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The Mystery of Praise

Unless you are a morning person, most people take time to wake up.  This lack of energy makes the likelihood of praise to be displayed as a natural occurrence.  As for me, only when the right kind of music is present or a tune prompts my heart does a spirit of praise arrive.  Beside this perfect setting, praising God is a mystery.

To carry out the sentence written against them— this is the glory of all his faithful people. Praise the LORD. – Psalm 149:9

According to the book of Hebrews, its impossible to please God without faith.  Thus, when you read the prophecies of the Bible, you can’t view each with skepticism.  Beyond the words from this ancient book, one must believe God will eventually fulfill each promise.  Although doubts will arise if a prolong time passes without any fulfillment, yet praise is conceived when individuals see the the Bible come true like the words of Psalm 149:9.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see, Hebrews 11:1.

If someone spends days, months or years praying for a miracle without any results, any desires to praise God often fade away.  Families who have lost a member to a killer disease experience arid periods, void of joy.  Subsequently, many venture off, putting God on hold until they can comprehend of what just happened.  Although the wait is agonizing, the hope of a prodigal returning to their senses brings angels to praise God in heaven and rejoicing souls on earth.  May the mystery of praise not serve as a stumbling block to pursuers.  Rather, may the Holy Spirit revive your heart with a new sense of appreciation for the hand of God at work in this life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Faith Beyond Comprehension

Before the first rain drop touched earth, mankind had lost touch with God.  Like a New Year’s Celebration, out with the old and in with the new, boundaries were eliminated.  This mentality is described in Genesis 6:1-6, causing the Lord grief.  In an age of wickedness, Noah found favor with the Lord.  Unlike Adam and Eve, Noah actually did everything the Lord commanded, Genesis 6:22.  Building an ark the size of a football prior to the existence of rain, now that’s faith beyond comprehension.

Abraham was an old man when the Lord came calling.  The thought of a nation as massive as the sand on the seashore must have been enticing, Genesis 12:1-3.  However, there’s just one problem, elderly men don’t have children with elderly women.  As time ticked away year by year, most people would have given up, quit and called it a life.  Just as a doctor once confirmed in Luke 1:37, “nothing is impossible with God” so Abraham held on until his first child was born.

Today, skepticism abounds, with countless souls disappointed by lies, hypocrisy and unbelievable promises.  Although in their hearts they want to believe, troubled minds hardly ever come around to faith, side tracked by doubt.  Perhaps the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16 still serves as a stumbling block to the wise.  A fool doesn’t have much to lose whereas the wise have their reputation to hold on to.   Regardless of the barriers that are present, may Christ like lives and transformed saints shine light into a dark world so that faith can be embraced by the lost.

by Jay Mankus

Faith Like A Bread Crumb

In many avenues of life, a person of faith may be viewed as a dreamer, with good intentions yet far from reality.  Other optimistic individuals may be seen as crazy, with loose wires some where in their brains.  Although opinions may not be shared or spoken to their face, skepticism abounds as many have given up hope of believing in a God who does not meet their expectations or perceived needs.

Matthew 15:21-28 introduces the world to an outsider, a Canaanite whose culture was known for worshiping the devil.  Without any background about her, it appears that her nation’s god, Baal, had not been able to heal her child.  Thus, hearing that the circus was in town, Jesus’ earthly ministry, she pushes her way through the crowd.  Like a union boss during a strike at his plant, this desperate woman made her way to Jesus’ disciples, demanding a face to face encounter.  Not taking no for an answer, the disciples throw their hands up in the air, giving up, encouraging Jesus to send this woman on her way.

Jesus gave this Canaanite every opportunity to go home.  Jesus kindly reminds her that his initial mission was to come for the lost sheep of Israel.  Considered dogs by Jewish culture, he bluntly asks, “why should I waste my time with you,” possibly referencing his earlier words in Matthew 7:6.  Yet, each time she came back with a reply more determined than before, refusing to take no for an answer.  Finally, with faith like a bread crumb, this persistent woman receives the answer so longed to hear.  Living out the words of Matthew 7:7-12, she specifically asked God, seeking Jesus day after day and when no or not now was the answer, she kept knocking until her daughter was healed.  As you start tomorrow, don’t forget to seek a faith like a bread crumb.

by Jay Mankus

Are You Sure About That?

Whether its an April Fool’s joke or a student trying to pull a prank on one of their teacher’s, its important to double and triple check your information before informing others.  Like the internet picture of a 90 foot snake 2 years ago, those who believed this story were quickly disappointed.  Maybe this is why so many in our culture struggle to accept the testimonies about Jesus in the Bible.  Hoping not to be deceived, a typical reply is, “are you sure about it?”

After reading books such as The Bible as History, The Case for Christ and the entire Bible, I’m more confident than ever about this evidence.  Yeah, stories of a burning bush, talking donkey and light that spoke aren’t every day occurrences.  Throw in a guy walking on water, calming storms and raising the dead, skepticism sets in, unable to rationalize the impossible.  However, as archeologists uncover chariots on the bottom of the Red Sea, find a giant boat in the middle of the  mountains in Turkey and artifacts that proved Jesus lived during the first century, maybe this isn’t as far fetched as once thought.

One thing is certain, people are going to believe what they want to believe.  Each religion will emphasize, interpret and slant information in their favor.  Meanwhile, each church, mosque and temple will de-emphasize certain facts to lean others toward their particular worldview.  In the end, I can’t force anyone to believe what I do.  All I can do is present angles, details and elements that might one day lead someone to say, “I am sure about that!”

by Jay Mankus

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