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Seasoning for the Seasons

The first step to properly seasoning meat starts by bringing a piece up to room temperature.  Similarly speaking, to prepare oneself spiritually begins by putting yourself in an ideal environment, surrounded by godly influences.  When the conditions are right, the seasoning process can commence.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot, Matthew 5:13.

If chicken, pork or steak is not full thawed, spices will not fully adhere, falling off during the cooking process.  Likewise, if hearts, minds or souls are hardened, the words of the Bible will fall upon deaf ears, unable to soak in God’s truths.  Therefore, the timing must not be rushed, waiting for tenderness to maximize each season applied.

For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them, Matthew 13:15.

Finally, to secure seasons to any meat, lightly brush olive oil over the surface.  This process serves as a coating, like an adhesive that holds in the flavors while on a grill.  In the same way, individuals who want to please the Lord need to spend time in prayer which seals in God ‘s promises.  When you add Bible Study and worship to this daily practice, Christians will soak in the Spirit. becoming fully seasoned for that seasons that lie ahead in life.  Start these preparations now.

by Jay Mankus

 

Who’s the New Guy?

Despite efforts to create equality in all avenues of life, not much has changed.  While there will always be exceptions to the rule, breaking into new circles, finding a job or getting a promotion is still based upon who you know, not what you know.  Trying to advance to new heights takes an incredible talent, luck or supernatural intervention.  However, every so often someone new arrives on the scene causing the masses to ask, “who’s the new guy?”

The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law, Mark 1:22.

Early in the first century, Jesus had the odds stacked against him.  His birthplace of Bethlehem and residence in Nazareth was a negative, inspiring doubts from even potential disciples, “what good can come from Nazareth?”  Nonetheless, Jesus continued to follow God’s will, gathering a team of twelve disciples before introducing himself to the world.  This wait ended in Mark 1:21-28.  Without an Ivy League Degree or Seminary training, Jesus taught with an authority never seen before or since.  Following a Sabbath in Capernaum, the legend of Jesus was born.

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him,” Mark 1:27.

The religious leaders of the day were baffled by the insight Jesus possessed.  The words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2 highlight the fact that God’s wisdom is a mystery, hidden from the intelligent in this world.  Subsequently, the only training requirement necessary to tap into this spiritual realm is keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.  Regardless of your age, background and knowledge, the Spirit will provide the answers you need in life.  Yet, an invisible force, the sinful nature stands in your way of accessing fruits of the Spirit.  Since with God all things are possible, perhaps people will become attractive to your own relationship with God by wondering, “who’s the new guy or girl?”

by Jay Mankus

A Real Life Superhero

Whether you are referring to one of Marvel Comics fictional characters, watching a Super Friends episode or analyzing films like Unbreakable, superheros often have 3 things in common.  First, each possess some sort of super human power which defies the laws of physics and gravity.  Second,  individuals keep a low profile, developing an alias to keep their true identity a secret.  Finally, most have an arch enemy who seeks to ascertain a weakness, trying to uncover their krytonite.

While reading the gospel of Mark, I stumbled upon an interesting thought, Jesus was a real life superhero.  Like Superman, Jesus came from another world, Colossians 1:15-17.  Before the day came to reveal his special powers, Jesus lived in obscurity as a carpenter in the lowly town of Nazareth.  Jesus flew under the radar for thirty years until John the Baptist was imprisoned, then killed.  However, before his three years of public service began, a real Devil threatened to destroy Jesus’ ministry before it began.

Following the calling of his first four disciples, Mark 1:16-20, Jesus introduced himself to the Jewish community.  Meanwhile, a demonic spirit tried to spoil his coming out party, Mark 1:23-26.  Foiling his enemies first plot, the legend of Jesus began to spread.  Similar to modern superheros, Jesus remained humble.  Rather than proclaiming, “look what I’ve done,” Jesus gave his heavenly Father the credit.  Nearly 2,000 years following his resurrection and ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit has been left behind so that those who believe, Romans 10:9-10, may experience an extraordinary life, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

 

Setting the Table

Prior to fast food dinners out, setting the table was a daily chore delegated by parents to teach their children about how to properly prepare before each meal.  Beyond laying out table arrangements, this term has been adopted by other avenues.  Baseball uses this analogy to encourage players to get into scoring position so that power hitters can drive them home.  After reading a passage of the Bible today, this saying also relates to a spiritual principle.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way,” Mark 1:2.

If you want to change the hearts, minds and souls of other people, a foundation must be set.  There needs to be a beacon of light, pointing the way through their actions, behavior and words.  Although I never thought of it in this manner, John the Baptist set the table for Jesus.  Inspired by a chance to come clean, purge bad habits and verbally profess their shortcomings, John developed a large following who sought forgiveness.  Despite his success, John recognized that he was only a small piece to life’s puzzle, ready to pass the baton to the Savior of the world.

I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit,” Mark 1:8.

Hidden within John’s words is the realization that his ministry was temporary, unable to permanently change individuals.  However, the real Messiah will offer an invisible power called the Holy Ghost in the King’s James Version.  While the power of sin will continue to cause the masses to fall prey to addiction, character flaws and poor decisions.  The hope of the Holy Spirit provides an anointing that can lead to freedom.  May the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-15 lead you to usher in heaven while living on earth as you set the table for future generations of faith.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Cure to an Eroding Soul

Whether you call it depression, a funk or unhappiness, whenever things start going in the wrong direction, it’s hard to snap yourself out of it.  Sometimes a vacation, getting away from the mundane will do the trick.  Other people try to allot time from busy schedules for activities which bring them joy.  If these attempts fail, your condition likely involves an eroding soul.

After dwelling upon my current situation, I tried to back track to ascertain where this all began.  I only had to go back a few months to discover that my life has become void of goals, planning and vision.  Subsequently, I am aimlessly wandering without any direction, purpose or vigor for life.  To stop the bleeding so to speak, I must begin to reconsider my priorities, restructure my schedule and seek discernment from God.

The prophet Hosea proclaimed that people without wisdom or vision will perish, Hosea 4:6.  Modern motivational speakers claim, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”  Meanwhile, a tiny voice in my head suggests that if I invest my time in what I was created to do, I will once again be able to say, “it is well with my soul.”  If you find yourself in a similar stage in life, may the Lord answer your cry for help by healing your eroding soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

Tebow Time

One of the wisest kings to walk the face of the earth once said, “there is a time for everything.”  Sometime in the past month, the mind of Chip Kelly, head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, decided his roster needed one more player prior to the start of this season’s first mini-camp.  Finalized last weekend, its officially Tim Tebow time in the city of brotherly love.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, Ecclesiastes 3:1

Whenever you have a polarizing figure, the world of Twitter explodes with opinions on either side of the fence.  Since the Tebow signing, NFL experts have given their typical criticism, expecting Tim to fail before he evens starts this new journey.  While these commentators may be correct, time will be the ultimate judge.

God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end, Ecclesiastes 3:11.

If individuals believed everything their peers told them, dreams would not exist.  Against all odds, the human will can elevate the unlikeliest characters to become the next Rudy Ruettiger, Vince Papale and Kurt Warner.  In my own pursuit of happiness, I’ve learned to reach for the stars and if you fail perhaps you might inspire someone else to do the same.  As for Tim Tebow, only the Lord knows what the future holds, but for now let Tim enjoy the next challenge in his life.

by Jay Mankus

Set Sail

Before you can legally set sail around the world, three things are essential: a Sailing Certification, Insurance and Passport.  The final ingredient is Clearance Papers from your port of departure.  This is the last obstacle before your voyage can officially begin.

But my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him,   Hebrews 10:38.

To get where you want to go in life takes planning, paying attention to details and patience.  Although spontaneity has its time and place, trips involve weeks, months and sometimes years to put together.  Therefore, if you think you can just get up and go unannounced, you’re either retired or dreaming.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

Spiritually speaking, to set sail by faith, one must begin to discern the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Yet, before this occurs, one must rid their lives of any sinful desires which block one’s ability to follow God, Colossians 3:5-10.  Studying the Bible, prayer and worship provide fresh wind and spiritual guidance to set sail.  However, don’t leave shore without the anchor of faith to help you overcome the storms in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

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