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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



When Loose Lips Sink Relationships

One of Billy Joel’s most profound songs Honesty debuted on the airways in 1979.  Part of the 1978 album 52nd Street, the chorus of this ballad suggests honesty is such a lonely word.  Perhaps, Billy Joel was on to something, prophetic, sharing a glimpse of what the future would hold.  Before gun or fist fights, human beings often talked out their differences, no matter how heated a conversation got.  Unfortunately, in this age of Facebook, texting and Twitter, loose lips expressed on social media can sink relationships.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! – Psalm 141:3

Depending upon your personality, you will either seek confrontation or run away.  Texting has emboldened some former cowards by avoiding face to face encounters.  Yet, what is posted, typed or shared can create a wedge between friends.  Politics, religion and worldviews are factors that tend to divide neighborhoods.  When opinions are openly expressed on these topics, loose lips sink relationships.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.

The apostle Paul provides a solution to those who have fractured relationships due to careless words.  Sure, all human beings are imperfect, prone to moments of weakness where the choice of language is inappropriate.  In view of this, the more positive you remain, the less likely you will offend friends and strangers.  Faking this will prove to be a waste of time so its essentially to be genuine and honest.  While no one will ever be 100% encouraging all the time, this is the goal to restore formerly loose lips to repair relationships.

by Jay Mankus



Ahead of His Time

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English has been the primary language in America since the early British settlements of the 1600’s.  Described as the Great American Melting Pot in Saturday Morning advertisements aired while children watched cartoons during the 1980’s, this country has gone through a major cultural transformation.  Instructions enclosed inside new products have multiple languages, with Spanish and English always mentioned.  Electronic telephone directions are played in English first, then Spanish.  In addition, depending upon the airport you travel through, intercom updates can be heard in Japanese, German or French.

Believe it or not, Pontus Pilate was ahead of his time.  After his wife was warned in a dream, likely a nightmare, Matthew 27:19, Pilate tried to pass the buck and responsibility for Jesus onto the religious leaders.  According to John 19:1-16, Pilate tried to persuade them, yet gave into public pressure.  However, in a last ditch effort to wash his hands of Jesus’ death, Pilate does something remarkable in John 19:19-20.  While he had a notice prepared and fastened to Jesus’ cross that read, “King of the Jews,” few recognize the last words of verse 20.  Like modern America, Pilate had ordered 3 separate plaques, in each of the 3 major languages of the day.

Maybe Pilate’s wife was mad at him, twisting his arm to have these 3 signs made.  Possibly a deep sense of remorse filled Pilate’s soul, inspiring him to do something in his power.  Or God, through the whisper of the Holy Spirit urged Pilate to inscribe the truth about Jesus for all to see in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.  Although, no one will know for sure until heaven, I suspect the hand of God played a vital role, helping Pilate be ahead of his time in communicating to all nations the truth about Jesus!

by Jay Mankus

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