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Tag Archives: reconciliation

The Fellowship of Suffering

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.  Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed, Luke 22:59-60.

While individuals may not want to admit it, there is a lot of Peter within most human beings.  When questioned by someone like Jesus, its easy to become defensive proclaiming, “I’d never do that.”  Yet, when push comes to shove human nature longs for acceptance.  Thus, few people ever join the fellowship of suffering.

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go,” John 21:18.

When Jesus witnessed Peter’s final denial, this event likely cut to his heart.  Usually a big talker, Peter’s fear of persecution revealed a major flaw within his character.  Based upon the words within the gospel of John, it appears that this betrayal of Jesus haunted Peter for years.  Nonetheless, Jesus shows the way toward the fellowship of suffering, letting go and allowing God to lead you where you don’t want to go.

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, 1 Peter 3:17.

Following a moment of reconciliation with Jesus, Peter begins to enter a special group.  Unless you are willing to endure hardships for doing what is right, the fellowship of suffering is unattainable.  Jesus’ brother James refers to embracing trials by considering each attack on your faith a joy.  Whether it was maturity or a spiritual transformation, Peter gave up his life to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.  Prior to his death, Peter demanded to be crucified upside down claiming he was unworthy to die in the same manner of his Savior.  May this blog inspire you to follow in Peter’s footsteps by joining the Fellowship of Suffering.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where Did I Go Wrong?

Life tends to be a series of choices which lead you to the place where you end up.  Sure, accidents, illness and tragedy may be the exception to this rule, but it doesn’t take much to take the wrong path.  Compromise starts off subtle, lulling souls to sleep spiritually.  Before you know you have a problem, its often too late as people are left to ponder, “where did I go wrong?”

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot, Romans 8:7.

Some might argue that its impossible to know if you are exactly where God wants you to be.  Meanwhile, others claim the conscience was designed into every human being to regulate your soul.  Yet, if your mind isn’t right, thoughts can become hostile to God.  Whenever anyone drifts off course from the path God desires you to take, Satan can use your own mind against you to justify false actions and behaviors.  Thus, determining where you went astray can be more difficult than it seems.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15.

As Joshua leads a new generation into God’s promised land, it was fitting to urge Israel to consider who they are willing to serve.  The blessings are out there, fruits for those who remain on the straight and narrow.  Yet, the sooner you recognize where you went wrong, the quicker you will find reconciliation.  Therefore, I’m calling all prodigals to come to their senses to find forgiveness, hope and the peace of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Reunion of Sorts

Time has a way of healing wounds from the past.  Although things will never be the same, when you run into an old face, its nice to reminisce.  If you have the opportunity to talk long enough, you may even encounter a reunion of sorts.

Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence, Isaiah 43:26.

Unfortunately, human emotions struggle to overlook transgressions of the past.  Some people may never recover from the heartache they have endured in life.  Thus, forgiveness is sometimes an empty word spoken as bitterness causes individuals to hold grudges.  Subsequently, until reconciliation occurs, a true reunion will have to wait.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, Acts 3:19.

While interacting at a graduation party over the weekend, I learned a painful lesson.  Before you can move forward, you have to let go your past.  It may be a tough pill to swallow, but repentance without acts of contrition is meaningless.  Therefore, bury the hatchet now while there is still time so that a full reunion can be completed.

by Jay Mankus

Kissing Your Past Goodbye

In the Bourne Identity series, Matt Damon plays a special ops agent who has forgotten his past.  Suffering from amnesia, Damon searches for clues to figure out who he is.  Little by little, flashes of his memory returns, yet numerous passports with different names makes this quest even more difficult.  Two films later in the Bourne Ultimatum, a sympathetic agent reveals his true identity, David Webb.  However, it was David who agreed to kiss his past goodbye.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, Acts 3:19.

In the real world, there isn’t a day that goes by without someone making a mistake, saying something regretful or wasting a perfectly good day.  No matter what happy face, facade or front that you may put on, imperfections permeate throughout the human body.  Exercise can mask obvious blemishes, but a hidden cancer of the soul exists without any cure.  Thus, whether you believe in God or not, the promise of a fresh start is alluring, worth further investigation.

Because of the LORD‘s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness, Lamentations 3:22-23.

Whether you have a friend forgive you, experience reconciliation in a broken relationship from your past or commit to starting over from scratch, these events produce peace.  When these interactions are verbal, confession tends to bind people together in perfect harmony.  Perhaps this spirit inspired the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30, “come to me who are tired and weary for I will give you rest.”  Therefore, if you are desperate for a new lease on life, come to Jesus to kiss the pain of your past goodbye.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Desperation, Inspiration or a Combination?

After New Year’s Resolutions have been broken, forgotten or wasted by misguided steps in 2015, one of two emotions consume individuals.  Desperation is brought on by agony, despair and worry.  Meanwhile, inspiration is conceived when souls are awakened and spurred on by a glimpse of what could be in the near future.  Somewhere in between the conscience is stimulated by a combination of desperation and inspiration.

Holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain, Philippians 2:16.

As I reread the gospel in May, I get the feeling that the sick, sinners and those who had lost their way in the first century were fueled by desperation.  Since doctors couldn’t cure, help or figure out what was wrong, ill people will willing to try anything regardless how far they had to travel.  Caught in the grips of addiction, desolation led the needy to explore the stories of miracles performed by a carpenter from Nazareth.  Finally, prodigals who had neglected their families for years returned seeking reconciliation and a fresh start on life.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, Romans 15:13.

A week ago I was comfortably numb, going through the motions of a mediocre life.  I’m not sure if it was desperation, inspiration or a combination of the two, yet I snapped out of the malaise which keep me depressed for most of 2015.  Subsequently, a sense of motivation returned, providing just the spark I needed to complete my second movie script in a nick of time.  Now back on track, I am leaning on the Holy Spirit to keep the fire burning as I press on to that which God has called me to do.  As for now, but let a rough day, week or month drag you down.  Rather, look to the Son for inspiration.

by Jay Mankus

 

An Ideal Atmosphere called Harmony

Although harmony is often associated with music, its one of the missing ingredients within society.  Defined as an orderly and pleasing combination of elements, harmony is established when various components exist together without destroying one another.  Unfortunately, rarely do strong personalities mesh without some type of power struggle.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – Psalm 133:1

The sustainability of any church, group or family is dependent upon the degree of harmony displayed.  From my vantage point, hidden agendas, control and wills create conflict.  Beneath the surface, demons, Satan and selfish desires are tugged in different directions, resulting in discord, dissension and factions.  These obstacles stand in the way of an ideal setting where harmony is achieved.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13

No one is exempt from an outburst when you lose your composure or say something that you regret.  This is where forgiveness enters the equation.  Once harmony is shattered, common sense must lead individuals toward reconciliation.  Although no one is perfect, the apostle Paul provides tips for those communities seeking unity, Colossians 3:12-15.  May bad blood, hurt feelings and severed relationships be washed away, replaced by the transforming love of Jesus Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Ful-phil-ed

Watching sports on high definition televisions can create a front row atmosphere, experiencing the thrill of victory and agony of defeat as if you are in attendance.  Amazing upsets like the 1980 U.S. Hockey team stunning the U.S.S.R. in the semi-finals of the Olympics brought you inside the Lake Placid arena.  Americans celebrated in the streets as if they were on the winning team, uniting a nation during the Cold War.  This is how I felt yesterday, as I watched Phil Mickelson do the unthinkable, shooting a final round 66, 5 under par in extreme conditions, to win his first Open Championship and 5th major overall.

1 day ago
One month after failing to win the United States Open, finishing second to Justin Rose for a record 6th time in this event, Phil reached a career low.  According to his wife Amy, Phil didn’t get out of bed for 2 days, crushed by another disappointing loss.  Based upon her interview on the Golf Channel and ESPN, Phil suffered from a severe depression similar to that of David in Psalm 32:3-4.  While a family vacation to Montana did the trick for Phil, sensing the grace, forgiveness and reconciliation of God fulfills a sinners heart.

According to the dictionary, perseverance means “to be steadfast in doing something despite any difficulties or delays in achieving success”.  Whether you are an athlete, businessman, student or writer, failure, rejection and setbacks are par for the course.  Reaching your dreams and goals in life is not a walk in the park.  Rather, one should expect to face mountains, obstacles and valleys to pass before you experience the summit of success.  Therefore, if you have recently endured a heart breaking loss, don’t waste another day pouting.  Instead, get up from the ground, say a prayer like Psalm 4:1 and ask God for a spirit of tenacity to achieve the abundant life, John 10:10.  In doing this, may you be ful-phil-ed.

by Jay Mankus