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Tag Archives: influence

Waiting for a New Name

Benedict Arnold, John Wilkes Booth and Bernie Madoff are names associated with a negative connotation.  Poor choices in life led each to develop a bad reputation.  Unfortunately, when individuals commit an unwholesome act, many are unable to break free from the consequences of actions.  Thus, even today, many are waiting for a new name.

Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children, Genesis 32:11.

Once formed in high school or college, infamous nicknames can haunt people for years.  Indecent acts may result in being labeled as easy, loose or a whore.  Those who tend to exaggerate become known as liars, losing the trust of their peers.  While a few may be able to alter this stigma, most are stuck with the shame of their past.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome,” Genesis 32:28.

In Genesis 32, Jacob has an encounter with God.  Known as cunning, a deceiver and for being a momma’s boy, the Lord knew this character would not be a positive influence going forward to lead his chosen people.  Thus, following a night of wrestling, Jacob held on for dear life, earning him the name Israel.  In the same manner, those who enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10, are given a fresh start.  Therefore, if you’re waiting for a new name, hit the reset button today to receiving the free gift of eternal life.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Finding the Weak Link

Whenever law enforcement or the FBI wants to bring down a powerful criminal, perhaps they might start with surveillance.  After a period of time, officials will search for a small fry who has access to the big fish.  When the weak link is identified, this individual is pressured to provide important information.  If this person does not cooperate, threats of prosecution often persuade them to go along.

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him, Mark 14:1.

Early in the first century, religious officials realized they could not outwit Jesus, so they began to secretly probe his twelve disciples.  During this process, the chief priests identified someone they could influence.  Miffed by Jesus’ waste of perfume, the treasurer Judas Iscariot, was tweaked enough to turn to the dark side.  Tempted by thirty pieces of silver, Judas agreed to betray Jesus with a kiss.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly, Mark 14:4-5.

Regardless of how strong someone may appear, each possess flaws, imperfections and weaknesses.  Thus, no one is exempt from being exposed as a weak link.  Satan knows your kryptonite, scanning back and forth throughout the earth, waiting to pounce on the isolated, vulnerable and weak.  Therefore, be on guard, armed with the armor of God, Ephesians 6:12-20 so when the days of evil come, you will be ready to defend yourself.

by Jay Mankus

Overwhelmed by Priorities

Every day when I arise from sleep, my mind is overwhelmed by the choices at hand.  Do I read?  Should I write?  Perhaps I need to work out?  Maybe hitting the snooze button and rolling over is my best option.  Either way, the choices you make will dictate the path your life takes.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Luke 12:34

Like most years, my New Years Resolutions are being modified as desires to lose weight, eat healthy and draw closer to God have fallen short.  Sometimes I feel as if I am in a tug of war, pulled in a direction I don’t want to go, yet over time I submit, dragged to a new low.  By enduring these trials, I am beginning to comprehend the words of the apostle Paul as he explains how the sinful nature can influence one’s priorities.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. – Romans 7:15

When Jeremiah opened his mouth to Israel, negative messages usually came forth.  Thus, this servant of God was nicknamed the weeping prophet.  If you too feel depressed, frustrated or lost, there are some promises in the Bible to cling to.  Lamentations 3:20-24 suggests God’s forgiveness is new every morning.  Therefore, if you fail to keep the priorities that you hold dear, may God’s grace lift you up each time you fall.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Dragged Behind the Devil’s Door

Certain topics are often swept under the rug.  Whether its abandonment, bizarre crimes or suicide, uncovering the reason for these acts is worth an attempt.  On the surface, it appears some of these unfortunate events can be explained by demons dragging their victims behind the Devil’s door.

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.-James 1:14

According to the earthly brother of Jesus, God does not tempt individuals, but allows human beings to be influenced sinful desires, James 1:13-15.  On the other hand, one person on earth to know Jesus better than anyone else, adds a new dimension.  John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, refers to forces in the world which adds fuel to temptations fire.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.1 John 2:16

Finally, according to Jesus, impure spirits can become attached, influence or possess weakened souls.  Although healing is possible, those freed are not out of the woods.  This stipulation is similar to those battling addiction, bad habits or poor choices as a genuine transformation requires daily discipline.  Subsequently, there is always a chance for any who regress to end up worse than their original state.

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.   Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” – Matthew 12:43-45

This is how a demon can drag someone behind the Devil’s door.  Voices may lead the unhappy to abruptly leave to start a new life.  Meanwhile, bizarre crimes are usually conceived in a mind, planned over time and acted out upon.  As for suicide, whispers of loneliness can prompt troubled and weary souls to pull the trigger.  In view of this, take heed by defending yourself with the armor, Ephesians 6:10-12.

by Jay Mankus

 

Tone Deaf or Tuned Out?

Technology is changing so quickly that sometimes the media can’t keep up.  While the elderly long for the days of the type writer, youth are downloading the next app to make their life more enjoyable.  For the computer illiterate, if this divide continues, there will be a large portion in society who will either become tone deaf or simply tune out these changes.

Today, the typical print media and evening news is on the verge of becoming extinct.  With the advent of twitter, camera phones and internet blogs, news is outdated by the time articles are written or news is reported.  Perhaps, this may explain the sensationalism in journalism through coverage, headlines and graphic videos..  This desperate attempt suggests the main stream media is losing their power to influence minds as talk shows and pod casts have emerged.

As for the average Joes like me, we might get lost in the shuffle.  Yes, I can know how to blog, email and make a video for my youtube account, but too much information can be overwhelming.  The less informed may get to a point where they think, “what’s the point,” giving up on technological advances.  Regardless of where you stand on this issue, God remains in control.  Thus, whether you become tone deaf or tune out, don’t forget to find life by living in the pages of the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

Prayers of Change

For the  helpless, hurting and poor, change is something that can’t come soon enough.  These desperate souls are searching for the secret to getting God’s attention to alter their circumstances.  When waiting becomes excruciating, what should you say to obtain prayers of change?

In the days of the Old Testament, the heart and its spiritual condition directly influenced God’s response to mankind, Isaiah 1:15-18.  Meanwhile, the mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially when doubt blocks faith from taking root, Matthew 21:18-22.  If you don’t believe God can transform your situation, miracles will cease to exist.  Thus, what can I do to be heard?

History provides a benchmark, a series of success stories in life.  When you desire wisdom, pray to possess the knowledge of Solomon.  If discernment is what you need, ask for the insight of the sons of Issachar.  Is it faith that you lack, claim the double portion the Lord gave Elisha.  Do you struggle to love?  Lean on Jesus to fill this void.  Finally, if the favor of God seems distant, persist in prayer to experience the blessings of Joseph.  May the words of Matthew 7:7-12 inspire you to offer up prayers for change.

by Jay Mankus

 

It’s Not a Coincidence

Depending upon who you listen to, trust or watch, everyone seems to have an opinion today.  Whether its regarding current events, life’s problems or politics, worldviews influence what you ultimately believe.  This process forms a foundation, a conscience that inspires individuals to fight for, speak out against and encourage others to become like minded.  However, when you embrace biblical principles, the true blessings you will find is not a coincidence.

According to God, there is a connection between honoring your parents and living a long life, Exodus 20:12.  Essentially, if you vow to cherish, respect and maintain a good name for your parents, life expectancy should increase.  While there are exceptions, people whose life is stolen by a drunk driver, disease or unexpected accident, God does fulfill this promise for the rest.  If you’re not happy with the current state of your soul, begin to put Jesus’ words into practice, Matthew 7:24-27, so that your house will be prepared to endure future storms.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you take a long look at the breakdown of families, violence within inner cities and the growth of gangs, inspired by gangsta wanna be’s, life is snuffed out way too soon.  Street corners, schools and playgrounds are no longer safe places.  Perhaps this trend could be turned around if only individuals would begin to honor their father and mother.  Sure, there are other factors which have contributed to this cultural decay, yet it’s not a coincidence when life is protected, saved or extended by those who commit to loving their neighbor as themselves.

by Jay Mankus

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