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So Close, But yet So Far

While I was tempted to name today’s blog, “So Close, but No Cigar,” common sense kept me from wavering off topic.  As I listened to Jentezen Franklin’s sermon on the Trinity Broadcast Network before attending church on Sunday, the Holy Spirit jogged my memory of the walls of resistance which deny believers from entering God’s promised land.  Moses dedicated his entire life to the nation of Israel, foregoing the riches of Egypt, Hebrews 11:24-27, yet the closest he came to a land flowing with milk and honey was a view from atop Mount Nebo.  Why did God deny him this privilege?  According to Numbers 20:6-13, Moses failed to carefully obey God’s command, striking a rock twice instead of just once.

Obedience is one wall to climb, but sometimes your own circumstances prove too much for a person to overcome.  Although hard to believe, my friend Harry endured a brutal set of events, triggering a back slide of historic proportions.  The person who led him to Christ committed suicide shortly after his conversion.  In the weeks that followed, one of his youth leaders who began to ease his pain, had an affair and abruptly abandoned the ministry, moving to California.  These poor witnesses kept Harry from entering a church for nearly 20 years.  My friend Eddy and I never thought Harry had been to church until a divine appointment at Cedar Point Amusement Park, reintroduced Harry to his former youth pastor.  In one moment, 20 years of severance was reunited, the first of many steps toward healing his bruised, confused and wounded heart.

Whether you feel like Moses today, with a mountain standing in between you and your dreams or as Harry did, coming to grips with a desolate soul, remember that sanctification is an on going process, not complete until the Lord takes you home.  Sure, you might have mountain top experiences, yet there is always a valley between mountains.  You may want answers, transformation and victory immediately, but sanctification occurs gradually, through a day by day process, Ephesians 2:3-7.  Therefore, live each moment on earth with a James 4:15 mindset, recognizing that you are close, but yet so far!

by Jay Mankus


Victim or Victory?

Victimization has been present since life began in Genesis 1.  King Solomon confirms this by his statement in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “There is nothing new under the sun.”  Blaming circumstances for failures or mistakes instead of taking personal responsibility for your actions has been a way of life since Genesis 3 when life began in the Garden of Eden.

Eve was the first to rationalize her lack of obedience by saying the devil made her do it, Genesis 3:13.  Meanwhile, Adam had the gall to blame God for his failure to follow God’s only law, “the woman you put here corrupted me”, Genesis 3:12.  Unfortunately, this pattern continues today as people deflect attention to a scapegoat or group of people, passing the buck and blame like modern politicians.  Has society embraced the role of playing the victim or are there a few people remaining who have the perseverance to be victorious in life?

In 2 Corinthians 12:7, the apostle Paul reveals a secret scar from his life.  According to Romans 7,  this spiritual wart appears to be similar to an addiction, bad habit or an area of Paul’s life that he lost control of, Romans 7:15.  Instead of being content with being a victim of his own flesh, Paul fights through this condition like an athlete training for a race, 1 Corinthians 9:27.  Victory is not found in an actual contest, but through a spiritual state of mind, Romans 7:24-25.  Therefore, if you are like Paul, needing to be set free from a harmful craving of your flesh, look up to Jesus who has the power to rescue you from your situation, 2 Peter 1:3-4, giving you everything you need in life in the form of the Holy Spirit!

by Jay Mankus

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