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A Spirit of Attitude

There are two common Greek words used to describe attitude in the Bible. Diáthesi̱ refers to disposition or mood while stási̱ points to body language and posture. If you are observant, attitude naturally flows out of individuals. Joy can’t be contained while depression sucks the life out of battered souls. Some wear their emotions on their sleeves, the reserved try to say even keeled and others are comfortably numb, jaded by previous trials in life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones, Proverbs 17:22.

King Solomon suggests that attitude is a choice. You can focus on the positive by looking at life with a half glass full mindset. Or you can be a party pooper, allowing depression to bring you down and everyone else around you. Thus, the attitude of one person filters down to impact your sphere of influence. Neighborhoods, schools and work environments are at the mercy of attitudes. Depending upon the response, whether good or bad, strong attitudes can alter hearts, minds and souls.

As it is written, God gave them a spirit (an attitude) of stupor, eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear, [that has continued] down to this very day, Romans 11:8.

Perhaps, this explains the apostle Paul’s comment in the passage above. It’s not uncommon for individuals to experience periods of insensibility. When the negativity of another person’s attitude impacts your perspective, a state of near-unconsciousness can blind you from the truth. To overcome this spiritual stupor, Paul urges first century believers to set their heart and minds on things above, Colossians 3:1-4. The best way to fight poisonous attitudes is by developing a spiritual attitude fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit. The more you meditate upon the Bible, your attitude can spread joy to others, like good medicine for the soul.

by Jay Mankus

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A Heart Check-Up

While the heart is invisible to the average person, emotions can be felt by everyone.  Unless you are undergoing surgery, it’s hard to get a read on someone else’ heart.  Body language can provide some insight into how individuals are doing.  Meanwhile, behavior may indicate good or bad moods.  Just to be safe it’s important to get an annual heart check-up so you know for sure that you are okay.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of, Matthew 12:34.

During a heated debate with Pharisees, Jesus replies to a rumor started by religious leaders.  Possibly afraid that Jesus was winning over devoted Jews to a new religious movement, gossip began to flow naturally out of their mouths.  Thus, Jesus confronts this inappropriate behavior.  Using biblical principles, Jesus exposes the spiritual condition of these jealous hearts.  Like a scene from A Few Good Men, it appears these religious leaders couldn’t handle the truth.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him, Matthew 12:35.

Today, the amoral, moral and immoral can’t afford to take things for granted.  If the words of the Old Testament prophets are true, no one is perfect.  Thus, everyone has a little bit of darkness within their hearts, Matthew 6:19-24.  Therefore, before you allow your heart to become consumed by evil, taking time for a daily spiritual heart check-up is essential.  May this practice help you shun evil so that goodness will flow naturally out of your heart.

by Jay Mankus

I’m Fine… Not!

As a former counselor and teacher at a boarding school, there are certain red flags which students indirectly raise in a given week.  If you are not paying attention, these obvious signs can be ignored.  While body language often reveals someone’s mood, subtle responses like “I’m fine” sugar coat the truth.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” John 8:32.

On one occasion near the end of the school year, one of my students threatened to kill another.  During a heart to heart, I threw his bunk bed across the room.  This act of frustration served as a break through causing him to reveal the reason behind his threat.  Breaking down in tears, I learned his parents were alcoholics and he’d rather go to jail than endure another night in that environment.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, John 16:13.

At this moment in time, I sensed the Holy Spirit beginning to speak through me.  Yet, today there are countless adults, neighbors and students who continue to reply to daily conversation with the words I’m fine or okay.  Unless you take the time to reach out to needy souls, healing will never come.  Therefore, don’t be afraid to reach out, lend a helping hand or break through the superficial to enable hearts to heal.

by Jay Mankus

A Sign of Understanding

As a former high school teacher, I learned the importance of reading the body language of my students.  When I began to see stares of cluelessness, I knew it was time to slow down and repeat the point I was attempting to make.  After attending a seminar as part of continuing education, I adopted a new concept into my classroom.  Following a process of nominees, volunteering and voting, each class chose a representative to be the voice.  This person helped me comprehend who was lost and what needed more review prior to tests.

And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding,” Job 28:28.

In the spiritual realm, God has His own criteria for signs of understanding.  Job uses similar language to Solomon in the book of Proverbs, but adds another element at the end.  It’s one thing to have knowledge about a topic.  Yet, unless you apply what you know it’s meaningless.  Thus, the fear of the Lord is displayed when individuals shun evil.  According to Job, those who possess understanding steer clear of any traces of evil.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction, Proverbs 1:7.

When I was younger, I often heard parents and teachers repeat the same saying.  “If you play with fire long enough, eventually you will get burned.”  Based upon the verse above, fools refuse to listen to advice.  This leads naive individuals to be scarred by powers of darkness.  When evil is not shunned, the judgment of those who play with fire become clouded.  In view of this scenario, don’t just know what is right, apply God’s principles by shunning evil.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

An Attitudes Impact

In the ESPN 30 for 30 entitled, the Gospel According to Mac, former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCarthy recounts his quest to bring the Buffalo’s a national championship.  One of the overriding themes involves learning how to motivate each player who respond differently to criticism, failure and mistakes.  During the second hour of this 2 hour documentary, the founding of Promise Keepers is covered through a series of clips from old speeches.  One excerpt includes a quote on attitudes, claiming a person’s attitude is four times more important as their overall talent.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, Philippians 2:14.

Attitude is one of those qualities which usually remains hidden until adversity arrives.  However, in the heat of the moment, pose is tested.  Attitudes are directly proportional to feelings expressed through body language and words.  Depending upon the individual, stored up emotion can explode, unleashed in the form of complaints, gossip or pessimism.  According to the apostle Paul, this is nothing new as attitudes can impact a group, family or an entire neighborhood.  Like a vulnerable forest in seasons of extreme drought, any spark can trigger devastating fires.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5.

To overcome this potential threat, the apostle Paul believes the cure to this condition lies in the obtaining a specific mindset.  Despite being the son of God, Jesus became humble taking the nature of a servant.  Jesus set the model for what attitude should resemble.  However, this isn’t something you can do on your own.  Rather, transformation begins with faith by grace.  When you place your trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit serves as a counselor to fashion and mold your attitude.  The end goal is to acquire a Christ like mindset.  This may take a life time to achieve, but an attitude’s impact can alter lives for eternity.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where Did Optimism Go?

If you want to get a pulse on how people are doing today, just listen to a group of unhappy teenagers.  Although being around a losing team, the down trodden and less fortunate may paint an inaccurate picture, spirits of optimism seem to be disappearing.  Whether its listening to the rants of co-workers, observing body language or viewing a news telecast, negativity is taking over.

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals,” 1 Corinthians 15:33.

When I was younger, during my junior high years, I battled depression.  Maybe this is normal, a phase of adolescence, yet positivity was lacking from my life.  I guess you could say I was a Debbie downer, able to suck the life out of any room that I entered.  Until one of my classmates committed suicide in eighth grade, life didn’t seem worth living.

Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, Proverbs 22:24.

However, sometime between eighth and tenth grade, a series of events led me out of this negative mentality.  A teacher, youth group and spirit of emptiness set the stage for rebirth.  While I resisted change for two years, my heart wasn’t ready to accept Christ until the world dealt me a hand of disappointment.  Perhaps, optimism remains invisible today until the Holy Spirit breathes new life into dead and dying souls.  God willing, this trend of pessimism will be reversed to spawn a revival of optimism.

by Jay Mankus

Shaken

Confidence is something that is not always visible, especially in those who are guarded, laid back and stoic.  However, competitors have a keen sense when someone is about to crumble, like a shark drawn to blood in the water.  Whether its displayed through body language, fear in someone’s eyes or a loss of composure, these warning signals empower opponents to press on toward victory.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline, 2 Timothy 1:7.

This is what makes sports fascinating for me to watch.  Regardless of the sport, every season possesses at least one shocking upset, unthinkable initially until momentum causes the confidence of an individual or team to be shaken.  While most recover the following day or season, some never reach their full potential, permanently damaged from this life altering event.

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught, Proverbs 3:26.

The same can be said about careers, jobs and positions in life.  You may find a dream job where you flourish, maximizing your God-given talents.  However, new leadership, management or ownership changes your job description, finds someone to replace you or eliminates your department completely.  This reality has impacted many Americans resulting in shattered confidence and broken dreams.

I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me, Galatians 2:20.

To recover requires prayer, a support system and mental toughness similar to the early church.  After Jesus died, his twelve disciples were on the verge on disbanding.  However, the resurrection transformed these men, restoring their confidence and emboldening their faith.  If this blog finds you down in the dumps, may the promise of the resurrection lift your spirits as you attempt to regain the confidence that you’ve lost from prior disappointments.

by Jay Mankus

Inside a Humbled Heart

When things are going well in life, one’s mood will tend to become more talkative.  Reveling in the good times promotes conversation, chatting about the blessings God has bestowed upon you.  However, as the tide turns, bringing in trials, turmoil and suffering, joy quickly leads to silence.

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. – Psalm 25:9

Like seasons of change, humility is a natural way of purging any arrogance or pride inside the human soul.  Yet, when unfortunate events linger beyond a normal period of time, hearts become troubled.  While tongues may speak of their misery, the sound of good news is a distant memory.

For when they are humbled you say, ‘It is because of pride’; but he saves the lowly. – Job 22:29

Wounded souls often withdraw, waiting for something positive to discuss.  If nothing approves, the pain inside will scream out through body language.  Unless family, friends or strangers are observant, depression will form, creating a downward spiral.  Inside any humbled heart, patients long for healing, hoping humility will be replaced by love, joy and peace.  May this blog inspire to reach out to the humbled hearts which surround you.

by Jay Mankus

The Lie-Oh-Meter

In politics, the experts, life long politicians and successful campaign managers have suggested lying is all part of the game.  Little white lies are like wild cards in poker, waiting for just the right moment to be played.  While this style may work in the corporate world, sooner or later, what comes around goes around.  When this moment arrives, the Lie-Oh-Meter will expose the shady for their untruthful ways.

I hate and detest falsehood but I love your law. – Psalm 119:163

As for parents and teachers, a face to face encounter, staring a suspect in the eye is a good starting point.  Based upon the television series on Fox, Lie To Me, which aired for two full seasons beginning in 2009, liars tend to demonstrate facial expressions.  Thus, law enforcement officials use this science based upon research done by Paul Ekman, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California in San Francisco.  Instead of relying on out dated polygraph tests, body language has become the new Lie-Oh-Meter.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. – Proverbs 12:22

From God’s perspective, a false witness is a punishable offense, Proverbs 19:9.  Going one step farther, deceitful ways can result in being excommunicated from part of God’s family, Psalm 101:7.  Yet, Christians alike have embraced the practice of embellishment, creating a society of hypocrites.  The only way to break free from this addiction is to cherish God’s law.  Only when this is achieved will souls begin to love God’s commands like the Psalmists of old.  Until this day, rely on the Bible to ascertain truth from fiction, serving as a modern day Lie-Oh-Meter.

by Jay Mankus

 

Secrets of the Heart

If you are a keen observer, subtle signs like body language may get your attention.  Others who are good listeners can detect clues, hidden signals individuals are trying to express without being obvious.  Such is the case of the Psalmist; author of Psalm 119.

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. – Psalm 119:10.

This passage suggests that good intentions can be derailed by an impure heart.  Human efforts only take you so far as a disease has been passed on into DNA, resulting in generations of imperfect people.  The weeping prophet did not hold anything back in his warnings to the nation of Israel, calling the heart deceitful above all things, Jeremiah 17:9-10.

10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. – Romans 3

While the heart is the well-spring of life, Proverbs 4:23, its fragile and vulnerable.  Harsh words can cut like a knife, leaving spiritual wounds deep inside an innocent soul.  For this reason, Jesus urged his followers to become born again, receiving a heart transplant through the indwelling of a Mighty Counselor, John 3:3-5.  Even if you experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the heart still needs further protection, Ephesians 6:12-18.  Therefore, as you uncover secrets of the heart, lean on God’s grace until the cleansing of your heart, sanctification, is complete.

by Jay Mankus

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