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The Pain of Unjust Suffering

Every day is like the luck of the draw.  Sometimes you experience undeserved blessings.  Other mornings you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, confronted with the pain of unjust suffering.  According to Peter, a disciple of Jesus who faced his own trials and tribulations, as you undergo these periods in life, be conscious of God.

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God, 1 Peter 2:19.

Unfortunately, those who become a target of the enemy like Job, sometimes moments of crisis can be overwhelming.  If you have ever read John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, its almost hard to believe someone could endure such pain.  In the face of death, these saints considered sacrificing their lives rather than compromising their faith.  Truly, these individuals were conscious of God.

They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated, Hebrews 11:37.

Modern Christians in America are facing a new challenge, the loss of religious freedoms.  Whether its prayer in school, the 10 commandments displayed in public places or quoting politically incorrect verses from the Bible, any of these infractions will leave you in hot water, under scrutiny from the mainstream media.  Nonetheless, if you are acting out of conviction, in the name of Jesus, you may be on the verge of experiencing the pain of unjust suffering.

by Jay Mankus

The Long Road to Hope

The long road to hope begins with suffering.  Following the aftermath of original sin detailed in Genesis 3, a cursed was placed on this earth.  God’s creation of His perfect world was ruined, leading to a life of disappointment, frustration and suffering.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; Romans 8:3.

Despite the pain often inflicted, individuals have something to look forward to the longer you walk down this road.  While your ego and pride may take a beating, glimmers of hope surface along the way.  Thus, when the sun breaks through the clouds, maturity is not that far away.

Perseverance, character; and character, hope, Romans 8:4.

If you hang in there long enough, a sense of hope comes into focus.  Beyond whatever self pity remains, God’s love still shines, radiating day after day.  When you don’t have the strength to take another step, a spirit is sent by your side to lead you to the end of this road.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us, Romans 5:5.

The best way to describe God is like the scene in the Wizard of Oz.  Dorothy and her friends have been poisoned by a wicked witch, causing each to drift off to sleep, suddenly halting their journey.  Yet, snow is sent to awaken everyone so that they reach their final destination.  The Holy Spirit plays a similar role, the invisible force to help us persevere on the long road to hope.

by Jay Mankus


A Day Inside the Praetorium

From time to time, people will pass by notorious places.  Sometimes flying over in the air, viewing while using mass transit or stopping in person to visit.  Welcome centers, videos playing on a loop and signs will communication important landmarks.  However, nothing can truly tell the whole story of what happened one fateful day inside the Praetorium.

Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him, Mark 15:19.

The Praetorium depicted in the Bible is where the magistrates, Roman leaders met to do official business.  After being arrested by soldiers, Jesus was led into this palace where a bad day gradually got worse.  Jesus was mocked, spit on, punched out and impaled by a crown with 2″ long thorns.  After the commotion concluded, Jesus was led out into the streets of Jerusalem holding the cross He would die upon.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood, Hebrews 12:4.

Reading this portion of the Bible again gives me a different perspective when I’m having a bad day.  Sure, disappointment, heartache and pain is a hard pill to swallow, yet nothing compares to the fate Jesus endured.  Thus, the next time you think you’re life is a wreck, remember this selfless act on the cross.  Although Good Friday began at the Praetorium, new life was made possible 3 days later through the resurrection.

by Jay Mankus



Cleansing from the Inside Out

If you’re sick, most make an appointment to see a doctor.  When a tooth or molars begin to hurt, you go see a dentist.  While this makes complete sense, why is it when people of faith struggle spiritually most fail to visit the biblical Doctor?

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.  I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands, Psalm 119:9-10.

Depending upon how you were raised, parents will influence how you handle pain.  Old school parenting teaches to “get up, suck it up and don’t cry.”  A modern approach might include “shake it off after allowing tears to flow.”  Nonetheless, cleansing from the inside out begins with worship, pouring your heart out to the God of the universe in song.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you, Psalm 119:11.

However, worship is merely a prescription to maintain one’s spiritual health.  Daily medication revolves around mediating on the Words of God.  Whether you want to call this a devotion, quiet time or Bible Study, this discipline enriches the heart, soul and mind.  Therefore, if you want to receive healing from the inside out, start by opening up the Bible daily.  May this regular appointment with God transform you and cleanse you from the inside out.

by Jay Mankus


A Living Hell

While the Old Testament law promotes an eye for an eye and life for a life.  God does support a scenario of life in prison without parole.  Following the murder of his brother, the Lord refused to allow anyone to kill Cain, essentially allowing him to suffer a lifetime of regret, a living hell on earth.

But the LORD said to him, “Not so, anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. – Genesis 4:15

You don’t have to commit murder to experience a living hell.  Those who have suffered a car accident may have to live with the regret of having a friend die while they were driving.  Soldiers often endure post traumatic stress syndrome following a horrific life event in the line of battle.  Meanwhile, parents who lose a child to drowning, SIDS or fatal illness may never recover from this painful tragedy.

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. – Hebrews 11:4

The voice of Abel cries out today to anyone who has dealt with a living hell on earth.  Although the Bible is unclear about what Abel said, whispers of grace, hope and mercy extend to souls torn in two.  Despite these wounds, life moves on with or without you.  Therefore, as you search for a source of healing, may the promise of Psalm 34:18 mend the broken hearted and lift up those crushed by a living hell.

by Jay Mankus

Things That Break the Heart

If the words of King Solomon in Proverbs 4:23 hold true today, the heart is vulnerable to numerous attacks.  Beyond physical ailments, there are various trials which can upset, puncture or wound this precious organ.  As women lose a child to complications, a miscarriage or still born death, one can only imagine the grief experienced by this poor soul.  Beside the obvious, accidents, illness and shattered relationships can bombard an innocent heart, leaving pain that lasts a lifetime.

According to King David, another element inflicts jabs to the heart, Psalm 69:19-20.   Scorn is like a deadly weapon, poison on the tips of human tongues which derides a bystander, resulting in a sense of worthlessness.  In an attempt to get ahead in life, words cut like a knife using contempt, disdain and mockery.  When thoughts become verbalized, the Holy Spirit grieves, Ephesians 4:29, recognizing that a heart has been bruised by sticks and stones with names that do leave a scar on one ‘s soul.

Beside watching what you eat, it’s impossible to control or predict the circumstances in life.  Thus, it’s essential to guard your heart with the word of God, Psalm 119:9-11.  No matter where you live or work, unless you’re prepared for the future, you will likely fail,   Hosea 4:6.   Although heartbreak may be a way of life for some, you don’t have to accept this negative mindset.  Yet, when a piece of your heart does break, remember the promise of Psalm 34:18.  In God’s timing, He will mend your broken heart.

by Jay Mankus

A Pedestal of Disappointment

There are certain individuals which possess gravitas, tempting family, friends and followers to place them up on a pedestal.  These dynamics personalities make it hard not to jump on the bandwagon as some become held in high regards as a cultural hero.  However, when you choose to place someone up on a pedestal, its a matter of time before you will experience disappointment.

According to Romans 3:23, no one is perfect.  Regardless of your efforts and motives, sooner or later will you fail, mess up or make a mistake.  This blunder often shatters the image of your fans, causing many to jump ship.  In the aftermath of sin, its difficult to come with terms with the failures of leaders.  The painful reality of this disappointment will make you think twice before placing another treasured soul on a pedestal.

The relational aspect of life makes people vulnerable to pain.  Perhaps, a growing number of adults are forgoing marriage to avoid the heartbreak of unfilled vows.  While you may believe this is a good idea, there is only One who is worth placing up on a pedestal, Hebrews 4:14-16.  Don’t blame the creator for imperfect people.  Rather, lift up the only One who is worthy to be praised, Romans 5:8.

by Jay Mankus


It’s Time to Straighten Up

In the 1994 classic film Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks plays a boy with a crooked back.  To fix this problem, a doctor places metal rods on his legs to address this physical ailment.  While running from a few enemies, Forrest is miraculously healed as he straightens up to flee from those throwing rocks at him.

Another doctor recounts a back problem that he was unable to treat in Luke 13:10-17.   Outside of Hollywood, pain doesn’t always vanish.  According to Luke, this woman had been like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for 18 years.  However, Jesus reveals the root of this condition, a crippling demon, Luke 13:12, sent by the devil to bind her during this time, Luke 13:16.  In the middle of a worship service, Jesus makes an altar call to release this woman from the grips of the enemy.

Today, similar dilemmas exist in the lives of children, adults and the elderly.  When specialists can’t diagnose illnesses, most fail to examine the spiritual side of this matter.  If you’re feeling bound and tied up by the stress and worries of life, perhaps an unknown enemy has entered your life, Ephesians 4:26-27.  The Lord’s altar is always open, Matthew 11:28-30, waiting to straighten up your life by the healing power of Jesus, Colossians 2:13-15.

Please share how you have been healed, touched or straightened up by Jesus.

by Jay Mankus


The Anguish of Disobedience

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was to consul a shaken mother the day after her son died in a car accident.  According to friends in attendance at a party, he only had one beer before leaving.  Impaired slightly, this young man couldn’t negotiate the bend on a countryside road, striking a tree head on, dead on arrival to the nearest hospital.  My sense is this woman wanted me to assure her that her son was doing well in heaven.  Since this boy was missing in action from youth group without any apparent faith, the anguish of her son’s disobedience on earth stirred in her soul.

According to Leviticus 10:1-3, Aaron endured similar trauma, sitting in stunned silence after his 2 oldest sons died suddenly.  Not the greatest role model, Aaron’s greatest claim to fame or should I say shame was creating a golden calf, Exodus 32:2-4.  Perhaps their father’s hypocrisy encouraged Nadab and Abihu to turn a deaf ear to his instructions.  Instead of carefully obeying the words God relayed to Moses, Aaron’s 2 sons began to experiment like 2 curious boys in a chemistry lab.  Subsequently, the pain of disobedience cost Nadab and Abihu their life.

Whether its a suicide note left behind for a family, the dairies of a troubled school shooter or victims of drunk driving, the anguish of disobedience is on display daily.  The free will of one individual’s action has been felt by several members of society.  People are left to wonder what might have been if one out of control human being didn’t cut short the life of their loved one.  May the words of Psalm 34:18 provide some comfort this day for anyone still coping with the anguish of disobedience.

by Jay Mankus


What You’ve Got Left

Aspiring athletes and students are always looking for an edge, seeking to attain new heights.  Meanwhile, coaches and teachers use motivational speeches to get the most out of their pupils, trying to maximize their God given talents.  However, sometimes you need to remember the words of Job, “the Lord gives and takes away.”  Thus, whether you’re enduring a trial in life, struggling your way through a test or trying to stop a losing streak, God only has one question for you: what do you have left?

The apostle Paul shares this sentiment, reflecting upon a physical ailment he was forced to accept, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  Paul’s health concerns led him to embrace this situation, leaning on the Lord to help him cope with daily pain.  Humbled and helpless, Paul found inner strength when he placed his trust in God with what he had left.  Once he reached this point in his life, Paul uncovered the power of Christ in human weakness.

As for me, I find myself doing just the opposite, relying on my own strengths and talents to get by.  The end result has been predictable, lacking joy, peace and unfulfilled in my current state of life.  Despite my failures, I serve a God of second chances, able to rescue me from myself, Psalm 91:14-15.  Therefore, if you find yourself in a similar predicament, swallow your pride by giving God what you’ve got left.

When has Christ shined through your weaknesses?

by Jay Mankus

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