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Category Archives: Truth

On Spiritual Life Support

Most adults have a scale that they step on and off every day. Based upon the weight that is revealed will dictate how much you eat and the amount of exercise that you engage in today. When you’re lighter than expected, individuals begin to feel a sense of accomplishment. However, when your scale unveils an extra five pounds that you just gained, an overwhelming spirit of conviction and shame may put your soul on spiritual life support.

And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity, Genesis 3:2-5.

According to Web MD, the human body is a complex machine with organs and systems constantly at work. When crucial internal functions begin to fail, human beings may have to be hooked up to a device to keep a body alive until it’s normal functions are restored. While life support machines were commonly used for those suffering from severe brain trauma, struggling Coronavirus patients were placed on a ventilator to help them breathe.

Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period). 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin]. 13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not [b]adjusted and [c]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to [d]a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently, 1 Corinthians 10:11-13.

Christians who end up on spiritual life support get to this point by following in the footsteps of Adam and Eve. As soon as individuals begin to question in their minds “did God really say,” trouble is in your future. Embracing this mindset opens the door for justification and the rationalization of sin. Instead of searching for ways to escape temptation, I’ve experienced that vicious cycle where I prayed for forgiveness before indulging my flesh. If you have ever reached this state, reflect on the passage above so that you can begin to turn your faith around.

by Jay Mankus

What Love Can Do for You

From a musical point of view, the Beatles were one of the most influential bands of all time. Despite being from England, the sound of the Beatles was embraced by Americans and idolized as their popularity grew. From a spiritual perspective, there isn’t much that John Lennon, Paul McCartney and I agree upon. However, there was one project released as a non-album single in July 1967 that I believe in. The title “All You Need is You” said all you need to say.

For I have derived great joy and comfort and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints [who are your fellow Christians] have been cheered and refreshed through you, [my] brother. Therefore, though I have abundant boldness in Christ to charge you to do what is fitting and required and your duty to do, Philemon 1:7-8.

One of the apostle Paul’s first century letters highlight what love can do for your life. Paul is reminded by comfort, encouragement and joy derived from the love of Jesus poured out upon him from fellow believers. When the hearts of a saint are full of the Holy Spirit, love bubbles over as a form of spiritual refreshment. Paul’s advice to one of the servants on his ministry team is to do what it fitting and required as a child of God.

Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith ([b]your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength! 14 Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God’s love for us), 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.

Paul takes a different direction in a letter to the Church at Corinth. Love doesn’t come naturally. Rather, you need to be alert daily, regularly on your guard and stand firm in your faith. As Christians maintain their conviction and devotion for God, love can keep you going even when you don’t have the strength to carry on. According to Paul, love should be your motivation for everything you do, loving others as Christ loved the church.

by Jay Mankus

Enter at Your Own Risk

As someone who handles hazardous materials each week, I encounter a wide range of warning signs. Whether it’s an image of a gas mask, a skull and cross bones or radioactivity, these send the message to proceed with caution. Meanwhile, if you have the chance to do a lot of traveling, you’ll see a number of warnings designed to serve as a disclaimer to prevent owners from being liable. Such is the case of doors labeled with “enter at your own risk.”

Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one, James 1:13.

The early brother of Jesus provides the spiritual version of enter at your own risk. The context of the passage above and below is referring to the door leading into temptation. James’ disclaimer comes in the statement above. When you are tempted by someone or something, it isn’t God’s fault as free will gives all humans beings the choice to embrace temptation or flee. Therefore, enter at your own spiritual risk.

But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death, James 1:14-15.

The final portion of this passage explains what happens while inside temptation. James compares this to a fishing trip. However, instead of using a first century net, the enemy uses bait to lure curious spectators behind the Devil’s Door. The hungrier souls become, the more appealing forbidden fruit becomes. If you decide to enter temptation at your own risk today, beware of fleshly desires, lust and earthly passions that will intensity. Turn back before it’s too late.

by Jay Mankus

Praying for Participation and Sharing

Early on in a new school year, trying to get students to participate and share their thoughts can be difficult. As a former high school teacher, the only willing participants tend to be the class clown and teacher’s pets trying to earn brownie points. When all of their curriculum, education, and teaching methods fail to produce increased participation, don’t be afraid to pray for students to open up their hearts in your classroom.

[And I pray] that the participation in and sharing of your faith may produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good [thing] that is ours in [our identification with] Christ Jesus [and unto His glory], Philemon 1:6.

In an obscure first century epistle, the apostle Paul writes to one of his servants in the ministry. While writing from prison, Paul prays for the participation in and the sharing of testimonies. As Christians reflect upon how they came to faith in Christ, your personal story will strike a nerve with a specific audience. The more you find opportunities to weave your faith into daily conversations, other people will begin to appreciate and understand your relationship with God.

But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully, 1 Peter 3:15.

One of Jesus’ former disciples chimes in on this topic as well. Simon Peter who was never afraid to voice his opinion appears to have gotten wiser in his later years. Based upon the passage above, Peter learned the necessity to be courteous and respectful when sharing his faith. One of my favorite hymns in college was Blessed Assurance which promotes sharing your faith. Whenever I hear the chorus, “this is my story, this is my song,” I am inspired to participate and share my faith. This continues to be a worthy cause to pray for daily.

by Jay Mankus

The Guardian of this Galaxy

In 2014, director by James Gunn brought the Guardians of the Galaxy into movie theaters across the country. Seven years later, this superhero film based on the Marvel Comics have added to more films to this series. This team of unlikely superheroes travels the galaxy as arbiters of light. In the middle of the first century, a New Testament was in the process of being written that referred to a spiritual guardian of this galaxy.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([d]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him, John 3:16-17.

The disciple who Jesus loved remembers one riveting evening. A Pharisee named Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, curious about the teaching he shared at local synagogues. Perhaps afraid of what his peers might say, Jesus talks to Nicodemus becoming born again. Following a sarcastic remark, Nicodemus stops speaking as the Guardian of this galaxy reveals the reason for his trip to earth.

And Jesus said to him, Today is [[b]Messianic and spiritual] salvation come to [all the members of] this household, since Zacchaeus too is a [real spiritual] son of Abraham; 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19:9-10.

Two years later, Jesus became like a rock star as large crowds followed Jesus whenever he went. On one particular day, Jesus was passing by Jericho as lines of eager fans wanted to catch a glimpse of this spiritual guardian. One short man climbed a tree, doing everything in his power to get Jesus’ attention. To Zacchaeus’ surprise, Jesus takes time out of his busy schedule to visit his home. It was during this conversation where Jesus, the Guardian of this galaxy unveils his plan, “to seek and to save that which was lost.”

by Jay Mankus

The Impact of a Gentle Spirit

Gentleness isn’t considered a manly quality. Meanwhile, the macho tend to view a gentle spirit as a form of weakness. As a former high school teacher, boys would regularly refer to passive individuals as wimps. Subsequently, gentleness is one of those godly qualities that few men possess or pursue. Yet, when a gentle spirit is demonstrated and present within a challenging situation, the impact can be life changing.

Remind people to be submissive to [their] magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be prepared and willing to do any upright and honorable work, To slander or abuse or speak evil of no one, to avoid being contentious, to be forbearing (yielding, gentle, and conciliatory), and to show unqualified courtesy toward everybody, Titus 3:1-2.

In a letter to a spiritual son, leading Titus into a personal relationship with Jesus, Paul urges him to be conciliatory, gentile and yielding to the needs of others. While Titus likely had impulses to question authority, a gentle spirit has a way of smoothing over the rough edges that most human beings possess. Instead of being bent out of shape over disagreement, gentle people tend to be honorable and upright.

But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. 16 [And see to it that] your conscience is entirely clear ([e]unimpaired), so that, when you are falsely accused as evildoers, those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behavior in Christ may come to be ashamed [of slandering your good lives], 1 Peter 3:15-16.

One of Jesus’ most vocal disciples isn’t referred to as being gentile. Rather, Peter had a tendency to be brash, speaking without thinking about how his words might affect other people. Based upon the passage above, Jesus or some other spiritual leader confronted Peter about his lack of gentleness. Nobody wants to be looked down upon or treated like child. However, when Christians begin to display a gentle spirit, the world will become a better place to live.

by Jay Mankus

A Little Bit of Kindness Can Go A Long Way

In the King James Version of the Bible, the actual term for kindness is one word “lovingkindness.” Loving kindness is found 30 times in this translation of the Bible. The most famous passage where kindness is found is known as the Fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23. According to the apostle Paul, kindness is a reflection of the Holy Spirit living inside of a human being. When displayed, a little bit of kindness can go a long way.

But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favors [z]so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but [aa]considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked. 36 So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these], Luke 6:35-36.

Jesus has a different standard for his followers. Christians are expected to not only love their enemies, but to pray for them as well. When kindness is poured out upon the heart broken, poor and total strangers, souls are encouraged and uplifted. Unfortunately, in this age of social media, kindness is a lost art. Rather than share kind comments, posts and tweets, gossip, slander and trashing others has taken center stage.

 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). 32 And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you, Ephesians 4:31-32.

The apostle Paul reveals in the passage above how to overcome negativity. Instead of allowing yourself to be poisoned by the darkness in this world, Paul calls Christians to be compassionate, tenderhearted and understanding. Despite how other individuals may treat you, genuine kindness is learning how to forgive as Jesus forgave you. When this perspective becomes fully grasped, a little bit of kindness can go a long way in changing your spheres of influence for the better.

by Jay Mankus

God’s Dress Code for Life

I spent a decade as a teacher trying to force teenagers to comply with our private school’s dress code. On chapel days boys were forced to wear a dress shirt and tie while girls were required to put on a modest dress. Since this worship service immediately followed homeroom, male and female teachers quickly tried to address rule breakers before walking over to the sanctuary. The unpleasant experience of disciplining students distracted me from worshiping God.

Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper], Colossians 3:12.

In a letter to the Church at Colosse, the apostle Paul refers to a different kind of dress code. Instead of putting on a specific attire daily, Paul opens minds to putting on spiritual clothing. These articles are like layers of clothing human beings put on as the weather changes each winter. However, God’s dress code involves biblical qualities that coincide with the character and nature of Jesus Christ.

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony], Colossians 3:13-14.

The context of chapter 3 begins by putting on the mind of Christ. This is a starting point that requires new Christians to put to death their old self. If you can imagine this process as a form of meditation, believers need to reprogram their minds by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to commence this transformation. Unfortunately, this change can take a lifetime. While following God’s dress code may be a drag for many, the sooner you comply, your chances to improve open the door for you to experience ideal harmony.

by Jay Mankus

Why Hurt People Begin to Hurt Others

Every day hurt people are like ticking time bombs. Depending upon the circumstances going on in their lives, once the wrong situation comes along, there are usually no warning signs. When a frustrated individual snaps, negative energy is unleashed upon everyone in the room where this unfortunate event takes comes. Like someone under the influence of alcohol, it may take hurt people a few days to realize the pain they’ve inflicted upon innocent souls.

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. 27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]. 28 Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need, Ephesians 4:26-28.

During a letter to the Church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul begins to diagnose why emotional outbursts happen. The initial issue is anger that goes unresolved. Instead of explaining one’s frustration, this fury is swept under the rug temporarily. As days lead to weeks, a root of bitterness brews within human hearts. Meanwhile, this open door gives the Devil a foothold, an opportunity for hurt people to be used as a vessel of darkness.

I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture. 10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [b]overflows), John 10:9-10.

Jesus predicted this scenario 2000 years ago. Whenever someone can not distinguish the voice of God from whispers of the Devil, self fulfilled prophecies begin to occur. Hurt and negative people begin a steady decline as hope and joy seems to disappear. To those who reach this spiritual condition, the Devil will steal, kill and destroy the lives of hurt people. If you feel like your life is too far gone, remember the words of Paul so that in your own weakness, Christ will become strong, 2 Corinthians 12:7-12.

by Jay Mankus

Perhaps It’s Time to Start Getting Along

Some historians attribute the phrase “why can’t we all get along” to Rodney King. However, history is littered with civil unrest between classes, nations and races. While human beings are living in the most technologically advanced times, social media has become the new arena for the Jerry Springer Show. However, instead of making a scene in person, nastiness goes on daily from behind back biting keyboards and sarcastic cell phones.

Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper], Colossians 3:12.

In the middle of the first century, the apostle Paul traveled throughout the Middle East into parts of Europe. Some of these places welcomed Paul like Berea while others such as Thessalonica tried to kill him. To a certain extent, Jewish religious leaders of this time period who tried to stop the Jesus movement behaved similarly to modern politicians in the United States. If you don’t believe me, Trump and his supporters have been compared to Hitler and terrorists.

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony], Colossians 3:13-14.

Unfortunately, this hatred has continued long after the 2020 Presidential Election that put Joe Biden in the White House. Although Trump supporters are still demonized by members of the media, anyone who has refused to become vaccinated for Covid-19 has risen to the top of the most hated list. Every day I turn on my radio or television, the unvaccinated are blamed for super spreaders even if some possess the antibodies of the Coronavirus. The only way to resolve this divided nation is through Christians who clothe themselves with Christ where love is the uniting source.

by Jay Mankus

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