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Tag Archives: belief

Magnifying Confidence

If you have a tendency to be analytical like me, you might over think things instead of relying on common sense.  Yet, you can’t deny the difference confidence makes within an athlete, Christian and student.  Uncerainty can stiffle souls, causing individuals to be hesitant, without conviction to act.  However, confidence transforms lives, taking quiet soft spoken individuals to new heights.

When Jesus saw their [active] faith [springing from confidence in Him], He said, “Man, your sins are forgiven,” Luke 5:20.

One day Jesus was teaching in a home when crowds surrounded the building.  By this time in history, Jesus’ healing powers had become legendary as no condition was impossible to cure.  This knowledge empowered a few friends to climb on top of the roof, carrying their friend who was paralyzed.  Eager to get Jesus’ attention, these men cut open a few tiles and lowered their friend to Jesus’ feet.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

This act of faith impressed Jesus and one of four gospel authors.  Luke magnifies confidence by referring to belief, energy and passion linked to those who trust in God’s power to transform lives.  Luke uses the imagery of a spring, bubbling over out of the ground.  When Christians stop focusing on the cants in this life and begin to open their minds to the possibilities with God’s help, confidence is magnifed.

by Jay Mankus

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Spiritual Atrophy

Atrophy refers to the process in which body tissue or organs slowly waste away often due to the degeneration of cells.  Symptoms of atrophy include decay, deterioration, shrinking or withering away until human bodies no longer function as God designed them.  When this condition is diagnosed, aggressive physical therapy is necessary to prevent further complications.  Human beings are not the only things vulnerable to atrophy.

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come, 1 Timothy 4:8.

Belief, faith and spiritual disciplines can be attacked.  Satan uses compromise, deceit, half-truths and lust to lull Christians into bad habits.  If these patterns persists, it doesn’t take long for a fervent faith to be persuaded into following in the footsteps of the prodigal son.  The apostle Paul uses the term bewitched in a letter to the church at Galatia.  Like atrophy within the human body, initial signs are subtle.  Yet, when minds begin to justify and rationalize wrong actions, spiritual atrophy can become aggressive.

Now before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law, [perpetually] imprisoned [in preparation] for the faith that was destined to be revealed, 24 with the result that the Law has become our tutor and our disciplinarian to guide us to Christ, so that we may be justified [that is, declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing with God] by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under [the control and authority of] a tutor and disciplinarian, Galatians 3:23-25.

A group known as the Judaizers had infiltrated this congregation.  Clinging to religious traditions of Judaism, these zealots began to add conditions to salvation, confusing many of the new converts to faith in Christ.  In the passage above, the apostle Paul explained the original purpose of the law.  However, Jesus came to abolish the law, opening the door for freewill.  Instead of forcing people to believe, God uses freewill to introduce grace, mercy and forgiveness to those who fully repent, turning away from sin and toward God.  This is the cure to spiritual atrophy, taking time each day to pray, thank God and yield your life to Christ alone.  Pursuing godliness is like therapy to overcome the affects of spiritual atrophy.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

An Excuse to Hide

In most judicial cases, the innocent will be absolved, acquitted and excused from any blame from a previous accusation.  Truth has a way shinning light on the guilty party or parties.  Meanwhile, those who walk with integrity tend to be vindicated.  Unfortunately, everyone has a weakness, a blind spot where logic and reason is not always applied.  Thus, if you find yourself caught with your hand in a proverbial cookie jar, there is a natural inclination to run away and hide.  Perhaps, this is something human beings have inherited from Adam and Eve, a flaw that must be addressed.

Then the eyes of the two of them were opened [that is, their awareness increased], and they knew that they were naked; and they fastened fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.  And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the]presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden, Genesis 3:7-8.

Prior to original sin, there was an innocence, a freedom that existed within human beings.  Yet, when you go beyond clearly defined boundaries, the consequences tarnish souls.  After tasting fruit from a forbidden area of the garden, guilt infiltrated human hearts.  This new feeling brought remorse, sorrow and the weight of a heavy heart, ashamed of breaking God’s only rule in the garden.  All of these built up emotions led to a knee jerk reaction, hiding from God, fearful of His response.  Thus, this collection of internal data influenced the earth’s first family to flee, an excuse to hide.

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim [judgment] against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah ran away to Tarshish to escape from the presence of the Lord [and his duty as His prophet]. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish [the most remote of the Phoenician trading cities]. So he paid the fare and went down into the ship to go with them to Tarshish away from the presence of the Lord, Jonah 1:1-3.

Several centuries later, a prophet receive a calling from God.  Afraid and unwilling to heed this call, Jonah attempts to go in the complete opposite direction of Nineveh.  Depending upon which Bible commentary you prefer, there is a belief that Jonah knew the wicked people of Nineveh would repent.  Feeling as if they were an undeserving nation, Jonah refused to preach a message of forgiveness.  Thus, in his own mind, Jonah felt justified to run away from God.  However, a hurricane, abandoning ship and a journey in the belly of whale transformed Jonah’s heart.  Therefore, the next time you feel compelled to run or hide from God’s calling, repent now or you may end up experiencing a life threatening situation.  May these two encounters serve as teachable moments to alter your course now.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Patience of Jesus

The capacity to accept or tolerate behavior, circumstances and people encapsulates the word patience.  Coaches, parents and teachers understand what it means to endure these trying situations.  True patience abstains from anger, emotional outbursts or becoming upset.  The key to patience is practicing restraint whatever suffering that you may encounter.  From a historical perspective, no one demonstrated patience than Jesus of Nazareth.

He replied, “O unbelieving (faithless) generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” – Mark 9:19

After sending his disciples out in pairs of two, Jesus began to receive some feedback.  In the context of the passage above, one father was disappointed as the disciples were unable to heal his son.  Based upon Jesus’ comment, this wasn’t an isolated incident as it appears that several of his pupils were slow learners.  Thus, Jesus was forced to clean up they public relations mess his disciples made, diagnosing the problem before casting out an unclean spirit.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience, Romans 8:25.

Jesus waited 12 years prior to be able to teach publicly.  Another 18 passed before God the Father wanted Jesus to begin his earthly ministry.  Perhaps, knowing his fate 3 years later enabled Jesus to wait patiently, preparing himself for what was to come.  Despite the failures of his disciples, Jesus remained calm, composed and displayed fortitude until completing God’s will.  While Jesus did express holy anger on a couple of occasions, he did not sin.  May we all learn from this godly example.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Mindset Behind a Miracle

In the last 25 years, sports psychology has impacted professional sports.  Individuals, star players and teams have sought help to reach their full potential.  Based upon books that I have read and from my own personal experience, the human mind plays a crucial role.  I’ve heard many successful athletes point to visualization, being able to see themselves making a catch, hitting a ball or sinking a putt.  When belief, faith and your mind intersect, the recipe for a miracle is set.

She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed,” Matthew 9:21.

The are two examples in the Bible of people who shared a common mindset.  Each sought medical help for a serious condition without any signs of improvement.  They came to the realization that spending money on doctors was a waste of time.  Thus, when word of a miraculous religious leader spread, hope came alive.  This good news gave birth to a thought listed in the passage above.  Despite suffering from a bleeding disorder for twenty years, this woman cast out any hints of doubt.  Eager to find Jesus, this resolve set the stage for a miracle to occur the moment she touched Jesus’ cloak.

When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  “Yes, Lord,” they replied, Matthew 9:28.

The final story refers to a pair of blind men.  Unlike the woman mentioned above, neither of these men could see.  Thus, they were forced to raise their voices once the commotion of Jesus passing by intensified.  Desperate to see, both began to shout, rising above everyone else in the crowd.  Recognizing their plea for mercy, Jesus had compassion on both men.  Like a doctor performing a preliminary check-up, Jesus asked one simple question, “do you believe I am able to heal you?”  The unswerving mindset within each led to another miracle.  The key to experiencing similar results today lies untapped within the mindset behind a miracle.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Greater is He Who is In You

One of Jesus’ disciples makes a power statement in a collection of small books known as the Catholic Epistles.  One specific letter written by John addresses the two opposing forces within this world.  The first, the Holy Spirit and latter the ruler of the air, Satan.  Although both are invisible, John wants to encourage those who may be fighting a losing battle that God is greater.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world, 1 John 4:4.

However, stating this and believing it are two different things.  Whether you’re an athlete, competitive or trying your best to survive, experiencing a series of failures can break anyone’s momentum.  The devil preys on doubt, planting seeds within minds to second guess God’s power and who really is in control.  Subsequently, even the confident go through periods of darkness, fighting inner demons which seek to attack your heart, soul and mind.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds, 2 Corinthians 10:4.

At some point, the disciples passes the Christian torch to the apostle Paul whose missionary journeys gave birth to churches throughout the Middle East, Europe and Africa.  According to Paul, the only way to stand your ground against the enemy involves changing your tactics.  Whenever faith begins to falter or wilt, taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ is crucial.  As soon as this discipline is put into practice, then and only then will you truly believe that greater is He who is in you than is in the world.

by Jay Mankus

As Is Verse Could Be; Should Be

During my time attending a youth ministry trade school known as Tentmakers, a specific mindset was ingrained within me.  Instead of being task oriented, the curriculum stressed the importance of developing vision.  Subsequently, individuals must be realistic with their current position, the As/Is before reaching a desired destination, the Could Be/Should Be.

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it, Habakkuk 2:2.

According to C.S. Lewis, success is the process of arriving.  Unfortunately, many people go through life thinking if I only achieve this position, salary or status, then happiness will be achieved.  This belief sets people up for failure, rarely taking time to celebrate the little accomplishments in life.  Those few who actually reach the summit, mountain top, may be unfulfilled pondering, “is this it?”

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay, Habakkuk 2:3.

To insure disappointment does not come knocking at the door, perhaps it may be beneficial to begin thinking about life in terms of As/Is, Could Be/Should Be.  While any type of change will take time to adopt and conform to, motivation in 2017 is still fresh.  Therefore, don’t waste the opportunity to transform your ways in the New Year.  Enjoy the journey with vision as your guiding light and the Lord the wind beneath your wings.

by Jay Mankus

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