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Tag Archives: self-discipline

Watch That Thought

The origin of “loose lips sink ships” was coined as a slogan during WWII.  This idea was developed by the US Office of War Information.  The goal of this slogan was to limit the possibility of people inadvertently giving useful information to enemy spies.  Thus, the initial phrase read “loose lips might sink ships.”

If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed, 2 Thessalonians 3:14.

According to a first century doctor, Thessalonica developed a shady reputation.  When a couple of Jews were offended by the apostle Paul’s initial message, a group of bullies were gathered up to interrupt Paul’s speech.  Acts 17:5 refers to several lowlifes and thugs who formed a mob.  Due to the dangerous conditions, Paul and Barnabas were sent away at dark to escape to Berea.  When you verbalize your emotions and feelings, loose words are bound to come out of your mouth.

Now these people were more noble and open-minded than those in Thessalonica, so they received the message [of salvation through faith in the Christ] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so, Acts 17:11.

After watching the stark contrast between these two cities, Luke is compelled to illustrate the qualities that made the Bereans noble.  First, instead of overreacting to a new concept, teaching or thought, be open minded.  Second, after listening intently to a foreign idea, examine the Scriptures to see if this is accurate, true.  Therefore, the next time you have the urge to open your mouth prematurely, watch that thought by following in the footsteps of the Bereans.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Boiling Out of Control

Blood pressure is measured with two numbers, systolic and diastolic.  The systolic number represents the measure of pressure when the heart is contracting.  The diastolic refers to when the heart is expanding after the contraction. A normal blood pressure measurement is considered 120 over 80. During a routine physical last week, my initial blood pressure was 170 over 120.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working, James 5:16.

There are 5 major factors which cause blood pressure to escalate: high salt intake, lack of physical activity, obesity, smoking and consuming too much alcohol.  Since I don’t drink or smoke, the first three are the reason for my blood pressure boiling out of control.  For someone who once possessed only four percent body fat, this recent diagnosis is eye opening and humbling.  The hardest part of my road to recovery is having the self-discipline to get back to a somewhat healthy level.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul, 3 John 1:2.

The earthly brother of Jesus suggests that the first step to healing is confessing that you have a problem.  Well, I am Jay Mankus and I have let my body go by eating poorly and failing to exercise on a regular basis.  The disciple whom Jesus loved talks about the importance of health in the passage above.  If you dive deeper, your overall health impacts your soul.  Thus, if your blood pressure begins to boil out of control, it’s hard to stay optimistic.  In these troubling times, the only thing I can do is trust Jesus to guide my path toward a healthier diet and life.

by Jay Mankus

A Prisoner of Your Own Appetite

A typical prisoner is held behind bars or in certain circumstances can be placed under house arrest.  This fate is a result of breaking the law, caught by authorities or brought in for questioning and possibly held overnight as a possible suspect of a crime.  Unfortunately, many people find themselves held hostage by an invisible force.  Beyond the physical realm, demons, powers of darkness and evil spirits are on the prowl, seeking to pounce upon weakened souls, 1 Peter 5:8.  Anyone who lacks self-discipline could be the next victim, a prisoner of your own appetite.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace, Romans 8:5-6.

According to the apostle Paul, the human flesh has a mind of it’s own.  Like a stubborn child, the sinful nature is in a constant state of want.  I can picture an infant screaming for food or toddler throwing a temper tantrum.  These fits of rage are signs of the flesh at an early stage of development.  As time goes by, outbursts only intensive, especially when lust within human hearts goes unsatisfied.  The more the average person feeds these cravings, the flesh can get out of control.  When selfishness is unleashed, even the strong may find themselves a prisoner of their own appetite.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God, Romans 8:7-8.

If you read between the lines of Romans 8, Paul is imploring burdened souls that you don’t have to do this anyone.  You don’t have to continue living in bondage to your sinful nature.  However, transformation begins within your mind.  Like any enemy, whispers of doubt consume those attempting to break free.  Thus, if you are serious about changing, you must ignore whispers from the Devil.  In this transitional period, you will likely experience withdraw, internal pressure to return to pleasing your flesh.  Yet, if you seek an accountability relationship, devote your life to prayer and submit to God, freedom is within your reach.  The journey is long, but don’t give up hope until victory arrives.

by Jay Mankus

Wasted Breaths

Recently, I have noticed an unpleasant change in my life.  Whenever I find myself in a no win situation, complaining consumes my vocabulary.  While venting frustrations may feel good initially, I came to the conclusion I was wasting my breath.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, Philippians 2:14.

While there is nothing wrong with expressing disagreements, the Bible seeks to resolve and improve situations.  Grumbling or questioning others doesn’t help.  Rather, if I only can find a common ground, perhaps I won’t waste my breath anymore.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

In a letter addressing a community known for hostility, Paul encourages people to give thanks in all circumstances.  Thinking every thing in life will go your way in life is unrealistic; some sort of pipe dream, but the opposite is true.  In view of this, the next time you have the urge to explode in the form of wasted breaths, may God bring these verses to memory to avoid saying something you might regret.

by Jay Mankus

Escaping the Snares of Sarcasm

A snare is most commonly used for catch or trap small game.  Yet, sarcasm is like a playful spirit inside of souls which gives those who indulge a sense of pleasure.  Unfortunately, this high can be addictive, causing many to make sarcasm a way of life.  After being convicted by a sermon last Sunday, I find myself wanting to escape the snares of sarcasm.

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving, Ephesians 5:4.

Those on the other side of this issue will argue, where is your sense of humor?  This logic sounds justifiable until you began to open the Bible.  The apostle Paul doesn’t leave anything to doubt, laying down God’s expectations on wholesome speech in a letter to the church of Ephesus who appears to have compromised their language.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.

If you find yourself living, going to school or working in a negative environment, its hard to refrain from sarcasm.  Besides this exercise of verbal zingers, an atmosphere can develop as one after another piles on the next comment.  Avoiding this feeding frenzy is tough, especially without the power of the Holy Spirit.  So the next time you have an urge to blurt something out, ask the Lord for a spirit of love, power and self-discipline.  Perhaps, then you will be able to escape the snares of sarcasm.

by Jay Mankus

 

Novel Concepts for Developing a Sound Mind

If you watch cable news or listen to talk radio, it won’t before an opposing opinion makes your blood boil, expressing a polar opposite worldview from what you hold.  When you add in the over dramatization of television along with paranoia expressed through future projections of pending storm systems, its hard to remain calm or maintain a sound mind.  Subsequently, I have tried to limit my intake of the media to weekends.  This novel concept has led to positive outcome so far in 2016.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful, Joshua 1:8.

After Moses retires, Joshua is chosen to lead Israel into the promised land.  However, the Lord is clear, providing careful instructions for God’s people to follow.  Trying to find a way around this system, Achan learns the hard way in Joshua 7, stoned to death along with his entire family.  If only Achan listened to Joshua the first time, mediating on the Torah, his fate would have been different.  Unfortunately, listening and doing are two different things.  Another novel concept is obedience, which must be demonstrated first prior to tasting prosperity and success.

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

The final novel concept to developing a sound mind is discipline.  You don’t have to sleep all day, watch television for hours or waste countless hours playing video games.  According to one of the apostles, God provides the Holy Spirit in times of decision.  Don’t allow a weakened work ethic to give into temptation.  Feeling defeated is a choice, an attitude for losers.  Therefore, tap into God’s Spirit so that when your flesh is weak, Christ power is strong, propelling you toward a sound mind.

by Jay Mankus

 

Being Well Rounded or Focusing on One Thing?

As I was beginning to concentrate on specific talents that I possessed, most of the advice I received as a teenager was to become well rounded, taking a break from seasonal activities when the season concluded.  While I was experiencing a multitude of hobbies, I noticed that those individuals who focused on one sport began to surpass my own skill level.  Subsequently, I tended to excel at every sport I played except basketball, yet I never reached a great level, just very good.  Modern travel ball clubs and teams are trying to make the cream of the crop into the very best.

Today, nations across the globe are developing gifted professional athletes through a series of cutting edge schools dedicated to one specific concentration.  Although countries like China have taken this to extremes highlighted by the 2012 Summer Olympics coverage, limiting parental visitation to their sports academies, America appears to have fallen way behind the rest of the world.  Instead of indoctrinating students with a well rounded view of political correctness, education should focus on the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic.  Time will tell who is correct.

As I get down off my soap box, my role has changed from the student to the guardian.  It’s my turn to pass the torch to the next generation.  Do I allow my 3 kids to encounter various activities or do I push them toward choosing one thing to invest their time and energy?  Part of me is torn, wanting my children to be exposed to opportunities I never had the chance to participate in.  On  the other hand, you can’t teach passion, so in the end, young people will determine their future based upon the choices each makes.  The last thought I has is this: Do you want to be good at many things or do you want to be the best at one specific thing?  God’s blessings to all in 2014 as you ponder if you want to be well rounded or dedicate your time to one thing.

by Jay Mankus

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