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Welcome the Word of God in 2022

If you have children or received any sort of electronic gift for Christmas, you will find instructions enclosed inside. This manual is designed to show you how to put this gift together if not already assembled and how to use it. The best selling book of all time does not contain instructions in the beginning. Rather, the Bible uses history to illustrate how to and how not to live your life. If you’re stuck in a rut or tired of not being able to turn your life around, welcome the Word of God in 2022 to jump start this new year.

So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth], James 1:21-22.

According to the passage above, Jesus’ earthly brother made an important connection between the Bible and this spiritual leader. When Joshua took over for Moses to lead Israel into God’s promised land, one of his first commands was to meditate upon God’s Word daily. If this practice results in the spiritual discipline of Bible Study, these truths will become implanted within your mind. Meanwhile, anyone who hungers and thirsts for righteousness will began to develop a heart for God.

For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; 24 For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. 25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience), James 1:23-25.

Yet, whenever you read any book, you have two choices. Are you the type of person who loves plowing through book after book eager to discover the next one? Or do you savor each page, stopping to write down notes as you read so you don’t forget an important insight, lesson or point? At the end of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls his audience to become doers of the Word, not just listeners. Anyone can read the Bible, but those who are convicted to turn their life around will welcome the Word of God in 2022.

by Jay Mankus

A Leader Can’t Lead Until They Know Where They are Going

Everyone will face moments of indecision.  These periods are marked by confusion, hesitation and uncertainty.  Those who are normally confident may become more reserved until clarity returns.  During trying times, some may opt to seek the counsel of others, retreat to an isolated place to refocus or withdraw to reconsider their current state.  Ultimately, a leader can’t lead until they know where they are going.

So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s house heard about it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was suffering hardship, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. There were about four hundred men with him, 1 Samuel 22:1-2.

While waiting to become King of Israel, David came under siege.  Trying to secure his future, the current King Saul began to target David, chasing him to a remote cave.  This location served as a place of refuge for supporters of David.  Unsure of where to go next or what to do, these men came together to encourage one another.  As time passed, Samuel refers to David as the captain of these men, preparing to lead them all in the near future.

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there. 36 Simon [Peter] and his companions searched [everywhere, looking anxiously] for Him, 37 and they found Him and said, “Everybody is looking for You!” 38 He replied, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so I may preach there also; that is why I came [from the Father],” Mark 1:35-38.

Every morning twelve men eagerly awaited Jesus to reveal their travel plans for the day.  In the passage above, Jesus provides a blueprint for ascertaining what God wants you to do and where to go.  By getting up early, finding a secluded area and praying to his heavenly father, Jesus became the leader of the greatest mentor of men.  Yet, the son of God still needed thirty years of preparation to put this plan into action.  Thus, make sure you don’t rush through life.  Rather, refuel daily with a personal quiet time so you lead people to the road less traveled.

by Jay Mankus

What are You Hiding From…Waiting For?

The concept of a superman was conceived into a fictional comic book character by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938.  Forty years later, Christopher Reeves starred in the movie, disguising himself as Clark Kent, a mild-mannered newspaper reporter at the Daily Planet.  Unsure of how or when to reveal his super powers, Clark waits until his adult life to introduce himself to the world.  Perhaps, Superman was afraid, not sure how he would be received.  This fear, although subtle as it might have been, prevented miraculous acts from being demonstrated daily.

Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, and his son Gideon was beating wheat in the wine press [instead of the threshing floor] to [hide it and] save it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O brave man,” Judges 6:11-12.

Human beings can have fragile psyches, especially when confidence is lacking.  In the passage above, you find a mighty warrior working in a blue collar job.  Before Gideon became a famous Old Testament leader, he lived in relative obscurity.  Whether Gideon was hiding, waiting or uncertain about the next move to make in life, an angel of the Lord reminded him of his calling in life.  Gideon wasn’t just a hard working man, he was brave commander who needed a slight nudge from God.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said, “And we are coming with you.” So they went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. As morning was breaking, Jesus [came and] stood on the beach; however, the disciples did not know that it was Jesus, John 21:3-4.

After Jesus died on a cross, the disciples lost their leader.  After a couple days of mourning, Peter appears to fall back on his former life as a fisherman.  Peter convinces a couple of the disciples to go with him, staying out all night to fish.  When this trips turns out to be a complete failure, Jesus arrives on the scene to save the day.  Following what some refer to as the First Breakfast, Jesus gives Peter a pep talk.  The subtitle of this conversation, John 21:15-17, in my Bible is love motivation.  Jesus reminds Peter of his spiritual identity, petra, the rock upon which Jesus will build an earthly church.

The Lord is good to those who wait [confidently] for Him, To those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word], Lamentations 3:25.

For the past six years, my life has been in a holding pattern.  To a certain extent, I can relate to Gideon and Peter, stuck in a transitional period.  Yet, at some point I have to come out of the doldrums.  What am I hiding from?  What am I waiting for before I act?  Perhaps, I need to turn my attention to the Old Testament, putting into practice Lamentations 3:25.  May this blog inspire you to get off the bench and get into the spiritual game called life.  Trust in the Lord, lean on the Holy Spirit for understanding and God will straighten your path for the future.

by Jay Mankus

Stepping Up

If you have ever been a part of any team, you know that accidents, illness or injuries are bound to occur.  Thus, those who sit on the bench need to watch closely in case something unexpected happens.  When starters have to be taken out, the observant will know what to do.  Unfortunately, the disinterested who do not like to pay attention to details often experience embarrassing moments on the field.  For this reason, professional sports have developed a next man up mentality.  This concept better prepares alternates, the second string and subs for success when opportunities do arise.

When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” – Exodus 18:14

In life, God has given individuals the chance to be part of a team through families.  Depending upon the leadership and organizations skills of parents, daily responsibilities are broken down into assignments called chores.  This use of delegation insures that more than one person is helping out around the house at a time.  If a dominant member attempts to do everything on their own, this person will likely get burnt out or when this figure is no longer around, the entire household begins to fall a part.  Perhaps, this may explain why mothers are considered the glue that holds a family together.

Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good.  You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.   Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him, Exodus 18:17-19.

Since my wife’s father’s car accident and subsequent death, I have realized how little I have chipped in to help raise my children.  All my energy goes into working, leaving my emotionally and physically drained.  Thus, when I am around my house, I do a few things here and there, but not nearly enough as the leader of my household.  After reading the words of Jethro, Moses’ father in law, I can see the error of my ways.  My priorities have been mainly self-seeking up to this point.  Therefore, it’s time for me to step up, to be the kind of father the Lord wants me to be.  I still have a long way to go, but at some point in life, everyone needs to lean on the power of the Holy Spirit which fuels hearts to step it up at home.

by Jay Mankus

Fasting to Go Forward

The future is like a mystery novel full of twists and turns.  Within this darkness and uncertainty, its important to take some time to be still before the Lord.  Thus, before you speculate on what you think will happen its better to fast and pray prior to going forward.

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven, Nehemiah 1:4.

While serving as a cup bearer to the king, Nehemiah’s main responsibility was to taste test food and vine prepared for the king in case it was poisoned.  Essentially, Nehemiah was a body guard, willing to die for his leader.  Yet, when news spread about the fate of Jerusalem’s walls, Nehemiah placed his whole trust in the Lord by beginning a fast.

Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cup bearer to the king, Nehemiah 1:11.

During this 3 month fast, the Lord began to provide Nehemiah with a clear vision for the future.  Instead of wavering, Nehemiah stepped out in faith to implement God’s plan.  Taking a leave of absence, Nehemiah served as an administrator to help Israel rebuild this wall in 52 days.  Thus, Nehemiah is the ideal example of fasting to go forward.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

What Have You Died For Me Lately?

If the media could only see the foolishness of their standards.  A politician may be the greatest leader in the world only to have their legacy ruined, magnified by a single poor decision broadcasted over and over again.  One professional athlete may be on the verge of being the greatest of all time until one bad performance causes supporters to boo.  Meanwhile, successful business men and women are being fired for a few careless words, sharing their world views on touchy subjects.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, Hebrews 6:3-4.

This absurd trend reminds me of what the Bible refers to as the Passion Week.  The week before Jesus’ death on a cross, the masses were.shouting out praises.  “You’re amazing, the best, greatest and wonderful!”  Seven days later, peer pressure turned these cheers into shouts of “crucify Him!”  In other words, what have you done for me lately?   If you haven’t, then you are as good as dead, part of yesterday’s news.

And who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace, Hebrews 6:5.

The author of Hebrews brings up an interesting angle to this discussion.  Essentially, there were Jewish Christians who were perverting God’s grace in the late first century.  Subsequently, Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t enough to stop their sinful ways.  Rather, grace was a convenient crutch to lean on, a Get Out of Sin free card.  Turning the tables over in regards to their earthly temple, bodies, Hebrews turns up the heat, suggesting each blatant sin is like crucifying Jesus all over again.  Therefore, it’s not what have you died for me lately; Jesus died once and for all, for all sin.  Thus, go now and leave your life of sin.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:10-11

by Jay Mankus

 

Waiting on the Night to Fall

Like criminals, Satan plans out his attacks well in advance.  Although not everyone is successful, each serves a purpose, trying the wear individuals out.  Once a saint ventures out on their own without the armor of God, they become vulnerable regardless of how godly a man or woman may be.  Essentially, Lucifer is waiting on the night to fall.

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. – 1 Chronicles 21:1

Exhibit A, take a successful leader of Israel like King David in 1 Chronicles 21:1.  Victorious in battle over a nation with giants, Philistine, David’s mind begins to ponder, “look what I’ve done.”  David mistook God’s blessing for his own success.  Instead of acknowledging the true source, Satan preyed on David’s thoughts, sowing seeds of pride.  According to this passage, this idea gave birth to sin, James 1:13-15, just like Adam and Eve in the Garden.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” – Matthew 16:23

Exhibit B may even be more powerful, found in Matthew 16:13-23.  Peter goes from the hero of this passage to the goat in the course of a few minutes.  Perhaps, Peter’s mind also became corrupted, puffed up by the notion he was the only disciple who professed Jesus to be the Son of the Living God.  Peter’s failure is exactly why the apostle Paul adds 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, making sure that all believers take their thoughts captive since he knows the devil is waiting on the night to fall.

by Jay Mankus

 

That Will Solve The Problem…Not

A PSA is short for Public Service Announcement.  Whether organizations are motivated by personal convictions, political correctness or remorse, PSA’s have become a common vehicle to communicate messages.  In view of players involved in domestic violence cases, the National Football League has created a recent commercial using stars to stop this assault on women.

Unfortunately, PSA’s often assume 2 things.  First, listening to this ad will result in stopping this behavior.  Second, if you follow the advice provided, together you can eliminate it from society.  This mindset is flawed, not taking the sinful nature into consideration.  Thus, sarcasm leads me to think to myself, “that will solve the problem, not!”

From my experience as a parent, teacher and worker, no one wants to be told what to do.  Sure, as a leader, you have to set the expectations you want others to adhere to.  Nonetheless, hearts have to change before the culture becomes transformed from violence to good Samaritans.  Unless individuals become born again, John 3:3-5, the world will remain hampered by the stains of sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

Leave in Haste… Or You Might Become Deceased

On Monday, August 11th, 2014, America lost one of its icons in Hollywood.  Whether it was playing Mrs. Doubtfire, Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society or a psychologist in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a star brighter than life.  However, deep inside his soul, riches, fame and fortune couldn’t replace a heart of depression that only Christ can fill.  Subsequently, this talented actor took his own life, unable to leave in the haste sinful thoughts.

Moses makes an interesting observation in Psalm 90:8-9.  Apparently, God uses supernatural measures to bring secret sins into the light.  Whether you’re a leader of a nation like Moses, head of your household or superstar such as Robin Williams, the truth about your bad habits, flaws and weaknesses will rise to the surface.  Don’t wait to be found out, Psalm 90:9.  Rather, leave your sinful desires in haste, James 4:7 or groans of regret will keep you in the dark on the verge of death.

I won’t speculate on why Robin Williams committed suicide, but I do know countless individuals have moments where death is entertained as a viable option.  Unfortunately, sin has a way of corrupting one’s mind, polluting a person’s rationale thinking.  If you stay in this mental state too late, the pawns of the Devil will steal any joy that remains, kill hope and make self-destruction seem like a good idea.  Fight back these urges now, leave in haste or you too might become deceased.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Making a Difference One Text at a Time

Early in the 2013-2014 school year, a high school senior became fed up with the persistent negativity bombarding her hallways.  Searching for a simple solution, this silent leader began to fight back with kindness.  Determined to leave a positive mark on her classmates, this glimmer of optimism began to make a difference, one encouraging, yet anonymous text at a time.

This principle is nothing new, passed on by the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:29.  The best way to battle bullying, criticism and put downs is with uplifting words.  In the end, it doesn’t matter who gets the credit as long as the desire to do good tarries on, Galatians 6:9-10.  As this girl’s twitter handle began to light up with compliments to friends, faculty and staff, establishing hope for broken hearts.

Perhaps, this young woman will start a movement to love your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 22:39.  Whether you think before you act or look at someone else’s life before you judge or make an assumption, randoms acts of kindness can make a difference.  Therefore, instead of giving up on a cruel world, set your heart and mind on things above, Colossians 3:1-3, so that the light of Christ will be passed on to the next generation.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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