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Tag Archives: heart

Whose Hands Are You Holding?

Assurance, confidence, dependence and expectation are words associated with trust.  Human beings have a tendency to become co-dependent, relying on someone or something.  In the Peanuts Cartoon, Charles Schultz developed a character, Linus, who couldn’t function without his security blanket.  Meanwhile, some individuals can be insecure, clinging to family, friends or strangers when loneliness sets in.  Depending upon the circumstance, whose hands you hold during times of trials reflect whom you ultimately trust.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5.

One day, a father took his son aside to discuss an important life lesson.  This conversation is condensed in the passage above.  Solomon who received wisdom from the Lord passed his insight down to one of his many sons.  This command goes against mainstream beliefs, urging readers to hold God’s hand when you don’t understand why something is happening.  Like faith in the dark, when life takes unexpected twists and turns, trust in the Lord with all your heart.  This action suggests that you are all in, clinging to God’s hand.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! – Psalm 40:4

Solomon’s father, David, provides his own perspective of trust in the passage above.  From a man who went from a lowly shepherd to king of Israel, David recognizes God’s role in his ascension to the throne.  David views his status as a blessing from trusting the Lord as a child.  Unfortunately, some people handle success poorly, boasting and taking all the credit themselves.  If you want to guard against arrogance and pride, make sure that you are holding God’s hand, looking up instead of trusting in your own understanding.

by Jay Mankus

What’s In Your Heart is Making You Cold

Lately, I haven’t been myself.  Not just lately; rather for several years or so.  I usually have I good sense of perception, in touch with how I feel and why.  Yet, now I am lost, grasping at straws to comprehend the frustration within me.  Perhaps, knowing I’m not where God wants me to be and not doing anything about it is to blame.  Nonetheless, I heard a quote on the radio yesterday that might have diagnosed my problem,”what’s in your heart is making you cold.”

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9

Music tends to speak to me when I am depressed.  This quote reminds me of Foreigner’s classic song Cold as Ice from the 1977 album Feels Like the First Time.  The context of this song refers to a woman’s actions, suggesting a broken relationship has occurred and the interactions are tense, like a cold hearted soul who doesn’t care about you.  The prophet Jeremiah writes about the complex nature of human heart in the passage above.  I guess the heart is unpredictable, expressing what’s inside of you in the form of cruel words or harsh behavior as detailed by Jesus in Luke 6:43-45.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh, Ezekiel 36:26.

Diagnosing any problem is the first step, but without a solution, broken hearts will continue to convey negative emotions.  Thus, another prophet provides a prayer outline for any one who is willing to change.  This new spirit is like transforming your perspective from negative toward the positive.  Any change will take a transitional period to break old habits.  Yet, for those who bring your dirty laundry to the feet of Christ, Matthew 11:28-30, the heavy burdens on your heart can be eased.  As time proceeds, may your prayers for change exchange regret with God’s grace and love.

by Jay Mankus

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction states: I attract to myself, whatever I give my focus, attention, or energy to; whether wanted or unwanted.  When this term is mentioned, there are two other alternative theories.  One refers to electrostatics dealing with the attraction and repulsion of electric charges.  Another is related to the law above, but credits self-fulfilled prophecies where individuals are influenced by anxiety, doubt or worry.  By dwelling on ungodly beliefs such as I’m going to get sick, fail or get into an accident, these thoughts become reality.  Thus, the law of attraction uses positive and negative thinking to shape what will come to be in the future.

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed, Mark 1:32.

This same principle can be applied to the spiritual life.  Faith is dependent upon conviction, desire and hunger to draw near to God.  Those who possess this spiritual attraction will find the time to pray, study the Bible and worship the Lord.  When earthly distractions get in the way, attention is steered in other directions resulting in changed priorities.  The closer you get to God, the more the Holy Spirit exposes your imperfections like the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15, claiming to be the greatest sinner of all.  Meanwhile, the further you drift apart from God, the better you feel, relying on justification and rationalization to approve of your actions.

The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was, Mark 1:33-34.

Jesus’ first miracle, turning water into wine during a wedding reception in Cana often overshadow others that followed.  After Jesus cast out a demon within a Capernaum synagogue, the people were amazed.  According to John Mark, the entire town gathered outside of Simon Peter’s house.  The passage above illustrates the law of attraction, drawn to Jesus like groupies flocking to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrity, professional athlete or rock star.  However, in this case Jesus takes the time to cure the sick, drive out demons and heal others with various ailments.  May this blog speak to your heart as your strive to become like the citizens of Capernaum, eager to wait upon the Lord to be healed.

by Jay Mankus

 

No Doubt About It

When I was young and stupid, I relied on bragging to prove that I could do something.  When challenged, I was often exposed as my cocky words could not be backed up by actions.  Subsequently, God used disappointment, humiliation and failure to allow me to mature.  While I never lost my passion and zeal for competition, I tried to let my play speak for itself in college.  Although I didn’t win every intramural championship, I believed in my heart that victory was attainable.  There was no doubt about it,

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men, Matthew 28:2-4.

In recent years, telling the truth is like an animal on the endangered species list.  Some people want to win so badly that exaggerating, fibbing and spreading rumors is all part of the process.  This destructive climate has poisoned politicians with misleading ads, slandering their opponents, hoping the general public will be persuaded to believe these lies.  If you have the cable news, newspapers and social media on your side, the lives of innocent people can be ruined, left like road kill along the shoulder of a highway.

While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day, Matthew 28:11-15.

As I am finishing my study of the Gospel of Matthew, I uncovered a similar first century plot.  Fearful the chief priest, Pharisees and religious leaders would lose their political power, they paid off Roman soldiers to spread false reports.  Despite the presence of zombies, the bodies of holy men and women from the past roaming the streets of Jerusalem for over a month, a corrupt scheme eventually halted the truth.  As a former high school Bible teacher, I come across secular films trying to discredit the Bible like this first century bribe.  Yet, when I research, study and watch these theories, I have come to one simple solution.  There is no doubt about the life, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven by Jesus Christ our Lord.

by Jay Mankus

The Searing of the Mind

If a live frog is placed into boiling water, the instinct to jump will immediately kick in, escaping this pot in a split second.  However, if you take a pond, gradually increase the temperature without stopping, this creature will die, scalded and scorched by extreme conditions.  Unfortunately, the same conclusion can be drawn to the human mind.  As the American culture has become pornified, filled with graphic images, mature content and shocking sights, the searing of the human mind has commenced.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols, Acts 17:16.

If you have lived a sheltered life, guarded and protected by parents, you may be naïve to the numerous temptations that exist today.  Whenever you veer off into a foreign place, accidently take a wrong turn or wander into unknown territory, the presence of darkness can be overwhelming.  During a first century trip through the streets of Athens, the apostle Paul was troubled.  Depending upon what Bible commentary you rely on for research, Paul likely witnessed nudity, prostitution and sexual practices in the name of religion.  With each step, Paul’s mind was bombarded by unwholesome symbols, breaking his heart and distressing his soul.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23

During his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reveals a key relationship between eyes and the mind.  Based upon the analogy above, eyes are the light source for human beings with minds serving as a screening mechanism.  When minds fail to filter out the presence of darkness, corruption occurs.  If unhealthy thoughts are allowed to go unchecked without any urgent action, pornographic images are collected, processed and stored.  Like a sponge cleaning up split water on a counter, minds absorb countless sights that you are exposed to daily.  Thus, without the discipline of putting on the armor of God, Ephesians 6:12-20, to fight against lust, innocent minds can be scarred for life.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:2.

In an article first published in 2011, the Christian Research Journal wrote about the Effects of Porn on the Male Brain.  This piece attempts to illustrate how pornography impacts hormonal, neurochemical and neurological development as sexual images become attached to souls.  One of my favorite points made by the author is that viewing pornography hijacks the normal functioning of the brain and it’s maladaptive patterns.  Perhaps, this man explain the call to action to renew your mind in the passage above.  Pornography is one of those taboo topics most churches side step, afraid to confront.  Yet, as this world continues to push the envelope further and further, it’s time to educate the masses to the searing of the human mind.  May the Bible guide, instruct and prepare you with the necessary resources to overcome the temptations people face in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

All I Need to Be

If you are a counselor, parent or teacher, there will always be questions that you will not be able to answer.  Some may be too personal, others beyond your realm of expertise or foreign to what you have experienced in life.  Thus, you may have to send an individual off to another adult, co-worker or friend.  However, when it comes to your own children, you should be able to point them in the right direction to ascertain all they need to be.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4.

As the youngest child, David was relegated to the role of a shepherd, overseeing the family herd.  There wasn’t much time to consider anything else as David often slept in the fields with his sheep.  This experience swayed David to rely on the Lord at an early age, trusting God to hold back bears, wolves and any other wild animal from devouring his sheep.  During boring days and lonely nights, David learned to delight himself in the Lord.  As he pondered all that he needed to be, God rewarded David’s faithfulness with the desires of his heart.

A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, Psalm 23:1.

Reflecting back on previous encounters, David had a revelation, switching places with God.  Instead of taking credit for years of dedication and hard work, David saw the hand of God over his sheep.  Thus, he was no longer in charge.  Rather, the Lord had become his shepherd with David serving as a sheep, listening to God’s voice for direction.  This role reversal prepared David for what was to come later in life.  If today’s blog finds you struggling to figure out all you need to be in life, delight yourself in Jesus and the Great Shepherd will lead you to greener pastures that will ultimately refresh your soul, Psalm 23:2.

by Jay Mankus

 

Stronger Than You Think

Like any start to a new year, the longer you make it in fulfilling resolutions on the calendar, confidence and optimism grows.  Those who use hope as a catalyst for change begin to see the fruits of their rededication toward accomplishing goals in life.  Signs of progress make successful individuals appear stronger than you think.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

Unfortunately, most people don’t make it through the first week before breaking one of their vows.  Diets are ruined by leftover treats from Christmas and New Years.  Exercise programs are put on hold after you pull a muscle, over doing it after your first few work outs.  Meanwhile, those attempting to cease bad habits from their past are lulled back, unable to escape addictive behavior.  These poor souls seem weaker than the rest, plagued by one bad decision after the other.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26.

According to the apostle Paul, there is a solution for those of us who have already failed miserably in fulfilling New Year Resolutions.  In your time of need or moment of weakness, pray.  As you slow down by crying out to God, ask for the Holy Spirit’s intervention.  When you do, the Lord will replace blank ideas with the right course of action.  This is where blind faith pays off, trusting in God to guide you through failure so that victory becomes a certainty.

by Jay Mankus