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Tag Archives: Abraham

The Lives of the Tried and Tested

Individuals don’t become a finished product after graduating from college or receiving a master’s degree. You need real life experiences to apply what you’ve learned before you can become tried and tested. As a former athlete, I learned more from my failures than any victory. Humility has a way of exposing your weaknesses, making it painfully obvious where you need to improve before you mature into the person God that wants you to become, James 1:2-4.

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others], Genesis 12:2.

Such is the case of Abraham who initially went by Abram. While Abram immediately departed from his homeland to pursue God’s calling for his life, his actions were far from perfect. Instead of trusting in the God who promised that he would become the father of a great nation, Abram lied to Pharaoh, saying he was Sarai’s sister rather than tell the truth. This sinful tendency was passed down to Isaac. Yet, it was following through with God’s call to sacrifice his one and only son which enabled Abraham to be tried and tested.

[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go. [Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God, Hebrews 11:8-10.

The author of Hebrews places Abraham in the Hall of Faith along with several other godly candidates of the Old Testament. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis refers to success as the process of arriving. Based upon the passage above, Abraham took little steps of faith, not always in the correct direction, but developed into a man of God gradually. Not everyone will have an immediate transformation like Saul who become Paul following his conversion on the Road to Damascus. Most start off like lowly shepherd boys before ascending with God’s help to the lives of the spiritual rich and famous.

by Jay Mankus


S.A.N.S. Episode 332: Jireh

The meaning of Jehovah Jireh in Hebrew refers to “the existing one. The one true God, Jireh, also means “see, to inspect, the perceive, to provide, to consider.” The most famous passage where Jehovah Jireh is found comes from Abraham. While on his way to sacrifice his promised son Isaac, the Lord provided a ram in the thicket. At the sight of this good fortune, Abraham thanked God for providing a replacement sacrifice rather than offering up his son Isaac.

Then Abraham looked up and glanced around, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering and an ascending sacrifice instead of his son! 14 So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide. And it is said to this day, On the mount of the Lord it will be provided, Genesis 22:13-14.

Since this day thousands of years ago, the Lord continues to provide today. Perhaps, this is the inspiration behind Elevation Worship and Maverick City’s song Jireh. Although not every prayer is answered, the persistent widow continued to wrestle with God until justice was received, Luke 18:1-8. As Jesus taught Christians while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, keep God’s will in mind as you pray to Jehovah Jireh, Matthew 26:41.

by Jay Mankus

A Perfect Fellowship Between God and the Worshiper

Depending upon the quality of relationships that you’ve had on earth, there are some people that you click with instantly. Typically this connection stems from sharing common hobbies, interests or life experiences. Sometimes you may become so comfortable around these new friends that you’ll reveal secrets that you’ve never told anyone before. If this kinship lasts for an extended period of time, you’ll enter into a special kind of fellowship.

Now if perfection (a perfect fellowship between God and the worshiper) had been attainable by the Levitical priesthood—for under it the people were given the Law—why was it further necessary that there should arise another and different kind of Priest, one after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one appointed after the order and rank of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is of necessity an alteration of the law [concerning the priesthood] as well, Hebrews 7:11-12.

The author of Hebrews refers to a spiritual fellowship. Not just any kind, but a perfection connection between God and the worshiper. However, to explain this concept, the Old Testament is referenced to provide the history of Levitical priests. Rather than go into specific details, the author points to a former King of Salem. This mysterious figure served as a High Priest whom Abraham tithed 1/10 of his spoils as a token of appreciation for Melchizedek.

What we have seen and [ourselves] heard, we are also telling you, so that you too may [d]realize and enjoy fellowship as partners and partakers with us. And [this] fellowship that we have [which is a [e]distinguishing mark of Christians] is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah).And we are now writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be full [and [f]your joy may be complete], 1 John 1:3-4.

One of Jesus’ disciples illustrates what a perfect fellowship resembles in the passage above. John is likely referring to the special bond formed between first century Christians. Rather than go to a priest at the nearest temple every time you sinned, we now have a mediator in Jesus who will go directly to God on our behalf, 1 Timothy 2:5. This sets the stage for a perfect fellowship between God and the worshiper. Therefore, the next time you participate in a worship service, clear your conscience so that you might experience a perfect fellowship with God.

by Jay Mankus

Divine Help

When the average person hears the name Ebenezer, many think of the character in the Christmas Carol.  The depiction of Ebenezer Scrooge as a grumpy and selfish old man taints the biblical meaning of this word.  Subsequently, few know that Ebenezer means divine help.

So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city, Genesis 23:17-18.

When Abraham’s wife died in the Old Testament, he purchases a plot of land.  The unique quality of this terrain included a large cave.  Abraham’s intent was to find a place for his entire family to be buried.  Like a private cemetery, this place became known as the cave of couples.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

Several generations later, Solomon recognized the importance of having a partner.  While he took this concept too far by taking 700 wives, God revealed to Solomon the vital role of a woman.  Although modern feminists continue to argue, complain and fight for woman’s rights, those who study the Bible understand a woman is a divine helper sent by God for men to reach their full potential.

by Jay Mankus


The Source of Wealth

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” – Deuteronomy 8:17

Upon their arrival and occupation of the promised land, Israel may have forgotten who provided for their needs.  Sensing a  spirit of pride among the ranks, Moses devotes an entire chapter to guard against forgetting the Lord.  After years of failure, the taste of success may have gone to some of their heads.

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. – Deuteronomy 8:18

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Moses sets the record straight, giving God the credit for Israel’s newly gained wealth.  Remembering the promise made to Abraham, Moses confirms the origin of their recent success, God’s covenant.  Perhaps the suffering Moses experienced in Egypt produced a grateful heart, thankful for the answered prayers.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. – Malachi 3:10

In modern times, an Old Testament prophet suggests an untapped potential of wealth can be found in tithing.  As current believers begin to practice giving a minimum of ten percent of their gross income to the church and needy causes, God unleashes financial blessings.  Although a prosperity gospel preached in numerous churches perverts this biblical principle, the more you trust in the Lord to provide for your needs, you will begin to believe God is the ultimate source of wealth.

by Jay Mankus




A Reasonable God

Behind the blunders, lies and mistakes, Abraham was an amazing leader based upon the account of Genesis 14:13-17.  This God given talent enabled Abraham to approach God with boldness.  As he interrupts the Lord several times in Genesis 18:20-33 as God’s plan is unveiled, this passage from the Bible proves that our heavenly father is a reasonable God.

Responding to Abraham’s pleas immediately, the Lord sends out 2 angels to spend the night in the town square of Sodom and Gomorrah.  All these 2 servants needed to find were 10 righteous, God fearing individuals, to cancel the threat of looming destruction of these 2 cities.  However, Lot persuades the angels to alter their plans, offering his home as shelter, Genesis 19:2-3.  One can only imagine Lot’s motives for this move, yet Genesis 19:4-5 clearly illustrates “Lust Gone Wild.”  With Lot, his wife and 2 daughters found, Abraham’s prayer came up 6 people short.

When you or I pray to God, we don’t have the luxury to see what is taking place in heaven.  Behind the scenes, God is commanding angels, sending guardian angels to our side and waiting for a spirit of obedience to fill the hearts of his children.  Nonetheless, when these conditions are not met, God will only act according to the Bible.  Isaiah 1:15-20 proves God will not hear our prayers until our hearts, motives and will changes.  Therefore, the next time you get angry at God or question His lack of concern toward your situation, ask yourself, “have I’ve meet the conditions necessary for blessings?”  When your daily life resembles Deuteronomy 28:1-2 and Malachi 3:10, you will find a reasonable God.

by Jay Mankus

The Lying Prophet

Solomon proclaims in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “there is nothing new under the sun.”  However, if you were one of the first inhabitants of the earth, you could become a trend setter.  While called a prophet by God in Genesis 20:7, lying had become an habitual sin for Abraham based upon the events of Genesis 12:10-13 and Genesis 20:1-2.  Thus, the two become one, forming the lying prophet.

If Hollywood made a modern movie about Abraham, the first film is obvious, The Indecent Proposal.  The sequel might called called Indecent Proposal II: Role Reversal.  Finally, the Trilogy would not be complete without Indecent Proposal III: You Can’t Touch This.  God allows the first 2 sins to go, yet I was curious why God intervenes in Genesis 20:4-7.  Then, it struck me, if Abimelech did consecrate his marriage to Sarah, Abimelech could claim the child was his.  To avoid a Jerry Springer like scene, God forbids intercourse, keeping Sarah pure, leaving no doubt that Abraham was the father of Isaac in the coming months.

One of my theories I have developed over time is that Genesis 22:1-14 is punishment for Abraham’s continued disobedience.  If Abraham would have relied on God and not his own human nature, this test would not have been necessary.  However, since Abraham struggled with yielding full control of his life over to the Lord, this trial forced Abraham to place his trust solely in God.  Despite the victory in Genesis 22:12, Abraham passes on the generational sin of lying on to his son, Genesis 26:7-8.  Wherever you are in your spiritual life today, be careful about the legacy you pass on to your children.  Don’t be a lying prophet.  Rather, set your mind on things above, Colossians 3:1-4, so that the seeds you sow on earth may sway others toward eternal life in heaven.

by Jay Mankus

If God Used Logic…We’d All Be Dead!

Throughout the course of history, a series of cycles retrieve, add to and reinvent old theories about the Bible.  Gnostics build upon the teachings of Simon Magus in Acts 8:9-19 with modern theories like the Jesus Seminars and Da Vinci Code.  Meanwhile, books like the Secret take biblical principles out of their proper context by blending these truths with metaphysics and self-help methodology.  Despite what so called experts may claim, the Bible continues to be an annual best selling book about the creation of earth, the fall of man and restoration of life through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  If you read and study this book you will soon discover, if God used logic, we’d all be dead!

If you were God, how would you respond when your only rule, Genesis 2:16-17,  is quickly broken by your second created being, the first child born on this planet becomes a murderer, Genesis 4, and a few generations later, the only person worth saving is Noah.  Meanwhile, the flood is immediately forgotten by the people of Babel in Genesis 11, your only leader, Abraham, is a habitual liar, Genesis 20:1-2, and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were given over to shameful lusts, Romans 1:26-27.  Like a frustrated parent whose children never listen to them, if God used logic, the earth would have been destroyed once and for all in Genesis 19:29.

Fortunately, for all of mankind, God is love, 1 Corinthians 13.  Logically, God should have given up on us years ago, but He loved us so much that God gave us His one and only son, John 3:16-17.  Despite the wages of sin, Jesus paved a new way toward heaven in Romans 6:23.  Jesus left a final reminder of God’s love with his best friend on earth, John.  According to 1 John 3:16-20′ true love today is found today by living out the love of Jesus.  Like the classic country song by Crossway, “Thank God I’m not Jesus!”  Come alive by following the apostle Paul advice in Galatians 2:20.

by Jay Mankus

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