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Tag Archives: drawing closer to God

One Thing People Lack

If you’re not careful, people can get snippy when you point out one of their weaknesses.  Whether its a defense mechanism or a way in which individuals bend the truth, few want to hear about their imperfections.  However, there is a famous conversation where Jesus reveals one thing people lack.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” – Mark 10:17

One day, a rich young ruler humbly falls at the feet of Jesus.  Desperately wanting reassurance of his spiritual quest to reach heaven, this ruler asks, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  While most teachers would seize this teachable moment, Jesus pauses to redirect the topic.  Despite being the son of God Jesus responds with the words, “why do you call me good?”  Essentially, the Lord proclaims that no one is good but God.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Mark 10:21

Using the ten commandments as a measuring stick, this benchmark serves as a guide as you interact with members of society.  In a sense, this is expected, what any follower of God should do.  Thus, when Jesus adds one final requirement, this ruler leaves Jesus’ presence heart broken.  Though other gospel writers vary their details of this encounter, it appears that this ruler trusted in his money rather than placing his sole faith in God to provide.  This same expectation applies today.  Do you lack complete trust in the Lord or fervently rest in Jehovah-Jireh?  May your reply to this question motivate you to draw closer to Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

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The Infusion Called Grace

Like fine wine, you grow better with years doesn’t apply in the spiritual realm.  Although I wish this old saying was true, Romans 7:7-25 tells a different story.  Instead of improving in taste, the smell of sin causes believers to pray for an infusion of grace.

Birthdays are nice to celebrate, yet God’s main concern focuses on John 3:3-5, have you been reborn spiritually?   The sarcastic often respond like Nicodemus, “how can someone already born, fit back into their mother’s womb?”  While clever, God is not amused.  Jesus’ perspective of an infusion of grace can be found in John 3:16-17, illustrating a loving and patient God.

The reason why rebirth is essential according to the apostle Paul, Romans 5:1-2, faith is the key to gain access into the Lord’s infusion of grace.  Though undeserving, Jesus died, offering his life as an atoning sacrifice while we were still sinners, Romans 5:8.  In view of this goods news, tidings of great joy, lean on Jesus, Romans 10:9-10 to experience this infusion of grace.

by Jay Mankus

 

Gotta Get It Right

During my last year as a youth pastor, I was responsible for running Confirmation, a year long class for 8th graders who sought to take ownership of their faith.  Before the actual ceremony during church in the Spring, I took my group away on a retreat about 30 minutes west of Columbus, Indiana.  Coming out a year earlier, I showed the movie Groundhog Day to break the ice, easing the tension for those uncomfortable with talking about God.  Essentially, Bill Murray keeps repeating the same day over and over again, until he gets it right.

Unfortunately, time doesn’t stand still like this movie.  However, there are several life lessons worth noting.  First, too many individuals, me especially, become consumed with what they are doing, where they are going and what they need to accomplish every day.  As a result, blinders prevents you from appreciating, interacting and slowing down long enough to develop permanent meaningful lasting relationships.  Secondly, distracted people often don’t recognize, see or stop to help someone in need with a smile, word of encouragement or passing prayer.  Finally, life is best served by embracing daily distractions that God provides.  These interruptions offer opportunities to minister, nurture and uplift struggling souls.

While listening to the song Get it Right by Silverline, I sensed the urging of the Holy Spirit to write this blog.  Although each day is filled with trials and errors, life is too short to keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  If  you are touched by these words, join me in the quest to get it right, John 10:10.  Yet, when you fail, don’t give up, Galatians 6:9-10.  Rather, by leaning on Christ, Philippians 4:13, believe in your heart that over time, you will get it right.

Please comment on my blog how your journey is going.  This post is dedicated to Elizabeth, one of my students who gave her heart to Jesus, Romans 10:9-10, at the end of our confirmation retreat.

by Jay Mankus

Delaying God’s Promises

As I turned on the television this morning, I felt like God was talking directly to me.  Dr. Tony Evans was reminding his congregation that neutrality does not exist in the spiritual realm.  You’re either drawing closer to God, gathering up treasures for heaven or you’re falling away, disappointed by the lack of promises you’ve received if any.  Instead of blaming God for unfulfilled promises, disobedience, rebellion or unbelief essentially delays one from experiencing these blessings on earth.

According to Matthew 12:30, Jesus can’t be any clearer about his expectations for his followers.  “If you’re not with me, gathering people toward the kingdom of God, you’re against me!”  Though it sounds good today, you can’t pick and choose which commandments you follow and which you ignore and or neglect.  During my month long ordeal with my lung, liver and ribs, I began to slip away from God, frustrated by the hand I have been dealt the last few years.  However, my response has delayed God’s timing, waiting for obedience from me before I was accompanied by blessings, Deuteronomy 28:2.

I guess the easy thing to do is blame God for your lack of progress, success or wealth in life.  Nonetheless, David says it best in Psalm 37:3; “trusting in the Lord and striving for holiness comes first.”  Until this occurs, peace and safe pastures are on hold.  Therefore, don’t delay God’s promises any further by idleness.  Rather, delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4.

by Jay Mankus

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