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Multiply the Fruits of the Spirit

The use of multiplication tables can be traced to ancient Sumerian civilizations 4600 years ago. The Egyptians built upon this principle of mathematics by practicing multiplication using hieroglyphics. Based upon the beginning of the last Catholic Letter, the author is an earthly brother of a disciple of Jesus. After a traditional introduction, Jude’s first biblical message is to multiply some fruits of the Holy Spirit.

May mercy, [soul] peace, and love be multiplied to you, Jude 1:2.

When I was applying for my recertification as a teacher more than a decade ago, I discovered that I was one class away from qualifying as a certified math teacher. Despite taking numerous Calculus classes as a civil engineer, I wasn’t passionate about math. Yet, when the Bible talks about math, I do get excited. Jude suggests that first century Christians were lacking in mercy, peace and love.

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, 23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[f]that can bring a charge], Galatians 5:22-23.

Rather than gloss over this spiritual deficiency, Jude longed to multiply the fruits of the Holy Spirit. In the passage above, the apostle Paul lists all of the benefits of having the presence of God’s Spirit in your life. One chapter later, Galatians 6:7-10 references the principle of sowing and reaping. Rather than get tripped up internally by acts of your flesh, Galatians 5:16-18, Paul urges Christians to invest their time by chasing after God’s Spirit, Galatians 5:25. When you do, the fruits of God’s Spirit will multiply.

by Jay Mankus

A Lament for Covid 19

A lament is a passionate expression of grief and sorrow. One Old Testament writer developed the nickname of the weeping prophet. Unfortunately, every time Jeremiah seemed to receive a message from the Lord, it made him cry or brought sadness to Israel. Perhaps, this was the inspiration for the Book of Lamentations. Whatever the reason, certain events like Covid-19 bring a similar cry for help today.

And I say, Perished is my strength and my expectation from the Lord. 19 [O Lord] remember [earnestly] my affliction and my misery, my wandering and my outcast state, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul has them continually in remembrance and is bowed down within me, Lamentations 3:18-20.

Since the Coronavirus struck the United States in 2020, more than 770,000 lives have been snuffed out by this deadly plague. Despite having access to vaccines in 2021, Covid 19 has now taken more lives in the United States this year than 2020, 386,233 and counting. You would think that as more Americans get vaccinated the death toll would steadily decline, but this is not the case.

But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: 22 It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not, Lamentations 3:21-22.

When science doesn’t have the answers or a cure, Jesus is the last line of defense. In the passage above, Jeremiah takes a dire situation and changes his perspective. Instead of focusing on what can’t be done, Jeremiah remembers all the past miracles performed by God in the Bible. Despite how bleak your future may be, hold on to Jesus as you lament to the Lord for a real cure for Covid 19.

by Jay Mankus

Petitions, Prayers and Intercession

If you are moved, passionate or perturbed by a certain issue, you might choose to start a petition.  This formal written request attempts to organize a body of concerned citizens uniting over a common cause.  While I have signed petitions in the past, I’ve never thought of prayer in this context.   According to the apostle Paul, Christians should come together to petition God through concerts of prayer.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—1 Timothy 2:1.

Growing up in a Roman Catholic church, I was taught prayer was suppose to be a private matter.  Jesus reaffirms this in the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:6.  Nonetheless, Solomon professes in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time for everything.  Thus, whether its drug addiction, suicide or violence, its time to petition God with other like minded individuals to cease these cancers of society.

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise, James 5:13.

In times of desperation, intercession is one of the last lines of defense.  I’ve read several amazing testimonies from church members interceding on behalf of missionaries in the field.  One of my favorites involves a group of believers witnessing to a tribe of head hunters.  During one particular evening, this group’s village was surrounded, fearful for their lives.  Yet, instantaneous prayers ushered angels into action, spooking these warriors away in a biblical like miracle.  Though the situation you are currently encountering may seem dire, petition, prayer and intercession is the best solution to confront mounting issues in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Famous Rants

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Bombastic, scathing and passionate are words associated with rants.  As a sports fan, three stand out in particular.  After his team turned the ball five teams in defeat, Jim Mora responds to a reporter’s question, “playoffs, you’re talking about playoff; I just hope we win another game.”  Living just outside of Philadelphia, who can ever forget about Allen Iverson’s practice press conference, “we’re talking about practice, not a game.”  Last, but not least is Dennis Green’s tirade after blowing a 14 point lead on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears, “they are who we thought they were, but we let them off the hook.”

They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you, 2 Peter 2:13.

Prior to today, I never thought I would find a rant while reading the Bible, but that all changed after examining 2 Peter 2.  While writing this letter, it appears that something set Peter off.  Whether he was thinking about a specific individual or a collection who share the same mindset, Peter goes off, ripping into those who indulge their sinful nature.  For a moment, I thought I was reading a transcript of a famous press conference.  If only you tube existed back in the first century, this chapter would surely reach over a million hits.

With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! – 2 Peter 2:14

When I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, a slice of the south existed.  What I mean is that every one on our blocked looked after each other.  Subsequently, I didn’t just have my parents; any time I was out of line, a neighbor went off on me, correcting my bad and inappropriate behavior.  Unfortunately, if this occurred today there would be law suits, division and turmoil.  The more I think about this chapter, I believe Peter leaves behind a vital message.  If you want to rant about something, speak out about those things tearing people you love away from God.

by Jay Mankus

My Daughter’s Generation

Over the weekend, I attended my second Father Daughter Retreat.  Since my daughter is the youngest and isn’t as passionate about sports as my sons, I don’t have that same connection.  Thus, its moments like this which provide a vehicle to bond and connect with my only daughter.  Currently, my greatest fear is the direction and issues confronting my daughter’s generation.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

In view of the recent school shooting in Oregon, individuals seeking 15 minutes of fame are targeting the lives of Christians, attempting to snuff out their faith.  Whether experts, investigators or law officers want to admit it or not, Satan is like a puppet master pulling the strings which cause these vessels of evil to snap.  Beneath the surface, demons are planting seeds of violence inside the hearts and minds of these pawns.  When the timings is right, devilish schemes are acted upon despite whatever good Samaritan tries to intervene.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD,” Joshua 24:15.

Following in the footsteps of Moses, Joshua wasn’t afraid to speak the truth in love.  After seeing the affects of other cultures on God’s chosen people, Joshua drew a line in the sand.  However, Joshua didn’t just talk a good game, he lived one as well.  While you can’t change how people will respond to cultural trends, you can blaze a trail of integrity for your children to follow.  Therefore, despite the obvious negative signs that currently exist, emulate Jesus in this cold and dark world so that someone in your daughter’s generation will leave a legacy of faith.

by Jay Mankus

A Window Into the Soul

Although opinions vary about talk radio, there are moments that are enlightening, original and refreshing.  While driving home from work the other night, a caller made a comment about the host.  Going into specific details on a random topic, the caller replied, “this reveals a window into your soul.”

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles, Psalm 34:17.

Sure, everyone possesses at least one hot button issue, an interest which you are passionate about.  However, the more I ponder this comment, I’m convinced conversations do give strangers a peak into your heart.  Yet, what happens if your words are few and far between, empty of any substance?  Does this suggest your soul is broken, crushed or wounded?

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake, Psalm 23:3.

As I experience an arid period of conversation, what use to be important doesn’t excite me any longer.  Perhaps, this is merely a phase,  something that will pass overtime.  Nonetheless, words are like a pulse, providing a window into your soul.  Thus, the next you feel like the cats got your tongue, pay close attention to the words that you do profess.  If they are not pleasing to Lord, seek guidance from the Lord, leaning on God’s mercy and ask the Holy Spirit to transform your lips.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Do You Have Faith for 2015?

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but its important to look ahead as Christmas Day draws near.  For example, if you pray without faith, will God honor your requests?  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, James 1″6-7.  In the same way, if you don’t believe in the Holy Spirit’s power to transform your situation, don’t expect great things in 2015.

One of my favorite scenes from a movie occurs in Facing the Giants.  As a football coach questions his reason for remaining at Shiloh High, he encounters a man sent from God.  Speaking in a parable like Jesus, this wise elder sheds light on the secret to success in life.  Whenever a farmer prepares his field annually for the next crop, each expects the Lord to provide rain.  However, if you wait too long before you sow seeds in faith, you can miss the harvest.

Therefore, looking ahead, developing a vision is vital for 2015.  Although no one but God knows what the future holds, what are you passionate about?  What motivates you to get up before the sun rises?  If you’re drawing a blank, don’t worry because you have another 2 weeks to reflect these questions.  As you reach out in prayer to discover an answer, may the Lord fill you with faith for 2015 and beyond.

by Jay Mankus

 

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