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Tag Archives: Healings

The Gospel and Politics

Certain topics can create division, friction and tension if not communicated in a civil manner.  Yet, when words are accompanied by a loving spirit, the gospel and politics can be persuasive.  One of my friends ran for the House of Representatives in the state of Delaware.  Up against a heavily democratic district, Bryan needed to introduce himself to complete strangers, express his political views and convince several hundred voters to switch parties.  This task required a dedicated team of volunteers.  Initially, I told my wife that I would commit to being part of the ground team, going house to house to drop off pamphlets to potential voters each weekend.  Just as Christians experience lukewarm stages, at some point my heart wasn’t into surrendering my weekends.  I guess you can say, I wasn’t dedicated to due do what was necessary for victory.  While Bryan received one of the largest percentages of votes for a Republican, his campaign to represent the 5th district ended in defeat.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many, Mark 10:45.

During the first century, an obscure carpenter from Nazareth, a shady town overrun by crime began a three year campaign.  While lacking the finances to make a big political splash, Jesus turned to mainly blue collar individuals, fishermen from the Sea of Galilee.  After John the Baptist’s death, Jesus began to travel from town to town, visiting local synagogues.  Before long, crowds of people started following this motley crew as rumors of faith, healings and miracles spread.  Oddly, anyone who experienced these supernatural events were told to keep quiet, unheard of in any type of political campaign.  As followers increased, curious spectators began to see that Jesus was the real deal, a person who practiced what he preached.  This fact only endeared the masses to this uneducated man.  When Jesus began to be embraced like a rock star, jealousy spread among political and spiritual leaders.  This threat resulted in false accusations, gossip and slander to squash Jesus’ popularity.  Yet, after three years of serving, teaching and visiting strangers, Jesus became a man of the people, king of the Jews.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace, 1 Peter 4:10.

The only way for the gospel and politics can work together is if genuine faith unites with statesmanship.  Modern debates has turned to identity politics, putting one class, occupation or race against the other.  If there is a disagreement, the non-conformist is immediately labeled as a bigot, homophobe or racist.  If an opponent can convince potential voters that a candidate is extreme, embellishments, half truths and lies will continue to bombard citizens every election season.  Some where along the way, good news has been watered down by endless smear ads.  The word gospel comes from and old English phrase godspel, meaning good news or tidings.  It’s hard to be positive in a negative environment, especially when shrewd politicians use raw emotions to stir up their base.  Yet, why does the negative make national headlines daily while good stories are avoided, disregarded or go unnoticed?  Perhaps, its time for modern politicians to follow the Jesus model.  Serve one another, help the poor, feed the needy and extend a loving hand to the unwelcomed.  If future leaders begin here, you won’t need a campaign advertisement to get you elected.  Rather, the people who see the love of Jesus displayed by you will form loyal supporters to stand by your side through thick and thin.  This is the possibility of the gospel and politics.

by Jay Mankus

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Just Pray

In recent years, my mother and wife’s mom have been rushed to the hospital.  The older you become, the closer death draws near.  Yet, when you reach that point of helplessness, worry doesn’t do anything but make matters worse.  Thus, as my wife returned from visiting her ailing mother, the first thing that came to my mind to cope with her stress was, “just pray.”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, Philippians 4:6.

Beside dealing with health concerns, almost everyone has a co-worker, family member or neighbor who is their own worst enemy.  This type of individual tends to be stubborn, failing to listen or take the advice of friends.  Thus, a vicious cycle is repeated as the same mistakes and sins occur over and over again.  Although gossip is often the first response to these unfortunate souls, a better alternative is to resist this temptation through prayer.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26.

Jesus demonstrated an unusual but effective practice related to prayer.  Whenever a person was on the verge of death or presumed dead, Jesus told everyone to leave the room or house.  The purpose of this was to get rid of anyone who did not believe God could change a dire situation.  Essentially, Jesus removed doubt from hindering his prayers.  Subsequently, healings, miracles and resurrections occurred on a regular basis.  Wherever you are and whatever you are going through, when you feel like giving up, just pray.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Which is Right in God’s Eyes?

Jesus was a master debater, always silencing those who tried to discredit his authority.  Whenever challenged by religious leaders, teachers of the law or wise individuals, Jesus used a common strategy to debunk his opponents.  One of the more famous encounters occurred after Jesus healed a demon possessed man.  His skeptics claimed that Jesus was secretly working for the devil, similar to a magician deceiving a crowd as an illusionist.

So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come, Mark 3:23-26.

To prevent further minds from believing in Jesus, Jewish officials tried to create a different memory of this popular leader.  Thus, one of the ancient Jewish writings discovered is known of the Talmud.  Authors of this historical book describe Jesus as the Great Magician.  Unable to logically explain the exorcisms, healings and miracles of Jesus, rabbis used earthly terms to de-emphasize his power.  Despite these efforts, people still believe in God’s power.

No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions, Matthew 22:46.

As atheists continue to plant seeds of doubt at local college campus’ in the minds of students, is anyone asking what is right in God’s eyes?  Sure, movies like God is Not Dead and the War Room are making inroads, but it seems like Christians in America are fighting a losing battle.  Perhaps, its time to use the tactics of Jesus to convince a generation sitting on the fence.  Thus, whether you are debating absolutes, morality or worldviews, don’t forget to ask what is right in God’s eyes.

by Jay Mankus

Jumping to Conclusions

Gossip can be a compulsive hobby for those who indulge in the grapevine.  When you add an inquisitive mind to this equation, information can be misinterpreted.  Subsequently, individuals often jump to conclusions based upon their desired outcome.

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” – Mark 3:22

Shortly after he began his earthly ministry, Jesus gave the religious leaders plenty to talk about.  Healings and miracles created a huge following.  However, once Jesus began to perform exorcisms, that was taking this faith thing too far.  Unable to comprehend Jesus’ power, teachers of the law started a rumor, assuming Jesus was the prince of demons in disguise.

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. – Mark 3:25-26

If you have ever lived in a small town, drifted off the beaten path or don’t correct misleading reputations, you too will find yourself part of an exaggerated story.  A month before leaving my youth pastor position in Columbus, Indiana, people claimed that I said the world was coming to an end.  While studying the Book of Revelation, certain individuals began to improvise causing some of my friends to buy into these lies.  In view of this, the next time you feel an urge to jump to a conclusion, make sure you test everything you hear, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, before you pass on information.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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