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Tag Archives: desire

Is It Really That Simple?

In the past year, a couple of comedians from Hollywood have referred to individuals who pray to God as being mentally ill.  While children have a tendency to have make believe friends, adults who talk out loud to an invisible God seems strange.  Although non-believers may refer to this sight as a sign of mental illness, this spiritual practice is an act of faith.  One day Jesus’ disciples were floundering as novice prayers, asking the son of God for help, to teach them how to pray effectively.

“So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you,” Luke 11:9.

In the beginning of Luke chapter 11, Jesus gives his disciples an outline for praying known as the Lord’s Prayer or Our Father.  This is similar to modern day acronyms like ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication or PRAY: petition God, repent, adoration for God and your own needs.  After receiving this basic format, perhaps one of the disciples pondered, is it really that simple?  In the passage above and below Jesus responds with the attitude, desire and will necessary to develop a powerful prayer life.

For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened, Luke 11:10.

First, don’t be afraid to ask God.  Since the Lord is all knowing, just verbalize any desire on your heart and thought on your mind.  However, when you do pray, be diligent, eager to hear and see the power of prayer at work in your life.  If any prayer is denied, in limbo or unclear, demonstrate persistence like the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8.  Jesus doesn’t want passive prayers.  Rather, keep on knocking, wrestling with God in prayer as you seek answers to prayer in the context of God’s will.  For those who seek a deeper relationship with God, may you come to a point when you can honestly say, prayer really is this simple.

by Jay Mankus

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction states: I attract to myself, whatever I give my focus, attention, or energy to; whether wanted or unwanted.  When this term is mentioned, there are two other alternative theories.  One refers to electrostatics dealing with the attraction and repulsion of electric charges.  Another is related to the law above, but credits self-fulfilled prophecies where individuals are influenced by anxiety, doubt or worry.  By dwelling on ungodly beliefs such as I’m going to get sick, fail or get into an accident, these thoughts become reality.  Thus, the law of attraction uses positive and negative thinking to shape what will come to be in the future.

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed, Mark 1:32.

This same principle can be applied to the spiritual life.  Faith is dependent upon conviction, desire and hunger to draw near to God.  Those who possess this spiritual attraction will find the time to pray, study the Bible and worship the Lord.  When earthly distractions get in the way, attention is steered in other directions resulting in changed priorities.  The closer you get to God, the more the Holy Spirit exposes your imperfections like the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15, claiming to be the greatest sinner of all.  Meanwhile, the further you drift apart from God, the better you feel, relying on justification and rationalization to approve of your actions.

The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was, Mark 1:33-34.

Jesus’ first miracle, turning water into wine during a wedding reception in Cana often overshadow others that followed.  After Jesus cast out a demon within a Capernaum synagogue, the people were amazed.  According to John Mark, the entire town gathered outside of Simon Peter’s house.  The passage above illustrates the law of attraction, drawn to Jesus like groupies flocking to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrity, professional athlete or rock star.  However, in this case Jesus takes the time to cure the sick, drive out demons and heal others with various ailments.  May this blog speak to your heart as your strive to become like the citizens of Capernaum, eager to wait upon the Lord to be healed.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Man of Broken Promises

Sometimes you have to listen closely to what you say.  If you don’t, you could end up blowing smoke, carelessly throwing out words void of meaning.  As I reflected upon recent conversations with my children on my days off, its sad to say that I’ve become a man of broken promises.

A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool, Ecclesiastes 5:3.

Just because someone is intelligent, does not make them immune from making foolish decisions.  The context of the passage above likely refers to Solomon’s struggles to please his wife.  Like any good husband, there is a desire satisfy the needs of those whom you love.  Unfortunately, Solomon acquired 700 wives and 300 concubines as king of Israel, making it extremely difficult for him to be a man of his word.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow, Ecclesiastes 5:4.

As I try to pick up the pieces of my tattered reputation, the words of Ecclesiastes serve as a good place to start.  Whether you are talking to friends, family or neighbors, don’t promise anything you can’t keep.  If anything, limit your commitments and over deliver.  For if you don’t heed this message, you may wake up one morning like me and realize that you’ve become a man of broken promises.

by Jay Mankus

 

Further Seems Forever

I may be one of the few people in America who still buys cassette tapes and CD’s, but when I uncover a hidden gem I can’t resist.  Although my desire to start my own Christian radio station faded years ago, I enjoy broadening my scope of musical genres.  Whether its alternative, hip hop, ska or techno, wholesome music soothes my soul.  Perhaps I skipped a decade, yet I’m glad I stumbled upon the group Further Seems Forever.

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise, James 5:13.

This title reminds me of the times in life where I have strayed off course, abandoning God for the pleasures of this world.  Sin has a habit of distracting its willing participants longer than expected.  Subsequently, skipping church, reading the Bible or praying once can form a pattern.  Before you know it, days turn into weeks, months or possibly years, resulting in an extended vacation from God.

My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed, Psalm 71:23.

To make sure this slide doesn’t lead to eternal separation from God, drastic steps must be taken.  Forever Seems Forever suggests concentrating on how to start a spiritual fire within your heart.  While distance makes the heart grow fonder, temptation can paralyze victims through addiction.  Therefore, don’t let the sun go down today until you lift up your hands in prayer, open up the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to set your heart on fire.

by Jay Mankus

The Unfolding of God’s Word

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. – Psalm 119:130

I must confess that there are times when I open the Bible that I feel lost, unable to get the point the author is expressing.  On other occasions, my minds whispers words of doubt, “you could never be like that!”  However, its days when the Holy Spirit unwraps for me nuggets of truth that my eyes are opened, creating a desire to want more.

I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes. – Psalm 119:125

As discerning thoughts penetrate my heart, the unfolding of the Bible begins.  This process is described within Hebrews 4:12, initialized by living words.  Similar to a transformation of a caterpillar within a chrysalis, these spiritual words breathe new life into individuals, bringing souls to new heights like a butterfly.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.   Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account, Hebrews 4:12-13.

Although humans can not literally fly, the precepts inside of God’s Word provides light in times of darkness, Psalm 119:105.  As spiritual disciplines form, the Bible unveils the correct path to choose, shining light on the obstacles in front of you, Psalm 18:36.  Thus, the next time you open the Bible, pray that the unfolding of God’s Word will revitalize your soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Consequences of the Second Glance

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.  From the roof he saw a woman bathing.  The woman was very beautiful, 2 Samuel 11:2.

As the third anniversary of this blog approaches, nearly fifty percent of the comments on Express Yourself 4 Him have been inspired by The Second Glance.  Written well over a year ago, readers have requested a follow up post or more information regarding this topic.  Thus, after mediating on this subject, today’s piece was born.

Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. – 2 Samuel 11:4a

At first, the second glance is inspired by curiosity, perhaps wanting to dwell on the beauty of an attractive male or female.  However, as David learned the hard way, this double take ignites a spirit of lust.  Like an uncontrollable beast, David skipped over the fact that Bathsheba was married, allowing temptation to have its way since her husband was out of town.  This Fatal Attraction blinded David’s mind, willing to cover up his sin with an Indecent Proposal that ended in murder.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. – 1 John 2:16

Outside of the Bible, one of the greatest examples of the consequences of the second glance was lived out in the life of Ted Bundy.  Prior to his execution on January 24, 1989, Bundy was granted an interview with James Dobson.  Oddly enough, Ted’s addiction to pornography began with a copy of the Sear’s Catalog.  In his case, the second glance led to an addiction that exploded into a life of lust, rape and serial killings.  Unfortunately, no one can escape the words of James 1:15 below.

Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

May this blog serve as a warning, scaring people straight away from sin and toward a God of reason, Isaiah 1:18-20.

by Jay Mankus

 

Hireling, Servant or Friend?

The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep.  So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. – John 10:12

Depending upon your desire, energy or level of commitment, you will likely fall into one of 3 categories.  The unmotivated will fall into a hireling classification, doing things because its a job.  Those who enjoy their place of employment will likely transform into a servant, taking ownership of the business where they work.  Finally, the friend goes one step further, placing their heart and soul into what they do daily.

The greatest among you will be your servant. – Matthew 23:11

The hardest part of any career is uncertainty, when the dedication you pour forth is not rewarded, going unnoticed.  Unless you receive some sort of compliment, encouragement or raise, some may give up before experiencing the fruits of their labor.  Thus, maintaining a positive attitude can be difficult, often coming to a point where you begin to think, “what’s the point anyway?”  Even the most devoted servant needs a pat on the back to keep them going.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:15

According to Jesus, there is a difference between a servant and friend.  When someone becomes all in, surrendering a what’s in it for me mentality, they turn the corner.  This devotion sees the big picture, doing what’s best for their heavenly Father.  “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it, ” Matthew 16:25.  May the Holy Spirit lead to from a hireling, beyond the serving phase to a friend in Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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