your journey.  While lost opportunities will bring future disappointment, there is still time for a U-Turn here and there to arrive at the place where God wants me to be.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Let Time Shrink Your Faith

The other day I went shopping when I encountered a child throwing a temper tantrum.  As soon as this boy realized he wasn’t getting to get what he wanted, he lost it.  Although this event reminded me how thankful that I am for having grown children, one thought came to my mind.  When time ceases to provide any glimpses of hope, progress or results, faith can shrink.

And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised, Hebrews 6:15.

The author of Hebrews dedicates an entire chapter known as the Hall of Faith.  One of the initial recipients is Abraham who waited decades until God gave a promised son through his wife Sarah.  Beneath the surface and under their breathe, I’m sure there were moments of doubt, especially for a woman reaching 100.  Yet, this example reveals a painful truth about life, God doesn’t always answer prayers according to your schedule.  Rather, the Lord uses time, trials and uncertainty to fireproof your faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see, Hebrews 11:1.

One of the most difficult stretches I’ve had to endure was in 2012 and 2013, struggling to find a permanent job after teaching high school for ten years.  There were days, weeks and months that I lost hope, not believing that God would change my hapless situation.  I wish I was stronger, but my faith shrunk as I lost my place in this world.  While I have ended up on my feet today, I am still searching for that perfect fit where my gifts match God’s will.  If Abraham had to wait decades, I guess I can hold on a little longer, praying that one day my dreams will come true.

by Jay Mankus

 

When Obeying God Trumps Man

From an early age, the concept of obedience is reinforced within many childhood games.  Simon Says, Mother May I and Red Light, Green Light rewards and penalizes players for either obeying or disobeying.  Perhaps, the creators of these activities understood obeying God trumps man.

“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” – Acts 5:28

Following the legalization of abortion in 1973 after the Roe vs. Wade ruling, the Senate passed the Church Amendment which eventually led states to enact conscience clauses.   While the wording may be different, these laws prevent individuals from performing procedures that go against their religious beliefs.  Unfortunately, as political correctness replaces the Bible as the moral gold standard, many are faced with the dilemma, “do I please man or God?”

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! – Acts 5:29

The disciples of Jesus found themselves in a similar situation around AD 30.  Jewish leaders and Roman officials attempted to quench their freedom of speech.  Thus, after authorities encouraged Peter to stop telling others about Jesus, he faced a crisis of faith.  Prior to the Holy Spirit, Peter would have likely retreated, blending into society like a chameleon.  However, after Pentecost Peter was a different man, unable to remain silent anymore.  Thus, this is one of those occasions in life when obeying God trumps man.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Power of Grace

Grace is a dying word in most cultures as bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness harbors in the hearts of hurt people.  Instead of experiencing the unmerited favor of God, guilt is preventing individuals from accepting this free gift, Romans 5:8.  Meanwhile, the condition of forgiveness introduced by Jesus in Matthew 6:15 isn’t being met by followers, revoking the power of grace upon their lives.

While serving as a youth pastor in Indiana, one student was placed into my life to teach me about grace.  Despite my attempts to reach out to this high school junior, I was her enemy, the adult who took the job of the person who led her to faith, Romans 10:9-10.  On one occasion, her mother approached me, giving me a hug with tears in her eyes, confessing, “I’m sorry my daughter hates you!”  This trial tested me, putting my faith into a spiritual  fire, 1 Peter 1:6-7.  Without this encounter, I might not understand the power of Grace today.

On Sunday, I attended a friend’s church, needing to be showered in God’s grace.  In the middle of singing for 30 minutes, the lyrics struck a cord with my soul.  Usually stoic and reserved, especially the older  I get, the Holy Spirit moved me to tears.  Lifting my hands up toward heaven, I sensed my disappointment, stress and worries being washed away, swept clean by the power of grace.

If you’ve been touched by God, please share your story in the comment section below.

by Jay Mankus

The History of Abortion

Ancient Egyptians first practiced abortion while the cities of Pithom and Rameses were being built by Hebrew slaves, 1,400 years before Christ’s birth.  When the Jewish population exploded following governor Joseph’s death, Pharaoh issued a decree to Hebrew midwives.  According to Exodus 1:15-16, the king of Egypt told Shiphrah and Pauh to kill every boy born by Jewish mothers, allowing the girls to live.  Caught in a crisis of faith, the fear of God persuaded these 2 woman to follow their hearts, eventually blessed by God with their own family, Exodus 1:17-21.

320 × 240 – asianews.it

Today, nations like China have instituted a similar practice to reduce their population, limiting families to one child per household.  As a result, China leads the world in abortions per year according to an October 2012 report published by the International Herald Tribune.  In 2011, over 13 million babies were aborted in China alone, 6 million by woman under the age of 25.  Meanwhile, during the same year, India allowed 3.5 million unborn children die with the United States adding another 1.2 million to this list.

 

The sad thing about these abortion facts is that schools teach students not to bully, cheat, fight or steal every year.  Yet, before 18 million future students in 3 nations had a chance to breathe their first breath 2 years ago, each was executed in cold blood.  I’m sure the money is good for those doctors and nurses who daily perform these procedures, but the burden and conscience must weigh heavy on their hearts.  Although Pandora’s Box has already been open, made legal by the United States in 1973, think twice before caving into abortion.  Since my mother experienced a miscarriage during her third pregnancy, if I was born 4 years later, I might have been another statistic, a casualty of the history of abortion.

By Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: