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If I Don’t Do What God Calls Me to Do…What Does That Make Me?

In today’s softer, gentler climate, you don’t see many “in your face” personality types anymore.  These characters are often reserved for the military, personal trainers or professional sports.  Yet, during the first century, there was one man who didn’t care how you felt.  Rather, the apostle Paul was blunt, honest and serious in his letters to Christian congregations.  When you don’t do what God calls you to do, this lack of action causes you to be separated from God.

For sin, seizing its opportunity through the commandment, beguiled and completely deceived me, and using it as a weapon killed me [separating me from God], Romans 7:11.

Sin is like catching a spiritual cold.  If you don’t take medicine such as studying the Bible, praying and worshipping God, your condition will worsen.  This virus attacks individuals on two fronts, your body and mind.  Human bodies require boundaries, exercise and routines.  If you fail to make time for God daily, out of sight, out of mind will cause souls to place God and your faith on a shelf to collect dust.  Meanwhile, demons and evil spirits influence minds by planting seeds of doubt.  These thoughts if unchecked can kill your joy for life.

 For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled and bewildered by them]. I do not practice what I want to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate [and yielding to my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. 16 Now if I habitually do what I do not want to do, [that means] I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good (morally excellent). 17 So now [if that is the case, then] it is no longer I who do it [the disobedient thing which I despise], but the sin [nature] which lives in me, Romans 7:15-17.

In the passage above, Paul hints at what it is like to be addicted to a specific sin.  Whether this is cheating, cursing, eating unhealthy, indulging your flesh in unwholesome ways or lying, breaking any bad habit is difficult.  Making a drastic change requires will power that many people lack.  Thus, all too often sinners throw in the towel, quit and wave the white flag, surrendering to Satan.  If this blog finds you in a similar state, ask God for the resolve necessary to fight through your ordeal.  Lean on the promise of Romans 7:24-25 so that failure does not define your life.

by Jay Mankus

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Therapy

When I was six years old I broke my leg after jumping off an above ground pool.  In a split second, an entire year was lost to injury with six months stuck in an old plaster cast.  Once the doctors removed the cast, my muscles and skin took another six months to fully recover.  Modern techniques in physical therapy have sped up the healing process enabling bodies to return faster than ever to a routine life prior to any accident that you may have suffered.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell, Matthew 10:18.

According to a recent Newsweek article, nearly one in five Americans will suffer from some sort of mental illness over the course of their life.  If the mind is a terrible thing to waste, then perhaps it’s time to seek advice, counseling or therapy to improve one’s mental state.  In a letter to the church at Philippi, the apostle Paul encourages individuals to get your own life right before trying to minister to others, Philippians 2:1-3.  Despite your desire to help others, sometimes it’s better to wait until your own mind becomes reinvigorated.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? – Matthew 16:26

The motto of the YMCA focuses and the body, mind and soul.  Exercise keeps the body in good shape.  Meanwhile, memorizing verses from the Bible and applying biblical principles keeps the human mind strong.  However, the soul is often neglected despite serving as people’s inmost being.  Thus, therapy for the soul begins with purpose and meaning in life.  As a tax collector once said, “what good is it to amass worldly riches only to forfeit your soul.”  Therefore, do let another day go by without asking the Holy Spirit for help.  Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and God’s door will be opened to receive the therapy that you need.

by Jay Mankus

Making Sense of Domestic Violence

Unless you’ve been out of the country on vacation, most talk shows listeners and television viewers have gotten an earful from the Ray Rice saga.  After videos showed the Baltimore Ravens star running back beat up his girl friend during the NFL off-season, a recent 2 game suspension for Rice has been perceived too lenient in the public’s eyes, creating a back lash against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  As Hall of Fame Induction weekend has arrived, the topic of domestic violence won’t go away.  Even Steven A. Smith wasn’t exempt from criticism, given this week off by ESPN after claiming woman shouldn’t provoke men.

Anyway, as ESPN, Fox Sports and local sports channels replay Ray Rice’s apology earlier this week, commentators are at a loss, unable to comprehend Rice’s actions.  Well, to be honest, if everyone’s actions we’re video taped like Jim Carrey in the Truman Show, there would be a lot of hand scratching going on.  Nonetheless, there is an important biblical lesson to learn from this unfortunate incident, often the mind and body do things without any logical or rational explanation.  The apostle Paul makes this clear in Romans 7:7-20 as he confesses to losing control despite being disciplined and spirit filled.

Whether you are a pastor, law abiding citizen or criminal, no one can escape the reality of Romans 7:15.  Beneath the surface, souls are losing an invisible battle, Galatians 5:16-18, enabling the flesh to take over.  Once in the driver’s seat, the ugliness of mankind rises to the forefront in the form of acts of the sinful nature.  If you add alcohol to this equation, the probability of violence escalates.  Colossians 3:1-17 gives a blue print for overcoming domestic violence or any other sinful behavior.  If you want answers, the truth can be found in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2.  Eliminating domestic violence from your life starts with a Christ-like attitude and ends with fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23.  May the transformation detailed in Ephesians 5:1 prevent you releasing your anger on or toward another individual.

by Jay Mankus

Y.M.C.A.

The Village People created a classic song in 1978, worthy of almost any celebration.  Short for Young Men’s Christian’s Association, Y.M.C.A. sold over 10 million copies and remains a favorite at discos, school dances and weddings.  One of the core values the Y.M.C.A. still holds today is to develop the body, mind and spirit.  This is achieved through activities, education and physical fitness at local facilities scattered across America.

The latin root of education is educatus which means to lead forth from within.  If the origin suggests education shapes an individual, then a nation’s future depends upon the quality of schooling it provides.  According to 2009 scores from the Programme for International Student Assessment, the United States education system continues to decline when compared with the other global leaders.  Out of 34 industrialized nations, the U.S. ranks 14th in Reading, 17th in Science and 25th in Math, falling to the middle of the pack.

While the National Education Association blames a lack of funding to explain these results, the truth of the matter is when the Bible and prayer were expelled from public education in the 1960’s, standards have plummeted every decade since.  The founders of the YMCA knew something that experts are overlooking today, the body and spirit must not be forgotten.  If schools were held to the same standards as Survival of the Fittest or like businesses which are forced to close when they continue to lose money, education would be back on a track toward success.

Unfortunately, too much government red tape, influences of labor unions and political correctness is crippling education is America.  Instead, the United States is following the playbook of past leaders like Che, Mao and Stalin, creating a generation of students programmed to believe everything they hear and read.  As a result, bodies have become heavier, minds lighter and spirits on the verge of death.  At moments in time like this, it is important to look to history for guidance or in this case reflect upon the words of a classic song.

Young man, Are you listening to me
I said, young man, what do you want to be
I said, young man, you can make real your dreams,
but you’ve got to know this one thing.

No man, does it all by himself
I said, young man, put your pride on the shelf
And just go there, to the Y.M.C.A.
I’m sure they can help you today
(Lyrics from the 2nd stanza)

If you don’t have a local YMCA in your town, may you find help for your body, mind and spirit from a nearby  church.  The party is waiting for your arrival, Luke 15:7.

by Jay Mankus

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