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Tag Archives: imperfections

Unpleasant, Painful but Productive

In this age of social media, discipline often takes the forms of rants on twitter.  When shared among millions of followers, these words can be unpleasant, a strike to your heart.  Yet, if you acknowledge your own imperfections, any form of criticism can make you a better person if you are open to change.

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, Hebrews 12:5.

Like the famous court scene in A Few Good Men, sometimes people can’t handle the truth of an honest assessment.  Thus, many turn a deaf ear, unable to accept the painful reality that they are wrong.  This lack of openness often leads to stubborn hearts as well as a lack of progress in life.

Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son,” Hebrews 12:6.

According to the author of Hebrews, individuals need to change their perspective on discipline.  If careless acts result in embarrassment, face the music instead of running and hiding.  By embracing hardship as growing pains, character can blossom if you are open to self-improvement.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? – Hebrews 12:7

Discipline is one of those things which can be difficult to experience.  Yet, in the midst of adversity, God has a reason, to shape his children just as a potter molds their clay.  Therefore, the next time you are called out, it might be unpleasant or painful, but in the end I pray that you find it productive.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Worthy of Suffering

During my time at the University of Delaware, I was fortunate enough to meet several missionaries.  Through campus groups like Campus Crusade, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Intervarsity, opportunities arose to interact with individuals from different countries, cultures and dynamic characters.  In biblical terms, several of these people I met are worthy of suffering.

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name, Acts 5:41.

It’s interesting how people define success in various ways.  The poor may say a good day is having enough money to feed the whole family.  The middle class might suggest its making more than you spend.  Meanwhile, the upper class base success on property, possessions and power.  Yet, for first century Christians, enduring public persecution for their faith was like a badge of courage.

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name, 1 Peter 1:7.

Beyond any physical or verbal abuse martyrs experienced, a nugget of truth has been passed on from generation to generation.  While you may suffer for your beliefs, trials serve as a vehicle for growth.  Just as a furnace uses fire to remove imperfections from clay, persecution strengthens faith.  Thus, while the world is dumbfounded by those willing to risk death, imprisonment or public beatings, devout Christians continue to embrace suffering for the sake of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Finding the Weak Link

Whenever law enforcement or the FBI wants to bring down a powerful criminal, perhaps they might start with surveillance.  After a period of time, officials will search for a small fry who has access to the big fish.  When the weak link is identified, this individual is pressured to provide important information.  If this person does not cooperate, threats of prosecution often persuade them to go along.

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him, Mark 14:1.

Early in the first century, religious officials realized they could not outwit Jesus, so they began to secretly probe his twelve disciples.  During this process, the chief priests identified someone they could influence.  Miffed by Jesus’ waste of perfume, the treasurer Judas Iscariot, was tweaked enough to turn to the dark side.  Tempted by thirty pieces of silver, Judas agreed to betray Jesus with a kiss.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly, Mark 14:4-5.

Regardless of how strong someone may appear, each possess flaws, imperfections and weaknesses.  Thus, no one is exempt from being exposed as a weak link.  Satan knows your kryptonite, scanning back and forth throughout the earth, waiting to pounce on the isolated, vulnerable and weak.  Therefore, be on guard, armed with the armor of God, Ephesians 6:12-20 so when the days of evil come, you will be ready to defend yourself.

by Jay Mankus

One Thing People Lack

If you’re not careful, people can get snippy when you point out one of their weaknesses.  Whether its a defense mechanism or a way in which individuals bend the truth, few want to hear about their imperfections.  However, there is a famous conversation where Jesus reveals one thing people lack.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” – Mark 10:17

One day, a rich young ruler humbly falls at the feet of Jesus.  Desperately wanting reassurance of his spiritual quest to reach heaven, this ruler asks, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  While most teachers would seize this teachable moment, Jesus pauses to redirect the topic.  Despite being the son of God Jesus responds with the words, “why do you call me good?”  Essentially, the Lord proclaims that no one is good but God.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Mark 10:21

Using the ten commandments as a measuring stick, this benchmark serves as a guide as you interact with members of society.  In a sense, this is expected, what any follower of God should do.  Thus, when Jesus adds one final requirement, this ruler leaves Jesus’ presence heart broken.  Though other gospel writers vary their details of this encounter, it appears that this ruler trusted in his money rather than placing his sole faith in God to provide.  This same expectation applies today.  Do you lack complete trust in the Lord or fervently rest in Jehovah-Jireh?  May your reply to this question motivate you to draw closer to Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Great Vindication

Absolve, exonerate and uphold are terms associated with vindication.  Unfortunately, print media and cable television often run stories with gossip, innuendos and rumors without complete assurance of the facts.  Thus, when uncovered evidence disproves false accusations, the damage has already been done.  By the time an apology is made, reputations are usually ruined, tattered by the piling on of public opinion.

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord. – Isaiah 54:17

In the spiritual realm, nothing is hidden from God, Hebrews 4:13.  Any flaw, mistake or trespass is exposed, revealing the imperfections of human beings like jars of clay, 2 Corinthians 4:7.  There is no one who is righteous, for all have fallen short of the glory of God, Romans 3:9-12.  Despite this lowly state, sinners have an advocate in their corner, gaining access to the great vindication through grace, Ephesians 2:8.

For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. – Psalm 135:14

Although critics, enemies and naysayers will always exist, the Lord promises that a day will come when his people will be vindicated.  While scoffers may hurt your feelings, God’s compassion and forgiveness will wipe away your tears.  In the end, you will get the last laugh for trusting in an invisible God.  Therefore, put aside your fears and reservations by approaching the throne of grace with a humble heart.  This will lead you to the great vindication.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Refine or Refuse

Whether you want to admit it or not, each individual craves affirmation, encouragement and a pat on the back.  Yet few experience, hear or sense that they are appreciated.  Rather, negativity often rules, pointing out each mistake you make.  Depending upon your personality type, each responds to criticism differently.  Some use it as motivation, others turn a deaf ear and the fragile let these words eat away at their soul.  Such moments provide two options, refine your ways or refuse someone’s advice.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. – 1 Peter 1:7

Prior to last week, I sought out people to pump me up, telling me how great I was.  However, one embarrassing evening under the microscope last week allowed me see the importance of exposing obvious weaknesses.  Unless you know what to fix, you might continue throughout life never reaching your full potential.  However, once imperfections are brought to the surface, you can begin to make strides, asking God to smooth over your rough edges.

My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. – Proverbs 5:1-2

Change is hard, especially for the stubborn who think they have it all together.  Nonetheless, until you begin to embrace the refining process of trials, you won’t be able to become transformed like Peter in John 21:15-18.  If you are comfortably numb, continue to refuse advice.  However, if you want to reach new heights beyond your wildest dreams, let the refining process commence.

by Jay Mankus

 

Read the Fine Print

Its amazing how dishonest commercials have become in this age of disclaimers.  By the time you try to listen to and or read the warning at the bottom of your television screen, another ad appears.  In a rush to strike it big, reward stock owners or pay for future projects, imperfections abound when you read the fine print.

Meanwhile, walking billboards are just as guilty.  Whenever you hear words like “I’ve never done that, my pastor’s never sinned or you struggle with that,” wait a couple days or weeks and sin will flow like rain.  Christians that sound too good to be true aren’t doing anyone any good.  Rather, the closer you are to God, the more humble you become.  Yet, the opposite is true as the further you stray from the Lord, the better you feel initially until pride sets people up for a fall.

If you want to read the fine print, just open up one of the 4 gospels in the Bible.  Although Jesus spoke in parables to drive home a point, he doesn’t beat around the bush.  Jesus set high expectations for his disciples, causing many to walk away, unable to meet his standards, Luke 9:57-63.  Despite our own inabilities to achieve holiness, John 3:16-17 provides a highlighted reminder of God’s eternal plan.  Don’t let bad examples keep you from the truth.  Rather, read the fine print for yourself to reserve a room in eternity, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus