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Is an Intervention Necessary in 2022?

Every family has at least one member who looks like they are about to lose it. Perhaps, this individual’s name came up during private conversations over the holidays. Maybe this name has become a punch line for “did you hear what Uncle Larry did this time? Yet, you’ve been concerned for a while, but haven’t had the guts to come out and say it. If you’re slightly convicted about any of the following, maybe 2022 is the perfect time for an intervention.

Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. 14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death, James 1:13-15.

As a former coach and teachable, it’s hard to watch one of your prized pupils self destruct. While there may be a few moments when you are able to stop the bleeding so to speak, if someone doesn’t want to change this free fall will continue. Sometimes friends and or parents may enable certain behaviors, hoping that the person in need will simply grow out of this phase. If nothing changes for the better, prayer and intervention may be your only two remaining options.

Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin]. 13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not [b]adjusted and [c]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to [d]a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.

An intervention is the act of interfering with the outcome or course especially if a serious condition exists. In the passage above, the apostle Paul refers to a way out of temptation. Yet, when individuals are enticed and baited by lustful passions, they are not looking for a way out. Subsequently, this is where Christian leaders must come side by side those who are fighting a losing battle. Any successful intervention begins with a mature believer helping the lost find the way out of temptation. If this situation arises in your life, this year is the time to act and intervene.

by Jay Mankus

Escaping a Head Down Eyes Straight Ahead Mentality

When you work in a building with two thousand people, you are bound to encounter an unpleasant conversation.  If you keep your head up, you might have a flashback of high school as you dodge people in a crowded hallway, with some not paying attention to those around them.  To avoid awkward situations, some may choose to keep their heads down, fixated on what lies ahead.  Unfortunately, this decision will cause individuals to miss out on opportunities to serve others.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do, James 1:22-25.

The author of the book of James was Jesus’ younger brother.  Since the Bible has an 18 year time gap between Jesus’ bar-mitz-vah and the beginning of his earthly ministry, we don’t know much about their relationship.  However, Mark 3:20-35 unveils a shocking comment from members of Jesus’ family with James a likely unnamed source.  After healing a demon possessed man, Jesus is accused of being mentally ill, using Satanic powers to drive out demons.  This type of judgement comes from a head down, eyes straight ahead mentality.  This mindset prevents individuals from recognizing the power of God at work in the lives of faithful servants.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, Hebrews 12:1-2.

Part of the passage above written by James serves as a confession.  James was immature, going through the motions without putting the Bible into practice.  At some point, James was convicted of his head down, eyes straight ahead life style.  The author of Hebrews provides the cure for this condition.  Using an analogy of a marathon, this advice encourages believers to run with perseverance, fixing your eyes on Jesus throughout the race called life.  As the Holy Spirit transforms your perspective, the Lord will begin to help you see that distractions are opportunities to serve God.  May this blog inspire you to slow down, look around and see how God can use you to serve others daily.

by Jay Mankus

 

Searching for a Reason to Live

Living pay check to check is exhausting, especially when your money disappears before your expenses are fully covered.  Like a high school student bored beyond measure, living for the weekend isn’t any better.  There must be something greater, with meaning and purpose out there.  Thus, my journey has begun to find a reason to live.

Over the weekend I attended a benefit concert for Kay’s Kamp and Ashley’s Orphans.  Kay was one of my former students who died of a rare form of cancer shortly after graduating from Red Lion Christian Academy.  Meanwhile, Ashley’s life was cut short prematurely in a boating accident while she attend the Elementary at Red Lion.  Despite their deaths, their legacies live on by the faith each displayed in their living years.

Lost in my attempt to provide for my family is a higher calling, a vision to make an impact for eternity.  When the Raymond Lee Band donated all of their proceeds from Saturday’s concert to these 2 organizations, my heart was convicted by my selfishness.  Perhaps, we can all learn from this example, sacrificing temporary wants for those around you who are more needy.  May the Holy Spirit, guide each of us to find a higher reason to live, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

My Hidden Faults

Behind the facade, mirage and show played out in real life, lies imperfections tainted by sin.  In the emergency room on Monday night, I was confronted by images of reality television.  In fact, I haven’t scene this much diversity since I went to traffic court in Ohio following a head on collision in college.  To my surprise, 3 Amish teenagers were arrested for driving their buggy’s while intoxicated after crashing into a neighbors yard.  All you have to do is spend 1 day in the court and emergency rooms to see faults that were once hidden now out in the open for all to see.

I guess you can say I am not the most patient person in the world as demonstrated by my lead foot driving.  However, my patience was put to the test last night as I felt like a cast member on the Jerry Springer show.  I was surrounded by a woman involved in a domestic violence dispute and a boy who crashed his brother’s car driving without a license or insurance.  Between complaining, distress and periodical groans, I felt like saying, “shut up and suck it up!”  Common sense kept me from speaking my mind, but my heart was convicted by my inability to handle this trial with maturity.

Instead of using my accident to be a loving example of Christ, I turned into Oscar the Grouch.  Perhaps, I should have ate a Snickers Bar.  When push comes to shove, character rises to the surface and for me, I still have a long way to go.  This crisis opened a fresh can of worms, exposing my hidden faults of impatience and selfishness.  In the future, I must live out Psalm 19:13, so that I will flee from willful sins that can separate you from God.  May the promise of James 5:16  set me free from my once hidden faults.

by Jay Mankus

Behind Closed Doors

Zach got up like any other work day, going through his morning routine.  On his way to his office, he noticed a parade of people lining up down Main Street.  With no holiday on the calender, he stopped to chat with some folks in the crowd, curious about all the commotion.  To his surprise, Jesus was passing by Jericho, receiving rock star treatment, minus the screams from young ladies looking for an autograph.

Vertically challenged, Zach could not see anything, despite jumping up and down with all his might to catch a glimpse of this legendary man.  Caught up in the frenzy, Zach runs ahead of the masses, finds an overhanging tree and starts to climb.  Yes, this wasn’t your typical day, especially when the chief tax collector hangs out over the road to get Jesus’ attention.  What happened next got the grapevine stirred up as gossip rumbles across the town, Luke 19:5-7, “Jesus meeting a sinner in his own house?”

Unfortunately, inquiring minds are left to wonder what occurred behind closed doors as the doctor gives a shorthand version in Luke 19:8-10.  Touched by this offer, Zach doesn’t panic about what his house looked like.  Nor does he spend countless hours making excuses for his past sins.  Rather, Zach appears to be convicted by the wrongs he had committed.  Thus, he makes a pledge to the poor and penance to those he overcharged.  Following this meeting with Jesus, Zacchaeus was spiritually transformed, moved by the promise of salvation, John 3:16 and inspired by faith to act, James 2:26.  May we all be so fortunate to one day experience a face to face meeting with Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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