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Tag Archives: rescue

When Justification Goes Too Far

One of my junior high teachers used a familiar saying to address students who were about the cross an invisible line.  Interrupting just before individuals earned a detention, promptly exclaiming, “that’s far enough.”  Unfortunately, obedience and respect appear to be at an all time low.  Instead, excuses, justification and victimization now reign.

Then Eli’hu the son of Bar’achel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God; Job 32:2.

While listening to a heated discussion, a young man felt compelled to share his own two cents.  Apparently, Job was lacking humility.  Instead of accepting the hardship dealt by God, Job began to justify his own actions.  Maybe Job did not do anything to receive the ordeals sent his way, but Elihu felt that Job is disrespecting God.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

One of the greatest examples of justification occurs while watching replays of penalties in sports.  Most of the time athletes complain to officials, “I never touched them.”  Yet, replays often reveal guilt.  In real life, no one is without fault.  All have sinned.  Thus, if justification continues, countless individuals will deny and reject the only One who will come to their rescue, Jesus Christ the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

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The Cave of Contentment

As you walk through various doors in life, you will eventually come across the cave of contentment.  Although this place is not a physical location, the emotions you experience will make you feel at ease, comfortable and perhaps tinkled pink.  Yet, instead of continuing your journey, some refuse to leave, content with who and where you are.

The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites, Judges 6:1.

One of the byproducts of visiting this place is complacency.  Sure, a weekend getaway can recharge your internal batteries.  However, any kind of extended stay will cause you to become stagnant, limiting your options in life.  Bruce Springsteen sings about a similar state in his classic song Glory Days.  Graduates from high school reflect their former life, back in the day, just like visiting the cave of contentment.

Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds, Judges 6:2.

Unfortunately, when Israel decided to stop at the cave of contentment during the reign of Judges, life drastically changed.  This decision allowed evil to creep into their lives.  Subsequently, God humbled Israel through an oppressive ruler.  Anyone who makes an attempt to stop growing today will face a similar fate.  Although resting a while may be beneficial, trusting in previous achievements without moving forward is a step in the wrong direction.  Therefore, follow the leadership of Gideon who the Lord used to rescue Israel from the cave of contentment.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Stranded

Before the days of cell phones, I found myself stranded on Interstate 74 between Indianapolis and Cincinnati.  As my car died, I was helpless as vehicles flew by without a glance.  Waiting for a good Samaritan to come to the rescue, minutes turned to hours.  Like a fish out of water, I reached a point where I didn’t know what to do.

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed, Proverbs 19:17.

You would think a youth pastor might naturally turn to prayer for assistance, but the shock of the moment distracted my focus.  Desperation pointed me in the right direction, upward toward the sky.  Shortly after praying, a jeep arrived to take me to the nearest tow truck.  Although the fix wasn’t easy, a credit card enabled me to make it home several hours behind schedule.

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you, Matthew 5:42.

Today, God’s timing doesn’t always make sense, especially when you endure hardship.  Numerous people feel spiritually stranded, stuck in a rut and unable to find rest for a weary soul.  During this waiting game, many around you may fake it for a while, putting on a good front.  However, unspoken words hope for eternal security, 1 John 5:13.  In this search for the meaning to life, may the Holy Spirit pick you up from the curb, helping you put all the pieces together from your past, present and the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Hands of God

Stephen King has written a plethora of books, several of which have become classic films.  Taking horror in a new direction, King’s 1994 mini-series entitled the Stand portrays an end of days film in America.  Following a biological outbreak, only 10 percent of the population survive with the righteous calling the heartland home.  Meanwhile, those tempted by evil make their way to Las Vegas.  In the end, the Hand of God comes down to rescue the saints from a nuclear bomb.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them, Acts 13:2.”

Throughout history, God’s hands have been invisible, mysteriously protecting faithful Israelites.  Accounts abound within the Old Testament.  Noah and his family escaped the flood.  Abraham and Lot fled Sodom and Gomorrah before its demise.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived a fiery furnace and Daniel spent a night in a lion’s den, without harm.  Are these merely coincidences or the hands of God?

So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off, Acts 13:3.

According to the New Testament, God’s hands are extended from heaven through his followers.  When the elders laid hands on people, discernment, gifts and wisdom are imparted.  Similar to a prayer circle, believers expect God to do great things.  Without faith, even Jesus could not perform miracles in his home town.  Yet, when a concert of prayer is formed around a person in need, the hands of God are more than a legend; His power become a reality to those who receive this blessing.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Desperate for Leadership

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen, 1 John 4:20.

Most individuals talk a good game, yet when you put their actions under a microscope there isn’t much to be inspired by.  Perhaps a rise in narcissism is to blame, turning a blind eye to reality, living by the mantra, “do as I say, not as I do!”  Unfortunately, a lack of integrity, morality and quality parenting is feeding a generation of self-seekers, cutting corners to get ahead, whatever the cost.

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes, 1 John 2:11.

Meanwhile, the middle class are stuck in the mud, dreaming of brighter days only to wake up to a living nightmare.  Peer pressure, political correctness and those seeking approval often decide to go with the flow, even if its the wrong direction.  The rest of the crowd, standing on the sidelines wait, is hoping a pied piper will come to their rescue.  In the meantime, souls are hungry and thirsting for leadership.

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil, John 7:7.

In the absence of good character, its time for people to take a stand for what they believe.  Jesus knew the world hated him, yet his purpose in life was to fulfill the will of God the Father.  Likewise, the faith community need to get off their couches, find places to serve in their community and show the path for others to follow.  As Jesus once said, “the harvest is ready, but the workers are few.”   Get in the game today while there is still time left on life’s clock.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Prayer to End Violence

Whether you’re talking about ISIS, Ferguson or the latest act of terror, people are searching for some type of protection against violence.  While reading a chapter in the Bible last night I stumbled upon an outline for a prayer to end violence.  If you read Psalm 140 one verse at a time, you can claim each promise as you pray.

Rescue me, LORD, from evildoers; protect me from the violent, Psalm 140:1.

Rescue and protect me O Lord.

Who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day, Psalm 140:2.

Deliver me from evil, temptations and war.

They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips, Psalm 140:3.

Save my family from gossip, rumors and words that can damage their souls.

Keep me safe, LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet, Psalm 140:4,

Shelter me from wicked attempts to do harm; provide a hedge of protection against violent threats.

The arrogant have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path, Psalm 140:5.

Guide my path in life, exposing any traps that arise along the way.

I say to the LORD, “You are my God.” Hear, LORD, my cry for mercy, Psalm 140:6.

Answer my plea for mercy.

Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle, Psalm 140:7.

Shield me from the obstacles that stand in your way.

Do not grant the wicked their desires, LORD; do not let their plans succeed, Psalm 140:8.

Let the efforts of the wicked fail.

Those who surround me proudly rear their heads; may the mischief of their lips engulf them, Psalm 140:9.

Foil mischievous plans to do harm against the innocent.

May burning coals fall on them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise, Psalm 140:10.

May the accusers be burned by the words that they spew.

May slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down the violent, Psalm 140:11.

Cut down those who seek to emulate terrorist acts.

I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy, Psalm 140:12.

Secure justice for those who are unable to help themselves.

Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence, Psalm 140:13.

Expect the righteous to prosper; praise the Lord for what God has done and will continue to do!

When the timing is right, may the words of this Psalm inspire a prayer to end violence.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

The Endangered Species List

Though small in stature, the state of Delaware contains nearly 50,000 acres of Wildlife refuges protecting birds like the American Oystercatcher, Red Knot and Piping Plover.  Nationwide, 758 designated wilderness areas exist amassing more than 109 million acres of land.   Seven of the top 10 endangered species in North America are land animals: wolf, ferret, ocelet, bison, condor, jaguar and panther.  The remaining sea creatures include the right whale, hammerhead shark and sea turtle.  Yet, one obvious individual is missing from this list.

One of the most endangered species in the United States are conservative Bible believing Christians.  The main perpetrators are atheists, democrats and liberal media members who have stereotyped this group as terrorists.  Classified as Tea Party Members, a negative portrayal has caused many to go into hiding.  Others like a modern day Peter, have disowned this status, wanting to steer clear of persecution.  Thus, most have disappeared, going under ground until this war on faith is over.

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. – Psalm 119:37

According to Khaled Abu Toameh of the Gatestone Institute, a Muslim Genocide of Christians overseas is going mostly unreported.  Persecution of Christians in Arab nations has been replaced by execution, slaughtered for not confirming to Islam.  Jihad is not limited to Jews anymore, but Christians as well are being swept off the face of the earth.  As Whale Wars enters its 7th season, perhaps a new reality show needs to enter prime time as the war on faith is heating up.  Will the masses have compassion on Christians similar to pleas against animal cruelty or will silence reign like unborn babies placed into dumpsters without remorse after abortions are completed?  Only time will time who will come to the rescue.

by Jay Mankus

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