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Tag Archives: overcoming doubt

Words that Elevate Faith

In the early 1980’s, Bill McCartney was an ordinary college football coach at the University of Colorado.  Following a breakthrough, McCartney realized that he couldn’t treat each player the same.  To get the most out of his team, some athletes were challenged, others provided with words of encouragement and an occasion, a hug to elevate their psyche.  This communication style lifted the Buffalo’s to the 1990 National Championship.  Later on that same year, God inspired McCartney to found Promises Keepers, a ministry to strengthen the faith of married men.

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes,” Mark 9:23.

When the disciples vowed to heal a father’s son, he hoped healing would come soon.  Unfortunately, these novice healers weren’t able to improve this boy’s situation, powerless against the strong demonic forces within this child.  As Jesus approached some Pharisees speaking with his disciples, He was likely shaking his head in disappointment.  Like a doctor examining a patient, Jesus asks the father for a brief history of his son’s condition.  Following their discussion, Jesus recognized the need for prayer mixed with words that might elevate the faith of this boy’s father.

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”- Mark 9:24

If you read in between the lines, belief or lack there of is a contributing factor to one’s faith.  Those who have never been exposed to healing, miracles or a supernatural event will likely doubt the presence of a higher, supreme being.  Yet, it only takes one encounter, experience or positive influence to ignite the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, don’t listen to the naysayers, negative voices and pessimistic chatter which abounds.  Rather, walk as Jesus did and inspire others like Coach McCartney so that the words that come out of your mouth will elevate the faith of those around you.

by Jay Mankus

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About to Pass You By

Anyone who is fixated on their circumstances, may miss someone or something that God wants you to see.  Blind spots don’t just occur on car mirrors, individuals can get so entrenched in their own lives that time can pass you by.  If you’re not careful, you might wake up one morning and most of your life is gone.

He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, Mark 6:48.

Jesus tried to teach his disciples a similar lesson following the feeding of the 5000 in Mark 6.  Sending them ahead in a boat, Jesus stayed back to pray on a mountainside.  I’m not sure why he walked on the water, but it appears God wanted His son to do so, serving as an abstract lesson.  Although the sun had not risen yet, moonlight provided Jesus with light to see his way.  About to pass their boat by, the disciples finally recognized him, causing a stir of emotions.

But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – Mark 6:49-50

If Jesus could feed a crowd of 5,000, walking on water shouldn’t have been a surprise to his disciples.  Nonetheless, people limit God’s power, surprised by answered prayers and miracles.  Perhaps so many walk around defeated, they don’t know what its like to experience victory in Christ.  Doubt, failure and misery can promote a sense of hopelessness that lingers. Therefore, if you feel like time is about to pass you by without tasting success, take courage, don’t be afraid and believe in the power of the resurrection to transform your situation.

by Jay Mankus

Another Unsolved Mystery of God’s Provisions

While attending a concert benefit for two organizations dear to my heart, Kay’s Kamp and Ashley’s Orphans, I was reminded of the miraculous accomplishments the Lord’s manifests.  Sponsored by the Raymond Lee Band and held at the Evervett Theater, the music led me to consider the stunning history of God’s provisions to needy charities throughout the world.  Fueled by prayer and inspired by the Holy Spirit, individuals continue to be touched, opening their purses and wallets giving to Christ centered causes.  Despite a struggling economy, the Lord knows how to raise funds to fulfill His will.

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”- Matthew 17:20

Although a spectator tonight, I still can’t believe how the Lord provided daily bread for me and my family when I was the desperate one.  My home church in Delaware took up a love offering to pursue a career in youth ministry after graduating from college, cutting a check for the exact amount that I needed without any communication?  Years later, with my wife and I unemployed over a two year stretch, some how, some way, food, clothing and shelter was provided, filling in the gaps we couldn’t afford.  Subsequently, if its happened before, it will occur again as another unsolved mystery of God’s provisions.

By the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ;- Romans 15:19

Perhaps this blog finds you on the outside looking in, wondering when help will arrive.  A feeling of hopelessness is tough to overcome, especially if those who can offer support don’t know your needs.  Yet, this is where prayer can probe hearts, even when individuals are sleeping.  The Holy Spirit is living and active, able to touch the hearts of complete strangers, sending help in various unexpected forms.  While the world likes to search for tangible evidence for miracles on earth, I just chalk things up to another unsolved mystery of God’s provisions.

by Jay Mankus

What’s In Your Lunch Box?

Before the invention of insulated lunch bags, kids brought decorative lunch boxes to school with their favorite cartoon characters or television show on the outside and thermos. Meanwhile, adults brought coolers or metal containers which resembled a toolbox to their workplace. Although teasing did occur on some levels within society, what’s was in your lunch box is what got people’s attention.

In the days of Jesus, one of his disciples claimed he performed so many miracles on a daily basis that if each one was written down, there would not be enough library books in the world to cover them, John 21:25.  Of the miracles of Jesus recorded in the Bible, only one appears in all 4 gospels, the feeding of the 5000.  Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:32-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-13 detail this supernatural experience.  While there are many theories why God chose this particular event to be covered by all 4 authors, the answer lies in the lunch box of a poor young boy.

Luke, a physician who accompanied the apostle Paul on some of his mission trips, explains the dire situation leading up to Jesus’ miracle, over 5000 people are in a remote place without any access to food, Luke 9:12-13.  Meanwhile, only one disciple records the source of their food, a young boy who offered his small lunch: 5 wafers and 2 sardines, John 6:9.  In view of this information, most of the disciples likely shared Philip’s sentiments in John 6:7, “no way Jesus, we don’t have the time or money to help these starving people!”  Andrew, the brother of Peter, made a suggestion, yet even he had his doubts, John 6:9.

Today, millions of people worldwide are in desperate need of a miracle, either in the form of clothing, food or shelter.  Others are still searching for a full time job to provide for their family, humbling themselves to do whatever it takes to survive.  In the end, all Jesus is looking for in people is faith like a mustard seed, Mark 4:30-32.  May you step out in faith, like this little poor boy, sharing his lunch with thousands, setting the scene for a memorable miracle from God.

Feel free to comment below, sharing what miracle you are hoping, longing and praying for.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Sign of Goodness

Hindsight can change your perspective on the past, giving you a thorough understanding of the events in your life.  On the other hand, obstacles, setbacks and unforeseen trials can blur your vision for the future, resulting in bleak expectations.  When optimism is replaced by a spirit of doubt, its time to seek divine intervention.

Known for many things, King David had become empowered by his own prayer life.  This man of God was not afraid to express his concerns to the Living God.  Fed up by the prosperity of the wicked, David turned his attention to God’s miracles of the past.  Thus, within Psalm 86:17, he pleads with God to receive a sign of goodness.

The better you know someone, the more risks you begin to take, asking deeper and more personal questions.  Whether it was his years in the wilderness as a shepherd or a close relationship with a spiritual mentor not mentioned in the Bible, David knew the true nature of God.  His prayers within the book of Psalms are powerful outlines, a wealth of knowledge for anyone looking to find answers in life.

Therefore, don’t accept mediocrity in your spiritual life.  Though you won’t be able to fully discern the mind of God as Job tried to do, signs of goodness are awaiting.  The apostle Paul speaks of these things in a passage to the church in Ephesus, Ephesians 2:10.  Instead of turning into Oscar the Grouch, release your burdens upward, pouring your heart and soul in prayer to the giver of life, James 1:17.

by Jay Mankus

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