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Tag Archives: bitterness

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

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Satan’s Secret Ambition

Anytime an individual loses a lofty status, there is something inside that churns souls to regain that which was lost.  This same passion was present inside Lucifer once expelled from heaven along with a third of the angels.  Satan’s secret ambition is revealed during Jesus’ fast prior to beginning His earthly ministry.  Bitterness, revenge and selfishness fueled this arch angel, waiting for a chance to get pay back.

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you, Ezekiel 28:14-15.

According to the Gospels, the first 4 books of the New Testament, Jesus withdraws into the wilderness, a barren region filled with sand, scorpions and serpents.  Hungry and weakening due to the heat, Satan implements a set of 3 challenges to the son of God.  Jesus passes the first test by quoting scripture.  Satan replies with another passage from the Old Testament.  Although Jesus could have fulfilled the second request, this required Jesus to call upon angels for selfish reasons, similar to Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.  “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me,” Matthew 4:8-9.

Passing the first two tests with flying colors, Satan offers Jesus the earthly authority Adam lost in the Garden of Eden after failing to keep God’s only rule.  Satan doubled down, desperately seeking praise from God in the form of Jesus bowing down.  Despite a lack of food and sleep, Jesus refused to give into temptation, relying on the Word of God to do the right thing.  Although, Satan did achieve his ultimate goal when Jesus was crucified on a cross, victory only lasted a few days before the resurrection sealed his fate.  In view of Jesus’ final battle, remember that Jesus conquered death so that you and I might live in Him.

by Jay Mankus

A Reunion of Sorts

Time has a way of healing wounds from the past.  Although things will never be the same, when you run into an old face, its nice to reminisce.  If you have the opportunity to talk long enough, you may even encounter a reunion of sorts.

Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence, Isaiah 43:26.

Unfortunately, human emotions struggle to overlook transgressions of the past.  Some people may never recover from the heartache they have endured in life.  Thus, forgiveness is sometimes an empty word spoken as bitterness causes individuals to hold grudges.  Subsequently, until reconciliation occurs, a true reunion will have to wait.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, Acts 3:19.

While interacting at a graduation party over the weekend, I learned a painful lesson.  Before you can move forward, you have to let go your past.  It may be a tough pill to swallow, but repentance without acts of contrition is meaningless.  Therefore, bury the hatchet now while there is still time so that a full reunion can be completed.

by Jay Mankus

Finding Treasures in Darkness

In the midst of a storm, darkness prevents most individuals from seeing any meaning or purpose in trials.  Instead of reflection, anguish, bitterness and resentment are common responses.  Yet, in my most recent period a pleasant surprise arrived in the form of a special friendship.  After both losing our jobs a month apart, God allowed each of us console one another, finding a treasure in darkness.

I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name, Isaiah 45:3.

In the famous poem simply known as Footprints, the author writes about periods in life where God carries you.  Walking along a beach, the Lord’s footprints disappear as each waves comes crashing into shore.  Yet, somehow, someway, most survive to see another day, hoping darkness will fade.  Job learned this the hard way as he friends began to question his faith, suggesting God was punishing him for something he had done in the past.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold, Job 23:10.

As you walk through moments of darkness alone, people tend to choose temporary distractions to numb the pain inside their heart.  Nonetheless, the weaker you get, the easier it becomes to trust in an invisible God.  When there is no one else to lean on, faith is refined, smelting the impurities.  However, if you hang on long enough like Job, you will experience God’s divine providence in the form of treasures in darkness.

by Jay Mankus

 

When Bitterness Leads to Violence

There are certain events in life that leave a taste of bitterness.  Such is the case of Samson when his father in law gave the woman he loved to another man.  While the rock group Def Leppard sings about how love bites, Samson’s experience brings a whole new perspective to this saying.  Subsequently, Samson verbalizes his displeasure vowing to seek revenge.

Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them,” Judges 15:3.

In the heat of the moment, justifying your actions is easy to do.  Like Samson, certain offenses make individuals believe that they have the right to retaliate.  Thus, this selfish act by a father ignited anger with Samson to get even with the Philistines.  Without anyone around to calm him down, Samson lived the rest of his life with a heart set on violence.

The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence, Psalm 11:5.

When freewill is exercised on a daily basis, there are innocent victims.  Caught in the cross hairs, these unfortunate souls are left to wonder, “what did I do to deserve this?”  How these people respond will dictate their final destination?  Therefore, guard yourself against the root of bitterness.  Rather, pray that the love will give you a spirit of forgiveness to prevent you from lashing out at those whom do you wrong.

by Jay Mankus

Traces of Decay

As a car ages, there are certain subtle signs which convey a vehicle on its last legs.  Driveways become stained with oil, unusual noises will surface and acceleration pauses just a bit before finally kicking in.  Although modes of transportation can be lemons, there are plenty of what people call “old reliable” which get you where you need to go.  However, traces of decay should serve as a warning that it may be time to move on.

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return, Genesis 3:19.

Meanwhile, human beings possess there own signals that they are about to breakdown.  Frustration, irritations and unhappy faces can be like taking a look under the hood.  While individuals can put on fake smiles, inside bitterness can erupt into a raging inferno.  On the other side of the spectrum, discontentment cause many to lose that loving feeling for life, slipping into periods of depression, despondence or isolation.  As these stages approach, intervention is essential before traces of decay turn into reality.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away, Revelation 21:4.

As for me, I find myself taking on a new persona when I get into my car.  Suddenly, I become perfect and all the drivers around me are idiots.  My commentary is relentless, lasting throughout my travels.  This self seeking nature is fueled by a desire to get home, abandoning the rules of the road like a politician during an election year.  Recently, these traces of decay have come to my attention, one of many stains of sin within my heart.  If you too are feeling like you’re going down the wrong road, may the Holy Spirit serve as a pit crew, cleaning up the messes you have made, one sin at a time.

by Jay Mankus

I Can’t Get Over It

A recent episode of Deadliest Catch showed the reaction of fans to Russell Wilson’s interception in the final minute of last year’s Superbowl.  The crew of the Northwestern based out of Seattle could not believe the Seahawks opted to pass rather than rely on their patented running attack.  When you are only one yard from tasting victory, its hard for individuals to get over this heart breaking loss.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 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 12:14-15.

It’s one thing to lose a game, yet in life there are several disappointments people encounter that can linger.  These scars are like bad dreams, nightmares that don’t go away.  When you add emotions into this equation, human nature can be unforgiving.  Thus, the next time you try to console someone who is hurting, don’t be surprised if you hear, “I can’t get over it!”

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice, Ephesians 4:31.

Storybook endings are usually something you see in the movie theater or at home as a rerun.  While this feel good conclusion may bring tears of joy, the rest of the world is stuck in the past, unable to move on.  Tempted by bitterness, frustration and a wounded soul, some feel better venting rather than cope with the issue at hand.  Before the voices of your past drag you to indulge in another pity party, may the love of Christ help you get over it by moving on with the rest of your life.

by Jay Mankus

 

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