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Suppressed Anger

If you slow down enough to take a look around, suppressed anger lingers deep inside the human heart.  The tension within the bullied builds until a spirit of revenge is born.  Once this seed is implanted inside of  troubled minds, the stage is set for the next school shooting.

During my sophomore year of high school, I was introduced to another form of suppressed anger.  A friend from my cross country team began to punch me in the arm every team I saw him in school.  This scenario repeated itself for 6 months until I took the time to find out why.  Carl, who became my best friend, hit me to express his frustration as he helplessly watched his mother slowly die of cancer.

Today, some of the cruelest people you encounter often possess a secret that motivates their behavior.  Just watch the Breakfast Club, paying close attention to John Bender’s character played by Judd Nelson.  Whether its a bad family life, negative influences or low self-esteem, each plays a factor in determining which person you will meet.  May a clear understanding of Galatians 5:19-22 allow you to discern suppressed anger from those who are simply evil.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Contagious

Over the last month, scenes from the 1985 film Outbreak have come to life.  Dustin Hoffman,Morgan Freeman and Rene Russo  portray the spread of an Ebola like disease imported to America by an infective monkey.  Panic spreads throughout a town which becomes ground zero when the virus goes air born after a victim starts coughing at the local movie theater.    Isolation is the only hope to contain this deadly disease.

Another invisible wave poises a similar threat if not stopped.  According to 2 Timothy 2:16-17, godless chatter can spread like gangrene.  Unless its momentum is cut off, negativity can multiple like wild fires, overflowing from city to city. Fueled by politicians and talk shows, minds are easily infected, piling on, losing control of their emotions with each demoralizing comment.

In life, there aren’t many safe havens remaining.  On every corner, temptation lurks waiting to wrap its claws around you.  Once contaminated, there is only one doctor who possesses the anti-venom, Luke 19:10, to cure the human heart of its condition, Jeremiah 17:9-10.  Nonetheless, everyone is spreading something, either good or bad.  Therefore, the next time you open your mouth, try to cut corners or lead someone astray, think about James 5:19-20 so that the mark you leave will turn others in the right direction.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Jukebox of Memories

Before the days of cell phones and personal computers, a jukebox connected individuals at local restaurants.  Portrayed in sitcoms like Happy Days, placing a coin in the jukebox and selecting a hip song  often inspired young people to join the dance floor.  Thus, music enhanced the life of teens creating jukebox memories.

As technology advanced, diners began to install miniature jukeboxes in each booth, enabling guests to interact while listening to their favorite songs.  Over time, music became associated, linked and tied to special moments in time.  Whether you were traveling somewhere on vacation, going out on a date or enjoying your prom, music etches memories within our minds.

Today, I can be shopping in a local grocery store, driving in my car or walking down Main Street when I hear a song from my past.  Within seconds, my mind takes me back in time, reminiscing about where I was, who I was with and the friends I made along the way.  Through the good and bad, music is like a recipe to cure the blues in life.  Regardless of what you use to access modern music, may these devices provide soothing jukebox memories.

by Jay Mankus

Another Day Flushed Down the Toilet

There was a time in my life when I was highly motivated, eager to reach my full potential.  Unfortunately, I now experience periods of  apathy, not caring how productive I am on my days off.  Like a malaise, time ticks away while reclining in my chair.  Before I can snap out of it, another day is flushed down the toilet.

While watching a reality show last, Jon Taffer, host of Bar Rescue, reached out to a family owned business in Staten Island, New York.  Initially successful, three brothers let their establishment become inundated with a motley crew of bikers.  In desperate need of an intervention, Jon uses tough love to convict this family of their inadequacies.  When push comes to shove, you either need to stand up to face your fears or your dreams will be flushed down the toilet.

If you find yourself heading in the wrong direction, accountability from a co-worker or friend is essential to stay on track.  Proverbs 27:17 suggests that accountability sharpens those who engage in and practice it.  Therefore, if you don’t want another day to be lost to idle time, get involved now by meeting a friend in need.  Unless you do, there’s a good possibility that another day will be flushed down the toilet.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Turning Distress into Rest

If you’ve ever had one of those days; then you know how I felt last night when I came home.  Restless, my frustrations began to boil over, spewing out venom fueled by annoyance and irritation.  Replaying this in my mind, over and over again, I allowed distress to interrupt my ability to sleep.

Like a scene from a horror movie, I sensed the clutches of demons taking over my mind, inspired by hatred and revenge.  Before I let my thoughts get out of control, I cried out to the Lord, rebuking the images racing through my head, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  This tug of war went on for nearly 15 minutes, drifting back and forth, with huge momentum swings.  Finally, as the noises around me started to dissipate, God turned my distress into rest.

When I awoke the next day, I stumbled across Psalm 107:6.   “Then, they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he (God) delivered them from their distress.”  Perhaps, a coincidence?  I don’t think so!  Rather, I believe the Lord let this night of turmoil occur so that I could remind the world that God can turn distress into rest, a deep peaceful sleep.

by Jay Mankus

How Many Times Does God Have to Bail Us Out?

Depending upon where you live, different phrases express the trouble that you are in.  Perhaps, you’re caught in a pickle, in the dog house, down the stream without a paddle or stuck in a precarious situation.  However you want to say it, it won’t be long before fate places you into a predicament where only God can bail us out.

Some of you may be like Joseph from the Bible, the envy of your family.  Thus, jealousy causes siblings to gang up on you, tease you or inflict emotional scars.  You press on only to find yourself falsely accused of someone else’s wrong doing.  As your reputation takes a hit, time and trust is the only thing you can do repair others opinions of you.  Despite the trials you endure, the Lord’s favor is upon you, showering you with blessings from heaven.

Unfortunately, most people fall into a different category, leaning more toward the prodigal son.  Curious, stubborn and unwilling to change, a series of poor choices results in a downward spiral.  By now, temptation is long gone, replaced by addiction, bad habits or cravings for temporary pleasures.  Call it human nature or self-realization, but until you come to your senses, Luke 15:17, you still think you can save yourself.  If this slide continues to the bottom of the barrel in life, your cries for help become more genuine, “help me Lord?”

How many times does God have to bail us out?   According to Matthew 18:21-22, forgiveness is suppose to be limitless.  If you reach out for help, God will extend hands of grace.  Therefore, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, Romans 10:9-13.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

If These Walls Could Speak?

Building walls of protection is nothing new.  The Berlin Wall, Great Wall of China and Western Wall in Israel were established as defense mechanisms.  These structures served as a hiding place as well as a refuge, either to keep enemies out or prevent other civilians from corrupting the ideology shared by those who call this places home.

Beyond the vision of a human eye, another wall exists.  This one surrounds the heart, protecting individuals from becoming vulnerable, hurt or both.  The greater the pain from the past, the larger the barrier erected.  Like a facade, unveiling what lies behind this inclosure isn’t easy.  Layer by layer must be removed carefully or else souls will clam up, refusing to convey genuine concerns, emotions or thoughts.

According to a famous prophet, the heart is a mysterious organ, Jeremiah 17:9-10.  Regardless of how cautious someone is, when the heart speaks don’t be surprised by what you hear.  Deceitfulness has taken hearts captive, a condition that is beyond cure.  Therefore, if famous historic walls could speak, sin might be the topic of conversation.  In view of this grave condition, set your heart on things above, Colossians 3:1-3, so that hell will wear off as heaven takes center stage.

by Jay Mankus

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