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Tag Archives: Christmas

The Prayer of Jesus

When Jesus is mentioned in the context of prayer, the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father comes to mind.  Yet, I recently heard a pastor give a sermon on Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible.  The point he was trying to make is if you take the words of Psalm 119 and apply them as a prayer, this is what God desires for you.

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?  By living according to your word, Psalm 119:9.

The Lord’s Prayer teaches individuals to begin prayer by acknowledging and praising the God of heaven and earth.  Prayer is meant to draw you toward God’s will; not a Christmas wish list to seek selfish desires.  The Psalmist compliments prayer, revealing the path to purity.  Anyone who strives to live according to the Bible moves closer to fulfilling the prayer of Jesus.

Give us today our daily bread, Matthew 6:11.

One of the most overlooked passages in the Sermon on the Mount is the verse above.  While it’s simplistic in nature, Jesus stresses one vital aspect about prayer, take life one day at a time as tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.  The World Health Organization proves this point as 153,424 die each day.  If you want to know and follow God’s will, read, study and meditate upon Psalm 119.  As individuals turn their attention to biblical principles, the prayer of Jesus will transform your life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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Hope verses Heart-break

Anticipation, day dreaming and utopia are synonyms for hope.  Like an anxious child eager to open presents on Christmas morning, hope is like a promise waiting to be unwrapped.  The only problem is sometimes the hype doesn’t live up to your own expectations.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer, Romans 12:12.

When desires are unfulfilled, a wave of agony, dire and sadness replace inner joy.  In these moments of disappointment, its easy to overreact.  However, if you are not careful, heart-break can lead to depression.  If healing does not occur, hope can fade like the setting sun.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit, Psalm 34:18.

If this blog finds you down in the dumps or recovering from a broken heart, the Bible provides two words of encouragement.  The first urges individuals to rely on prayer in times of trouble.  Prayer serves as a source of hope.  Meanwhile, if your spirit has been crushed by a relationship, tragedy or uncertainty don’t lose hope.  God promises to surround you with either angels, friends or strangers to get you through the tough times in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

You Can’t Hide From History

 

George Washington University made national news earlier in the week for a change in its history department.  Following a recent trend, school officials have decided to no longer require history majors to take American History before graduating, making it optional.  Currently, only a third of colleges make American History mandatory for those who major in this field.  Yet, it seems strange for an institution named after the first president of the United States to not stress and treasure American History.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, Romans 15:4.

Upon hearing this news, an outsider like me was initially put off until I realized who is teaching these classes.  To the atheist, liberal, progressive and socialist professors, the thought of American exceptionalism is offending.  Subsequently, the curriculum must be filtered, eliminating and skipping over content which reveals a Christian heritage and biblical principles.  Instead of getting the whole story, a revisionist history void of spiritual leaders is giving students a false narrative making American History just another class.

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible, Hebrews 11:3.

Unfortunately, most college students graduate from universities thinking America’s founding fathers were a bunch of hypocritical slave owners.  If only material like Steeling the Mind of America was used to enlighten classes.  When individuals see American History that is unfiltered first hand, the outcome will be much different.  Most forget a time when this country celebrated 4 national religious holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Independence Day.  While a different narrative is winning over naive minds, you can’t hide from history when you search for the truth.

by Jay Mankus

 

Frustration

Annoying, defeating and unfulfilled are words synonomous with frustration.  Whenever your expectations for something is not met, individuals can overreact.  This is often displayed in public through fits of rage, tantrums and wounded relationships.

The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful, Proverbs 22:12.

According to King Solomon, the origin of frustration can be easily explained.  When people try to manufacture something outside of God’s will, attempting to bypass knowledge, the Lord steps in.  Thus, the unfaithful are thwarted resulting in a closed door, failure or rejection.

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, Hebrews 10:26.

Meanwhile, the principle of sowing and reaping also applies, Galatians 6:7-8.  God is not going to bless or allow prosperity over the long haul to the unfaithful.  In view of this information, confess any wrong doing of the present and past.  Although frustration usually results in humility, a broken heart provides the environment for grace and forgiveness.  May disappointment and trials lead to a spirit of revival this Christmas season.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Path to the Dark Side

While watching the latest film in the Star Wars series, I was struck by a single line.  Like any of the movies, Rogue One uses the imagery of darkness and the force.  Without playing the spoil role, one conversation references a path to the dark side.  This topic also relates to real life as it only takes one poor decision to begin a slide in the wrong direction.

But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him, John 11:10.

As someone who struggles to sleep at night, there are many evenings where I wonder off in the dark to go down stairs.  Despite knowing all the obstacles that I need to dodge, its doesn’t take much to bang into, trip or stumble along the way.  Until I get close to a source of light, I’m susceptible to hurting myself.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined, Isaiah 9:2.

Whenever anyone tries to live this life on earth on mere human strength, failure is an obvious destination.  Thus, a supernatural force is necessary to escape the temptation of the dark side.  This is what makes Christmas so special, as the promise of a Messiah is fulfilled through the birth of Jesus.  Therefore, if you want to assure yourself the path to heaven, 1 John 5:13, choose the light, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit to flee the dark side.

by Jay Mankus

 

Finding Life This Christmas

Christmas, Santa Claus and presents excite a children with exceeding anticipation for one day each year, December 25th.  Meanwhile, preparations for this same day can be overwhelming for grandparents, family and individuals trying to work as much as possible to pay for all these expenses.  On a day meant for Joy to the World, many struggle to find meaning and purpose for life.

Whoever strays from the path of prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead, Proverbs 21:16.

In a mad dash to please selfish and spoiled children, the reason for this season gets lost.  Crowded malls, congested roads and stress can suck the life out of positive people.  Subsequently, its easy to stray off the path of prudence, turning a joyful soul into Ebenezer Scrooge in a matter of weeks.  Unless you can snap out of this, you might end up at the end of the road, reserved for the company of the dead.

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor, Proverbs 21:21.

According to Solomon, there is a way to find life this Christmas and throughout the year.  Similar to Jesus’ words in the sermon of the Mount, Matthew 6:33-34, this transformation begins with seeking God first and His righteousness.  One of the byproducts of this journey involves love as a formerly cold heart is revived by the Holy Spirit.  When individuals begin to seek the Spirit of Christmas 365 days a year, honor and prosperity follows.  Like Bill Murray in Scrooged, may you find life this Christmas.

by Jay Mankus

Nights Void of Holiness

Franz Xaver Gruber composed the melody to Stille Nacht in 1818, giving birth to the classic Christmas carol known as Silent Night.  An Austrian school teacher, Gruber was likely inspired to write this song while serving in his church in Arnsdorf, Austria.  Beginning in 1816 Gruber took on the role as organist and choirmaster at St Nicholas Church.  Working with Joseph Mohr, a catholic priest who write the lyrics in German, the two combined their gifts to debut this song for a Christmas Eve mass 2 years later.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them, Luke 2:6-7.

If you believe the political pundits, public educators and progressive agenda in America, you may be convinced of a different America than the actual founders.  Instead of pointing to a Continental Congress which spent several hours in prayer seeking God’s insight, you will be pointed toward slave owners who should not have the right to be heard or followed.  This tense climate has given birth to nights voids of holiness.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord, Luke 2:10-11.

The 1988 film Diehard based upon the book written Roderick Thorp has recently become an usual Christmas classic.  Few people realize the irony behind one of the main characters.  The leader of a terrorist group and mastermind of a scheme to steal millions of dollars of bonds shares the last name with the composer of Silent Night, called Hans instead of Franz.  While Christmas is suppose to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the World to Mary, a virgin, I can’t recall a recent night void of violence.  Instead of experiencing holy nights, many endure a fallen world on the verge of hell.  Despite this painful reality, don’t let others steal the joy of Christmas.  Rise above the Ebenezer Scrooges and recent terrorist attacks to share love to others this season.

by Jay Mankus