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Skeletons of Your Past

Despite how perfect some individuals may act, behave and live out on a daily basis, everyone possesses imperfections.  These blemishes often result in a dark side with secret addictions, bad habits or unthinkable acts that would shock the average person.  This collection of scars accumulate into skeletons of your past.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us, 1 John 1:8-10.

There was a time in American history where honesty was the best policy.  However, sometimes revealing a skeleton or two from your past can do permanent damage.  Recently. Pete Rose admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a minor back in the 1970’s.  This confession sent shockwaves across the country, igniting outrage throughout social media.  Based upon the comments posted, it’s as if this was the worst act ever committed.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, Galatians 5:16.

The second aspect of confession is taking the steps toward the road to recovery.  Perhaps, this may explain the criticism of Rose over his lack of contrition for his previous transgressions.  Thus, if you want to experience healing from the skeletons of your past, you must learn to walk according to the Holy Spirit.  Based upon the apostle Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 10:13, God will provide a way out when temptations arrive.  In your journey toward healing, may the Lord guide you out of bondage to find freedom in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

by Jay Mankus

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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

Look Up, Look Within and Look Around

The current culture that exists encourages individuals to point their finger at everyone but themselves.  This mentality enables blame to become attached to innocent people.  Cable news, social media and talk radio often defends the guilty while accusing those who share an alternative worldview.  Instead of continuing down this road, perhaps its time to look up by using prayer to ask God why?

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you, Matthew 6:33.

If you don’t receive a definitive answer, maybe its time to look within.  When things don’t go your way, you may be the person responsible.  This is where accountability comes into play.  If you surround yourself with yes people, you might not ever hear the honest truth.  After any fall in life, God uses humility to teach sinners to learn from mistakes from the past.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened, Matthew 7:8.

One thing God is teaching me is to avoid becoming self absorbed.  I tend to get so focused on what I am doing that I ignore the needs of others.  To correct this bad habit, change begins by looking up for divine intervention.  When insight arrives, personal reflection may be required to alter your direction in life if necessary.  Finally, as individuals begin to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, its much easier to look around to see where God want you to be.

by Jay Mankus

Respect This

It’s been fifty years since Aretha Franklin introduced her version of Respect.  This hit song has been part of advertisements, commercials and movies.  One of my favorite synonyms for respect is reverence.  This is one of these terms which been forgotten, rarely practiced anymore.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor, Romans 12:10.

Unfortunately, the popularity of social media has gradually flushed respect down the toilet.  Every day Twitter wars disregard decency to bully, defame and lash out at those with whom you disagree.  While the Bible encourages individuals to outdo others in a positive manner, this message is either ignored or simply scoffed at.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you,” Exodus 20:12.

The reason why respect is vanishing can be found in one of the ten commandments.  When individuals begin to dishonor fathers and mothers, this decision opens the door to every area of life.  No one is immune resulting in a culture that trashes everyone or everything in sight.  Atheists helped kick God out of American public schools in the 1960’s.  Fifty years later respect is one of the casualties of this war on religion.  If you want to keep respect alive, start honoring fathers and mothers and maybe, just maybe respect will survive.

by Jay Mankus

 

That’s the Worst!

In this age of raw emotions expressed on social media, perspective is often lost.  Subsequently, blogs, instagrams and tweets tend to exaggerate events, making things far worse than reality.  Thus, if you troll social media long enough, don’t be surprise if you find a comment claiming, “that’s the worst.”

Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue, Psalm 120:2.

Whenever I drive, my patience is at its worst.  Whether I am alone or driving my family, I am frustrated by the slightest mistake made by other drivers.  These offenses strike a nerve, usually getting me bent out of shape.  Unfortunately, I prematurely judge and label each individual behind the wheel as the worst driver I have ever seen.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; Luke 6:37.

Debates over what’s the “worst” varies.  Some claim accidental deaths, others suggest cancer victims and a few argue that the millions of aborted babies since 1973 is a travesty.  As for me, I believe eternal separation from God is the worst.  In a discussion with his 12 disciples, Jesus brings up the concept of losing your soul.  The context suggests the temptation to be rich, self-supportive and wealthy causes some to forfeit their soul.  In view of this, follow Jesus’ advice within Matthew 16:24-26 by giving your life away.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Opening Your Eyes to the Suffering of Friends

When I was younger, I was naive.  This immaturity lead me to become blind, oblivious to the needs of my friends.  Carl who eventually became my best friend in high school often punched me in the shoulder, shouting out “punch buggy” yellow or blue.  Behind this aggression was a boy crying out for help as he silently watched cancer take his mother’s life.  I could have been there for him, providing a shoulder to lean on.  Yet, I was consumed by my own life.

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him, Job 2:11.

News of the tragedy that struck Job spread to his friends and neighbors.  Since no funerals are referenced, these three men dropped what they were doing to comfort Job.  However, as they approached, the sight of Job’s condition was overwhelming.  This brought out raw emotions, crying with their friend.  Based upon the words used by Job, none of these friends could come to terms with what happened, remaining silent for a week.  Sometimes a hug is more powerful than words.

When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.  Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was, Job 2:12-13.

In this day and age, its easy to connect or reach out to friends using social media.  Since my emergency eye surgery last November, I posted on Facebook a need for prayers a couple of times.  I’ve been amazed and touched by the outpouring of support that I have received.  In the moments immediately following requests for prayers, I have felt the healing power of your prayers.  This experience has inspired me to open my eyes to the suffering of friends.  May this blog inspire you to reach a helping hand like the friends of Job in chapter 2.

by Jay Mankus