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Tag Archives: encourage

Fulfilling The Roman Mile

The New Testament and the Roman Empire intersect during the first century.  As Romans expanded their control, Jews were forced to adhere with two different sets of law.  Beside the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, non-Roman citizens needed to comply with Roman law or else face punishment.

If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles, Matthew 5:41.

One law required a Jew to carry a Roman’s belongings or possessions for a Roman mile if asked to do so.  A Roman mile is one thousands paces, equivalent to 1,000 yards, or 660 yards shorter than a modern day mile.  During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encourages his audience to do more than a Roman mile, going above and beyond what a Roman citizen asks you to do.

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you, Matthew 5:42.

Jesus didn’t ask his followers to do anything without first modeling it within his own life.  Several New Testament passages refer to Jesus as a servant of God, laying down his life for others.  Jesus understood that preaching and theology doesn’t convince non-believers to enter into a personal relationship with God.  Rather, lives are transformed when the love of God is displayed daily through a spirit of servant-hood.  Therefore, if you want to leave a lasting legacy on earth, emulate the Roman mile by giving of yourself to those who ask, need or appear to require some sort of help.  This is what Jesus means by going the extra mile.

by Jay Mankus

 

Lairs of Satan

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead, Revelation 3:1.

Regardless of the subject or topic, there will always be extremes on either side of the issue.  For example, denominations vary on the theological role the Devil, Lucifer and Satan play on this life.  Charismatic churches encourage prayer which serves as a hedge of protection against demonic activity.  Meanwhile, moderate mainline churches do not emphasize spiritual warfare, speaking of Satan in symbolic terms and theory.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns,” Matthew 16:23.

During the first century, Jesus wasn’t afraid to address controversial topics.  While addressing his disciples in private, Jesus exposes mindsets of the Devil.  Similar to the speel dished out to Eve that convinced her to eat forbidden fruit, Satan attempts to take human minds off of God’s concerns.  This is done through the temptation of instant gratification.  Apparently, Peter fell prey to this trap sent from Satan’s lair to his mind by a demon.

I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you, Revelation 3:9.

In the book of Revelation, John writes sevens letters to churches chosen by the Holy Spirit.  John does not sugar coat the spiritual condition of these congregations.  One is described as being dead, another lukewarm and one with segments of Satan sitting inside the pews.  If every city has a safe and dangerous section of town, why is it so hard to imagine that the same concept exists in the spiritual realm.  As the moral fabric of America continues to crumble, perhaps there are lairs of Satan entrapping souls through an addiction to sin.  Unless these dominions of darkness are uncovered with fasting and prayer, demonic powers will continue to reign.  May the Holy Spirit open our eyes and inspire more people to put on the armor of God daily, Ephesians 6:10-20.

by Jay Mankus

When Children Think Dad is No Longer Cool

When I became a first time parent 19 years ago, I began to ask elders from church about parenting.  Although each shared different principles to apply, one common message was passed on.  At some point, kids will reach a stage in life when hanging out with dad is no longer cool.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.

As teenagers begin to develop a social life, priorities change.  At some point parents have to let go and allow their children to grow up.  When kids are still young, Solomon encourages fathers to demonstrate, emulate and model godliness.  Raising children with character is only effective if fathers live out what they believe.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4.

Instead of taking things personal, fathers with older children need to re-direct their attention.  This involves setting goals, developing vision and start thinking about what life will be like when your nest is empty.  On this father’s day, don’t exasperate your children.  Rather, ask the Lord for direction in prayer when kids reach the stage in life when dad is no longer cool to hang out with.

by Jay Mankus

 

Raising the Value of the People in Your Life

The competitor in me has a tendency to encourage a spirit of perfectionism to reign within me.  The byproduct of this bad habit results in negativity.  Critical words fly out of my mouth without thinking of the impact they have on others.  Unfortunately, my remarks often devalue individuals, negatively influencing people I care about.

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving, Ephesians 5:4.

Thus, when I heard a sermon last Sunday about raising the value of the people in your life, conviction rained upon me.  Like a random shower in the middle of a sunny day, guilt, remorse and sorrow dripped upon my soul.  Similar to the apostle Paul in Romans 7, I find myself  doing that which that I hate.  This message was a subtle reminder that I am going down the wrong path in life, in desperate need of taking an about face.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen, Ephesians 4:29.

The Bible encourages individuals to use affirmations to raise the value of the people in your life.  Instead of dwelling on the negative, turn your attention toward which that will build up family, friends and neighbors.  As hard as it may be, don’t allow yourself be consumed with a desire to be in control.  Rather, let go and let God begin to transform you so that kinds words may begin to raise the value of the people in your life.

by Jay Mankus

Living in a Land of Unclean Lips

Unless you are living in a bubble, it’s obvious cultural changes have impacted modern vocabulary.  Gone are the days of thinking before opening your mouth.  Rather, a new boldness have inspired many to verbalize whatever comes to mind regardless of who is listening including children.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty,” Isaiah 6:5.

The concept of unclean lips is nothing new, referred to by a prophet several thousand years ago.  One of the byproducts of unwholesome language is that it often spreads like a cancer influencing previously innocent individuals.  In some cases, unclean lips can be passed from one generation to the next.

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving, Ephesians 5:4.

The apostle Paul came across some choice language as well.  Although he does not specify what defines unclean lips, Paul creates three categories: filthy, foolish and crude jokes.  During a visit to Ephesus, Paul urged church members to drown out negative words with an out pouring of thanksgiving.  While you may not change the people around you, may a spirit of thanksgiving inspire you to encourage, thank and uplift those in your spheres of influence.

by Jay Mankus

 

Coming Together

History tends to move in cycles, rising and falling as leadership, ideology and worldviews change.  There are moments in time for conquest, peace and war.  Each major event leaves its imprints on civilizations, cultures and society.  At some point, regardless of what you feel, it’s important to come together.

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water, Hebrews 10:22.

The author of Hebrews encourages individuals to do the same thing with God.  This process begins with a sincere heart.  Like the guilt, remorse and sorrow Adam and Eve endured following trespassing against God’s lone rule in the Garden of Eden, modern citizens experience a similar feeling.  This conviction serves as a sign to get your life right with God.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful, Hebrews 10:23.

The final step to coming together involves hope.  One of the ploys the Devil uses is making people feel like God hasn’t forgiven them after publicly confessing sin.  Thus, many place their trust in feelings, not faith.  Thus, clinging to an unswerving hope is what will get you through periods of darkness.  Finally, life isn’t complete unless you begin to spur on others toward love and good deeds.  This mindset sets the stage for truly coming together.

by Jay Mankus

Champ or Chump?

On the surface, it may be hard to tell the difference between a champion and a chump.  Appearances may be deceiving, misleading even the most sophisticated individual.  While time will reveal winners from losers, the prophet Samuel introduces a measuring stick to decipher one from the other.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD‘s anointed stands here before the LORD.”  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:6-7.

From a logical stand point, you can’t open a window to observe someone’s heart.  However, Jesus encourages people to listen what people say.  A first century doctor adds to this concept, claiming words are derived from the overflow of the heart.  While talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words.  A close observation to actions, behavior and vocabulary will distinguish champs from chumps.

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?  But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them,” Matthew 15:17-18.

Unfortunately, modern champs, especially in the context of sports often talk too much.  Thus, someone may be a champ, but also a chump, with little or no character.  This current trend makes it tough to ascertain a champion of the faith.  Trials can radically change individuals, resulting in emotional outbursts.  Therefore, if you need to recognize a genuine champ from an imposter, perseverance and maturity will lead the way.  Emulate the qualities of Christ in this life and you too can become a champion of the faith.

by Jay Mankus