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Tag Archives: love in action

A Simple Confession Can Change the World

The word confession is found six times in the Kings James Version of the Bible. Confession is the act of acceptance, taking responsibility for a wrong act, behavior or deed. This public acknowledgement owns up to something that you’re embarrassed to admit. Fueled by conviction and guilt, a simple confession by a young man inside a church in Great Britain sparked the first Great Awakening.

Beloved, do not put faith in every spirit, but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world. By this you may know (perceive and recognize) the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges and confesses [the fact] that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [actually] has become man and has come in the flesh is of God [has God for its source]; 1 John 4:1-2.

According to one of Jesus’ disciples, genuine confession is a direct sign of God’s presence working inside a human heart. As a member of Jesus’ inner circle, John witnessed love in action for three straight years. When most of his follower’s abandoned him on the first Good Friday, Jesus replied, “forgive them for they know not what they do,” Luke 23:34. These remarks followed by Jesus’ resurrection changed the world forever.

And the prayer [that is] of faith will save him who is sick, and the Lord will restore him; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working], James 5:15-16.

In the passage above, one of Jesus’ earthly brother’s chimes in as well. According to first century historians, James did not believe his own brother was the Messiah until Jesus rose from the death. Haunted by his own unbelief, James pours out his heart about the importance of confession. Two thousands years later, the earth has gone through a series of changes. Yet, one thing endures: a simple confession can still change the world.

by Jay Mankus

Readily Pardon and Forgive

Pardon is the act of forgiveness where a judge or individual decides to cancel an offense. Despite being guilty and wrong, the written record of this offense is purged and removed. Perhaps, the apostle Paul was reflecting upon part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount when writing the words below. Whatever the inspiration behind this message, Paul encouraged members of the Church at Colosse to readily pardon and forgive.

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive], Colossians 3:13.

While the apostle Paul practiced tough love when the occasion or timing was right, what makes Christian’s different from everyone else is a spirit of charity, 1 Corinthians 13:1-7. Paul shares a similar message to the Church at Ephesus, to emulate the love of Jesus, Ephesians 5:1-2. Whenever you display grace upon individuals, whether they deserve it or not, love in action makes the unspiritual hungry for what you have inside your heart.

For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses, Matthew 6:14-15.

In the passage above, Jesus introduces the conditional status of forgiveness. Similar to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, genuine love waits for and is ready when opportunities arise to console, encourage and uplift. Based upon the clause above, how you forgive others will be the basis for how God forgives you. Anyone who is willing to readily pardon and forgive others on earth will receive the same outpouring of grace by God in the afterlife.

by Jay Mankus

Family, Strangers and the Needy

The Bible kindly suggests that retirement is not an option, with always another calling to consider.  As life expectancy was altered following the introduction of sin by Adam and Eve, things changed.  Thus, as earth’s atmosphere shifted from an Open Canopy to what it is today after the flood, people needed to rely on families as age took its toll on human bodies.  Those without a family were at the mercy of strangers and the needy to survive.

When Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there, Ruth 1:6.

In the Old Testament, it was custom for harvesters to leave some of their crops for the poor.  Typically, the area along the edges of property lines was not picked clean, giving the less fortunate a place to pick up something to eat.  Thus, if you were desperate enough, this is where you would go if you wanted food.  Although times have changed, today individuals in need try to find a busy intersection where the wealthy may pass by in a nice vehicle.

And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter,” Ruth 2:2.

A modern parable of the Good Samaritan is written daily as those moved or touched stop to offer a couple of dollars here or there.  Yet, is this the right decision or should God’s people take a more proactive role?  Perhaps, taking this person to lunch like the Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is a better alternative.  While this act of love is difficult for me, its what any loving family member would do for a relative.  Therefore, don’t just limit your kindness to those you know.  Rather, extend Christ’s love to strangers and the needy.

by Jay Mankus

Not Immune

When the next mind boggling event occurs in America, I’m not afraid to question God, searching for answers to stabbings, shootings and tragedy in public places.  Sometimes I feel like God has removed his presence, moving on to another nation, where hearts are open to truth.  Yet, as soon as trials enter my own life, the Holy Spirit has reminded me this week that Jesus was not immune from heartache.

According to John 11:14, God reveals to Jesus that his friend Lazarus has died.  As He makes his way to the tomb, Jesus is met with a distraught sister, blaming him for her brother’s death, John 11:21.  A second family member has similar feelings, bringing Jesus to tears, John 11:32-35.  While using God’s healing power to raise Lazarus from the dead, John 11:38-44, Jesus’ grief continued.  One of his disciples betrayed him, another publicly denied knowing Jesus and finally the Jews convinced the public leaders to have him crucified.

Unlike the Curse of the Bambino for Boston Red Sox fans, the events of original sin can not be reversed, Genesis 3:16-24.  Perhaps, this may explain Hebrews 12:4, putting life into its proper perspective.  With the circumstances in life continuing to decay, no one is immune from pain.  Therefore, as you fight the good fight, 1 Timothy 6:12, hang in there, encourage the depressed around you and place your trust in the Lord, Proverbs 3:5-6.  Share how you have been helped or reached out to lend a loving hand.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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