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Tag Archives: teaching

Where’s the Meat?

In 1984 the Wendy’s Fast Food Chain introduced one of the most memorable advertising slogans of my time, “where’s the beef?”  Actress Clara Peller receives a small burger on a large bun which sets the stage for this classic line.  This commercial convinced customers for a period of time that you had to go to Wendy’s to enjoy a beefy hamburger.

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil, Hebrews 5:14.

In spiritual houses of worship, there is a similar question asked by hungry souls, “where’s the meat?”  Due to a movement toward entertaining church services, there appears to be more fluff and less detailed teaching.  Thus, many believers are struggling to grow, lacking challenging sermons filled with spiritual meat.

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

During a conversation among disciples and Pharisees, Jesus makes an assumption about spiritual growth.  Sooner or later, the spiritually mature must grow up by learning to take care of their own faith.  When you reach this stage in life, you can feed yourself through times of Bible Study, fellowship with other believers and prayer.  As you develop healthy spiritual disciplines, you can find the meat, godly principles, within the Bible daily.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Time’s Up

Even when you stop for a while to sit down and rest, there’s always a clock running somewhere in the world.  Whether its Time Square, Big Ben or a clock in your house, time never stops ticking.  When your time is up on earth, the Lord will send someone else to finish any task that you were unable to complete.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

One of the nice things about time is that after 24 hours everything resets to zero.  Subsequently, each day should be a learning process, a chance to improve on the mistakes of yesterday.  Solomon suggests that those open to teaching will receive a heart of wisdom.

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:16.

Like the tragedy at the Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida, days can turn evil at any point.  In the case of today, five innocent individuals were taken from this planet.  Life can be cruel when someone who is influenced by powers of darkness exercises free will with the intent to harm others.  May God have mercy on those who time has expired, divinely providing for family members left behind on earth.

by Jay Mankus

 

When Days Don’t End Like You Hoped

The endings of Hollywood movies have ingrained in American minds that life should conclude in a certain way.  Unfortunately, film and reality are miles apart.  Subsequently, more and more individuals feel the crippling effects of sleepless nights caused by days which end far from what each expected.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

After losing my teaching position 5 years ago, I transitioned into screen writing based upon the advice of a former co-worker.  Three complete scripts later my initial goal is to sell one my these scripts before I reach 55; then write a script a year in retirement.  Despite my desires, an unexpected eye condition may put my own plan on hold or cancel it completely.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Matthew 11:28.

When things don’t go your way or days end in heart break, there’s only one place to turn.  Carrying around all your burdens, pain and worry will wear you out.  Therefore, do let trials suck out your joy for life.  Instead, go to the Lord in prayer so that Jesus will replace your burden with peace.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Until You Repent

Taking advice from a stranger usually doesn’t go over well.  Some will be insulted, others perturbed and most will shut down, unwilling to go any further with the current conversation.  However, when God is the stranger, perhaps you should open your heart and mind to the message provided.

Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings, Proverbs 1:23.

In a letter addressed to his sons, Solomon stresses the importance of listening like a voice of reason.  Trying to urge his children to avoid the same mistakes he made, Solomon reinforces the principle of repentance.  If you drive long enough, sooner or later you will miss your turn.  Thus, if you want to reach your desired destination, making a U-turn is a must.

But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm, Proverbs 1:33.

The Lord promises the blessing of a safe life to those who heed this call.  Yet, for those too stubborn to stop, drop and pray, calamity is awaiting, with disaster, trouble and distress on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  While the choice is obvious, too many people end up on the wrong side of the fence.  If you’re currently wondering, what the hell is going on, its likely heartache will continue until you repent.

by Jay Mankus

Discernment, a Weather Forecast or None of the Above

My favorite college professor at the University of Delaware taught Physical Geography.  During my interactions with Dr. Mather, he urged my to pursue a career in Meteorology.  Beside a Major League Baseball hitter, what other occupation allows you to be wrong 80% of the time and still keep your job.  Although his teaching made me eager to learn about weather systems, I felt called to go into youth ministry after graduating from college.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them, 1 Corinthians 12:4.

Following a semester of teaching poetry to junior high students at a boarding school in West Virginia, I sensed an ability to discern hidden things.  This gift initially took the shape of writing, ranging from poetry, song writing and short stories.  However, fourteen years ago this week God revealed an a new venue.  One night, I couldn’t sleep, feeling like someone I knew was in trouble.  So I started to pray for everyone I could think of when I heard a knock on our front door.  My next door neighbor went to labor, three months premature.  This time of prayer continued until I got word she and her new daughter were okay.

There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work, 1 Corinthians 12:5-6.

When I was younger, I tried to be well round.  However, the older I become, it’s obvious that they are certain things I was never created and designed to do.  Thus, I press on, specializing in my areas of expertise.  Whether its discernment, a weather forecast or none of the above, strive to excel in what you do best.  As for me, I continue to write, hoping one day to be a successful author or screen writer.  Until this day arrives or my gifts shift in a new direction, I pray that the Lord honors the service of utilizing my God given talents.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Rules Without Reason

As a former high school teacher, I spent ten years hearing teenagers complain about rules without reason.  While students enjoy testing a teacher’s limits, pushing the envelope as far as possible, these complaints aren’t without merit.  Sometimes I established rules that didn’t make sense.  Following a methods course in Classroom Dynamics, I began to see the error of my way.  Thus, I started to alter, change and eliminate any rules without reason.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28

Unfortunately, the government not only thrives on creating rules without reason, new legislation often provides positions to enforce these new policies.   While cell phone and texting laws are practical, some states have made it illegal to eat and drive.  In fact if you want a big gulp from 7 Eleven, local officials are trying to prevent individuals from purchasing anything over 24 ounces.  It’s no wonder that Frank Baum wrote the Wizard of Oz to illustrate the empty promises made by the United States government.  Perhaps, a candidate in 2016 will run on the platform of ending rules without reason.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God, Romans 13:1.

The government is not the only culprit, as the church is not far behind, relying on theology written several hundred or in some cases thousands of years ago.  In an attempt to force a congregation to adhere to a denominations’ beliefs, teetotalism can surface.  This stringent enforcement contradicts free will, resulting in members feeling like they have the power to police others in the church.  Perhaps, its time to exchange religion for a personal relationship with God.  In doing so, the grace of God will flow as rules without reason are replaced with faith.

by Jay Mankus

Training Days

If you choose to enter the military, individuals must complete boot camp, also known as basic training.  Depending upon which branch of the armed services and career path you select, skills vary as basic combat training is followed by advanced individual training.  For those who survive phase one, soldiers must complete their service time before moving on to college, a professional career or accept another tour of duty.  Without these training days, the military would be unprepared for Murphy Law like scenarios.

And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus, Acts 9:19.

Training days aren’t limited to the military.  Prior to his missionary journeys, Paul spent several days with the disciples.  Steeped in Judaism, this apostle needed to adjust his mindset, poisoned by the false stereotypes he developed about Jesus.  While the details of these training days are absent, I’m assuming Paul participated in a Q & A with those who knew Jesus best.  Once Paul was able to connect the dots in the Old Testament leading to Jesus, he was ready for action.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Most people have endured the school of hard knocks.  This school doesn’t need a recruiter.  Rather, candidates are chosen through a series of trials placed in their lives.  Depending upon how you handle and react to these unfortunate events will determine if you pass or fail.  When the rubber hits the road, how will these training days shape you?  As you experience any trauma, don’t forget to apply God’s Word to help you overcome any painful situations that you face.

by Jay Mankus