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Tag Archives: stepping out in faith

Fasting to Go Forward

The future is like a mystery novel full of twists and turns.  Within this darkness and uncertainty, its important to take some time to be still before the Lord.  Thus, before you speculate on what you think will happen its better to fast and pray prior to going forward.

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven, Nehemiah 1:4.

While serving as a cup bearer to the king, Nehemiah’s main responsibility was to taste test food and vine prepared for the king in case it was poisoned.  Essentially, Nehemiah was a body guard, willing to die for his leader.  Yet, when news spread about the fate of Jerusalem’s walls, Nehemiah placed his whole trust in the Lord by beginning a fast.

Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cup bearer to the king, Nehemiah 1:11.

During this 3 month fast, the Lord began to provide Nehemiah with a clear vision for the future.  Instead of wavering, Nehemiah stepped out in faith to implement God’s plan.  Taking a leave of absence, Nehemiah served as an administrator to help Israel rebuild this wall in 52 days.  Thus, Nehemiah is the ideal example of fasting to go forward.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Making A Lasting Impression

The humble don’t waste their breath telling others what they’ve done or what they are about to do.  Rather, quietly, each go about their own business until their assignment, job or task is complete.  Making the most of every opportunity, individuals who possess a servant’s heart are on their way to making a lasting impression.

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head, Mark 14:3.

Over the course of your life, you may witness an act that doesn’t make much sense on the surface.  However, there are times people feel compelled to do something, regardless of how bizarre, crazy or strange it might seem.  Nonetheless, one day a woman followed the prompting in her heart to anoint Jesus with an expensive jar of perfume.

Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her,” Mark 14:9.

Based upon Jesus’ compliment of this woman, making a lasting impression involves stepping out in faith.  Sure, doing what’s right when no one is looking is a good start.  However, to keep in step with the Holy Spirit requires a keen awareness, grounded in the wisdom of the Bible.  May those of you who seek to leave behind a legacy of faith, follow in the footsteps of this selfless act.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Selective Society

As the 2016 Presidential election kicks off Thursday night with the first major debate, don’t be surprised by the responses you hear.  For this is the season of persuasion, a makeover to present a much broader perspective of each candidate.  Hoping the audience forgets any selective memory of their past, “if you vote for me I will speak for you, the little guy.”  Yet, like any season, campaign promises will come to an end as soon as each ballet has been counted.  Just as birds fly south for the winter, politicians will return to their normal routine, to a selective society, embracing those who share a similar worldview.

And the gospel must first be preached to all nations, Mark 13:10.

Perhaps this facade turns most people off, causing a growing number of citizens to stay home on Election Day.  This is what made Jesus so attractive to the masses during the first century.  His message wasn’t limited to the rich and famous.  Rather, Jesus’ focus extended beyond party lines, seeking to reach individuals in every nation.  Thus, as he teaches disciples about the future, one thing is clear, a selective society is unacceptable.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation, Mark 16:15.

When I look at myself in the mirror, the truth hurts.  Despite what I believe, I find myself gravitating toward those who like me and distancing myself from those with different opinions.  This is not the image Jesus paints in the Bible.  The gospel is not based upon feelings.  Rather, everyone is given an opportunity, a chance to accept or reject faith.  Therefore, whether you’re a politician or average person, avoid the temptation of remaining in a selective society by stepping out in faith to fulfill the great commission.

by Jay Mankus

 

What’s In Your Lunch Box?

Before the invention of insulated lunch bags, kids brought decorative lunch boxes to school with their favorite cartoon characters or television show on the outside and thermos. Meanwhile, adults brought coolers or metal containers which resembled a toolbox to their workplace. Although teasing did occur on some levels within society, what’s was in your lunch box is what got people’s attention.

In the days of Jesus, one of his disciples claimed he performed so many miracles on a daily basis that if each one was written down, there would not be enough library books in the world to cover them, John 21:25.  Of the miracles of Jesus recorded in the Bible, only one appears in all 4 gospels, the feeding of the 5000.  Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:32-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-13 detail this supernatural experience.  While there are many theories why God chose this particular event to be covered by all 4 authors, the answer lies in the lunch box of a poor young boy.

Luke, a physician who accompanied the apostle Paul on some of his mission trips, explains the dire situation leading up to Jesus’ miracle, over 5000 people are in a remote place without any access to food, Luke 9:12-13.  Meanwhile, only one disciple records the source of their food, a young boy who offered his small lunch: 5 wafers and 2 sardines, John 6:9.  In view of this information, most of the disciples likely shared Philip’s sentiments in John 6:7, “no way Jesus, we don’t have the time or money to help these starving people!”  Andrew, the brother of Peter, made a suggestion, yet even he had his doubts, John 6:9.

Today, millions of people worldwide are in desperate need of a miracle, either in the form of clothing, food or shelter.  Others are still searching for a full time job to provide for their family, humbling themselves to do whatever it takes to survive.  In the end, all Jesus is looking for in people is faith like a mustard seed, Mark 4:30-32.  May you step out in faith, like this little poor boy, sharing his lunch with thousands, setting the scene for a memorable miracle from God.

Feel free to comment below, sharing what miracle you are hoping, longing and praying for.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Mere Phantom

When you look into a mirror, what do you see? Does pain from your past come into focus? Is the stress from life visible on your face? Or does a lack of faith leave you slumping over, doubtful that you’ll achieve anything significant in the future? From my vantage point, I feel like a mere phantom, unable to capture the person I want to be.

Apparently, King David struggled with a similar dilemma in Psalm 39:6.  As he reflected on his days on earth, what he saw was disappointing.  Essentially, David described his life as a phantom, roaming to and fro, like a ghostly spirit unable to find rest for their soul.  His son Solomon echoed David’s sentiment, recognizing that laboring and toiling on this planet is meaningless, Ecclesiastes 1:1-11.

If this is true, what can one do to reclaim joy?  Perhaps, you need to have a private meeting with Jesus, John 3:1-2, to see what’s holding you back.  From here, individuals need a daily dose of the Holy Spirit, like 5 Hour Energy Drinks to move beyond this material world, John 4:13-14.  Yet, to escape the phantom inside of you, stepping out in faith is necessary to begin utilizing the gifts created inside of you, Romans 12:3-8.  Don’t let a low self-esteem paralyze your progress. Rather, begin to see your reflection through the eyes of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Please feel free to share any words of encouragement to those who don’t like the person they see in the mirror.

by Jay Mankus

         

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