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Who Deserves the Credit?

Depending upon who your reliable source may be in life, credit and praise is assigned to various individuals and or forces. The superstitious tend to lean to luck for someone’s good fortune. Scientists may point others to random selection to explain earthly blessings. As an aspiring screen writer, Hollywood refers to the Universe falling right into place to account for unexpected gifts. Yet, the earthly brother of Jesus points first century Christians toward who really deserves the credit.

Every good gift and every perfect ([d]free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]m James 1:17.

When I was in high school, one of my close golfing friend Chris always seemed to get good breaks while on the golf course. Whether it was skipping his golf ball over the water, going through a tree or receiving a friendly bounce off the cart path, his string of luck never seemed to end. One of our teammates, Steve, attributed this to the luck of the Irish. Since Chris’ family was Irish Catholic, it made sense to me at the time. This belief continued until I began to read the Bible in college.

And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself], James 1:18.

One New Testament author refers to daily encounters with angels that go unnoticed, Hebrews 13:2. A Psalmist points to guardian angels who guide and protect human beings every day, Psalm 91:11. The apostle Paul writes about an invisible force that you can actually keep in step with, Galatians 5:25. Meanwhile, Moses speaks of blessings and curses that will come upon you based upon your degree of obedience, Deuteronomy 28. When you put this all together with the passages above, God deserves the credit for being the giver of all good things in life.

by Jay Mankus

Getting Dialed In

The origins of the expression “dialed in” is unclear.  The only agreement on this saying is that it pre dates cell phones.  There is a thought that dialed in refers back to the Vietnam War.  Whenever a soldier couldn’t do his or her assigned task within the required time or kept screwing up one of the crucial steps, getting dialed in was necessary to overcome their deficiencies.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established, Proverbs 16:3.

If you enjoy watching sporting events, whether its college, professional or the Olympics, most athletes are shown listening to wireless headphones prior to their competition.  Like any profession, there is a set schedule leading up to competitions, games and meets.  Certain styles of music have a way of preparing minds to focus.  While some may be more superstitious than others, listening to your favorite songs prior to competing is a common form of getting dialed in today.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:2.

Within a letter to the Church at Rome, the apostle Paul informs Christians on how to get dialed in spiritually.  Understanding the power of the sinful nature, Galatians 5:16-18, Paul warns believers that your mind must be renewed by the words of the Bible.  Unless a spiritual discipline of reading and studying the Bible is implemented, individuals are at risk of conforming to the world.  Therefore, if you want to get dialed in spiritually, follow the directions in Joshua 1:8 so that God’s voice and will become clear.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Take The Bait

Fisherman tend to be superstitious.  Whether its a specific time, spot or lure, past success feeds these rituals and traditions.  In the spiritual realm, Satan is the fisherman and human are the fish.  Each soul tends to be susceptible to certain things which varies from person to person.  These weaknesses are known by the Devil, tempting individuals to take the bait.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away, James 1:14.

Since a handful of the disciples were fishermen, some of their words reflect this lifestyle.  In the passage above, James realized that certain types of bait catch a fishes eye.  Once enticed, fish are lured out of hiding into open waters.  If this curiosity continues, sooner or later fish will take the bait, becoming hooked.  In the same way, people who develop bad habits become vulnerable to addiction.  Once hooked, people often destroy themselves as Satan moves on, searching for the next gullible victim.

Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! – Proverbs 7:18

The older you get, the greater and more complex temptations become.  The context in the verse above Solomon urges young men to avoid desperate and lonely women.  While the eye candle may be difficult to resist, the quicker you say no the better off you will be.  However, as soon as you master one weak area, further temptations will come at you fast and furious.  Therefore, be on guard, take a stand or else may be the next to take the bait.

by Jay Mankus

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