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Tag Archives: abandonment

Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani

One of the worst things you can endure in life is knowing that you’re right, but not being able to prove it right away.  Thus, those who disagree with you will mock, prod and roast you publicly.  This is the fate Jesus experienced while suffering on a cross.  All the doubters and haters came out to disgrace Jesus until God turned out the lights.

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). – Mark 15:34

Today, many individuals feel as if God has forsaken them.  For one reason or another, trials are mistaken with abandonment.  When individuals suffer for an extended period of time, the human mind blames God rather than correctly diagnose the situation.  Instead of learning from the storms of life, most regress crying out, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39.

One thing that I have discovered in life is not to overreact.  Although things may not always turn out as I expect, time has a way of sorting out the truth.  Hindsight may reveal that God hasn’t abandoned you.  Rather, the Lord is pruning you, removing the unproductive areas of your life.  Therefore, the next time you’re tempted to complain, remember the promise of Romans 8:38-39.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Redefining the Family

Gone are the days of the Flintstones, Jetsons and Waltons.  Instead, the Brady Bunch was ahead of its time, a portrait of the modern family.  Two parent families with the same partner have become like an endangered species, a sign of the times that the nuclear family is being redefined.

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” Jesus asked. – Mark 3:33

Single parents, same sex parents and abandonment is causing children to grow up way too fast.  Subsequently, 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton believes it takes a village to raise a family.  Meanwhile, liberal politicians want to expand the school year and extend days to 12-14 hours per day so that the government can become their nanny.

“Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” – Mark 3:35

Ahead of his time, Jesus was one of the first historians to redefine the family.  While teaching at a Jewish home, relatives tried to get Jesus’ attention from outside.  Not phased by this distraction, Jesus throw people for a loop.  Looking at his disciples in the eye, his response surprised those in attendance.  According to Jesus, family is defined by those who do the will of his heavenly Father.

by Jay Mankus

Dragged Behind the Devil’s Door

Certain topics are often swept under the rug.  Whether its abandonment, bizarre crimes or suicide, uncovering the reason for these acts is worth an attempt.  On the surface, it appears some of these unfortunate events can be explained by demons dragging their victims behind the Devil’s door.

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.-James 1:14

According to the earthly brother of Jesus, God does not tempt individuals, but allows human beings to be influenced sinful desires, James 1:13-15.  On the other hand, one person on earth to know Jesus better than anyone else, adds a new dimension.  John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, refers to forces in the world which adds fuel to temptations fire.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.1 John 2:16

Finally, according to Jesus, impure spirits can become attached, influence or possess weakened souls.  Although healing is possible, those freed are not out of the woods.  This stipulation is similar to those battling addiction, bad habits or poor choices as a genuine transformation requires daily discipline.  Subsequently, there is always a chance for any who regress to end up worse than their original state.

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.   Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” – Matthew 12:43-45

This is how a demon can drag someone behind the Devil’s door.  Voices may lead the unhappy to abruptly leave to start a new life.  Meanwhile, bizarre crimes are usually conceived in a mind, planned over time and acted out upon.  As for suicide, whispers of loneliness can prompt troubled and weary souls to pull the trigger.  In view of this, take heed by defending yourself with the armor, Ephesians 6:10-12.

by Jay Mankus

 

How Would You Respond to This?

Like most men, I’m not as emotional as my wife, nor do I get involved in the lives as others like she does.  However, today I witnessed something gut-wrenching.  On my out of a local restaurant, I saw an elderly man with his head down on a table.  Continuing toward the exit, I noticed the reason for his grief on the other side of the glass, a lone suitcase on the floor.

Before the days of retirement communities, families took care of and watched over their grandparents.  This wasn’t a nuisance or something to dread, rather it was expected.  This was the least you could do to pay homage to the legacy each lived.  Unfortunately, this man is a casualty of the times, a victim of families destroyed by abuse, abandonment and divorce.  With no where to go, this broke man took a break from his misery, hoping to wake up with a place to call home.  How would you respond to this situation?

Before my eyes was a modern day parable of the good Samaritan, Luke 10.  Immediately following the sending out of 72 disciples, they were put to the test to see what they were made of.  As for me, I re-enacted the character of the priest and Levites, pausing before moving on with my life.  Disappointed by my failure, I pray that a good Samaritan arrives to lend a helping hand.  When you face a similar scene, how will you respond to this?  May the Holy Spirit fill you with a heart of action to be the hands and feet of Christ to the brokenhearted.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Just Once Lord

In 1981, James Ingram provided the vocals for the song Just Once on Quincy Jones’ album entitled The Dude.  This song appeared in many movies during the 1980’s, often portraying heart break to close out a scene.  The context of these lyrics reveal just how fragile earthly relationships are, falling apart over the course of time.  However, indirectly, this song also touches on several biblical truths about mankind’s severed connection with God.

“Just Once” lyrics in BOLD print.

I did my best
But I guess my best wasn’t good enough

According to the Bible, there is nobody good enough, not even one, Romans 3:9-12.  Thus, no matter how hard I or you try to be good, it’s impossible not to sin.   Whatever good intentions you might have as you get up each and every day will fade when anger, disappointment or frustration comes your direction.

Cause here we are
Back where we were before
Seems nothin’ ever changes
We’re back to being strangers

The conception of sin has alienated individuals from God, banished from God’s presence just like Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:23-24.  This separation is what the Bible refers to as spiritual darkness, like Nicodemus in John 3:1-9, blind to the spiritual reality Jesus was trying to communicate.
Wondering if we ought to stay
Or head on out the door

For 10 years as a Bible teacher, I heard students ask, “why has God abandoned me?”  While I wasn’t exactly sure how to answer each person with gentleness and respect, most leave God, not vice versa.  The devil uses bitterness to shift the blame toward God, not themselves.

Just once…

Can’t we figure out what we keep doin’ wrong                                                                                                                                                   Why we never last for very long
What are we doin’ wrong
Just once…

The apostle Paul illustrates a similar struggle in Romans 7:15-17.  Until he added Jesus into this equation, Paul kept committing the same mistakes, over and over again.

Can’t we find a way to finally make it right
To make the magic last for more than just one night

Humanly speaking, effort is not what most people lack.  The wages of sin result in the payment of death, Romans 6:23.  Although some call it magic, what Jesus did on the cross is a miracle, Colossians 2:13-15.

If we could just get to it
I know we could break through it
(Hmm hmmmm)

The only way to break through is by becoming born again, Galatians 2:20.  Any other attempts to enter God’s gates through another route will fail, John 10:7-10.

I gave my all
But I think my all may have been too much
Cause Lord knows we’re not gettin’ anywhere
Seems we’re always blowin’
Whatever we’ve got goin’
And it seems at times with all we’ve got
We haven’t got a prayer

Whenever you pull a Hagar, by forcing a relationship without God’s assistance, Genesis 16:2, negatives consequences follow.  Just ask the Israelites, as Ishmael became the father of the Arab nation, which ultimately wants to destroy the Jews today.  However, with God, everything is possible, Matthew 19:26.  Therefore, Lord, just once, on this day, make your presence real to those searching for true meaning and a higher purpose in life.

by Jay Mankus

Cracked Mirrors

Before the popular video game, Halo was actually a Christian Metal band from Alabama, named after the acronym Heavenly Angelic Light Orchestra.  Relatively unknown for a decade touring in the south, Halo received national attention in 1991 with their song entitled My Buddy.  This songs illustrates how a son seeks to emulate their father like a mirror.

My buddy sees believing
my buddy sees before
and my buddy is a mirror
hanging on the wall
my buddy sees beside him
and my buddy hears the talk
and my buddy will see Jesus
lead me as i walk

(2nd stanza)

Unfortunately, what children often hear and see from their parents is life altering.   Abuse, abandonment, affairs and hypocrisy are just a few factors which have left cracked mirrors for children to put back together.  According to The Gospel Coalition, divorce rates among Christian families vary depending upon an individual’s dedication to God.  Among those families most devoted to Christ, divorces rates are roughly 20%.  On the other hand, those who relationships with Jesus waver, divorce rates can approach 60%.  According to a former Liberty University case study, the families that pray together stay together with 1 out every 1,024 praying couples divorcing.

Although this number is encouraging, cracked mirrors are swaying high school students to abandon their faith in college.  Several studies are revealing 60% of evangelical students put their faith on hold while attending college and nearly 50% never return to church following graduation.  When parents, myself included, send a mixed message to our children, living a fully devoted life for Jesus doesn’t appear or seem worth their time or energy.  The apostle Paul provides a solution for these shattered mirrors in 1 Corinthians 13:11-12.  Parents must begin to put aside their childish ways and begin to act like mature followers of Christ, Ephesians 5:1-2.  Jesus is the glue which can restore our cracked mirrors.

by Jay Mankus