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Tag Archives: Christ Jesus

Thank You For the Journey

Following birthdays, graduations and weddings, individuals often feel compelled to send thank you cards.  While certain presents are more impressive than others, it’s the thought that counts.  Although this process may be time consuming, it’s the appropriate response.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Unfortunately, most people don’t do the same with the Lord.  After a remarkable day, month or phase in life, it’s time to give the Lord the credit for victories in life.  Sure, you might have put in the effort and time to succeed.  Yet, it never hurts to thank God for the journey of life.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change, James 1:17.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul took missionary journeys to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.  Some trips were extended while others were cut short.  Other plans were thwarted due to demonic forces.  Like making a wedding vow, in the good or bad, make sure you take a moment daily to pause by thanking God for the journey.

by Mankus

 

 

Unworthy

There is a growing movement in America based upon entitlements.  If you asked a senior citizen about entitlements, one might bring up social security if they are retired.  However, millennials have broadened this term, believing healthcare and other government programs are what they deserve.  Yet, when you open the Bible, the opposite is true.

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one,” Romans 3:10-12.

During a visit to the church at Rome, the apostle Paul reminds his listeners of a statement made by an Old Testament prophet.  Regardless of how disciplined you may be, hard you work or pure your intentions, no one is worthy.  This concept is difficult to grasp, especially to those who live in a bubble, protected by justification, rationalization and a secular worldview.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst, 1 Timothy 1:15.

As for me, I recently started studying the book of Job.  I have had some bad things happen in life, but nothing compares to the series of trials Job endured.  Job developed a severe rash similar to poison ivy resulting in a constant itch and oozing puss.  When three friends came to visit, Job 2:12-13, each began to weep aloud, unable to fathom Job’s pain.  Based upon this context, I’m undeserving of God’s love.  Instead of being ungrateful, I need to be content on what I receive, either good or bad.  Don’t let a world full of entitlements spoil your mind.  Rather, come to a place of unworthiness so you will understand that the Lord gives and takes away.

by Jay Mankus

A Brain Fart Caught on Camera

With millions of America engrossed in the finish of Super Bowl XLIX, one of the most incredible catches of all time will be forever vacated by a brain fart caught on camera.  With the New England Patriots clinging to a 28-24, Seahawk receiver Jermaine Kearse went up for a 45 yard pass on 3rd and 10 which was deflected and bounced off his knee before reeling in Russell Wilson’s pass while on his back.  After Marshawn Lynch advanced the football to the 1 yard line, Seattle was less than 3 feet from repeating as NFL champions.  As television commentators were considering whether or not New England should allow Seattle to score, Seattle’s play caller had a brain fart, failing to give the ball to their best option.  Instead a 2nd down pass was intercepted, leaving most football fans in shock, with Patriots fans thanking God for this bizarre ending.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Beyond the field of competition, brain farts are a daily reality, especially for those who must make tough decisions.  When faced with pressure or under duress, the human mind may not function properly.  Stress tends to alter one’s ability to make quick judgments.  Perhaps an overwhelming disappointment early on in life may cause some to avoid seeking positions of leadership, afraid to fail.  Known as gun shy, this may explain what happened in the final minute of this year’s Super  Bowl.  Somewhere during the 40 seconds between plays, doubt, hesitation or uncertainty cost a franchise a title.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:7.

Unfortunately, the media will likely ridicule this decision for years to come.  Some may even call it the worst decisions in Super Bowl history.  However, in the grand scheme of life, this is just a game that men get paid to play.  Thus, the costliest brain farts occur in the real world, where one bad choice has consequences.  Once the emotion of victories and losses fade, make sure that you don’t fall into a pattern of neglect.  Just ask Aaron Hernandez, a former New England Patriot, who is now on trial for double murder.  Regardless of your current mood, may the Lord give you a peace that surpasses all understanding to press on after any brain fart moment that you have to endure.

by Jay Mankus

 

Grace With Obedience

The apostle Paul introduced the doctrine “by grace through faith” in Ephesians 2:8-10.  The context of Paul’s message refers back to his words to the church in Rome.  In human terms, it’s impossible for man to keep the Jewish law, Romans 3:9-12, as sin past down through the curse on placed upon Adam in Genesis 3 prevents anyone for deserving or earning eternal life on their own merits, Romans 6:23.  Only when an individual places their trust in an unseen Messiah, is heaven a reality, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.

On the other side of the spectrum, we find James, the earthly brother of Jesus.  Based upon his actions mentioned in the 4 gospels and his only book, one of the catholic letters, readers will hear what they think is a contrary teaching.  Possibly reflecting of his own lack of faith, not believing his brother was the son of God, the Lord’s brother places an emphasis on actions inspired by faith, James 2:14-26.  Prior to Jesus’ resurrection, James was void of any belief.  However, James points out that true faith, breeds action.  Each go hand in hand, as once an individual claims to have faith but does not convey or display it, they are merely living a lie as James himself did until his big brother rose from the grave.

Finally, Moses relays words directly from God in Exodus 23:24-26 to the Israelites on their way to receive the promised land.  God’s initial expectations are to follow the first few commandments, mainly to avoid creating or worshiping other gods or things on earth.  In return for obedience, God will bless food, water and the health of his people.  One might suggest this is the origin and inspiration behind saying grace before you eat today, seeking blessing from the Lord of all.  Beyond this, the Lord promises to protect babies in their mother’s womb and supply long life as long as faith and obedience are woven together.  Regardless of where your allegiance lies, may the Holy Spirit guide you with a spirit of obedience accompanied by grace.

by Jay Mankus

The Detours of Life

When unforeseen events, startling situations or the unpredictable occur, you end up in a foreign place, side tracked by life.  These trials can be time consuming, often resulting in cancellations, delays or detours from the route you thought you would be traveling.  The most common response from Christian observers is Romans 8:28, thinking they are helping by quoting, “all things work together for the good for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

What these first responders don’t recognize is that mothers, fathers and hurting people aren’t ready to accept the fact that their child, friend, relative or spouse is dead.  Having a front row seat, I’ve had classmates die in car accidents, friends fall to cancer and others end their life through suicide.  While exiting out of funeral homes, the promise of Romans 8:28 was the furthest thing from my mind.  The only thing I could provide was a hug, shoulder to lean on and my silent prayers.

During the exile of the Israel, a similar thought process went on in Psalm 137.  To cope with this detour, the Psalmist called people to remember the good times, the glory of Zion.  Through time, reflection and mediation on the word of God, healing comes.  Unfortunately, rates vary, with some turning a journey in the desert into 40 years of aimless wandering.  As you go through your own detours in life, lean on James 1:2-4 to provide you wisdom until a new path opens or the old is restored.

by Jay Mankus

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