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Humility and Tears

During a period known as the Healing Revivals of the 1950’s, prosperity theology first became prominent in the United States.  Yet, the origins of the prosperity gospel can be traced back to the New Thought Movement which began in the 19th century.  Based upon the teachings of Malachi, referencing the storehouses of heaven, those who embrace this theology emphasizes that God will deliver his promises of the Bible for those who believe.  Unfortunately, this mindset differs from the ministry of the apostle Paul.

I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents, Acts 20:19.

In a meeting with the elders of Ephesus, Paul gives a farewell address, preparing church leaders for a time when he will longer be with them.  Paul’s description of his service is interesting, similar to words shared in Philippi.  To avoid becoming prideful, Paul felt led to pursue meekness.  Despite the victories Paul experienced, he admits that ministry can be painful, especially when someone you love abandons or leaves the faith.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12.

Warning a community of believers from complacency, Paul suggests to diligently work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  Sure, part of the journey of faith is to pray for and cling to God’s promises.  However, genuine faith involves overcoming hardship, leaning on God’s grace in times of trials.  Thus, as this new year continues, may you follow in the footsteps of the apostle Paul by practicing humility and crying out to the Lord in prayer.

by Jay Mankus

 

I Can’t Get Over It

A recent episode of Deadliest Catch showed the reaction of fans to Russell Wilson’s interception in the final minute of last year’s Superbowl.  The crew of the Northwestern based out of Seattle could not believe the Seahawks opted to pass rather than rely on their patented running attack.  When you are only one yard from tasting victory, its hard for individuals to get over this heart breaking loss.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled, Hebrews 12:14-15.

It’s one thing to lose a game, yet in life there are several disappointments people encounter that can linger.  These scars are like bad dreams, nightmares that don’t go away.  When you add emotions into this equation, human nature can be unforgiving.  Thus, the next time you try to console someone who is hurting, don’t be surprised if you hear, “I can’t get over it!”

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice, Ephesians 4:31.

Storybook endings are usually something you see in the movie theater or at home as a rerun.  While this feel good conclusion may bring tears of joy, the rest of the world is stuck in the past, unable to move on.  Tempted by bitterness, frustration and a wounded soul, some feel better venting rather than cope with the issue at hand.  Before the voices of your past drag you to indulge in another pity party, may the love of Christ help you get over it by moving on with the rest of your life.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Place of Silence

When I arrived earlier than normal to school in my teaching years, I felt like I had time to converse before the first bell signaled the beginning of another hectic day.  Scanning the hallways, I discovered a place of silence.  Walking back to the teacher’s lounge, the students present were tuned out, listening to music with ear buds on,  preventing any chances for a meaningful conversation.

Modern parents have been convinced by government agencies that spanking is wrong.  Thus, fear has been replaced with the silent treatment.  Unfortunately, sending kids to time out isn’t always punishment.  While the social may feel like they have been sent to solitary confinement, quiet children enjoy the place of silence.

Psalm 115:7 introduces the Bible’s readers to a new concept of hell, the place of silence.  This imagery brings a new perspective of hell, combining loneliness with time out.  When your time on earth runs out, there only 2 possible destinations, heaven or hell.  Either you will find a destination where your cries for help go unheard.  Or you will enter a place where your tears will be wiped away.  Take the advice of Moses by choosing life today, Deuteronomy 30:15-17.

by Jay Mankus

I Couldn’t Do It Justice

Once upon a time, there was a mother who gave birth to a son who was blind.  Heart-broken but not hopeless, this loving mom became the eyes to illuminate her son’s darkness.  Similar to a radio broadcast, she tried to paint a vivid picture of the world her son could not see.  Day after day, this scene repeated itself until news of a medical miracle arrived.

After saving up enough money, this woman made an appointment with an eye doctor who had success with a cutting edge operation.  Following a consultation, a surgery was schedule for this boy who had only known darkness.  Anticipation was in the air, yet to achieve maximum vision, bandages were required to remain over the boy’s eyes for a couple of days post this procedure.  Time would tell if the boy would be teased or thankful.

What happened next was like a scene from out of the Bible, John 9:6-7.  As the doctor unwrapped the cloth, rays of light penetrated the boys face.  Exuberant, the boy ran to the window to look outside for the very first time.  Speechless, a joyful mother listened as tears began to stream down her face.  “Mom, it’s more beautiful than I ever imagined!  I can’t believe how many details you left out.”  In response, wiping away tears, she replied, “I couldn’t do it justice my darling for God’s creation is beyond our understanding.”

by Jay Mankus

There is Nothing General About a Hospital

On April 1st, 1963, the soap opera General Hospital debuted.  More than 50 years later, this hit show has made the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest running soap opera in production.  In addition, this show has earned 11 Day Time Emmy Awards  for Most Outstanding  Drama Series.   Despite this fame and fortune, in real life there is nothing general about a hospital.

Whether you’re a first time parent preparing for the birth of your first child, an unexpected patient or visiting a loved one, the hospital can illicit a wave of emotions.    During my wife’s first and only natural birth, lasting 23 hours, I heard groans, moans and yelling that few men gain access to.  Accident prone individuals will likely find their way to the ER, or remain in a hallway for hours until the next doctor is available.  However, when the Hour Glass of time stops, sobbing and tears fill the hallways, placing life into its proper perspective.

In his farewell address, Moses suggests the choices people make dictate life’s outcome, Deuteronomy 30:15.  Jesus makes a similar statement in Matthew 7:13-14, as each decisions leads toward an eternal destination.  If you find yourself near death’s door, its time to make plans for the afterlife, 1 John 5:13.  May the Lord lead you to experience the promise of Jesus in John 3:16-17 as the hospital generates thoughts about life after tomorrow.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Sheep Without A Shepherd

If you’ve ever gone to a mall to people watch, it doesn’t take long to see who knows where they are going and who is lost, trying to find their way.  Whether you’re driving a car, searching for something you’ve misplaced or walking on a unmarked trail, everyone from time to time experiences the pain of loss.  In the midst of this crisis, a sense of helplessness paralyzes souls, making it obvious that no matter hard one tries, you can’t save yourself.

While traveling throughout towns and villages, Jesus observed the crowd of individuals following him.  Watching intently, tears began to swell up in his eyes, as Jesus saw this group as sheep without a shepherd, Matthew 9:35-36.  They were looking for something more in life, hoping that Jesus had the answer.  Like sheep aimlessly roaming the countryside, hungry hearts longed for meaning to life.

Today, the silent majority wonders when their Shepherd will return.  As chaos abounds, modern sheep have been led astray by false prophets, hypocritical leaders and the twisting of the Bible.  Exiting the church after high school or during college, pessimistic sheep are searching for alternative means to enter heaven’s gate.  Although some turn back, coming to their senses like the prodigal in Luke 15, a growing number remain sheep without a shepherd.

by Jay Mankus

 

Not Immune

When the next mind boggling event occurs in America, I’m not afraid to question God, searching for answers to stabbings, shootings and tragedy in public places.  Sometimes I feel like God has removed his presence, moving on to another nation, where hearts are open to truth.  Yet, as soon as trials enter my own life, the Holy Spirit has reminded me this week that Jesus was not immune from heartache.

According to John 11:14, God reveals to Jesus that his friend Lazarus has died.  As He makes his way to the tomb, Jesus is met with a distraught sister, blaming him for her brother’s death, John 11:21.  A second family member has similar feelings, bringing Jesus to tears, John 11:32-35.  While using God’s healing power to raise Lazarus from the dead, John 11:38-44, Jesus’ grief continued.  One of his disciples betrayed him, another publicly denied knowing Jesus and finally the Jews convinced the public leaders to have him crucified.

Unlike the Curse of the Bambino for Boston Red Sox fans, the events of original sin can not be reversed, Genesis 3:16-24.  Perhaps, this may explain Hebrews 12:4, putting life into its proper perspective.  With the circumstances in life continuing to decay, no one is immune from pain.  Therefore, as you fight the good fight, 1 Timothy 6:12, hang in there, encourage the depressed around you and place your trust in the Lord, Proverbs 3:5-6.  Share how you have been helped or reached out to lend a loving hand.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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