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Tag Archives: wisdom

17 Minutes of Action

If you subtract commercials, huddles, injury time outs and instant replay reviews, there’s actually only 17 minutes of action during a three hour National Football League telecast.  For someone who has always been a numbers guy, this statistic is surprising.  Everything in between is merely filling, like icing on a cake to make things look attractive.  This additional 2 hours and 43 minutes enables corporate sponsors to get the most bang for their investments.

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

One of the Psalmists refers to another aspect of time.  To avoid taking things for granted, this author encourages individuals to number your days.  In modern terms, this is a way to express the notion take one day at a time.  Whether you are at college, home, on the road or at work, it’s important to enjoy each moment in life.  Sure, there are some stages in life that drag on, but when you learn to appreciate the little things in life a heart of wisdom is gained.

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

When you are active, busy or occupied by full schedules, time flies by.  Unfortunately, 17 minutes of action within professional football games are prolonged by an endless parade of commercials.  Instead of seizing the moment, games delay the final outcome to maximize advertising dollars.  At some point in time, consumers will turn their attention else where.  When you do, make sure that you make the most of your time left on earth.  As the headlines of news reports continue to detail, the days are evil.  Therefore, don’t let negative stories steal your joy.  Rather, live each day like it’s your last 17 minutes of action.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Nobody is Listening

Every once in a while people are blinded by pride.  This overconfidence within the minds of individuals results in losing touch with reality.  Subsequently, as someone wanders off on a tangent, the audience initially listening quickly tunes out.

Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; Proverbs 2:2.

There is nothing worse as a teacher than to be so consumed with what you are saying that you fail to recognize no one is listening.  Despite what you thought to be a flawless lesson plan has turned into a snoozer as blank stares and sleeping students force you to figure out what went wrong.  Although it may be humbling, sometimes you have to be open to an honest assessment from students.  While some comments may be inspired from impure motives, you will find blunt answers that reveal why nobody is listening.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God,’ Revelation 2:7.

After sharing a parable, Jesus often used the saying, “let him who has ears hear.”  This spoke to the stubbornness within human hearts.  If you think you are right, then you become oblivious to those who possess an opposing point of view.  Many who heard the powerful illustrations of Jesus often left turning a deaf ear, continuing on the current path they were on.  Therefore, if you want to know the truth why nobody is listening, you have to be open to change as the Holy Spirit reveals the next step, Galatians 5:25, to take in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Rediscovering the American Spirit

While Hurricane Harvey and Irma have received most of the headlines this month, another human interest story hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.  As Americans watched images of devastation, flooding and property loss from these storms, compassionate hearts have been compelled to act.  Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watts thought maybe he could raise some money using social media.  More than thirty million dollars later, donations continue to pour in.  Meanwhile, average citizens with boats, trailers and trucks have driven to Texas to aid in the search and rescue of stranded homeowners.  Countless others have provided clothes, diapers and water for victims who have lost everything except their lives.  In the face of adversity, these hurricanes have revived the American Spirit.

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up, Ecclesiastes 4:10.

From a historical perspective, King Solomon is considered one of the wisest human beings to ever walk the face of the earth.  In the passage above, Solomon points to the goal Israelites should strive to achieve.  Human beings can be fragile, often in need of a social companion.  Whether this is a classmate, co-worker or friend, life is easier when you have someone close to pick you up after a fall.  Sometimes falling refers to a physical act, but others struggle with a lack of confidence, depression or insecurity.  Based upon the context of Genesis 2, Adam spent a portion of his life searching for a suitable helper.  Initially, Adam looked for companionship among animals, likely taking some home as pets.  Yet, at some point these relationships didn’t suffice, eventually resulting in God creating Eve.  The Lord in his infinite wisdom understood the power of one person helping another in need.  Like the pay it forward movement, as one person demonstrates random acts of kindness, other good Samaritans are motivated to join in.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him, Luke 10:33.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus uses an analogy to illustrate what happens every day.  Sometimes people get into an accident, need help or are stranded along side of the road.  The people that should come to the rescue like priests and religious people use a busy schedule as an excuse to continue on their way.  The social outcast like the Samaritan ends up saving the day.  One of the points Jesus is trying to make is which one are you?  Are you going to remain on the sideline, failing to lend a helping hand to the countless who lost a home or family member?  Or will the selfless response by J.J. Watt inspire you to abandon your own worries to reach out to someone less fortunate?  Many the power of the Holy Spirit fall upon the volunteers in Florida and Texas to rediscover the American Spirit.  Although there will be other natural disasters in the future, I pray that this kindred spirit of giving continues to impact the lives of individuals forced to start over from scratch.  When communities love their neighbors as themselves, this world becomes a better place to live.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Hidden Years of Jesus

In the life of a Jew, adulthood begins at age twelve.  A ceremony known as a Bar-mitzvah for boys and Bat-mitzvah for girls commences this stage in life.  Luke 2 provides the only glimpse of Jesus’ life as a boy during his Bar-mitzvah.  Following this event, there are 18 years of silence known as the hidden years of Jesus.

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart, Luke 2:51.

Despite this gap of missing time, there are a few things we know about Jesus.  First, Jesus continued in the ways of his earthly father Joseph as a carpenter.  According to Luke, Jesus remained an obedient son, providing for his mother Mary after Joseph’s death.  The next time Jesus appears in the Bible is in the day of John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus’ earthly ministry.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man, Luke 2:52.

There are 3 qualities that highlight the missing years of Jesus,  First, Jesus grew in wisdom by daily taking time alone to pray with his heavenly father.  Second, Jesus’ actions, constant care and nurturing words magnified his stature as a godly man.  Finally, as Jesus keep in step with the Holy Spirit, God favor remained on Jesus in the form of daily blessings.  All these things prepared Jesus for the accounts portrayed in the four gospels which transformed the lives of 11 disciples.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Be So Hysterical

Crazed, distraught and frantic are words associated with hysterical.  In this day and age, if you post, say or tweet something contrary to the secular worldview, the mainstream media goes bonkers.  Instead of participating in an honest debate of ideals, individuals on the wrong side of political correctness are attacked, defamed and trashed publicly.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15.

One of Jesus’ disciples explains the appropriate way to convince others who currently disagree with you.  Peter talks about being prepared for various questions opposing views may ask you.  This requires research, study and words of wisdom.  Nonetheless, when someone refuses to come to your side, gentleness and respect must be offered.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so, Acts 17:11.

As a former teacher, its sad to see the immaturity that exists when it comes to debate in this country.  College students who are fearful of opposing worldviews are offered safe spaces on campuses to protect their minds.  Meanwhile, conservative voices are being silenced, with many having their freedom of speech revoked and shut down by protesters.  If only more people would emulate the practices of the Bereans perhaps this current state of hysteria might end.  As for now, apply the words of Peter by sharing your views with gentleness and respect.

by Jay Mankus

The Breath of the Almighty

One of my common expressions at work is “that’s a strange one.”  The context is based upon items and products that I stumble upon which I have never heard of before or seen.  Many people have the same response to the Bible, especially when you read a term that doesn’t make any sense initially.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

When the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, he makes a distinction between the Sinful Nature and the Spirit.  If you read chapter five from the beginning you will find there is an internal battle going on.  What you want to do and what God desires for you to carry out.  Those who live according to the world’s standards give into self gratification.  Meanwhile, those who truly decide to follow Christ must internally die to self to allow God’s Spirit to reign.

But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand, Job 32:8.

Elihu of the Old Testament is the first person to make this comparison.  Yet, Elihu is referring to signs of spiritual understanding.  When someone demonstrates or speaks words of wisdom, its not just the Spirit within mankind.  Rather, godliness comes forth through the breath of the Almighty God.  May this be your goal in life by yielding control so that the Holy Spirit will shine through you.

by Jay Mankus

A Sign of Understanding

As a former high school teacher, I learned the importance of reading the body language of my students.  When I began to see stares of cluelessness, I knew it was time to slow down and repeat the point I was attempting to make.  After attending a seminar as part of continuing education, I adopted a new concept into my classroom.  Following a process of nominees, volunteering and voting, each class chose a representative to be the voice.  This person helped me comprehend who was lost and what needed more review prior to tests.

And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding,” Job 28:28.

In the spiritual realm, God has His own criteria for signs of understanding.  Job uses similar language to Solomon in the book of Proverbs, but adds another element at the end.  It’s one thing to have knowledge about a topic.  Yet, unless you apply what you know it’s meaningless.  Thus, the fear of the Lord is displayed when individuals shun evil.  According to Job, those who possess understanding steer clear of any traces of evil.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction, Proverbs 1:7.

When I was younger, I often heard parents and teachers repeat the same saying.  “If you play with fire long enough, eventually you will get burned.”  Based upon the verse above, fools refuse to listen to advice.  This leads naive individuals to be scarred by powers of darkness.  When evil is not shunned, the judgment of those who play with fire become clouded.  In view of this scenario, don’t just know what is right, apply God’s principles by shunning evil.

by Jay Mankus