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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

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If You Only Knew

My favorite place to visit during a decade of teaching was the teachers lounge.  Although this seems like a strange answer, it’s one of the few places faculty could go without being bombarded by questions, distracted by a student or interrupted by an upset parent.  This was a setting where staff let their guard down, sharing various burdens on their hearts.  I truly enjoyed the meaningful conversations I engaged in during my first couple of years teaching.  After a while, I began to ask others teachers about certain students, seeing if they had similar concerns or issues in their class.  During one such exchange, my eyes were opened to a situation that I never knew about.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise, Jeremiah 17:14.

One of my students was a goof ball, sarcastic and usually a distraction to my classroom.  However, I was enlightened to the reason behind her behavior one afternoon.  Evidently, her parents marriage was falling apart, often left alone some nights with her older sister playing the role as parent.  One of my peers eventually said to me, “It’s a miracle that these children get to school on time daily.”  If I only knew this upfront, I probably would have been more understanding.  Yet, sometimes inappropriate behavior is merely a reaction to what’s going on at home.  This pain held deep inside of hearts, minds and souls often comes out in the form of emotional outbursts.  This cry for help often get’s overlooked by most teachers.

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security, Jeremiah 33:6.

The most challenging class I dealt with were junior high students in West Virginia.  These students were intelligent, but due to issues at home hampered their overall achievement in school.  Selected by a new boarding school entitled the High Scope Institute for Ideas, I was chosen to counsel and teach these candidates.  Using an active learning environment, students were engaged with seminars and workshops.  In the middle of the day, tutoring sessions were held for those falling behind followed by team building exercises to encourage leaders to come forward.  This semester holds a special place in my heart as I lived with these students like a camp counselor.  Yet, one student began to act up near the end of the school year.  After threatening to kill another student, I had a heated exchange with him, throwing his bunk bed across the room.  Like Jesus turning the tables of money changers in the temple, my reaction struck a nerve, resulting in a tearful confession.  If I only knew how bad his family life was, my methods would have changed.  In view of this, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  Rather, take the time to listen so that you can help those waiting to be healed from the pain of their past.

by Jay Mankus

 

Desperation, Inspiration or a Combination?

After New Year’s Resolutions have been broken, forgotten or wasted by misguided steps in 2015, one of two emotions consume individuals.  Desperation is brought on by agony, despair and worry.  Meanwhile, inspiration is conceived when souls are awakened and spurred on by a glimpse of what could be in the near future.  Somewhere in between the conscience is stimulated by a combination of desperation and inspiration.

Holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain, Philippians 2:16.

As I reread the gospel in May, I get the feeling that the sick, sinners and those who had lost their way in the first century were fueled by desperation.  Since doctors couldn’t cure, help or figure out what was wrong, ill people will willing to try anything regardless how far they had to travel.  Caught in the grips of addiction, desolation led the needy to explore the stories of miracles performed by a carpenter from Nazareth.  Finally, prodigals who had neglected their families for years returned seeking reconciliation and a fresh start on life.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, Romans 15:13.

A week ago I was comfortably numb, going through the motions of a mediocre life.  I’m not sure if it was desperation, inspiration or a combination of the two, yet I snapped out of the malaise which keep me depressed for most of 2015.  Subsequently, a sense of motivation returned, providing just the spark I needed to complete my second movie script in a nick of time.  Now back on track, I am leaning on the Holy Spirit to keep the fire burning as I press on to that which God has called me to do.  As for now, but let a rough day, week or month drag you down.  Rather, look to the Son for inspiration.

by Jay Mankus

 

Dr. Md; Is There a Doctor in the House?

Illness can be a mystery, especially when no obvious symptoms are present.  One day you feel great; the next you struggle to get out of bed.  As more and more doctors retire after a generation of service, the desperate will continue to cry out for help, “is there a doctor in the house?”

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.- James 5:15

Since 2012, I’ve battled a severe sinus infection that I can’t seem to shake.  Headaches, fevers and periods of fatigue have whittled away my faith of ever improving.  Perhaps, my condition are side affects from lyme disease that I first contracted in 1999.  Whatever the reason for my recent ailments, I pray that a doctor will come to my rescue with the correct diagnosis and cure.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. – 3 John 1:2

Nonetheless, sometimes God allows a person to suffer without any signs of recovery.  According to 2 Corinthians 12:7, the Lord struck the apostle Paul with a thorn in his flesh.  This condition prevented Paul from becoming proud during his successful ministry on earth.  Despite crying out for healing, his request did not get answered.  Although I am currently waiting for insight, all I can do is trust God that one day soon my pain will fade away.

by Jay Mankus

 

That Which You Gaze Upon… You Will Become

While listening to talk radio today, I was struck by a caller to the Glenn Beck Show.  Beating around the bush, this man ctonfessed to an addiction to pornography.  During this struggle, one thought kept reverberating, “that which you gaze upon, you will become.”

One of Jesus’ 12 disciples recognized a similar pattern near the end of the first century, 1 John 2:15-17.  Inside of each human being, a hunger exists, searching for objects of desire.  Lusts, longings and pride can shift your focus from where it should be to behind the devil’s door, Ephesians 4:26-27.  In other words, be careful what you wish for.

One of Jesus’ best words of wisdom in his Sermon on the Mount can be found in Matthew 6:19-24.  The Lord knew before creation that which individuals gaze upon, they will become.  The cure to prevent addictions is to begin to store up treasures on earth.  The apostle Paul added to this in Colossians 3:1-4, urging readers to meditate on the Lord day and night.  If bad habits have you staring in the wrong direction, fix your eyes on the author and perfecter of life, Hebrews 12:1-3.

by Jay Mankus

If These Walls Could Speak?

Building walls of protection is nothing new.  The Berlin Wall, Great Wall of China and Western Wall in Israel were established as defense mechanisms.  These structures served as a hiding place as well as a refuge, either to keep enemies out or prevent other civilians from corrupting the ideology shared by those who call this places home.

Beyond the vision of a human eye, another wall exists.  This one surrounds the heart, protecting individuals from becoming vulnerable, hurt or both.  The greater the pain from the past, the larger the barrier erected.  Like a facade, unveiling what lies behind this inclosure isn’t easy.  Layer by layer must be removed carefully or else souls will clam up, refusing to convey genuine concerns, emotions or thoughts.

According to a famous prophet, the heart is a mysterious organ, Jeremiah 17:9-10.  Regardless of how cautious someone is, when the heart speaks don’t be surprised by what you hear.  Deceitfulness has taken hearts captive, a condition that is beyond cure.  Therefore, if famous historic walls could speak, sin might be the topic of conversation.  In view of this grave condition, set your heart on things above, Colossians 3:1-3, so that hell will wear off as heaven takes center stage.

by Jay Mankus

Expiration Date

Beginning in the summer of 2005, I was under the gun, forced to complete the requirements for my teaching certification if I wanted to keep my job at a local high school.  Once I had finished the initial steps, jumping through all of the hoops, I was expected to reapply every 2 years.  The only hurdle I had to endure was a graduate level Methods course during the odd numbered years.  Thus, I took 3 classes over 6 summers, where I needed to incorporate the principles of each subject into my current curriculum.  Prior to submitting my final paper, I had to give an honest assessment of my strengths and weaknesses.  This report served as a guide, fine tuning my classroom management skills as well as providing cutting edge ideas to assess students.

 

The occupation of teaching is unlike any job I have had before.  There is an emotional connection with students, especially those whom you see traces of yourself in them.  When you leave the property, you are still working, talking to parents at sporting events, calling back others about concerns or responding to emails about a question on an upcoming assignment.  Instead of clocking in and out, teaching is non-stop for 9 months.  However, in the summer your work is never done as classes change, curriculum needs to be updated and material is constantly in a state of flux.  Despite being one of the most rewarding positions I have ever held, its by far the most draining, a perfect cure for those struggling to fall asleep.

 

Nonetheless, on October 31st, 2013, Halloween Night, my teaching certification will finally expire.  Part of me hoped something would come up, opening a new door so I didn’t throw away 10 years of experience.  However, the realist in me saw the writing on my financial wall, unable to support a family on a Private School’s teaching salary.  If life is a set of stages, at the end of this month I will exit stage left like Bugs Bunny in an episode years ago, using my abilities in a new arena at Amazon.  As for now, all I can do is apply the principles of Romans 12:1-2, expecting God’s will for my life to come into clear focus.  Before time runs out on your current position or status, make sure you take a deep breath, reflecting upon the words of Philippians 3:8-9.

by Jay Mankus

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