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Healing or Humility?

If you have ever been disappointed by a promise that was broken or unfulfilled, you know what it means to become jaded.  Maintaining faith or trust in someone or something becomes difficult, not knowing when or if you will be let down again.  This is where I currently find myself, some where between healing and humility.

The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health, Psalm 41:3.

A part of me still holds out hope that the condition of my eyes will be restored.  Passages in the Bible like the one above provides assurance of my desire for complete healing.  Yet, the apostle Paul did not have his thorn in his flesh cured.  Instead, this ailment humbled Paul as he was forced to make the best of things without complete healing.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted, Luke 14:11.

Jesus provides a different perspective on life.  God humbles the proud and lifts up the humble.  Thus, as I continue with my battle to see, the Lord knows my pain.  However, in my anguish God does not honor those who complain or pout.  Therefore, as I endure this trial praying for healing, I have to accept the fact that humility may be the final outcome.

by Jay Mankus

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Where Has the Honor Code Gone?

Last weekend I caught a rerun of the 1992 film School Ties.  Starring Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Chris O’Donnell, the storyline places a Jewish quarterback recruited to attend a Catholic boarding school for his senior year.  After a jealous benched quarterback played by Matt Damon finds out this secret was hidden from teammates, David Green played by Brendan Fraser is ostracized.  When a student drops his crib, cheat sheet after a mid-term examine, Honor is put to the test.

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them, James 4:17.

The concept of an honor code is introduced and built upon throughout the movie.  However, a history teacher refers to this as a living document, something founded by students and evolves over time.  While not mentioned, this principle is based upon the words from one of Jesus’ earthly brothers.  What the Bible is saying is that sins of action are the same as sins of inaction.  Subsequently, honor codes can not survive unless those who witness wrong doing actually confront anyone guilty of breaking a rule.

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul, Psalm 143:8.

Newly acquired worldviews have provided a loop hole for individuals to justify their actions.  This shift has altered the principles many citizens once embraced.  Perhaps, this may explain the current culture of exaggeration, lies and untruths that make up most political campaigns.  The losers are young children who aren’t seeing godly principles modeled out by today’s leaders.  Forced by pressure to succeed, a growing number of people are cutting corners, disregarding honor for end results.  May the power of the Holy Spirit reverse this trend by softening hardened hearts with a contrite spirit and heart for repentance.  Pray for honor to be restored.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

AP

On Tuesday of this past week, a king was laid to rest.  Yet, this wasn’t your typical cast of assembled dignitaries.  Rather, this man never forgot where he came from, always remembering his humble beginnings.  Subsequently, as crowds gathered for the memorial service, those in attendance reflected upon how this individual made anyone he met feel like a special friend on each and every occasion.

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel, Proverbs 27:9.

While this may be a stretch, what Arnold Palmer meant to golf is similar to Mother Teresa’s impact on the Catholic church.  Mother Teresa taught the world what is means to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ by serving the poor and less fortunate.  Meanwhile, Arnold Palmer showed professional athletes what a role model resembles by using his fame, fortune and success to make this world a better place.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 1 Peter 4:8-10.

Beside all the hospital’s Arnold and his first wife Winnie founded in Orlando, Florida, he was a visionary.  Palmer was the architect of a 24 hour golf channel, founder of the Bay Hill Classic tournament on the PGA tour and the figure which helped make the Senior PGA tour what it is today.  Despite all these great accomplishments, Arnold was a man of character, honor and integrity.  Arnie as coined by the army who followed him in droves, signed every autograph, made spectators feel a part of his round and replied to each letter with a hand written note.  May the the memory of AP inspire you to impact the lives of this generation.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Keeping Your Heads Held High

After a fairly successful coaching career over the past 20 years in youth sports, I find myself with my greatest task to date.  After a couple of coaches bailed, I have volunteered to help a developmental baseball team at the 13-15 year old level.  Unfortunately, every opponent so far has been much more advanced, leading to lop-sided results.  Thus, at this point all I can do is encourage the players to keep their heads held high.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin, 1 Peter 4:1.

You don’t have to play sports to experienced being smeared or creamed.  Depending upon who you are, what you do or where you work, its not uncommon to come in contact with far superior individuals.  If these people carry an attitude, ego or pride, its easy to feel helpless, overwhelmed and unqualified.  Yet, even if you’re staring failure in the face, its essential to keep your head held high, knowing you gave your best effort.

As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God, 1 Peter 4:2.

The latter is the most crucial element in times of failure.  Knowing you are beaten is one thing.  However, the moment you give up mentally, its not worth even competing anymore.  Sure, human nature will tempt those who have gotten use to losing.  Nonetheless, those who cling to perseverance will be rewarded in the end.  You might not see progress right away, but the Lord will honor and lift up those who keep their head held high.

by Jay Mankus

 

He Ain’t All That

In every success story, there are two primary factors which often impact the final chapter to each Cinderella story.  The first involves an individual with talent, dedicated to mastering his or her trade.  Discipline, hard work and sacrifices can lead to fame and fortune.  While on the rise, friends, family and relatives begin to develop a sense of entitlement, expecting some sort of payment for their involvement in the process.  When this obligation is not met, things can get ugly as those on the outside looking in respond with, “he ain’t all that!”

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. – Mark 6:3

This tragedy of society is nothing new.  Jesus dealt with a similar situation as he went back to his hometown to teach at the synagogue.  Whether it is envy or jealousy, people can be cruel, taking occasional jabs to lessen your accomplishments.  In the case of Jesus, the negativity of the crowds grew, causing his ability to heal to decline.  As the murmurs of “he ain’t all that” intensified, this lack of faith restricted the power of God from being displayed.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” – Mark 6:4

With the invention of social media, ordinary people get their kicks out of trashing celebrities, professional athletes and those in the media.  Perhaps by tearing others down, insecure souls feel a little better about themselves.  Although misery loves company, lives will not change for the better until an environment for healing is formed.  Therefore, the next time you get the urge to say, “he ain’t all that,” follow the principles of James 5:16 so that the resurrection power of Christ can be unleashed.

by Jay Mankus

The Relationship between Emotions and Worship

Mood swings are common, swayed by victories or defeat throughout life.  Yet, the pulse of emotions can be directly tied to your degree of worship.  Huh?  Are you sure about that?  Well, after examining the lives of Cain and Abel, God honors those whose heart is in the right place.  However, anyone who holds back, offering a lame attempt at worship will not receive what they desire.

And Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.  And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. – Genesis 4:4-5

Despite one’s shortcomings in life, God can see right through the fake, phony and superficial.  While the world places an emphasis on appearance, height or stature, the Lord looks at the heart of mankind, 1 Samuel 16:7.  Known as the well spring of life, Proverbs 4:23, this organ regulates the human body.  Thus, the greater an individual pours out their soul in worship, the more likely God will be inclined to accept and bless their gifts.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

Those who sense God’s favor and or presence tend to control their emotions.  Meanwhile, anyone who feels rejected by God may turn sour, opening the door for anger to influence their behavior.  Depressed and jealous, Cain sought revenge instead of repentance.  Losing control of his emotions, Cain did the unthinkable, killing his baby brother.  Before you do something you might regret, take your spiritual pulse by evaluating your commitment to worship.  God willing, one day you will develop a Matthew 6:33 mentality, by placing your trust in an invisible God who continues to provide daily bread.

by Jay Mankus

 

To Fast or Not to Fast?

In recent years, January 1st signifies the beginning of 21 day fasts for a growing number of churches across America.  Depending upon the congregation, this could mean a …

1) Daniel Fast: Eating vegetables and water based upon the events of Daniel 1:11-14.

2) Media Fast: Replacing listening and viewing habits for 3 weeks with Bible Study, prayer and soaking in worship music.

3) Traditional Fast: Limiting your diet to liquids, with stricter fasts allowing only water.

Before you jump into any commitment, you might want to consider the advice of Solomon.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. – Ecclesiastes 5:4

My advice is to take a more realistic approach.  If fasting is new to you or something you haven’t done in years, ease yourself into 21 days of fasting.  I recommend skipping 1 meal per day, the first week.  If your body is up for the challenge, limit your eating to one meal per day the second week.  However, if you find yourself gorging each meal, you might want to focus on skipping one meal per day the entire 21 days.  Make a vow you can keep, then honor it.

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. – Nehemiah 1:4

As for what to expect, the lack of food can make individuals grumpy.  Those with medical conditions may need to opt for a Media Fast to avoid health concerns.  Beyond the pain, the insight one receives from fasting can be life altering.  While fasting during my days of teaching, several messages of discernment came to me through the power of the Holy Spirit.  In addition, your perspective of food will change as fasting will heighten your sense of taste.  In the end, the choice is up to you: to fast or not to fast?

by Jay Mankus