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Bitterness or Sweet?

Depending upon how well your are connected in your community or at work, it doesn’t take much to notice the content from the disenfranchised.  Some people feed off of bitterness, often poisoning positive individuals.  Meanwhile, the encouraging need to work extra hard to ward off negativity.

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; Hebrews 12:15.

When my children  were younger, I enjoyed watching Veggie Tales.  My favorite was the Rumor Weed illustrating an important lesson for anyone.  If you allow evil to take root in your life, bitterness usually follows.  For this reason, the author Hebrews warns readers about how bitterness can become an obstacle to obtaining God’s grace.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20

Sweetness is received when sinners are forgiven, pardoned by God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Yet, there are forces of darkness that continue to steal joy from this life.  As demonic influences manipulate unknowing accomplices, some are deceived calling evil good.  If you listen and watch carefully to voices in the media, Isaiah’s prophecy is being fulfilled.  In view of this growing bitterness, may the power of the Holy Spirit protect you and lead you to the sweet promises of hope found in the Bible.

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

 

My Two Cents on Lent

Beginning on Ash Wednesday and continuing until Easter Sunday, Lent is a season of preparation for Christians.  This forty day period commences with a service remembering God’s words to Adam, ” from dust you were created out of, from dust you will return.”  Like anything in life, it takes time to prepare one’s heart to transition from the natural to the supernatural.  Thus, Lent serves as an annual journey to embrace the memory of a resurrected Messiah.

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:19

Unfortunately, this tradition is often limited to six weeks instead of maintaining faith throughout the year.  Sometime after Easter egg hunts end, when chocolates candies disappear and the emotion of this spiritual holiday ceases, people go back to their former ways of life.  Like hibernating animals, faith goes into hiding, sleeping until the winter is replaced by Spring.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” – Job 1:20-21

Now at the half way point of Lent, its not too late to awake from a spiritual slumber.  Though shocked upon receiving the tragic news that his children perished, the Lord gave Job a heavenly perspective.  Instead of blaming God or becoming bitter, Job remembered the gift of life.  Therefore, as the season of Lent continues may the Holy Spirit transform you to become grateful for the hidden miracles in life.

by Jay Mankus

A Prayer for the Verbally Assaulted

Canadian born Rock Star Bryan Adams was right when he sang “love cuts like a knife.”  Lesser known contemporary singer Wes King added to this concept, focusing on Sticks and Stones which wound human souls.  Whether you hear it through the grapevine, feel it through dirty looks or experience harsh words first hand, no one likes to be verbally assaulted.

Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues, Psalm 120:2.

When gossip spreads, innuendos fly and rumors begin to sway people against you, helplessness can consume your heart.  Thus, if no one has your back to set the record straight, a supernaturally intervention is often necessary.  Although the context may be different, desperate individuals cry out to the heavens asking for a shell of protection against the flaming arrows of evil spewed from the mouths of bitter people.

Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.  I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war. – Psalm 120:6-7

Although verbal attacks will continue throughout your lifetime, make sure you don’t lower yourself to others’ standards or begin to stoop to a level of pettiness.  Rather, as the curses come forth, place your trust in God above, leaning on the Lord in times of distress, Psalm 120:1.  The moment you sense an urge to retaliate, make sure you choose your words wisely.  As difficult as it may be, follow the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you want others to do unto you.  If successful, your act of kindness will fulfill the words of Proverbs 25:22, heaping coals on the heads of those you verbally assault you.

by Jay Mankus

The Invisible Bank

From an early age, piggy banks teach children the importance of saving money.  Although a full compartment filled with coins may not add up to much initially, the discipline of being a good steward of your possessions can last a lifetime.  Until this quality is acquired or obtained, checking into the invisible bank is a must.

Look on my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law. – Psalm 119:153

The Bible is like an international financial center, full of promise notes, waiting to be cashed in by faith.  Available 24/7, unless you check in regularly, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.  On loan from God, the Word is living and active, rich in nuggets of truth.  Previous readers have compared these principles to be greater than silver and gold, Psalm 12:6.

Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise. – Psalm 119:154

Despite these beliefs, when the storms of life engulf you, this bank becomes invisible.  Skeptics often look in a different direction, trusting in what they can see.  This stance causes minds to become closed, turning God’s truths into fiction.  Subsequently, a generation may never enter the spiritual door of this invisible place.  Therefore, the next time you encounter a bitter soul, you may want to point them in the direction of the invisible bank.

by Jay Mankus

Friction and Frays

A rope exposed to the elements is vulnerable to becoming worn or tattered along the edges.  When friction arrives, increased tension can further weaken strands.  Under extreme conditions, this cord can snap, causing permanent damage.

David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. – 1 Samuel 30:6

Human beings have a lot in common with ropes.  The adventures in life can push individuals to their limits.  Stress added to any number of trials can cause people to become unwound, hanging on by a thread.  Thus, as friction and frays threaten to harm souls, something needs to be done to reattach these broken fibers.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3

If you ever feel like you’re coming apart at the seems, call out to the One who can weave you back together, Isaiah 41:10.  Jesus didn’t promise that life was going to be easy.  Rather, as storms develop, God has given us a solid rock to stand on when earthly foundations are washed away, Matthew 7:24.  Therefore, as friction continues to pose a threat, fraying parts of your soul, hold on to Jesus so that in God’s perfect timing, you will be made whole.

by Jay Mankus

 

Bitter Troubles

In 2010, more than 5 million car accidents took place in the United States.  Subsequently, 32,885 motorists lost their lives with an additional 2.2 million suffered injuries.  Whether these crashes were induced by alcohol, bad weather or cell phone related, bitter troubles visited individuals without warning.

Meanwhile, teenagers are facing an internal battle with depression.  According to Psychology Today, a teen takes his or her own life every 100 minutes.  Among 15-24 year olds, suicide in the 3rd leading cause of death for young people.  Their absence leaves a different kind of bitter trouble for parents, replaying history in their minds to see if they could have done anything differently to save their child’s life.

According to Psalm 71:20, people aren’t immune to bitter troubles.  Like Jesus’ brother once said, everyone should expect trials to come, James 1:2-4.  However, when these unfortunate events do arrive, God does offer a promise.  Therefore, the next time you experience one of those Murphy Law type of days, ask God to restore you from your bitter trouble.

by Jay Mankus

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