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Tag Archives: abundant life

The Waters of Life

According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, water is among one of the most basic elements for human survival. God created human beings in such a way where completeness isn’t achieved until all five levels are reached, John 10:10. The physiological need of water is mentioned by a Psalmist. Yet, the passage below appears to be referring to Jesus’ words in John 4:13-15.

But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity], Psalm 1:2-3.

This living water is described by the apostle Paul in Colossians 2:6-7, building upon the words in the passage above. The concept is similar to the words of one of the forefathers of Israel in Joshua 1:8. As Christians mediate on God’s Word, day and night, this is equivalent to studying the Bible daily. The biblical truths that Christians extract from the Bible is like the waters of life mention below.

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun smite them, nor any [d]scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb Who is in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to the springs of the waters of life; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, Revelation 7:16-17.

Jesus spoke to Pharisees at the house of Levi in Matthew 9:11-13. The ideal goal of a Christian is to become solely reliant on the Word of God for answers in life. While the power of the Holy Spirit is detailed in 2 Peter 1:3-4, investing time reading the Bible is like bathing in the springs of living water. Anyone who exercises this spiritual discipline will be refreshed like the woman at the well in Samaria.

by Jay Mankus

Am I Too Old for Pleasure?

While age is a number, aging is a state of mind. If you believe in science, reaching a specific age has limitations. For a woman who wants to get married and have children before turning forty, their biological clock is ticking. Although anything is possible with God, the odds go down each year you wait to walk in faith.

Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in years; it had ceased to be with Sarah as with [young] women. [She was past the age of childbearing]. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed to herself, saying, After I have become aged shall I have pleasure and delight, my lord (husband), being old also? – Genesis 18:11-12

When Sarah was well beyond the age of bearing children, she gave up hope. Upon overhearing news that Abraham would have a son, Sarah laughed. One translation suggests that Sarah doubted the ability to still have pleasure with her husband. Nonetheless, this promise sets the stage for an epic miracle. The name Isaac is a masculine name from the Hebrew term Yitzchak meaning “he laughs.”

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore, Psalm 16:11.

The Psalmist adds another dimension to pleasure. When individuals are shown and revealed the path of life, God’s will, a fullness of joy is unleashed. Jesus eludes to a similar experience during the first century. John 10:10 discloses God’s purpose on earth, to live an abundant life. Thus, as individuals find their place in this world, walking with God brings pleasure, no matter how young or old that you may be.

by Jay Mankus

Trapped

On the surface, I’m pretty good hiding how I feel.  Perhaps, a defense mechanism from my years as an athlete, I often go into survivor mode, pushing forward regardless of the pain.  This psychosis like state led me to complete a high school cross country race after spraining my ankle during the first mile.  Unfortunately, when I crossed the finish line, I collapsed ripping my ankle from its tendons, twisting the born ninety degrees in the wrong direction.  This is the first time in my life where I felt trapped, unsure of what my future held.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

The term trap refers to being corned, shut in, on the verge of being captured.  This imprisoned state is where many believers find themselves, stuck in spiritual quicksand, unable to break free.  Those who visit this dark place typically return from time to time, caught in a vicious cycle.  Sometimes a friend will come to your rescue, able to pull you back into a community of believers.  Other situations require a wrestling match, claiming the promises of God from the Bible in prayer.  Unfortunately, some people never escape, deceived by the Devil or doubt, succumbing to a downward spiral of depression.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 2 Peter 1:3.

Even Jesus’ own disciples felt trapped by the worries of this life.  Judas Iscariot committed suicide, overwhelmed by guilt that sealed his fate.  Peter who was a spiritual rock, publicly denied knowing Jesus three times, resulting in tears and wounded ego.  However, Jesus restored Peter following his resurrection in John 21:15-23.  At some point, the Holy Spirit revealed to Peter that God has given us everything we need in life to overcome being ensnared and trapped by sin.  Therefore, don’t lose hope like Judas and those who succumb negative voices inside their heads.  Rather, reach out to Jesus so that freedom will be experienced today.

by Jay Mankus

Right Here Right Now

Jesus Jones was the first to record the song Right Here Right Now in 1990.  Fatboy Slim, Zac Efron, Giorgio Moroder and Jordin Sparks have since followed this British alternative dance artist with their own version.  The original lyrics talk about a revolution, waiting for and taking advantage of the moment, right here, right now.  Unfortunately, many people have lost hope, doubtful and faithless that their life will make a difference.

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught, Proverbs 3:26.

While success breeds confidence, any type of extended losing stretch can crush fragile souls.  When individuals lose their momentum, assurance quickly fades away.  Subsequently, body language, certainty and positivity tends to waver.  Instead of seizing the moment like the song right here right now, its not uncommon for people to become a shell of themselves.  This is where you have a choice to bear down or throw in the towel.

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 2 Corinthians 3:5.

Following his conversion, the apostle Paul discovered an important lesson about life.  Although its natural to want to be in control of your life, faith has a way of altering your focus.  Instead of worrying about worldly aspects, Paul found sufficiency by trusting in God.  If you’re tired of dealing with the stress of life, its time to make a permanent change.  Therefore, right here right now place your trust in Jesus so that God will make your life whole, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

Watch Out for Parasites

Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea star in the 2008 film Fireproof.  Cameron plays Caleb Holt, the captain of a local fire station who has allowed his job and pornography addiction to ruin his marriage.  After his wife files for divorce, Caleb is sent a diary called the Forty Day Challenge by his father to help save his marriage.  On day 23, the theme is watch out for parasites.  These words convict Caleb of this bad habit, prompting him to destroy his computer with an aluminum baseball hat.  This moving clip should urge individuals to begin to examine their own lives to see if any parasites are currently on the prowl.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

A parasite is an organism that lives in or on another organism.  These minute creatures feed off of its host, deriving nutrients at the host’s expense.  Similar to a leech which feeds off of human blood, these pests can drain, sap and wear on your soul.  If action is not immediately taken, parasites will destroy, kill or steal any joy that you have for life.  In an analogy about a shepherd watching over his sheep, Jesus refers to a thief who seeks the destruction of others.  This is what parasites do, taking pleasure in feasting on the exploits of others.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

If you read passages like Job 1, Satan is a spiritual parasite who relies on demons to do his dirty work.  Spirits of depression, fear and loneliness cause individuals to drift apart from their support systems.  Once isolated, demonic parasites prey on these troubled souls, resulting in tragedies like the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.  After talking to his lawyer, Nikolas Cruz confessed to acting upon voices within his mind to shoot up his former school.  While the national media’s attention is focused on banning guns and addressing mental illness, no one is talking about the powers of darkness that inspired this senseless act.  May this week’s unfortunate events serve as a warning to watch out for parasites.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

The Price of Life

Whenever you have an accident, are diagnosed with a disease or face a long rehab, its hard to put a price on life.  After breaking two ribs and collapsing a lung, two ambulance rides cost nearly one thousand dollars each.  Treatments for cancer can accumulate into the tens of thousands.  Meanwhile, braces, surgeries and wheel chairs aren’t too far behind, cutting into the life savings of those face with life altering conditions.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

On the road to recovery, individuals have to consider the cost.  Do you I want to extend my life?  Or do I want to end my suffering?  Sure, parents and loved ones will often do whatever necessary to keep the hope of healing alive.  Yet, as time goes by, its up to the injured party to possess the desire and will to carry on.  So what is the price of a life?  Should you place a limit or should you adopt the Master Card slogan that life is priceless?

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it, Matthew 16:25.

According to Jesus, there is something else more important than saving your life.  The human soul is more valuable as it controls your eternal destiny.  Thus, before you extend all your time and energy on trying to survive, don’t forget about eternal life.  One of Jesus’ disciples claims that you can know for sure before you die, 1 John 5:13.  Therefore, make your reservation today as a soul destined for is a horrible fate to face.  The price of life is worth it all as long as a decision has been made, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Fullness or Unfulfilled?

While many Americans may not be as wealthy as they wish, some local restaurants offer buffets, all you can eat when you are hungry.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the discipline to stop when I’m full.  Rather, I gorge myself, eating more in a one sitting than a child living in a third world nation eats in a week.  Thus, I find myself full, yet unfulfilled.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, Colossians 2:9.

I started 2016 losing 20 pounds in the month of January, only to regain 10 this past month.  The human body is tough to manage, craving food but making those who lack discipline to feel shame and regret.  God promises to provide daily bread, enough money to take care of and feed your family.  Yet, there must be something else as when I taste the pleasures of life I often leave empty and unsatisfied.

And in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority, Colossians 2:10.

The apostle Paul writes to members of the church in Corinth struggling with a similar issue.  The conclusion he draws is that no matter hard someone tries to possess an abundant life, its futile without Jesus.  In your quest to become full, many leave the faith unfulfilled.  Thus, if you ever reach this state, listen to words of the passage above.  Reach out to Christ in prayer and God can make you both full and fulfilled.

by Jay Mankus

Balancing Faith With Reality

My weekly routine includes time with a former co-worker reflecting on our years in Christian education.  While each discussion varies, one topic usually comes to the forefront, what impact did we have on our former students?  Did the lessons taught inspire faith or has the reality of a lost world caused souls to back slide?  Unfortunately, news of partying in college, suicides and students having kids out of wedlock has taken the wind out of our sails.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us, Romans 5:5.

Out of sight out of mind is a common occurrence for Christians who leave the friendly confines of biblical education for a secular environment.  Perhaps, the foundations I once thought were firm was merely a mirage.  Then again, maybe I was naive, trying to make everyone feel good about life instead of challenging individuals to take a stand.  Time will sift the wheat from the chaff, yet as a teacher turned writer, I still struggle with balancing faith with reality.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly, Romans 5:6.

Since I joined Facebook 3 years ago, I’ve had former students and youth de-friend me based upon words in this blog.  At times, I may be perceived as over the top, out there or out of touch with reality.  Nonetheless, as I study the book of Acts, I am reminded of the only force on this planet which can still transform souls.  Sure, there are many things in the Bible that don’t make sense, but without the power of the Holy Spirit Peter, James and John would have returned to their fishing boats and the message of Jesus would have disappeared.  Therefore, as I continue to learn how to balance faith with reality, I cling to the promises in the Bible of an abundant life, where victory is not smothered by defeat.

by Jay Mankus

 

Leaning on a Broken Stool

In Christian Education, a three legged stool is used as a visual aid to illustrate core essentials to maintain a healthy and  stable life.  Each leg symbolizes a key ingredient: a church home, godly family and development of a biblical world view.  If any of these three elements are missing, individuals will never be able to fully experience an abundant life in Christ.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

Whether you’re married or single, its easy to cut corners, making the best with what you have.  Subsequently, one might become a casual attender to church, replace family with friends or dust off your Bible every once in a while to make yourself feel good.  This type of mentality is toxic, poisoning your faith, leaving many to lean on a broken stool.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!   So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth, Revelation 3:15-16.

As I examine the lack of success in my life the past three years, it can be directly attributed to a weakened foundation of faith.  Compromise, neglect and a lukewarm spirit has spawned mediocre results.  If you’re fluttering along like me, perhaps you need to re-evaluate the stool you’re sitting on.  Find a church to call home, seek reconciliation with those family members you’ve strayed from and set aside time every day to enrich your life with the Bible.  When these three legs are secure, you will begin to taste God’s daily bread.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Inhabitation of Praise

Words such as dwell, live or reside highlight what it means to inhabit a geographical location.  Yet, you can be present in one place and be void of contentment, enthusiasm and joy.  Thus, modern homes often consist of silence, an obvious sign that something is missing or wrong.  Perhaps, this empty space needs to be replaced by an inhabitation of praise.

It doesn’t take a doctor to recognize the gleeful from those swamped by the worries of life.  Whether you’re dining out at a restaurant, shopping at the mall or walking through a park, those inhabited by anger, bitterness and strife stick out like a sore thumb.  The wake left behind by these troubled souls can impact those leaning on the fence, pondering their next move.

The apostle Paul describes an internal battle that persists daily in Galatians 5:16-18.  Natural inclinations persuade individuals to gratify their own sinful desires, to indulge in those things that bring pleasure.  Unfortunately, these feelings last briefly, before fear, guilt and shame take over.  Therefore, to achieve an abundant life, John 10:1o, you must experience a complete transformation, Romans 12:1-2, before an inhabitation of praise becomes a reality.

by Jay Mankus

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