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How Rich is Your Faith?

The concept of a stock market dates back nearly 500 years.  The first stock exchange began in 1531 as Belgium brokers and money lenders met in the city of Antwerp to deal with business, government and debt issues.  While the New York Stock Exchange is the most powerful and famous in the United States, the first began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.  Today, there are cable networks devoted to following the rise and fall of modern markets.  Green is good and red bad as a ticker scrolls across the screen revealing up to the second results of trading.  Depending upon how a stock is trending, individuals scramble to buy or sell to maximize their investments.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ, Romans 10:17.

Recently, I have begun to view my faith in terms of a stock market.  If you could take the past year, placing your degree of faith on a flow chart, similar to the highs and lows of a stock, what would it look like?  At your peak, what elevated or lifted you to this all time high.  Meanwhile, when you reflect back upon your lowest lows, what caused you to experience, feel and end up in a rock bottom emotional state?  Have you come to your senses like the prodigal son in Luke 15?  Or has depression kept you paralyzed, enslaved by an addiction, bad habit or an undisciplined life?  In the passage above, the apostle Paul gives some advice to the poor in faith.  Investing time listening, reading and studying the Bible is a goldmine to those who want to become rich in faith.

“So it is for the one who continues to store up and hoard possessions for himself, and is not rich [in his relationship] toward God,” Luke 12:21.

Following the parable of the wealthy fool, Jesus reveals the reason why people hoard possessions on earth.  When individuals focus on their own concerns and needs, hobbies can become obsessions.  If there is no one to intervene, people end up on reality televisions shows like Hoarders or are visited by the crew from American Pickers.  According to Jesus, the way to reverse this trend is by improving your relationship with God, Romans 10:9-10.  Those who make investments in Bible Studies, mission trips or prayer groups will begin to see spiritual earnings rise.  As individuals connect with God daily through church related activities and a personal quiet time, your faith will rise.  Everyone will experience drops, falls and slides throughout life.  However, if you develop a resolve like the persistent widow in Luke 18, you will become rich in faith.

by Jay Mankus

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Mind Stripping

Strip mining involves excavating the surface of earth, rock and other material to uncover mineral reserves.  Although most commonly used to extract coal, some of the miners on the Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush reality show use strip mining to remove overburden.  Also known as open-cut mining, this process relies on explosives and heavy machinery to reach key pockets of minerals.

A wise king once developed a different kind of mining.  One of the secrets to Babylon’s successful empire in 600 BC was the introduction of mind stripping.  Instead of killing the citizens of newly conquered nations, King Nebuchadnezzar recruited members of royal families as well as the best and brightest young people, Daniel 1:3-5.  Like going back to school, these individuals were programmed to eat, think and embrace the Babylonian worldview.

For example, Daniel was given a new name to strip his mind from his Hebrew roots, Belteshazzer.  This name originated from Mesopotamian mythology, based upon Bel, a title applied to various gods in Babylon.  Essentially, King Nebuchadnezzar attempted to convince Daniel that Bel, his god would take care of him from here on out.  Tempted by knowledge, power and wealth, Daniel refused to allow his mind to be corrupted, Daniel 1:8-14.

Today, mind stripping continues, kept alive by the devil, 2 Corinthians 4:4.  However, this process is invisible, induced by subtle thoughts, whispers and images of greatness.  No one is immune to this internal battle, Galatians 5:16-18.  Regardless of the state this blog finds you in, may the power of the Holy Spirit come to your aid, Galatians 5:25, leading you like Daniel to say no to mind stripping.

by Jay Mankus

 

Soul Rush America

Since its debut 3 years ago, Gold Rush Alaska is one of the few television shows my wife and 3 children watch together.  During their inaugural season, my wife dubbed this show, “Idiots from Alaska” based upon all the rookie mistakes the Hoffman Crew made each episode trying to mine for gold.  Yet, like the ancient proverb promises, if you cry out for wisdom, she will be found, Proverbs 3:13-14, demonstrated by recent success during season 3 shown on the Discovery Channel.

As of January 11th, 2013, the current price of gold is $1.654 an ounce.  While the numbers are tempting to contemplate your own quest, there are other treasures in America more valuable than gold.  According to Proverbs 2:1-5, there are great moral benefits to digging for wisdom.  However, this treasure hunt is spiritual in nature, relying on the 5 senses as tools to find God’s glory hole.

All great soul miners need a few essential vehicles to begin their journey.  First, a state of the art hearing aide, dialed into the Word of God is a must to follow all mining commands, Proverbs 2:2.  Second, you must follow this playbook, not deviating to the left or right, Proverbs 4:27.  Finally, when drilling test holes, one must lean of experts of the past to guide you on this rush, Proverbs 13:10.  When all else fails, invest in a special generator, the Holy Spirit model, to lead you to pay dirt!

by Jay Mankus

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