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After You Fail A Test

Nobody likes to funk a test.  Sometimes you don’t understand a topic.  Perhaps, you missed time from class, feeling lost upon your return.  Whatever the scenario, tests reveal where you are, what you know and what you need to do to get where you want to be in life.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.

A few weeks ago I took a test following my eye surgery.  To my surprise, vision in both of my eyes diminished to the point that I could read any of the letters on the first and easiest line.  Shocked by these results, I realized that a lack of sleep was contributing to my poor vision.  Subsequently, I altered my schedule to rest my eyes as much as possible.  After today’s examination I regained full vision in my left eye and improved slightly in my surgically repaired eye.

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 1:22.

I don’t what the future holds for my vision.  God willing I will be able to complete the 3 movie scripts that I am working on while I can still see.  My goal is to sell these to Hollywood and retire with plans to write one script per year.  Yet, for now I must remain steadfast, trusting in the Lord during these days of adversity.  Whatever the outcome, even if it means failing a test along the way, strive to receive the crown of life promised in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

 

When You Begin to Lose God’s Favor

When the outcome to a day, week or year does not end as you expect, hoped for and seek, there are various explanations to consider.  Perhaps, its not your time to receive what you desire.  Maybe others are more qualified or simply worked harder than you.  However, at some point you might have to consider that you are losing God’s favor.

He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything, Luke 15:16.

A first century doctor recounts a parable shared by Jesus.  This story illustrates how its possible to lose God’s favor.  Instead of waiting for his father’s inheritance, the prodigal son forced the issue.  This thirst for earthly riches led to a chain of events resulting in one bad decision after the other.  Before this young man knew it, the prodigal was broke, homeless and longed to eat the sloop fed to unclean pigs.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD‘s purpose that prevails, Proverbs 19:21.

Whenever you hit rock bottom, the first step to recovery is coming to your senses.  Once former thoughts of rationalizing sin disappear, individuals can begin to acknowledge their wayward steps.  Thus, the best way to repair your relationship with God starts with confession, humility and public apologies.  If you’re struggling to grasp why things are going your way in life, may the Holy Spirit enlighten you so that you can regain God’s favor.

by Jay Mankus

To Those Who Believe in Prayer

Earlier in the week, I was reading an online article about the fires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  The residents of this region within the Great Smokey Mountains were deeply concerned about the fires spreading along what is known as the Chimney Top.  One woman who was interviewed pleaded with Americans of faith, “if anyone who believes in prayer, we need your help.”

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you, John 15:7.

Within 24 hours of this request, the Lord sent a couple of inches of rain to provide water to this drought ravaged state.  Weather forecasters are calling for more rain in the next coming days to stop the spread of any further fires from breaking out.  Doubters and skeptics will likely ignore the obvious, giving chance, good fortune and luck the credit.  Yet, for me, I am putting two things together, desperate hearts plus seeking God leads to answered prayers.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours, Mark 11:24.

When I read the Bible, sometimes the words of Jesus seem too good to be true.  Perhaps, individuals are afraid of being disappointed and left down.  This fear has infected minds leading to a lack of faith that breeds unanswered prayers.  In view of this, its essential to begin to claim God’s promises in prayer.  As for the fire victims of Tennessee and those picking up the pieces from tornadoes in the south, these fellow Americans are in desperate need of prayers.  Therefore, if you believe in the power of prayer, begin now to see what miracle God will do next.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

When Evil Never Leaves

Evil is one of those traits which is shocking.  Whether its heinous, malicious or repulsive, the presence of such actions are chilling.  Any type of demonstration can leave eye witnesses shivering with fear.  According to Solomon, this cloud of darkness never leaves some souls.

Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good, Proverbs 17:13.

The concept of evil is often left to Hollywood.  Whether its a horror, murder mystery or science fiction film, few come face to face with a resident of evil.  Apparently, anyone who seeks revenge will be cursed with evil spirits that never leave,  This belief is similar to the Bible’s sowing principle, “you reap what you sow.”

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life, Galatians 6:8.

In view of this scary information, its vital to avoid entering a world of darkness.  Instead, begin to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, relying on prayer to guide your way.  By doing this you will steer clear of the hauntings that other lost souls have endured.  Learn from the mistakes of others by fleeing from evil.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Sign of Wisdom

When I become frustrated, sarcasm is the first thing to come out of my mouth.  If I’m not careful, these words can become foreplay before I erupt with anger.  The biblical definition of temperance refers to going as far as permissible and no further.  Perhaps, this might explain why the apostle Paul suggests “in your anger, do not sin.”

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues, Proverbs 17:28.

Meanwhile, Solomon addresses a similar issue with the Israelites.  There are several moments in life when its better to kept silent, refraining from saying something that you might regret.  Maybe this is where parents get their expression, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.”  Either way, this advice provides a sign of wisdom.

So that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs, 2 Corinthians 2:11.

One of my college professors use to remind our class, if you don’t learn from history you will simply repeat the mistakes of the past.  The passage above serves as a warning that Satan is on the prowl, looking to pounce on a weak soul.  Thus, you should not be ignorant of his schemes, Ephesians 6:10-12.  In view of this knowledge, put on the shield of faith.  Those who wear the armor of God daily will serve as a sign of wisdom to those living in darkness.

by Jay Mankus

 

No More Excuses

As a parent, it doesn’t take long for children to figure you out.  Ideally, you should be an example, positive and a role model.  Yet, when you have a bad day, start to fall away from God or have a weak moment you can’t run and hide.  You have to face the truth, a sinner who has fallen short of God’s glory.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst, 1 Timothy 1:15.

The apostle Paul is one of those unlikely individuals the Lord calls out of darkness into the light to do great things for God.  Yet, despite his successful earthly ministry, mentoring of young pastors like Timothy and many miracles performed, Paul was haunted by his past.  Whether it was his guilt of giving the order to have the apostle Stephen killed or persecuting Christians prior to his conversion, Paul recognized the error of his former ways.

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them, James 4:17.

Sure, Paul could have blamed his upbringing as a Jewish zealot.  Yet, like other followers of Christ the conviction of the Holy Spirit exposes human imperfections.  Other believers, pastors or words of the Bible make this point painfully clear.  There are no more excuses, rational explanations or scapegoats.  Rather, sins of inaction are just as guilty as those who commit harmful acts.  Therefore, don’t run from the truth, accept it as a prodigal child in desperate need of God’s grace and mercy.

by Jay Mankus

Words from Heaven and Hell

Greetings like good morning, how are you, how was your weekend and hey are everyday expressions which promote conversation.  The Bible suggests that words can represent heaven or hell depending upon the context, manner and tone which is spoken.  Thus, before you begin another work week, be careful in the words that you choose.

The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream, Proverbs 18:4.

The apostle Paul uses the analogy known as fruits of the spirit to identify words from heaven.  Anything that reflects love, joy and peace uplift those who hear these traces of heaven.  The remaining characteristics mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 encourage action, not just words.  Coaches, parents and teacher who adorn children within a loving environment promote a fountain of wisdom as described by Solomon.

The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating, Proverbs 18:6.

Unfortunately, the words of hell are much more prevalent in today’s culture.  Whether its critics within the media, gossip or tweets filled with venom, the sinful nature is in full display weekly.  Those exposed to only the negative can become jaded, losing the will to live.  Therefore, the next time you have the opportunity to add a comment to a conversation, choose the words of heaven.

by Jay Mankus