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Tag Archives: finish

The Greatest Closer of All Time

To close refers to someone or something that is finished, like turning a page, closing the door or finalizing a deal to complete what you started.  In baseball, a closer is suppose to end a game, seal the deal and hold the lead so that victory is preserved.  Names such as Mariano Rivera, Dennis Eckersley and Lee Smith come to my mind as the greatest ever.  However, you don’t have to play baseball to be the greatest closer of all time.

According to Psalm 37:39-40, the Lord must be considered into this conversation.  Although distant at times, God fulfills His promise to deliver, rescue and save those who trust in Him.  The Bible is filled with testimonials of the Lord’s attributes as a closer, Philippians 1:6.  One unidentified witness claims faith is the main obstacle which is preventing many from coming to this conclusion, Hebrews 11:6.  Just when you thought Jesus was going to let you down, He escaped the grips of death to save all of mankind from sin, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57.

In this current age of instant information, negative stories often steal the headlines, highlighting the demise of a once famous star.  When the spotlight is turned off, passing the torch to the next best candidate, father time has a rather cruel way of pushing elite individuals to the curb.  Despite this harsh reality, Jesus remains the same, Hebrews 13:8.  Therefore, if you’re tired of letting victories slip through your fingers, turn to the greatest closer of all time, who has secured an eternal place for His followers, John 14:1-3.

Please feel free to share anything you need a “closer” for or a prayer request.

by Jay Mankus

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Touching, Moving and Praying

In the game of chess, there is the Touch-Move Rule which states a player must move any piece once they touch it.  Despite any miscalculation or mistake, a player must finish their move with this piece regardless of their initial motives.  This rule is strictly enforced and maintains a sense of integrity during each game of chess.

In the game of life, a similar rule applies, known as Cause and Effect.  For any action take, there are consequences that follow.  Good decisions often lead to blessings and or rewards.  On the other hand, ill-advised decisions tend to result in harm, punishment and trials.  Like the apostle Paul points out in his letter to the church at Galatia, you reap what you sow, Galatians 6:7-8.

Touching things of righteousness moves individuals closer to eternity.  Yet, immaturity can lure people away from faith, essentially crucifying Jesus over and over again, Hebrews 6:1-6.  One touch of an apple by Eve moved mankind into a fallen world, now filled with Turkish Delights, James 1:14-15.  If there is any hope for the future, one must learn from the past, 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, to flee from modern temptations, 1 Peter 2:11.  Keep in touch with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25 and you will move beyond the game of chess, by entering into eternity.

by Jay Mankus

Sizing Up My Faith

On Valentine’s Day, 2013, I published a blog entitled Supersize Your Faith.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, God led me to challenge friends and readers to super size their faith during the month of March.  I encouraged fellow believers to expand their reading of the Bible, ramp up prayer lives and become an active participant within church.  As the sun has set on the month of March, this Easter evening, its time to size up for my faith.

Beginning, March 1st, I attempted to read 3 chapters of the Bible per day.  While I didn’t hit my goal every day, God allowed me to finish Habakkuk – Malachi, the gospel of Mark, half of John and 31 Psalms.  Most of my days began with a Psalm, serving as my outline for morning prayer and providing direction for the prayer journal that I kept.  Although, my overall prayer life hasn’t changed, God’s response to recent prayers did.

For example, as I reflect upon the last 9 days, I can see the hand of God providing for me within 24 hours of my heart felt cries for help.  First, God gave me clarity through a series of interviews, closed one door while opening another and during a 3 day stretch answered me exactly as I requested with a job, desire to finish my movie and a 40 hour work week.  I even laid hands on my cat, who had a 2 inch hole near her back and within a few days this area was healed.  Before praying, this hole grew larger day after day.

My greatest failure, where I need to most work in the future was being more active in my church community.  Initially, I had contacted a friend about starting up a small group Bible Study, but I didn’t follow up so this good idea faded away.  Meanwhile, I didn’t possess a servant’s heart, often rushing out of church or I found excuses to rationalize my lack of action.  The only fruit I bore in this area was coming up an idea of an Easter Egg hunt on March 30th to reach out to T-ball children and families of the Greater Newark Baseball League, where I have coached the past 3 seasons.  Thankfully, my wife coordinated this event with Pastor Matt of Overflow, leading to a successful day, impacting many who attended this special event.

Like the 40 day challenged introduced in the film Fireproof, Super sizing your faith should never end.  When Kirk Cameron’s character, Captain Caleb began this series of tasks, little progress was made.  However, as soon as Caleb changed his attitude, his life was transformed from the inside out.  Therefore, don’t give up hope if you are feeling defeated.  Ask the Holy Spirit, 2 Timothy 1:7 for extra help to better understand the Bible, develop an intimate prayer life and leave a legacy for Christ in your community.  Rise up with the risen Savior!

by Jay Mankus

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