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Tag Archives: blessed

This One is For You

At any period in time, individuals will find themselves in either one of two states, blessed or in need.  This status can change at a moments notice, from having a high paying position with great benefits to being unemployed.  For those of you have endured the embarrassment of losing your job, this experience can be humbling.  Yet, life goes on, with or within out you.  The one thing God is eager to see is how will you respond to adversity?

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed, 1 Peter 4:12-13.

The odd thing about life is that sometimes when you think you are the person in need, someone else enters your life to help you realize how blessed you truly are.  When I moved off campus in college, I used fast food restaurants as places to study.  As long as you bought something to eat, refills were unlimited so I never ran out of caffeine.  One morning I went to McDonald’s for breakfast, celebrating the two for two dollar breakfast sandwich deal.  After quickly snarfing down my first sausage and egg McMuffin, I noticed a man who appeared to be homeless.  Before taking a bite of the second one, conviction consumed my soul.  Thirty seconds later, I got up, walked over and said, “this one is for you.”

But we commend ourselves in every way as servants of God: in great endurance, in sufferings, in hardships, in distresses, 2 Corinthians 6:4.

During the middle of the first century, the apostle Paul was diligent in his daily preparations.  The passage above reveals the mindset Paul possessed as a follower of Christ.  Paul wasn’t caught off guard or surprised like modern naïve Christians.  Rather, Paul knew the cost of serving God, making this known to fellow believers in the letter above.  To a certain extent, Paul appears to view himself as being blessed by God, always searching for opportunities to help others.  Despite criticism, pushback and rumors, Paul was determined to honor God whatever the cost.  This example should inspire people today to locate the down trodden, needy and poor; then extend the love of Christ by paying it forward, “this one is for you.”

by Jay Mankus

 

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Decisions and Destinies

Dehydration, exhaustion and reaching the point of being mentally spent are good reasons to take a break.  No matter how disciplined, focused or strong you may be, everyone needs to take the time to rest and recover.  However, if this period takes longer than expected, dreams, goals and visions may be in jeopardy.  This is where decisions and destinies are linked as different avenues lead to success and failure, victory and the agony of defeat.

For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies, 2 Thessalonians 3:11.

My first introduction to the term idleness came through a common expression, “the early bird gets the worm.”  The point of this saying encourages individuals to be active, diligent and persistent.  Those who emulate these traits are rewarded with consistent results on the way toward securing an eternal destiny.  Meanwhile, the dazed, distracted and emotionally tired are proceeding toward a different destiny, void of significant accomplishments.

The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor, Proverbs 12:24.

Solomon is much more blunt while discussing idleness.  The analogy mentioned above suggests that your ultimate destiny is determined by the daily choices you make.  Anyone who seizes the day by maximizing the opportunities that God gives you will be blessed, earning favor and financial gain.  On the other side of the spectrum people will end up in some sort of blue collar job, often grueling which may feel like forced labor.  Therefore, if you want to pursue high hopes in this life, make sure daily decisions are guided by a mind set on the destiny you are eager to achieve.

by Jay Mankus

SWAG

Swag is one of those words that has evolved over time.  Initially short for swagger, swag is a personality trait which naturally flows out of confident individuals.  Professional athletes display this by playing to the crowd, swaying and strutting after successful impacts during a competition or game.  Journalists sometimes equate swag with gravitas, inner qualities that attract others to want to be around those who possess this special gift.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Recently, I stumbled upon an acronym for swag, Spiritual Wonders Anointed by God.  Although my employer refers to swag as stuff we all get, I know from experience not everyone receives the same allotment in life.  Rather, some people are more blessed than others, attaining and obtaining much more than the average person.  While a portion of success can be linked to dedication, hard work and perseverance, God’s role in swag can not be denied.

Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? – Hebrews 1:14.

Spiritual wonders anointed by God can be explained by guardian angels or ministering spirits.  Without divine intervention, there may be some of you who would not be alive today if it wasn’t for this insight and protection.  Meanwhile, swag can be developed from a permanent meaningful lasting relationship with God.  As one begins to pray, study the Bible and worship the Lord each week, the Holy Spirit living inside of you can produce swag.  As a new year approaches, may the Lord inspire you to draw near to God so that your faith will flourish in 2018.

by Jay Mankus

From Bad to Unbearable

There is an old cliché of going from bad to worse.  However, in some circumstances individuals experience unbearable conditions.  Sometimes this occurs due to an accident, illness or trial.  Whenever you encounter one of these extremes, faith and perseverance are essential to survive.

“You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw.  But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God,’ Exodus 5:7-8.

During Israel’s 400 years of slavery in Egypt, Pharaoh took out his frustrations on the Hebrew servants.  Beginning in Exodus 5, the quota of work remained the same, but the workers were forced to now collect straw to make bricks.  This decision was like the last straw forcing God’s hand to ramp up the plagues on Pharaoh.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

One of Jesus’ brothers records a mindset necessary to overcome harsh periods in life.  Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that when most people hear it you reply, “yeah right.”  Nonetheless, staying positive is half the battle.  Any type of negativity can poison minds resulting in an avalanche of doubt.  Therefore, the next time things go from bad to worse in your life, consider it a pure joy so that those who endure will receive the crown of life.

by Jay Mankus

You Shouldn’t Be Surprised

 

I have watched thousands of movies over my many years on earth.  Depending upon your personality, people tend to create lists like classics, favorites or worst ever.  While I have seen some pathetic films, none were more disturbing than The Last House on the Left.  This 1972 horror flick was an obvious sign of a changing world, but I missed it.  I couldn’t convince myself that this was the direction and path America was on, yet I shouldn’t be surprised.

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law, Proverbs 29:18.

Compromise is a painful reality that people usually don’t grasp until it’s too late.  No society is immune to the pitfalls of history.  Like a vicious cycle, civilizations tend to reject morality over a period of time.  In it’s place, evil, lust and violence is embraced.  No matter how noble one’s beginning, there will always be a fall from grace that shouldn’t be a surprise.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, Hosea 4:6.

Past winners of the lottery wake up millionaires over night.  Unfortunately, many of these individuals end up far worse than living a normal life.  I recently read a case study of former winners.  Many follow the path of the prodigal son, blowing their pay out quickly with lavish gifts and wild spending sprees.  The Bible warns souls of this possibility, but greed has a way of blinding individuals from the truth.  Subsequently, those who attempt to live life without vision will soon perish.  Take heed so you won’t be surprised.

by Jay Mankus

Earning the Anointing

Sometimes the Bible doesn’t make sense when you read it.  Although, the puzzling questions can often be explained by a better understanding of the context in which a passage takes place.  If you examine famous anointings in the Old Testament, there are one of two scenarios that take place.  Either individuals had to wait an extended period prior to the fulfillment of the anointing or people earned the right to be blessed by God due to years of faithful service.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8.

Prior to his anointing as the next king of Israel, God prepared David while serving as a shepherd in the fields.  Elisha spent a decade as a farmer and servant to Elijah before receiving a double portion of faith.  Meanwhile, Ruth endured the pain and poverty of a widow before being rescued by her kinsman redeemer.  While salvation can not be earned, faithfulness opens the door to receive a special anointing from God.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

Anointings can be like following sports.  At the beginning of any season, its hard to tell who will win the championship.  Yet, as time goes by dedication, hard work and perseverance separates contenders from pretenders.  In the same way, God sees the hearts of individuals.  Since appearances can be deceiving, God examines hearts and souls to see who has earned the right to be anointed and or blessed by the Lord.  May your faith be rewarded.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Spoiled Faith

I caught an interview on TBN, the Trinity Broadcasting Network over the weekend about Middle East converts to Christianity. To protect their identity, new believers were sharing the hardships following a decision to leave the Muslim faith.  One woman opened up about a phone call she had with her mother.  This mom believed her daughter had been brain washed, poisoned by zealous disciples of Christ.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

In the last decade, Christians have been crucified, persecuted and in some cases forced to leave their homeland.  Since the mainstream media is not covering, investigating or reporting this news, the average American does not believe these travesties exist.  Subsequently, many who claim to follow or serve God do not know what true faith is.  Instead, political correctness is breeding a culture that is spoiling genuine faith.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

If there is anyone who is an expert in the field of hardship and persecution, the apostle Paul fits this criteria.  Following a life devoted to legalism as a Pharisee, Paul’s unexpected transformation creates a wave of resentment against his decision to become a missionary.  The passage above shares the spiritual truths suffering taught Paul.  Hardship serves as a spiritual purging, slowly changing your perspective on life.  If you never face trials, growth can be stunted.  Therefore, the next time suffering comes knocking, don’t let a spoiled faith keep you from becoming the man and woman God wants you to be.

by Jay Mankus

 

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