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Tag Archives: a God of second chances

The Connection Between Faithfulness and Fruitfulness

From the time human beings are born into this world, there is an internal desire to want satisfaction. Subsequently, infants naturally cry and eventually proclaim “I want, I want, I want.” Some adults don’t grow out of or lose this selfish behavior. Thus, many Christians go through life wondering why they aren’t as productive and successful as they think they should be. This is where the connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness comes into play.

If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your beasts, the increase of your cattle and the young of your flock, Deuteronomy 28:1-4.

As he was about to retire as Israel’s spiritual leader, passing the torch on to Joshua, Moses felt compelled to reveal the connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness. Moses devotes an entire chapter of the Bible to blessings and curses. During his farewell address, Moses compares the choices individuals make to life and death, Deuteronomy 30:11-18. Choosing obedience by being faithful to the commands in the Bible results in blessings. Yet, if you forget God’s advice by doing what’s right in your own eyes, your life will be filled with anguish, heartache and painful remorse.

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned, John 15:4-6.

Whatever decisions you have made in life, remember the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:19-23. This cry for help reveals a God of second chances. In the passage above, Jesus reveals another connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness. God is like a gardener who prunes human beings to stimulate spiritual growth. Yet, unless you remain within the Vine which is Jesus, you are unable to bear fruit. Staying connected to Jesus throughout life demonstrates faithfulness and yields spiritual fruit.

by Jay Mankus

When A Name Loses Its Meaning

One of Aesop’s most famous fables in The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  The phrase “cry wolf” derives from the English idiom meaning to give a false alarm.  In this children’s story, a boy develops a habit of lying until a wolf actually arrives.  When this boy’s reputation was weakened by a series of tall tales, no one came to his aid in his time of need.  This is an example of when a names loses its meaning.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, 1 John 1:8.

Companies spend hours of deliberation and discussion before arriving upon a name.  This often signifies cores values, define the essence of each corporation as well as represents a brand.  Employees are ambassadors who either exemplify their organization or become negative, focusing on everything a company does wrong.  While history provides a list of businesses that have deceived, hidden or faked their way to the top, time has a way of exposing the genuine from the frauds.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9.

In this age of social media, competition, critics and enemies will attack those groups and individuals that they do not like.  Unfortunately, some of these posts are exaggerated, false or taken out of context.  Thus, you or someone you know can have had their reputation severely damaged and ruined.  When a name loses its meaning, some never recover for this smear campaign.  Nonetheless, if this day arrives, Jesus is always a prayer away.  Despite what the world may say, I serve a God of second chances, who mends hearts and restores souls.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Opening the Door of Faith

Back in the days where common courtesy reigned, men would open the door for ladies.  Whether you were entering a building, car or home, gentlemen put the opposite sex first, waiting patiently until girls or women went before them.  However, throughout history God regularly poured out his mercy, sending grace like rain upon the oppressed.

On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles, Acts 14:27.

In the middle of the first century, arrogance filled Jewish leaders, making Gentiles, those living outside of Israel feel like lesser human beings.  As Paul and Barnabas began their earthly ministry, this attitude offended these men of God.  Thus, instead of attempting to reach Jews with the good news about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, these apostles turned their attention to the Gentiles, opening the door of faith to all nations.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me, Revelation 3:20.

In a vision, John, the disciple whom Jesus loved uses the illustration of a door to explain an new opportunity to connect with God.  This analogy has Jesus knocking at a door.  However, this doesn’t belong to a building.  This door is like a human heart, which Jesus wants to enter.  Yet, the Lord doesn’t force himself into your life,  Rather, you have to exercise free will, opening this door of faith on your own.  May the Christmas spirit inspire those who have drifted away from the Lord to come back home by opening the door of faith.

by Jay Mankus

 

Project Afterlife

Yesterday,  I wrote a blog called When the Holy Spirit Takes Over.  Little did I know that these exact words were used by a doctor who helped raise a man from the dead in the pilot episode of Project Afterlife.  Following in the footsteps of It’s a Miracle on Pax Television, Destination America’s new show interviews eyewitnesses and individuals who have died for a short period of time before coming back to life.

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security, Jeremiah 33:6.

About a year ago, I started a conversation with a co-worker.  Taking an unusual, yet interesting turn, this man revealed that years earlier he died and came back to life.  Arrested for underage drinking, this teenager died in the back of a cop car.  Although his memory is blurred, the next thing he remembers is waking in a hospital bed.  Due to his severe condition, the police officer never issued a ticket, giving him a second chance just as God gave this man a new lease on life.

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven, James 5:15.

There will always be skeptics of healing, miracles and raising someone from the dead.  Especially, if you believe the Spirit pored out upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost ceased following their deaths, limited to first century apostles.  Yet, if you check out Project Afterlife next Sunday night at 10pm eastern time, maybe your beliefs will be swayed.  Either way, sit back, listen to the testimonies shared and be open to the healing power of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

Remembering Your First Fruits

As Christmas Day approaches, thinking about God; make that slowing down to consider the Lord is a difficult task.  Pondering what presents you are going to buy, how much each will cost and when you will make take to find them all can be exhausting.  Thus, tithing back to God or offering your talents to the church often get’s lost in the holiday rush.

While reading the Bible recently, traces of giving back to God are interspersed within the Pentateuch, another name for the first 5 books of the Old Testament.  In the back of my mind, I want to give 10 % or the first portion of my paycheck back to God, yet a lack of a faith is preventing me from experiencing supernatural blessings.  If only I would trust God to provide daily bread, then the storehouses of heaven might open.

Perhaps this is why the apostle Paul wrote, “the things I don’t want to do I do, but those I hate I do, ” Romans 7:15.  This invisible force field prevents genuine believers from a spiritual breakthrough.  Alone, on my own strength, I am hopeless, destined for failure, Romans 3:23.  However, by grace, through faith, stands a God of second, third and fourth chances, Ephesians 2:8-10.  May this promise catapult you to new heights as you remember to give God what is rightfully His, your first fruits, Romans 7:4.

by Jay Mankus

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