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Tag Archives: devotion

A Cure to the Second Glance

Every month I receive a hundred or so comments on posted blogs.  The one which has received the most feed back is the Second Glance.  Inspired by the Casting Crowns’ song Slow Fade, this devotion eludes to the temptation to go beyond appreciating beauty toward lust.  While reading the book of Job today, I believe I have stumbled upon a cure to the Second Glance.

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman,” Job 31:1.

In the midst of struggling to comprehend God’s hand in the death of his children and a deteriorating body, Job changes his attention toward devotion to his wife.  As part of a wedding vow or personal commitment to his spouse, Job promises to avoid taking a second glance at other women.  Although this may seem old fashion, I’m sure this decision prevented another woman from interfering with his marriage.

If my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled, then may others eat what I have sown, and may my crops be uprooted, Job 31:7-8.

Depending upon your personality, spheres of influence and upbringing, everyone has a different way of dealing with situations.  Free spirits are vulnerable to becoming loose canons, expressing whatever comes to their minds.  Meanwhile the disciplined are often rigid, strict and practice teetotalism, zealous in the enforcement of rules.  Most people fall somewhere in between, a hybrid of sorts.  Yet, in the end, it comes down to a will to love.  The passage above details the passion necessary to fight the urge to take another peek.  If you are truly set on overcoming lust, add accountability, Bible Study and a will to love to your daily prayers and routine.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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Put it Down and Turn if Off

As I was about to pray this morning, I began to remember several things I needed to do.  This and that and oh by the way became one distraction after another.  Before I went any further I heard a whisper that grabbed my attention, “put it down and turn it off.”

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed, Mark 1:35.

Maybe I am the only one who struggles with this, but if I don’t start the day off by reading the Bible and prayer, my schedule usually fills up quickly.  Thus, the moment I start a project around the house or turn on the television, time with the Lord becomes a distant memory.

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come,” Mark 1:38.

Perhaps, this may explain the events of Mark 1.  Jesus recognized the distractions awaiting individuals each day.  To avoid getting sidetracked, following the crowd or failing to go where God wants you to be, a quiet time is a great way to become plugged into the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, the next time you feel the urge to put God on hold, put what you’re doing down, turn off the television or your phone and be still before the Almighty God.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

All These Things

Prior to beginning his ministry on earth, Jesus faced three temptations during a forty day fast.  The first was physical as the Devil attacked the human bodies dependence on food.  According to Matthew 4:4, relying on the spiritual, the Bible, strengthens minds.  Yet, seeking God is much more than overcoming temporary pleasures.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, Matthew 6:33.

Not giving up, Satan fought back, testing Jesus to see if He was willing to use God’s power for his own glory.  The request was not impossible.  Jesus could have called on angels to save His life.  This mental temptation feeds on pride, daring souls to prove the Devil wrong.   Instead of participating in this folly by lowering God’s standards, Jesus quotes scripture to expose the Devil’s cunning plot.  The key to righteousness is remaining humble, wrestling with desires of the sinful nature to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own, Matthew 6:34.

The final obstacle Jesus overcame was devotion, who will you worship?  The Father of Lies continues to make empty promises today, deceiving the uneducated daily.  Knowing and practicing foundational biblical truths is the last step of obedience before you can experience the promise of Matthew 6:33.  Although young men stumble and fall, seeking God and his righteousness must be your top authority.  Until this occurs, all these things are just a fantasy.  However, when you cross this threshold, following in the footsteps of Christ, the Lord will begin to provide in supernatural ways.

by Jay Mankus

Modern Idols of Nations

Footbaal, Basketbaal and Basebaal?  Idolatry involves cultism, devotion and zeal for a pastime.  When any hobby get’s out of hand, obsessions can lead to a veneration, turning into a form of worship.  Priorities and time allocation often reveal where a human heart lies.

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them! – Psalm 135:15-18

This allegiance is nothing new.  Developing a well-rounded personality is beneficial, yet idols influence individuals as nations rise and fall.  Whether religion is a fad, trend or life long pursuit, the powers of darkness will persuade some to delay, postpone or quit their journey called faith.   Thus, peer pressure sways the weak toward to idols of nations.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. – Colossians 3:5

According to Jesus, there is a direct correlation between one’s heart and idols.  “Those things you treasure will permeate into your heart, Matthew 6:21.”  Its no wonder that King Solomon urged the Jews to guard their hearts, Proverbs 4:23.  Therefore, to avoid the same fate of fallen saints throughout history, 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, follow the words of Deuteronomy 28:1-3.  When quiet times with God become a habit, escaping the idols of nations can be achieved.  May your life be filled with prayer, meditation and worship.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Saving Yourself from Shame

As of now, everyone is perfect in 2015 as God has wiped everyone’s slate clean, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  However, its only a matter of time before someone says, “I can’t believe I just said that!”  It only takes a minuscule act, slight compromise or momentary lapse in judgment to ensnare a soul forever.  As this new year begins, what’s saving you from shame?

Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. – Psalm 119:6

Eve’s world began with perfection, no afflictions, illness or pain to complain about.  With only one rule to follow, Genesis 2:15-17, everything was available to the first family except for the Tree of Knowledge.  Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Lucifer to plant seeds of disobedience on the earth, Genesis 3:1.  Instead of walking away from temptation, Eve thought she could handle it own her own, excluding the Lord and her husband from this conversation, Genesis 3:2-6.  Once you engage temptation, shame often follows, Genesis 3:7.

The Psalmist provides helpful hints to keep your reputation clean in 2015.

1) Be steadfast in obeying God’s decrees, Psalm 119:5.

2) Avoid careless mistakes by memorizing God’s commands in the Bible, Psalm 119:6.

3) Devote your heart to righteousness, Matthew 5:6.

4) Cling to purity by walking in the ways of the Lord, Psalm 119:9.

5) Hide God’s Word in your heart to remain on the narrow path, Psalm 119:10.

Although Calvinists might say you’re destined to fail, solely reliant on God’s grace, the apostle Paul suggests that you have some say in your day to day decisions, Philippians 2:12.  Essentially, Paul is warning individuals about getting too comfortable like Eve, 1 Corinthians 10:11-12.  As Solomon once said, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight,” Proverbs 3:5-6.  By following this advice, God willing, you will be saved from shame in 2015 and beyond.

by Jay Mankus

 

Blinded by Loyalty

Superman had kryptonite, Samson Delilah and for many coaches, loyalty blinds them from helping their team reach their full potential.  From the sidelines, I’ve seen professionals fail to win a title by filling in their rosters with their guys, not the most talented ones.  Meanwhile, travel ball squads often finalize the team with coaches kids, forgoing success to make everyone’s parents feel better.

Like a student experiencing their first bout of puppy dog love, you can’t get through to these individuals until its too late.  Developing an affection, attachment or devotion is natural, yet seeing the big picture isn’t always possible.  The blinding forces of love make it hard to think straight, especially when an outsider points out certain flaws.  Out of loyalty, feelings prevent most from making the best decisions for the greater good of a team.

In life, sometimes you have to take chances even if it means ruffling feathers.  While you may not change the minds of those in charge, if you remain silent you are committing a sin of omission.  If things go bad, you might even lose friendships.  Nonetheless, if you want those you care about to reach their full potential, don’t be afraid to expose anyone blinded by loyalty.

by Jay Mankus

 

Empty Again

The saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” first appeared in 1602, published within Francis Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody.  This expression applies to several aspects in life.  Thus, while working nights since July, I began to miss some of the television shows I use to watch with my family.  Until Saturday, a marathon to check up on a few of my favorites, I forgot how empty entertainment can leave a soul, void of any significant meaning.

Although spending an entire day as a couch potato sounds appealing, boredom is a likely destination despite how many channels your cable or dish company provides.  According to Philippians 2:4, every human does need to be refreshed, before they can be of any benefit to others.  Yet, indulging in comedies, movies and sitcoms provide temporary pleasure before fading fast.  If you choose this path, emptiness is unavoidable.

Subsequently, individuals need to look in a different direction to experience a complete restoration.  Emptiness can be replaced by practicing Romans 12:1-2, leading to a transformed mind.  Depending upon your own desire, devotion and discipline, the timing on this change varies.  Whether you’re listening to or reading the Bible, Romans 10:17, faith will not disappoint, making the empty feel whole once again.

by Jay Mankus