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Tag Archives: gifts and talents

The Picture of Perfection

As a young aspiring athlete, my picture of perfection was the best player in every sport. Wayne Gretsky in hockey, Dr. J in basketball, Steve Carlton in baseball and Reggie White in football. Before the existence of social media, news was strictly based upon a player’s performance. Today, there is no picture of perfection as critics on the right and left pick apart rising stars like vultures during a feeding frenzy.

You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete [ak]maturity of godliness in mind and character, [al]having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect, Matthew 5:48.

The Sermon on the Mount points to perfection, but in the sense of striving towards it. The apostle Paul quotes an Old Testament prophet in Romans 3:9-12 to burst the bubble on human perfection. In case you haven’t heard, this is impossible as all men and women has fallen short of God’s glory despite how hard each has tried, Romans 3:23. Despite this painful reality, Hebrews 4:15-16 refers to Jesus as a great high priest who was a model of perfection, dying on our behalf.

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), [d]recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live], Ephesians 2:10.

If life is meant to be a series of trial and error, sooner or later you’ll start to take steps toward perfection. The apostle Paul compares God to a spiritual potter, constantly molding and fashioning us into His image, Romans 9:20-21. Meanwhile, Paul compares God to a carpenter in the passage above. Depending upon your gifts and talents, the Holy Spirit seeks to guide you toward the good works God has planned for you in the future, Philippians 1:6. As you keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, may your life resemble the fruits if God’s Spirit like a picture of spiritual perfection.

by Jay Mankus

The Parable of the Unknown

A young native American was tracking prey at the base of a mountain when he came across an undamaged egg which fell out of a nearby eagles’ nest. After trying to place this egg back where it belonged, the ledge was too steep to climb while holding this egg. Instead of abandoning this egg, this boy found a similar vacant nest closer to camp. Approaching quietly, this boy carefully placed this egg next to three addition eggs.

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot, Proverbs 14:30.

Several weeks later, all four eggs hatched. Instead of being the ugly duckling, the eaglet stood out among the other three flightless cormorants. As his adopted mother taught him to swim, another bird caught his eye, flying and soaring high above this lake. As the eagle above gracefully glided in the air, the swimming eagle became jealous, wishing he could fly instead of just swimming. While the others were natural swimmers, this eaglet struggled to find his way through life.

I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life, Psalm 119:93.

This parable that I recently heard struck a nerve. Sometimes I am so focused on how gifted other people are that I forget my own blessings, gifts and talents. Meanwhile, when I spend too much time focusing on what I want or need, I neglect God’s expectations for me as a Christian. When there is no one else around to point you in the right direction like the adopted eaglet, the Bible is available to show you the way. May you follow in the footsteps of Joshua 1:8, meditating on God’s Word day and night.

by Jay Mankus

What is God Cooking Now?

Anyone who desires or longs to be a cook may choose a career in culinary arts.  This school involves teaching students government standards, preparation procedures and provide wisdom about what it takes to be successful.  However, novice chefs tend to learn from trial and error.  Meanwhile, others learn the hard way that they don’t belong in the kitchen.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12.

Beyond menus and specials, God has His own way of cooking.  The Bible refers to methods like smelting, pottery and purification.  Trials in life are like sitting in a crock pot, slowing blending a myriad of ingredients into a tasty meal.  Likewise, God takes the gifts and talents individuals possess, using disappointment, heartache and setbacks to mold people into vessels, instruments ready to serve the kingdom of God.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13.

However, like secret recipes of famous restaurant chains, God’s seasoning is unknown.  There are instructions inside the Bible, but the time and temperature is still a mystery.  Faith is the missing link, the glue that holds the church together until the final dish is unveiled.  In the mean time, may the Lord give you guidance, patience and understanding as you eagerly wait for God to finish what’s brewing inside of you.

by Jay Mankus

Forget Me Not

Myosotis sylvatica, a member of the borage family, consists of a light blue flower regarded as a symbol of friendship.  As Spring showers bring May flowers, Forget Me Not arrangements are a popular gift.  Despite their beauty, time will cause the most gorgeous flowers to fade.  Likewise, absence can cause anyone to forget an important anniversary, birthday or relationship.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you,” Isaiah 49:15.

Distance, distractions and neglect are primary factors which lead to forget.  Work hours may cause a father to not spend enough time with family.  Misguided priorities can steer someone off course, resulting in poor choices and wasted opportunities.  Finally, a state of busyness can lead faithful followers to fall away from God, gradually slipping away by missing church, godly fellowship and quiet times praying and reading the Bible.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. – Psalm 137:5

Psalm 137:5 acknowledges that even God’s chosen people were vulnerable to a short term memory.  Thus, to avoid this from going any further, this servant of God asks to lose their gifts and talents rather than abandon the Lord.  Today, one careless decision, lazy day or rut can break God’s heart.  While Valentine’s Day is full of Forget Me Not cards, one prayer from heaven rains down to earth daily, hoping God’s children will not forget their heavenly Father.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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