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Tag Archives: grace

Remember Where You Came From

Whether your life has turned out to be a success, disappointment or some where in between, its always important to remember where you came from.  Depending upon how you were raised, you’ve likely developed stereotypes about certain occupations, places or people.  Over time these views will either be reinforced or shattered.  Whatever happens make sure you remain humble so you don’t miss out on meeting special people.

For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; Galatians 1:13.

Paul was a religious zealot who initially persecuted and gave the order to kill the apostle Stephen.  Thus, after his conversion to Christ many were hesitant to believe his faith was real.  This backlash inspired Galatians 1, a summary of his testimony.  It wasn’t until Paul began his missionary journeys when fellow Christians began to accept and embrace him as a genuine believer.

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, Galatians 1:15.

While my past isn’t as radical as Paul, I still have issues to overcome.  Years of stuttering stunted my communication skills and ability to draw close to others.  Periods of depression still cause me to withdraw at times, wandering away from the people I love.  Yet, because of God’s grace, I have hope for the future.  Despite my own imperfections, God sent His one and only Son to die for my sins.  Therefore, don’t let the sun go down without accepting God’s free gift of eternal life.  When you remember where you came from, you will likely find a sinner saved by God’s grace.

by Jay Mankus

Far Worse Than I First Thought

There are periods in life which seem innocent at first.  Initial symptoms are brushed aside as merely a byproduct of age.  Yet, if you continue to ignore the obvious, sooner or later conditions will become far worse than you ever imagined.

If my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled, Job 31:7.

Fifteen years ago my eyes began to hurt trying to work full time while attempting to complete my masters.  The amount of reading was too much strain on my eyes resulting in arthritis of the eye.  In the years that have followed, some of my goals were never fulfilled due to this condition.  Now I am just thankful for the ability to see.

“If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,” Job 31:16.

What is most troubling to me is my current spiritual condition.  Due to a lack of accountability and a consistent church home, may faith has decayed.  The other night a wave of conviction revealed to me how far I have wandered off course.  The passages above serve as a standard to see if your faith is in action or dead.  Sometimes the truth hurts, far worse than I first thought.  When days of conviction come, may the Lord’s grace and mercy fall on those confess their sins.

by Jay Mankus

 

Grace or No Grace

One of the best illustrations I heard for grace comes in the form of an acronym.  God’s riches at Christ’s expense.  The concept of grace refers to free and unmerited favor; something you didn’t earn or deserve.  The apostle Paul suggests there may be an occasional exemption made for a good person, but grace isn’t grace without a sacrifice.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die, Romans 5:7.

The beauty of grace comes in the form of the surprise.  You could be having the worst day of your life, on the verge of becoming a prodigal or set on rebellion.  No matter the candidate, God’s grace falls upon the worthy and unworthy.  This is where the human mind struggles to grasp this concept as the grace which people extend on earth is often based upon results.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.

This mindset produces the thought, “grace or no grace.”  This selfish desire turns selective, forgiving those whom you like while holding grudges against those you despise.  Human nature feeds this desire as grace is only offered to family, friends and the deserving.  May the words of the passage above guide hearts and minds in the right direction, to love and forgive others just as Jesus did for you and me.

by Jay Mankus

Killing Conflict

Motivational speakers can make some outlandish claims.  Behind the enthusiasm lies a formula, method or outline which leads to success.  Books, seminars and self help videos has vaulted some to financial prosperity.  Yet, there is only one who can successfully kill conflict.

Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded, James 4:8.

Seminaries introduce students to terms like contrition, forgiveness and grace.  Beyond these theological words is one simple act, to take personal responsibility for your actions.  In this day and age, “I’m sorry, its my fault or please forgive me,” are disappearing.  Yet, if you take the blame, this disarms the raw emotions within conflict.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up, James 4:10.

Unfortunately, human nature does just the opposite, following in the footsteps of Adam and Eve, searching for a scapegoat.  This response usually ignites conflict rather than extinguish it.  If only individuals would begin to emulate the teaching of James, humility could kill conflict.  Yet, for now the world is forced to dodge a minefield of pride which will require countless hours of prayer to diffuse.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Invisible Yield

Yield signs are usually found at the intersection where roads merge.  Typically, one road deadends into another, warning drivers of possible oncoming traffic.  Instead of a sign, some states use flashing red lights that serve the same purpose.  However, when two individuals meet, there is no sign.  Rather, there is an invisible set of unspoken rules.

But he gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble,” James 4:6.

When it comes to submission, especially for woman, times have changed.  Perhaps, the world is trying to cancel the truths of the Bible, referring to it as sexist and out of date.  Whatever the reason, submission in the spiritual sense is like obeying an invisible yield sign.  This act is symbolic of humility, opening the door for God’s favor.  Considering others more important than your own needs and wants honors the invisible yield.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3.

The greatest obstacle to submitting to God is the “what’s in it for me” mindset.  This mentality is aided by the notion what have you done for me lately God?  This selfish consciousness blinds many from putting others first.  Subsequently, a me first focus permeates throughout most cultures.  This byproduct has deteriorated ethics, morals and standards nationwide.  Only a spiritual transformation will change this current trend and lead to the invisible yield, submitting to God.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Angels with Error

The book of Job, the person not what Trump wants to create, is the oldest book in the Old Testament.  What this means is that Job was finished prior to Genesis.  Why its not clear if Job lived before the flood, he does talk about walking with dinosaurs.  Due to the atmospheric changes in the weather following the flood and lack of dinosaurs mentioned on Noah’s ark, Job could have died prior to Genesis 7.  Another clue is found in the first few chapters of Job’s book, referring to Satan by name twice and angels with error.  All of this leads me to believe Job experienced a moment in time when 1/3 of the angels were kicked out of heaven, falling to earth in the form of demons.

If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error, Job 4:18.

Theology introduces many terms which were created and developed to help common church going individuals to understand the complex.  One of these biblical ideas is the concept of free will.  The definition eludes to freedom given by God to make choices without coercion or force.  This element also applies to angels, also known as cherubs, seraphim and archangels.  The context of Job 4 is Eliphaz, a close friend of Job addresses and begins to contemplate why Job has endured several trials.  While the initial statement refers to trust, one possible explanation is that angels with error, now demons, have unleashed their wrath.

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day, Jude 1:6.

According to Jesus, everyone will face a day of judgment.  While the facts of life will be presented in the form of video clips that include highlights and low lights, this will be a scary day for all.  Nothing that you do now can save you.  What I mean by this is that in the end, there is no one righteous.  All have exercised free will, falling short of God’s glory.  Yet, Romans 5:8 gives the hopeless hope through God’s demonstration of love.  While I deserve hell and damnation, God sent His one and only Son to restore that which was lost, Luke 19:10.  Despite angels with error, eternal life is in reach of the humble by grace through faith.  Reach out today by accepting God’s free gift, Romans 6:23.

by Jay Mankus

Facing an Unforgiving Heart

For 364 days a year, hatred often controls the daily news cycle.  This is displayed through crimes against humanity, terrorist attacks and violent protests.  Yet, the calendar suggests that on February 14th love should replace hate.  Even if you have someone special to be your valentine, many individuals are confronted by a person or people with an unforgiving heart.

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins, Matthew 16:15.

If you are honest with yourself, everyone has someone who rubs you the wrong way.  This could be a co-worker, neighbor or relative.  Coping with, forgiving and loving this individual requires an extra portion of grace.  Certain actions, gestures and words may lead you to flip out, building a wall of resentment that can result in harboring a spirit of unforgiveness within your heart.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you, Colossians 3:13.

The apostle Paul makes a great recommendation for those of you facing an unforgiving heart.  Despite how difficult it may be, the key to spreading love throughout the year involves bearing with one another.  While you may get impatient, let go of any grievance that you have against others.  In doing this, you will love others as Christ loved you.

by Jay Mankus