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Tag Archives: Ephesus

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

 

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Walking a Fine Line

There is a growing tension that exists between men and women.  As sexual harassment accusations continue to come forward daily from previous encounters, common interactions that were once considered the norm must be re-evaluated.  The days of coarse joking, innuendos and sarcasm may be over as someone from the opposite sex could be offended by what you thought was funny.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.

The Bible provides instructions for those sensing that a change needs to be made.  In a letter to the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul urges individuals to focus on the positive.  Despite how difficult it may be to alter your vocabulary, the advice encouraged above isn’t complex.  If you want to walk the fine line, focus on only those things that build others up.

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving, Ephesians 5:4.

When I was in college back in the early 1990’s, a series of rapes had taken place on campus.  The university did a study to pin point some of the reasons to explain why this was happening.  One report blamed this on poor lighting throughout campus.  Female students were so afraid walking alone at night that if you were a guy and said hello or smiled, girls thought you might be a rapist.  This atmosphere caused most male students to keep their head downs, avoiding any type of eye contact.  It’s sad to see interactions come to this point, but keeping a low profile is another way to walk a fine line.

by Jay Mankus

 

Resisting Evil Desires From Within

Meteorologists use barometers to measure atmospheric pressure.  Since pressure can be used to predict short term changes in the weather, barometers reveal a glimpse of future events.  While weather forecasts remain inconsistent despite high tech equipment, those with the gift of discernment tend to have a higher success rate.  If this is true, perhaps there is a barometer of the soul.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, Ephesians 6:12.

During an extended stay in Ephesus, an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, the apostle Paul makes an astute observation.  When defeat, failure and trials occur, many people focus on external factors as the cause.  Paul disagrees claiming there are invisible forces to blame, dark, demonic and supernatural forces attempting to steal your joy in life.

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul, 1 Peter 2:11.

Peter provides another perspective, likely reflecting upon his public betrayal of Jesus in the verse above.  Certain desires can be overwhelming, wearing you down over time.  Before you know it, temptation lures individuals to act in direct contrast with their morals causing a war against your soul.  Warning others not to fall into this trap, a barometer of the soul is essential to escape evil desires from within.

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it,” Genesis 4:7.

The mind is like a human computer, created long before Serry and Elexia.  Prior to killing his brother, God was able to read Cain’s thoughts.  Troubled by what he is thinking, the Lord lays out Cain’s dilemma, sin is crouching at your door.  Likewise, today individuals must rule over evil thoughts with biblical truths, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Success is achieved through taking your thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ.  Any other means will ultimately lead to indulgence.  In view of this, meditate on God’s Word daily to purge yourself from evil desires from within.

by Jay Mankus

 

Humility and Tears

During a period known as the Healing Revivals of the 1950’s, prosperity theology first became prominent in the United States.  Yet, the origins of the prosperity gospel can be traced back to the New Thought Movement which began in the 19th century.  Based upon the teachings of Malachi, referencing the storehouses of heaven, those who embrace this theology emphasizes that God will deliver his promises of the Bible for those who believe.  Unfortunately, this mindset differs from the ministry of the apostle Paul.

I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents, Acts 20:19.

In a meeting with the elders of Ephesus, Paul gives a farewell address, preparing church leaders for a time when he will longer be with them.  Paul’s description of his service is interesting, similar to words shared in Philippi.  To avoid becoming prideful, Paul felt led to pursue meekness.  Despite the victories Paul experienced, he admits that ministry can be painful, especially when someone you love abandons or leaves the faith.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12.

Warning a community of believers from complacency, Paul suggests to diligently work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  Sure, part of the journey of faith is to pray for and cling to God’s promises.  However, genuine faith involves overcoming hardship, leaning on God’s grace in times of trials.  Thus, as this new year continues, may you follow in the footsteps of the apostle Paul by practicing humility and crying out to the Lord in prayer.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where Did My Fervor Go?

As a child, there was nothing like the anticipation of opening presents under a Christmas tree.  I must confess that sometimes I snuck down stairs in the middle of the night just to see what was in my stocking.  On a couple of occasions I dozed off under our tree, before going back up to my bed so I wouldn’t be seen.  Unfortunately, somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, I lost my fervor for life.

Apollos had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John, Acts 18:25.

One of the more interesting characters of the Bible is a man named Apollos who first met Paul during a trip to Ephesus.  Although this man from Alexandria was an outsider, his passion for God made up for his limited knowledge.  To a certain extent, I see a lot of Apollos in me during my early years in youth ministry.  I didn’t possess the theological background that most youth pastors acquire, yet my determination and fervor was strong.  Yet, when I left the ministry for good 5 years ago, my fire has dimmed.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, Colossians 3:23.

Previous mentors would suggest that I haven’t re-fueled, not spending enough time in Bible study, prayer or worship.  Other friends might lean to a lack of commitment, fellowship and service to a local church.  While this advice may be true, the most logical reason for losing my fervor is a lack of joy.  When you’re a perfectionist, its hard to enjoy the little things in life.  Thus, as I continue to search for answers, I cling to a life verse from high school.  Whatever I do in the future, I must devote my heart to serving the Lord.  If you find yourself in a similar state this year, may the Lord show you the way to rekindle your fervor for life.

by Jay Mankus

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