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Wake Me Up

In the summer of 2009, Staples created a witty back to school shopping advertisement.  This commercial compared children going back to school to the most wonderful time of year for adults.  Using a Christmas carol, parents are jubilantly placing school supplies into a shopping cart while both kids are dazed and depressed.  From time to time, everyone needs comic relief to bring laughter and joy into your life.

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins,” Isaiah 43:25.

When it comes to the spiritual realm, you need more than a funny show to snap you out of a spiritual funk.  This unhealthy state usually begins with distractions from the world, preoccupation with other priorities and simply forgetting to invite God into your daily life.  Those that continue down this road, allowing busyness to take over will begin to experience the early stages of spiritual amnesia.  Symptoms include memory loss in terms of biblical application, failing to pray, a tendency to forget to read the Bible and lost desire to attend church weekly.

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more,” Hebrews 8:12.

The only known cure to spiritual amnesia is confession.  According to the Old and New Testament of the Bible, God pours out his grace, mercy and forgiveness to those who acknowledge their shortcomings.  Unfortunately, the hardest part of spiritual amnesia is breaking free from its numbing powers.  In my younger years, I went off to a retreat to revive my soul.  Yet, as an adult with a busy schedule, you have to search harder than ever to find opportunities to regain spiritual momentum.  Although recovery does not happen overnight, if you seek God like the persistent widow, Luke 18:1-8, your faith will be restored.

by Jay Mankus



Dirty Laundry

The average American places the outfit worn today into a laundry basket to be washed before the week is over.  While work clothes used around the house may be worn more than once, clothes tend to collect stains over time.  Whether its a casualty of a morning cup of coffee, grease from fast food or a pen that explodes, the process of turning dirty laundry into clean clothes provides a sense of accomplishment.

You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean, Matthew 23:26.

If you have ever traveled or visited a new culture, there is a chance you might offend someone by what you wear.  You may under dress in one city and over dress in another.  However, its not what you wear that counts.  Ultimately, its what’s on the inside of your heart that matters to God.  This is the point Jesus is making above, allowing an analogy to urge Pharisees to look within before judging others.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

When I became a youth pastor, I wanted to create a short booklet that I could leave with people who decided to follow Jesus or were beginning to seek God in an exploratory stage.  While the title is Finding a New Life in Christ, the concept is based upon dirty laundry.  Mistakes that people make are like stains on clothing; symbolic of sin which slowly corrupts souls.  The only one who can Shout out these stains is Jesus, who is the perfect Lamb of God.  Jesus’ life, death and resurrection opened the washer to purify our souls.  Therefore, the next time you do laundry, remember the price Jesus paid to make you clean once again.

by Jay Mankus


Monday Morning Atheist

An atheist is defined as anyone who lacks belief or denies the existence of a God or gods.  Unfortunately, as another weekend flies by the anguish of starting a new week of work weighs heavy on restless souls.  Thus, when the average American awakes on Monday morning, not many people feel close to or seek God to find the strength to carry on.

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

In his book entitled Monday Morning Atheist, Doug Spada encourages readers to switch God on as Monday morning arrives.  When Christianity becomes a religion, the emphasis is placed on Saturday or Sunday as the day of worship.  Thus, God can be limited to your churches doors if you embrace this mindset.  Faith is designed to be a relationship that lasts 7 days, not something that you pick up whenever you feel like it.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed, Mark 1:35.

Jesus sets the example for those who tend to be distracted by others or stressed by the upcoming schedule you have to meet.  While his disciples are swayed by human demands, Jesus took the first moments of each day to spend with his heavenly father.  Therefore, don’t allow worry to lead you to become a Monday morning atheist.  Rather, slow down, be still before the Lord and let the Holy Spirit influence the steps you take 7 days a week.

by Jay Mankus



Walking in Freedom

Whether you prefer the day or at night, taking a walk with a friend or friends often yields fond memories.  Beside the exercise, special bonds can develop as one opens their heart to another soul.  Looking back in time, some of the best conversations I have ever had on earth occurred while taking a walk.

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. – Psalm 119:45

One of the most famous walks in the Bible occurred over a 7 mile stretch, from Jerusalem to Emmaus, Luke 24:13-35.  Following the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were trying to make sense of the events that had just taken place.  This hour long conversation involved a mystery guest, listening to the voices of these men.  Distracted by an eagerness to speak, Jesus’ presence was overlooked.  Playing coy, Jesus pretends to know nothing, asking question after question along the way.  Based upon the topic in Luke 24:25-30, unbelief was keeping these individuals from walking in freedom.

As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. – Luke 24:14

Psalm 119:43-48 provides instructions on how to reach this spiritual state.

1) Preserve your lips with God’s truth, verse 43.

2) Resolve to obey God’s laws, verse 44.

3) Seek God’s precepts on a daily basis, verse 45.

4) Boldly proclaim God’s ways to the leaders on earth, verse 46.

5) Delight in and embrace God’s commands, verse 47.

As soon as believers pray for and mediate on God’s Word, little by little, you will begin to walk in freedom.

by Jay Mankus

While God May Be Found

If you listen to the national media, forgiveness is dependent upon your political affiliation, with democrats, liberals and socialists often receiving a pass for their transgressions.  As long as you align yourself with the right people, are willing to play the game and refrain from politically incorrect topics, your mistakes will be glanced over.  However, if you speak your mind, hold to conservative principles and believe in biblical teachings, your worldview doesn’t fit the new America being established today.

Despite what history unveils, revisionists are erasing the footsteps of God in America.  Somewhere underneath the rug, the truth is being held captive, replaced by a more accepting and tolerant culture.  Colleges, institutions and schools once founded to introduce the Bible to inquiring minds have been highjacked by post-modernists and progressives blazing a new trail for education.  If this trend continues, there’s a chance God will remove himself from this nation, abandoning it like citizens who have fled from the way, John 14:6.

In the midst of his greatest rebellion, Israel’s king says something profound following his affair with Bathsheba.  “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; Psalm 32:6.”  If David continued down the road of lust, sexual immorality and murder, his time to repent would have expired.  Something in his soul warned him, instilling a sense of urgency to confess his sin.  Perhaps, the time for Americans is nearing an end, with God close to removing his blessing from this land.  With this in mind, seek God while He may be found to secure a seat in heaven, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

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