Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: common sense

God is Watching Over You

If anyone had a reason to doubt and question God, it was Job, a character in one of the oldest books of the Bible.  After his children died in a storm similar to a tornado, Job contracted boils all over his body.  Old Testament rationale associated the bad things that happened to individuals as a sign of punishment from God.  Thus, as bystanders stood by watching the trials that besieged Job, even three of Job’s best friends began to doubt his innocence.

“Behold, God is exalted in His power; Who is a ruler or a teacher like Him?” – Job 36:22

Feeling abandoned, one thought came to Job’s mind, God is watching over you.  While Job’s wife wanted him to curse God and die, his years of spending time with God enabled common sense to prevail.  Just as Jacob physically wrestled with God, Job struggled to comprehend what was happening to him.  This spiritual tussle inspired Job to record these events within an Old Testament book.  The worse things get in life, God has a way of humbling people to the point desperately trusting the Lord with your heart, soul and mind.

He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel.  Will neither slumber [briefly] nor sleep [soundly].  The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand, Psalm 121:3-5.

The Psalmist describes how God specifically watches over human beings.  Shepherds gave thanks for not twisting their ankle despite walking along rocky terrain.  Meanwhile, others sang about God’s never ending protection, watching over us like the old Bette Midler song From a Distance.  Finally, God is like a keeper, a shepherd guiding sheep around danger, a shade of protection in times of trouble.  Therefore, the next time you find yourself in the midst of adversity, remember the invisible guardian in the heavens above who is watching over you and me.

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

Simplifying the Process of Growing Old

When an adult explains a new concept to a child, certain things tend to get lost in translation.  Grown ups may be tempted to use big words, trying to impress an athlete or student.  Instead of simplifying the process, arrogance and pride can get in the way, widening this communication gap.  If an audience of kids become dazed and dumbfounded, its time to seek to a higher power, reflecting upon the story telling skills demonstrated by Jesus.

And looking toward His disciples, He began speaking: “Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are you who are poor [in spirit, those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for the kingdom of God is yours [both now and forever], Luke 6:20.

Jesus began his most famous sermon with a common sense approach, the beatitudes.  Instead of looking down on the less fortunate, Jesus used analogies that everyone could understand.  Thus, Jesus encourages individuals to set goals, attitudes that you want to aspire to be. obtain and possess.  Jesus takes negative terms like hungry, poor and weeping, then applies each to a positive spiritual quality.  These phrases give hope to the hopeless, comfort to the broken and joy to the emotionally numb.

Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are you who hunger now [for righteousness, actively seeking right standing with God], for you will be [completely] satisfied. Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are you who weep now [over your sins and repent], for you will laugh [when the burden of sin is lifted], Luke 6:21.

Jesus simplifies the process of growing old by reminding adults of a child like faith.  Before the innocence of youth is lost, kids possess great ambition, dreaming about the person they want to be when they grow out.  As time passes, thoughts change, influenced by the culture of each generation.  Without striving to achieve some of these beatitudes, the complications of life stunt spiritual growth.  Unless you are refreshed by God’s grace, you may become a grumpy old man, frustrated by what might have been.  Nonetheless, if you want to simplify the process of growing old, call out to Jesus so that you can regain a child like faith.

by Jay Mankus

Magnifying Confidence

If you have a tendency to be analytical like me, you might over think things instead of relying on common sense.  Yet, you can’t deny the difference confidence makes within an athlete, Christian and student.  Uncerainty can stiffle souls, causing individuals to be hesitant, without conviction to act.  However, confidence transforms lives, taking quiet soft spoken individuals to new heights.

When Jesus saw their [active] faith [springing from confidence in Him], He said, “Man, your sins are forgiven,” Luke 5:20.

One day Jesus was teaching in a home when crowds surrounded the building.  By this time in history, Jesus’ healing powers had become legendary as no condition was impossible to cure.  This knowledge empowered a few friends to climb on top of the roof, carrying their friend who was paralyzed.  Eager to get Jesus’ attention, these men cut open a few tiles and lowered their friend to Jesus’ feet.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

This act of faith impressed Jesus and one of four gospel authors.  Luke magnifies confidence by referring to belief, energy and passion linked to those who trust in God’s power to transform lives.  Luke uses the imagery of a spring, bubbling over out of the ground.  When Christians stop focusing on the cants in this life and begin to open their minds to the possibilities with God’s help, confidence is magnifed.

by Jay Mankus

The Ghost of Worry

Apparitions, phantoms and shadows are often associated with ghosts.  Television channels like Destination America are feeding this craze with a series of programming related to paranormal activity.  Whether you are talking about ghost towns, haunted houses or demonic encounters, there are so many spirits roaming this country and throughout the world.    One of these invisible presences is the ghost of worry.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:25-27

Worry is the little bug or gnat that constantly pesters you.  This nuisance can be emotionally draining, sucking any joy that you may have out of your life.  If you allow this force to continue to wear on your soul, stress levels can explode resulting in panic attacks.  In the passage above, Jesus uses common sense to address the ghost of worry.  Instead of dwelling of things that you can’t control, trust God to provide what you need.

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them, Matthew 6:28-32.

When I was a child, if I took too much food at the dinner table and did not finish it, my parents often said, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach.”  If the ghost of worry gets the best of you each week, your mind is bigger than your faith.  Revealing God’s special care and concern for nature and wildlife, Jesus illustrates how the Lord provides for the most basic elements on earth.  Therefore, if you want to perform an exorcism on worry, seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.  If you adhere to this advice, the ghost of worry will slowly dissipate as God provides for each of your needs.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Visual Paradox

There are times in life when your eyes deceive you.  You will run into people who appear courteous and kind, yet fail to reveal their hidden agenda within.  This visual paradox keeps you from seeing reality; the truth about what is happetning.  These anomalies, conundrums and enigmas keep you in the dark.  This mystery often goes unsolved until it’s too late or the answers remain with those who kept silent, now buried and gone.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth, Psalm 145:18.

There is a new movement sweeping America that defies logic.  While I am not sure of it’s origin, diversity is the energy driving this political ideology.  When common sense pokes holes in this desire to embrace everyone, the media rises up to shut down opposing views.  On the surface, this message sounds like something Jesus would have said, “to love your neighbor as yourself.”  This mental paradox has placed many Christians in the middle, unsure if loving your neighbor includes terrorists who secretly want to kill you.

Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him, John 18:37-38.

In the first century, Jesus had his own set of enemies.  Jealous religious leaders believed Jesus was trying to usurp their political and religious power.  Subsequently, when Jesus didn’t conform to their worldview, plots to kill him began to surface.  Today, liberal leaders feel so strongly about secularism that if you don’t accept, adhere and embrace progressive ideas, you are pressured to deny your previous held beliefs.  At the college level, if you choose to exercise you first amendment rights by disagreeing, this visual paradox is exposed for what it is, an attempt to force a code of ethics upon individuals without conviction, faith or inspiration.

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, Ephesians 6:14.

The only successful way to combat this visual paradox is with truth.  If a roman soldier did not secure his belt, his armor would become vulnerable to a surprise attack.  Likewise, if individuals do not wear a belt, you could be caught with your pants falling down.  To avoid this fate, arm yourself with spiritual weapons by putting on the armor of God daily.  This discipline takes time and practice to apply.  Yet, if you are diligent, securing the belt of truth will prevent you from being deceived by similar visual paradoxes that emerge in the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

Praying for the Press

Common sense whispers to the average person that when attacked you should retaliate.  Whether you are talking about competition, gossip or slander, its doesn’t take much for things to become personal.  Thus, when push comes to shove, how you react reflects what’s in your heart.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ Matthew 5:43.”

Since Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election, I have yet to hear the mainstream media say anything positive about the President Elect.  Instead of taking a “let’s wait and see attitude,” liberals and progressives have put on a full court press using hate speech, fake news and misleading opinion editorial pieces to poison the minds of Americas.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44.

This movement of negative news may not end until Donald Trump leaves the White House.  Yet, for now, there is only one logical solution to calm these muddy waters.  According to Jesus, loving and praying for your enemies serves 2 purposes.  The first sends a message of God’s love and forgiveness.  Then, your response makes people feel bad, Proverbs 25:22.  Although it may be difficult for his supporters, its time to pray for the press.

by Jay Mankus

Rosewood Revisited

The 1997 film Rosewood starring Jon Voight and Don Cheadle details the horrific events of the first week of January 1923.  Known as the Rosewood massacre, a rural town in Levy County Florida, this movie depicts the events which culminated into a race riot.  This history lesson provides a painful reminder of how white parents taught their children not to play with African American kids.  When a white woman lies about being raped by a black man, all hell breaks loose throughout Rosewood.

But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, Amos 5:24.

As I watched this for this first time in years, some of the scenes are reminiscent of modern events.  Whether its Black Lives Matters protests, tension between law enforcement and the African American community or violent acts upon innocent people, a mob mentality influences one’s ability to use common sense.  The byproduct of this distraction often leads to emotionally outbursts, harsh comments and regrettable actions.  This is the climate in which we now reside, helping to explain some of the awful headlines in the news.

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers, Proverbs 21:15.

If you revisit Rosewood or watch it for the first time, its not easy to digest.  Some of the content will make you cringe.  Other parts may shock you or cause you to feel sympathy for how black were mistreated by white for centuries.  Yet, one must look toward the future while remembering the words of Dr. Martin King Jr, “its not about the color of our skin, but the content of our character.”  In view of this, may this country come together as one to live, learn and rise above past transgressions.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

%d bloggers like this: