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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

A Spoiled Faith

I caught an interview on TBN, the Trinity Broadcasting Network over the weekend about Middle East converts to Christianity. To protect their identity, new believers were sharing the hardships following a decision to leave the Muslim faith.  One woman opened up about a phone call she had with her mother.  This mom believed her daughter had been brain washed, poisoned by zealous disciples of Christ.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

In the last decade, Christians have been crucified, persecuted and in some cases forced to leave their homeland.  Since the mainstream media is not covering, investigating or reporting this news, the average American does not believe these travesties exist.  Subsequently, many who claim to follow or serve God do not know what true faith is.  Instead, political correctness is breeding a culture that is spoiling genuine faith.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

If there is anyone who is an expert in the field of hardship and persecution, the apostle Paul fits this criteria.  Following a life devoted to legalism as a Pharisee, Paul’s unexpected transformation creates a wave of resentment against his decision to become a missionary.  The passage above shares the spiritual truths suffering taught Paul.  Hardship serves as a spiritual purging, slowly changing your perspective on life.  If you never face trials, growth can be stunted.  Therefore, the next time suffering comes knocking, don’t let a spoiled faith keep you from becoming the man and woman God wants you to be.

by Jay Mankus