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Tag Archives: behavior

The Fatherless

You can find out a lot about someone based upon their action, behavior and content of spoken/written words.  While James is often considered the earthly brother of Jesus, few people realize he spent many years without a father.  Beginning in the second chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus’ father Joseph is not mentioned.  While there are many theories to explain Joseph’s absence, most scholars believe Joseph died several years before Jesus began his earthly ministry.  Thus, its assumed by the author John, Joseph is dead leaving James fatherless.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless, James 1:26.

Anyone who is blessed with having godly influences along the way in life tends to possess key insight.  Like the brothers of Joseph in the Old Testament who thought he was crazy, James had similar thoughts about Jesus.  Based upon the words chosen above, James doubted his brother prior to his resurrection.  Although he doesn’t specify, James likely joked about, made fun of or used sarcasm upon hearing Jesus’ boisterous claims.  Conviction inspired James to state religion is worthless without keeping a tight reign on your tongue.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world, James 1:27.

Beside helping the poor, James gives believers 2 areas where people should express their faith.  Likely thinking about his mother Mary, supporting widows is a worthy cause.  Meanwhile, orphans abandoned by their families or left homeless due to tragedy is just as needy.  Perhaps, James experienced times in life when he needed a father, but Joseph was long gone.  Though you may not know an orphan, that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone younger to mentor.  Desperate souls are longing for a friend to guide them through life.  Yet, without the helping hands of Christ’s servants in action, the lonely will remain feeling fatherless.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Clinging to the Vine

If you have ever tried to climb a tree, it doesn’t take make to lose your grip.  Any type of misstep, re-positioning or weak branch can start an unexpected descent.  During a recent adventure of trying to dislodge an arrant Frisbee from a tree, I found myself in a free fall reaching out for anything that would break my fall.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” John 15:5.

In the spiritual realm, I’ve faced myself in similar downward spirals where in moments of weakness I have tried to cling to the Vine.  According to one of his disciples, Jesus is compared to a vine, the life source to which branches are attached.  However, once broken or cut off, these limbs are worthless, unable to protect you from spiritual harm.

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned, John 15:6.

Subtle signs, also known as acts of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-21 often rear their ugly heads when individuals try to live apart from the Vine.  Acts, behavior and character gradually declines, transforming decent human being into completely different people.  Before this sinister force takes roots, its essential to become reconnected to Jesus.  Bible Study, prayer and worship are daily avenues to reunite you with the Lord.  If you feel like your faith is wavering, don’t let it continue.  Rather, cling to the Vine and connect with like minded followers who seek to fulfill the great commission, Mark 16:15.

by Jay Mankus

Just Let It Go

Whether you’re a coach, parent or simply people watching at a local mall, it won’t long before a temper tantrum ensues.  Emotions are hard to control, especially for those who wear them on their selves.  Usually, the spark that ignites this change in behavior is fueled by the inability to let something go.  As the mind dwells on unfortunate events of the past, souls can be poisoned, transforming a nice person into a bitter complainer.

The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people, Acts 4:1.

Certain people go through phases, either as a result of cultural trends, a mid life crisis or trials in life.  Over time, most individuals break out of these unusual moods.  During the first century, Jewish leaders expected the disciples to go back to their normal lives following Jesus’ ascension.  However, as these men continued to preach, teach and minister to the needy, authorities became concerned.  Calling Peter and John aside, they whispered, “just let it go.”

They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead, Acts 4:2.

There are times in life that people face moral dilemmas.  Should you follow the law or God?  Perhaps, a coach, employer, parent or teacher tells you to do something which is in direct conflict with your belief system.  What will you do?  One of the main reasons God gave each person a conscience is to help you in these awkward moments.  Thus, when the Devil tempts you to look the other way, the Holy Spirit urges the soul to don’t let it go.  In the end, test everything, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 so that the choices you make will not be full of regret.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Stubborn Refusal to Believe

Authors Chester and Becky Kylstras have developed a simplistic approach to understanding how people form their belief systems.  Co-writing Restoring the Foundations, the Kylstyra’s rely on case studies, personal encounters and testimonies to apply biblical principles to real life.  Worldviews are shaped through experiences, which if repeated lead to beliefs.  These beliefs develop expectations such as ” if I do this or that, this should happen.”  Subsequently, behavior is dependent on the outcome of these expectations, either good or bad,

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen, Mark 16:14.

Jesus invested the last 3 years of his life on earth with twelve men.  During this great adventure, the blind received sight, mute were given a new voice and dead raised back to life.  Yet, after Jesus was crucified, the disciples relapsed into a state of doubt.  Although not mentioned in the Bible, I can hear Jesus ask, “don’t you remember all the miracles?”  Disappointed, the words of Mark 16:14 reveal a stubborn refusal to believe.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

If you believe everything happens to a reason, then life is filled with twists and turns.  While the good will lift up your spirits.  The bad and ugly times will either make or break you.  The disciples failed miserably when Jesus was gone for three days.  However, the introduction of the Holy Spirit breathed new life into the souls of these men.  This power is still available for us today.  Therefore, if you want to overcome a stubborn heart, ask the Lord in prayer to receive to receive the power of the Mighty Counselor, John 16:15.

by Jay Mankus

Are You Leaving a Trail of Breadcrumbs Behind?

Will Smith played Detective Del Spooner in the 2004 film I Robot.  A hologram chooses Del to investigate the murder of Dr. Alfred Lanning, who saved Spooner’s life years earlier after a car accident nearly ended his own life.  Trapped by his work at United States Robotics to roll out a new line of S5’s, Dr. Lanning turns to Hansel and Gretel to leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind after his death.

The farmer sows the word, Mark 4:14.

Oddly enough, Jesus uses a curious expression in one of his well known parables.  Often overlooked, Jesus compares the sowing process to a farming planting his annual harvest.  However, there is a twist, your actions leave behind an imprint.  Thus, individuals are either leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind that reflect biblical principles or worldly desires.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap, Galatians 6:7.

If someone was designated to shadow you, following your attitude, behavior and words of the last 24 hours, week or month, what clues would this person uncover?  Are you living a consistent life, clear and easy to recognize?  Or would certain inconsistencies confuse, throw off and make discerning souls question the existence of this life?   The four words of Mark 4:14 struck my heart with conviction, causing me to re-evaluate my own witness.  May Jesus’ teaching inspire you to become a modern day farmer who sows the word of God, prepared to become a fisher of men, women and children.

by Jay Mankus

 

Setting the Table

Prior to fast food dinners out, setting the table was a daily chore delegated by parents to teach their children about how to properly prepare before each meal.  Beyond laying out table arrangements, this term has been adopted by other avenues.  Baseball uses this analogy to encourage players to get into scoring position so that power hitters can drive them home.  After reading a passage of the Bible today, this saying also relates to a spiritual principle.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way,” Mark 1:2.

If you want to change the hearts, minds and souls of other people, a foundation must be set.  There needs to be a beacon of light, pointing the way through their actions, behavior and words.  Although I never thought of it in this manner, John the Baptist set the table for Jesus.  Inspired by a chance to come clean, purge bad habits and verbally profess their shortcomings, John developed a large following who sought forgiveness.  Despite his success, John recognized that he was only a small piece to life’s puzzle, ready to pass the baton to the Savior of the world.

I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit,” Mark 1:8.

Hidden within John’s words is the realization that his ministry was temporary, unable to permanently change individuals.  However, the real Messiah will offer an invisible power called the Holy Ghost in the King’s James Version.  While the power of sin will continue to cause the masses to fall prey to addiction, character flaws and poor decisions.  The hope of the Holy Spirit provides an anointing that can lead to freedom.  May the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-15 lead you to usher in heaven while living on earth as you set the table for future generations of faith.

by Jay Mankus

 

Getting Close to God’s Heart

To sense the invisible, God created human beings with a conscious, a general awareness to lead you to the right path.  Beyond the ability to feel, hear, see, taste and touch, it takes time to draw near to God.  For some getting close to the Lord’s heart is a lifelong journey, using trial and error to find your way.

And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD, Psalm 148:14.

Along this search, obstacles, road closures and temptation pop up causing some to quit, giving up before acquiring a heart like David.  Finding the time the read the Bible, prayer and meditate on God’s principles is hard to fit into one’s daily schedule.  Thus the thought of getting close to God’s heart becomes a pipe dream for most, content with a mediocre faith.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

According to Jesus, the heart is like a treasure chest, Luke 6:43-45.  What people store up inside come out in the form of actions, behavior and words.  The moment souls are irritated, pushed or prodded, either good or evil will come out.  In view of this reality, its essential to guard your heart, Proverbs 4:23, nourishing it with the promises of God in the Bible.  Then and only then will seekers begin to get close to God’s heart.

by Jay Mankus

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