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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


What Do You Value…Show Me Your Money

Rod Tidwell is a fictional character played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire.  Tidwell is a veteran wide receiver in the National Football League who is about to become a free agent, looking for one final contract to secure his families financial security.  Tom Cruise plays a hot shot sports agent who is fired from the firm he helped built.  Thus, Cruise is left with one client, Tidwell, whose main request is “show me the money.”

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for [the hands of] the righteous, Proverbs 13.22.

As part of a small group Bible Study, my wife and I have to create a detailed budget to track where our money is being spent.  Upon completion, this spreadsheet will reveal what each of us value in life.  While the majority of our paychecks are spent on a mortgage, food and utilities, other interests will be unveiled by previous expenses.  I am not sure what the final results will uncover, but I am sure there are areas like fast food and golf that need to be reduced in the future.

Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.  The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender, Proverbs 22:6-7.

According to the Bible, King Solomon is one of the richest and wisest to walk the face of the earth.  Thus, as this man shares some advice about financial matters in the passages above, its important to reflect upon this information.  Solomon places an emphasis on leaving a financial legacy for your children and grandchildren.  As this process is ongoing, Solomon urges individuals to educate your children about money.  Whether this is through allowances, chores or saving money, these practices help shape what your offspring value in life.  In other words, Solomon is asking what do you value?   If you want to know, show your spouse where your money is being spent.

by Jay Mankus

Thinking Outside the Box

Prior to the creation and evolution of the internet, students relied on books, creativity and listening for education.  Today, the mind has been spoiled by GPS, 4G and ever changing technology to make life more convenient.  Subsequently, the concept of thinking outside the box is becoming a lost art.  Thus, most of society is going along with the flow, oblivious to the decay of the human minds in America.

By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late.  Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” – Mark 6:35-36

Before the advent of credit cards, fast food and professional catering, Jesus and his friends found themselves in a conundrum.  Five thousand men, excluding woman and children, traveled to a remote location without any access to food.  This memorable event is the only miracle mentioned by all 4 gospel authors, a prime example of outside of the box thinking.  Though the 12 disciples tried to pass the buck, sending the crowds away, Jesus had another plan in mind.

But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” –  Mark 6:37

Jesus took what they had and turned his attention toward heaven.  While there are several different theories on the feeding of the 5,000 as portrayed in recent movies and mini-series on the life of Christ, two truths can be extracted by this passage.  First, whenever you face an impossible situation, put your faith and trust in God to act on your behalf.  Second, although God may not answer your request exactly how you want, the Lord will provide enough daily bread to get you through each day.  In the future, don’t be afraid to think outside the box by lifting your concerns up to heaven.

by Jay Mankus

Setting the Table

Prior to fast food dinners out, setting the table was a daily chore delegated by parents to teach their children about how to properly prepare before each meal.  Beyond laying out table arrangements, this term has been adopted by other avenues.  Baseball uses this analogy to encourage players to get into scoring position so that power hitters can drive them home.  After reading a passage of the Bible today, this saying also relates to a spiritual principle.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way,” Mark 1:2.

If you want to change the hearts, minds and souls of other people, a foundation must be set.  There needs to be a beacon of light, pointing the way through their actions, behavior and words.  Although I never thought of it in this manner, John the Baptist set the table for Jesus.  Inspired by a chance to come clean, purge bad habits and verbally profess their shortcomings, John developed a large following who sought forgiveness.  Despite his success, John recognized that he was only a small piece to life’s puzzle, ready to pass the baton to the Savior of the world.

I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit,” Mark 1:8.

Hidden within John’s words is the realization that his ministry was temporary, unable to permanently change individuals.  However, the real Messiah will offer an invisible power called the Holy Ghost in the King’s James Version.  While the power of sin will continue to cause the masses to fall prey to addiction, character flaws and poor decisions.  The hope of the Holy Spirit provides an anointing that can lead to freedom.  May the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-15 lead you to usher in heaven while living on earth as you set the table for future generations of faith.

by Jay Mankus


A Fast Food Faith

When households began to outlive their annual income, moms decided to pursue a new career.  With both parents working, the thought of cooking dinner didn’t sit too well.  Thus, the fast food revolution exploded during the 1980’s as tv dinners were replaced by restaurants and meals to go.  Subsequently, faith has followed a similar path.

There are 2 different types of fast food faiths.  One view is faith on the run.  Whether its over sleeping, struggling to find time for God or merely forgetting the Lord, individuals slow down for a quick spiritual meal.  This often involves a little devotional like Our Daily Bread, a short prayer and perhaps even a time of reflection before time ushers you off to your next appointment of the day.  Although, this is a good starting place, a life style like this will result in a lukewarm faith, Revelation 3:15-16.

The second type of fast food faiths involves accepting the reality of our culture and maximizing what restaurants have to offer.  Bill Hybels, founder of Willow Creek Church in Chicago, takes some time each summer to vacation in Michigan.  One of his favorite spiritual refuges is a Burger King.  Using free refills to his advantage, Bill finds a quiet booth in the back, opens up his Bible as God revitalizes him with a supernatural fast food faith.

Today, hearts, minds and souls are in desperate need of real food.  Yet, no one is forcing you to leave the confines of your own home.  With distractions only a computer, phone call or television away, perhaps you need to find a place like Mark 1:35.  You may choose a fast faith chow down and go on your merry way?  Or, for the hungry, you may prefer a spiritual buffet of biblical truth?  May the Holy Spirit fill you with a Matthew 5:6 mentality so that your fast food faith fulfills your appetite.

by Jay Mankus


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