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Tag Archives: direction

The Scattering

Leave it to adults to make the simple things in life complex.  Some where along the way, age has a way of corrupting the innocence of youth.  Time tends to change people for the worse.  Subsequently, the joy of life often loses its luster, replaced by hardened hearts that result in misery.  This is where the scattering begins.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, Ecclesiastes 3:5.

When individuals seek to expand their comfort zone, grow spiritually or engage in learning new things, this development does not go unnoticed by others.  These areas of interest provide direction, guidance and vision for each new day.  However, when these practices are postponed, stop and cease to exist, a subtle transition occurs.  Even those with good intentions may be shocked one day when you wake up, wondering how far you have strayed from these habits.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters,” Luke 11:23.

I think this is what Jesus means by the verse above.  Human beings were created to gather, celebrating and sharing the good news of a Messiah who can save and forgive you from your sins.  Discipline, hard work and worldly pursuits only go so far.  Those who try to live life on their own can only fake happiness for so long until the void in your heart leaves you feeling empty again and again.  Possessing a “what’s in it for me mindset” results in the scattering of mankind.  Yet, the cure to this condition is found in the Holy Spirit, leading you to begin gathering for Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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The Cure to an Eroding Soul

Whether you call it depression, a funk or unhappiness, whenever things start going in the wrong direction, it’s hard to snap yourself out of it.  Sometimes a vacation, getting away from the mundane will do the trick.  Other people try to allot time from busy schedules for activities which bring them joy.  If these attempts fail, your condition likely involves an eroding soul.

After dwelling upon my current situation, I tried to back track to ascertain where this all began.  I only had to go back a few months to discover that my life has become void of goals, planning and vision.  Subsequently, I am aimlessly wandering without any direction, purpose or vigor for life.  To stop the bleeding so to speak, I must begin to reconsider my priorities, restructure my schedule and seek discernment from God.

The prophet Hosea proclaimed that people without wisdom or vision will perish, Hosea 4:6.  Modern motivational speakers claim, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”  Meanwhile, a tiny voice in my head suggests that if I invest my time in what I was created to do, I will once again be able to say, “it is well with my soul.”  If you find yourself in a similar stage in life, may the Lord answer your cry for help by healing your eroding soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

Is Anything Sacred Anymore?

Dedicated, devoted and revered are words often associated with individuals who appear connected with God, demonstrating faith on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, as I look around, searching for a cause to believe in and get behind, few seem to contain a spirit of holiness.  In view of this, I wonder if anything is sacred anymore?

As one of the patriarchs of Israel, Moses had an open line of communication with God, retreating up to Mount Sinai, seeking advice, direction and guidance for the Jewish people.  During one of these face to face encounters, the Lord reminded Moses of an essential weekly discipline.  Leviticus 23:2 introduces a list of sacred assemblies appointed by God, the first taking place on the Sabbath, Saturday for Jews and Sunday for Christians.

This day of worship should not be celebrated alone.  Rather, resting from work for 24 hours should be replaced by congregations of like minded believers eager to honor a living God.  Although illness or vacation may result in missing a few services throughout the year, don’t allow guilt or regret to interfere with your praise.  When God’s children begin to live out the words  of Psalm 150, sacred assemblies can unite souls and God willing, usher in revival.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Day Away Can Lead to Years of Regret

If you take my life as exhibit A, its scary how easy it is to ruin a routine.  After nearly 6 months of developing a disciplined Bible reading and prayer time before work, I decided to take yesterday off.  While driving in my car, a thought crossed my mind, “a day away from God can lead to years of regret.”

During my tenure as a high school teacher, I participated in several seminars related to life skills.  I recall one evening at Black Rock Retreat Center as the key note speaker spoke about choices.  Essentially his message concentrated on Ideas have consequences.  Thus, as one’s world view is formed, the choices you make influence your actions, behavior and the words that you choose.  Whether you’re talking about running, working out or spending time with God, a day away can lead to years of regret.

As I look back on my life, distractions reflect where your heart is, Matthew 6:19-22.  When eating, sleeping and watching television becomes more important than the Lord, my priorities have swayed in the wrong direction.  If I let this occurrence become a pattern, regret is a likely fate.  Therefore, whenever you start to slip sliding away from God, react quickly before a spiritual slumber sets in.  In your weakness, Christ can be strong, 2 Corinthians 12:7-12, but you must surrender to obtain the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Forgotten Commandments

History has a habit of uncovering relics from the past.  Caves hid the Dead Sea Scrolls until 1946 when 981 texts written in Aramaic, Greek and Hebrews were discovered over a 10 year period.  However, there are always things in plain sight which get overlooked, neglected by those too busy to slow down.

As I opened Leviticus 19 today, I stumbled upon an expanded version of the 10 commandments.  Although some of the passages are subtle reminders, God conveys to Moses the whys to keeping decrees and laws.  These biblical nuggets offer common sense, direction and a foundation for faith.  Nonetheless, unless you accept and practice these precepts, you will be vulnerable to straying off course.

There are several reasons why commandments are forgotten.  First, the Bible offends those comfortable with how they are living, reluctant to change.  Second, people don’t like to be told that they are wrong, especially if there are eternal consequences.  Third, since truth has become relative, everyone has their own take on right and wrong.  In the end, Leviticus 19 serves as a wake up call, to alert those sleep walking through life.  May the words of Scripture breathe life into sleepy, tired and weary souls.

by Jay Mankus

There is No One Else to Blame

Sometimes, if you don’t succeed initially, the second time you attempt it is a charm.  Such is the case for Howard Jones, whose rerecording of the song No One is to Blame produced by Phil Collins peaked at #4 of the Billboard Hot 100.  If failure causes you to quit prematurely on any goal or task, there is no one else to blame but yourself.

Despite this reality, people are still following in the footsteps of Adam, looking for someone to be the scapegoat.  “Surely its someone else, not me,” brushing off responsibility by passing the buck to God and his wife, Genesis 3:12.  Subsequently, lame excuses linger, grasping at straws to point the blame in another direction.

In the end, there is no escape clause as the Bible is clear, Romans 1:18-20.  Between sunrise and sunset, God’s invisible qualities are on display.  Thus, the onus is on you, to take ownership of the choices you make.  Therefore, the next time you make a mistake, don’t look around to pass judgment for there is no one else to blame.

by Jay Mankus

Guard Rails: Real Life Bumper Bowling

Its not uncommon for youth to embrace their parents’ hobbies.  A one time opportunity for me soon became a weekly obsession.  While some of my peers were out partying on Friday night, I spent 3 years bowling, filling in as a sub for a league.  Before the days of bumpers, there was nothing to keep loose shots from entering the gutter.

Outside of bowling lanes, Guard rails were designed to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous areas while driving.  Unfortunately, not every street  contains such a guide.  On country, desolate or rural roads, poor counties can not afford, support or justify spending that much money.  However, when someone dies in a car accident, their life is priceless.

From a spiritual perspective, the Bible is like bumpers, a guide to keep you from falling of course, Matthew 7:13-14.  The life lessons, principles and truth inside of God’s Word serves as a light source, Psalm 119:105, to help you see down the road.  Although invisible, conviction, gut feelings or promptings from the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, can lead souls through the darkness in life.  May the words of this book provide you with the direction you are searching for today.

by Jay Mankus