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Tag Archives: healing

Magnifying Confidence

If you have a tendency to be analytical like me, you might over think things instead of relying on common sense.  Yet, you can’t deny the difference confidence makes within an athlete, Christian and student.  Uncerainty can stiffle souls, causing individuals to be hesitant, without conviction to act.  However, confidence transforms lives, taking quiet soft spoken individuals to new heights.

When Jesus saw their [active] faith [springing from confidence in Him], He said, “Man, your sins are forgiven,” Luke 5:20.

One day Jesus was teaching in a home when crowds surrounded the building.  By this time in history, Jesus’ healing powers had become legendary as no condition was impossible to cure.  This knowledge empowered a few friends to climb on top of the roof, carrying their friend who was paralyzed.  Eager to get Jesus’ attention, these men cut open a few tiles and lowered their friend to Jesus’ feet.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

This act of faith impressed Jesus and one of four gospel authors.  Luke magnifies confidence by referring to belief, energy and passion linked to those who trust in God’s power to transform lives.  Luke uses the imagery of a spring, bubbling over out of the ground.  When Christians stop focusing on the cants in this life and begin to open their minds to the possibilities with God’s help, confidence is magnifed.

by Jay Mankus

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Broken Things

Since my wife’s father passed away in October, I have helped clean out two homes.  Most of the furniture was antiques, family heirlooms passed down over a couple of generations.  The only draw back to real wood is the weight, a chore to move up and down stairs.  Perhaps, this may explain why millennials have embraced modern appliances and houseware which is easily disposable.  When some thing breaks, you through it away, unattached to these temporary possessions.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken, Psalm 34:17-20.

Gorilla Glue was first sold to consumers in 1999.  Recent commercials portray this product as a life saver, able to fix, repair and stabilize broken things.  Previous items discarded by society are now given new life through this polyurethane adhesive.  Depending upon the condition of your household goods, you might wait months or year before a new replacement needs to be purchased.  Unfortunately, certain things like broken glass can’t be salvaged, sent to a local dump for its final resting place.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, Psalm 147:3.

As I witness the current political climate in America, vicious words are spewed daily without any regard to the pain these insults might inflict.  Instead of reporting the news, cable news desks have turned into gossip sessions at a high school lunch table.  If human beings were made out of glass, the verbal rocks thrown would leave cracks, dents and scars from the impact.  Verbal sticks and stones do hurt, affecting hearts, minds and souls.  Those who endure an unhealthy amount of criticism will eventually suffer a crushed spirit, leading to soul spirit hurts.  Therefore, the next time you have an urge to verbally pile on someone being teased, drop the stone that you are carrying so your actions won’t leave a trail of broken glass.

by Jay Mankus

 

Light Shines Brighter in the Dark

If you live in the middle or northern parts of the United States, you have probably experienced one of the strangest Springs in recent memory.  After the Northeast experienced four noreasters in March, April has greeted the Midwest with a couple of late snow storms as winter attempts to hold on for another week.  While Spring will eventually give way to Summer, there is one truth hidden within these unusual weather patterns.  Light shines brighter in the dark.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil, John 3:19.

The Bible is filled with references to light and darkness.  Jesus uses light to illustrate that which is good, right and true.  Meanwhile, darkness symbolizes imperfections, lies and secret sins that people are afraid of, hoping that no one finds out these embarrassing deeds.  According to Jesus’ earthly brother, freedom comes from opening up, allowing light to enter darkness, James 5:16.  When confession is genuine and sincere, God’s light brings healing to wounded souls.

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, Ephesians 5:8.

The apostle Paul eludes to this transition in a letter to the church of Ephesus.  Later in this chapter, Paul writes about how human nature influences individuals to gravitate toward darkness, where there are no rules or standards.  Yet, Paul reminds believers of their decision to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, choosing light over darkness.  However, some stop growing along the way, comfortably numb.  In this scenario, imperfections are not exposed as God’s light is not fully magnified.  Although it may be difficult, painful and humbling, let God into every area of your life.  When you do, light will shine brighter in the dark to restore you back toward the narrow path, Matthew 7:13-14.

by Jay Mankus

Anonymity: Show Me, Don’t Tell Me

 

When you look up the term anonymity, you don’t get much, just a reference to remaining anonymous.  Depending upon the situation, there are various reasons why individuals decide to go unnamed.  Whether its an eyewitness to a crime, source used by a reporter or whistle blower, those who open up are afraid of a black lash by those involved.  In the past, writers afraid of what other people thought would sign their poem anonymous.

Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it, Mark 7:36.

Jesus used anonymity for another reason.  After healing, performing a miracle or restoring someone’s life, Jesus gave a simple command prior to departing, “don’t tell anyone.”  On the surface this doesn’t make sense.  Yet, in same cases, Jesus gave strict instructions for individuals to go show themselves to a priest.  By doing this, Jews would be restored back into society, given a clean bill of health by religious leaders to resume a normal life within the Jewish culture.

She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more,” John 8:11.

If you read in between the lines, Jesus was saying, “don’t tell others God healed you, show your appreciation by transforming for life.  In the passage above, Jesus explains his philosophy on anonymity.  If Jesus healed people and they returned to their prior sinful life, this initial miracle would have been wasted.  Sure, telling other people the good things God has done in your life is noteworthy.  However, living out your faith after any miraculous event is more powerful.  Therefore, show the world your faith as actions speak louder than words.

by Jay Mankus

Trying to Heal a Defiled Heart

If you maintain a burdensome schedule each week, finding time to take an honest assessment of your life isn’t easy to do.  Most busy people press on. ignoring any signs, symptoms or traces of trouble.  When a state of emergency was issued for Delaware during the fourth snow storm in March, I was forced to slow down, unable to go to work.  After reading the passage below, an overwhelming sense of guilt struck my soul, exposing a defiled heart.

After He called the people to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen [carefully] to Me, all of you, [hear] and understand [what I am saying]: there is nothing outside a man [such as food] which by going into him can defile him [morally or spiritually]; but the things which come out of [the heart of] a man are what defile and dishonor him. 16 [If anyone has ears to hear, let him he}” Mark 7:15-16.

As a former high school teacher, I gave my students some sort of assessment every 3 weeks.  Homework, papers, quizzes and exams were given during each unit to reveal the degree of comprehension.  Unfortunately, after graduating from high school or college, adults rarely think about assessing their faith like educators.  This lack of reflection often hides glaring issues.  As for me, a lack of candor has brought to light a defiled heart.

For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known and identified by its own fruit. For figs are not picked from thorn bushes, nor is a cluster of grapes picked from a briar bush. 45 The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart, Luke 6:43-45.

According to Jesus, your choice of language provides immediate feedback to what’s in your heart.  If you find yourself using coarse joking, put downs or sarcasm, this serves as a warning of a heart in grave condition.  In order to take a positive step forward, confession is the best place to start, James 5:16.  If your language does not improve, finding an accountability partner can help turn your life around.  While transformation takes time, meditating on Bible verses, prayer and fasting are all honorable steps toward healing a defiled heart.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Opening Pitch

As baseball’s Spring Training season is winding down this year, opening day is quickly approaching.  The 2018 Major League Baseball Season will open in a more traditional manner.  On Thursday, March 29th, all 30 teams will begin play on the same day.  This is the first time this has occurred since 1968.  One of the pre game festivities for baseball is the ceremonial first pitch.  Teams will invite celebrities, former players or popular people from the area to throw out the opening pitch as cameras recount this special moment.

Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make in it rooms (stalls, pens, coops, nests, cages, compartments) and coat it inside and out with pitch (bitumen), Genesis 6:14.

The Bible refers to a different kind of pitch.  Hebrew uses 3 variations of this term. Viz refers to a mineral pitch, similar to modern day asphalt.  The King James Version of the Bible chooses figo: to fix and unite planks.  The final description of pitch in the context of the Bible refers to sealing.  After using gopher wood to built an ark, Noah used pitch as a coating to waterproof the exterior so that this boat would not leak once fully occupied by the animals and his family.  Without this opening pitch, the ark would have sunk.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed, 1 Peter 2:24.

Sometimes Greek and Hebrew words don’t always translate grammatically into English.  Thus, when you break down the structure of this term in a literal sense, pitch is symbolic of atonement.  After original sin separated Adam and Eve from God, the Lord devised a way for mankind to restored, reunited into fellowship with God.  In the passage above, Peter points to Jesus as the atoning sacrifice.  After denying Jesus publically, guilt haunted Peter, struggling to forgive himself for what he had done.  Yet, when Jesus suffered, died and rose again, this opening pitch by God started a whole new ball game, offering human beings a second chance, by grace through faith.  In view of this, make the most of the bats that the Lord provides for you in this life.

by Jay Mankus

 

We Found Each Other in the Dark

Tom Hanks plays the head cell block guard on death row in the 1999 film The Green Mile.  During his interactions with convicted murderers, one prisoner fits the physical description, but internally something is different.  Michael Clarke Duncan plays John Coffey, an intimidating man who possesses the gift of healing.  After witnessing 2 minor miracles, Tom Hanks convinces his entire staff to risk their jobs in order to save a woman dying from cancer.  James Cromwell, Hank’s boss in the film, is married to Patricia Clarkson who is on the verge of death.  After a powerful healing scene, Clarkson talks to Duncan revealing a dream she had during her ordeal with cancer.  This vision refers to finding each other in the dark.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin, 1 John 1:5-7.

The Bible uses the imagery of darkness to refer to moments or periods of time individuals are separated from God.  One of Jesus’ disciples associates being in God’s presence with fellowship.  As a personal eye witness to Jesus’ life on earth for 3 years, John testifies to the fact that Jesus was the real deal, full of love and light.  While most people flee from the lost, lonely and social outcasts, Jesus built his ministry around comforting, healing and waiting until desperate souls were touched by a miracle.  Jesus went into the darkness to help those unable to escape on their own.

But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him, John 11:10.

Human nature creates a curiosity within human hearts.  Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, even if you have been taught right from wrong, some won’t stop until they taste forbidden fruit.  For those who follow longings, lust and temptation into darkness, returning back where you came from isn’t as easy as it seems.  Enlightenment has a way of enticing people, creating a hunger for more.  Despite the presence of God’s light in small portions of this world, darkness seems to growing more and more by the day.  This expansion is causing many to stumble, stuck in darkness together.  May the light of Christ pierce through this darkness, John 1:5, so that those who unable to find their way out will be united once again into fellowship with God.

by Jay Mankus

 

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