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When Knee Jerk Decisions Prolong the Length of Your Storm

Movies are filled with bad decisions which form the plot of a screenplay. Anger, curiosity, knee jerk reactions or pride often make a difficult situation even worse. In the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Skandar Kaynes plays Edmund Pevensie, the third youngest child who suffers from an inferiority complex. When Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are deported from London to the house of an eccentric professor during World War 2, Lucy discovers the magical land of Narnia. However, when Peter follows his younger sister into the Wardrobe (the portal to Narnia) the following day, an encounter with the White Witch places his entire family in danger.

As we were being dangerously tossed about by the violence of the storm, the next day they began to throw the freight overboard; 19 And the third day they threw out with their own hands the ship’s equipment (the tackle and the furniture). 20 And when neither sun nor stars were visible for many days and no small tempest kept raging about us, all hope of our being saved was finally abandoned, Acts 27:18-20.

Sailing on an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy, a northeaster disrupts Paul’s trip to Rome. The winds did not let up for several days, slowing the progress of this journey. Warning the crew about a vision he received from God, Acts 27:10, the centurion did not listen, convincing by the captain and owner of this vessel to press on. According to the passage above, conditions continued to worsen as the sun, moon and stars were not visible as the storm blocked out any signs of light. Unfortunately, many Christians go unheard as experts follow science rather than follow the voice of God.

Then as they had eaten nothing for a long time, Paul came forward into their midst and said, Men, you should have listened to me, and should not have put to sea from Crete and brought on this disaster and harm and misery and loss. 22 But [even] now I beg you to be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship. 23 For this [very] night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship, 24 And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you. 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith (complete confidence) in God that it will be exactly as it was told me; Acts 27:21-25.

Pastor’s during the Coronavirus face a similar situation today. As local and state officials are placing bans or limits on the number of individuals who can attend church, spiritual leaders are in a difficult spot. Do elders make knee jerk reactions by disregarding state mandates or carefully follow social distancing standards? Human nature tends to lead people to push the limits. Meanwhile, common sense leads human beings to be responsible by putting the needs of others in place of yourself. Whatever circumstance or trial that you face in 2021, make sure that knee jerk reactions don’t prolong the length of your current storm.

by Jay Mankus

Buyer’s Remorse

An impulse purchase can lead to a feeling of regret, typically one regarded as unnecessary or extravagant. The car you always wanted, the cell phone to keep up with the Joneses or the dream property where you want to retire. This second guessing often comes back to a lack of money, buying something that you feel like you deserve, yet can’t afford.

And after they had gone out, they said to one another, This man is doing nothing deserving of death or [even] of imprisonment. And Agrippa said to Festus, This man could have been set at liberty if he had not appealed to Caesar, Acts 26:31-32.

Buyer’s remorse may cross over into poor decision’s that you have made in the past. When the apostle Paul’s trial was on the verge of being held in Jerusalem in front of a biased Jewish court, Paul appealed to Caesar as a citizen of Rome. While this decision seemed logical at the time, Paul would have been set free after King Agrippa heard Paul’s testimony.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand, Proverbs 19:21.

Buyer’s remorse can also be a sign of conviction, a way of God leading you back to where you need to be spiritually. As much as I hate to admit it, many of the things that I desire and plan for are far from the Lord’s will. Just as King Solomon wrote in the passage above, what you think in your mind often strays from the Lord’s purpose. Thus, I must confess that buyer’s remorse exposes earthly treasures as temporary pleasures that do not satisfy human souls. May this blog inspire you to seek things above to avoid future bouts with buyer’s remorse.

by Jay Mankus

Let God Write Your Story

There are times in life when you want something so badly that you might force the issue.  If a desired outcome doesn’t go your way, you may even attempt to manipulate this situation.  Yet, before you go too far perhaps its better to drop your pen and begin to allow God to write the rest of your story.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them, Ephesians 2:10.

In a letter to the church of Ephesus, the apostle Paul uses the Greek word poiema.  Although the English translates into God’s workmanship, this doesn’t provide an accurate description.  What Paul is actually saying is God is the Poet and we, human beings, are poems in progress.  Thus, don’t seize control through selfishness and self seeking motives.  Rather, trust God to finish the work which He began in you.

For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring,’ Acts 17:28.

During a speech in the streets of Rome, Paul references a Greek poet.  Sometimes poetry highlights and brings to light previously hidden truths.  Quoting a line, Paul reminds the crowd that individuals are all one of God’s children.  In view of this fact, resist the urge to trust in your all understanding.  Instead, place your hope in the Author of Faith who is eager to write your story.

by Jay Mankus

Unworthy

There is a growing movement in America based upon entitlements.  If you asked a senior citizen about entitlements, one might bring up social security if they are retired.  However, millennials have broadened this term, believing healthcare and other government programs are what they deserve.  Yet, when you open the Bible, the opposite is true.

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one,” Romans 3:10-12.

During a visit to the church at Rome, the apostle Paul reminds his listeners of a statement made by an Old Testament prophet.  Regardless of how disciplined you may be, hard you work or pure your intentions, no one is worthy.  This concept is difficult to grasp, especially to those who live in a bubble, protected by justification, rationalization and a secular worldview.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst, 1 Timothy 1:15.

As for me, I recently started studying the book of Job.  I have had some bad things happen in life, but nothing compares to the series of trials Job endured.  Job developed a severe rash similar to poison ivy resulting in a constant itch and oozing puss.  When three friends came to visit, Job 2:12-13, each began to weep aloud, unable to fathom Job’s pain.  Based upon this context, I’m undeserving of God’s love.  Instead of being ungrateful, I need to be content on what I receive, either good or bad.  Don’t let a world full of entitlements spoil your mind.  Rather, come to a place of unworthiness so you will understand that the Lord gives and takes away.

by Jay Mankus

U-Turn or Bust

Since reading one of his chapters in Steeling the Mind of America, David Barton has become one of my favorite authors.  In his most recent work, U-Turn: Restoring America to the Strength of its Roots, I was shocked by what his research uncovered.  According to Barton, only 34 % of Americans believe in absolute truth.  If these numbers are true, this explains a culture who allows lies to be told, opinions to be elevated to fact status and morality based upon doing what’s right in your own eyes.

To add insult to injury, public schools in Texas are now teaching children the Pilgrims were America’s first terrorists.  Instead of reminding youth of Islamic militants who held American ships captive like pirates, the history of events like the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli are vanishing.  As parents struggle to provide for their families, the state and federal government are brain washing children with liberal, new age and progressive worldviews.  Unless the United States get’s back to its founding principles, it’s U-turn or bust.

When things began to change for Christians as Nero rose to power over Rome in the first century, the apostle Paul left a good piece of advice, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.  Whether you’re a child, adolescent or adult, don’t take my or David Barton’s words as gospel.  Rather, test everything you hear, read and see.  Do your own thorough research; then once complete, you can cling to that which you have found to be true.  The sooner you turn around toward the truth, the less likely you will be busted by lies of the devil.

by Jay Mankus


All or Nothing

From my own life experiences, people usually fit into 1 of 3 categories: those that don’t care, people who are somewhat committed and individuals who give everything they have.  If  you change  the subject, topic or give incentives, degrees of seriousness will likely increase.  However, in the end, God has provided human beings with freewill, allowing each to set their own level of commitment.

Exodus 19:5-6 contains a promise for anyone willing to give the Lord 100% of their attention.  Anything less than being all in and the carrot at the end of the stick will be null and void.  The prize for fully obeying God and keeping the covenant of Circumcision and Passover is out of this world.  According to Exodus 19:5, the Lord will make Israel his treasured possession on earth.  Yet, words mean nothing unless action is inspired by faith, James 2:14-26.

A similar promise is made to those believers exiled from Rome during Nero’s persecution of Christians near the end of the 60’s AD.  One of the disciples from Jesus’ inner circle expresses the following within 1 Peter 2:4-10.  Although Peter mentions predestination, you can’t use this as a cop out or disclaimer.  Rather, just like the days of Israel wandering in the wilderness, the choice is yours: all or nothing, Deuteronomy 30:15.

by Jay Mankus

Dying Nations

If you study geography, globes and maps appear to be in a constant state of flux.  Portions of Africa and other regions of the world go through transitions as individuals wrestle for control and power.  Depending upon the ruler and their worldview, citizens are at the mercy of its leaders.

According to Psalm 135:15-17, vital signs can be detected  by the finger prints left by mankind.  The images of a culture reflect their aspirations, priorities and ultimately, their god.  When idols cripple a nation, Acts 17:16, its only a matter of time before empires fall like Rome.  If America continues on its current path, the inevitable will happen, erasing any impact it has as a world leader.

To change course, nations have options if they wish to survive.  Civil wars, rebellions and revolutions are just a few of the usual suspects.  However, if 1799 is any clue from the past, only a spiritual revival can save countries from vanishing from the pages of modern textbooks.  As concerts of prayer began to change the mindset of Christians in America, God began to ignite a fire within lost souls.  May history repeat itself, giving life to dying nations across the globe thereby fulfilling the great commission in the process, Acts 1:8.

by Jay Mankus

Distorted Love

Saint Valentine served as a Roman priest in the days of Emperor Claudis II, living during the mid to late second century.  While multiple sources can’t agree on the exact year of his death, all point to February 14th as the day he was beheaded.  For what you may ask?  When Claudis made a decree to ban marriage, Valentine secretly married young couples to keep the covenant of marriage alive.  After receiving a beating similar to that of Jesus, a sword placed in the hands of a gladiator ended his life.

If this is true, how did Valentine’s Day evolve into what it is today?  My researched revealed a pagan festival of love known as The Feast of Lupercalia.  Ancient birds in Rome began to mate every year in the middle of February near a cave bearing the same name.  This annual migration inspired pagans to participate in carousing, drunkenness and sexual promiscuity.   The distortion of this day is likely due to the blending and mingling of Valentine’s values on marriage with festivities of Lupercalia.

Therefore, tonight as you and your loved one celebrate a special evening together, don’t believe what you hear or see on television.  While the candy, flower and jewelry commercials are uniquely crafted, you don’t have to go to Jared to display your love.  When I proposed to my wife, I don’t have a ring; what I had was much more sentimental.  I placed the twist tie, from the first care package I received when Leanne and I were dating 8 hours a part.  When I finished these chips, I placed this in my car, a symbol of her love for me,  waiting for the perfect time to say I love you forever.  When you don’t have anything to spend, the best gift you can give is yourself!

by Jay Mankus

You Can’t Handle The Truth

As I awoke early this morning, God convicted me of a painful reality.  Though I try to put on a good act, my daily priorities tell another story.  When I can’t even muster a few moments with God on the Sabbath, its a sign my heart is not in the right place.  In fact, my actions resemble King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:10-16, making things up as I go without following the Lord’s commands.

God didn’t send me a prophet like Samuel to reject me.  Rather, God used a nightmare to unveil the masquerade which is my pitiful display of Christianity.  The Holy Spirit drilled in me the danger of comparison, an at least you’re not like them mentality.  C.S. Lewis suggests that if you eliminate competition, pride can be eradicated in Book 3 of Mere Christianity.  However, the moment you start keeping score, 1 Corinthians 13:5, pride rears its ugly head.

The Roman Church became susceptible to this temptation according to the apostle Paul.  Like most societies, Roman citizens began to rate specific sins, similar to a top 10 list used my numerous media outlets to enhance their weekly programming.  According to Romans 1:18-32, acts like wickedness, idolatry, homosexuality and sexual immorality made the top 5.  Yet, Paul pulls a fast one on these Roman Christians with one additional verse, Romans 2:1.  With a simple line, Paul knocks off all of these hypocrites from their pedestals.

This same logic resides in modern churches today, recently penetrating my own soul.  As people try to make themselves feel better through  a comparison of lesser individuals, they are entering grave danger.  Paul made sure he exposed the spiritual condition of these Roman believers with hard hitting facts from Romans 3:12.  What’s the truth about sin?  All sins are equal, except for blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, Mark 3:28-29.  Whether you failing to obey God’s commands or not upholding the truth of the Bible through inaction, both are sins, crystal clear in James 4:17.

by Jay Mankus

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