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Engaged and Energized

While engagement is often associated with the process leading up to marriage, to be engaged refers to an active, engrossed and involved state. I’ve never thought of prayer in the context of being engaged. However, when the apostle Paul found an isolated spot to pray, Mark 1:35, his concentration was fixated on God. Paul wasn’t just hoping and wishing for an answer to prayer, he expected God to perform a miracle.

We are ever giving thanks to God for all of you, continually mentioning [you when engaged] in our prayers, 1 Thessalonians 1:2.

One verse later, Paul refers to being energized by faith. As Christians begin to pray with an unceasing desire, this is often accompanied with a sudden boost of energy. When you add and incorporate promises in the Bible to prayer, faith is strengthened. Prayer is an act of putting the needs of others before yourself as you pour out your heart to God. When prayer becomes a daily habit, a spirit of service is conceived.

Recalling unceasingly before our God and Father your work energized by faith and service motivated by love and unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), 1 Thessalonians 1:3.

In the first century, there was a belief that Jesus would return in their own lifetime. For those individuals who witnessed Jesus rise from the dead, there was a sense of urgency to seize each day on earth, Galatians 6:9-10. This is the motivation that the apostle Paul refers to in the passage above. If you want to make the most of your life on earth, engage yourself in prayer so that your faith is energized to keep on serving Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

When You Can’t Be Trusted

When I was in first grade, I spent a week at my Uncle Eddy’s beach house. Each night my whole family walked to a local ice cream parlor for dessert. On one of our last nights there, I begged my parents to allow me to carry the money. At this time in history, $10 was enough to buy a family of five a waffle cone. I don’t remember if I had a hole in my pocket or simply dropped this bill along the way. Whatever happened, I lost the money and lost the trust of my family on the same night.

He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the [case of] unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions), who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not proved faithful in that which belongs to another [whether God or man], who will give you that which is your own [that is, the true riches]? – Luke 16:10-12

One of Jesus’ most famous stories is the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30. This is just one of a series of parables that Jesus shares to illustrate what the kingdom of heaven will be like. Meanwhile, Luke records the Parable of the Shrewd Manager. The latter story refers to an individual who had let things slide over time. Like a business on the verge of bankruptcy, this man is forced to act swiftly before losing everything. The moral of this parable is if you can’t be trusted in the little things, God won’t trust you with greater responsibilities in this life.

And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, Master, you entrusted two talents to me; here I have gained two talents more. 23 His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, [admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the [e]blessedness) which your master enjoys. 24 He who had received one talent also came forward, saying, Master, I knew you to be a harsh and hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you had not winnowed [the grain]. 25 So I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is your own, Matthew 25:22-25.

The Parable of the Talents is based upon integrity, doing what’s right when no one is looking. Three servants are left in charge of their master’s finances while he is away, not given a specific time table of his return. While a silver talent is equivalent to  $3,924 and a gold talent $228,900, the point of this story is to seize each day on earth by using your God given gifts. If you are wasting these talents or afraid to fail, this is when God will lose faith in you. Since it’s never too late to change, fan into flame your God given gifts today, 2 Timothy 1:6, before the Lord calls you home.

by Jay Mankus

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