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Tag Archives: Prayer

A Glimpse of Insanity

On October 21st, 2007 Kyle Walker was suspended from a New Jersey school.  This seven year old had been a bad boy, drawing a stick figure of a gun.  This act violated the school board’s zero-tolerance policy when Kyle’s picture was seen by another student on his bus. Amid mounting pressure from atheist groups and concerned parents, Orange County public schools in Florida banned the Bible from being distributed to students according to a January 14th, 2015 article.  Surely, the presence of absolutes upon which this country was founded is too offensive for progressive minds to handle.  Meanwhile, football coaches Gary Weiss of Catalina High School and Joe Kennedy of Bremerton, Washington were each fired for standing up for their players rights to pray before and after each game.  Not willing to be silenced by administrators, these men lost their jobs for following what each believed to be good, right and true.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart, Hebrews 4:12.

These are just a few examples of what public education is trying to teach millennials.  Based upon these four accounts, what are students really learning.  First, guns are bad, even if a kindergarten shows an interest in hunting by drawing an image of a stick gun.  Second, the Bible is a dangerous book.  This piece of literature reflects a period of American history that many current leaders are ashamed of, attempting to right the wrongs of the past.  Finally, the first amendment does not apply to prayer.  Any administrator, coach or teacher who seeks to express their faith in the form of prayer will be punished, reprimanded and in recent cases lose their jobs.  When you add up all of these teachable moments, I am beginning to see a glimpse of insanity as right has become wrong and wrong has become right.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him, James 1:5.

Thus, as you hear, see or read updates on February 14th’s school shooting at a Parkland high school in South Florida, keep this mind.  In the next few days, guns will be blamed for Nikolas Cruz’ shooting rampage that has killed 17 with more in critical condition.  As facts begin to surface, this young man had been kicked out of two private schools prior to be kicked out of a third, the one he re-entered on Valentine’s Day.  I’m not sure about security for a school of over 3000 students, but I’m sure measures will be taken to prevent future attacks.  The high school that my two boys have attended have a cop car parked outside the front and only entrance.  Meanwhile, the doors are locked as visitors can only enter the school through the main office.  When one student exercises freewill by giving into evil desires, common sense doesn’t apply.  Thus, as you begin to form your own beliefs about this shooting, don’t overlook the obvious.  When absolutes are de-emphasized and replaced by opinions, the door is opened for a glimpse of insanity to enter public schools.

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

A Prisoner of Your Own Appetite

A typical prisoner is held behind bars or in certain circumstances can be placed under house arrest.  This fate is a result of breaking the law, caught by authorities or brought in for questioning and possibly held overnight as a possible suspect of a crime.  Unfortunately, many people find themselves held hostage by an invisible force.  Beyond the physical realm, demons, powers of darkness and evil spirits are on the prowl, seeking to pounce upon weakened souls, 1 Peter 5:8.  Anyone who lacks self-discipline could be the next victim, a prisoner of your own appetite.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace, Romans 8:5-6.

According to the apostle Paul, the human flesh has a mind of it’s own.  Like a stubborn child, the sinful nature is in a constant state of want.  I can picture an infant screaming for food or toddler throwing a temper tantrum.  These fits of rage are signs of the flesh at an early stage of development.  As time goes by, outbursts only intensive, especially when lust within human hearts goes unsatisfied.  The more the average person feeds these cravings, the flesh can get out of control.  When selfishness is unleashed, even the strong may find themselves a prisoner of their own appetite.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God, Romans 8:7-8.

If you read between the lines of Romans 8, Paul is imploring burdened souls that you don’t have to do this anyone.  You don’t have to continue living in bondage to your sinful nature.  However, transformation begins within your mind.  Like any enemy, whispers of doubt consume those attempting to break free.  Thus, if you are serious about changing, you must ignore whispers from the Devil.  In this transitional period, you will likely experience withdraw, internal pressure to return to pleasing your flesh.  Yet, if you seek an accountability relationship, devote your life to prayer and submit to God, freedom is within your reach.  The journey is long, but don’t give up hope until victory arrives.

by Jay Mankus

Saltless Without the Supernatural

The older I become, the harder it is for me to become energized.  Perhaps, a lack of vision is to blame.  Yet, as I dig a little deeper through prayer and reflection, I think I have found the culprit.  Apparently, I have lost my saltiness, losing the ability to add flavor to the lives of those whom I come in contact.  This may explain why I have so little to say wherever I go.

“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.

In the first century, salt was used as a preservative, caking and packing fresh meat to slow down the spoiling process.  Prior to electricity, if you wanted protein hunting or fishing was the only option.  Salt allowed leftovers from lunch for dinner until this endless cycle continued the next day.  In the passage above, Jesus uses Sermon on the Mount as a teachable moment to interject salt into every day conversations.

Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another,” Mark 9:50.

For those of us not gifted with a type A personality, another source is necessary to fill this gap.  This is where the sinful nature must submit to the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:16-18.  Until you become separated from this tempting force, you will be saltless without the supernatural.  Like filling up a car, the shy, quiet and uninspired must plug into God through Bible study, prayer and worship.  You could try other methods like I have but you likely come up empty.  May this blog motivate you to have salt in yourself by sharing what God is teaching you daily.  May the salt be with you.

by Jay Mankus

 

Self Medicating Pain

According to a 2017 article posted on The Upshot, Josh Katz uses new data to illustrate that drug deaths in America are rising faster than ever before.  Drug overdose claimed the lives of nearly 64,000 Americans in 2016.  A large majority of these deaths are being blamed on opioids, prompting a 2017 presidential commission to address this growing crisis.  Instead of coping with depression, an attempt to self medicate pain has resulted in deadly addictions nationwide.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” – Matthew 9:10-11.

During the first century, class warfare was commonly practiced to avoid negative influences from those who shared a different worldview.  This mindset caused religious leaders to question Jesus’ association with sinners, regularly dining and reaching out to social outcasts within society.  In the passage below, Jesus reveals the purpose for this unusual outreach.  If you read between the lines, the goal for any adult is learning how to take care of yourself.  This is a sign of maturity, being able to self medicate pain through spiritual practices.

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

The apostle Paul shines light on how this is accomplished within Philippians 2:1-4.  The spiritual healthy gradually develop a Christ like mindset.  Before beginning every day, Jesus withdrew to a quiet place, often on a mountain top outside of where he was staying, void of distractions.  Essentially, Paul is suggesting you can’t help others until you take care of your own needs first.  When your daily devotions, prayer and reflection is complete each morning, you are primed to self medicate pain.  Until this process is complete, you won’t be any good to anyone.  Therefore, if you want to be healthy, not needing a doctor, start each day with a daily dose of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

SWAG

Swag is one of those words that has evolved over time.  Initially short for swagger, swag is a personality trait which naturally flows out of confident individuals.  Professional athletes display this by playing to the crowd, swaying and strutting after successful impacts during a competition or game.  Journalists sometimes equate swag with gravitas, inner qualities that attract others to want to be around those who possess this special gift.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Recently, I stumbled upon an acronym for swag, Spiritual Wonders Anointed by God.  Although my employer refers to swag as stuff we all get, I know from experience not everyone receives the same allotment in life.  Rather, some people are more blessed than others, attaining and obtaining much more than the average person.  While a portion of success can be linked to dedication, hard work and perseverance, God’s role in swag can not be denied.

Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? – Hebrews 1:14.

Spiritual wonders anointed by God can be explained by guardian angels or ministering spirits.  Without divine intervention, there may be some of you who would not be alive today if it wasn’t for this insight and protection.  Meanwhile, swag can be developed from a permanent meaningful lasting relationship with God.  As one begins to pray, study the Bible and worship the Lord each week, the Holy Spirit living inside of you can produce swag.  As a new year approaches, may the Lord inspire you to draw near to God so that your faith will flourish in 2018.

by Jay Mankus