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Tag Archives: idleness

When You’re Accidently Going Nowhere

Impatient travelers are nothing new. While Moses doesn’t use the expression “are we there yet,” modern readers can visualize an annoying child asking this question over and over again during a long car ride. When people are hot and tired, tempers often flare which is what happens in the passage below. As complaining and grumbling intensified, the Israelites lost it when someone realized they were accidently going in circles, losing their way in the ever-shifting sand of the desert.

They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they left the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, Exodus 16:1-2.

If history tends to go through a series of cycles, don’t be surprised when you find yourself lost in life. Whenever your confidence is shaken, assurance wobbles as where to go and what to do comes into question. I started 2022 with high hopes to write another screenplay and get promoted at Amazon. As the third quarter of this year is about to end, I find myself going backwards. I don’t think I missed the exit I was supposed to get off of, but I’m wandering around in circles like the Israelites.

Moreover, as they go about from house to house, they learn to be idlers, and not only idlers, but gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say and talking of things they should not mention, 1 Timothy 5:13.

The apostle Paul points to idleness as the reason why some Christians end up accidently going nowhere. When you stop taking chances in life by playing it safe, you may find yourself lulled into a spiritual rut. Meanwhile, you may know exactly what needs to be done, but talk is cheap until faith is put into action. May the words of Jesus’ earthly brother challenge you break out of any bad habit by exercising your faith, James 2:26.

by Jay Mankus

The Hidden Principle of Rebellion

Rebellion refers to an open resistance to an established government or ruler. In the earliest days on earth, God kept in simple by giving Adam and Eve freedom from every area of the Garden of Eden accept for one. The only boundary to steer clear from was to abstain from eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, Genesis 2:16-17. Moses doesn’t mention any craving, desire or enticement until a crafty serpent began to open Eve’s mind to rebellion.

Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity, Genesis 3:1-5.

At the beginning of this encounter, Eve does the right thing by repeating God’s warning to avoid fruit from this tree. As Satan continued his subtle persuasion, Eve’s mind was open to bending this rule. According to Moses, Adam was right there with her, listening to Satan’s justification and rationalization to rebel against God. Instead of interrupting this conversation and tell Satan to get lost, Adam’s idleness opened the door for rebellion to enter the earth.

For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until [c]he who restrains is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming, 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8.

The apostle Paul unveils Satan’s plan of introducing the hidden principle of rebellion to mankind. While this lawlessness has been restrained for now by the power of the Holy Spirit, there will come a day when this is unleashed. Immediately following the second coming of Jesus, the anti-Christ will reign the earth for 7 years until the battle of Armageddon. Yet, for now human beings must use prayer as a hedge of protection so that rebellion doesn’t poison your soul and ruin your life.

by Jay Mankus

The Demise of Leadership

The world is full of trends that come and go. Following the leadership of Moses and Joshua, Israel turned to Judges for more than 300 years. In the days of Samuel the prophet, the people of Israel wanted to become like the other nations in the world. Despite his disdain for this decision, the Lord puts this choice into it’s proper perspective. The people aren’t rejecting Samuel as it’s spiritual leader, they are abandoning God so that they can look to an earthly king that they can see.

But it displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to govern us. And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken to the voice of the people in all they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not be King over them, 1 Samuel 8:6-7.

Before elections were developed to choose a national leader, the elders, the next in line or some sort of council began a search for the next king. In the passage below, this group was misled by physical characteristics. The logical choice for Saul’s replacement was a man with an impressive appearance, height and stature. Unfortunately, this common mistake has led to a demise of leadership, choosing an empty suit over a godly individual.

And he said, Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice. And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and called them to the sacrifice. When they had come, he looked on Eliab [the eldest son] and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him. But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart, 1 Samuel 16:5-7.

Yet, even a man after God’s own heart isn’t guaranteed to be a successful leader. According to 2 Samuel 11:1, idleness caused King David to put God’s will on hold. When David decided to go on vacation for 3 months, he began to fall prey to the lust of his flesh. Instead of changing course quickly with a U-turn back toward God, arrogance and pride prevent many godly leaders from getting right with God. Before this demise of leadership gets any worse, follow the disciples teaching on confession, James 5:16. so that future leaders will rise from the ashes of sin.

by Jay Mankus

True Remorse

The proud have a history of taking pride in their comfortable position.  With confidence not an issue, this personality trait tends to blind individuals from the actual state of their soul.  Consistent with first century Pharisees, these people ignore their own flaws, using comparison to enhance their self-esteem.  If necessary, personal attacks are used, putting down lesser humans beings to protect their status in society, Romans 2:1.

Meanwhile, the insecure take the fall, allowing the elites to push them around.  Unable to hide their emotions, depression, sadness and tears reveal the pain in their hearts. Call it being naive, yet faking their pitiful condition seems wrong.  Thus, humility reigns, displaying true remorse for the sins they’ve committed and the idleness preventing change.  Like tax collectors and prostitutes of the past, crowds flee, not wanting to be associated with those who have tarnished their reputations.

Not much has changed since Jesus first shared the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.  Two thousand years later, a sequel is being played out with a different cast of characters.  Most play the role of the older brother, yelling, “I told you so,” casting judgement on those caught in the act of sin.  The less popular actor, stumbles and falls until they reach the bottom of the barrel.  Unfortunately, it usually takes the pain of embarrassment to admit fault.  May anyone struggling to find your way come to your senses soon so that true remorse will be rewarded by God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy.

by Jay Mankus



Imprints on Heaven

While listening to a sermon over the weekend, I was challenged to reflect on what if any impact I’ve had during my days on this planet.  Jesus and the apostle Paul, shared a similar message, urging their listeners to begin to store up treasures on earth, Matthew 6:19-21 and Colossians 3:1-4.  If heaven does exist and Jesus went ahead to prepare the way, John 14:2, then its time you and I begin the imprinting process.

Although minor in many ways, my first mark involved music.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, I felt compelled  to inform people of God’s love.  Sorting through a vast collection of Christian music in college, I created a mix that I began to give to individuals, just as a high school friend did for me.   Trying to introduce people to contemporary artists, one particular creation entitled A Father”s Love struck a cord with several friends and strangers.  In the days of writing letters, words of encouragement appeared in the mail box, confirming that I was on the right track.

My greatest inscription occurred during a Lay Witness Mission, a fancy name for a retreat geared toward reviving souls for a  spiritually dead or dying congregation.  Beside being an active participant during youth group activities, my main responsibility was to share a brief testimony, what God was teaching me or doing in my life.  At a moment’s notice, I was suppose to be ready.  Well, I waited and waited and waited.  Finally, on Saturday night, I was told I would be talking to the entire congregation.  After praying with my roommate that night, the Lord took over so when the appointed time came, I opened my mouth and the Holy Spirit spoke.  Before finishing, I offered up a call for action, then played a song.  As I looked up, some were actually running to the altar, dedicating their lives to Jesus.

Since this day, I guess I can include my wife, kids and a decade as a Bible teacher.  However, in between the victories, there have been plenty of moments of failure, idleness and periods of self-indulgence.   When you taste defeat, the best pill to swallow is humility, an important practice to keep you on the narrow path to heaven, Matthew 7:13-15.  As the second coming of Jesus draws near, don’t forget to leave your imprints on earth while heaven awaits for those who call on the name of the Lord, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus


Don’t Be So Koi; Unleash Your Potential

Koi fish, also known as nishikigoi in Japan, are domesticated carp kept for decorative purposes, usually in water gardens.  However, koi have an unique characteristic, growing only as large as their environment allows.  Thus, if you have a small fish tank, their size will be stunted to a few inches.  When given the opportunity, koi can grow to nearly 4 feet in size, but only in the right conditions like a large pond or lake.

In life, many individuals are afraid of the unknown, the areas beyond their comfort zones.  Subsequently, most people limit their potential, scared to take a chance or risk embarrassment outside in the big sea.  Instead of blossoming, souls tend to settle for mediocre lives, secure in the safety of their normal surroundings.  Unfortunately, this is not the plan God called his disciples to follow, Mark 16:15-18.

Today, Christians leave this responsibility for pastors, preachers and teachers, excluding themselves from Jesus’ command.  Although the harvest is still ripe for the picking, Matthew 9:35-38, the sidelines are flooded, me included, with believers too self-absorbed with life to get into the game.  In view of this unsettling truth, break away from patterns of idleness.  Don’t be so koi; rather unleash your potential by fanning into flame the gifts you have t offer, Romans 12:3-8.

by Jay Mankus

Delaying God’s Promises

As I turned on the television this morning, I felt like God was talking directly to me.  Dr. Tony Evans was reminding his congregation that neutrality does not exist in the spiritual realm.  You’re either drawing closer to God, gathering up treasures for heaven or you’re falling away, disappointed by the lack of promises you’ve received if any.  Instead of blaming God for unfulfilled promises, disobedience, rebellion or unbelief essentially delays one from experiencing these blessings on earth.

According to Matthew 12:30, Jesus can’t be any clearer about his expectations for his followers.  “If you’re not with me, gathering people toward the kingdom of God, you’re against me!”  Though it sounds good today, you can’t pick and choose which commandments you follow and which you ignore and or neglect.  During my month long ordeal with my lung, liver and ribs, I began to slip away from God, frustrated by the hand I have been dealt the last few years.  However, my response has delayed God’s timing, waiting for obedience from me before I was accompanied by blessings, Deuteronomy 28:2.

I guess the easy thing to do is blame God for your lack of progress, success or wealth in life.  Nonetheless, David says it best in Psalm 37:3; “trusting in the Lord and striving for holiness comes first.”  Until this occurs, peace and safe pastures are on hold.  Therefore, don’t delay God’s promises any further by idleness.  Rather, delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4.

by Jay Mankus

Check Mate

I always was more of a checkers kind of guy, but chess was something I attempted on my computer.  As a novice and mere amateur, I often made illegal moves, getting beeped at by the game, reset to my initial position.  Losing most of the times, I approved to the point of being respectable.  However, from a coaching perspective, I have embraced the chess like concept of putting your pieces, (players) in the right position to win or force an opponent to say, “check mate.”

Psalm 149:4 unlocks a secret to success in life.   According to the Psalmist, God delights in his people.  In fact, the Lord crowns those who are humble with salvation.  Instead of boasting or trash talking in the middle of a contest, God wants individuals to just play the game of life, whether you win or lose.  While the devil may back you into a corner or take out several of your pawns, God has the final move.  Just when Lucifer thought he was about to taste victory, Jesus rose from the grave, Colossians 2:13-15, pronouncing “Check Mate” on his former angel.

Beyond this world lies a spiritual dimension where angels and demons perform a battle for eternity.  Prayer fuels angelic beings while idleness empowers satanic strongholds.  This chess match will continue until Jesus returns, Matthew 24:42-44 or you breathe your last breath.  Despite how bad your board looks, fight until the very end, 1 Timothy 6:12.  Place your trust in the promise of Psalm 149:4, crowned by the Lord with eternal life.

by Jay Mankus

Compro… Not so wise!

This morning a whisper was passing by, catching me off guard.  “Read your Bible later, you’re too tired right now!”  Like a demon assigned by the evil one to cause me to stumble, compromise was trying to implant a not so wise thought.

Nearly 5 months ago, 147 days to be exact, I began a 150 day journey, attempting to read every Psalm, one per day.  Since prayer doesn’t come natural for me, I have been trying to improve my prayer life by learning from King David.  Yet, even David found himself caught by a momentary lapse of judgment in 2 Samuel 11:1-3.  Instead of fighting this whisper of idleness, David gave into this desire, thereby fulfilling the words of James 1:13-15.

When morning comes, the consequences of compromise remain, permanently etched within one’s mind.  As a result, the stains of sin contaminate your soul.  Attached by guilt, individual’s often drift further away, now separated from God.  What started as a whisper has led to a not so wise reality.  If you are feeling defeated today, forgiveness is available every morning, Lamentations 3:22-23.  However, the longer you wait, your condition will worsen, numbing you into an eternal sleep.  Snap out of it before its too late, Hebrews 10:26-27.

by Jay Mankus

Conventional Thinking

A convent is a facility where woman seek refuge from the ways of the world.  This building serves as a refuge, a place where individuals attempt to devote their lives to prayer, reading the Bible and service.  While Hollywood has their own ideas from films such as Sister Act and the Sound of Music, convents provide a setting which goes against conventional thinking.

Unfortunately, worldly thinking has infiltrated the church, causing believers to have selfish thoughts.  When members of a congregation expect pastors, priests and teachers to do this or that because this is what they are paid to do, they are missing the point.  The apostle Paul reminds followers that the church is one body with many parts, 1 Corinthians 12:1-6.  The Bible clearly goes against the flow, suggesting you might be the only Jesus someone might ever encounter, Matthew 5:13-16.

Thus, after experiencing joy earlier in the week, I have found myself in a battle between complacency and conventional thinking.  Tired of leading this and that, I indulged in laziness, sitting along the sidelines this weekend.  Although pop culture may applaud me for taking a break, my heart was convicted by sins of omission.  Whenever idleness lulls you into a false sense of security, guard your heart and protect your mind, 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8.  When you arm yourself with Scripture, conventional thinking will be a thing of the past, replaced by a Mother Teresa like faith.

by Jay Mankus

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