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Out of Touch; Nearly Out of Time

Late Night Shows and comedy segments often do a Man on the Street interview to get a laugh.  If the topic was the meaning of Memorial Day, young kids would likely reply with selfish comments.   “A three day weekend, time off school, the first day of summer”.  Unfortunately, remembering those who have died while serving the United States has become out of state out of mind.

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth, 1 John 1:6.

The concept of the soul was inspiration for Hall and Oates 1985 song Out of Touch.  Afraid individuals would lose their soul, John Oates etched this chorus: You’re out of touch I’m out of time But I’m out of my head When you’re not around.  This sense of urgency is missing from a generation spoiled by the freedom in America.  As more and more veterans pass away annually, their time has come to an end.

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did, 1 John 2:6.

Spiritually speaking, the church is out of touch and nearly out of time to sway a country leaning to the left.  As hearts and minds embrace secular humanism, who will stand up, blaze a new trail and ignite souls to pursue Christ.  Perhaps, most are still out of touch, distracted by a world gone wild.  Nearly out of time, who will come forth to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

The Injustice of Righteousness

Righteousness is a guiding virtue, a moral compass which leads individuals to a higher calling.  Although hiccups and slip ups will occur, God’s grace will wipe away the stains of sin.  Unfortunately, when the day of judgment comes, the Bible suggests there will be more souls in hell than heaven.  Subsequently, those standing outside the pearly gates will likely complain about the injustice of righteousness.

Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them, Mark 4:25.

Life on earth is just as unfair as the afterlife.  According to Jesus, the wealthy will continue to have while what little the poor possesses will be taken away.  This is one of those passages of the Bible which leaves more questions than answers.  The outsiders, anyone who does not believe in Jesus, John 14:6, and progressives won’t be pleased by Jesus’ comment.  The modern day Robinhood’s might consider this teaching to be an injustice of righteousness.

He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything, Mark 4:34.

Being left out of anything isn’t a pleasant feeling.  Whether its high school, work or a social network, everyone has experienced being the odd person out.  Denial, exclusion and rejection are forms of trials meant to toughen you up, James 1:2-4.  Nonetheless, you can’t change the facts inside of God’s Word.  In view of these truths, chose life so when your time is up, there will be no one else to blame, Deuteronomy 30:15-18.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Faith That Yields a Bountiful Harvest

As a former seminary student, I’m embarrassed by the amount of over analysis which can take place from time to time.  In an attempt to study the Bible through the eyes of a specific theologian, the simplicity of Jesus’ words can be lost.  Instead of debating who’s right and who’s wrong, perhaps Christians should take Jesus’ words literally by becoming doers of the Word.

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown, Mark 4:20.

While unwrapping the meaning to a famous parable, Jesus lays out four basic environments that exist in the world.  High traffic areas cause the soil underneath to become compacted and hardened.  Hilly or mountainous terrain is rocky, often unstable with soil constantly shifting and eroding resulting in shallow levels.  Unkempt areas explode out of control with briar patches, sticker bushes and thistles competing for spaces to grow.  Finally, ideal settings possess nutrients beneath which can lead to record crops.

He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? – Mark 4:21

According to Jesus, this final scenario is achieved when individuals hear the spoken message and accept it as their own.  There is no exception to this rule, faith must become personal, owned by those who believe, Romans 10:17.  You don’t just profess your convictions and go back to the life you once lived.  Rather, Jesus calls his followers to shine their light by taking a stand in the world we live.  If you want a faith that will yield a bountiful harvest, dive in today by fulfilling Mark 4:20-21.

by Jay Mankus

 

Choking the Word Out of Your Faith

One of the assumptions Christians often make is “once saved, always saved,” suggesting salvation can not be lost once you profess faith in Christ, Romans 10:9-10.  However, Jesus provides three exceptions to this rule, real life scenarios that disrupt one’s initial commitment to God.  After the crowds left his presence, Jesus reveals the meaning of the Parable of the Sower to his disciples, exposing how certain things can choke the Word out of someone’s faith.

But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful, Mark 4:19.

1. The Worries of this life: Beyond food, clothing and shelter, the human mind can race while trying to sleep.  Financial concerns often lead to stress, sucking the joy of one’s life.  Subsequently, the poor begin to think, “if I only had money, then I will truly be happy.”

2. The Deceitfulness of Wealth: You don’t have to venture far into statistics to see how greed can ruin the lives of individuals.  In a Case Study based upon winner’s of the lottery, only a small percentage found true contentment.  Several families were torn apart by selfish expectations, others went bankrupt by burning through their lump sum jackpot and some ended up in prison, corrupted by the love of money.

3. The Desire for Other Things: You don’t have to be rich to lose your way in life.  However, wealth tends to open up doors, leading to opportunities never dreamed of before.  Thus, the need for God and a Savior wane.  In the end, Bibles collect dust, sitting in a drawer for most of one’s life.  If you’re not careful, this gradual process can invade your soul, choking the Word out of your faith.

by Jay Mankus

Overcoming the Transitional Zone

Each Spring lawn care companies give grandiose images of the perfect yard.  If you just buy this product, follow their three step process and properly maintain your grass, this could be your house?  Unfortunately, these commercials do not take into consideration the transitional zone, the area where Bermuda Grass in the south meets Tall Fescue from the north.  Following an internship in Golf Course Design and Maintenance, I asked a mentor what I should do with my lawn in Delaware.  His advice, “blow it up and start from scratch with fresh top soil and sod.”

I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”- Genesis 12:3

Recently, president Obama has declared that America is no longer a Christian nation.  Meanwhile, liberal politicians have distanced the United States from our former ally Israel.  On the surface this may not seem like a big deal.  However, inside the Bible tells a different story.  The Old Testament is filled with verses the claim God blesses those nations which protect and support Israel.  On the other hand, those whom dishonor Israel will be cursed.  If this trend in America continues, the United States will find itself in God’s transitional zone, blessed since 1948 for helping Israel become a nation to on the verge of being cursed due to our lack of understanding of this biblical principle.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

Beneath the surface, there are spiritual weeds, demons and evil spirits, seeking to cause havoc in the lives of individuals.  Since these forces are invisible, you can’t use Round Up to kill these entities.  Rather, prayer walks, fasting, worship and meditating on God’s Word will help those souls stuck in this transitional zone.  Although I can’t promise you that you’ll have a perfect life void of pests, I can assure you of the promises of God.  While you battle the visible tasks in this life, don’t forget to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, so that you can overcome life’s spiritual transitional zone.

by Jay Mankus

 

Sizzling Out When Adversity Comes

Whether you’re watching a race horse set a torrid pace in the Triple Crown, a rabbit fade from the front during a mile race or witness a running back get tackled from behind, energy is temporary.  When the body is pushed to its limits, burn out is inevitable.  Thus, high school and college stars often sizzle out when adversity comes.  The real question is will they get back up to tarry on another day?

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

Nobody likes facing adversity.  Sure, it builds character, toughens up individuals and separates champions from the mediocre.  Nonetheless, failure is real, around the corner, over the next hill or awaiting you in the future.  How you handle trials will determine the path you choose in life.  Will you become the person in Bruce Springsteen’s song reminiscing about your Glory Days or can you mustard up enough courage to face the giant obstacles standing in your way?

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you, 1 Peter 5:10.

Unfortunately, this generation appears to be soft, throwing in the towel after the first couple of punches life hits you with.  Others take years to get over missed opportunities, rejections and personal tragedy.  Perhaps, this is why the author of Hebrews refers to life as a marathon.  You must be careful to pace yourself, realizing you have a long way to go despite whatever set backs you may encounter.  Therefore, don’t sizzle out when adversity comes.  Rather, keep in step with the Holy Spirit, relying on Christ’s strength to get you through the pain you are enduring, Philippians 4:13.

by Jay Mankus

 

Tasting But Not Believing

Every once in a while individuals will eat something that doesn’t sit well.  Certain drinks or foods will leave a bad after taste.  Other combinations can result in bad breath, heart burn and stomach cramps.  If you are trying to win a friend over to your favorite restaurant, sometimes tasting is not believing.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace, Hebrews 6:4-6.

Human nature causes individuals to encounter several phases over the course of one’s life.  Whether its curiosity, emotion or peer pressure, the hesitant will put their toes in the water first to see if they want to dive in or not.  The author of Hebrews warns first century citizens about applying this same principle to Christianity.  Unfortunately, a let me try it for a while to see if I like it mentality cause many souls every year to abandon their faith.

Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them, Mark 4:15.

This mindset has filtered down into many traditions like dating, marriage and sex.  The world uses a car buyer analogy, wanting to test drive something before they purchase it to justify living together before getting married and premarital sex.  Perhaps this is want Jesus was referring to in Mark 4:15, warning souls against walking by sight instead of by faith.  In life it only takes one moment of compromise before temptation leads you to taste forbidden fruit.  If this behavior develops into a pattern, your life may be summarized by tasting but not believing.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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