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Tag Archives: vow

It’s Not What It Seems

As you grow close to co-workers, family and friends, there are certain tendencies that you expect to see.  Sure, there will be anomalies that will occur that might catch you off guard momentarily, but you know them.  Meanwhile, there will be other phases which people go through that will question how much you really know about these individuals.  Nonetheless, sometimes actions, behavior or words are not what it seems.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? – Matthew 3:7
At first glance, I didn’t understand why John the Baptist rebuked Pharisees and Sadducees in the passage above for wanting to be baptized.  At this time in history becoming baptized by John was trending, the popular thing to do in the Jewish community.  Thus, John saw through their hidden motives, like those praying out loud at the weeping wall, trying to convince others of their godliness.  While individuals today continue to seek attention in similar ways, be careful that you’re not fooled by someone living a lie like Jim Carrey in Liar Liar.
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance, Matthew 3:8.
When actions appear to be fake, phony and unusual, the Bible provides a truth detector.  The author of Matthew who is a member of the tribe of Levi suggests that genuine confession is followed by acts of contrition.  If an alcoholic is seen at a bar Sunday night after informing his pastor I have finally quit drinking, no one will believe him.  When a woman promises not to have another affair yet is flirting with a co-worker the next day, what good is this vow?  Since we live in a world of hypocrites, stop coming up with excuses for poor decisions or it’s not what it seems may become reality.
by Jay Mankus
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A Man of Broken Promises

Sometimes you have to listen closely to what you say.  If you don’t, you could end up blowing smoke, carelessly throwing out words void of meaning.  As I reflected upon recent conversations with my children on my days off, its sad to say that I’ve become a man of broken promises.

A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool, Ecclesiastes 5:3.

Just because someone is intelligent, does not make them immune from making foolish decisions.  The context of the passage above likely refers to Solomon’s struggles to please his wife.  Like any good husband, there is a desire satisfy the needs of those whom you love.  Unfortunately, Solomon acquired 700 wives and 300 concubines as king of Israel, making it extremely difficult for him to be a man of his word.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow, Ecclesiastes 5:4.

As I try to pick up the pieces of my tattered reputation, the words of Ecclesiastes serve as a good place to start.  Whether you are talking to friends, family or neighbors, don’t promise anything you can’t keep.  If anything, limit your commitments and over deliver.  For if you don’t heed this message, you may wake up one morning like me and realize that you’ve become a man of broken promises.

by Jay Mankus

 

Never Say Never

As I reflect upon life on my birthday, I am reminded of a recent State Farm commercial.  A young man trying to play it cool professes “I’ll never get married!”  Shortly following every claim, each statement comes true.  Therefore, whether you’re young or old, never say never.

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times,” Mark 14:30.

Five years ago, I had dreams of becoming a college professor at a new community college about to open.  I thought my lone obstacle was completing my master’s degree, a third of the way through at the time.  However, financial issues squashed this from ever getting off the ground.  Six months later I was blind sided, out of a job and forced to invent myself.

But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same, Mark 14:31.

In the Bible, Peter often comes off as cocky, boldly stating that he would never deny Jesus even if all the disciples did.  A couple of days later, Peter publicly denied Jesus three times.  At the sound of a rooster crowing, Peter was reminded of his vow.  Full of regret and remorse, even the confident like Peter experience painful reminders to never say never.

by Jay Mankus

The Day God Said Adios

Usually, humans are the ones who question God.  Rants such as “how can a loving God allow my child to die or why do bad things happen to good people while the wicked continue to prosper” is par for the course.  Yet, have you ever considered that God is scratching His head up in heaven daily, trying figure out the actions of his children?  Disappointed by Israel, His chosen nation, one too many times, God finally had enough, saying “adios.”

According to Psalm 95:10, God’s patience wore thin.  Expecting the parting of the Red Sea to transform hearts for a generation, the Lord’s miracles were quickly forgotten.  Faithless acts, hungry stomachs and spoiled souls unleashed the wrath of God upon a generation, Psalm 95:11.  Essentially, God vowed not to let this disobedient generation experience the promised land.  Instead, the Jews wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, prevented from tasting a land filled with milk and honey.

This lesson is similar to the words of the prophet Isaiah 1:15-20.  When followers become distracted by sin, God tunes out their prayers.  Subsequently, the Lord is waiting for believers to humble themselves, admit their wrong doing and reason with Him in prayer.  Then and only then will you experience God’s blessings, Isaiah 1:19.  However, if anyone attempt to take a short cut, don’t be surprised if God says adios.

by Jay Mankus

Potty Mouth

If you are honest with yourself, we have all had a regretful moment in reflecting, “I can’t believe I just said that!”  At times in life, often unexpected, the strangest things come out of our mouths.  This is likely the context of Psalm 59:12, when mere words become like venom, filling ears with poison and contaminating the souls of children.

There was a time, not so long ago when communities helped police themselves.  Adult figures served as guardians, instilling character within neighborhoods.  If a child ever publicly cursed, displayed disrespect or harmed another kid, parents would immediate intervene, forcing this individual to apologize and vow never to do this act again.

Today, the fear of confrontation, law suits and a gradual decay within society has led to an epidemic of sins of the mouth.  Whether you are at your local mall, walking through a park or catching a quote family show on television, put downs, 4 letter words and F-bombs have become common place.  Garbage in, garbage out has impacted children under the age of 10, spewing out what they hear, without any regard to listening ears.

The Bible’s diagnosis of this problem places the blame on the human heart, Jeremiah 17:9.  According to Jesus, the heart serves as a storage center, absorbing up good and bad things, Luke 6:45.  Vocabulary is simply a byproduct of what your heart has accumulated.  Therefore, if you want to stop these sins before they roll off your tongue, guard your heart for it is the well spring of life, Proverbs 4:23.  Replace these sins of the mouth with the peace of Christ, Colossians 3:15-17.

by Jay Mankus