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The Noble Living Show

The Truman Show debuted in theaters during the summer of 1998. This movie within a movie starred Jim Carrey and Ed Harris. The only real thing in Truman’s life were the products placed into every scene like modern day Informercials. The Bible speaks of a live show that takes place in the homes, streets and workplaces across the country and throughout the world. This is the Noble Living Show.

Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom, James 3:13.

If you’ve never heard of this, you’re not alone. I was introduced to this concept late last week. According to the earthly brother of Jesus, the star of each episode are Christians who actively live out their faith. Instead of simple knowing what to do, this drama consists of a narrative drive inspired by the Holy Spirit to do good works. Except these characters remain humble unlike many of the modern reality shows.

For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice, That each one of you should know how to [c]possess (control, manage) his own [d]body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor, Not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5.

The key to this Noble Living Show is the harvest of righteousness, James 3:18. The earthly brother of James shares his own version of the acts of the flesh and traits of the Holy Spirit in James 3:13-18. Anyone who attempts to bypass this or tries to be good on their own strength will not sustain their nobility. Whenever you stumble or fall, take the advice of the apostle Paul in the passage above so that as other people see you in public the presence of Jesus in your heart will shine through.

by Jay Mankus

A Faith That Can’t Be Shaken

The author of Hebrews devotes two chapters to the topic of faith. The first highlights outstanding examples of faith in Hebrews 11. The latter in chapter 12 examines faith in a practical manner detailing all the obstacles you may face over the course of your life. The grand finale uses similar terminology found in Romans 12:1-2. The end goal is to develop a faith that can’t be shaken. Yet, how is this possible?

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. [Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family. By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed judgment and sentence on the world’s unbelief and became an heir and possessor of righteousness ([c]that relation of being right into which God puts the person who has faith), Hebrews 11:6-7.

One of the expressions the author of Hebrews uses several times is lean your entire human personality on God. This is often followed by placing absolute trust and confidence in God’s power which is the Holy Spirit. This spiritual quality enabled spiritual leaders of the past to honored in the Bible’s Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. This is what builds a faith that can’t be shaken.

Now this expression, Yet once more, indicates the final removal and transformation of all [that can be] shaken—that is, of that which has been created—in order that what cannot be shaken may remain and continue. 28 Let us therefore, receiving a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship, with modesty and pious care and godly fear and awe; Hebrews 12:27-28.

When you begin to live and fulfill God’s will, the stars align to provide a greater sense of purpose. The hard part is reaching a point where all your God given gifts and talents can be fanned into flame daily. I was blessed to be a high school Bible teacher and golf coach for a decade. Unfortunately, sometimes God’s plan changes and you have to adapt as quick as possible. While I currently possess a faith that has been broken, I’m trusting the Lord in 2022 so that my faith can be restored, renewed and rise again.

by Jay Mankus

Committed to Becoming a Good Steward

The Bible refers to a steward as a servant who is mindful that Jesus will return at anytime. This individual behaves like a servant who will be held accountable by their boss, colleagues and or superiors. My introduction to this term came through reading the Parable of the Talents. This story shared by Jesus illustrates the sense of urgency that a good steward develops and strives for each day they are alive.

As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the [f]extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor], 1 Peter 4:10.

Former talk show legend Rush Limbaugh coined the phrase “talent on loan from God.” When Rush was diagnosed with stage for cancer back in 2020, he began to open up about his relationship with God. For most of his life, Rush made it a point to avoid using his conservative radio program to proselytize. Yet, as death drew near, Rush revealed a charitable spirit by donating more than 2 million dollars to the Tunnel to Towers foundation.

And he who had received the five talents came and brought him five more, saying, Master, you entrusted to me five talents; see, here I have gained five talents more. 21 His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, [b]admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the [c]blessedness) which your master enjoys, Matthew 25:20-21.

For most of my adult life, I made just enough to scrape by. When I was a Christian High School teacher I often relied on private donations to pay my bills. Yet, in the past few years I have been blessed by God with a good paying job. In lieu of this recent success, my heart is convicting me to become a better steward. Instead of accepting hand outs, it’s my turn to begin secretly giving to the causes I believe in. May the Holy Spirit stir all of us to become a good steward in 2022.

by Jay Mankus

Collecting Dust or Fanning into Flame?

My work desk is located directly under a flat sorter. Prior to the new cleaning regulations brought on by COVID 19, parts of my desk would collect black dust particles. One of my responsibilities is to test movies for defects on our Blu-Ray Player. However, since my building has transitioned toward an apparel site, I may test a few each year which causes our flat screen station to collect dust like it’s in a coal mine.

Moreover, as they go about from house to house, they learn to be idlers, and not only idlers, but gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say and talking of things they should not mention, 1 Timothy 5:13.

From a spiritual perspective, when you stop moving, there are a series of side effects. When I become inactive, I immediately gain weight. Beyond the physical, if I’m not involved in an activity or group, my social life and skills are stunted. Meanwhile, if I stop reading the Bible and pray, my whole nature and personality changes, taking a turn for the worse as a human being.

That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands [[c]with those of the elders at your ordination]. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control, 2 Timothy 1:6-7.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul writes a letter to a teenage pastor named Timothy. Paul’s advice is geared toward taking action. This internal fire refers to spiritual gifts and talents within every person. Paul’s goal is to unlock these abilities by fanning them into flame. Whether you like it or not, you have two options: remain idle or get busy living? May the Holy Spirit ignite your faith so you begin shine.

by Jay Mankus

The Just Shall Live by Faith

Just refers to behaving according to what is morally right and fair. Yet, when I think of just, I envision someone justifying why they do what they do. Since I’m not an analytical person, I rarely contemplate the why in my daily life. Perhaps, this is due to a tendency to rely on feelings, what my heart is telling me to do or say. I don’t consider myself to be just. Rather, I follow my convictions with the Holy Spirit the wind beneath my wings as Bette Midler once sang.

But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live [f]by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him, Hebrews 10:38.

In the passage above, the author of one New Testament book examines how faith regulates the life of a Christian. Or should I say, what an active faith resembles. Beneath the surface, conviction from human consciences was designed by God to keep danger out by staying within the boundaries laid out in the Old Testament. When faith is great, fear shrinks as a holy fervor inspires individuals to pursue things that delight the Lord.

But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul, Hebrews 10:39.

Unfortunately, when human consciences become seared by actively indulging fleshly desires, it’s hard to go back to your life prior to becoming a prodigal. Sin has a way of entertaining you longer than expected, but leaves you feeling empty. This is the misery King David wrote about in Psalm 32:3-4. Before the darkness destroys what you have, respect your relationship with God. If you don’t have one, don’t delay so that you may begin the journey of the just who live by faith, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

When Christian’s Don’t Know How to Act

Becoming a Christian is like new parents coming home from the hospital with their first child. Adults may take Lamaze classes in preparation, but once there are no doctors around to tell you what to do, you’re on your own. While most churches provide literature for new believers or offer classes to help prepare newbies for a new life in Christ, there are still more questions than answers. Subsequently, countless Christians often don’t know how to act after trusting in Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.

As for the man who is a weak believer, welcome him [into your fellowship], but not to criticize his opinions or pass judgment on his scruples or perplex him with discussions. One [man’s faith permits him to] believe he may eat anything, while a weaker one [limits his] eating to vegetables. Let not him who eats look down on or despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who eats; for God has accepted and welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on and censure another’s household servant? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he shall stand and be upheld, for the Master (the Lord) is mighty to support him and make him stand, Romans 14:1-4.

While visiting the Church at Rome, the apostle Paul came into contact with new, immature and weak Christians. The passage above provides advice for coping and dealing with Christians who don’t exactly know how to act yet. As a former high school coach, Paul’s words remind me that not every individual responds well to criticism. Some people need encouragement, others need a pat on the back and the lackadaisical could use a stern talking to promote spiritual growth.

Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air]. 15 You ought instead to say, If the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that [thing]. 16 But as it is, you boast [falsely] in your presumption and your self-conceit. All such boasting is wrong. 17 So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin, James 4:14-17.

The earthly brother of Jesus was introduced to the concept of sins of omission. Perhaps, the Pharisees became so concerned about religious practices such as resting on the Sabbath that they failed to see opportunities to help and serve others. When his older brother was crucified on a cross at age 33, James realized that life is too short to not to know how to act. Therefore, if your conscience or the Holy Spirit compels you to act and you do not, you’re just as guilty as a sinner. Therefore, seize each day and learn to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, so you begin to learn how to act as a Christian daily.

by Jay Mankus

Lean on Him When You’re Not Strong

“Lean on Me” is a hit song written by and first performed by Bill Withers in 1972. Nearly two decades later, Lean on Me became an American biographical drama film written by Michael Schiffer based upon the real life story of Joe Louis Clark. Yet, the concept of lean on me dates back to the teachings of King Solomon. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 illustrates why two people are better than one. If you fall down while alone, there is no one to lend a helping hand.

But we do [[a]strongly and earnestly] desire for each of you to show the same diligence and sincerity [all the way through] in realizing and enjoying the full assurance and development of [your] hope until the end, 12 In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith ([b]by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises, Hebrews 6:11-12.

In the first century, one New Testament author repeats a similar phrase on a couple of occasions. In the passage above, readers are encouraged to lean on the entire personality of God. While Solomon urged his sons to lean not on their own understand, Proverbs 3:5-6, Hebrews takes this to a new level of faith. Absolute trust and confidence in Jesus is essential to get you through the dark and dire periods in life. Thus, as you wait for answers to prayer, yield total control over to the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[d]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [e]in divine strength), 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul illustrates how to lean on Jesus when you’re not strong. Apparently, Paul had some sort of a medical condition, a thorn in his flesh that resulted in excruciating pain. Paul begged and pleaded with the Lord in prayer to remove this burden from his life. Yet, it was this physical condition that brought Paul to his knees, forcing him to lean on the entire personality of God. Subsequently, Paul learned a valuable lesson, the weaker he got, the stronger Jesus became. May you follow in Paul’s footsteps to lean on the Lord when you’re not strong.

by Jay Mankus

Just Make Up Your Mind

Analysis paralysis occurs when an individual overthinks all of the possible alternatives. This mind numbing process often prevents you from making an important decision. I tend to narrow my choices down to two or three things before deciding. When you’re buying a car or purchasing a home, the price or location will influence your finally decision. However, at some point you have to make up your mind and commit to a decision.

[These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them]; they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth. Now just as [a]Jannes and Jambres were hostile to and resisted Moses, so these men also are hostile to and oppose the Truth. They have depraved and distorted minds, and are reprobate and counterfeit and to be rejected as far as the faith is concerned, 2 Timothy 3:7-8.

Apparently, paralysis from over analysis isn’t new. In a first century letter, the apostle Paul addresses a group of women who were consumed by inquiring about and gathering information. All of this content clouded their minds as they were unable to make a decision about God’s Word. This refusal is compared to the actions of Jannes and Jambres who became hostile toward and resisted the teaching of Moses.

But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. 15 But the spiritual man tries all things [he [g]examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him], 1 Corinthians 2:14-15.

During a visit to Greece, Paul was frustrated by the philosophers who were full of knowledge, but lacked common sense. In the passage above, Paul reveals how the nonspiritual struggle to accept God’s existence. In the book Restoring the Foundations, this concept is referred to as ungodly beliefs. These beliefs are picked up via friends, parents and others throughout life. Until individuals gain access to the Holy Spirit by entering into a relationship with God, Romans 5:3-5, human beings will continue to struggle to make up their minds.

by Jay Mankus

When You Let Someone Down

As a child, whenever my mom yelled my full name, I immediately knew that I did something wrong. When expressions like “what were you thinking” or “I’m so ashamed of you” followed, this was a clear indicator that I let someone down. Whenever people that you care about or love are disappointed by your actions, human consciences produce spirits of conviction and guilt. Seeing the grief that you cause others to feel is not a welcomed sight.

Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance, Ephesians 5:1-2.

In a letter to the Church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul addresses individuals who have not lived up to biblical standards. The ideal goal is to become an imitator of God. This is accomplished by emulating the love and life of Jesus. As individuals become willing to offer their lives as a living sacrifice, the Holy Spirit can replace sinful tendencies. Yet, as the Psalmist reminded the apostle Paul, “there is no one righteous; not even one,” Romans 3:9-12.

But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity [of lustful, rich, wasteful living] or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God’s consecrated people). Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God], Ephesians 5:3-4.

Subsequently, every day human beings continue to do the opposite of their initial intentions, Romans 7:15-16. You may be able to tame these sinful cravings temporarily through discipline, but when you let your guard down you will disappoint someone. Beside confession and acts of contrition, James 5:16, reconciliation takes time. Although you can’t go through life trying to please other people, you can develop a will to devote yourself to God.

by Jay Mankus

The Haves and Have Nots

The expression “the haves and have nots” dates back to the 17th century. One of the initial usages was based upon your socio-economic status. This superficial characterization focused on anyone who was living in poverty or did not have much money. As the wealthy flashed signs of their wealth while looking down on the less fortunate, the haves and the have nots was conceived.

To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit; To another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit; 1 Corinthians 12:8-9.

The apostle Paul created his own list of the haves and have nots in the first century. However, the context of this list was based upon spiritual gifts given to Christians within the Church at Corinth. Some individuals received special powers such as healing, prophecy and the ability to perform miracles. Apparently, these talents were going to some of their heads, looking down upon people with lesser gifts such as giving, hospitality and service.

To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight ([c]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues. 11 All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses, 1 Corinthians 12:10-11.

Not much has changed over the past 2000 years. Occupations like doctors, lawyers, and scientists are held in high esteem while those forced to work in blue collared jobs are looked down upon. Regardless of how others view you, God wants Christians to focus on what they have, not what you don’t. Part of life is figuring out what you’re the best at and where you fit in. Once your spiritual gift is revealed to you, the rest of life should be spent looking for opportunities to apply your gift. Fan into flame what you have so that your life impacts the have nots.

by Jay Mankus

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