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Tag Archives: coming to your senses

God’s Help or Satan’s Hurt

During a trip to Gibeon, King Solomon experienced a special dream one night. According to 1 Kings 3, the Lord appeared to Solomon in this dream, asking him to make a decision between wealth or wisdom. After thoroughly examining his options, Solomon requested a discerning heart and understanding mind. This decision pleased the Lord resulting in a life of blessings, riches and wealth like no other ruler in the Bible.

Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of David my father, and I am but a lad [in wisdom and experience]; I know not how to go out (begin) or come in (finish). Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people who cannot be counted for multitude. So give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad. For who is able to judge and rule this Your great people? – 1 King 3:7-9

In the first century, the apostle Paul writes a letter to a teenage pastor named Timothy. Apparently, Timothy was uncertain and unsure of what position to take on wealth. The passage above provides biblical insight and perspective. While blessings are a sign of God’s favor, Satan uses riches as a vessel for temptation. Thus, when money becomes your god, God’s initial help can quickly turn into Satan’s hurts.

But those who crave to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish (useless, godless) and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction and miserable perishing. 10 For the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute [mental] pangs, 1 Timothy 6:9-10.

You don’t have to look any further than the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 to understand this concept. A younger son became consumed by his share of an inheritance. Before receiving this money, his mind became filled with earthly pleasures. Like an addict who can’t control himself, the prodigal son quickly became Exhibit A for Satan’s hurt. Broke, desperate and homeless, the only way to overcome Satan’s hurt is coming to your senses. May this story of redemption inspire you to embrace God’s help so Satan’s hurt becomes a thing of the past.

by Jay Mankus

Too Far Gone?

Every night concerned friends, parents and teachers are wondering if the person in their thoughts and prayers is too far gone.  In same cases, broken relationships only make this situation worse.  Typically, the parent-child interaction is tense and brief with flare ups possible at any time.  If this climate persists, doubt persuades parents to believe that they have lost their child, too far gone to salvage.

For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia, 2 Timothy 4:10.

In a letter to a first century pastor, the apostle Paul shares his concern about a fellow believer who abandoned his faith.  While the details of Demas’ demise is unclear, it appears that this missionary regressed, craving certain aspects of life.  Perhaps, Demas was merely going through a phase, something that he needed to do prior to committing fulltime to the ministry.  The hardest part for any coach, friend, parent or teacher is letting go, giving this individual the room they need to come to their senses.

But the other one rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 We are suffering justly, because we are getting what we deserve for what we have done; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, [please] remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” – Luke 23:40-42

One of the characters in the Bible who could be considered too far gone is a criminal hanging on a cross next to Jesus.  On the verge of death, there was no hope for his future.  Nonetheless, this dire state inspired this man to seek security for the afterlife.  If Jesus can welcome a criminal sentenced to death, then no one should be considered too far gone.  For those currently enduring broken hearts, hang on to hope through prayer, asking God for common sense to break the stubborn hearts of a prodigal spirit.  Until reconciliation arrives, trust God to get you through.

by Jay Mankus

Trampled

Every year panic triggers some sort of horrific event.  Whether its at a concert, escaping a fire or fleeing a terrorist attack, fear often leads to individuals to trample upon anyone who gets in the way.  In 2008, a Walmart employee from Long Island, New York died after wild shoppers on Black Friday began running to claim limited specials once the doors were opened.

But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd, Acts 17:5.

Unfortunately, there is more than one way to be trampled.  Anyone who uses social media can be verbally run over following a post that offends and upsets followers.  Several teenagers have committed suicide in the past 5 years shortly after being bullied, embarrassed or harassed by their peers.  While some of the content posted was self-inflicted, a spirit of gossip is encouraging many to pile on with one sarcastic comment after the other.

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends, Proverbs 16:28.

I hope that some day soon the citizens of America will come to their senses.  Sure, I like a good laugh, but it appears the line between right and wrong has shrunk.  Subsequently, innocent people are being trampled and discarded without any remorse or sorrow.  Trashing anyone who disagrees with your worldview is not the answer.  Instead, may God have mercy on us, extend grace to the hurting and save this divided nation from further trampling.

by Jay Mankus

 

When You Begin to Lose God’s Favor

When the outcome to a day, week or year does not end as you expect, hoped for and seek, there are various explanations to consider.  Perhaps, its not your time to receive what you desire.  Maybe others are more qualified or simply worked harder than you.  However, at some point you might have to consider that you are losing God’s favor.

He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything, Luke 15:16.

A first century doctor recounts a parable shared by Jesus.  This story illustrates how its possible to lose God’s favor.  Instead of waiting for his father’s inheritance, the prodigal son forced the issue.  This thirst for earthly riches led to a chain of events resulting in one bad decision after the other.  Before this young man knew it, the prodigal was broke, homeless and longed to eat the sloop fed to unclean pigs.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD‘s purpose that prevails, Proverbs 19:21.

Whenever you hit rock bottom, the first step to recovery is coming to your senses.  Once former thoughts of rationalizing sin disappear, individuals can begin to acknowledge their wayward steps.  Thus, the best way to repair your relationship with God starts with confession, humility and public apologies.  If you’re struggling to grasp why things are going your way in life, may the Holy Spirit enlighten you so that you can regain God’s favor.

by Jay Mankus

What Disturbs the Devil?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” – Genesis 3:1

1) Obedience

Whenever someone refuses to break a rule, fails to compromise or take a short cut, the Devil becomes unsettled.  Therefore, expect a heavy dose of temptation in minds to challenge authority, doubt absolute truth and draw a new line for modern times.  Hollywood is a pawn that continues to remake documentaries and movies about American history, Bible stories and godly leaders in the past, hoping to rewrite a legacy void of character, integrity and truth.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!   I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.   I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.   So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. – Luke 15:17-20

2) Repentance

Any act, attempt or consideration to reconcile unhinges the Devil.  Whenever you confess your sins, you attract God the Father’s attention, thereby creating panic within the realm of fallen angels.  To squash any thoughts of this, don’t be surprised by spirits of bitterness, grudges and or pride getting in the way of restoring broken relationships.  Those on the verge of mending friendships will have unusual things occur, trying to distract and prevent you from publicly expressing your sorrow, James 5:16.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil.   After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. – Matthew 4:1-2.

3) Fasting

Finally, the spiritual practice of forgoing food to draw near to the Lord will certainly be like stirring up a hornet’s nest.  Fearful of the powerful results portrayed throughout the Bible, Satan will pull every dirty trick out of his play book to prevent you from entering this state of worship.  Mental, physical and spiritual attacks always follow this practice so be on guard if the Holy Spirit encourages you to participate in a fast, Ephesians 6:11-12.  Arm yourself with the attitude of Christ so that you will be reach new heights in your relationship with God.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Waste Your Breath

When cold weather arrives each winter, its not uncommon to see each breath you take.  In the context of a conversation, every now and then you will encounter an individual who is not teachable, disregarding your advice.  Thus, instead of wasting your breath, you have to learn to move on until the timing is right.

Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips. – Proverbs 14:7

Whether you are a coach, parent or teacher, it won’t be long until one of your pupils questions your authority.  Ignorance, pride and self-confidence are the usual suspects, making children think they know it all.  Rather than talking in vain, sometimes you how to wait until humility arrives before your words will be heard.

In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them. – Proverbs 14:3

However, when the fall does come, responding with “I told you so” won’t win you any fans.  As the opportunity arises, make sure your words are full of grace, Colossians 4:5-6, softening harden hearts.  In the meantime, don’t waste your breath until this day arrives, when the prodigal comes to their senses, Luke 15:17.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

How Many Times Does God Have to Bail Us Out?

Depending upon where you live, different phrases express the trouble that you are in.  Perhaps, you’re caught in a pickle, in the dog house, down the stream without a paddle or stuck in a precarious situation.  However you want to say it, it won’t be long before fate places you into a predicament where only God can bail us out.

Some of you may be like Joseph from the Bible, the envy of your family.  Thus, jealousy causes siblings to gang up on you, tease you or inflict emotional scars.  You press on only to find yourself falsely accused of someone else’s wrong doing.  As your reputation takes a hit, time and trust is the only thing you can do repair others opinions of you.  Despite the trials you endure, the Lord’s favor is upon you, showering you with blessings from heaven.

Unfortunately, most people fall into a different category, leaning more toward the prodigal son.  Curious, stubborn and unwilling to change, a series of poor choices results in a downward spiral.  By now, temptation is long gone, replaced by addiction, bad habits or cravings for temporary pleasures.  Call it human nature or self-realization, but until you come to your senses, Luke 15:17, you still think you can save yourself.  If this slide continues to the bottom of the barrel in life, your cries for help become more genuine, “help me Lord?”

How many times does God have to bail us out?   According to Matthew 18:21-22, forgiveness is suppose to be limitless.  If you reach out for help, God will extend hands of grace.  Therefore, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, Romans 10:9-13.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

How Wise Are You?

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?  Or does your IQ surpass genius’ of the past?  The brother of Jesus breaks down wisdom into 2 categories, from above and below, James 3:13-18.

The first type sows seeds of humility, as wisdom is displayed without fanfare.  If you are full of knowledge, you don’t have to fake it by trying to impress others.  Rather, understanding is demonstrated by a life filled with love, joy and peace.

On the other side of the spectrum, lies a mindset fueled by harboring bitterness.  In the process, selfish ambition leads individuals to develop a blind spot referred to as diabolical pride by C.S. Lewis.  When this cancer goes undetected, hearts change while minds swell to the size of melons.  If neglected, souls will begin to follow the wisdom of the Devil.

For some, the cause is lost, similar to addicts who are unable to grasp the severity of their situation.  Yet, there is hope for those who hit rock bottom, coming to their senses like prodigal children of the past.  When the timing is right, embrace the words of James 3:17-18 so that the wisdom of heaven will purge traces of darkness from your soul.  Flee from disorder in life by clinging to the fruits of the spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, displaying wisdom to a foolish world.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

The Sheep Without A Shepherd

If you’ve ever gone to a mall to people watch, it doesn’t take long to see who knows where they are going and who is lost, trying to find their way.  Whether you’re driving a car, searching for something you’ve misplaced or walking on a unmarked trail, everyone from time to time experiences the pain of loss.  In the midst of this crisis, a sense of helplessness paralyzes souls, making it obvious that no matter hard one tries, you can’t save yourself.

While traveling throughout towns and villages, Jesus observed the crowd of individuals following him.  Watching intently, tears began to swell up in his eyes, as Jesus saw this group as sheep without a shepherd, Matthew 9:35-36.  They were looking for something more in life, hoping that Jesus had the answer.  Like sheep aimlessly roaming the countryside, hungry hearts longed for meaning to life.

Today, the silent majority wonders when their Shepherd will return.  As chaos abounds, modern sheep have been led astray by false prophets, hypocritical leaders and the twisting of the Bible.  Exiting the church after high school or during college, pessimistic sheep are searching for alternative means to enter heaven’s gate.  Although some turn back, coming to their senses like the prodigal in Luke 15, a growing number remain sheep without a shepherd.

by Jay Mankus

 

All In His Hands

The remnants of 2012 can only be described as life altering for me.  While residents of the New Jersey and New York coast continue to pick up the pieces of their personal possessions, I am trying to recover from an employment hurricane which began with a phone call on January 1st and ended today, New Year’s Eve, losing my job with Amazon.  This storm has eroded my credentials, weakened my resume and washed my vision for the future into the sea.  Like a mangled piece of wood surviving an F-5 tornado, God has stripped away any remaining ego, bringing me to my knees.

Similar to a fool full of non-sense, I believed I could do anything I put my mind toward prior to 2012.  As I tried to take things into my own hands, I failed miserably, coming up empty for position after position.  Some where between coaching and teaching, I had overlooked the truth of James 1:17.  Meanwhile, prayerful hopes of naming and claiming authority over my financial mess proved void of any immediate help.  The image which summarizes how I really feel is found in Luke 15:16.  Just as the prodigal son yearned for food, I longed for closure, yet neither came for each of us.

Thus, I’ve come to the bottom of the barrel at the end of 2012.  Though it seemed to take an eternity, I am reaching out to my senses, Luke 15:17.  Only the Lord, Jehovah-Jireh as Abraham described Him in Genesis 22:14, can provide what my family and I need.  Although my spiritual cup is empty, living water is available, John 4:13-14.  From here on out, my finances, future employment and all that I need to sustain life are all in God’s Hands!  May this lesson be less painful for you than it has been for me.

by Jay Mankus

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