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A Nagging Sting that Doesn’t Go Away

My first bee sting came as a child in a blue berry patch. Fortunately, my mom was an EMT at the time. As a teenager, I ran over a hornet’s nest while cutting grass resulting in multiple stings. Despite being young, the pain from these stingers lingered for a month. In the last days on earth, a creature will arise that will be leave stung victims with a nagging pain for five months.

The locusts resembled horses equipped for battle. On their heads was something like golden crowns. Their faces resembled the faces of people. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. Their breastplates (scales) resembled breastplates made of iron, and the [whirring] noise made by their wings was like the roar of a vast number of horse-drawn chariots going at full speed into battle, Revelation 9:7-9.

You don’t have to have an encounter with a bee to get stung in life. Maybe you lost an important friendship, endured a heart-breaking divorce or were betrayed by someone you trusted. Whenever a relationship ends badly or has been permanently damaged, this can be like a nagging sting that doesn’t go away. With just the sight of this individual, phone call or text, this pain you tried to hide remerges.

They have tails like scorpions, and they have stings, and in their tails lies their ability to hurt men for [the] five months, Revelation 9:10.

The disciple whom Jesus loved has a vision of what life will be like in the last days on earth. Following a series of tribulations, locusts with a stinger most powerful than a scorpion will inflict devastation over the earth for five months. While no one will be killed by these locusts, the pain will be too much to bear. As you endure present trials on earth, remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 so that you will find rest for troubled and weary souls.

by Jay Mankus

Sticks and Stones Wound Souls

Whenever anyone experiences a series of bad breaks, those close to this individual may begin to wonder why suffering, tribulations and unfortunate events have visited their friend.  In the Old Testament, bad and good were often linked to God.  Thus, a mentality developed to associate anything good with blessings and the bad as some sort of curse from God.  This is the context of the passage below as Job has listened to his friends attempt to explain the freak accidents and natural disaster that destroyed his possessions and took the lives of his children.

“I also could speak like you, If you were in my place; I could compose and join words together against you and shake my head at you,” Job 16:4.

Job calls out those who have made numerous accusations against him.  One of the translations refers to words that can tear you into pieces.  Essentially, Job states that anyone can sit back and point their finger in the direction of blame.  Yet, Job refuses to participate in this futile activity.  Rather, Job turns his attention toward seeking God to find understanding for his recent trials.  In today’s volatile climate of daily verbal assaults against those the media disagrees with politically, this is an important lesson to learn.

A [shortsighted] fool always loses his temper and displays his anger, but a wise man [uses self-control and] holds it back, Proverbs 29:11.

The phrase sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me first appeared in 1872.  Mrs. George Cupples presented this saying as advice in Tappy Chicks: and Other Links Between Nature and Human Nature.  While this piece of wisdom attempts to develop mental toughness, the Bible reveals a different story.  When anger or tempers influence language, critical words inflict wounds to human souls.  While there are no initial bruises like marks from sticks and stones, vulnerable hearts take each blow.  Before anyone person gets hurt or killed like the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, its time to lay down your weapons so that healing may begin now.

by Jay Mankus

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

A few years ago, an atheist neighbor cried out to Jesus late in the evening.  When his dog got loose once again, she ran in front of  a car traveling down the street.  With little time to react, this accident could not be avoided.  As his dog struggled to survive, his prayer was fervent, “O Jesus, don’t let my dog die!”  On his way to a local vet, this prayer was repeated several times, speeding off in his SUV.  Unfortunately, sometimes our prayers don’t get answered or the outcome we desire is not fulfilled, ending in another pet tragedy.

Following the terrorists attack on the United States during September 11th, 2001, millions of Americans dropped to their knees to pray.  In this moment of despair, people turned to houses of prayer seeking comfort.  When the South Tower of the World Trade Center came crumbling to the ground at 9:58 am, several thousand were thought to be dead.  Although nearly 3000 did pass away in 3 different states, desperation led countless individuals to re-evaluate their lives.  As a result, families were conceived, relationships renewed and faith born again.

Thirteen years later, the worse is yet to come.  If the book of Revelation is correct, there will be 7 seven years of tribulation, unlike anything the world has seen before.  Once the prophecies within the Bible have been fulfilled, Jesus will return.  Though no one knows the exact day or time, signs have been left as clues to the future in Matthew 24.  I won’t speculate like many false prophets of the past, yet God will continue to use desperate times to achieve His will.  If you reach a point of desolation, may the promise of Psalm 102:17 lead God to hear and answer your prayers.

by Jay Mankus

 

After the Pain Subsides

Some psychologists often suggest pain is a way of life.  Infants battle teething, youth struggle with puberty, teens endure broken relationships and adults face failed marriages.  How you handle this pain influences whether or not you’ll reach the goals you aspire to achieve in life.  After the pain subsides, who will be left standing?

Trials, tribulations and unexpected setbacks are difficult to overcome.  In fact, a weak mind may begin to accept defeat, allowing a season of disappointment to alter their expectations.  This demise lowers the bar so low, that there’s not much to celebrate.  Thus, one becomes like the wind, blowing to and fro trying to make it through each day, dead inside.  However, a time is coming when the sun will rise after the pain subsides.

Perhaps, this is the emotion, feeling and peace a weeping man experiences in Lamentations 3:22-23.  Despite his current condition, a glimmer of hope arises from one of God’s promises, bringing a sense of relief.  Like a cold Alaskan winter, the sun stands on the horizon all summer long to help forget the memory of the bitter cold.  As you try to resist the pain of life, may the words of the Bible offer a sweet pill of truth to get you through the present until your pain subsides.

by Jay Mankus

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