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Tag Archives: confusion

All Out of Sorts

Sort isn’t one of the sexiest words in the English language.  Yet, its synonyms reveal a wide array of meanings.  Arrange, categorize and grouping items enables individuals to bring order to their lives.  However, it doesn’t take much until complacency, laziness or unexpected trials leaves you all out of sorts.

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 1 Corinthians 14:33.

After my son was rushed to the hospital last Tuesday, my routine schedule was thrown out the window.  One week later, dazed, exhausted and in dire need of sleep, I find myself hanging by a thread.  All out of sorts, I’m trying to leave the land of confusion for the peace promised in the Bible.

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves, Romans 15:1.

During a visit to the church of Corinth, Paul witnessed several believers all out of sorts.  Subsequently, Paul called on godly leaders to be patient with those failing in their faith.  While its nice to have others focused on your own well being, hurting individuals receive much more by serving others.  Therefore, despite your current situation, reach out to someone less fortunate to help the body of Christ heal.

by Jay Mankus

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Speechless

The 2010 film the King’s Speech is based upon a true story.  As Hitler’s popularity grew during World War II, King George VI struggled to find his voice.  Battling with stuttering throughout his life, this movie details the king’s progress with a speech therapist.  When England needed a voice, this once speechless king overcame his fears to lead a nation.

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone, Acts 9:7.

Individuals blessed with the gift of conversation probably can’t relate to those inflicted with speech impediments.   On the other hand, people who tend to be shy do not possess the desire and energy to speak for an extended period of time.  Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, there will be moments of silence.  Times when even the most outgoing individuals become speechless.

For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything, Acts 9:9.

Looking back at my own life, I find that trials usually shut me down for a while.   Whether its confusion, shock or uncertainty, it may take some time to sort things out.  The sooner I can make sense of turmoil, the quicker my life returns to normal.  Yet, life isn’t always fair, presenting difficulties that may push you beyond reason.  Thus, as you battle periods of depression in life, hold on to a God who has a track record of transforming lives.

by Jay Mankus

 

Making A Clear Distinction

In a world of diminishing absolutes, making a clear distinction between right and wrong isn’t what it use to be.  Shades of grey have entered the equation, leaving the truth uncertain.  To erase this confusion, one must shine the light of the Bible on this matter to distinguish the moral from immoral.

History reveals this struggle is nothing new as periods in time are filled with examples of people who blended in like chameleons, hiding their faith from society.  This pattern led Moses to challenge Israel to make a clear distinction between holiness and common citizens in Leviticus 10:10-11.  This lesson from the past should challenge us to examine our own lives to ascertain where do you stand?

When you’re feeling good about yourself, pride will lead you to hold a higher view than your actions actually display.  On the other hand, when your day of humility comes, you might feel like the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15.  Despite the good and bad that you do, Jesus still wants believers to shine their light, Matthew 5:13.  Like the childhood song proclaims, don’t hide your light anymore, make a clear distinction today by imitating God, Ephesians 5:1-4.

by Jay Mankus

Boundaries, Bounties and Blown Opportunities

I witnessed a pastor go old school today, committing what some may call social suicide.  Taking no prisoners, this man of the cloth convicted households who display little boundaries or prefer to be their child’s best friend.  When parents don’t say no, define acceptable perimeters or clarify right from wrong behavior for their children, kids become one with the world.  Instead of being transformed by the word of God, Romans 12:1-2, teenagers are becoming like dust in the wind, blown from one trend to the next.

Today, more than ever, society has been turned upside down, just watch any commercial airing in prime time which ties sex to their products.  In the Wild West, cities and town offered bounties for anyone who were able to help authorities catch a criminal wanted for a hideous act.  If only an entrepreneur had enough money to offer rewards for good behavior, perhaps this country might return to its Judeo-Christian heritage.  Unfortunately, lines drawn in the sand keep moving, enforced differently by the government, leaders and schools, resulting in a generation of confusion.

From my own perspective, its frustrating to look back on all the blown opportunities I missed as a father.  Depression, fatigue and time have chipped away the standards I want to consistently uphold for my family.  Although I would like to turn the clock back, all I can do is look to history to avoid future failures.  Essentially, I need to become a Moses’ like figure, clearly communicating God desires for daily living, Exodus 19:3-6.  The best advice for anyone wrestling with parenting is found in Proverbs 22:6, “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  May the words of the Bible provide blueprints for youth and adults struggling to identify absolutes, Psalm 119:105.

by Jay Mankus

Uncharted Waters

During my last summer as a boy scout, I spent a week canoeing 50 miles in the Canadian wilderness.  To reach our goal, our troop had to average just over 7 miles a day to complete this journey.  Due to a few stormy days, one day was stretched to 10 miles after whitecaps, 3 feet high at times, through a curve ball into our original plans.  Once leaving our guide at the boat dock, our scout master had the only map of these foreign bodies of water.  Faith, trust and hard work was to key to finishing this adventure.

After graduating college, I faced a similar dilemma, but this time I endured uncharted territories, not 100 % sure where to go, what to do and how to survive living on my own.  Although I had friends who had made a smooth transition to this next phase in life, I thought finding a full time job would be much easier.  My greatest fear was settling for something less than ideal, but not waiting too long to decide.  Finally, like a master navigator, God provided the perfect position in Columbus, Indiana.  While having one of the best summers of my life, I treated my new position like a sprint instead of a marathon, eventually burning myself out after 15 months due to immaturity.

Twenty years later, I feel as if I am living the lyrics to Willie Nelson’s song “On the Road Again.”  Some where along the way, doubt has crept into mind whispering words of confusion.  Whether you are new parents driving home from the hospital with your first child, starting a new job or looking for purpose and meaning in life, uncharted waters await you.  Although waves of uncertainty may come crashing around you, James 1:6, there is a living God who can lead you beside still waters, Psalm 23:2.  Whatever trial is currently staring you in the eye, may the God of the Bible help navigate you through life’s storms so you may experience the gift of eternal life, Romans 6:23.

by Jay Mankus

What Are You Really Selling?

Last week, I was meandering through aisles when an item got my attention.  As I took a second look, I was confused by the picture, which had nothing to do with the product itself.  Like eye candle trying to draw the attention of others or a modern day apple hanging from the Tree of Knowledge, I paused for a moment thinking, “what are you really selling?”

If you are curious, the product was a new razor, trying to impress consumers with the latest in technology I assume.  However, what appeared on the exterior packaging was a beautiful woman in a skimpy bikini.  Since I am well behind in pop culture, this model is probably some former Cover Girl, but I am perplexed why a famous brand name would lower its marketing standards to sell more razors.

Despite what I believe, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that sex continues to sell products.  Honest ads have been replaced by embellishment, hoping the allure of their commercial might lead to impulse buying.  When I find a product or razor that actually meets and surpasses what it promises, I will let you know.  Until then, be careful not to fall prey to empty sales pitches.  Rather, hold fast to integrity as you accept the good and the bad things in life, Job 2:7-10.

by Jay Mankus

Why People Don’t Listen

Eyes

As a former teacher, there were many days I talked to blank stares, bowed heads and confused faces.  Maybe the topic I spoke on was boring, students stayed up too late the previous night or I was tuned out by their minds, not as entertaining as their favorite television stars.  However, one of the main reasons people don’t listen is because deep down inside, they probably don’t believe what you saying applies, will change or impact their lives.

 

Moses encounters a similar experience within Exodus 6:9-12, confused by Israel’s response to the message God gave him.  Based upon verse 9, the distress of slavery and the wear and tear of beat downs by Egyptian officials took a toll on their hearts.  After approaching a 4th generation of bondage, it appears no one could foresee the miracle God was waiting to perform.

This mentality is alive and well today, made stronger by an I know it all attitude.  If you include opinions, political views and well defined worldviews, breaking down the walls to clear communication is extremely challenging.  This likely explains why Jesus used the phrase “you have ears but don’t hear and eyes but do not hear,” addressing the Pharisees for their stubbornness.  May the Holy Spirit help you conquer this worldwide dilemma, 1 Corinthians 2:9-16, to influence those whom you come in contact with daily.

by Jay Mankus

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