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Tag Archives: Christmas and Thanksgiving

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

When you walk into the middle of a conversation during a Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering, there is a chance that you’ll miss the context. If you listen attentively, you may be able to figure out what’s happening. Yet, sometimes you’ll be lost, moving on the next room to see what else is going on. When pastors prepare their weekly message, sometimes they will skip over certain details in the Bible.

[The letter was sent] by the hand of Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the captives whom I have caused to be carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Jeremiah 29:3-4.

This is what happens in the beginning of Jeremiah 29. Ninety percent of the speeches that quote the famous passage below fail to mention that Israel was living in exile at this moment in history. Beside being forced out of their homes, the prophet Jeremiah was given a message by God to share. To summarize the beginning of chapter 29, Jeremiah asks his people to make the best of a bad situation.

For thus says the Lord, When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you and keep My good promise to you, causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome, Jeremiah 29:10-11.

Rather than dwell on the past, God wanted Israel to build houses, settle down, plant gardens and eat what they produce. The path to healing starts with changing your perspective. Then and only then can you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the context that brings Jeremiah to declare the plans that God has for Israel in the future. May you learn from this passage when you are forced to make the best of a bad situation.

by Jay Mankus

So Many Holidays…Few Transformed Hearts

When I was younger, any day out of school was worth celebrating.  The longer the break, the better the holiday placing Christmas and Thanksgiving at the top of my list.  Yet, holidays are meant for reflection, appreciating or thanking those from history who has made a lasting legacy.  If these special days pass without any remembrance, the purpose of holidays are wasted.

“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you,” Deuteronomy 5:16.

In recent times, entire months are devoted to a cause.  Whether its Black History, Breast Cancer Awareness or the next government sponsored movement, the calendar is running out of days.  Perhaps, this over saturation has calloused hearts and numbed minds.  Subsequently, America is left with so many holidays with few transformed hearts.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages,” 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

Maybe its time to downsize days off.  As a former teacher, days off are a welcomed site to most adults.  Yet, why do something just for the sake of a day off.  If children are encouraged to plant trees on earth day, why not read the Bible at Christmas.  Why stop there as action, practical application and integration changes lives.  As we approach Memorial Day, may God move you to celebrate the reason for each season.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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