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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

No Wonder Why Got Where We Are

This week I watched a film produced in the 1980’s.  The Monster Squad targeted an audience of kids, ranging from age 8 to 12.  I guess you could say this movie was like the Lost Boys for elementary and junior high students.  While I found the plot to be interesting, I was caught off guard by the language used by these young actors.  Ashley Bank plays Phoebe, a five year old sister of the founder of the Monster Squad who meet in a treehouse.  Curse words fly throughout this film, a precursor to how millennials now live.

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? – Psalm 80:19

Either I lived in a bubble growing up in Delaware or I was extreme naïve to the cultural transformation that was gradually occurring.  When I cursed in public or said something inappropriate, neighbors rebuked me and on occasion told my parents.  In my little world, right and wrong was clearly defined.  Somewhere along the way, apathy, the absence of morality and a lack of integrity has allowed unethical behavior to run rampant.  By watching this depiction of life, God revealed to me how America has gotten to where we are today.

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? – Psalm 85:6

When civilizations, countries and nations begin to fall apart, God uses revival to get people back on track.  In the gospel of John chapter 15 , Jesus uses an analogy of a living vine with branches.  This vine symbolizes the source for life, like water for human beings.  Anyone who attempts to live without remaining connected to this vine will eventually die.  Therefore, before it’s too late, individuals should cry out to God for restoration.  However, unless you respond to conviction, hearts will grow cold.  While I can now see how America has reached this current spiritual condition, I know that revival is the only way back to the place where the Lord wants you to be.

by Jay Mankus

 

Bring Us Back to Life

Time has a way of taking its toll on the human body.  The prophet Isaiah lets Israel know that even young people are not immune to this reality.  Thus, whether you are old, young or somewhere in between, a common prayer asks the Lord, “bring us back to life.”

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; Isaiah 40:30.

While father time is undefeated, there are factors that speed up the aging process.  Anxiety, depression and a lack of positive influences can suck the life out of human souls.  If you allow yourself to become isolated, void of encouragement, the will to live can fade.

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer, Psalm 32:3-4.

Another element that saps the strength of individuals like heat and humidity from the summer sun is sin.  Whenever you hurt yourself or others by a careless act or word, conviction can weigh heavy on your heart.  This spiritual condition requires a boost to revive the joy you once had in life.  Thus, if you ever reach this state, don’t forget to cry out to the Lord.  Lean on his grace and mercy and perhaps you will be brought back to life.

by Jay Mankus

 

To Insure Proper Service

The concept of a tip was first mentioned in George Farquhar’s play The Beaux Stratagem of 1706.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, this 17th century term means to give or pass.  Thus, this act of gratitude has since been applied by individuals to local businesses who exhibit quality service.  Today, the acronym known as TIPS exists to insure proper service.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace, 1 Peter 4:10.

One of my first jobs was at the Concord Mall, serving as a bus boy in the old cafeteria.  Whether it was my service or not, I rarely received a decent tip, often collecting spare change left on tables.  Those who work in restaurant and service oriented positions tend to live and die by the gratuities one receives.  This element leads to jubilation or disappointment, motivating individuals to do whatever possible to insure proper service.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another, Galatians 5:13.

If only Christians could apply this concept to daily life, the world would be a better place.  According to the apostle Paul, Jesus freed mankind from the burden of sin so that people can serve one another through love.  To insure proper service in local communities requires hearts inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Relying on your own strength, the love human beings possess is limited.  Therefore, if you want to maximum your full potential, pray that God will revive and transform you to become the loving hands of Jesus here on earth.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Earning Your Way on Board

Every day provides a golden opportunity to meet, interact with and make an impact on strangers.  Unfortunately, less and less people view life in this manner.  Thus, as many are simply trying to survive, most stay in their little comfort zone, coasting through life.

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked, Acts 8:30.

The apostle Philip was called to extend the gospel beyond the Jewish community, into Samaria, Judea and into the ends of the earth.  Fueled by an angelic encounter, Philip is steered toward a man from Ethiopia.  However, Philip recognized he needed to find some sort of common ground before trust could be formed.  When the opportunity arose, Philip earned his way on board.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him, Acts 8:31.

Seizing the moment, Philip fulfilled the great commission left behind by Jesus for his disciples.  According to this event, the Ethiopian Eunuch returns home as a new believer.  Although its unclear whether this man founded churches in Africa, Philip earned his way on board a chariot, planting a seed of faith which transformed this man’s life.  While this isn’t easy, God is waiting for his children to earn their way on board to revive dying souls.

by Jay Mankus

The Curse of the Worst

Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be hoodlums.  Well, that’s not exactly how the song goes, but all parents hope their children choose their friends wisely.  Others pray over their kids, asking the Lord to bless each with godly influences.  Unfortunately, many youth fall prey to the trap, “just because I hang around them doesn’t mean I will act like them.”

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33

This concept is nothing new as the Psalmist describes the subtle metamorphosis an individual goes through in Psalm 1:1.

1) Young people choose to walk with a group of people, searching for acceptance in a friend, gang or posse.

2) Over time, youth begin to share similar beliefs, gradually standing for the same issues and things.

3) Finally, before they realize it, evil rubs off as teenagers join in the same behavior of their crew.

Subsequently, the curse of the worst reaches even godly souls, causing attitudes, hearts and words to go down hill.

Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.- Psalm 135:18

Even good intentions can’t escape the spiritual principle known as “you reap what you sow,” Galatians 6:7.  The only way to break the grips of this curse is through a spiritual infusion of the Word, Romans 10:17.  A little dose won’t do.  Rather, wayward souls need to soak their hearts and minds in the Bible, Romans 12:1-2.  Developing this spiritual act of worship will reverse the curse of the worst, setting the lost free from the bondage of sin.  May the prayers of parents revive their children to walk in the ways of the Lord, 1 John 2:6.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

The Noise Inside of Heaven

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Christmas Classics won’t be far behind, airing in the next month.  One of my favorites, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” tries to explain how angels can influence human beings.  Henry Travers, plays Clarence, an angel longing to earn his wings by helping George, played by Jimmy Stewart, see how great his life is despite the financial woes of the Great Depression.  This film portrays the noise inside of heaven, ringing bells, as angels complete their assignment thereby earning their wings.

According to the Bible, heaven is compared to a party, similar to a wedding reception, Matthew 22:1-14.  From an eyewitness, the son of God, rejoicing occurs every time a sinner repents, Luke 15:7.  While there are certain stereotypes linked to born again Christians, this doesn’t mean that a church service can’t turn into a football frenzy audience.  In additional, beyond the emotions of any celebration, there will be no tears in heaven, Revelation 21:4, wiped away by Jesus

On earth, the sound of gun shots, screams and violence make heaven seem like an eternity away.  Instead of letting a doom and gloom mentality cause you to give up hope, take advantage of the coming Christmas Spirit.  May believers bring Joy to the World as the sweet sound of worship music revive souls, bringing the noise inside of heaven down to earth.

by Jay Mankus

Imprints on Heaven

While listening to a sermon over the weekend, I was challenged to reflect on what if any impact I’ve had during my days on this planet.  Jesus and the apostle Paul, shared a similar message, urging their listeners to begin to store up treasures on earth, Matthew 6:19-21 and Colossians 3:1-4.  If heaven does exist and Jesus went ahead to prepare the way, John 14:2, then its time you and I begin the imprinting process.

Although minor in many ways, my first mark involved music.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, I felt compelled  to inform people of God’s love.  Sorting through a vast collection of Christian music in college, I created a mix that I began to give to individuals, just as a high school friend did for me.   Trying to introduce people to contemporary artists, one particular creation entitled A Father”s Love struck a cord with several friends and strangers.  In the days of writing letters, words of encouragement appeared in the mail box, confirming that I was on the right track.

My greatest inscription occurred during a Lay Witness Mission, a fancy name for a retreat geared toward reviving souls for a  spiritually dead or dying congregation.  Beside being an active participant during youth group activities, my main responsibility was to share a brief testimony, what God was teaching me or doing in my life.  At a moment’s notice, I was suppose to be ready.  Well, I waited and waited and waited.  Finally, on Saturday night, I was told I would be talking to the entire congregation.  After praying with my roommate that night, the Lord took over so when the appointed time came, I opened my mouth and the Holy Spirit spoke.  Before finishing, I offered up a call for action, then played a song.  As I looked up, some were actually running to the altar, dedicating their lives to Jesus.

Since this day, I guess I can include my wife, kids and a decade as a Bible teacher.  However, in between the victories, there have been plenty of moments of failure, idleness and periods of self-indulgence.   When you taste defeat, the best pill to swallow is humility, an important practice to keep you on the narrow path to heaven, Matthew 7:13-15.  As the second coming of Jesus draws near, don’t forget to leave your imprints on earth while heaven awaits for those who call on the name of the Lord, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

 

Moment to Moment

When you reach a certain age, time seems to reach warp speed.  If you blink, you might miss a week, month or year.  Thus, as I approach the big 50, I need to slow down, living moment to moment.

As a high school student, back in the Glory Days, I possessed a vibrant spirit, embracing each second with friends or enjoying special events.  However, along the journey of life, I’ve lost my youthful exuberance.  Instead of cherishing and savoring memories, I’ve turned into a grumpy old man who has lost his joy for living.

From a biblical perspective, all I can do is to develop a James 4:13-15 mindset.  My inner child longs for the days of old, living care free, without any concern or worry for tomorrow.  While change won’t happen over night, I am seeking to revive my soul by living moment to moment!

by Jay Mankus

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