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Tag Archives: Jesus

So Lame… By Hiding His Name

We live in a polarized world where any type of comment, statement or words can ignite explosive comments on Twitter.  Sometimes things can be taken out of context, but once you hit send you can’t take this back.  Subsequently, political correctness is the new bully on the block, causing conservatives and liberals to retract earlier posts.  This public pressure is deterring many from bolding expressing what people believe.  The byproduct of this atmosphere produces lame Christians that often hide Jesus’ name.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house,” Matthew 5:14-15.

This fear inspired the words to the children’s classic song This Little Light of Mine.  Harry Dixon Loes, a former student at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago composed this song.  The founder of this school, D.L. Moody, wanted to serve God but wasn’t given a classroom to teach in his church.  An elder encouraged him to start a Sunday School outside of church and when his class got big enough a space would be provided.  Thus, D.L, Moody went to the beaches of Lake Michigan and began to introduce strangers to the good news about Jesus Christ.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven, Matthew 5:16.

Eventually, Moody’s following became so large, he started his own church in the 1800’s.  On the day of the great Chicago fire of 1871, Moody felt rushed at the end of his sermon.  Thus, he decided to skip his call to action, a time to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Later that night, several members of his congregation were killed by the flames.  This error in judgment burned within Moody’s heart, inspiring weekly altar calls in case another unexpected disaster followed.  Like the words of Jesus above, lamps are meant to shine light every where.  Therefore, don’t allow peer pressure to limit the light of Christ within you.  Rather, let your light shine.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Giving God Some Space

When I was in high school, it wasn’t uncommon for a girl to tell her boy friend that she needed some space.  What girls were trying to say to guys like me was she needed time away to clear her mind.  Somehow I was suffocating this relationship and freedom was necessary to let this individual breathe.  Unfortunately, this conversation usually meant the beginning of the end, a nice way to say I’m breaking up with you.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes, James 4:14.

If you apply this concept to God, countless individuals express this with their own actions, not making time for the Lord daily.  However, this assumes that people actually took time to invite God into their lives initially.  As churches close down, go out of business or are forced to join another congregations to survive, it appears that Jesus is low on our priority list.  Instead giving God some space to work within your heart, soul and mind, busy schedules drown out the Holy Spirit’s whisper to draw near.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, 2 Peter 3:8.

Last weekend I heard a local missionary speak about giving God same space.  What she meant by this expression is opening your calendar to allow God to speak.  Whether it’s a day, week or month, stop what you are doing and begin listening for the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes I get so caught up in my own life that I ignore God completely.  Christians can’t expect to spend eternity in heaven if they haven’t invested any time on earth storing up heavenly treasures.  In view of this fear, get up a little earlier, stay up later or get away over the weekend to give God some space to invigorate your soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

Stay Close

Watching a rerun of Jaws the week before you go to the beach isn’t the mental image you want racing through your mind as you enter the Atlantic Ocean for the first time this summer.  Nonetheless, I followed two of my children, Daniel and Lydia into the crashing waves.  When the big waves subsided, each of us began wading on our boogies boards, floating peacefully beyond the  break line.  A few minutes later, I felt a leg brush against the bottom of my foot.  As I was about to blame my daughter, I realized she was three yards away, not close enough to reach me.  Seconds later, my son began to freak out as something big swam underneath him.  Turning around in all directions, two dolphins surfaced for air just to our right.  This event served as a simple reminder to stay close when you enter uncharted waters.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, 1 John 2:1.

While on earth, Jesus served as a big brother to little children.  Like a guardian, Jesus realized the need to shield young people from the dangers of this world.  According to Jesus, sin is the greatest threat, corrupting and poisoning the innocence of a child.  To prevent addiction, bad habits or sinful desires from spread, God urged his followers to stay close to God.  The parable of the prodigal son illustrates what happens when individuals rebel or stray away from loving parents.  Sure, there will always be exceptions to this, yet the broad road which leads to destruction is often too enticing for the masses to resist.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few,” Matthew 7:13-14.

My three children have reached a point in life where I don’t have the influence as I once did.  Friends, peers and society are making suggestions daily trying to win them over.  Hal Lindsey’s book Steeling the Mind of America warned about this danger over twenty years ago.  In recent years, instant gratification is blinding minds from doing the right thing.  Fading absolutes and expanding grey areas are fueling young people to make poor choices.  Since free will is offered to adults and children, parents have to let go at some point.  When you do, take time to pray asking the Holy Spirit to remind your children to stay close to God.

by Jay Mankus

Fulfilling The Roman Mile

The New Testament and the Roman Empire intersect during the first century.  As Romans expanded their control, Jews were forced to adhere with two different sets of law.  Beside the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, non-Roman citizens needed to comply with Roman law or else face punishment.

If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles, Matthew 5:41.

One law required a Jew to carry a Roman’s belongings or possessions for a Roman mile if asked to do so.  A Roman mile is one thousands paces, equivalent to 1,000 yards, or 660 yards shorter than a modern day mile.  During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encourages his audience to do more than a Roman mile, going above and beyond what a Roman citizen asks you to do.

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you, Matthew 5:42.

Jesus didn’t ask his followers to do anything without first modeling it within his own life.  Several New Testament passages refer to Jesus as a servant of God, laying down his life for others.  Jesus understood that preaching and theology doesn’t convince non-believers to enter into a personal relationship with God.  Rather, lives are transformed when the love of God is displayed daily through a spirit of servant-hood.  Therefore, if you want to leave a lasting legacy on earth, emulate the Roman mile by giving of yourself to those who ask, need or appear to require some sort of help.  This is what Jesus means by going the extra mile.

by Jay Mankus

 

Fighting for Harmony

Most people don’t view life in terms of harmony.  Yet, musicians and song writers seek a place or state of mind where creativity flows.  Others withdraw to a secluded location, retreating to regain joy and purpose for life.  Behind the scenes, in one way or another, we are all struggling to find harmony.

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding, Romans 14:19.

Prior to beginning his earthly ministry, Jesus spent forty days in the desert.  Fasting, praying and seeking God for insight, Jesus avoided the typical distractions within daily life.  This time of reflection served as a transitional period from a carpenter to a fisher of men.  Jesus turned his attention away from financial needs toward building a spiritual team of disciples.  Along the way, Satan arrives in Matthew 4:1-9 to disrupt this harmony.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind, 1 Peter 3:8.

Similar visits occur today by demons seeking to divide families, communities and nations.  Based upon current events, it appears the Devil is accomplishing his goal.  Anger, dissension and gossip are on the rise, fueled by social media.  Instead of attacking the source, people are fighting one another with words of hate.  Perhaps, it’s time to withdraw into the wilderness to reverse this trend by fighting back to regain a sense of harmony.

by Jay Mankus

The Hidden Years of Jesus

In the life of a Jew, adulthood begins at age twelve.  A ceremony known as a Bar-mitzvah for boys and Bat-mitzvah for girls commences this stage in life.  Luke 2 provides the only glimpse of Jesus’ life as a boy during his Bar-mitzvah.  Following this event, there are 18 years of silence known as the hidden years of Jesus.

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart, Luke 2:51.

Despite this gap of missing time, there are a few things we know about Jesus.  First, Jesus continued in the ways of his earthly father Joseph as a carpenter.  According to Luke, Jesus remained an obedient son, providing for his mother Mary after Joseph’s death.  The next time Jesus appears in the Bible is in the day of John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus’ earthly ministry.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man, Luke 2:52.

There are 3 qualities that highlight the missing years of Jesus,  First, Jesus grew in wisdom by daily taking time alone to pray with his heavenly father.  Second, Jesus’ actions, constant care and nurturing words magnified his stature as a godly man.  Finally, as Jesus keep in step with the Holy Spirit, God favor remained on Jesus in the form of daily blessings.  All these things prepared Jesus for the accounts portrayed in the four gospels which transformed the lives of 11 disciples.

by Jay Mankus

A Remedy For Rushing to Judgment

Before his fall from grace, Bill Crosby was a talented comedian for decades.  One of my favorite stand up acts was his line about having babies.  This particular act was based upon the lack of smell from a newborn’s poo.  His facial expressions change as soon as odor begins to develop over time.  Unfortunately, there are many adults who still don’t believe that their poo stinks.

Does he not see my ways and count my every step? – Job 31:4

During a time of reflection, Job came to a painful reality in life, God sees all of our mistakes.  Nothing is hidden from his sight according to the author of Hebrews 4:13.  Even on a good day, missteps add up, accumulating daily.  This realization should make the most outspoken humbled, dropping the stones about to cast judgment on others, John 8:7.

If I have walked with falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit—Job 31:5

One of the remedies to avoid rushing to judgment was revealed by Jesus to first century followers during his famous Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7.  During a section on judgment, Jesus urges listeners to take the plank out of your own eyes first.  This analogy is symbolic of things which block or cloud your perspective of a situation.  Therefore, the next time you have an urge to rush to judgment, get this area in your own right first before you add your own two cents.

by Jay Mankus