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Tag Archives: puberty

Overcoming the Side Effects of Puberty

Attitude of one of those traits that when you see it exude out of a confident individual, it’s easily recognized. Parents often come face to face with attitude as children begin to experience puberty. By the time this internal change is nearly complete, teenagers tend to verbalize attitude in cruel, inappropriate and vicious manners. Unless this evil transformation is confronted, side effects of puberty will linger into adulthood.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20.

An Old Testament prophet appears to address a similar issue while serving as a spiritual advisor to the King of Israel. Based upon the context of this chapter, Isaiah is bringing forth a rebuke. This prophet receives a negative message from the Lord, blaming their current state of mind on a lack of knowledge of God. This weak spiritual foundation opened the door for evil to be confused with truth and vice versa.

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate, Proverbs 8:13.

A wise king of Israel addresses the need to drop the attitude conceived by puberty in the passage above. The choice of Solomon’s words imply this topic is no laughing matter. Whenever individuals are missing or void of a personal relationship with God, arrogance and pride loom. If these urges aren’t met with resistance, perverted speech will soon follow. Therefore, to avoid falling prey to this internal attack, drop the attitude before it poisons your soul.

by Jay Mankus

How Did I Get This Way?

When puberty begins in junior high, teenagers undergo a series of changes.  Depending upon the choices made and friendships established, this will shape the path individuals take in high school.  For those who are able to continue their education in college, majors, professors and relationships will further dictate who you become.  Despite this journey, many adults awake to an epiphany “how get I get this way?”

Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers), Psalm 1:1.

Skarlett Riot sings about this in the song Voices.  The opening stanza refers to whispers which restrict what you hear.  The next stanza refers to being paralyzed, unable to control your mind.  Finally, this British rock band uses imagery of Cain’s conversation with God in Genesis 4:6-7 to suggest demons can get into your head.  The moment individuals begin to listen to these demonic influences, souls can relate to the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 7:13-20, doing the opposite of you want.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season; Its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity], Psalm 1:2-3.

The Psalmist has a much easier explanation for how did I get this way.  The author lists three basic distractions in life: following the crowd, hanging around those who bend the rules and joining this behavior by lowering your standards.  The best way to avoid giving into temptation is by embracing the Bible.  Those who make a habit of following biblical teaching will be to endure spiritual droughts that cause faith to waver.  Thus, if you are shocked by the person that you have become, follow the Psalmist advice to flee any voices in your head.

by Jay Mankus

The Forgotten Man of Christmas

If you work for a large company, you will come across various characters, personalities and temperaments.  Meanwhile, if you are a regular visitor of social media sites, you can usually decipher those seeking attention from people who simply enjoy connecting with friends.  While there are numerous methods entrepreneurs can cash in on today, it’s okay to live a quiet life beyond the spot life.  Such is the case of one first century man.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by [the power of] the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her [promised] husband, being a just and righteous man and not wanting to expose her publicly to shame, planned to send her away and divorce her quietly, Matthew 1:18-19.

As a former junior high teacher, teenagers can be cruel.  Teens going through puberty can be down right nasty.  Imagine if your girl friend shows up to school pregnant and you didn’t have sex with her.  These were the thoughts racing through Joseph’s mind when his fiancée returns home from his aunt’s house several months pregnant.  Betrayed, confused and distraught, Joseph was on his way to break off his engagement quietly to avoid a messy divorce.  When an angel intervened, this forgotten man of Christmas had to wait until Jesus was born to consecrate his marriage.

Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year for the Passover Feast. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, according to the custom of the Feast; 43 and as they were returning [to Nazareth], after spending the required number of days [at the Feast], the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. Now His parents did not know this, 44 but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and traveled a day’s journey; and [then] they began searching [anxiously] for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for Him [everywhere], Luke 2:41-45.

Joseph is one of those characters who quickly fades from the forefront, written out of a drama, movie or show after completing his mission.  There is only one mention of Joseph in the Bible following the events of Christmas, Jesus’ bar mitzvah, the event to celebrate a Jewish boy becoming a man.  This symbolic act enabled Jesus to become a man in God’s house.  Joseph likely died of natural causes, assumed to be dead and long gone, out of the picture, by the four gospel authors.  Then again, Joseph could have completed God’s will for his life following Jesus’ bar mitzvah.  Either way, Joseph is the forgotten man of Christmas, taking a back seat to Emmanuel, God with us in the form of baby Jesus..

by Jay Mankus

Is It Really That Big of a Deal?

Back in the days of my youth, puberty influenced the behavior of junior high students.  In the transition from Elementary to High School, students bodies drastically changed as each slowly became a man or woman.  This change was on full display at lunch everyday in the cafeteria.  Chatting, gossiping and staring was a common practice.  As estrogen and testosterone collided, fights would flare up weekly.  Meanwhile, rumors often spread like wildfires, creating tension between friends.  This atmosphere set the stage for normal events to be completely blown out of proportion.  Looking back at these spats,  I should have been more level headed by reflecting, “is it really that big of a deal?”

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you, Proverbs 25:21-22.

One of my break rooms at work has ESPN on one side of the room with CNN on the other.  The only problem is ESPN is muted and CNN’s volume is pretty loud.  A day doesn’t go by without a host or panelist flipping out about something President Trump did, said or tweeted.  While I am trying to eat my dinner, I feel as if I have been transported back in time to junior high.  Instead of participating, I am people watching, observing how much adults are getting worked up about comments, criticism and policies signed via presidential orders.  To a certain extent this is funny and sad at the same time.  Perhaps, these media members need to relax, not take everything so seriously and began to ponder, “is it really that big of a deal?”

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord,” Romans 12:19.

When I was in high school, my father had a horrible temper.  I contribute this to his drill instructor in the Army since this is how he acted for several years.  Early on as a parent, I had my own regrettable movements, flipping out and ultimately having a negative influence on my children at times.  While I am far from perfect, the Lord has calmed me down except driving for now.  I guess you can say I am work in progress with a long way to go.  Nonetheless, it’s essential to apply the advice the apostle Paul provides in the verse above.  Instead of letting things beyond your control to get you riled up, allow the Lord to fight for you.  If you do, you may come to the conclusion, it’s not that big of a deal.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Threat of Faith

According to the scientific community life evolves.  As environments or habitats change, creatures and human beings are forced to adapt if they want to survive.  The same can be said about worldviews.  When truth is conveyed, realized or revealed, belief systems are put to the test.  This is the threat of faith.

For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us, Acts 6:14.

People will always go through periods of change.  Whether its puberty, relationships or unforeseen trials, each day provides a series of surprises.  Through the good and bad, hearts rejoice and grieve, while emotions rise and fall.  Yet, when what you have always known is challenged, faith and doubt collide.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ, Romans 10:17.

Through the years, time can take a toll on wounded souls.  In the case of the Jews, religious leaders thought the Jesus movement would destroy Judaism.  Thus, this threat elevated tensions, fueling resentment against Christianity.  As more and more individuals believed and were baptized, faith became a threat.  Nonetheless, when souls hear or read the words of the Bible, faith becomes a friend in Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

 

After the Pain Subsides

Some psychologists often suggest pain is a way of life.  Infants battle teething, youth struggle with puberty, teens endure broken relationships and adults face failed marriages.  How you handle this pain influences whether or not you’ll reach the goals you aspire to achieve in life.  After the pain subsides, who will be left standing?

Trials, tribulations and unexpected setbacks are difficult to overcome.  In fact, a weak mind may begin to accept defeat, allowing a season of disappointment to alter their expectations.  This demise lowers the bar so low, that there’s not much to celebrate.  Thus, one becomes like the wind, blowing to and fro trying to make it through each day, dead inside.  However, a time is coming when the sun will rise after the pain subsides.

Perhaps, this is the emotion, feeling and peace a weeping man experiences in Lamentations 3:22-23.  Despite his current condition, a glimmer of hope arises from one of God’s promises, bringing a sense of relief.  Like a cold Alaskan winter, the sun stands on the horizon all summer long to help forget the memory of the bitter cold.  As you try to resist the pain of life, may the words of the Bible offer a sweet pill of truth to get you through the present until your pain subsides.

by Jay Mankus

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