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Tag Archives: Christmas Day

The Jesus Check List

For the past 25 years, Thanksgiving serves as a dual purpose for my family.  The first is obvious, to reconnect, reflect and share how the past year has gone, either good, bad or indifferent.  The second is a precursor to Christmas, exchanging gift wish lists.  Thanks to Amazon, most of this is done online to avoiding writing down the same list several times on a piece of paper.  Nonetheless, as Christmas Day approaches, there is an internal list with decorations, gift wrapping and preparations that need to completed before you can actually enjoy Jesus’ birthday.

For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations],” Romans 10:10-11.

A 2007 film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman introduced another kind of list.  The Bucket List involves two men who have been each diagnosed with terminal cancer.  After meeting in the hospital for the first time, the billionaire hospital magnate Edward Cole played by Nicholson finances a series of trips before each man dies.  In a race against the clock, these men invest their energy doing the things in life they always wanted to do, but never took the time.  Since the initial release of the Bucket List, several # movements have transformed others on the verge of death to pursue their own check list of dreams and goals to accomplish.

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you], Romans 12:1-2.

My favorite list is one that gets little attention, but results in eternal rewards, the Jesus Check List.  Instead of going through life focusing on the things you want to experience, the Jesus Check List is based upon fulfilling God’s will for your life.  Before you can start this list, you need to join Jesus’ team as described by the apostle Paul in Romans 10:10-11.  The moment you enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you gain access to the Holy Spirit.  C.S. Lewis refers to this as theological virtues in Mere Christianity, enabling new converts to obtain charity, faith and hope as you progress down Jesus’ Check List.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God [which represents all that Jesus Christ is and does], so that you will know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have eternal life. 14 This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us, 1 John 5:13-14.

As individuals begin to daily prayer, read the Bible and begin to worship God throughout the week, not just on Sunday’s, lives can be radically changed if you stick with the Jesus Check List.  The apostle Paul refers to this as a process, offering up your life each day as a living sacrifice to God.  This involves asking God a series of questions in the form of a prayer.  What do you want me to do today?  Where do you need me to go to help others?  Who needs to be encouraged, give me eyes to see?  How can I reach the lost; using the God given talents you have blessed me with?  If you take this blog to heart, you will be well on your way, certain of the eternal rewards awaiting you in heaven with each day you commit to serving Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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Christmas from a Doctor’s Perspective

Before the days of computers, data bases and technology, doctors relied on medical journals, other opinions and personal experiences to grow in their knowledge of the human body.  Prior to hospitals, children were born at home, accompanied by family members and the town physician.  As I read through Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth, 2 things stand out.

1) This doctor recognizes Mary’s conception to be supernatural, Luke 1:35.

2) There are things in life that occur which can’t be explain by science; made possible by God, Luke 1:37.

Unfortunately, Christmas from a modern day doctor’s perspective skews the miracle of Jesus’ birth.  Scientists would likely suggest Mary’s child was the result of a test tube baby, conceived from the sperm of another man.  Skeptics in the media might go further, creating fictional stories of a secret lover.  As faith has gradually become replaced by science, many of today’s doctors would rather develop outrageous theories than give God the credit He is due.

As Hollywood attempts to portray their own interpretation of Christmas, an old episode of the Bob Newhart Show is as close as anyone has come to capturing the events leading up to this miraculous day.  During a doctor’s convention, Bob’s inn has no vacancy when 3 wise men and a pregnant couple come looking for a place to stay.  Unsure what to do, Newhart decides not to turn this couple away to avoid future Inn Keepers from developing a bad reputation.  In the end, the doctor revel in the opportunity to help usher another human being into this world.

May this blog prepare your hearts to worship Jesus on Christmas Day.

by Jay Mankus

 

Remembering Your First Fruits

As Christmas Day approaches, thinking about God; make that slowing down to consider the Lord is a difficult task.  Pondering what presents you are going to buy, how much each will cost and when you will make take to find them all can be exhausting.  Thus, tithing back to God or offering your talents to the church often get’s lost in the holiday rush.

While reading the Bible recently, traces of giving back to God are interspersed within the Pentateuch, another name for the first 5 books of the Old Testament.  In the back of my mind, I want to give 10 % or the first portion of my paycheck back to God, yet a lack of a faith is preventing me from experiencing supernatural blessings.  If only I would trust God to provide daily bread, then the storehouses of heaven might open.

Perhaps this is why the apostle Paul wrote, “the things I don’t want to do I do, but those I hate I do, ” Romans 7:15.  This invisible force field prevents genuine believers from a spiritual breakthrough.  Alone, on my own strength, I am hopeless, destined for failure, Romans 3:23.  However, by grace, through faith, stands a God of second, third and fourth chances, Ephesians 2:8-10.  May this promise catapult you to new heights as you remember to give God what is rightfully His, your first fruits, Romans 7:4.

by Jay Mankus

Living Like A Dog

King Solomon was one of the first people to compare human beings with dogs.  In Proverbs 26:11, he uses a vivid image to prove his point; “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats their folly.”  A fool is one who is bamboozled, duped and hoodwinked over and over, not learning from previous mistakes.  Like the Israelites mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, their failures are documented as a reminder not to live like a dog.

Like a dog who is never fully potty trained, the author of Hebrews suggest some Christians don’t mature as they should in Hebrews 5:11-6:3.  Depending upon your upbringing, some people are born into un-churched homes, growing up without ever going or entering church on Christmas Day and or Easter Sunday.  Others attend a church who either does not know how to disciple others or glances over essential details young Christians do not know how to apply.  Thus, new believers often become like my 11 year old Beagle named Autumn, still dumpster diving into trash cans, regularly going to the bathroom in the house and not sure how to act and play like a normal trained dog.

When the apostle Paul first visited the Island of Crete, he was astonished by their lack of manners, people skills and social interaction with others.  Cut off to the civilized world, most of the citizens of Crete were barbaric.  Thus, Paul had to address the most basic skill in his letter, teaching their church to do what is right, Titus 3:1-11.  Paul also lays out the expectations and standards that leaders should uphold, Titus 1:6-9.  Essentially, everyone from time to time, needs to go back to obedience school, touching up on the basics of Christianity written in the Bible.  If you practice what Jesus taught in  the 4 gospels, you will put the dog days of summer behind you!

by Jay Mankus

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