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Tag Archives: King David

When Faith Does Not Hold Up Under Temptation

Despite how proud you may be, everyone experiences an embarrassing moment in life like Simon Peter. One day you boldly proclaim “I’ll never do that” only to succumb to temptation in the days or weeks that follow. When actions don’t match what you say or believe, hypocrisy leaves a sour taste for those observing this fall from grace. This is one of the consequences of what happens when faith does not hold up under temptation.

Not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here. Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition), 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3.

There are several reasons why faith does not hold up under temptation. Sometimes this is a continuation of a spiritual slide that began out of a period of idleness, similar to what happened to King David in 2 Samuel 11:1-2. Meanwhile, faith is only as strong as your environment, Matthew 13:19-23. If spiritual foundations are weak, Colossians 2:6-7, when storms or trials arrive unexpectedly, faith tends to waver as winds and waves continue to strengthen.

Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin]. 13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.

In a historic chapter about past failures made by Jewish leaders in the Old Testament, the apostle Paul wraps up this section with a valuable lesson. According to Paul, every temptation offers a way out. Unfortunately, when the pressure to conform mounts, it’s hard to take your eyes off of temporary pleasures. Instead of bowing down to temptation, keep your head up so that you will see the door to escape temptation so that faith will prevail.

by Jay Mankus

The Stewardship of God’s Grace

Stewardship is the conducting, managing and or supervising of a specific operation. The context of the passage below refers to the careful management, entrusted to apostles, to oversee a believer’s spiritual condition. This responsibility isn’t merit based. Rather, the apostle Paul and Jesus’ disciples became the caretakers of the great commission, Acts 1:7-8. As the good news about Jesus Christ spread beyond Jerusalem to surrounding towns and villages, the stewardship of God’s grace continued, Ephesians 2:8.

Assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace (His unmerited favor) that was entrusted to me [to dispense to you] for your benefit, [And] that the mystery (secret) was made known to me and I was allowed to comprehend it by direct revelation, as I already briefly wrote you, Ephesians 3:2-3.

Paul was first introduced to this concept on the road to Damascus. This supernatural event altered Paul’s path as a persecutor of the church. Described as a flash of lightning from heaven, before this encounter concluded, the apostle Paul would walk away a transformed man. Yet, Paul was initially blinded by this light, led by his hand to a disciple named Ananias. This divine appointment on the street called Straight ignited a spiritual fire within Paul to propel him to become a steward of God’s grace.

Now as he traveled on, he came near to Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him, And he fell to the ground. Then he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me [harassing, troubling, and molesting Me]? And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance], Acts 9:3-5.

In a letter to the Church in Rome, Paul highlights exactly what Jesus did for you and me. “God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.” Romans 5:8. One chapter later, Paul compares grace to a free gift, Romans 6:23. Building upon the words of King David, God’s grace is infinite, far greater than the human mind can comprehend, Psalm 103:11-12. This is what makes the stewardship of God’s grace continue today.

by Jay Mankus

Just What I Needed

As a teenager, the Cars became one of my favorite bands in high school. I actually met Rick Ocasek in passing, the lead singer of Cars, while walking through downtown Boston during a Spring Break in college. Ocasek wrote Just What I Needed in a basement at a commune in Newton, Massachusetts. While the inspiration behind this song varies depending upon the site you visit, the title speaks to human beings searching for a boost to get them through each day.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place, Psalm 23:5-6.

In the passage above, King David reflects back to his life as a lowly shepherd boy. This eloquent Psalm compares the responsibilities of a shepherd to how God provides for the needs of human beings. Whether you are in green pastures, having a great day or approaching the shadow of death, the Lord is all that you need to weave your way through life. While many search for love in all the wrong places, Jesus is just what I needed, Romans 10:9-11.

And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:19.

In a letter to the Church at Philippi, the apostle Paul builds upon Psalm 23. Like a global retail chain, the Lord serves as a massive supplier to fill all of our needs. Meanwhile, one of Jesus’ disciples claims that God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life, 2 Peter 1:3-4. While songs like Just What I Needed may meet an emotional need, God’s grace, love, and mercy is a spiritual gift from heaven, John 3:16-17. As individuals accept this free gift, Romans 6:23, hearts, souls, and minds come to realize that this is just what I needed.

by Jay Mankus

Grace Comes, Guilt Fades, But Consequences Must Be Endured

Days went by following King David’s decision not to lead Israel into battle, 2 Samuel 11:1. During this extended vacation, David appears to become bored, standing on top of his castle, passing the time. This idleness opened the down for an affair with Bathsheba whose husband was off fighting a war. When David’s plan to cover up Bathsheba’s pregnancy failed, Uriah was abandoned by his battalion, left to die. Following a series of sinful acts, God waits a year, hoping David would come clean by repenting.

For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun. [Fulfilled in II Sam. 16:21, 22.]13 And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die, 2 Samuel 12:12-13.

Since this never happened, God sends the prophet Nathan to visit David. Based upon Samuel’s own words, Nathan skips the typical greeting by going right into a story. Apparently, this message struck a cord with David, stirring up his emotions, wanting the guilty party to be punished. Set up with perfection, Nathan turns to David to reveal, “you are that man.” Blind sided by this analogy, David’s transgressions are brought to light, exposed by this man of God. Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 highlight’s David’s remorse.

Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord and given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child that is born to you shall surely die, 2 Samuel 12:14.

At this time in history, the penalty of adultery was death for both participants. Yet, David’s heart felt confession spares David’s and Bathsheba’s lives. While grace comes and guilt fades, sinner’s must endure the consequences of their sin. Subsequently, David is confronted with the death of a child, rebellion within his own house and the generational sin of lust passed down to his children. Being a man after God’s own heart does not exempt you from temptation. Therefore, whenever you make any decision, look for the way out, 1 Corinthians 10:13, as you will reap what you sow.

by Jay Mankus

Cardiomegaly

In the 1966 Christmas classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the narrator blames the Grinch’s attitude on an abnormally small heart.  As the citizens of Who-ville began to sing carols in preparation of Christmas, the Grinch started to devise a plan to steal their joy.  From a spiritual perspective, the Grinch represents Satan, seeking to steal, kill and destroy any glimpse of the real meaning of Christmas.  Yet, as his plan was interrupted by Little Cindy Lou Who, God used this child to penetrate the Grinch’s soul.  In one instant, when the meaning of Christmas was revealed, the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows], John 10:10.

The medical term for an enlarged heart is cardiomegaly.   This isn’t a disease, but rather a sign of another condition.  For example, during pregnancy, some mothers develop an enlarged heart.  This condition is usually temporary because of stress on your body.  Cardiomegaly can also be brought on by the weakening of the heart muscle, coronary artery disease or heart valve problems.  After three visits to a local cardiologist, I have been diagnosed with an enlarged heart.  My doctor wasn’t concerned, rather he wants me to come back in a year to monitor this condition.  Nonetheless, I do have something in common with the Grinch, an enlarged heart.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh, Ezekiel 36:26.

Throughout the Bible, there is an emphasis on pursuing a new heart.  The context of this reference is usually within a prayer.  King David asked God for a new heart after committing adultery and murder.  The prophet Jeremiah reveals how hearts can become deceitful, longing for fleshly desires instead of obeying God’s commands.  King Solomon refers to the heart as the well spring to life.  As I complete my 2500th blog, my prayer is that the Lord will create in me a new heart, full of forgiveness, love and mercy.  When individuals begin to demonstrate enlarged hearts seasoned with God’s grace, this world will become a better place to live.

by Jay Mankus

 

How Long is this Going to Last?

Fifteen years is a little more than a third of my life to date.  Human beings go through a myriad of change over a decade and a half.  However, how would you respond if God promised you something and you didn’t receive this until fifteen years later.  The anticipation to see this fulfilled would be grueling.  The average person might become frustrated, impatient or may even lose hope.  The passage below written by David details his long wait between being anointed by Samuel as king and actually becoming king of Israel more than fifteen years later.  This nerve wrecking period brought David to his knees to pray.

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! – Psalm 31:15

When it comes to driving a car, some possess the mindset “ride it until it dies.”  The only lemon I ever brought lasted a few months.  After a small leak in one of my hoses spilled on to the engine, this vehicle was toast, abandoned at a gas station in New Jersey.  Meanwhile, sometimes you are fortunate to possess a car that lasts much longer than it should.  Despite nearing the 200,000 mile mark, my Pontiac Vibe keeps ticking, approaching it’s fifteenth birthday.  Nonetheless, I don’t know how long this car is going to last.

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night, Psalm 90:4.

In the passage above, a Psalmist makes an interesting statement about life.  This individual received some sort a vision of the past, connecting it with the future.  Unfortunately, most people place so much emphasis on time that they lose sight of the present.  While it would be nice to have knowledge of the future, savoring the here and now is a more noble cause.  Therefore, don’t allow anticipation to spoil your mood.  Rather, take life one day at a time so that wondering how long life is going to last doesn’t steal your hope, joy and peace.

by Jay Mankus

Push It

If if wasn’t for Geico Insurance commercials, this generation probably wouldn’t be familiar with the Salt-N-Pepper song Push It.  Recent ads illustrate actors being pushed around in a couple of scenes while being hearing chorus.  This song was initially released in 1987 on the B-side of the 45 Tramp.  Perhaps, even Salt-N-Pepper underestimated the popularity of this night club hit, re-released a year later as its own single.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved, Psalm 55:22.

In the passage above, King David writes about his broken heart.  After being confronted by the prophet Nathan, David’s adultery with Bathsheba was exposed.  Caught in a web of lies that culminated in the death of Uriah, David had no one else to blame.  Filled with anguish, David dropped to his knees, pleading with God to receive forgiveness.  Although this wasn’t done physically, David mentally pushed all of the burdens he was carrying, placing each upon the feet of God.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, Matthew 11:28-29.

In the first century, Jesus takes push it to a new level.  Understanding the human condition, Jesus verbalized the pain which many try to cope with alone.  However, Jesus encourages individuals to take the burdens  bringing you down and place them at the foot of the cross.  Holding on to this baggage will only wear people out over the long haul.  Therefore, don’t put this off any further.  Rather, push it, laying all your burdens upon a God of grace and forgiveness.

by Jay Mankus

It’s Not a Matter of If… But When!

Back in 1991, Michael W. Smith sang about finding his Place in the World.  Sure, its a noble effort, yet the pessimistic didn’t want to get their hopes up only to be disappointed once again.  As for me, this concept was like a dream that didn’t seem achievable until I began to open up the Bible.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. – Psalm 143:10

According to King David, discerning God’s will isn’t a matter of if, but when.  Prepared by countless hours in the fields as a shepherd, trusting the Lord was a daily occurrence providing grass for the herd, protection from wild animals and daily bread to survive.  Like a spiritual antenna, David learned to follow the Spirit of the living God, leading him to solid ground.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Although I don’t have the faith of David, I am making progress, trusting that the work God began in me will be carried on to completion, Philippians 1:6.  Sure, I’ve had my doubts along the way and periods of darkness, unaware of my next step in life.  Even still, my soul finds comfort in writing as I try to find my place in this world.  I’m not there yet, but it’s not a matter of if, but when.

by Jay Mankus

A Voice of Experience

Confidence isn’t lacking in society today as narcissists can be found in nearly every work place.  However, a humble voice of experience is missing from many segments, replaced by pride and arrogance.  When absent, people can lose their way, often repeating the same mistakes that have led past empires to disappear.

 Psalm 118

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.

The words of Psalm 118:8-10 sound like something King David would have said.  After calling for and taking a census of Israel’s tribes, a spirit of conviction falls upon David.  Failing to listen to his commander Joab, a voice of experience, God punishes Israel’s for David’s sin of pride, 1 Chronicles 21:1-8.  When given three options for his penalty, David opts for the hand of God, 1 Chronicles 21:9-15.

Although Public Service Announcements for the Boys & Girls Clubs are important, its essential for mentors to rise up to begin influencing a generation looking for positive role models.  On the other hand, its also vital for adults to remain teachable so that advice from the Joab’s in your life aren’t ignored.  May you take heed of the Psalmist by learning to take refuge in God rather than trusting the hands of men.

by Jay Mankus

Things That Break the Heart

If the words of King Solomon in Proverbs 4:23 hold true today, the heart is vulnerable to numerous attacks.  Beyond physical ailments, there are various trials which can upset, puncture or wound this precious organ.  As women lose a child to complications, a miscarriage or still born death, one can only imagine the grief experienced by this poor soul.  Beside the obvious, accidents, illness and shattered relationships can bombard an innocent heart, leaving pain that lasts a lifetime.

According to King David, another element inflicts jabs to the heart, Psalm 69:19-20.   Scorn is like a deadly weapon, poison on the tips of human tongues which derides a bystander, resulting in a sense of worthlessness.  In an attempt to get ahead in life, words cut like a knife using contempt, disdain and mockery.  When thoughts become verbalized, the Holy Spirit grieves, Ephesians 4:29, recognizing that a heart has been bruised by sticks and stones with names that do leave a scar on one ‘s soul.

Beside watching what you eat, it’s impossible to control or predict the circumstances in life.  Thus, it’s essential to guard your heart with the word of God, Psalm 119:9-11.  No matter where you live or work, unless you’re prepared for the future, you will likely fail,   Hosea 4:6.   Although heartbreak may be a way of life for some, you don’t have to accept this negative mindset.  Yet, when a piece of your heart does break, remember the promise of Psalm 34:18.  In God’s timing, He will mend your broken heart.

by Jay Mankus

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