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The Patience of Jesus

The capacity to accept or tolerate behavior, circumstances and people encapsulates the word patience.  Coaches, parents and teachers understand what it means to endure these trying situations.  True patience abstains from anger, emotional outbursts or becoming upset.  The key to patience is practicing restraint whatever suffering that you may encounter.  From a historical perspective, no one demonstrated patience than Jesus of Nazareth.

He replied, “O unbelieving (faithless) generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” – Mark 9:19

After sending his disciples out in pairs of two, Jesus began to receive some feedback.  In the context of the passage above, one father was disappointed as the disciples were unable to heal his son.  Based upon Jesus’ comment, this wasn’t an isolated incident as it appears that several of his pupils were slow learners.  Thus, Jesus was forced to clean up they public relations mess his disciples made, diagnosing the problem before casting out an unclean spirit.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience, Romans 8:25.

Jesus waited 12 years prior to be able to teach publicly.  Another 18 passed before God the Father wanted Jesus to begin his earthly ministry.  Perhaps, knowing his fate 3 years later enabled Jesus to wait patiently, preparing himself for what was to come.  Despite the failures of his disciples, Jesus remained calm, composed and displayed fortitude until completing God’s will.  While Jesus did express holy anger on a couple of occasions, he did not sin.  May we all learn from this godly example.

by Jay Mankus

 

Turning Procrastination Into Desire

In the minutes leading up to your lunch break or end of the day bell, signs of procrastination come forth.  To pass the time, there is a temptation to remain idle, delaying or loitering as much as possible without being noticed.  Others who are forced to endure deadlines, wait until  the last possible moment to begin, relying on adrenaline to finish on time.  This pattern may be effective for some, but after any failure in life, guilt tends to prompt individuals to consider a change, turning procrastination into desire.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied, Proverbs 13:4.

In the book Communicating with a Purpose, procrastination is the fourth barrier to effective communication.  After rejection, indifference and skepticism, the last two hurdles to clear are procrastination and fear.  The author uses dreaming as a technique to help people visualize success.  When a group or audience fails to act immediately, remind each person of the ideal outcome, what could be or should be if desire is exercised.  Once inspiration is conceived, motivated hearts can turn procrastination into desire.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5:15-17.

After spending a year and a half in Corinth, the apostle Paul had a limited schedule.  Thus, his stay in Ephesus is brief, eager to maximize his time with Jewish converts to Christianity.  During his short stint, Paul reassures this new church that if you commit to the apostles teaching, following the blue print found within Acts 2:42-47, success is possible.  Seizing each day, Paul was driven to cast out any thought of procrastination with desire fueled by faith.  May this blog help you resuscitate hope, joy and the motivation to change for the better.

by Jay Mankus

 

Rehab

The term rehabilitation was initially associated with individuals who had lost their battle with alcohol or drugs, needing intervention to break free from addiction.  However, as the medical field expands, anyone who has minor or major surgery is expected to rehab before receiving a clean bill of health.  Unfortunately, not everyone who enters rehab recovers completely, relapsing into back habits or experiencing reoccurring pain from previous injuries.

When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons, Mark 16:9.

Whenever you research the Bible, you must realize there are various theories which exist.  Sometimes to make their point, scholars can jump to conclusions or reach, trying to validate their belief.  Such is the case of Mary Magdalene whom Gnostics suggest was secretly married to Jesus.  Since Jesus visits her first after his resurrection, surely there must be something going on.  Yet, when you examine the character of Jesus throughout the 4 gospels, Jesus is most likely checking up on one of his former patients like a doctor, making sure her spiritual rehab is going well.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline, 2 Timothy 1:7.

Speculation will always happen, especially among those who seek to know everything.  Yet, from first hand experience, rehab can be grueling.  Following my collapsed lung and two broken ribs eight teen months ago, my body still hasn’t fully recovered.  Laying or moving the wrong way is a subtle remainder of the pain I endure.  However, there is nothing worse than losing a spiritual battle to an addiction, allowing the devil to have a foothold on your life.  This form of rehab can continue throughout life or take some to the grave way too early.  May the promise of 2 Timothy 1:7 help regain control and lead to victory in the near future.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Culture Wars: The Sifting of the Human Mind

According to government experts, every child should graduate from high school.  Once complete, pursuing higher education in the form of college, graduate school or a doctorate is the next logical step toward achieving the American Dream.  Despite this notion, entrepreneurs are like a piece of a puzzle that doesn’t fit, opting to create a business, develop an app or find their way by working up the corporate ladder.  Whatever path you choose, you will find a culture at war, battling to win the hearts and minds of the next generation.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. – Daniel 1:8

In recent years as displayed in the film God is Not Dead, more and more institutions are sifting through minds to indoctrinate students to embrace a secular worldview.  This process commences by isolating individuals from their home, attempting to strip each of the values in which they were raised.  Staking their claim, often on the first day of class, Atheists, Marxists and Socialist professors make bold pronouncements, challenging pupils to defend their faith.  This re-education process threatens those who deviate, lowering grades if necessary to prove a point.  Finally, entertainment is used as a distraction to help young minds feel good about what they are learning.

“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.  Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” – Daniel 1:12-13

The Old Testament book of Daniel provides a blue print for students who are enduring a similar fate.  When forced to submit to new standards, Daniel refused to go beyond outside the boundaries set by God.  This act of faith led to the Lord’s favor, making a positive impression on the chief official, opening the door for a middle ground.  Keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, Daniel devises a plan, a ten day test.  By taking a stand, demonstrating their faith, Daniel and his 3 Jewish friends pass with flying colors, Daniel 1:15-16.  May the example of these young men serve as a standard for modern believers to follow as they enter the Lion’s Den known as college.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Second Chance at Sight

In the 1988 film, Scrooged, Bill Murray is looking for a second chance in life.  Meanwhile, Alfre Woodard, playing Murray’s secretary Grace Cooley, prays for a Christmas miracle.  Inspired by visits from Christmas ghosts of the past, current and future, Murray risks his job by highjacking a live Christmas program to communicate the meaning of Christmas.  In the process, Cooley’s son who hadn’t spoken a word in years, breaks his silence at the conclusion of this live event.

As for me, I’ve received a second chance at sight.  Only a few people were aware of the pain I endured for 2 months this fall.  Unable to bear it any longer, I went to my eye doctor to see if I needed glasses.  Thinking old age was the main culprit, a set of tests revealed that my retinas were swollen, filled with fluids.  As the initial medicine made my condition worse to begin with, the nightmare of not being able to read things like the Bible was a real possibility.  However, 2 weeks later, God has given me a second chance at sight.

Therefore, as you open presents this Christmas season, don’t overlook the most precious gifts of all.  Whether its your senses, friendships or the memories of those who are no longer with you, Christmas is a time of second chances.  A season of forgiveness with the birth of a Savior, Matthew 1:21, who came to give you a new leash on life.  This Christmas, I got a second chance at sight.  As for you, may the power of the Holy Spirit reveal to you what you should be most thankful for.

by Jay Mankus

 

A New Appreciation for Justice

If you have ever been taken advantage of, wronged or violated, a part of you cries out for justice.  As for me I recall one of my final days in college.  While driving to see a friend play in a tennis match, a car went through a red light, side swiped my front end and took off my license plate.  Immediately, the driver apologized and told me it was his fault as a crowd of students gathered around the intersection.  Trusting this individual, I told the witnesses to go home.  Unfortunately, when the cops arrived, this man’s demeanor changed and so did his story.

Although there wasn’t significant damage to my car, the evidence suggested to the police that the man in the other car was to blame.  However, since I sent the eyewitnesses home before talking to the police, it was my word against his.  Could a college student be more honest than an adult with a flawless driving record?  This stalemate led to a trip to traffic court to see whether or not justice would be served.  Despite spewing out the biggest pile of manure during his testimony, aggravating the 2 officers I sat next to, the judge acquitted this postal worker of any wrong doing.

The frustration I felt was similar to some of the Psalms of David, questioning God when the wicked prospered.  Calming my emotions was difficult, wondering why this event had to occur to me.  Until you have something like this happen to you, justice is just another word.  Despite this setback, passages such as Psalm 9:1-7 provide a glimmer of hope, a day when the wrong will be made right.  A few years ago, I was the eyewitness who hung around so when the driver at fault tried to lie, I was there to inform the cops of what really happened.  Therefore, the next time you endure, feel or see injustice, ask the Lord to fill you with a new appreciation for justice.

by Jay Mankus

 

Desperation: A Recipe for Restoration

In the 1971, Carly Simon released Anticipation, featuring the song that inspired this album.  Eight years later, Heinz Ketchup developed the slogan, “Anticipation is making me wait,” by mixing Carly Simon’s song with images of ketchup slowly flowing out of a bottle.  During an interview on National Public Radio, also known as NPR, Carly Simon shared the meaning of Anticipation.  While waiting for Cat Stevens to pick her up on their first date, the lyrics to this song were formed and the rest is history.

Although ketchup and God don’t have any thing in common, Heinz’ marketing campaign and Carly Simon’s song illustrate how the Lord works behind the scenes.  God allows individuals to experience desperation, causing hearts to develop a sense of urgency.  As one hungers for something more in life like the prodigal son in Luke 15:16-20, a recipe for restoration is generated.  Thus, despite any anguish, brokenness and heartache people have to endure, the Lord uses desperation to lead hurting souls beside still waters, Psalm 23:1-6.

Everyone understands how painful waiting can be.  Whether you’re at the hospital anticipating news from a doctor regarding life or death, impatiently waiting for God to answer your prayers or searching for clues to understand the trial you are currently undergoing, each scenario breeds desperation.  Like Nicodemus, seeking out Jesus at night in John 3:1, sometimes you have to humble yourself, realize you’re not in control and kneel before God, Luke 7:37-38.  May any lukewarm spirit holding you down be expelled as God uses desperation as a recipe for restoration.

by Jay Mankus

 

Access Denied

Whether you are at home, school or work, if you’re careless when you enter your password into a computer, access will be denied.  Perhaps, you accidentally hit the caps button.  Or maybe your finger touched two keys at the same time.  Regardless of your mistake, black dots prevent you from seeing where you went wrong.  Instead, you are rejected, having to repeat the same process without a flaw to gain the access you desire.

When it comes to talking to God, many share a similar frustration, desperately seeking answers to their prayers.  Nonetheless, countless individuals are given the silent treatment, left in the dark by a God unwilling to tell you why at least for the moment.  Whether your situation is sin related or not, Isaiah 1:15, being shut out of the conversation has caused some to abandon God.

Paul likely endured periods of doubt during his years of ministry as an apostle.  However, while in Rome, the Holy Spirit brought Paul a clear message in Romans 5:1-4.  If access is denied, faith carries you until God opens the next door for you to walk through.  When you do sin, grace is provided to allow you to enter God’s presence.  Therefore, if you are struggling to connect with God, remember the words of Hebrews 11:1-6 until your access is reinstated.

by Jay Mankus

 

It’s Not a Coincidence

Depending upon who you listen to, trust or watch, everyone seems to have an opinion today.  Whether its regarding current events, life’s problems or politics, worldviews influence what you ultimately believe.  This process forms a foundation, a conscience that inspires individuals to fight for, speak out against and encourage others to become like minded.  However, when you embrace biblical principles, the true blessings you will find is not a coincidence.

According to God, there is a connection between honoring your parents and living a long life, Exodus 20:12.  Essentially, if you vow to cherish, respect and maintain a good name for your parents, life expectancy should increase.  While there are exceptions, people whose life is stolen by a drunk driver, disease or unexpected accident, God does fulfill this promise for the rest.  If you’re not happy with the current state of your soul, begin to put Jesus’ words into practice, Matthew 7:24-27, so that your house will be prepared to endure future storms.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you take a long look at the breakdown of families, violence within inner cities and the growth of gangs, inspired by gangsta wanna be’s, life is snuffed out way too soon.  Street corners, schools and playgrounds are no longer safe places.  Perhaps this trend could be turned around if only individuals would begin to honor their father and mother.  Sure, there are other factors which have contributed to this cultural decay, yet it’s not a coincidence when life is protected, saved or extended by those who commit to loving their neighbor as themselves.

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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