RSS Feed

Tag Archives: humble

America is Only as Strong as Her Moral and Spiritual Forces

During a 1952 sermon, the reverend Billy Graham provided a prophetic message about the United States of America.  Using the passage of 2 Chronicles 7 to serve as his context, Graham compared the Israelites in the Old Testament with America.  When families, individuals or nations experience the misfortune of hardship, your degree of character will be revealed.  Thus, during times of disaster, drought or death, America is only as strong as her moral and spiritual forces.

If I shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence and plague among My people, 2 Chronicles 7:13.

Ten years following this statement, the Supreme Court removed prayer from public education using the separation of church and state as it’s rationale.  One year later, public Bible readings over the morning announcements was also banned from public education.  Using each of these cases as predetermining factors, other states followed these rulings to weaken moral and spiritual forces in America.  By 1980, atheists, liberals and progressives waged war against the ten commandments, having these civil and ethical standards also removed from public schools.

And My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land, 2 Chronicles 7:14.

When you turn on cable news, follow social media sites and or listen to talk radio, current events are a by product of these past judicial decisions.  Instead of focusing on doom and gloom as society edges closer to the verge of lawlessness, the best course of action is to humble yourself before the Lord.  As you do, confess and pray for positive results, that revival will sweep across this land.  Billy Graham devoted 58 years of his life, from 1947-2005, traveling the globe to conduct 417 Bible Crusades in 185 countries.  This wasn’t done for selfish ambition or self promotion.  Rather, Billy Graham understood that America and the world is only as strong as her moral and spiritual forces.

by Jay Mankus

This One is For You

At any period in time, individuals will find themselves in either one of two states, blessed or in need.  This status can change at a moments notice, from having a high paying position with great benefits to being unemployed.  For those of you have endured the embarrassment of losing your job, this experience can be humbling.  Yet, life goes on, with or within out you.  The one thing God is eager to see is how will you respond to adversity?

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed, 1 Peter 4:12-13.

The odd thing about life is that sometimes when you think you are the person in need, someone else enters your life to help you realize how blessed you truly are.  When I moved off campus in college, I used fast food restaurants as places to study.  As long as you bought something to eat, refills were unlimited so I never ran out of caffeine.  One morning I went to McDonald’s for breakfast, celebrating the two for two dollar breakfast sandwich deal.  After quickly snarfing down my first sausage and egg McMuffin, I noticed a man who appeared to be homeless.  Before taking a bite of the second one, conviction consumed my soul.  Thirty seconds later, I got up, walked over and said, “this one is for you.”

But we commend ourselves in every way as servants of God: in great endurance, in sufferings, in hardships, in distresses, 2 Corinthians 6:4.

During the middle of the first century, the apostle Paul was diligent in his daily preparations.  The passage above reveals the mindset Paul possessed as a follower of Christ.  Paul wasn’t caught off guard or surprised like modern naïve Christians.  Rather, Paul knew the cost of serving God, making this known to fellow believers in the letter above.  To a certain extent, Paul appears to view himself as being blessed by God, always searching for opportunities to help others.  Despite criticism, pushback and rumors, Paul was determined to honor God whatever the cost.  This example should inspire people today to locate the down trodden, needy and poor; then extend the love of Christ by paying it forward, “this one is for you.”

by Jay Mankus

 

Boiling Out of Control

Blood pressure is measured with two numbers, systolic and diastolic.  The systolic number represents the measure of pressure when the heart is contracting.  The diastolic refers to when the heart is expanding after the contraction. A normal blood pressure measurement is considered 120 over 80. During a routine physical last week, my initial blood pressure was 170 over 120.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working, James 5:16.

There are 5 major factors which cause blood pressure to escalate: high salt intake, lack of physical activity, obesity, smoking and consuming too much alcohol.  Since I don’t drink or smoke, the first three are the reason for my blood pressure boiling out of control.  For someone who once possessed only four percent body fat, this recent diagnosis is eye opening and humbling.  The hardest part of my road to recovery is having the self-discipline to get back to a somewhat healthy level.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul, 3 John 1:2.

The earthly brother of Jesus suggests that the first step to healing is confessing that you have a problem.  Well, I am Jay Mankus and I have let my body go by eating poorly and failing to exercise on a regular basis.  The disciple whom Jesus loved talks about the importance of health in the passage above.  If you dive deeper, your overall health impacts your soul.  Thus, if your blood pressure begins to boil out of control, it’s hard to stay optimistic.  In these troubling times, the only thing I can do is trust Jesus to guide my path toward a healthier diet and life.

by Jay Mankus

Return to Me

As a parent, it’s difficult to have all of your children follow the narrow path described in Matthew 7:13-14 throughout life.  On the surface, there isn’t anything attractive, cool or hip in the eyes of the world to stay an extended period of time.  While former generations of adults might have coerced, demanded and forced their kids to go to church and youth group, the overall results have been mixed.  Good parenting doesn’t always lead to mature teens.  Nor does abandonment by one or both parents always produce disobedient souls.  Various factors, influences and variables eventually shape young people into the people they become.  Regardless of this outcome, it’s never too late to return to Jesus.

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” Luke 15:10.

In a series of stories about getting lost, Jesus uses sheep, a sentimental coin and a rebellious son to illustrate his point.  These parables have made Luke 15 one of the most read chapters in the Bible.  Although the parable of the lost son gets most of the attention, the end of the lost coin reveals one of God’s most important qualities.  Unlike a human father who may turn his back on disobedient children, God the Father is standing on the front porch, waiting for you to come home.  Whenever someone decides to return home, there is a celebration in heaven for every repentant sinner.  Perhaps, guardians angels play a role in this human U-turn, away from the world and back toward God.

He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything, Luke 15:16.

Regardless of how stubborn a person may be, everyone has a breaking point.  The human spirit can only take you so far until souls crack.  A first century doctor refers to this point as coming to your senses.  For the Jewish prodigal mentioned in the passage above, he was broke and homeless.  However, this is only half of the story.  This young man spent his inheritance, squandered it on wild living and had become a lowly servant at a pig farm.  According to Jewish law, pigs are unclean, unfit to eat.  Yet, this son became so desperate for food, he longed to eat the slop fed to these animals.  This humbling circumstance opened the door for repentance and a return home.  May this blog inspire anyone heading off in the wrong direction to return back to Jesus, 1 John 1:7.

by Jay Mankus

Distracted During the Season of Giving

The commercialization of Christmas has influenced how this religious holiday is now celebrated.  Advertisements appeal to humanistic tendencies, often suggesting that bigger is better.  Unfortunately, rarely do commercials address the price of these exotic gifts that few can afford.  Subsequently, in an attempt to impress those whom you love, it’s easy to become distracted during the season of giving.  Instead of getting excited, I dread all I need to do.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn, Luke 2:7.

In modern terms, Jesus was born in a cheap bed and breakfast without a bed, room or special meal for Mary and Joseph.  This humble beginning would make most people ashamed, afraid to talk about the poverty Jesus was born into.  Nonetheless, this child of God altered the Jewish faith and gave hope to Gentiles, those born outside of God’s chosen people.  This child showed adults how to live, how to lead and ultimately, to lay down his life for mankind.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16.

One of the Bible’s most famous verses also details God the Father’s selfless act, sending his son to earth, to live, die and rise again to so others may have eternal life.  While it’s hard to ignore the never ending ads, don’t allow the pressure to out spend others this season ruin your Christmas spirit.  Rather, start each day in prayer, seeking God’s discernment for opportunities to help, serve and reach out to others in need this Christmas season.

by Jay Mankus

When the Future Looks Bleak God Does Intervene

There are many ways to explain favorable outcomes in life.  The confident will pass this off as hard work, preparation and flawless execution.  The humble often give others credit, expressing gratitude and thanksgiving for their success.  Meanwhile, there will be some who face a bleak future, with the odds stacked against them.  For those who stave off death, endure hardship or witness divine intervention, God’s timing is perfect.

That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him, Esther 6:1.

In the Old Testament passage above, Mordecai’s future didn’t look good.  If everything went as planned, Mordecai was scheduled to be hung the next day.  An enemy of Haman, second in command to the king, hatred and jealousy of this outspoken Jew resulted in his sentence to death.  Hours away from this fate, God’s providence kicked into action.  The king couldn’t sleep, his subject selected a book to read, Mordecai was mentioned and it was discovered nothing was done to honor him for exposing a plot to assassinate the king.

It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.  “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked.  “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered, Esther 6:2-3.

When the queen, Esther threw a banquet for Haman and the king the next day, Mordecai received the honor that Haman desperately sought.  This twist of fate altered the outcome of Mordecai’s life, changing places with Haman.  Seizing the opportunity, queen Esther revealed Haman’s hidden plot to kill the Jews living in the kingdom.  In twenty four hours, the tables were turned as good triumphed over evil, sending Haman to the gallows set up for Mordecai.  In view of this historic event, don’t forget that when the future looks bleak, God can and will intervene.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Remedy For Rushing to Judgment

Before his fall from grace, Bill Crosby was a talented comedian for decades.  One of my favorite stand up acts was his line about having babies.  This particular act was based upon the lack of smell from a newborn’s poo.  His facial expressions change as soon as odor begins to develop over time.  Unfortunately, there are many adults who still don’t believe that their poo stinks.

Does he not see my ways and count my every step? – Job 31:4

During a time of reflection, Job came to a painful reality in life, God sees all of our mistakes.  Nothing is hidden from his sight according to the author of Hebrews 4:13.  Even on a good day, missteps add up, accumulating daily.  This realization should make the most outspoken humbled, dropping the stones about to cast judgment on others, John 8:7.

If I have walked with falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit—Job 31:5

One of the remedies to avoid rushing to judgment was revealed by Jesus to first century followers during his famous Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7.  During a section on judgment, Jesus urges listeners to take the plank out of your own eyes first.  This analogy is symbolic of things which block or cloud your perspective of a situation.  Therefore, the next time you have an urge to rush to judgment, get this area in your own right first before you add your own two cents.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: