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Tag Archives: spiritual transformation

Understand This

As a former high school teacher, understand this is code for get ready to listen. The author of the first Catholic Letter in the New Testament uses understand this as a transitional statement. Following a short section on God as the Giver of All Good Things, James provides practical advice that should be applied daily. This isn’t optional for Christians. Rather, it’s mandatory and necessary to become the person that God wants you to be.

Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry. 20 For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires], James 1:19-20.

In the passage above, James gives instructions for becoming a student of God’s Word. When you’re eager to learn, you won’t interrupt the teacher every time a thought pops into your head. Rather, a ready listener is slow to speak as you contemplate and meditate upon what you are hearing. Perhaps, this is what Jesus meant by the expression “don’t just be a hearer of the Word, but be a doer of God’s Word.” Before acting out in anger, students of the Bible are better prepared to avoid sinning while angry.

So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls, James 1:21.

Before you start feeling good about yourself, James calls all Christians to clean up your life. This isn’t just a New Years resolution that will fade away by the Spring. Rather, weeding out any addiction or bad habit from your life will result in subtle changes that will culminate in a spiritual transformation. Yet, this is only possible when the Bible is implanted within thought life and rooted inside your heart. Understand this faith comes from hearing the message and the message is the testimony of Jesus Christ, Romans 10:17.

by Jay Mankus

Discovering Your Divine Purpose in 2021

Purpose is like a pulse that provides a reason to get out of bed every day. The book definition of purpose is the reason for which something is done, created or for which something exists. In a letter to the Church of Philippi, the apostle Paul makes a fascinating statement. For a Christian, there is a divine purpose that God began in you as a child and desires for you to carry this on to completion.

By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible, Hebrews 11:3.

Paul said what? What signal and signs did I miss? Did I blow God off? Was I so consumed by my own life that I was oblivious to the people God sent into my life? Looking back at my teenage years, I certainly took several detours and wrong turns. I resisted God on numerous occasions until my nervous breakdown in high school. I may not have wandered around for 40 years like Israel, but I was still stubborn for 2 decades.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:2.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s never too late to discover your divine purpose. Using an analogy from Romans 9:19-29, God is a heavenly potter and we are the clay. Since a piece of art takes time to create, discovering this divine purpose begins with a spiritual transformation. Along the way, the Bible is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The move you read and study God’s Word, this purpose starts to come into focus, beginning with the borders. From here, the Holy Spirit serves as a counselor to lead the way.

by Jay Mankus

The Fellowship of Suffering

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.  Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed, Luke 22:59-60.

While individuals may not want to admit it, there is a lot of Peter within most human beings.  When questioned by someone like Jesus, its easy to become defensive proclaiming, “I’d never do that.”  Yet, when push comes to shove human nature longs for acceptance.  Thus, few people ever join the fellowship of suffering.

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go,” John 21:18.

When Jesus witnessed Peter’s final denial, this event likely cut to his heart.  Usually a big talker, Peter’s fear of persecution revealed a major flaw within his character.  Based upon the words within the gospel of John, it appears that this betrayal of Jesus haunted Peter for years.  Nonetheless, Jesus shows the way toward the fellowship of suffering, letting go and allowing God to lead you where you don’t want to go.

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, 1 Peter 3:17.

Following a moment of reconciliation with Jesus, Peter begins to enter a special group.  Unless you are willing to endure hardships for doing what is right, the fellowship of suffering is unattainable.  Jesus’ brother James refers to embracing trials by considering each attack on your faith a joy.  Whether it was maturity or a spiritual transformation, Peter gave up his life to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.  Prior to his death, Peter demanded to be crucified upside down claiming he was unworthy to die in the same manner of his Savior.  May this blog inspire you to follow in Peter’s footsteps by joining the Fellowship of Suffering.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Invisible Yield

Yield signs are usually found at the intersection where roads merge.  Typically, one road deadends into another, warning drivers of possible oncoming traffic.  Instead of a sign, some states use flashing red lights that serve the same purpose.  However, when two individuals meet, there is no sign.  Rather, there is an invisible set of unspoken rules.

But he gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble,” James 4:6.

When it comes to submission, especially for woman, times have changed.  Perhaps, the world is trying to cancel the truths of the Bible, referring to it as sexist and out of date.  Whatever the reason, submission in the spiritual sense is like obeying an invisible yield sign.  This act is symbolic of humility, opening the door for God’s favor.  Considering others more important than your own needs and wants honors the invisible yield.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3.

The greatest obstacle to submitting to God is the “what’s in it for me” mindset.  This mentality is aided by the notion what have you done for me lately God?  This selfish consciousness blinds many from putting others first.  Subsequently, a me first focus permeates throughout most cultures.  This byproduct has deteriorated ethics, morals and standards nationwide.  Only a spiritual transformation will change this current trend and lead to the invisible yield, submitting to God.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

The Toll of Temptation

Canon Pictures 015

A few years ago, I read an article on the effects marathons had on a runners body.  Based upon totals miles run, long distant runners can lose between a half inch and inch in height over the course of their lives.  The constant pounding on ligaments and tendons takes a toll on the human body, eventually wearing down and shrinking over time.  This might explain how I lost nearly an inch in height after running several thousand miles over a 7 year span.

At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent, Proverbs 5:11.

Inside the human body, another aging process is occurring.  The obvious is the decay of internal organs.  However, the one I am eluding to involves the emotional and spiritual toll temptation takes on the soul.  When you don’t feel well, people make reservations to see a doctor.  However, there are some health conditions that can only be cured by a spiritual transformation.

I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do, Romans 7:15.

The apostle Paul once experienced a trying time in his life.  While the specifics are missing, it appears Paul was struggling to overcome some sort of addiction.  No matter what he tried failed.  Sin was ravaging Paul’s life, unable to break free from this chain of sin.  If you find yourself in a similar pattern, intervention is a must.  Seek out a friend, fellow believer or godly influence to bring you out of this pit of despair.  If you refuse help, the toll of temptation will continue to devastate your soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Form Without Faith

As a former athlete, there was nothing like game day, warming up in front of your opponents.  Depending upon the sport, there were certain matches that over before they began.  The team with the best form, technique and talent usually won.  Yet, form without faith is a losing recipe, costing several franchises in the past a championship.

Having a form of godliness but denying its power, 2 Timothy 3:5a.

There is a saying in profession sports that says the tape never lies.  This refers to players who have a tendency to take plays off, not giving 100 percent.  As a former coach, this wasn’t as easy to see.  Some players talk a good game, but crumbled under the pressure.  Meanwhile, some slacked off during practice, yet like Allen Iverson, when the lights came on, they rose to the challenge.  However, to endure for the long haul, form and faith must go hand and hand.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead, James 2:26.

As an adult, I can’t escape imperfection.  No mater how hard I try, some days my form is good, but my faith sucks.  Or in times of weakness, my faith is strong, but energy is lacking.  However, everyone must be careful of fulfilling 2 Timothy 3:5.  Godliness does not come from human effort, but in the spiritual transformation of a human heart.  Thus, when Christians begin to go through the motions of religion, they deny God’s power.  In view of this, don’t pretend everything is fine.  Rather, in humility, let the grace and mercy of God build you up so that your faith takes the form of spiritual fruit.

by Jay Mankus

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