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Who Really Deserves the Credit

A few days leading up to my son James’ wedding, my wife and I received praise and thanks.  Emma’s father Pete mentioned twice, once at the rehearsal dinner and during his wedding toast of the blessing that James been to Emma and their family.  While the hand of God is ultimately responsible for my son’s maturity, there are others who deserve credit as well.

The one who is taught the word [of God] is to share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his spiritual and material support], Galatians 6:6.

In 1988, a man named Ray Boltz was asked to write a song for Pastor Appreciation Sunday.  Upon completion, the lyrics of Thank You serve as a reflection, looking back at all the people in life who has directed, guided and helped individuals draw closer to Jesus.  When I think about James, I can’t forget all the Christian teachers at Red Lion who taught, nurtured and inspired James from kindergarten to eighth grade.  From his first, Mrs. DeMaio to his last, Mrs. Beattie, I thank God for everyone in between who has shaped and touched James’ life.

Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in. 10 So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers), Galatians 6:9-10.

I don’t know how this story will end, James’ new life with Emma.  Yet, as a parent, I am committed to pray for, fast if necessary and build up this young couple.  Sometimes parents expect children to behave, mature and become a finished product in their time, not God’s.  Thus, all I can do is seize the opportunities that become available.  Despite how I feel or what I see from my own perspective, the apostle Paul commands believers to persist in doing good.  While I’m waiting, I want to thank all of you who have poured your own life into my son James.

by Jay Mankus

Skeletons of Your Past

Despite how perfect some individuals may act, behave and live out on a daily basis, everyone possesses imperfections.  These blemishes often result in a dark side with secret addictions, bad habits or unthinkable acts that would shock the average person.  This collection of scars accumulate into skeletons of your past.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us, 1 John 1:8-10.

There was a time in American history where honesty was the best policy.  However, sometimes revealing a skeleton or two from your past can do permanent damage.  Recently. Pete Rose admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a minor back in the 1970’s.  This confession sent shockwaves across the country, igniting outrage throughout social media.  Based upon the comments posted, it’s as if this was the worst act ever committed.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, Galatians 5:16.

The second aspect of confession is taking the steps toward the road to recovery.  Perhaps, this may explain the criticism of Rose over his lack of contrition for his previous transgressions.  Thus, if you want to experience healing from the skeletons of your past, you must learn to walk according to the Holy Spirit.  Based upon the apostle Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 10:13, God will provide a way out when temptations arrive.  In your journey toward healing, may the Lord guide you out of bondage to find freedom in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

by Jay Mankus

All Insuranced Out

When I was a teenager, the only insurance that impacted me was obtaining auto so that I could drive.  The rest were an after thought.  I only went to the doctor when I was sick thus life was much more simplistic.  I guess you can say I was young and naive.

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all, Ecclesiastes 9:11.

Today, insurances have spun out of control.  Disability, identity protection, health and life have become nearly essential.  It only takes one accident, encounter with fraud, illness or tragedy to alter your life forever.  Without these protective measures, individuals can lose their life savings and more.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come, John 16:13.

However, if nothing happens to you, monthly bills can wipe away an entire pay check.  Thus, one is left to ponder, do I take the risk, bite the bullet by paying for all these insurances or do I trust God that nothing back will happen to me or my family?  There must be an easier solution to this long list of security measures, but as of now, “I’m all insuranced out” forced to play the game until something better comes along.

by Jay Mankus

Full Disclosure

As I celebrate my 900th post, its time for full disclosure.  When I began this blog back in February of 2012, I wasn’t sure how long I would continue to write.  Previous projects like Soul Improvements, a monthly news letter geared toward ministering to youth pastors, lasted only 3 years, put on hold as I began seminary.  Depending upon how long my next movie script takes to complete, only the Lord knows how long Express Yourself 4 Him will last.  For now I am relying on the Holy Spirit to guide my steps, Galatians 5:25, as I reflect on life and how it relates to God’s Word.

From a personal point of view, I wish I had the energy and more time to interact with my readers.  Especially since I recall the days of writing close to 500 letters per year, spending a majority of my down time with pen and paper.  Although stamps disappeared quickly, social interaction was high on my priority list.  Time, mental fatigue and work has taken its toll on my body.  Perhaps if eating habits improved, my energy level would rise, yet as my wife says often, “you’re not as young as you use to be.”  I pray that as 1000 posts approach, God will revitalize my soul to touch lives with my blog.

Living for Jesus in this age has become a challenge.  Between compromise, the decay of society and sin that is now socially acceptable, right and wrong has been turned upside down.    Subsequently, speaking the truth in love is seen as being narrow minded.  If the church allows the Bible to be replaced as America’s measuring stick, I’m afraid God’s favor will also be removed.  According to Moses in Leviticus 20:22, when God’s decrees and laws are rejected, the land will vomit you out.  In view of this, pray for revival before its too late to turn back from the point of no return.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guard Rails: Real Life Bumper Bowling

Its not uncommon for youth to embrace their parents’ hobbies.  A one time opportunity for me soon became a weekly obsession.  While some of my peers were out partying on Friday night, I spent 3 years bowling, filling in as a sub for a league.  Before the days of bumpers, there was nothing to keep loose shots from entering the gutter.

Outside of bowling lanes, Guard rails were designed to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous areas while driving.  Unfortunately, not every street  contains such a guide.  On country, desolate or rural roads, poor counties can not afford, support or justify spending that much money.  However, when someone dies in a car accident, their life is priceless.

From a spiritual perspective, the Bible is like bumpers, a guide to keep you from falling of course, Matthew 7:13-14.  The life lessons, principles and truth inside of God’s Word serves as a light source, Psalm 119:105, to help you see down the road.  Although invisible, conviction, gut feelings or promptings from the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, can lead souls through the darkness in life.  May the words of this book provide you with the direction you are searching for today.

by Jay Mankus

 

Who Will Be Your Eternal Guide?

One of the most intriguing jobs to me is being a tour guide.  Whether you’re on a college campus, in a historical area or museum, you are an ambassador for this institution, pointing out key attractions like a walking encyclopedia.  The overall impression of visitors lies in your hands, based upon the knowledge you communicate and entertainment you provide, engaging your group.

Outside of vocations, life is filled with individuals who lead you in the right direction.  Coaches introduce important skills to help young people master a sport.  Mentors demonstrate character, integrity and wisdom, blazing a path for others to follow.  Meanwhile, teachers often mold future leaders, inspiring curious souls to chase after their dreams.

The Psalmist takes this one step further, suggesting one guide will be with you to the end, Psalm 48:14.  The apostle Paul encourages his audience to look toward an altar in Athens, dedicated to an unknown God, Acts 17:22-23.  Jesus discloses the identity of this eternal guide in John 16:7-13 as the Holy Spirit.  As Moses once said in his farewell address, the choice is yours, Deuteronomy 30:15.  Who will be your eternal guide through life?  May Jesus lead you to life everlasting, 1 Timothy 2:5.

by Jay Mankus

 

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