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Tag Archives: English

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

 

 

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Period

In the context of history, a period is a length or portion of time.  Physics refers to the interval of time between successive occurrences of the same state.  Woman experience a flow of blood and other material from the lining of the uterus, lasting for several days each month.  Meanwhile, English uses a period as a punctuation mark to clearly define the end of a sentence.

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it, Habakkuk 2:2.

Punctuation enables writers to separate sentences and their elements to clarify meaning.  In my early years,  I was an expert at crafting run on sentences, confusing my teachers and lowering my grade.  To make matters worse, I battled periods of stammering and stuttering throughout high school.  One of the only ways I could clearly communicate was with a pen and paper.  Thus, poor grammar hindered my ability to express myself.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, Romans 15:4.

Oddly enough, I have spent the last 25 years in one form of writing or another.  This began as a poetry teacher in West Virginia, offering nightly active learning workshops for students.  From here I dabbled with song writing, climaxing with an album.  After exploring short stories, I ventured into a monthly news letter called Soul Improvements as an editor.  Serving as a staff writer for Travel Golf Media, developing high school Bible Curriculum and now writing movie scripts is all part of the journey I am on.  I’m not sure where this gift will take me, but I will continue to pursue this quest until God punctuates the end of my life with a period.

by Jay Mankus

More Than a Spelling Test

As a student, English was always one of my worst subjects.  During my college entrance exam at the University of Delaware, I scored higher on Spanish than I did English.  Beside Language Arts, spelling tests usually gave me trouble, especially on the words with exceptions to the rules.  Thus, I was forced to use dictionaries and a thesaurus to improve my vocabulary.  Despite my efforts to improve, I still have a hard time visualizing terms, relying on spell check when in doubt is a common practice.

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken, Matthew 12:36.

During a discussion with religious leaders, Jesus refers to a different kind of spelling test.  At the end of your life, everyone will face a day of judgment.  Those who have experienced near death experiences talk about being in a room with a large video screen.  The movie on this device is your life story, replaying every good and bad deed that you have ever committed on earth.  Depending upon the legacy you left behind, this could be very unnerving and uncomfortable.

For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned, Matthew 12:37.

According to Jesus, this event will be more than a spelling test.  Instead of receiving a percentage grade, heaven is based upon a pass/fail scale.  Like an individual on trial, a judge will made the final decision based upon actions, behavior and words spoken.  This course never ends until your life is over.  Therefore, your preparation must begin now with advice from Romans 10:9-10.  Going on from here, Colossians 2:6-7 is the next level of faith.  While you will endure ups and down, Hebrews 12:1-3 provides one last piece of advice to help you pass this course.  If you feel like you going to flunk, paradise is still possible for sinners who repent.  May this blog serve as a study guide to help you cross the finish line.

by Jay Mankus

The Final Word

The French expression Je suis fini when translated into English means I am finished.  However, from a contextual point of view, this translation is flawed.  In reality, when someone says Je suis fini, its their final word before dying, done with life.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven, Hebrews 1:3.

In the Bible, a similar analogy exists.  Whenever Jesus referred to sitting down, its symbolic of completion, a final resting place.  Thus, when you read the words Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father, this means that Jesus completed God’s plan and will for his life.

But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom, Hebrews 1:8.

Today, human nature encourages some to fight for the last word, always wanting to get in one last comment.  While many individuals join in this daily game, there is only One who came claim to have made the final word.  After struggling to hold on to life for several hours on a cross, Jesus let go by saying, “it is finished!”  Yet, his final statement, the resurrection sealed the deal, opening the gates of heaven to those who believe.  May the community of faith take hope in the promise of salvation and eternal life, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

Compare and Pride Spreads Fast

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. – Galatians 6:3

As English classes increase in difficulty, students will eventually be introduced to compare and contrast papers.  The purpose of these essays involves emphasizing the differences of two topics, highlighting dissimilar entities, objects or traits.  This exercise enables individuals to examine, evaluate and develop necessary problem solving skills in life.

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. – Proverbs 11:12

Outside of the classroom, its not uncommon for adults and youth to compare themselves to others.  This often occurs to help build up one’s self-esteem by choosing lesser souls in their comparison.  Subsequently, instead of striving to improve one’s own life, people would rather attack and or tear down others to improve their own situation.  If these comparisons continue, pride will spread like gangrene, poisoning the hearts and minds within society.

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. – Romans 2:1

Christians aren’t exempt from this temptation, with a long history of falling prey to this desire.  The apostle Paul calls out first century believers for passing judgment on the low lifes of their day.  Since no one is perfect, Romans 3:9-12, there aren’t any who are able or worthy to throw the first stone, John 8:10-11.  Therefore, before a spirit of pride runs rampant across America and throughout the world, these comparisons must cease, replaced by humble hearts which seek God first.

by Jay Mankus

 

An Angel and The Shepherd

There are some amazing true stories in the Bible, especially those who encountered Jesus like a date with destiny.  However, I stumbled across a new one this morning, intriguing yet mysterious.  According to Genesis 48:15-16, Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, shares a story of 2 people who protected him.  On his deathbed, Israel briefly mentions a shepherd and angel, possibly one and the same.

Israel refers to God as his shepherd, safely leading, protecting and providing for him like the promise within Psalm 23:1-4.  In fact, one may go out on a limb, claiming that David’s words may have been part of oral tradition, a reminder of God’s provisions of his forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Either way, Israel clearly recognizes God’s providence over his life, delivering his family from starvation during the 7 year famine when his son Joseph becomes governor of Egypt.

The second character is more difficult to understand due to the lack of information in this passage.  An English teacher will look at the capital A in Genesis 48:16, suggesting that this angel is likely God.  However, theologians might conclude Moses wanted to include God’s head angel, possibly the archangel Gabriel or Michael.  Although it would be nice to know who Israel means, one thing is clear.  This angel saved him from Esau’s anger, being wronged by his Uncle Laban and guided Israel throughout his life like a guardian angel.  Thus, whether you or young or old, don’t forget about the God who serves as both an angel and shepherd.

by Jay Mankus

Three is All I Can Handle

While this blog could refer to the exact amount of children my wife and I decided to have, its not.  This is a quote from one of my students, complaining about writing a 5 paragraph composition for homework.  As a zealous teacher, searching for perfection, I was quickly disappointed when I discovered only 30% of my class regularly turned in their essays.  Grasping at straws, I turned to teenagers to see where I verged off course.  To my surprise, their response was almost unanimous, “three paragraphs is all I can handle.”

Prior to this decision, I spent a week working with Dr. Vito, who held a PhD in Curriculum from Penn State University.  His knowledge of rubrics transformed each of my assignments, concept of ungraded work altered my philosophy of teaching and explanation of scope and sequence led me to delete any units that didn’t fit into my courses.  Once I added “the Voice,” an individual within each of my classes who served as the pulse of their student body, I received instant feedback.  This leadership position became the eyes, ears and heart of classmates, providing an honest, yet realistic view inside the minds of students,  Their input revolutionized my communication with young people, making my last 2 years a success.

Before exiting teaching, conversations with English teachers convinced me to limit 9th grade assignments to 3 paragraphs, 11th grade to 5 and Honors to 6 total.   These experiences helped me recognize that long winded writers can quickly lose their audience.  Thus, I try to compress my thoughts to a 3 paragraphs.  On occasion, 4 or 5 paragraphs may be necessary for complex issues, but for now I will continue to practice KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.  I want to thank everyone who has shared, visited or commented on my blog.  Since I am more than half way to a thousand, I will continue to write until the Lord moves me in a different direction.

by Jay Mankus

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