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The Call to Serve

If you still have a land line and cable, every in coming call shows up on your television.  Anyone without caller ID has another benefit of technology, a new way to screen your calls.  Thus, if you don’t want to talk to a telemarketer or don’t have time to chat with a friend who tends to be long winded, you have the option to let phone ring until the answering machine picks up.

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come, Matthew 22:2-3.

Those who practice this form of call screening may miss someone from their past, present or someone God wants you to meet.  Meanwhile, God’s calling can be obscure, occurring at the least likely time or place.  Therefore, if you are unable to discern, hear or sense the whisper of God, you will be replaced by a more willing participant.

But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business, Matthew 22:5.

Whether you read the Old or New Testament, two common themes exist.  First, human beings were created to praise God.  Second, each person was designed to serve the Lord with their God given gifts.  Sure, everyone goes through periods of disobedience, rebellion and vacation, taking a break from God.  The call is waiting for you daily and the message is clear, to serve.  Don’t be like those in the parable of the wedding banquet who came up with lame excuses.  Rather, make the most of the time that you have, by applying the talents within you.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Use It or Lose It

These are words a coach, parent or teacher may express to someone they care about.  The basis for this expression, “use it or lose it,” serves as a warning to anyone who fails to practice a newly acquired ability.  The longer individuals wait before they apply information, the greater the probability someone will forget this skill.  Fearful leaders encourage their pupils to seize the moment or risk losing their lesson until next week, month or year.

One of the first students, Adam, was given a few simple commands from the Lord in Genesis 2:15-17.  First, Adam was promoted to become the caretaker of Eden’s Garden.  Secondly, Adam was given clear boundaries defined by God, “you can eat from every tree except for one,” this is off limits.  In other words, God told Adam, use it or lose it.  After a long day of work, Adam was tired, not having the strength to contain his wife’s curiosity in Genesis 3:6.  By not using his God given authority, the first family loses it all, kicked out of their home, Genesis 3:23.

Today, father’s are suppose to be the head of their family, 1 Peter 3:1-7.  Unfortunately, children born out of wedlock, divorce and absentee dad’s are signs of wasted authority.  If these trends continue, fathers will suffer the same fate of Adam, a man without a place to call home.  I can hear the following words being shouted from heaven to dad’s on the verge of disaster, “use your God given authority or lose it!”  Like the movie Courageous, may today’s blog inspire parents to leave a legacy of integrity for their children to follow.  Or else you may lose your children to a similar fate.

by Jay Mankus

 

Forgotten Commandments

History has a habit of uncovering relics from the past.  Caves hid the Dead Sea Scrolls until 1946 when 981 texts written in Aramaic, Greek and Hebrews were discovered over a 10 year period.  However, there are always things in plain sight which get overlooked, neglected by those too busy to slow down.

As I opened Leviticus 19 today, I stumbled upon an expanded version of the 10 commandments.  Although some of the passages are subtle reminders, God conveys to Moses the whys to keeping decrees and laws.  These biblical nuggets offer common sense, direction and a foundation for faith.  Nonetheless, unless you accept and practice these precepts, you will be vulnerable to straying off course.

There are several reasons why commandments are forgotten.  First, the Bible offends those comfortable with how they are living, reluctant to change.  Second, people don’t like to be told that they are wrong, especially if there are eternal consequences.  Third, since truth has become relative, everyone has their own take on right and wrong.  In the end, Leviticus 19 serves as a wake up call, to alert those sleep walking through life.  May the words of Scripture breathe life into sleepy, tired and weary souls.

by Jay Mankus

Tongues of Ruin

With the rash of individuals sharing their controversial opinions in the media, tongues are ruining the lives of once prominent Americans.  Donald Sterling isn’t the first or last to do so as Jimmy the Greek’s of today have been shown the door, with bosses caving into peer pressure from sponsors and civil rights groups to fire anyone who is politically incorrect.  Unfortunately, these souls didn’t listen to mothers who proclaimed, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!”

I guess you can say the old adage applies, “you’re your own worst enemy.”  By opening your mouth at the wrong place or the wrong time, you might be the next Riley Cooper, caught on video with a racial slur.  Whether its alcohol, anger or impatience, the mouth is full of poison waiting for the right trigger to explode, James 3:5.  Without zipping your lip or shutting your trap, ruin will fall on those who don’t practice prudence and temperance.

According to King David, God will allow tongues to destroy anyone who plots injustice in their hearts and minds, Psalm 64:6.  Despite the cunning schemes of mankind, the Lord will let human beings destroy themselves with their words, Psalm 64:7-8.  God will have the last laugh when tongues of ruin will bring about justice.  The next time you have an urge to gossip, slander or trash someone’s reputation, remember David’s warning by practicing self-control.  If you don’t, you might make the grapevine for the wrong reason.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Masters Without Tiger

For the first time in his professional golf career, Tiger Woods will be missing the first major of the season, ending a 19 year streak which began in 1995.  Forced to choose back surgery rather than rehab an ailing back, Tiger’s absence will likely cause the casual fan to find something else to do this weekend.  Despite this diminished interested, the Master’s without Tiger opens the door for a new star to be born.

Beside defending champion Adam Scott, story lines abound.  How will the kid, the 20 year old Jordan Spieth do in his Masters?  Will the brash Augusta State boy, Patrick Reed win on a course he practiced on in college?  Can Freddie Couples pull a Jack Nicklaus, becoming the oldest major champion ever on the PGA tour?  Or will the Stadler father and son duo each make the cut?  What will Phil do next?  When the final round reaches Amen Corner on Sunday afternoon, history will become much clearer.

Unless you play golf, its hard to illustrate how much different golf is compared to other sports.  Practice, dedication and time well spent doesn’t always equate into success.  The game of golf is one of the greatest mental challenges in sports, keeping the most talented of golfers out of the winner’s circle.  In his prime, Tiger’s mind was supreme, years ahead of his competitors.  However, as father time has caught up with Tiger, Master’s Sunday 2014 will be a life changing day for one golfer who will be crowned with a green jacket on Sunday evening.  Although he will be missed, the Masters without Tiger you do just fine as millions will tune in for the final 9 on Sunday.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Missing the Mark

During my first year attending Boy Scout Camp, I was introduced to the rifle range.  Although I had uncles who were hunters, I was never exposed to shooting a weapon until high school.  Since I was right handed, I assumed that the same would be true for hitting the target.  Unfortunately, I failed miserably, missing the mark with every shot.  After 2 identical results, the instructor informed me that I was left handed, identifying a dominant left eye.  This was the piece of information I needed to finally start hitting the target on a consistent basis.

In life, another way of expressing missing the mark is to say you have sinned.  Whenever someone makes a mistake, you essentially fail to meet your goal or objective.  These errors can be explained by a careless, clumsy or freakish occurrence.  Sometimes people don’t follow the instructions while others were never trained or told how to do a certain task.  When this happens, citizens need instructors to enter their lives to provide the guidance required to begin hitting the mark, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Instead of having a bulls’ eye with point totals for each circle, the target I am referring to is located on a less traveled road, Matthew 7:14.  Once you reach this area, the rules change as described by Jesus, Matthew 16:24-27.

Mark 1: Deny yourself, becoming a servant to others, Matthew 20:27-28.

Mark 2: Keep your eyes on the cross, the symbol of Jesus’ victory over death, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57.

Mark 3: Follow God where the Holy Spirit leads you, John 21:18.

Once you’re able to narrow in and begin to focus on this spiritual target, success will follow.  Though you will not obtain a perfect score, the fruits of your labor will appear, Galatians 5:22.  Don’t be discouraged like I was when I first started this journey.  Rather, develop the right mindset to persevere for the long haul, 1 Timothy 6:11-12.  Despite how many times you fail, keep practicing until the Instructor calls you home.

by Jay Mankus

The Melting Point

Depending upon the compound or matter, melting points vary reaching 2500 degrees Fahrenheit for steel, 113 for wax and a mere 32 for ice to begin to melt.  However, if you referring to the melting point of individual’s, this fluctuates daily as each day provides various fuels to ignite or cool someone off before tempers flare.  Essentially, there is only so much a person can take before they snap, as the emotions inside boil over at, into and toward another soul who just happened to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

From a spiritual perspective, the melting point can also refer to depression, when someone has suffered so much heart ache that their desire for caring melts away like a candle without any more wax or wick.  Thus, a callous heart is formed, afraid to love or let love in, unwilling to be burned again.  King David eludes to this in Psalm 22:14, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.  My heart has turned to wax, it has melted away within me.”  When you feel that God has forgotten about you or passed you over in favor of someone else, you may reach a similar melting point.

This same factor can also be applied to spiritual fire, mentioned by a teenager pastor in 2 Timothy 1:6, a byproduct of putting into practice the gifts God has given you.  Beside anger and depression, applying your talents daily can provide purpose for individuals looking to grasp one of life’s certainties.  Despite what goes on around you, when you are in sync with God, the other things that use to bother you seem to fade.  Therefore, as long you know your part in the concert of life, Romans 12:6-8, you’ll be able to distinguish what note to play and when to play it according to C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.  Until you discover this balance, you just might reach your melting point.

by Jay Mankus

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