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Tag Archives: Pray

When Your Mind Wanders…Worry Can Take Over

As someone who is dabbled in meteorology, I’ve always been fascinated by brewing storms in the distance. Sometimes these systems are unstable, breaking up before they reach your town. Yet, other storms intensify, catching residents off guard by its severity. When I take my eyes off of Jesus, my mind wanders and if I’m not careful, worry can and will take over quickly as another storm in life approaches.

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. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do, James 1:6-8.

Since four of Jesus’ disciples were fisherman, the New Testament contains several references to water and waves. The passage above is from Jesus’ earthly brother. Perhaps this disbelief is a public confession as first century historians suggest that James didn’t believe that his brother was the promised Messiah until after Jesus’ resurrection on the first Easter Sunday. James’ words serve as a warning that when your mind wanders, worry can take over.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:6-7.

Up until recently, my motto was “control what you can control and let God take care of the rest.” Yet, as my confidence reaches an all-time low, I’m worrying about things that I rarely thought of in the past. As my confidence slides, my mind wonders “what’s going on and when will this bad streak end?” The apostle Paul gave advice to an anxious church in the passage above. The moment your thoughts wander out of control, pray immediately and spend time giving thanks to God for what you currently have.

by Jay Mankus

Guilt by Political Association

The expression “guilt by association” comes from Medieval Latin. Sometime between 1525-1535, stereotypes were made based upon the people you hung around. If any of these individuals developed a questionable reputation, other groups would cast a shadow of judgement upon you as guilty by association. One of the Psalmists speaks to this in the passage below as does the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:33 which serves as a warning to gullible Christians.

Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night, Psalm 1:1-2.

The earliest social media can be traced back to the 1970s with Compuserve and the Bulletin Board System. In the past decade, Google, Facebook and Twitter have ushered in a new age of guilt by political association. Congress tried to address this issue several years ago through hearings as executives testified about the power that Big Tech companies possess. One member of congress shared the negative results that he received after searching for his name: guilt by political association.

And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and [h][especially wicked] sinners came and sat (reclined) with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, Why does your Master eat with tax collectors and those [preeminently] sinful? 12 But when Jesus heard it, He replied, Those who are strong and well (healthy) have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick, Matthew 9:10-12.

Today, this guilt by political association continues, fueled by Cancel Culture and the Woke Movement. In the past 6 years, Trump aides, staff members and supporters have been targeted. While America’s justice system was built upon the motto “innocent until proven guilty,” social media is erasing this from the minds of Americans. All it takes is one blog, tweet or video to go viral on social media for reputations to be ruined. I pray that somehow and someway God will end this trend of guilt by political association.

by Jay Mankus

Focus on Character

We are approaching the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech. On August 28th, 1963, MLK delivered this speech following a March in Washington D.C. inspired by a calling for equality and freedom for all. My favorite moment in this speech is Dr. King’s fervent dream when Americans will focus on the content of character rather than the color of skin.

And Samuel did what the Lord said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming and said, Have you come peaceably? And he said, Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice. And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and called them to the sacrifice. When they had come, he looked on Eliab [the eldest son] and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him, 1 Samuel 16:4-6.

While this sounds great in theory, one Old Testament prophet was deceived by the physical features and stature of Eliab. If a man of God can be fooled by a good looking individual, then anyone is susceptible. Martin Luther King Junior was the pastor of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. This ministry prepared Dr. King for his dream speech that focused on character.

But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7.

Perhaps Martin reflected upon the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:1-5. The world is full of people who jump to conclusions or base their opinions upon what members of the media profess. Rather than provide context, specific flaws and weaknesses are demonized and highlighted. At some point in the near future, this woke movement must end and be replaced by an emphasis on character. I pray that this day comes soon.

by Jay Mankus

Placing Your Trust in the Divine

Following my first observation as a teacher, I was told that I didn’t have enough posters in my room. I thought this was a strange critic, but I took this to heart. While on vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia, I visited one of the numerous outlets at this tourist destination. I don’t remember how many Bible posters I bought that day, but one of those was Proverbs 3:5-6.

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help, Psalm 146:3.

When I attended a youth ministry trade school, this verse was one of 26 that I memorized over the course of 7 weeks. The final week of my training was spent at a Wilderness Camp with 24 hours spent in silence. The purpose of this time was to reflect on my past, enjoy the moment and dream about the future. What I learned was to place my trust in the divine.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

Unfortunately, human nature has a way of convincing individuals to trust in yourself. Perhaps this is the reason why King Solomon shares the message above to one of his sons. Despite his vast wealth and wisdom, Solomon realized that it was the Lord who was the source behind his blessed life. I pray that this blog will convince someone today to place their sole trust in Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 184: Even So Come

After 184 days of posting musically based blogs, Crystal Lewis may have the greatest voice of any Christian female vocalist, Additionally, Lewis is also a talented jazz singer, songwriter and actress. Over the course of her career, Crystal has been nominated for several Grammy Awards, and has won multiple GMA Dove Awards. The song Even So Come is proof of her God given talent.

Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One), Titus 2:13.

The lyrics to Even So Come is about Jesus’ second coming prior to the end of days. While Crystal writes about not doing everything in life that she feels like God has called her to do, she prays “even so come.” Several praise and worship groups have created their own version of this song in recent years. Nonetheless, I still prefer Crystal’s version. I hope you enjoy Even So Come.

by Jay Mankus

A Prayer When Your World’s Turned Upside Down

One accident, error in judgment, mistake or phone call can radically change your life. For me, I decided to run a mile with a sprained ankle. This stubborn decision tore all of my tendons and twisted my ankle ninety degrees in the wrong direction. After examining my latest x-rays, the surgeon told me that I would never run again. This was devasting news to a 16-year-old, turning to prayer to alter my destiny.

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance, Romans 5:3.

Despite the reality of what science told me, I chose to believe in the God of miracles. The apostle Paul warned Christians in the Church at Rome to expect peer pressure to conform, hardships in life, and suffering due to the decision to make Jesus Lord of all, Romans 10:9-11. Although I would become familiar with this passage later in life, all I wanted was to prevent my life from going dark forever.

And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of [c]character (approved faith and [d]tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] [e]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us, Romans 5:4-5.

The emotions racing deep inside of me are expressed in a song by Philips, Craig, and Dean. The lyrics of I Choose to Believe begins by addressing a series of worst-case scenarios that often turns an individual’s life upside down. I couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life without the ability to run or compete in athletics. Like the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8, God answered my prayer to for healing. If you chose to believe in the power of a resurrected Savior, you will overcome future obstacles that you’ll face.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 133: Wishing

Puller is one of the few alternative Christian rock bands still leaving a mark today. Three of Puller’s members were once part of For Love Not Lisa back in the 1990’s. I was introduced to Puller by a compilation disc created by Tooth & Nail Records. Puller possesses the sound of a secular band, but has released songs like Wishing that contain a deeper meaning inside their lyrics.

If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and [h]advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and [i]advantageous things to those who [j]keep on asking Him! 12 So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 7:11-12.

Too many times in life I find myself wishing for something to happen rather than pray for and believe in God’s power to perform a miracle as I pray. The context of the passage above relies on asking, seeking and knocking on God’s door until you receive answers to your prayers. When you listen to Wishing by Puller in the future, make sure your prayers are based upon belief and faith, not just a wish.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 129: Pieces

From time to time, artists will change their name to appeal to a broader audience. Such is the case for Meredith Andrews whose birth name is Meredith Frances Sooter. I discovered Meredith on a compilation of up-and-coming female Christian artists. Although Meredith hasn’t gotten the notoriety like Mandisa who was also featured on this album, I was touched by today’s featured song Pieces.

The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent, Psalm 34:18.

The lyrics of Pieces speak to daily circumstances in life that wear people down. These trials often result in spiritual bruises and scars. If these wounds aren’t healed, you may walk through life trying to pick up all the broken pieces in your life. This is where God fits in who knows how to make your pieces fit back together. When you come to Jesus with your burdens, Matthew 11:28-30, God will bring rest to your soul.

by Jay Mankus

Under the Power of the Evil One

Whether you receive your news from cable, social media or local television, current events suggest that the world is falling apart. Beneath the surface, there are spirits of anger, hatred, and rage that result in chaos, violence and war. New Testament authors in the Bible point to a supernatural force that incites unknowing individuals toward evil acts. The apostle Paul provides a scapegoat: the fallen angel Lucifer.

We know [positively] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] is under the power of the evil one, 1 John 5:19.

One of Jesus’ disciples makes a powerful declaration in the passage above. Members of the body of Christ know God without a doubt, absolutely through a daily personal relationship. Whether you fellowship with other believers, pray or study the Bible, faith results in spiritual clarity. Meanwhile, anyone who does not seek God end up falling under the influence and power of the evil one.

In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God], Ephesians 2:2.

The apostle Paul points to the Devil’s past. the archangel Lucifer who was kicked out of heaven. Despite losing his eternal destiny in heaven, this prince of the power of the air maintains his angelic powers. Ezekiel 28:14-15 details that 1/3 of the angels were banished from heaven along with Lucifer. These fallen angels now serve the Devil as real spiritual demons. This is the powerful force that is present on earth which corrupts human beings who aren’t strong enough to resist the power of the Evil One.

by Jay Mankus

Getting Your Emotions Under Control

One of Israel’s former kings describes time in the context of seasons. Just as Christmas is associated with winter in the northern hemisphere, every month brings with it a series of emotions. In Ecclesiastes 3:4, King Solomon follows sorrow with laughter. Since nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, James 4:13-14, you have to be ready to keep your emotions under control at all times.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([b]definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God, Philippians 4:6.

In a letter to the Church at Philippi, the apostle Paul touches on mental health. Apparently, members of this church with dealing with a growing amount of anxiety. Rather than try to handle this on your own, Paul encourages Christians to actively pray for the circumstances that are bringing you stress. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by emotions, be thankful for any little victory that you experience daily.

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that [c]tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall [d]garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:7.

When you create a list of things that challenge your mental health, include these petitions as a daily part of your prayer life. Building on the words of Luke 1:37, the apostle Paul suggests that God has the ability to give you the strength to endure any situation that you face, Philippians 4:13. If you search for the peace of Christ, this tranquil state will enable any believer to get and keep your emotions under control.

by Jay Mankus

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