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Tag Archives: mind

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

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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

Giving God Some Space

When I was in high school, it wasn’t uncommon for a girl to tell her boy friend that she needed some space.  What girls were trying to say to guys like me was she needed time away to clear her mind.  Somehow I was suffocating this relationship and freedom was necessary to let this individual breathe.  Unfortunately, this conversation usually meant the beginning of the end, a nice way to say I’m breaking up with you.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes, James 4:14.

If you apply this concept to God, countless individuals express this with their own actions, not making time for the Lord daily.  However, this assumes that people actually took time to invite God into their lives initially.  As churches close down, go out of business or are forced to join another congregations to survive, it appears that Jesus is low on our priority list.  Instead giving God some space to work within your heart, soul and mind, busy schedules drown out the Holy Spirit’s whisper to draw near.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, 2 Peter 3:8.

Last weekend I heard a local missionary speak about giving God same space.  What she meant by this expression is opening your calendar to allow God to speak.  Whether it’s a day, week or month, stop what you are doing and begin listening for the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes I get so caught up in my own life that I ignore God completely.  Christians can’t expect to spend eternity in heaven if they haven’t invested any time on earth storing up heavenly treasures.  In view of this fear, get up a little earlier, stay up later or get away over the weekend to give God some space to invigorate your soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

Fighting for Harmony

Most people don’t view life in terms of harmony.  Yet, musicians and song writers seek a place or state of mind where creativity flows.  Others withdraw to a secluded location, retreating to regain joy and purpose for life.  Behind the scenes, in one way or another, we are all struggling to find harmony.

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding, Romans 14:19.

Prior to beginning his earthly ministry, Jesus spent forty days in the desert.  Fasting, praying and seeking God for insight, Jesus avoided the typical distractions within daily life.  This time of reflection served as a transitional period from a carpenter to a fisher of men.  Jesus turned his attention away from financial needs toward building a spiritual team of disciples.  Along the way, Satan arrives in Matthew 4:1-9 to disrupt this harmony.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind, 1 Peter 3:8.

Similar visits occur today by demons seeking to divide families, communities and nations.  Based upon current events, it appears the Devil is accomplishing his goal.  Anger, dissension and gossip are on the rise, fueled by social media.  Instead of attacking the source, people are fighting one another with words of hate.  Perhaps, it’s time to withdraw into the wilderness to reverse this trend by fighting back to regain a sense of harmony.

by Jay Mankus

More Than A Fool

Words such as dope, idiot and nincompoop are synonymous with fool.  However, the actual term used by King Solomon in Proverbs relates to modern culture.  The original text contains the word moron which describes someone who is more than a fool.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion, Proverbs 18:2.

If you spend time following social media, twitter is full individuals who express their opinion regardless of how outlandish it might be.  Before the days of blogging, Facebook and tweeting, parents taught children to think before you speak.  Unfortunately, some where along the way this practical life principle has been lost or discarded.

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered, Proverbs 28:26.

Foolishness could be chalked up to immaturity, some sort of phase in life or rebellion.  Everyone can look back on a foolish act from their past to say,”I can’t believe I did that.”  Yet the key to purging foolish behavior from your life begins with your mind.  Stubbornness  stunts one’s ability to change.  Therefore, until you make a conscious effort walk in wisdom individuals will continue to be more than a fool.

by Jay Mankus