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Saving Yourself from Shame

As of now, everyone is perfect in 2015 as God has wiped everyone’s slate clean, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  However, its only a matter of time before someone says, “I can’t believe I just said that!”  It only takes a minuscule act, slight compromise or momentary lapse in judgment to ensnare a soul forever.  As this new year begins, what’s saving you from shame?

Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. – Psalm 119:6

Eve’s world began with perfection, no afflictions, illness or pain to complain about.  With only one rule to follow, Genesis 2:15-17, everything was available to the first family except for the Tree of Knowledge.  Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Lucifer to plant seeds of disobedience on the earth, Genesis 3:1.  Instead of walking away from temptation, Eve thought she could handle it own her own, excluding the Lord and her husband from this conversation, Genesis 3:2-6.  Once you engage temptation, shame often follows, Genesis 3:7.

The Psalmist provides helpful hints to keep your reputation clean in 2015.

1) Be steadfast in obeying God’s decrees, Psalm 119:5.

2) Avoid careless mistakes by memorizing God’s commands in the Bible, Psalm 119:6.

3) Devote your heart to righteousness, Matthew 5:6.

4) Cling to purity by walking in the ways of the Lord, Psalm 119:9.

5) Hide God’s Word in your heart to remain on the narrow path, Psalm 119:10.

Although Calvinists might say you’re destined to fail, solely reliant on God’s grace, the apostle Paul suggests that you have some say in your day to day decisions, Philippians 2:12.  Essentially, Paul is warning individuals about getting too comfortable like Eve, 1 Corinthians 10:11-12.  As Solomon once said, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight,” Proverbs 3:5-6.  By following this advice, God willing, you will be saved from shame in 2015 and beyond.

by Jay Mankus

 

Cry After Cry…God Comes to the Rescue

When people cry, there could be several reasons.  Cries of joy, tears of pain, touched by words, moved by a kind act or mourning after someone dies.  In the famous Aesop fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, this story refers to individuals who try to gain attention with impure motives.  As for this person, God will not come to their aid immediately, Isaiah 1:15.

However, Psalm 106:44 suggests that a heart felt cry is heard by the Lord.  Although you may not receive a reply right away, God’s timing is perfect, Ecclesiastes 3:10-11.  Cry after cry is duly noted by God, observing the distress that you and I go through over the course of a week, month or year.  Subsequently, each earnest plea is rewarded with a sign, word of encouragement or by a person sent to ease your pain.

According to the Bible, there will be no tears in heaven, Revelation 7:17.  Yet, until then, disappointment is a daily reality while calling earth home.  In your struggle to stay positive, Ephesians 6:12, don’t try to do this all on your own.  Rather, cry out to the Lord, following in the footsteps of David, Psalm 4:1, so that God will come to the rescue.

by Jay Mankus

 

Last Call

Every classic movie or sitcom filmed in a bar has at least one scene based upon the notion, last call for one more round of drinks.  In the 1996 film Invincible, Mark Wahlberg plays Vince Papale, a bartender who fulfills a life long dream of trying out for Philadelphia Eagles, his local NFL team.  As the plot develops, several of the beginning scenes take place at the establishment where Vince hangs out and takes a part time job after losing his teaching position.  Like the closing bell on Wall Street, the last call serves as a two minute warning before closing up for the night.

In life, few people receive a clear indication that their time on earth is up.  Sure, those stricken by an incurable disease have an inclination that the end is near, yet countless are cut down, killed in accidents or murdered without any signs or notice.  These individuals don’t have any time to prepare for eternity.  Instead, their destination is determined by the life they have lived.  Unfortunately, no one is perfect, Romans 3:9-12, falling short of God’s expectations, Matthew 5:48.

In Luke 23:32-43, three man were sentenced to death.   As curious spectators got their kicks, watching 3 men die on a cross, one man took advantage of this last call on life.  Acknowledging his crime publicly and worried about his future, one criminal pleaded with Jesus, Luke 23:41-42.  As a result, this fortunate soul received something better than a last drink, the gift of eternal life, Luke 23:43.  May you seize the moments God gives you during the living years so that you will enter the place Jesus calls paradise, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

A Pedestal of Disappointment

There are certain individuals which possess gravitas, tempting family, friends and followers to place them up on a pedestal.  These dynamics personalities make it hard not to jump on the bandwagon as some become held in high regards as a cultural hero.  However, when you choose to place someone up on a pedestal, its a matter of time before you will experience disappointment.

According to Romans 3:23, no one is perfect.  Regardless of your efforts and motives, sooner or later will you fail, mess up or make a mistake.  This blunder often shatters the image of your fans, causing many to jump ship.  In the aftermath of sin, its difficult to come with terms with the failures of leaders.  The painful reality of this disappointment will make you think twice before placing another treasured soul on a pedestal.

The relational aspect of life makes people vulnerable to pain.  Perhaps, a growing number of adults are forgoing marriage to avoid the heartbreak of unfilled vows.  While you may believe this is a good idea, there is only One who is worth placing up on a pedestal, Hebrews 4:14-16.  Don’t blame the creator for imperfect people.  Rather, lift up the only One who is worthy to be praised, Romans 5:8.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Tell Em’… Show Them

On Sunday evening following the Masters coverage, the Golf Channel debuted a 3 part documentary on the Relationships, Major Accomplishments and Legacy of Arnold Palmer.  Although I didn’t catch every second of the 3  one hour special presentations entitled Arnie, I was struck by one life lesson Arnold learned from his father.  Like a shrewd man unveiling a secret to life, “don’t tell people how good you are; show them.”  If you watched any of this program or you were one of Arnie’s Army, then you know this is exactly how he lived his life.

Modern politicians could learn from from Arnold Palmer’s actions during his professional career and retirement.  Fans were always acknowledged, the press was never dodged and this man gave back more to the game and community than anyone.  Perhaps, this is why Arnold was called the King, showing the crowds, his opponents and the television audience the proper way to carry oneself whether in victory or defeat.  Despite Arnold’s fame and fortune, he remains humble, remembering where he came from, who he is and what his father taught him about being a good man.

Though Arnold tries to be good daily, he learned the same truth that we all have to come to grips with, no one is perfect, Romans 3:23.  According to the Bible, there is only One who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin, Hebrews 4:14-15.  Today, on Maundy Thursday, we celebrate the man called Jesus.  On his way to the cross, He refused to tell others about his goodness.  Rather, he set the example, shining his light in a dark and dying world.  Before you go to sleep tonight, read Jesus’ words in John 3:16-17 so that you too may be inspired to let the light of Christ shine through you, Matthew 5:13-16.  Don’t tell em’ about Jesus; show them God’s love!

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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