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Infusing My Soul

Infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors from plant material in a solvent such as water, oil or alcohol, by allowing the material to remain suspended in the solvent over time. Synonyms for infusing include charge, fill, inspire, permeate and saturate. Once a compound is dipped into a solvent, time will slowly allow the extracting process to be completed.

‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will fill me [infusing my soul] with joy with Your presence,’ Acts 2:28.

From a spiritual perspective, the Word of God serves as the material upon which souls absorb. Biblical principles, history and truth is available to any human being. Beside being one on the best sellers list year after year, the Bible is available through apps, commentaries and numerous online sites. Thus, infusing your soul isn’t limited to New Testament believers. Rather, anyone who hungers and thirsts for righteousness can experience the abundant life Jesus promises in the passage below.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows], John 10:10.

Those who don’t take develop a routine for infusing your soul become vulnerable to demonic attacks. Jesus warns his disciples about the enemy, seeking to take away the joy you receive from entering into a personal relationship with God. Beside reading the Bible, I spend several hours a day listening to Christian music. While the genres vary depending upon how I feel, the more inspirational the lyrics, the greater my soul is infused. Therefore, if you want to experience what Peter spoke of in Acts 2:28, you too can be revived by infusing your soul.

by Jay Mankus

Busy, Bored or Busted?

During an episode of the Brady Bunch, I learned a good excuse for getting out of something you didn’t want to do. Barry Williams who played Greg on this show got out of a commitment by saying, “something suddenly came up.” In a sense, when you are busy priorities change as individuals get distracted, engaged or wrapped up in something unexpected. This involvement prioritizes one activity over another regardless of what you might have previously said or promised.

Then it happened in the spring, at the time when the kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all [the fighting men of] Israel, and they destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 11:1.

The opposite of busy is bored. Instead of being occupied, souls become aimless, idle, with plenty of time to kill. In the passage above, King David decides not to go to work, taking a vacation for a season. Like a teenager who doesn’t know how to stay out of trouble, it doesn’t take long for boredom to affect David. I guess you can say a mid-night stroll caused David’s mind to wander, lusting after a married woman. Instead of rejecting this desire, David used his power to indulge his sinful nature.

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you as king over Israel, and I spared you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house, and put your master’s wives into your [care and under your protection, and I gave you the house (royal dynasty) of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have given you much more! Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife. You have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites, 2 Samuel 12:7-9.

Just like the 1983 song One Thing Leads to Another by the Fixx, boredom takes David down a slippery slope. Adultery, conspiracy and murder isn’t what I call a man after God’s own heart, 1 Samuel 16:7. These words once uttered by the prophet Samuel illustrate how quickly a godly person can fall from grace. Nonetheless, when the prophet Nathan busts David for his crime in the passage above, it’s an important lesson to learn. As soon as anyone wanders off track, adrift from God’s Spirit, boredom often results in full blown sin, James 1:13-15. May this testimony of David serve as a warning to stay busy by doing God’s work and fulfilling his will on earth.

by Jay Mankus

Is There Anybody Out There?

I heard a depressing conversation this week.  A woman called into a talk show to discuss her nightmare experience with healthcare.  This woman talked about a company who promised her full coverage if she was willing to move to the west coast.  After believing every spoken word and following through with this relocation, promises began to be broken.  Formerly a religious woman, she cried out to God hoping to be saved from further disappointment.  Day after day these prayers went unanswered, wondering “what’s the point if there’s nobody out there?”

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly, Psalm 5:3.

At the end of this phone call, this woman revealed that she stopped praying, giving up hope that God could change her situation,  Unfortunately, too many people know the pain of unfulfilled prayer requests.  When heaven is silent or signs of help do not arise, it’s hard to press on.  Talking to an invisible God requires faith, persistence and a strong will to carry on.  Yet, there will always be those who give up before a miracle is delivered.

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer, Psalm 4:1.

The Psalmist had his own struggles with waiting on God to intervene.  Based upon the words chosen. it appears Solomon throw his hands up in frustration wondering, “is there anyone out there?”  While technology continues to advance, waiting on God remains the same, a long and trying road.  Therefore, the next time you begin to panic when a prayer goes unanswered, let go and trust the Holy Spirit to lead you where God wants you to go.

by Jay Mankus

Hope verses Heart-break

Anticipation, day dreaming and utopia are synonyms for hope.  Like an anxious child eager to open presents on Christmas morning, hope is like a promise waiting to be unwrapped.  The only problem is sometimes the hype doesn’t live up to your own expectations.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer, Romans 12:12.

When desires are unfulfilled, a wave of agony, dire and sadness replace inner joy.  In these moments of disappointment, its easy to overreact.  However, if you are not careful, heart-break can lead to depression.  If healing does not occur, hope can fade like the setting sun.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit, Psalm 34:18.

If this blog finds you down in the dumps or recovering from a broken heart, the Bible provides two words of encouragement.  The first urges individuals to rely on prayer in times of trouble.  Prayer serves as a source of hope.  Meanwhile, if your spirit has been crushed by a relationship, tragedy or uncertainty don’t lose hope.  God promises to surround you with either angels, friends or strangers to get you through the tough times in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Placing Your Hope in the Wrong Things

For students and workers, every weekend provides opportunities for hope.  Anticipation, confidence and expectation await hoping to maximize your free time.  Yet, sometimes in an attempt to reach your goals, people place their trust in the wrong things.

Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing, Proverbs 11:7.

In the days of King Solomon, hero worship was a major problem.  Instead of thanking the God who created these heroes, individuals placed their hope in mortal human beings.  This decision will always lead to disappointment, especially after athletes, celebrities and stars past their prime or pass away.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer, Romans 12:12.

The apostle Paul provides useful advice for anyone who has made the mistake of placing your hope in the wrong things.  Rather, hope should be a source of joy.  While you wait, endure the trials and tribulations that confront you.  Finally, remain diligent in prayer, leaning on the Lord to guide your steps in the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

Ignoring Covenants

Any agreement, bond or contract is similar to making a covenant.  The most common are marriage vows made between couples at a wedding.  Yet, others include chastity, faith and oaths to serve a country.  Unfortunately, time has a way of changing individuals, causing many to reconsider their initial promise.

Who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God, Proverbs 2:17.

The phrase never say never is like an escape clause.  Thus, if adults continue to break promises made to their children, a spirit of hopelessness will ensue.  When words spoken are not carried on to completion, there is a tendency for these disappointments to lower one’s standards.  Inevitably, covenants are ignored, giving into temptation within the mind like Eve several thousand years ago.

None who go to her return or attain the paths of life, Proverbs 2:19.

Many of the proverbs written by Solomon are inspired by his fall from grace, allowing himself as king of Israel to marry 700 women.  Looking back upon his decisions, Solomon realizes the error of his way.  Evidently, the demands of his wives caused him to ignore his vows made to the Lord.  Therefore, if you are on the verge of ignoring your own covenants, may the testimony of this king serve as a warning to get back on track by trusting in the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Lord’s Patience

If you have children, coach or teach, then you understand willful disobedience.  Unfortunately, human nature tends to cause adults to become angry, frustrated or resentful.  In the heat of the moment, its not uncommon to say or do something you regret.  If only individuals possessed the Lord’s patience.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9.

One of the more awkward conversations in the Bible occurs in John 21.  Peter meets face to face with a resurrected Jesus.  Without bringing up Peter’s public denial, Jesus asks him if he the loves the Lord three times.  These words cut to the heart, a painful reminder of Peter’s past transgression the week prior.  Before the day was over, Peter received a glimpse of the Lord’s patience.

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go,” John 21:18.

In this age of instant gratification, its hard to allow time to take its course on life.  Instead of pressing others to comply with your rules and regulation, sometimes you have to let those whom you love to wander off.  Only when people come to their senses will the day of repentance arrive.  Therefore, as a friend, mentor or parent don’t force the issue.  Rather, pray that the Lord’s patience will awaken souls and lead to salvation.

by Jay Mankus

No Where to Go but Up

In the middle of his junior year, my oldest son James suffered from chronic hip pain, derailing any chance of running winter track full time.  When a need arose for a new pole vaulter, James gave it a shot.  Despite enduring meets of failing to clear the starting height, he persisted.  Fifteen months and twelve feet later, James has no where to go but up, already surpassing the mark he set last summer.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent, 2 Peter 3:9.

Last weekend, I spent an entire night, six hours straight, finishing the final edit of my latest screen play Dragged Behind the Devil’s Door.  Over the past 11 months, there were times when I didn’t feel like writing, researching and studying similar films.  However, I set a firm goal to complete this project by May 1st.  While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the future success and production of this film is now in God’s hands.

My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me, Hosea 4:6a.

One of the translations of the verse above suggests people perish for a lack or wisdom and knowledge.  For me, sometimes its hard to believe that God is actually going to answer my prayer or fulfill my dreams.  Yet, Jesus himself said to followers in his day, “you do not have because you have not asked.”  Therefore, if you reach a goal, obtain new heights or don’t know where to go next, look up to heaven with an expecting heart in faith because there is no where to go but up.

by Jay Mankus

Rehab

The term rehabilitation was initially associated with individuals who had lost their battle with alcohol or drugs, needing intervention to break free from addiction.  However, as the medical field expands, anyone who has minor or major surgery is expected to rehab before receiving a clean bill of health.  Unfortunately, not everyone who enters rehab recovers completely, relapsing into back habits or experiencing reoccurring pain from previous injuries.

When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons, Mark 16:9.

Whenever you research the Bible, you must realize there are various theories which exist.  Sometimes to make their point, scholars can jump to conclusions or reach, trying to validate their belief.  Such is the case of Mary Magdalene whom Gnostics suggest was secretly married to Jesus.  Since Jesus visits her first after his resurrection, surely there must be something going on.  Yet, when you examine the character of Jesus throughout the 4 gospels, Jesus is most likely checking up on one of his former patients like a doctor, making sure her spiritual rehab is going well.

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

Speculation will always happen, especially among those who seek to know everything.  Yet, from first hand experience, rehab can be grueling.  Following my collapsed lung and two broken ribs eight teen months ago, my body still hasn’t fully recovered.  Laying or moving the wrong way is a subtle remainder of the pain I endure.  However, there is nothing worse than losing a spiritual battle to an addiction, allowing the devil to have a foothold on your life.  This form of rehab can continue throughout life or take some to the grave way too early.  May the promise of 2 Timothy 1:7 help regain control and lead to victory in the near future.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani

One of the worst things you can endure in life is knowing that you’re right, but not being able to prove it right away.  Thus, those who disagree with you will mock, prod and roast you publicly.  This is the fate Jesus experienced while suffering on a cross.  All the doubters and haters came out to disgrace Jesus until God turned out the lights.

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). – Mark 15:34

Today, many individuals feel as if God has forsaken them.  For one reason or another, trials are mistaken with abandonment.  When individuals suffer for an extended period of time, the human mind blames God rather than correctly diagnose the situation.  Instead of learning from the storms of life, most regress crying out, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

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.

One thing that I have discovered in life is not to overreact.  Although things may not always turn out as I expect, time has a way of sorting out the truth.  Hindsight may reveal that God hasn’t abandoned you.  Rather, the Lord is pruning you, removing the unproductive areas of your life.  Therefore, the next time you’re tempted to complain, remember the promise of Romans 8:38-39.

by Jay Mankus

 

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