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The Philosophy of Jesus

As his reputation as a healer and teacher grew, first century philosophers began to ponder the secret behind Jesus’ success.  Some Greeks approached Philip, one of Jesus’ disciple, hoping to arrange a meeting.  After conferring with Jesus, he agreed to sit down over dinner to share his beliefs.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit, John 12:24.

This meal takes place of the eve of Passion Week, beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Jesus’ crucifixion.  Subsequently, in the previous verse John 12:23, Jesus points to a time when he will lay die his life.  This serves as an introduction to the philosophy of Jesus, you have to die to self before you can trily live.

He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life, John 12:25.

I wish I could have seen the looks on the faces of these philosophers.  I’m sure there was some head scratching and strange looks.  Yet, Jesus’ philosophy comes down to two elements: life and death.  Those who want to stay in control never find the abundant life promised in  John 10:10.  Meanwhile, those who are willing give up their life on earth to serve God receive eternal blessings.  This choice is not forced or manipulated.  Rather, its up to you.  Choose wisely.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

I’m Fine… Not!

As a former counselor and teacher at a boarding school, there are certain red flags which students indirectly raise in a given week.  If you are not paying attention, these obvious signs can be ignored.  While body language often reveals someone’s mood, subtle responses like “I’m fine” sugar coat the truth.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” John 8:32.

On one occasion near the end of the school year, one of my students threatened to kill another.  During a heart to heart, I threw his bunk bed across the room.  This act of frustration served as a break through causing him to reveal the reason behind his threat.  Breaking down in tears, I learned his parents were alcoholics and he’d rather go to jail than endure another night in that environment.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, John 16:13.

At this moment in time, I sensed the Holy Spirit beginning to speak through me.  Yet, today there are countless adults, neighbors and students who continue to reply to daily conversation with the words I’m fine or okay.  Unless you take the time to reach out to needy souls, healing will never come.  Therefore, don’t be afraid to reach out, lend a helping hand or break through the superficial to enable hearts to heal.

by Jay Mankus

Time Flies When You Do What You Were Created to Do

It’s hard to believe that this blog began 5 years ago today.  When I started, I didn’t know how long this new project would last.  As a former high school teacher, I initially wanted to keep my writing skills fresh in case another opportunity presented itself.  Yet, it was the theologian Augustine who inspired me to continue this journey.

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it, Habakkuk 2:2.

The historian Jerome credits Augustine as the one who established anew the ancient faith.  Following his conversion to Christianity in 386, Augustine began to journal his thoughts.  While sitting on his back porch, Augustine began to relate the flowers he noticed to the Garden of Eden.  The more he learned, read and studied, the deeper Augustine’s thoughts became.  After reading the Confessions of Augustine, this book inspired me to detail my own thoughts within Express Yourself 4Him to record my own spiritual journey.

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.

Although I am not certain, I don’t think that any of the great theologians of the past thought they would so influential in the future.  My belief is that many of these writers just wanted to sort out who God was and what they really believed.  If you have ever attended seminary, some of these scholars wrote thousands of pages over the course of their lives.  Yet, time flies when you do what you were created to do.  Unless God tells me otherwise, I hope to continue to share with you the insights the Holy Spirit lays on my heart, mind and soul in this blog.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Waste Your Breath

When cold weather arrives each winter, its not uncommon to see each breath you take.  In the context of a conversation, every now and then you will encounter an individual who is not teachable, disregarding your advice.  Thus, instead of wasting your breath, you have to learn to move on until the timing is right.

Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips. – Proverbs 14:7

Whether you are a coach, parent or teacher, it won’t be long until one of your pupils questions your authority.  Ignorance, pride and self-confidence are the usual suspects, making children think they know it all.  Rather than talking in vain, sometimes you how to wait until humility arrives before your words will be heard.

In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them. – Proverbs 14:3

However, when the fall does come, responding with “I told you so” won’t win you any fans.  As the opportunity arises, make sure your words are full of grace, Colossians 4:5-6, softening harden hearts.  In the meantime, don’t waste your breath until this day arrives, when the prodigal comes to their senses, Luke 15:17.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Use It or Lose It

These are words a coach, parent or teacher may express to someone they care about.  The basis for this expression, “use it or lose it,” serves as a warning to anyone who fails to practice a newly acquired ability.  The longer individuals wait before they apply information, the greater the probability someone will forget this skill.  Fearful leaders encourage their pupils to seize the moment or risk losing their lesson until next week, month or year.

One of the first students, Adam, was given a few simple commands from the Lord in Genesis 2:15-17.  First, Adam was promoted to become the caretaker of Eden’s Garden.  Secondly, Adam was given clear boundaries defined by God, “you can eat from every tree except for one,” this is off limits.  In other words, God told Adam, use it or lose it.  After a long day of work, Adam was tired, not having the strength to contain his wife’s curiosity in Genesis 3:6.  By not using his God given authority, the first family loses it all, kicked out of their home, Genesis 3:23.

Today, father’s are suppose to be the head of their family, 1 Peter 3:1-7.  Unfortunately, children born out of wedlock, divorce and absentee dad’s are signs of wasted authority.  If these trends continue, fathers will suffer the same fate of Adam, a man without a place to call home.  I can hear the following words being shouted from heaven to dad’s on the verge of disaster, “use your God given authority or lose it!”  Like the movie Courageous, may today’s blog inspire parents to leave a legacy of integrity for their children to follow.  Or else you may lose your children to a similar fate.

by Jay Mankus

 

Sorry Harry Potter… You’re Wrong!

As a former teacher, invoking the name of Harry Potter was like stirring up a hornet’s nest.  I spent years trying to find out what made students tick, probing with topics to ascertain where their allegiance lies.  To my surprise, some of the most apathetic, passive and timid individuals, transformed before my very eyes with the slightest mention of Harry Potter.  Enraged with passion, any criticism of this wizardly magician resulted in anger as if I was picking a fight with their baby brother.

Before I go any further, I don’t want to share my opinion on this issue.  Rather, I seek to confirm God’s words to the Israelites.  The Lord is starting anew in the Old Testament, introducing a set of boundaries and guidelines for the Jews to adhere.  This moral compass served as basic civil laws so that citizens would treat one another as God desired.  Under a section of instructions on social responsibility, Moses writes down God’s own words in Exodus 22:18, “do not allow a sorceress to live.”

This leads one to ask, “what is a sorcerer and why does God specifically refer to a female, not a male?”  According to Webster, a sorceress is a witch.  Meanwhile, a sorcerer is someone who claims to or displays magical powers known as an enchanter, warlock and wizard.  Now if James 2:9 speaks out against showing favoritism, Exodus 22:18 eludes to both men and women.  Therefore, sorry Harry Potter, you’re wrong for what you practice, even in a fictional series, for God is jealous, seeking our complete attention, not just when we feel like it or want to, Exodus 20:3-5.

by Jay Mankus