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Imprints on Heaven

While listening to a sermon over the weekend, I was challenged to reflect on what if any impact I’ve had during my days on this planet.  Jesus and the apostle Paul, shared a similar message, urging their listeners to begin to store up treasures on earth, Matthew 6:19-21 and Colossians 3:1-4.  If heaven does exist and Jesus went ahead to prepare the way, John 14:2, then its time you and I begin the imprinting process.

Although minor in many ways, my first mark involved music.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, I felt compelled  to inform people of God’s love.  Sorting through a vast collection of Christian music in college, I created a mix that I began to give to individuals, just as a high school friend did for me.   Trying to introduce people to contemporary artists, one particular creation entitled A Father”s Love struck a cord with several friends and strangers.  In the days of writing letters, words of encouragement appeared in the mail box, confirming that I was on the right track.

My greatest inscription occurred during a Lay Witness Mission, a fancy name for a retreat geared toward reviving souls for a  spiritually dead or dying congregation.  Beside being an active participant during youth group activities, my main responsibility was to share a brief testimony, what God was teaching me or doing in my life.  At a moment’s notice, I was suppose to be ready.  Well, I waited and waited and waited.  Finally, on Saturday night, I was told I would be talking to the entire congregation.  After praying with my roommate that night, the Lord took over so when the appointed time came, I opened my mouth and the Holy Spirit spoke.  Before finishing, I offered up a call for action, then played a song.  As I looked up, some were actually running to the altar, dedicating their lives to Jesus.

Since this day, I guess I can include my wife, kids and a decade as a Bible teacher.  However, in between the victories, there have been plenty of moments of failure, idleness and periods of self-indulgence.   When you taste defeat, the best pill to swallow is humility, an important practice to keep you on the narrow path to heaven, Matthew 7:13-15.  As the second coming of Jesus draws near, don’t forget to leave your imprints on earth while heaven awaits for those who call on the name of the Lord, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Sizing Up My Faith

On Valentine’s Day, 2013, I published a blog entitled Supersize Your Faith.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, God led me to challenge friends and readers to super size their faith during the month of March.  I encouraged fellow believers to expand their reading of the Bible, ramp up prayer lives and become an active participant within church.  As the sun has set on the month of March, this Easter evening, its time to size up for my faith.

Beginning, March 1st, I attempted to read 3 chapters of the Bible per day.  While I didn’t hit my goal every day, God allowed me to finish Habakkuk – Malachi, the gospel of Mark, half of John and 31 Psalms.  Most of my days began with a Psalm, serving as my outline for morning prayer and providing direction for the prayer journal that I kept.  Although, my overall prayer life hasn’t changed, God’s response to recent prayers did.

For example, as I reflect upon the last 9 days, I can see the hand of God providing for me within 24 hours of my heart felt cries for help.  First, God gave me clarity through a series of interviews, closed one door while opening another and during a 3 day stretch answered me exactly as I requested with a job, desire to finish my movie and a 40 hour work week.  I even laid hands on my cat, who had a 2 inch hole near her back and within a few days this area was healed.  Before praying, this hole grew larger day after day.

My greatest failure, where I need to most work in the future was being more active in my church community.  Initially, I had contacted a friend about starting up a small group Bible Study, but I didn’t follow up so this good idea faded away.  Meanwhile, I didn’t possess a servant’s heart, often rushing out of church or I found excuses to rationalize my lack of action.  The only fruit I bore in this area was coming up an idea of an Easter Egg hunt on March 30th to reach out to T-ball children and families of the Greater Newark Baseball League, where I have coached the past 3 seasons.  Thankfully, my wife coordinated this event with Pastor Matt of Overflow, leading to a successful day, impacting many who attended this special event.

Like the 40 day challenged introduced in the film Fireproof, Super sizing your faith should never end.  When Kirk Cameron’s character, Captain Caleb began this series of tasks, little progress was made.  However, as soon as Caleb changed his attitude, his life was transformed from the inside out.  Therefore, don’t give up hope if you are feeling defeated.  Ask the Holy Spirit, 2 Timothy 1:7 for extra help to better understand the Bible, develop an intimate prayer life and leave a legacy for Christ in your community.  Rise up with the risen Savior!

by Jay Mankus

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