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Tag Archives: knowledge

A Life Void of Substance

Substance can be defined as a particular kind of matter with uniform properties.  Yet, something as simple as water can be labeled as boring.  Subsequently, human nature draws individuals toward that which is intoxicating or stimulating.  Those who lack this substance can get lost, disappearing from sight, hidden by strong personalities.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot,” Matthew 5:13.

As someone born with a severe speech impediment, I have never been known to be eloquent.  If you don’t possess this quality, it’s essential to add flavor to the lives of those whom you meet.  However, if you lose your passion for a career, hobbies or life in general, there is a tendency to become stale, adding little to daily conversations.  Unfortunately, this is where I currently find myself, a life void of substance.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent, Exodus 14:14.

The times when I become alive are often influenced by my hot button issues.  These topics allow me to express my knowledge, love and perspective.  When conversations do not provide an opportunity to open out, there is another source which adds flavor.  Whether it’s opening up the Bible, fellowship with believers or times of prayer, God unveils spiritual insight to those listening.  Therefore, if you find yourself on the verge of a life void of substance, fuel up on the Holy Spirit to add flavor to the lives of those you interact with.

by Jay Mankus

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You Shouldn’t Be Surprised

 

I have watched thousands of movies over my many years on earth.  Depending upon your personality, people tend to create lists like classics, favorites or worst ever.  While I have seen some pathetic films, none were more disturbing than The Last House on the Left.  This 1972 horror flick was an obvious sign of a changing world, but I missed it.  I couldn’t convince myself that this was the direction and path America was on, yet I shouldn’t be surprised.

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law, Proverbs 29:18.

Compromise is a painful reality that people usually don’t grasp until it’s too late.  No society is immune to the pitfalls of history.  Like a vicious cycle, civilizations tend to reject morality over a period of time.  In it’s place, evil, lust and violence is embraced.  No matter how noble one’s beginning, there will always be a fall from grace that shouldn’t be a surprise.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, Hosea 4:6.

Past winners of the lottery wake up millionaires over night.  Unfortunately, many of these individuals end up far worse than living a normal life.  I recently read a case study of former winners.  Many follow the path of the prodigal son, blowing their pay out quickly with lavish gifts and wild spending sprees.  The Bible warns souls of this possibility, but greed has a way of blinding individuals from the truth.  Subsequently, those who attempt to live life without vision will soon perish.  Take heed so you won’t be surprised.

by Jay Mankus

An Evening of Enlightenment

When a historian refers to the term enlightenment, its likely bringing up the age of reason spanning from 1620-1789.  This intellectual movement was inspired by books such as Novum Organum and Critique of Pure Reason.  Francis Baker and Immanuel Kant were guiding forces which attempted to change the way people thought about life.  Yet, knowledge is not the only source for enlightenment.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life, Proverbs 9:10-11.

According to Solomon, fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Scholars who hear or read this might suggest “this is absurd.”  Yet, what I think Solomon is eluding to is that individuals who do not fear God become full of themselves, oblivious to the spiritual realm.  Meanwhile, those who fear God develop discernment and insight.  This keen awareness can lead to evenings of enlightenment when you keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple, Psalm 119:130.

Fasting, prayer, reading the Bible and worship are vehicles for receiving enlightenment on earth.  While some people set out to receive enlightenment daily, others are surprised by insight from a fast, moments in prayer, a rhema from the Bible or a moving experience in worship.  While on a retreat in Indiana, I had my own evening of enlightenment.  During the closing ceremony of the night, I received a revelation from God.  One day later, I traveled several hours to meet my girl friend Leanne, proposing shortly afterward.  When you follow through, faithful to God’s calling, enlightenment is not just an evening, its a way of life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Where Did Ethos Go?

While I never finished completing seminary due to my iritis, the classes I completed have provided a plethora of knowledge.  One of my favorite terms is the Greek word ethos.  Philosophers like Aristotle used ethos in the context of a person’s character.  Yet, ethos means so much more, its the expression of love, allowing others to see that you genuinely care about their lives.  Those individuals who demonstrate ethos on a daily basis earn the right to be heard.

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, Matthew 9:12.

Unfortunately, as I interact with people, listen to what others believe and watch how different worldviews treat one another, the concept of ethos is vanishing.  Narcissism, pride and stubborn hearts are leaving a trail of hate, attacking anyone who opposing their beliefs.  C.S. Lewis eludes to this oblivious trait as diabolical pride in Mere Christianity.  If this flaw continues, the concept of ethos may disappear.

But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners,” Matthew 9:13.

There are certain areas, subjects or topics where people claim to be experts, knowing much more than most others.  Yet, it would help if individuals would learn to become humble and more teachable.  While you may think you know more than a boss, manager or teacher, showing respect breeds ethos.  If the phrase sharing is caring is employed, a generation will begin to witness the powerful effects of ethos on society.

by Jay Mankus

Stages of Worship

As a former runner, I see a comparable relationship between running and worship.  The first time you do each, its not always the most pleasant experience.  While those in advanced stages have a different perspective, the novice may quit early on, claiming what’s the point.  Trying to excel at each requires knowledge, preparation and training.  During a church service last weekend, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to 3 stages of worship.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship, Romans 12:1.

Stage 1: Good

The apostle Paul encourages those who embrace the Christian faith to respond to God’s mercy.  When your sins were pardoned, this should elicit a spirit of thankfulness within forgiven souls.  As right and wrong acts are differentiated by the Bible, this exposure to truth hopefully fuels a fire within hearts to pursue holiness.  This environment sets the scene to ignite and stoke a desire to worship.  This is a good first step.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will, Romans 12:2.

Stage 2: Pleasing

If running or worship does not bring pleasure or a sense of progress, most will abandon the journey, filling their time with other worth while pursuits.  Thus, Paul suggests the pattern of the world will become a distraction for many.  Subsequently, finding pleasure in running or worship begins with a renewing of your mind.  Just as Jesus went into the wilderness, fasting and praying before beginning his earthly ministry, worship is taken to the next level by believing and claiming God’s promises for your life.  As the worries of life fade, your worship will please God as you bow down in holy reverence to your creator above.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me, 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Stage 3: Perfect

Human nature tends to lead people to rely on their own strength and abilities.  Yet, perfection is not attainable in flesh alone.  Rather, individuals need to come to a spiritual state where they recognize any weaknesses and lean on Christ’s power.  The apostle Paul was forced into this predicament through an unknown physical ailment.  While the Bible is not specific on his condition, God’s power is made perfect through weakness.  Therefore, if you are struggling to concentrate as you run or worship, don’t run this race alone.  Rather, cry out to the Lord for help and perhaps one day you will reach new levels as you worship God.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Searching Out Matters That are Too Deep

Whether you are a student, teacher or parent, sooner or later you will meet or run into individuals who like to dig deep.  While this isn’t a bad thing, there is a point in conversations, discussions and lectures that go way too deep.  Any time this invisible line is crossed, people tune out, especially students who don’t have the foggiest idea what their professor is talking about.

It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep, Proverbs 25:27.

Since Solomon was considered one of the wisest people to walk the face of the earth, its refreshing to know that even he was self aware of this problem.  Its unclear whether one of his wives or children confronted him about talking over people’s heads, yet God convicted him of this flaw.  Knowledge is like a good snack, but if you eat too much you will spoil your appetite for further discussions on a subject.

Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king.  He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”  The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”  But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”  hen the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother,” 1 Kings 3:24-27.

Despite the warning about digging too deep, there are exceptions to this rule as described by the wise ruling made by King Solomon above.  When a mother accidentally rolled over on top of her baby, he died.  In the heat of the moment, she swapped her dead baby with one next to a woman sleeping.  This is the context which allowed Solomon to test these woman to see who the real mother was.  Subsequently, individuals should use similar methods today to detect truth from those trying to pull a fast one by you.

by Jay Mankus

 

Frustration

Annoying, defeating and unfulfilled are words synonomous with frustration.  Whenever your expectations for something is not met, individuals can overreact.  This is often displayed in public through fits of rage, tantrums and wounded relationships.

The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful, Proverbs 22:12.

According to King Solomon, the origin of frustration can be easily explained.  When people try to manufacture something outside of God’s will, attempting to bypass knowledge, the Lord steps in.  Thus, the unfaithful are thwarted resulting in a closed door, failure or rejection.

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, Hebrews 10:26.

Meanwhile, the principle of sowing and reaping also applies, Galatians 6:7-8.  God is not going to bless or allow prosperity over the long haul to the unfaithful.  In view of this information, confess any wrong doing of the present and past.  Although frustration usually results in humility, a broken heart provides the environment for grace and forgiveness.  May disappointment and trials lead to a spirit of revival this Christmas season.

by Jay Mankus