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Escaping the Snares of Sarcasm

A snare is most commonly used for catch or trap small game.  Yet, sarcasm is like a playful spirit inside of souls which gives those who indulge a sense of pleasure.  Unfortunately, this high can be addictive, causing many to make sarcasm a way of life.  After being convicted by a sermon last Sunday, I find myself wanting to escape the snares of sarcasm.

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving, Ephesians 5:4.

Those on the other side of this issue will argue, where is your sense of humor?  This logic sounds justifiable until you began to open the Bible.  The apostle Paul doesn’t leave anything to doubt, laying down God’s expectations on wholesome speech in a letter to the church of Ephesus who appears to have compromised their language.

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.

If you find yourself living, going to school or working in a negative environment, its hard to refrain from sarcasm.  Besides this exercise of verbal zingers, an atmosphere can develop as one after another piles on the next comment.  Avoiding this feeding frenzy is tough, especially without the power of the Holy Spirit.  So the next time you have an urge to blurt something out, ask the Lord for a spirit of love, power and self-discipline.  Perhaps, then you will be able to escape the snares of sarcasm.

by Jay Mankus

 

Suppressing the Urge to Quit

Disappointment, heart break and failure are hard to recover from.  The pain from these gut wrenching experiences attacks one’s confidence.  Whenever you lose hope or faith, thoughts about quitting begin to surface.  As soon as this arises, you must suppress the urge to quit.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, 2 Timothy 4:7.

The apostle Paul compares life to an Olympic race, similar to a marathon.  Thus, when a spirit of doubt creeps inside your mind, you must battle this like a heavy weight champ.  If you allow negativity to fester, your invisible opponent’s power will strengthen to the point of overwhelming wounded souls.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Philippians 4:13.

When you don’t have the strength to carry on, the apostle Paul introduces a trump card.  Despite the pain Jesus endured, he suppressed any desire to quit by fulfilling God’s plan and purpose.  Therefore, the next time you feel like giving up, call out to Jesus in prayer to suppress the urge to quit.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Absence of Discipline

One of the definitions of discipline eludes to a branch of knowledge.  Similar to higher education, discipline is self-taught or prodded through some sort of accountability relationship.  This concept involves dedication, hard work and strict training.  For those who commit by developing daily routines usually experience blessings, success and wealth.

For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly, Proverbs 5:23.

On the other side of the spectrum, you will find apathy.  Those who indulge in this behavior will go through periods of complacency.  The by-product of this decision causes individuals to lose sight of their goals, living day to day.  Subsequently, vision for the future slowly disappears as depression, laziness and hopelessness take over.  This is what likely inspired Solomon to claim the lack of discipline will lead to death.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline, 2 Timothy 1:7.

If you have found yourself in a steady decline recently, the apostle Paul provides a message of hope.  The Holy Spirit was sent by God following Jesus’ ascension into heaven to empower those who call on the name of Lord.  Therefore, don’t allow a spirit of pessimism to reign within you.  Rather, claim the promise in the passage above so that you will escape an undisciplined life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

When Love Can’t Keep Us Together

One of Captain and Tennille’s greatest hits Love Will Keep Us Together debuted in 1975.  This song was written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield; originally released as a single in 1973 that was sung by Sedaka.  In 1976 the song Love Will Keep Us Together reached gold status, winning a Grammy and Record of the Year.  Unfortunately, after 39 years of marriage, love couldn’t save their marriage, recently announcing their divorce.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me, 2 Corinthians 12:9.

It’s sad to see couples separate, especially ones who were examples of true love.  Along the road called life, conditions, situations and time changes individuals.  Some for the better, others for the worse and somewhere in the middle many become comfortably numb.  Like this Pink Floyd song, most turn to alternative solutions to kill their pain.  These addictions often distract loving people from caring for their spouses causing marriages to spiral out of control.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong, 2 Corinthians 12:10.

If you ever find yourself in this predicament, the apostle Paul provides some helpful advice.  Periods of weakness caused Paul to rely on the Lord’s strength.  Therefore, if you ever sense that you’re wavering, lean on Christ to give you the boost to tarry on.  Thus, if you reach a point where love won’t keep you together, pray for a will to love and a heart of forgiveness.

by Jay Mankus

Prayers that Please God

If you admire, are fond of someone or respect them, a common response is to please these people.  Teenagers tend to court the opposite sex, trying to curry favor or earn another date.  Students will stick up for or go the extra mile for their favorite coach or teacher.  If this is true, why can’t adults begin to study prayers which please God.

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 1 Timothy 2:3.

According to the apostle Paul, one such prayer involves leaders and those in authority.  Beyond lifting specific names up to the Lord, content should include godliness. holiness and peace.  However, once you leave this outline, its important to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  Usually, I find myself drawn to passages in the Bible.  As individuals begin to claim God’s promises, power is unleashed and on occasion prayers are answered instantaneously.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

For those who need an aid to prayer, several acronyms exist.  PRAY stands for petition, requests, adoration and yourself.  ACTS refers to asking, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.  Whatever you choose, try to find a quiet place, void of distractions.  From here, open your heart, be honest to God and lean on God’s grace and mercy.  As you develop a daily routine, may you begin to verbalize prayers that please God.

by Jay Mankus

You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have

The term authority refers to a variety of things depending upon the context.  Authority can mean jurisdiction, permission to act or delegated responsibility.  In biblical terms, authority defines leadership, enabling an individual or group to have the power to make vital decisions.  However, with obtaining this status, you can’t give what you don’t have.

In which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient, Ephesians 2:2.

Following Creation, God gave Adam authority over the Garden of Eden and the animals within.  After Eve convinced Adam to sin by disobeying God’s lone rule, the Lord kicked them out, losing the authority they once possessed.  This loss was Satan’s gain, obtaining rule over the air.  While the names have changed, the Devil continues to encourage the disenchanted to give into temptation, walking in disobedience.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Matthew 28:18.

According to the gospel, Jesus came to earth to seek and save that which was lost.  Thus, authority can be regained through Jesus.  However, unless you have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus, biblical authority is useless.  On the other hand, when the words of the Bible become your guide to life, authority can be unleashed through prayer.  Therefore, before you take God for granted, make sure you understand what you’re asking for.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Shadow of Good Things to Come

In Hollywood, hype is a popular form of promotion.  Thus, when producers believe their project is going to be a hit, money is invested in commercials to wet the pallet of consumers.  Sometimes this is an effective tool, but its not a blue print for success.  When a film, product or show does live up the the expectations based upon the hype, disappointment follows.  This is not the case for those who witnessed Resurrection Sunday.

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship, Hebrews 10:1.

For the Jews, this day was like a catch 22.  The tradition of an earthly temple and priest offering sacrifices for sin was thrown out the window and flushed down the toilet.  Thus, Jesus threatened to remove those in power from their lofty positions.  On the other hand, the social outcasts, those forced to move outside of the city gates because of being labeled as unclean were provided an open door, direct access to the king of kings and Lord of lords.

For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit., Ephesians 2:18.

Easter Sunday is the culmination of years of prophecy fulfilled.  Thus, the promises of the Bible are no longer just a shadow, they are reality.  According to the apostle Paul, one of these good things is a clear connection to God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Although, temptation and the power of sin still exist, grace, forgiveness and mercy is available day after day.  Therefore, as you experience another Easter, may the good things of Christ keep bringing you back week after week.

by Jay Mankus

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