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How Rich is Your Faith?

The concept of a stock market dates back nearly 500 years.  The first stock exchange began in 1531 as Belgium brokers and money lenders met in the city of Antwerp to deal with business, government and debt issues.  While the New York Stock Exchange is the most powerful and famous in the United States, the first began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.  Today, there are cable networks devoted to following the rise and fall of modern markets.  Green is good and red bad as a ticker scrolls across the screen revealing up to the second results of trading.  Depending upon how a stock is trending, individuals scramble to buy or sell to maximize their investments.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ, Romans 10:17.

Recently, I have begun to view my faith in terms of a stock market.  If you could take the past year, placing your degree of faith on a flow chart, similar to the highs and lows of a stock, what would it look like?  At your peak, what elevated or lifted you to this all time high.  Meanwhile, when you reflect back upon your lowest lows, what caused you to experience, feel and end up in a rock bottom emotional state?  Have you come to your senses like the prodigal son in Luke 15?  Or has depression kept you paralyzed, enslaved by an addiction, bad habit or an undisciplined life?  In the passage above, the apostle Paul gives some advice to the poor in faith.  Investing time listening, reading and studying the Bible is a goldmine to those who want to become rich in faith.

“So it is for the one who continues to store up and hoard possessions for himself, and is not rich [in his relationship] toward God,” Luke 12:21.

Following the parable of the wealthy fool, Jesus reveals the reason why people hoard possessions on earth.  When individuals focus on their own concerns and needs, hobbies can become obsessions.  If there is no one to intervene, people end up on reality televisions shows like Hoarders or are visited by the crew from American Pickers.  According to Jesus, the way to reverse this trend is by improving your relationship with God, Romans 10:9-10.  Those who make investments in Bible Studies, mission trips or prayer groups will begin to see spiritual earnings rise.  As individuals connect with God daily through church related activities and a personal quiet time, your faith will rise.  Everyone will experience drops, falls and slides throughout life.  However, if you develop a resolve like the persistent widow in Luke 18, you will become rich in faith.

by Jay Mankus

Thrown Away

Products with the words Made in the U.S.A. were once a symbol of pride, a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution.  Unfortunately, these words are a rare find today.  As consumers searched for alternative and cheaper products, countries like China, India and Taiwan now fill most of the shelves in our stores.  However, you get what you pay for because almost every product made overseas today is created to be thrown away.

While shows like American Pickers, Pawn Stars and Auction Hunters are trying to salvage some of history’s priceless creations, we also live in a culture that throws people away.  Although people aren’t literally thrown into a trash can, individuals are daily thrown under the bus so to speak in the media, on talk radio and in our social circles.  If there was a junk yard for people, names like Joe Paterno, Lance Armstrong and Pete Rose would be present, flicked to the side of the road like a worthless cigarette after it’s been consumed.  After one mistake, the legacy of these 3 men and many others like them have been erased, thrown to curb forever.

There is a verse in the Bible read at almost every wedding, yet forgotten by most people immediately following the ceremony.  1 Corinthians 13:4 says love keeps no record of wrongs.  Unfortunately, true love is rarely displayed, as uncommon as products made in a America.  Yet, if we want to begin recycling, these words must be at the fore front of our minds.  Life is too short to throw away friends, mentors and heroes.  Rather, practice Matthew 6:14-15, forgive others as the Lord has forgiven you, Colossians 3:12-14.  Then and only then can people begin to pick up the pieces of their lives, begin anew with a fresh start and become the workman God desires for us to be, Ephesians 2:10.  Seize the day or be thrown away; the choice is yours!

by Jay Mankus

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