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Spiritual Atrophy

Atrophy refers to the process in which body tissue or organs slowly waste away often due to the degeneration of cells.  Symptoms of atrophy include decay, deterioration, shrinking or withering away until human bodies no longer function as God designed them.  When this condition is diagnosed, aggressive physical therapy is necessary to prevent further complications.  Human beings are not the only things vulnerable to atrophy.

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come, 1 Timothy 4:8.

Belief, faith and spiritual disciplines can be attacked.  Satan uses compromise, deceit, half-truths and lust to lull Christians into bad habits.  If these patterns persists, it doesn’t take long for a fervent faith to be persuaded into following in the footsteps of the prodigal son.  The apostle Paul uses the term bewitched in a letter to the church at Galatia.  Like atrophy within the human body, initial signs are subtle.  Yet, when minds begin to justify and rationalize wrong actions, spiritual atrophy can become aggressive.

Now before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law, [perpetually] imprisoned [in preparation] for the faith that was destined to be revealed, 24 with the result that the Law has become our tutor and our disciplinarian to guide us to Christ, so that we may be justified [that is, declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing with God] by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under [the control and authority of] a tutor and disciplinarian, Galatians 3:23-25.

A group known as the Judaizers had infiltrated this congregation.  Clinging to religious traditions of Judaism, these zealots began to add conditions to salvation, confusing many of the new converts to faith in Christ.  In the passage above, the apostle Paul explained the original purpose of the law.  However, Jesus came to abolish the law, opening the door for freewill.  Instead of forcing people to believe, God uses freewill to introduce grace, mercy and forgiveness to those who fully repent, turning away from sin and toward God.  This is the cure to spiritual atrophy, taking time each day to pray, thank God and yield your life to Christ alone.  Pursuing godliness is like therapy to overcome the affects of spiritual atrophy.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

After the Morning Has Broken

Busted, cracked, fractured, ruptured and smashed are all indications that someone or something is broken.  Though goods and items usually reveal obvious signs of damage, human beings are better at hiding their pain.  Unfortunately, the scars of the past prevent some from ever seeing another sunrise.

My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. – Psalm 131:1

Humility is a vessel God uses to bring arrogant individuals back to earth.  Whenever anyone becomes too puffed up in their minds, trials will arise to regain the proper perspective.  If this is achieved, souls will begin to discover the meaning behind Cat Stevens 1972 hit Morning has Broken.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

Whether this blog finds you depressed or sky high, each time the morning has broken to commence another day, this symbolizes a second chance at life.  Since the Lord keeps no records of wrongs, 1 Corinthians 13:5, everyone get’s a fresh start, with the slate wiped clean daily.  In view of this, thank God for every time you experience the dawn of a new day!

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Living in First Class for a Day

As a son of an immigrant to this country, I understand the concept of hard work.  Although I never saw my dad much as a kid, I knew he was trying to provide a better life for our family.  Subsequently, I didn’t become obsessed with fashion or style in my teenage years.  Rather, I learned to appreciate what I had despite being jealous at times by peers who flashed their wealth.

However, I haven’t been excluded from certain luxuries in life.  Every so often, I have been privileged to be a guest of first class.  When the opportunity presents itself, I’ve been blessed by attending the Stanley Cups Finals, Monday Night Football games and double header of a Cleveland Indians in a Luxury Suite.  While each experience has special memories, nothing compares to this past weekend’s NASCAR Race at the Monster Mile.

My wife’s company was given Infield Passes for Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover Downs.  These tickets included a Meet and Greet with Ryan Newman, tour of the garage area and access to the Quick and Loans Hospitality RV all day long.  With my kids tagging alone, my family was spoiled, living in first class for a day.  This event gives me a new appreciation for NASCAR as well as everything that goes on behind the scenes at a race.  Whenever you have a special invite in the future, seize the moment and thank God for the special chances you get to live in first class for a day.

by Jay Mankus

The First Thanksgiving

According to the Plimoth Plantation, 4 different states claim they were the site of America’s first Thanksgiving.  Florida, Texas, Maine and Virginia each have historical documents to support their claims.  Since Native Americans made it a tradition to hold celebration feasts whenever God had given their tribe a successful harvest long before the arrival of the Mayflower, its hard to know who’s right.  Thus, its not important who get’s the credit for this holiday, as long as individuals make it a point to display their gratitude to the Creator of life each Thanksgiving Day.

In ancient times, Moses records Israel’s first Thanksgiving, nearly 3 months following the miracle at the Red Sea, Exodus 19:1.  After Israel’s first triumph since their exodus from Egypt, husbands were reunited with their wives and children, Exodus 18:2-8.  As Moses shared all that God had done for Israel to his father in law Jethro, this statesman was moved to celebrate the great news.  Gathering the elders of Israel, Jethro organized the first recorded Thanksgiving feast, Exodus 18:9-12, offering burnt sacrifices to the Lord and breaking bread together.

The brother of Jesus urges modern believers to continue this tradition in James 1:17-18.  Instead of taking sole credit for the good things in life, James reminds Christians to thank God for the blessings bestowed upon us.  Although blessings are not always equally dispersed, your actions can influence the amount you receive, Deuteronomy 28:1-2.  Despite our sinful state, Romans 5:8, Jesus died so that we might become born again, John 3:3-5.  May the true meaning of Thanksgiving be revealed to you as you open God’s word, Romans 10:17, during this Christmas season.

by Jay Mankus

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