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Tag Archives: emotions

A Vast and Lofty Mountain

Since the days of Moses, there has been an impression that the higher up you are in elevation, the closer you are to God. As a former skier, being in the snowcapped Rocky Mountains in the middle of winter is a clear sign of God’s creation, Romans 1:18-20. Looking down from the top of any cliff is intimidating. Yet, as someone who climbed the Blue Ridge Mountains during Christian retreats in college, I have felt God’s presence while on a vast and lofty mountain.

Now all the people perceived the thunderings and the lightnings and the noise of the trumpet and the smoking mountain, and as [they] looked they trembled with fear and fell back and stood afar off. 19 And they said to Moses, You speak to us and we will listen, but let not God speak to us, lest we die. 20 And Moses said to the people, Fear not; for God has come to prove you, so that the [reverential] fear of Him may be before you, that you may not sin. 21 And the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was, Exodus 20:18-21.

I grew up in a church where the wrath of God in the Old Testament was emphasized. Meanwhile, God’s grace and the love of Jesus in the New Testament was rarely featured. Subsequently, I felt like the Israelites in the passage above, dwelling on God the disciplinarian. Fearing God is one thing, but thinking you’ll be punished each time you make an error or mistake is emotionally draining. Thus, God was too holy for me, far away on a vast and lofty mountain.

Then in the Spirit He conveyed me away to a vast and lofty mountain and exhibited to me the holy (hallowed, consecrated) city of Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, Revelation 21:10.

When I became a high school Bible teacher, this ungodly belief slowly faded away. From time to time, this unworthy feeling would consume my soul, but the Holy Spirit set me free from this clouded and distorted view of God. I can’t point to the exact moment when this was flushed from my memory, but God’s grace paved the way to transform my mind. If this blog finds you in a similar place where I once was, may you find the confidence in the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 1:6-7.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 210: The One I’m Running To

The One I’m Running To is from a band from Mount Vernon, Kentucky. 7eventh Time Down debuted in September of 2011. In the past decade, 7eventh Time Down has released 5 albums along with two special Christmas EP’s. I discovered this Christian rock band on You Tube. The One I’m Running To uses the stress of paying bills to push people to trust an invisible God when their money runs out.

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1.

The second stanza focuses on personal temptations and the emotions these daily trials bring. Rather than run away and hide, 7eventh Time Down suggests it’s time to start running toward the Lord. Sometimes all you need is to comes to your senses, Luke 15:17-20, that leads a parable back home to their heavenly Father. May the words of The One I’m Running To inspire you to draw closer to the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

Getting Your Emotions Under Control

One of Israel’s former kings describes time in the context of seasons. Just as Christmas is associated with winter in the northern hemisphere, every month brings with it a series of emotions. In Ecclesiastes 3:4, King Solomon follows sorrow with laughter. Since nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, James 4:13-14, you have to be ready to keep your emotions under control at all times.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([b]definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God, Philippians 4:6.

In a letter to the Church at Philippi, the apostle Paul touches on mental health. Apparently, members of this church with dealing with a growing amount of anxiety. Rather than try to handle this on your own, Paul encourages Christians to actively pray for the circumstances that are bringing you stress. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by emotions, be thankful for any little victory that you experience daily.

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that [c]tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall [d]garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:7.

When you create a list of things that challenge your mental health, include these petitions as a daily part of your prayer life. Building on the words of Luke 1:37, the apostle Paul suggests that God has the ability to give you the strength to endure any situation that you face, Philippians 4:13. If you search for the peace of Christ, this tranquil state will enable any believer to get and keep your emotions under control.

by Jay Mankus

Going Under

Whenever you receive a call from a doctor’s office that you’ll need to bring a living will and testament along with you for your upcoming appointment, minds begin to panic. These are the emotions that I’ve experienced the last two times I’ve had outpatient surgery. Part of me thought, “I’m too young to die.” However, my conscious whispered another bit of advice, “only God knows when your time on earth will run out.” These are the thoughts that raced through my mind today.

But the other one reproved him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you yourself are under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty? 41 And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way [nothing strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable], Luke 23:40-41.

At age 51, today was my first colonoscopy. Fortunately, I was able to be there for my wife last year when she had her own procedure. Yet, due to COVID-19 protocol, I was forced to go through this alone as Leanne wasn’t allowed to enter this facility. While I wasn’t nervous, I did sit alone in my room for nearly 2 hours before I was escorted into the operating room. After a brief conversation going over this procedure with my doctor, I received general Anesthesia. Due to a lack of sleep the night before, I was knocked out in a few minutes.

Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory! 43 And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise, Luke 23:42-43.

Whenever you go under to prepare for a surgery, there is a chance that you won’t wake up. Whether through complications or a rare diagnosis, there are moments in life when time is not on your side. This was the fate of two criminals hanging from a cross on either side of Jesus. One became selfish, asking Jesus to save himself first and then save him. The other criminal felt unworthy, crying out to Jesus for mercy. According to Luke, Jesus offers this second man paradise in the form of heaven. Thus. that next time you field yourself getting ready for a surgery, about to go under, remember this passage so a reservation can be secured today, 1 John 5:13. In case you were still wondering, my procedure went well as my doctor gave me a clean bill of health.

by Jay Mankus

The Most Holy Emotions

The term emotions appears 6 times in the Bible with 3 different translations. Genesis 45:1 uses the expression Qara’ to describe Joseph’s emotional outburst after being reunited with his brothers. This comes from the Hebrew word Qal: to utter a loud sound in the form of calling out or crying. Meanwhile, Job 15:12 refers to his heart being overwhelmed by emotions. Lamentations 1:20 uses the expression “my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me.” The final mention occurs in a letter to the church of Corinth where Paul refers to the most holy of emotions.

For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified. 3 And I was in (passed into a state of) weakness and fear (dread) and great trembling [after I had come] among you, 1 Corinthians 2:2-3.

The context of this passage is based upon Paul’s motives for visiting Corinth. Trying to say, “I didn’t come like I was checking off a spiritual to do list. Rather, I resolved to share the gospel, the message of a living Messiah who was crucified, but rose from the grave.” Apparently, this initial visit didn’t start off too well, leaving Paul filled with dread, fear and stress. Perhaps, the most holy emotions flow out of overcoming obstacles, conceived when a lost soul comes to faith in Christ. Just as angels rejoice in heaven, Luke 15:7, when a sinner repents, holy emotions may explain celebrations of faith.

And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], 1 Corinthians 2:4.

As I reflect upon my 35 years as a Christian, the joy of answered prayers has stirred my soul on numerous occasions. The most memorable moments in my life have occurred after hearing that friends had come to faith in Christ. While in college I remember two phone calls where I jumped up and threw my hands into the air like an end zone celebration. Perhaps, this is the type of holy emotion Paul is writing about. However, holy emotions can include death like Jesus weeping for Lazarus. Whatever emotions that you endure, be sure you give thanks in all circumstances, Philippians 4:4-8.

by Jay Mankus

Overcoming a Miscarriage

As a former seminary student, I have come to appreciate the Greek language.  Unlike English which tends to be bland, dull and generic, Greek uses a variety of words to clearly distinguish raw emotions.  For example, the term miscarriage refers to the spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus before it is viable, usually between the 12th and 28th weeks of gestation.  From a scientific perspective, this is an acceptable definition.  Yet, for any woman who has endured this horrific event, the English language fails to detail the emotional anguish, heart break and pain couples go through in the days that follow a miscarriage.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

While I can’t imagine the disappointment women experience, I do have a unique connection to miscarriage.  My mother’s third child was a still born, a form of miscarriage.  I never met this individual who would have been my third sister.  There is no logical explanation to suffice why this took place.  Yet, a few years later, my parents tried one more time to have a child.  I’m sure deep down my father wanted a boy to avoid being drastically outnumbered.  Nonetheless, as my parents persisted, I was conceived, born during the summer of 1969.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” Revelation 21:4. 

According to the Bible, there will be no crying in heaven.  For the lost souls mothers and fathers never got the chance to meet, love and raise, they go immediately to heaven.  Although this fact may not comfort those still hurting, God longs to wipe away your tears, to heal and mend your broken heart.  After your period of mourning comes to an end, may God give you a spirit of perseverance to try again.  If your biological clock for giving birth is coming to an end, don’t forget the miracles of Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary.  May this blog serve as a means to help you overcome the pain of a miscarriage.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Proud or Ashamed?

Before adulthood tends to complicate life, children can wear their emotions on their sleeves.  Young people celebrate achievements with exuberance and gleeful satisfaction.  Unfortunately, at some point while growing up, minds become convinced that certain activities, beliefs and faiths are inappropriate.  Thus, peer pressure may cause something you were once proud of to be replaced with shame.

For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world [with all its pleasures], and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul and eternal life [in God’s kingdom]? – Mark 8:36-37.

Prior to the mass shooting that took the lives of 17 victims, students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida weren’t experts on gun control.  Yet, in the days that have followed this tragic event, teenagers have been regularly used on cable news networks to ban, limit or repeal the second amendment.  Instead of correcting the flaws in their school safety policy or address the failure of school security guards to react, guns continue to be demonized along with those who own or use a gun.

For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels,” Mark 8:38.

This persecution of gun owners relates to Jesus’ words above.  How you respond to the Bible, faith and Jesus in public will influence how God treats you.  Those who disown their faith amidst criticism, pressure to conform or progressive views will be shunned by God.  Thus, you can’t be halfway, its either all or nothing.  Will you be ashamed due to what others think or will a zeal for the Lord reveal pride for God?  May the passage above serve as inspiration to strengthen your faith so that your choice is clear.

by Jay Mankus

 

You Have to Experience the Bad Days Before You Can Appreciate the Good Ones

Today, I had another visit to my eye doctor.  This is my tenth appointment in the past 12 months.  The file on both of my eyes could be made into a book, going back more than twenty years.  While this monthly adventure has taken me on a wild ride of emotions, I have learned a valuable lesson along the way.  You have to experience the bad days before you can appreciate the good ones.

“He feels only the pain of his own body, and he mourns only for himself,” Job 14:22.

For someone hoping to turn a hobby into a full time screen writing career, vision is essential.  Yet, some days I wake up to blurred and watery eyes.  This usually puts a halt to any thoughts of writing a blog or reading books on character development to enhance my latest project.  These fruitless days make me appreciate the gift of sight, something that I have taken for granted for most of my life.

Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail? – Jeremiah 15:18

My most recent diagnosis includes cataracts in each eye.  The new one in my left eye is a minor concern.  Yet, the one in my surgically repaired eye has clouded my vision, unable to see anything at the moment.  Thus, another surgery will be eminent in the next year or so.  Despite this obvious obstacle, the Lord has given me peace of mind.  I haven’t suffered like Job nor have I been given the bad news Jeremiah regularly received.  All I can do is take things one day at a time, appreciating the good things in life that God has allowed me to see.

by Jay Mankus

A Heart Check-Up

While the heart is invisible to the average person, emotions can be felt by everyone.  Unless you are undergoing surgery, it’s hard to get a read on someone else’ heart.  Body language can provide some insight into how individuals are doing.  Meanwhile, behavior may indicate good or bad moods.  Just to be safe it’s important to get an annual heart check-up so you know for sure that you are okay.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of, Matthew 12:34.

During a heated debate with Pharisees, Jesus replies to a rumor started by religious leaders.  Possibly afraid that Jesus was winning over devoted Jews to a new religious movement, gossip began to flow naturally out of their mouths.  Thus, Jesus confronts this inappropriate behavior.  Using biblical principles, Jesus exposes the spiritual condition of these jealous hearts.  Like a scene from A Few Good Men, it appears these religious leaders couldn’t handle the truth.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him, Matthew 12:35.

Today, the amoral, moral and immoral can’t afford to take things for granted.  If the words of the Old Testament prophets are true, no one is perfect.  Thus, everyone has a little bit of darkness within their hearts, Matthew 6:19-24.  Therefore, before you allow your heart to become consumed by evil, taking time for a daily spiritual heart check-up is essential.  May this practice help you shun evil so that goodness will flow naturally out of your heart.

by Jay Mankus

Are You Finding Delight in the Lord?

While few people verbalize this topic, there appears to be a love hate relationship with God.  When things seem to go your way, life is great, perhaps a reward for your hard work and good behavior.  Meanwhile, as fortunes begin to change, anger, bitterness and frustration arises with God.

Will they find delight in the Almighty? Will they call on God at all times? – Job 27:10

This is the state of mind that we find Job within the passage above.  When you add the suggestions from a few close friends that the Lord is punishing Job for some unconfessed sin, agitation increases.  Subsequently, finding delight in God Almighty becomes the last thing on your mind.  Yet, as emotions die down, Job does leave individuals with advice to find delight in the Lord.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4.

Job wonders if those discontent with life are using God as a crutch.  This occurs when you call on God only in times of trials and tribulations.  This decision often breeds resentment, eliminating any delight that you may have for God.  Instead of fully trusting God in all ways, there is a temptation to take back the wheel, seeking to control your own life.  If you truly desire to delight yourself in the Lord, don’t go half way.  Rather, follow Job’s advice by calling on God at all times, in the good and bad moments of life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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