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Tag Archives: giving God the credit

What are You Still Lacking?

If you asked a recent high school graduate the same question after completing a four year degree in college, perspectives would likely change.  Human nature tends to make young people think they are infallible.  When you add knowledge, wisdom and a wealth of information to this equation, some will likely think they know it all, now smarter than their parents.  This is the state we find the rich young ruler in the passage below, only lacking one thing in life.

A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially and morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially and morally] good except God alone, Luke 18:18-19.

Searching for eternal security, this man sought out Jesus, hoping to discover the secret to possessing eternal life.  Immediately, Jesus catches this ruler off guard by demonstrating humility, giving God the credit for his goodness.  From here Jesus turns his attention to God’s standards in the Torah, the first five books in the Old Testament.  Obtaining knowledge of the Bible is one thing, but applying these principles separate average believers from genuine people of faith.  Perhaps, this rich young ruler thought he could enter heaven by being a good person.

You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Honor your father and your mother.’” 21 He replied, “I have kept all these things from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk],” Luke 18:20-22.

There are two invisible forces which drag and nudge souls in different directions.  The Holy Spirit convicts hearts and minds, revealing imperfections and shortcomings.  Meanwhile, the sinful nature is more accommodating, making those who stray from God think more highly about themselves than they should.  While the Spirit led the apostle Paul to claim he was the greatest sinner of all in 1 Timothy 1:15, my flesh made me feel better the further I slipped away from God in college.  This spiritual dilemma exists today, compared to a spiritual war in Galatians 5:16-18.  Thus, if you really want to know what are you still lacking, draw close to God and He will make you whole.

by Jay Mankus

 

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A Real Life Superhero

Whether you are referring to one of Marvel Comics fictional characters, watching a Super Friends episode or analyzing films like Unbreakable, superheros often have 3 things in common.  First, each possess some sort of super human power which defies the laws of physics and gravity.  Second,  individuals keep a low profile, developing an alias to keep their true identity a secret.  Finally, most have an arch enemy who seeks to ascertain a weakness, trying to uncover their krytonite.

While reading the gospel of Mark, I stumbled upon an interesting thought, Jesus was a real life superhero.  Like Superman, Jesus came from another world, Colossians 1:15-17.  Before the day came to reveal his special powers, Jesus lived in obscurity as a carpenter in the lowly town of Nazareth.  Jesus flew under the radar for thirty years until John the Baptist was imprisoned, then killed.  However, before his three years of public service began, a real Devil threatened to destroy Jesus’ ministry before it began.

Following the calling of his first four disciples, Mark 1:16-20, Jesus introduced himself to the Jewish community.  Meanwhile, a demonic spirit tried to spoil his coming out party, Mark 1:23-26.  Foiling his enemies first plot, the legend of Jesus began to spread.  Similar to modern superheros, Jesus remained humble.  Rather than proclaiming, “look what I’ve done,” Jesus gave his heavenly Father the credit.  Nearly 2,000 years following his resurrection and ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit has been left behind so that those who believe, Romans 10:9-10, may experience an extraordinary life, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Source of Wealth

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” – Deuteronomy 8:17

Upon their arrival and occupation of the promised land, Israel may have forgotten who provided for their needs.  Sensing a  spirit of pride among the ranks, Moses devotes an entire chapter to guard against forgetting the Lord.  After years of failure, the taste of success may have gone to some of their heads.

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. – Deuteronomy 8:18

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Moses sets the record straight, giving God the credit for Israel’s newly gained wealth.  Remembering the promise made to Abraham, Moses confirms the origin of their recent success, God’s covenant.  Perhaps the suffering Moses experienced in Egypt produced a grateful heart, thankful for the answered prayers.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. – Malachi 3:10

In modern times, an Old Testament prophet suggests an untapped potential of wealth can be found in tithing.  As current believers begin to practice giving a minimum of ten percent of their gross income to the church and needy causes, God unleashes financial blessings.  Although a prosperity gospel preached in numerous churches perverts this biblical principle, the more you trust in the Lord to provide for your needs, you will begin to believe God is the ultimate source of wealth.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

911

There are moments in life when God reminds you, “you’re not as young as you use to be!”  On Monday, an Evil Knievel like accident tubing brought me to my knees, lying in pain and waiting for an ambulance to take me to the hospital.  In a flash, the ability to walk vanished  as I was placed a stretcher with a neck brace, helpless as this reality set in.

More embarrassed than anything, I had 5 hours to contemplate how this injury might impact my life.  Paralyzed by fear, I began to quote verses from the Bible as each came to my mind.  Although still in pain, a sense of peace calmed my nerves, causing a spirit of optimism to enter my soul.  While seconds slowly ticked away, I began to feel my back every couple of minutes to determine a diagnosis.

By the 4 hour mark of waiting in a hallway, the doctor in me narrowed my injury to my ribs, kidney and or spleen.  Anxiously hoping for an x-ray, I was set free from my back and neck brace as the drugs kicked in, erasing most of the pain.  However, I was still a hurdle away from being released and given a clean bill of health.  Despite falling 3 feet, crashing into a table and shattering it to pieces, I came home late Monday night with a welt on my right side.  Within this 911 emergency, only the power of God can take credit for a miraculous recovery from this stupid incident.

by Jay Mankus

Time After Time

Before the days of Cyndi Lauper, there was someone who was there, time after time.  Thus, when I read the chorus line of this #1 hit song of 1984, I was brought

If you’re lost you can look and you will find me,
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you I’ll be waiting
Time after time

back in time to the days of my youth.  However, I recently discovered another artist who gives a similar account in Psalm 116.

This unnamed source gives credit to the Lord in verse 1.  After investigating their past, one thing was clear, God had rescued this individual time after time according to Psalm 116:3-6.  Like a children crying out for help, verse 7 provides an outline for prayer which appears to have been successful every time, Psalm 116:8.

From sheer trial and error, I have learned the pain of disappointment.  Although Cyndi Lauper’s lyrics sound great on the surface, its impossible for one person to be there to catch or find you every time.  Whoever was inspired by God to write this Psalm of the Bible also recognized this truth.  Therefore, if you want to be confident, put your full trust into the Great I Am.  Like the Psalmist, you will find, He is there for you, time after time!

by Jay Mankus

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