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Author Archives: expressyourself4him

Preserving Your Soul During COVID-19

Prior to modern electricity and appliances, there wasn’t a way to store a large quantity of food. Back in the first century, salt was used to extend the life of and preserve meat. Since all living things require water and cannot grow in the absence of it, salt dries out food and prevents bacteria from growing. In the passage below, Jesus uses salt as a way to add flavor. However, instead of referring to food, Christians should add flavor to the lives of the people you come in contact with daily.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men, Matthew 5:13.

Unfortunately, as the weight of the worries in this world take a toll on human souls, you may not feel like passing on God’s love. The apostle Paul writes about this state of mind in Philippians 2:1-4. When you let yourself get run down, you lose the ability to help other people effectively. If you ever find yourself struggling to get through each day, you need to take time to renew and revive your own soul. Then and only then will you be able to preserve the lives of others.

But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul, Hebrews 10:39.

In the last passage leading up to the Bible’s version of the Hall of Fame, Hebrews 11, the author eludes to individuals who left their faith. At some point in life, these Christians abandoned their new life in Christ to indulge the addictions, bad habits, cravings and desires of their past. To avoid making the same mistakes of these wayward believers, the author points to heroes of the Christian faith. By examining and studying the choices that they made, you will be able to preserve your soul in the future regardless how long COVID-19 continues to last.

by Jay Mankus

Discovering Your Divine Purpose in 2021

Purpose is like a pulse that provides a reason to get out of bed every day. The book definition of purpose is the reason for which something is done, created or for which something exists. In a letter to the Church of Philippi, the apostle Paul makes a fascinating statement. For a Christian, there is a divine purpose that God began in you as a child and desires for you to carry this on to completion.

By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible, Hebrews 11:3.

Paul said what? What signal and signs did I miss? Did I blow God off? Was I so consumed by my own life that I was oblivious to the people God sent into my life? Looking back at my teenage years, I certainly took several detours and wrong turns. I resisted God on numerous occasions until my nervous breakdown in high school. I may not have wandered around for 40 years like Israel, but I was still stubborn for 2 decades.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:2.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s never too late to discover your divine purpose. Using an analogy from Romans 9:19-29, God is a heavenly potter and we are the clay. Since a piece of art takes time to create, discovering this divine purpose begins with a spiritual transformation. Along the way, the Bible is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The move you read and study God’s Word, this purpose starts to come into focus, beginning with the borders. From here, the Holy Spirit serves as a counselor to lead the way.

by Jay Mankus

A Lament for Covid 19

A lament is a passionate expression of grief and sorrow. One Old Testament writer developed the nickname of the weeping prophet. Unfortunately, every time Jeremiah seemed to receive a message from the Lord, it made him cry or brought sadness to Israel. Perhaps, this was the inspiration for the Book of Lamentations. Whatever the reason, certain events like Covid-19 bring a similar cry for help today.

And I say, Perished is my strength and my expectation from the Lord. 19 [O Lord] remember [earnestly] my affliction and my misery, my wandering and my outcast state, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul has them continually in remembrance and is bowed down within me, Lamentations 3:18-20.

Since the Coronavirus struck the United States in 2020, more than 770,000 lives have been snuffed out by this deadly plague. Despite having access to vaccines in 2021, Covid 19 has now taken more lives in the United States this year than 2020, 386,233 and counting. You would think that as more Americans get vaccinated the death toll would steadily decline, but this is not the case.

But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: 22 It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not, Lamentations 3:21-22.

When science doesn’t have the answers or a cure, Jesus is the last line of defense. In the passage above, Jeremiah takes a dire situation and changes his perspective. Instead of focusing on what can’t be done, Jeremiah remembers all the past miracles performed by God in the Bible. Despite how bleak your future may be, hold on to Jesus as you lament to the Lord for a real cure for Covid 19.

by Jay Mankus

Avoiding the Path of Misery

Italian historian Dominici de Gravina eluded to the concept of misery loves company in the 14th century. More than 200 years later in England, John Ray wrote a proverb referring to this strange attraction to misery. In the first century, the apostle Paul warns his readers about the company that you keep, 1 Corinthians 10:32. No matter how pure your intentions may be, bad character corrupts good people.

Yet let no man strive, neither let any man reprove [another—do not waste your time in mutual recriminations], for with you is My contention, O priest. And you shall stumble in the daytime, and the [false] prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother [the priestly nation]. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you that you shall be no priest to Me; seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children, Hosea 4:4-6.

At the end of his famous sermon, Jesus urges his audience to avoid going down the wrong path in Matthew 7:13-14. One Old Testament prophet blames the path of misery on a lack of knowledge and vision. Meanwhile, Jesus points to the public pressure to conform to explain why so many people end up self destructing. Subsequently, the choices you make in life will influence the path you ultimately take.

But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul, Hebrews 10:39.

When I was in high school, anytime I was miserable I made it my objective to not let anyone else have any fun. This stubborn obsession was like a dark cloud seeking to bring everyone I came in contact with down. Yet, the Bible speaks of an eternal state that is permanent. Therefore, if you find yourself heading down a path toward destruction and misery, turn to Jesus so that your faith may be preserved.

by Jay Mankus

My First Thanksgiving without Rush

For as long as I can remember, I tuned into the Excellent in Broadcasting radio network the day before Thanksgiving. From noon to three in the afternoon, Rush Limbaugh became the godfather of conservative talk radio. Yet, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was devoted to sharing the real story of America’s first Thanksgiving, not found in modern textbooks. Yet, on February 17th, 2021 Rush lost his battle with lung cancer, ending his 33 year Hall of Fame career in broadcasting.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([b]definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that [c]tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall [d]garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:6-7.

My brother in law Bob first introduced me to Rush in 1992. Initially, I didn’t get the show. Nor did I like Rush’s humor as some of his comments offended me as a Christian. Yet, the more I listened, I began to understand his political perspective. One comment that has stuck with me through years is “no listener ever graduates from his show as the learning never ends.” When I became a high school teacher back in 2002, I adopted some of Rush’s methods to form my favorite class: Steeling the Minds of America.

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 19 Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit; 1 Thessalonians 5:18-19.

Attached is Rush’s detailed explanation of the first Thanksgiving in America. When I heard Rush’s account many years ago, this was far different from anything that I was taught as a child. The Pilgrims believed that God sent Squanto, a native American Indian, to help them survive their second winter in New England. Squanto’s knowledge and teachable spirit led these Pilgrims to have a tremendous harvest in 1621. This is the context of the first Thanksgiving feast so as you gather around a table to break bread with family, thank God for the Squantos in your life.

by Jay Mankus

Let Us Come Forward in Truth

In the days of Little House on the Prairie and Let it to Beaver, television attempted to present a moral or truth to viewers in each episode. While not every message was based on the Bible, America was a much more conservative culture. With each passing generation, executives and writers began to push the envelope further and further. Modern streaming services and series are a byproduct of this moral decay.

Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by [b]that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water, Hebrews 10:22.

Whenever anyone makes an error, mistake or outright sins, the Bible encourages individuals who have messed up to come forward in truth. Unfortunately, telling the truth is discouraged in many cultures; seen as a form of betrayal like a nark or snitch. Yet, in the passage above, faith involves laying everything on the line. Regardless of how you may feel, honesty remains the best policy.

Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working], James 5:16.

My favorite class while attending Seminary was Revival and Revivalism. One of our textbooks studied the Great Awakenings. The second great awakening began when a young man felt compared to come up on stage and began to publicly confess his sins. When someone comes forward in truth, a spirit of confession can transform an entire congregation. Therefore, the next time you blow it big time, don’t be afraid to pour out your heart so that healing and restoration can begin.

by Jay Mankus

Stir Up, Stimulate and Incite the Love of Jesus

As a former high school teacher, there was always at least one student per class who knew how to stir up trouble. If I didn’t identify this individual quickly, it wasn’t long before I lost control of an entire classroom. Yet, stir up does include synonyms that can be construed as positive. In the passage below, one New Testament author refers to someone who generates, sparks and triggers an atmosphere of love.

And let us consider and give [d]attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, Hebrews 10:24.

As soon as someone sets the tone for a positive climate to exist, others are stimulated to follow. Yet, if Christians don’t lead the way consistently, it won’t be long until another person fills this leadership void. The author of Hebrews urges believers to be attentive, careful and watch over one another. Guidance is provided by studying the Bible which is the source to finding out how to love.

And this is the message [the message of [g]promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [[h]no, not in any way]. [So] if we say we are partakers together and enjoy fellowship with Him when we live and move and are walking about in darkness, we are [both] speaking falsely and do not live and practice the Truth [which the Gospel presents], 1 John 1:5-6.

While incite is often used in a negative manner, you can instigate a moment for the kingdom of God. In the passage above, light is the key to love. Unfortunately, all too often darkness enters the equation which tends to drag everyone else down. Therefore, if you want to stir up, stimulate and incite the love of Jesus, become partakers in Christian fellowship to inspire others to pass on God’s love.

by Jay Mankus

Seize, Hold Fast to and Retain Hope

Famous poet Robert Frost published the poem Carpe Diem in 1938. Carpe diem is a Latin aphorism taken from book 1 of the Roman poet Horace’s work Odes. When translated into English, Carpe Diem refers to “seize the day”. To seize involves to make the most of this present time and give little thought to the future. This is the sense of urgency the author of Hebrews is attempting to communicate.

So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the [c]hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word, Hebrews 10:23.

Holding fast means to tightly secure something that is deemed important and valuable. This process focuses on continuing to believe in and adhere to an idea or principle. In the passage above, hope is the glue meant to cement the faith of modern day Christians. Like a cherished teddy bear that a small child clings to each night in bed, hope is what you wrap your arms around in times of need.

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. For by [faith—[b]trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report, Hebrews 11:1-2.

In football games, defensive players attempt to force, intercept, punch and remove the ball from the individual who has it. To retain possession, running backs, receivers and quarterbacks do everything in their power to avoid turning the football over. This is the message Hebrews is trying to convey by seizing, holding fast to and retaining hope. As life continues to fly by, may faith and hope be secured despite what the forces of this world may do to try to change your mind, Ephesians 6:12.

by Jay Mankus

A Spiritual Makeover for Troubled Souls

A makeover is a complete transformation or remodeling of something. The two most common usages apply to an individual’s physical appearance or the complete renovation of a house. Whether due to age, deterioration and or erosion, makeovers may be necessary to extend life. This may be in the form of altering one’s diet and exercise so that healthy foods and working out will promote a spiritual makeover.

And also the Holy Spirit adds His testimony to us [in confirmation of this]. For having said, 16 This is the agreement (testament, covenant) that I will set up and conclude with them after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them on their minds (on their inmost thoughts and understanding), Hebrews 10:15-16.

The author of Hebrews eludes to an internal change that takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit. To those who experienced this transformation in the first century shared their testimonies. One of the ways sinners alter their wayward habits is by meditating on God’s laws, Joshua 1:8. When this spiritual discipline is done with a sincere heart, minds begin shift from selfish toward eternity. As mindsets begin to change, thoughts and understanding set the stage for a spiritual makeover.

 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

The apostle Paul illustrates this transformation in the passage above. Whenever you stop living for yourself and start living for a higher calling, earthly bodies can begin to make this transition. Yet, a spiritual makeover can’t occur until you stop conforming to the patterns of this world. Just like Jesus encouraged his followers to emulate the beatitudes, spiritual transformation is an ongoing process as Christians seek to find out God’s will for your life. Unfortunately, change takes time as trial and error will close one door while opening another. It is on this journey where spiritual makeovers near completion.

by Jay Mankus

Going Beyond Just Being a Religious Person

When I studied the New Testament for the first time, my perception of religion changed. I guess being a good person was so ingrained into my head while being raised in a Roman Catholic Church, I overlooked the message of the gospel. The apostle Paul taught me that no matter how hard I tried to please God, following religious practices only takes you so far, Romans 3:9-12. Subsequently, I was no better than the prodigal son, a sinner in desperate need of a Savior.

Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants, Luke 15:17-19.

When I read the Bible sometimes, thoughts like “I can’t believe they did that” race through my mind. Yet, if the tables were turned and I was living in the first century, I’m sure I wouldn’t like the person who would portray me. Despite attempting to live a decent, good and upright life, I’ve made my own spiritual messes. I’ve squandered money like the prodigal son on all sorts of temporary pleasures. Just when I thought I hit the bottom of the barrel, I broke through to reach lower depths.

So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [[j]fervently]. 21 And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]! 22 But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. 23 And bring out [k]that [wheat-]fattened calf and kill it; and let us [l]revel and feast and be happy and make merry, 24 Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to [m]revel and feast and make merry, Luke 15:20-24.

One of the lesser stressed parts of this parable is the type of a relationship that God desires. When you finally come to your senses, asking for forgiveness and mercy is just the beginning. While Jesus suggests Christians should strive for perfection in Matthew 5:48, this is merely a religious exercise. Rather, Jesus wants a permanent meaningful lasting relationship. If you’re tired of being a flawed perfectionist, it’s time to move beyond being a religious person toward a special connection with God, John 3:16-17.

by Jay Mankus

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