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Tag Archives: mature

Complications

Starting next week, a new drama will hit the airways entitled Complications.  Jason O’Mara plays Dr. John Ellis who is transformed by a life altering event, saving a young boy’s life after a drive by shooting.  A real life good Samaritan, Dr. Ellis is interrupted when the attackers return to finish the deal.  Faced with life or death, John kills one of the assailants, making his life much more complicated than the day before.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything, James 1:2-4.

Growing up, I gradually became disappointed by evangelists, pastors and teachers of the Bible who proclaimed an idealist approach to Christianity.  Although not verbatim, messages often included phrases like “just come to Jesus and all your troubles will go away.”  This story book ending never happened to me, nor did I ever meet someone who hasn’t experienced a series of complications in the form of trials.  This is the reality of the world we live in.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 8:38-39.

According to Jesus, every difficult situation individuals encounter is used to promote maturity, perseverance and growth.  Coaches, professional athletes and hard luck losers regularly tell reporters about learning more from a loss than from a victory.  Therefore, complications are merely opportunities to develop as a human being.  Along the long and winding road, there may be moments that appear hopeless.  However, in the end, God allows the good, bad and ugly to occur for his own glory.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Another Hypocrite Behind the Driver’s Seat

When I get behind the wheel of my car, something happens to me.  Like an out of body experience, a spirit of impatience changes my personality inside.  All it takes is a few slow drivers, especially in the left hand lane and I become another hypocrite behind the driver’s seat.

Despite my prayers prior to entering my vehicle, the influences of the sinful nature leave my feeling like the apostle Paul in Romans 7:15.  The slightest error made by my fellow drivers erupts into an explosion of complaining, emotional distress and an occasional honk of the horn.  In my quest to fulfill Matthew 5:48, most trips behind the steering wheel often result in conviction, a painful reminder that I have a long way to go, Romans 3:23.

The imagery of 1 Corinthians 13:11-12 illustrates the fact that everyone has room for improvement.  Each soul has major flaws, needing to be transformed from a child into a mature Bible believing adult, Romans 12:1-2.  Unfortunately, there will always be growing pains and along the way, don’t be surprised if you see another hypocrite behind the driver’s seat.

by Jay Mankus

 

Waiting for the Harvest

At the end of the growing season, the harvest is the day of reckoning, the process of collecting mature crops from fields.  Once complete, farmers will be able to calculate their bounty and compare it with previous seasons.  The harvest festival, the celebration of the end of the growing season, has evolved into a national holiday Americans call Thanksgiving.  Like a child waiting to unwrap their first present on Christmas morning, the harvest is an adult version of collecting the fruits of hard labor throughout the Spring and Summer.  However, the toughest part remains the waiting.

The Bible speaks to farmers throughout the New Testament, relaying analogies of farming to illustrate biblical truth.  Matthew 9:37-38 refers to the struggles of finding good help.  Either people are too busy or lazy to lend a helping hand, forcing more responsibility upon a few dedicated individuals.  Jesus relied on parables like Matthew 20:1-16 to urge citizens to get involved before the day of harvest is over.  While some can take more credit than others, the pay is the same for everyone.  As farming communities continue to search for reliable workers, Jesus is waiting on his followers to become participants in a spiritual harvest.

Yet, it took a music director from the Old Testament to reveal the secret to experiencing this type of harvest.  According to Psalm 67:3-5, spiritual harvests are conceived through the praise of mankind.  As individuals, families and nations begin to shout for joy, a foundation is established.  This sets the stage for Psalm 67:6, yielding a spiritual harvest like Moses’ promise to Israel in Deuteronomy 28:2.  Therefore, if you find yourself waiting for the harvest, let the praise of the Lord commence.

by Jay Mankus

 

Abracadabra

In a world where self gratification is in a tug of war with reality, a growing trend is emerging which is disappointing, but not unexpected.  Like the old Steven Miller Band song, Christians are waiting for God to snap his fingers, to magically make all of life’s problems vanish from thin air.  Instead of pulling a rabbit of a His hat, God has taken a back seat, allowing Satan to temporarily be the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2.

Today’s white magic was foretold by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 as the devil himself masquerades as an angel of light.  I am not sure if the Hollywood rumors are true, yet some insiders claim that a few desperate for fame, power and success have sold their soul to the devil in return for what he offered Jesus in Matthew 4:8-9.   Jesus went far out of his way to convince people in his day to avoid falling for this trick, Matthew 16:26.  Unfortunately, the impatient seek alternative measures that include the dark side of life.

Rather than say Abracadabra, God’s ways are different from man’s plans or vision of life, Proverbs 19:21.  Open from the beginning, the Lord seeks to move individuals, little by little, Exodus 23:30.  Perhaps this may explain Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the desert prior to entering the Promised Land, as there weren’t mature or ready enough to handle success.  Persuaded by humility, the Lord slowly brought his children along until the time was right, Ecclesiastes 3:11.  May we all learn this difficult lesson as we seek to fulfill John 10:10 and Romans 12:2.

by Jay Mankus

Broken Pottery

With the recent success of modern art, beauty is often in the eye of the beholder.  This same logic can be applied to self-esteem.  If an individual attains success in academics, athletics or socially, this person may feel like a bouquet of roses.  On the other hand, if one experiences a regular dose of defeat, failure and setbacks, they might feel like shattered glass, trying to pick up the pieces of their life one day at a time.

While most people think of David as the second king of Israel, he spent several years in isolation, warned by his best friend Jonathon to flee from his jealous father, King Saul.  In the psalms, David  pours out his heart to God, trying to make sense of the pain he was enduring.  This is where we feel David’s  raw emotion, “I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery,” Psalm 31:12.

Depression is an unfortunate circumstance of life.  God allows people to experience trials in life so that they may become mature and complete, James 1:2-4.  However, this process includes mess ups, mistakes and unfulfilled expectations.  Though you may currently feel like a piece of broken pottery, the Great Potter, Abba Father, has eternal plans to hold you together, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.  May the power of Holy Spirit be the spiritual glue to fix our bodies comprised of broken pottery.

by. Jay Mankus

Cracked Mirrors

Before the popular video game, Halo was actually a Christian Metal band from Alabama, named after the acronym Heavenly Angelic Light Orchestra.  Relatively unknown for a decade touring in the south, Halo received national attention in 1991 with their song entitled My Buddy.  This songs illustrates how a son seeks to emulate their father like a mirror.

My buddy sees believing
my buddy sees before
and my buddy is a mirror
hanging on the wall
my buddy sees beside him
and my buddy hears the talk
and my buddy will see Jesus
lead me as i walk

(2nd stanza)

Unfortunately, what children often hear and see from their parents is life altering.   Abuse, abandonment, affairs and hypocrisy are just a few factors which have left cracked mirrors for children to put back together.  According to The Gospel Coalition, divorce rates among Christian families vary depending upon an individual’s dedication to God.  Among those families most devoted to Christ, divorces rates are roughly 20%.  On the other hand, those who relationships with Jesus waver, divorce rates can approach 60%.  According to a former Liberty University case study, the families that pray together stay together with 1 out every 1,024 praying couples divorcing.

Although this number is encouraging, cracked mirrors are swaying high school students to abandon their faith in college.  Several studies are revealing 60% of evangelical students put their faith on hold while attending college and nearly 50% never return to church following graduation.  When parents, myself included, send a mixed message to our children, living a fully devoted life for Jesus doesn’t appear or seem worth their time or energy.  The apostle Paul provides a solution for these shattered mirrors in 1 Corinthians 13:11-12.  Parents must begin to put aside their childish ways and begin to act like mature followers of Christ, Ephesians 5:1-2.  Jesus is the glue which can restore our cracked mirrors.

by Jay Mankus

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