RSS Feed

Tag Archives: wisdom

S.A.N.S. Episode 264: Every Step of the Way

Cade Thompson has used his passion for music to reach a broad audience. This energetic and soulful Contemporary Christian music artist not only appeals to believers but has a mainstream pop following as well. I was introduced to Cade Thompson through his song Every Step of the Way while listening to K-Love Radio.

Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, Psalm 119:104-105.

The lyrics of Every Step of the Way remind me of the words of the Psalmist in the passage above. The Bible isn’t just a book to learn more about Jesus. Rather, this book contains words that are living and active, Hebrews 4:12. Subsequently, as you study the Bible, the wisdom inside can serve as a lamp to your feet and light to guide your way in the future.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 217: God Only Knows

Formerly known as Joel & Luke and Austoville, the third name change of today’s group was the charm. For King & Country first arrived on the Christian pop scene with their hit song God Only Knows. This duo composed of Australian brothers blends powerful worship lyrics into memorable ballads. Following in the footsteps of my childhood favorite group Men at Work, For King & Country have made their mark in America.

He determines and counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names. Great is our Lord and of great power; His understanding is inexhaustible and boundless, Psalm 147:4-5.

The lyrics of God Only Knows is for anyone struggling with the question “why God?” Whether unforeseen circumstances rock your world, it takes time to grasp and understand why a certain trial was allowed to happen to you. Similar to the wisdom left behind in 1 Peter 1:6-7 and James 1:2-4, bad things happen to good people so that faith and maturity forces you to grow spiritually. May God Only Knows remind you that the Lord is indeed in control.

by Jay Mankus

Placing Your Trust in the Divine

Following my first observation as a teacher, I was told that I didn’t have enough posters in my room. I thought this was a strange critic, but I took this to heart. While on vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia, I visited one of the numerous outlets at this tourist destination. I don’t remember how many Bible posters I bought that day, but one of those was Proverbs 3:5-6.

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help, Psalm 146:3.

When I attended a youth ministry trade school, this verse was one of 26 that I memorized over the course of 7 weeks. The final week of my training was spent at a Wilderness Camp with 24 hours spent in silence. The purpose of this time was to reflect on my past, enjoy the moment and dream about the future. What I learned was to place my trust in the divine.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

Unfortunately, human nature has a way of convincing individuals to trust in yourself. Perhaps this is the reason why King Solomon shares the message above to one of his sons. Despite his vast wealth and wisdom, Solomon realized that it was the Lord who was the source behind his blessed life. I pray that this blog will convince someone today to place their sole trust in Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

A Lesson in Humility

When you can’t make your dream job happen, you have to come up with plan B. When plan B fails miserably, you have to scramble to use all of your available resources to hope something will turn up. This is a brief summary of my life over the past 7 months. Following months and months of disappointments, this emotional letdown has taught me a lesson in humility.

A false balance and unrighteous dealings are extremely offensive and shamefully sinful to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight. When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also, but with the humble (those who are lowly, who have been pruned or chiseled by trial, and renounce self) are skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness, Proverbs 11:1-2.

One of the wisest persons to walk the face of the earth writes about humility in the passage above. King Solomon was no saint who had his own self-destructive practices. Solomon’s love for women led to 700 wives and 300 concubines. This series of poor decisions to indulge his sexual desires resulted in several dysfunctional relationships. Subsequential, Solomon provides his own lessons in humility.

Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [[b]possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not [c]think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped [d]or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and [e]rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! – Philippians 2:6-8.

While I thought my life was bad, the Holy Spirit reminded me of what Jesus went through to save the world from sin. During his own set of temptations in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus could have bragged about his divine power by turning stones to bread and fly through the air like Superman. Yet, despite being the Son of God, Jesus humbled himself by laying down his own life to save the world, John 3:16-17. The next time you think that your life is so important, consider Jesus’ lesson in humility in the passage above.

by Jay Mankus

When the Bible is Difficult to Understand

When students get stumped in class as a new chapter or concept is introduced, there is a teacher to ask to help you figure it out. Yet, when you open up the Bible and come across a confusing section, unless you’re at a Bible Study, you are on your own. If one of Jesus’ own disciples mentioned that some of the apostle Paul’s epistles are difficult to understand, you will definitely need a mediator to properly interpret the Bible. This is where you need to reach out to and lean on the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts.

Speaking of this as he does in all of his letters. There are some things in those [epistles of Paul] that are difficult to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist and misconstrue to their own [g]utter destruction, just as [they distort and misinterpret] the rest of the Scriptures, 2 Peter 3:16.

One of the common mistake’s readers of the Bible make is to treat this like a regular book. Human wisdom will only take you so far. And besides, one New Testament author refers to the Bible as a spiritual book that is living and active, Hebrews 4:12. When the Bible is difficult to understand, you need to learn to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4. According to Peter, a member of Jesus’ inner circle, the Holy Spirit provides everything that you need for life.

And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit]. 14 But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated, 1 Corinthians 2:13-14.

The apostle Paul had several encounters with Greek philosophers during a visit to Athens in Acts 17:16-32. While Paul was able to convince some of these scholars, many of them relied on human knowledge. This is the context of the passage above where Paul urges Corinthians to go beyond education. When the Bible is too difficult to understand, only the Holy Spirit will open your mind to the spiritual truths that lie within. Though you won’t have all of your questions answered like Job, you will grow in the knowledge of God’s character and nature.

by Jay Mankus

Maintaining a Clear Perspective While Coping with Grief

I’ve never dealt well with funerals. I have a hard enough time of thinking of what to say on a normal day let alone trying to console grieving family members. One of the best words of advice I’ve ever received is to never say “I know how you feel..” Rather, the best thing you can do for a grieving individual is give them a hug and reply “when you’re ready to talk, I’m all ears.” Yet, no human advice can replace the wisdom found in the Bible,

The Lord is building up Jerusalem; He is gathering together the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows], Psalm 147:2-3.

The Psalmist refers to dark times in the history of Israel. Due to a lack of disobedience, God allowed this nation to be conquered by the Assyrians and Babylonians. The Old Testament speaks of these periods as living in exile as many were taken from and forced to live in these two different countries. In the passage above, the exile lead to a broken heart as the Psalmist struggled to accept why God let this happen.

Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away, Revelation 21:3-4.

Meanwhile, one of Jesus’ disciples provides an eternal perspective of the future. Dealing with adversity, hardship and pain is not a pleasant experience. The best way to maintain a clear perspective while coping with grief is to see life on earth as temporary. According to John, when Christians enter eternal life in heaven, God will wipe away all of our tears. Therefore, while the present may be filled with disappointment and pain, lean on the Holy Spirit to get you through the grieving process of death.

by Jay Mankus

The Catch and Release Approach to Parenting

Catch and release fishing can be traced back to the United Kingdom. As fishermen began to notice that target species were dwindling in heavily fished waters, the government instituted catch and release as a way preserve these fish for future generations. Meanwhile, I recently heard a sermon comparing catch and release to parenting. This analogy was based upon catching your children in acts of disobedience, using discipline to expose this error and release them back into the world.

Thorns and snares are in the way of the obstinate and willful; he who guards himself will be far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:5-6.

Sometimes individuals who possess godly wisdom doesn’t translate into becoming a good parent. Such is the case of King Solomon who knew exactly what to do, but struggled when it came to following through. Perhaps, this was a byproduct of Solomon’s weakness for the opposite sex. One wife wasn’t enough for this king. Solomon kept adding women until he accumulated 700 wives and 300 concubines. As his children from each lover continued to pile up, Solomon lost his way as a parent, unable to control all of his children.

Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4.

As my youngest child begins her final year of high school, my wife Leanne and I are close to an empty nest. Over the past 24 years, we’ve each had our fair share of catching and training our two boys and one girl to do what is right in God’s eyes. Through the past two decades, I haven’t always been the greatest role model, especially in my early years as a parent. Yet, I’ve enjoyed this spiritual fishing journey as it draws to an end. As the time ticks away, all you can do is enjoy each day before we release our daughter Lydia into this world.

by Jay Mankus

The Many Sided Wisdom of God

Where does wisdom come from is an age old question. Thus, it’s not surprising that one of the wisest rulers to ever walk the face of the earth immediately addresses this issue in the first chapter of Proverbs. According to King Solomon, the source of wisdom begins with a reverent fear of God, Proverbs 1:7. This is the starting point for wisdom, providing an open door for the ability to discern further knowledge in the future.

[The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere, Ephesians 3:10.

The apostle Paul builds upon this principle during the first century. In a letter to the Church at Ephesus, Paul discloses that congregations are the main vessel through which the many sided wisdom of God is displayed. Perhaps, Paul is referencing previous letters in Romans 12:4-11 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-12 where the church is compared to one body with many parts. The words in Matthew 16:18 confirm that churches are meant to carry on that which Jesus began with his disciples.

But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. 15 But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him], 1 Corinthians 2:14-15.

In a letter sent to members of a church in Ancient Greece, Paul discusses the obstacles that wisdom presents. When the spiritual is absent, logic, philosophy, and science is used as a substitute for wisdom. When individuals refuse to submit to the beginning of wisdom, fearing God, earthly knowledge serves as a stumbling block. Instead of gaining access to the many sided wisdom of God, this knowledge is hidden from the nonspiritual. Until you open your mind to the spiritual realm, you’ll never recognize or understand how the Holy Spirit unveils the many sided wisdom of God.

by Jay Mankus

I Owe So Off to Work I Go

The song ” Heigh-Ho ” comes from the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Written by Larry Morey with the melody and music created by Frank Churchill, Heigh-Ho is sung by six of the dwarfs. To pass the time while walking back and forth from work, Heigh-Ho serves as a distraction from the mundane aspects of life. In a recent sermon by Dr. Tony Evans, he put a new spin on this song with a parody entitled, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.”

There are precious treasures and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a self-confident and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it, Proverbs 21:20.

The term foolish is used 71 times by King Solomon in the Book of Proverbs. While defining and illustrating wisdom to his sons, foolishness is used as an example of what not to do. In the passage above, Solomon points out that a lack of saving results in poverty. This analogy highlights that fools don’t appreciate what they have, often devouring everything all at once. Thus, unless some form of self-discipline is exercised, foolish choices will lead to debt and poverty.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender, Proverbs 22:7.

One chapter later, Solomon reveals the consequences of poor financial decisions. When individuals don’t pay off their credit cards each month or out spend what they make, you will become a slave to debt. Subsequently, Dr. Evan’s sermon becomes a reality as desperate people are forced to go to work to pay off their car, home, and or school debt. One of the way politicians stay in power is by promising their constituents government handouts. Instead of promoting rugged individualism, lifelong politicians want voters to be in need, a slave to debt, to insure their votes over and over again. Break this habit quickly so that financial freedom is achieved.

by Jay Mankus

When You’re the Fool

A foolish person is associated with silly, imprudent or unwisely actions. Observers of this behavior often label these individuals as buffoons, dunces, idiots or my personal favorite, ignoramus. Unfortunately, everyone plays the fool at some point in life. The sad part is when you’re the fool, pride can blind you the realization of past bonehead decisions that you’ve made.

He who willfully separates and estranges himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire and pretext to break out against all wise and sound judgment. A [self-confident] fool has no delight in understanding but only in revealing his personal opinions and himself, Proverbs 18:1-2.

King Solomon draws an interesting parallel in the passage above. Considered one of the wisest leaders of his era in history, people came from throughout the Middle East to hear Solomon speak. Solomon refers to foolishness as a spiritual condition. Anyone who denies God’s existence, Romans 1:20-21, misses the invisible and visible signs of the Creator of earth. A fool becomes so self absorbed that their understanding is limited.

And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many good things laid up, [enough] for many years. Take your ease; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself merrily. 20 But God said to him, You fool! This very night they [the messengers of God] will demand your soul of you; and all the things that you have prepared, whose will they be? – Luke 12:19-20

One of Jesus’ parables blames foolishness on complacency. After spending years of building up a successful business, the owner of this storehouse got too comfortable. Instead of retiring and spending the rest of his life living in luxury, Jesus suggests that this man will die of a heart attack before leaving a will. Subsequently, the wealth this man accumulated throughout life would be wasted due to a lack of planning. Thus, the sooner you acknowledge foolish behavior, the quicker you can turn your life around before it’s too late to change.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: