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Tag Archives: mind

What You Say Isn’t Always What God Wants Others to Hear

As someone who works at Amazon, I come across thousands of products weekly.  Some of these units I have to examine, investigate or test.  Due to the bizarre nature of some or unusual name of others, I am tempted by sarcasm.  Without any type of a filter, I may blurt out something comical, funny or witty.  Despite how humorous my comments may be from time to time, what I say isn’t always what God wants others to hear.

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.

I can’t speak for other people, but I tend to go through various stages of conviction.  When I am in tune with God, my spiritual antennas are heightened.  This usually results in obeying God.  The rest of the year I experience weeks when I am numb, aimlessly wondering through life like Israel in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.  This stage produces periods of coarse joking and sarcasm, as I lose my direction and vision for life.  If I allow apathy to reign, this is where I lose control of my vocabulary, letting loose words slip.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5.

As I have fallen into bad habits, the Lord reminded me of this verse above.  Frustrated by my current state, I tried to apply taking my thoughts captive.  What I learned is that what was funny to me last week, isn’t funny to God.  Thus, as I performed my daily responsibilities, keeping my mouth shut was tough, much harder than I thought.  Although I blurted out a few sarcastic responses, taking every thought captive requires extreme discipline.  While I don’t have the ability to be perfect, in my own weakness to do and say the right thing, Jesus can be strong.  Therefore, I press on forgetting my past to focus on the future so that God’s sanctifying grace will make me whole.  In the meantime, make sure the words you utter reflect the compassion, grace and love of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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Waiting for Superman to Arrive

William Shakespeare wrote about lovers whose deaths reconciled two feuding families.  When tragedy strikes Romeo and Juliet, readers feel the pain of this story.  Shakespeare borrowed from an Italian tale adding his own spin to his famous novel taught in American English classes.  Yet, like anything in life, people change, evolve and learn to adapt.  If a similar classic was crafted today, the title would read something like Waiting for Superman to Arrive.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him, Lamentations 3:25.

As millennials become co-dependent on technology, the next generation is in danger of being lulled into complacency.  Sure, it’s nice to be able to keep up with electronic advances, but do you really need a device named after a girl to help you remember things?  Have people become so lazy that you can’t even find a location without asking Alexa or Sery?  This trend breeds individuals to go through life waiting for others to help you out.  Unfortunately, Superman is a comic character who isn’t going to rescue you from the trials of life.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay, Habakkuk 2:3.

Don’t get me wrong, waiting isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, the Bible encourages souls to be patient, seeking God as you wait for answers.  Nonetheless, the only Superman in history lived most of his life undercover, serving his community as a carpenter.  Before his departure in the first century, this man spoke of a counselor yet to come, an invisible presence able to direct and guide human hearts.  Instead of sitting back and relying on an electronic voice, it’s time to be proactive.  Therefore, as followers of Christ waiting for the second coming of Superman, Jesus, trust in the Lord so that you will be ready like the good servants in the Parable of the Talents.

by Jay Mankus

 

Why Did This Happen?

Since the Las Vegas mass shooting at the Harvest Country Music Festival on the evening of October 1st, 2017, everyone in the media is asking why did this happen?  As investigators begin combing through physical evidence, this reason for this evil act is still unknown.  While a timeline is being recreated, it’s hard to logically explain how someone could violently gun down so many.  Perhaps, the Bible can shed some light behind the mindset of a murderer.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it,” Genesis 4:6-7.

The first murder ever recorded occurs due to jealousy as a younger brother’s success becomes a motive for murder.  While Cain struggled to make ends meat as a farmer, God blessed Adam’s shepherding business.  When it came time to bring forth first fruits, similar to a modern day tithe, Abel had plenty to offer.  Meanwhile, Cain’s offering did not receive God’s favor.  As jealousy began to spread within his heart, the Lord confronts Cain in the passage above.

 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation,” Matthew 12:43-45.

When impure thoughts enter your mind, you have one of two choices.  You can listen to evil or take your thoughts captive by ruling over them.  This ongoing battle doesn’t take breaks so you may resist the first time, but as you grow tried and weary, individuals begin to give into temptation.  The passage above eludes to addiction as bad choices lead to a life style.  Once hooked on something, spirits often overwhelm weak souls.  In the case of Cain, once the idea of getting rid of the competition, his brother, it was only a matter of time.  Perhaps, Stephen Paddock allowed impure spirits to enter his body inspiring the murderous rampage he went on.  Although time will uncover more evidence, this blog gives a brief biblical explanation of why this tragic event happened.

by Jay Mankus

 

Faith or Fiction

Before the public broadcasts of television evangelists, Americans still believed in God’s power to perform miracles.  However, after organizations like the Christian Research Council began to expose some of the fraudulent methods used by so called healers, faith in America declined.  This hypocrisy turned faith into fiction.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

Doubt has always been the greatest stumbling block to faith.  While talking to his disciples, Jesus used a fig tree void of fruit for a teachable moment.  After cursing this tree, it immediately withered.  Astonished by this amazing act, each began to ask themselves, “what will Jesus do next?”  Seconds later, Jesus uses an analogy of a mountain to distinguish faith from fiction.

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith,” Matthew 21:22.

Whenever placed into an impossible situation, miracles seem improbable.  Mountains of doubt often remove faith from someone’s mind.  This negativity causes many to never ask God for help or divine intervention.  However, Jesus wants individuals to use prayer aligned with faith to remove fiction from the equation.  Therefore, when the odds are against or your back is against the wall, cry out to God so that a miracle is made possible through faith.

by Jay Mankus

Class Not Clash

Everyone reaches a point where you lose touch with an opposing point of view.  During one of my final years of teaching, let’s just say I had a class of unique 9th graders.  My regularly scheduled lesson plans weren’t working so I was forced to adapt, developing a debate style of curriculum to engage these students.  Despite a few heated moments, I was pleasantly surprised to discover I did have things in common with opposing worldviews.  This is one of the positive outcomes when you learn to debate with class, not clash.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15.

Unfortunately, there is a growing movement within higher education to replace debate with protests.  Instead of accumulating and debating the facts, students are being encouraged to rise up against injustice, offensive symbols and if necessary incite violence.  The end goal is to pressure public officials to give into their demands.  As leaders abandon principles by giving into this pressure, the more successful this approach becomes.  This is what happens when you allow clashing to reign.

Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander, 1 Peter 3:16.

So which practice is better, to debate with class or clash?  Is having a national debate with both sides present the best option?  After all the evidence is conveyed, individuals can decide which argument is more convincing.  Or should we can leave things the way it is, allowing social media to set the daily narrative.  Meanwhile, anyone who doesn’t adhere or agree with Progressive views is demonized, stigmatized or trashed.  Is the opposition afraid of debating controversial topics?  Is it that the truth will expose flawed worldviews?  Whatever the reason, I pray that Americans will return to a more civil style of debate with class.

by Jay Mankus

An Infusion of Worship

Following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, I’ve been consumed with depression.  Anyone trying to keep up with this story has been bombarded with a media frenzy.  Cable news stopped normal programming to air hourly updates, carry eyewitness reports and talk to panelists about their professional opinions.  The more I listened and watched, the worse I felt.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth, John 4:24.

After experiencing a few days of media silence this week, attempting to remove the negativity from my life, a thought came to my mind.  The Bible suggests that human beings were created to worship God.  When individuals drift off course away from this divine purpose, meaning and purpose for life fades.  Thus, those who reach this point like me need an infusion of worship to revive your soul.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship, Romans 12:1.

Yesterday, I replaced the radio with Christian music from my car stereo.  As soon as a few inspirational songs came on, my mood was transformed.  Instead of arguing with talk radio callers and the host, my mind was swayed by the lyrics I began singing along to.  This spiritual infusion gave me the boost I needed to make it through the day.  However, this shouldn’t be a once in a while practice.  Rather, if you want experience a permanent infusion of worship, set aside time daily for worship by offering your body up as a living sacrifice.

by Jay Mankus

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