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Recovering from a Wounded Soul

When the average person begins to feel sick, showing signs of an impending illness, airborne, cold medicine or pain killers are taken to be proactive.  If this action fails to improve your condition, a doctor’s appointment or some sort of check up ensues.  In the worst case scenario, you may even need to be hospitalized.  Yet, when individuals begin to suffer from a broken heart, depression or wounded souls, few react with a sense of urgency.  Thus, society is filled with a spiritual epidemic, unable to recover from a crushed and wounded soul.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit, Psalm 34:18.

After Levi decided to leave his career as a tax collector to follow Jesus, joining the other 11 disciples, he threw a party at his home, Matthew 9:9-13.  This guest list included former co-workers, Pharisees and sinners.  When this worldly crowd tried to engage spiritual leaders, a clash of classes developed.  This prompted the Pharisees in attendance to question Jesus’ choice of friends and associates.  Using these concerns for a teachable moment, Jesus deciphered the healthy from the sick.  The disciplined and mature are able to self medicate, managing their own spiritual temperature.  However, the addicted, lost and lonely are in need of a spiritual physician.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, Psalm 147:3.

According to Jesus, healing occurs as individuals begin to recognize their sins and actively seek forgiveness.  Thus, the key to recovering from a wounded soul involves reconciliation with friends, enemies and God.  Matthew 11:25-30 details a call to action for anyone overwhelmed by the worries of this world.  Jesus promises to give rest to the weary if you are willing to lay your burdens at the feet of the cross.  Whenever someone comes to their senses like the prodigal son, consumed by a sense of urgency, wounded souls are refreshed with salvation, Romans 10:9-10.  May this blog serve as a blue print for healing in the future.

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

 

Inside a Humbled Heart

When things are going well in life, one’s mood will tend to become more talkative.  Reveling in the good times promotes conversation, chatting about the blessings God has bestowed upon you.  However, as the tide turns, bringing in trials, turmoil and suffering, joy quickly leads to silence.

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. – Psalm 25:9

Like seasons of change, humility is a natural way of purging any arrogance or pride inside the human soul.  Yet, when unfortunate events linger beyond a normal period of time, hearts become troubled.  While tongues may speak of their misery, the sound of good news is a distant memory.

For when they are humbled you say, ‘It is because of pride’; but he saves the lowly. – Job 22:29

Wounded souls often withdraw, waiting for something positive to discuss.  If nothing approves, the pain inside will scream out through body language.  Unless family, friends or strangers are observant, depression will form, creating a downward spiral.  Inside any humbled heart, patients long for healing, hoping humility will be replaced by love, joy and peace.  May this blog inspire to reach out to the humbled hearts which surround you.

by Jay Mankus

A Substitute for Reality

As a student, whenever a substitute was standing up front or sitting in a chair, it was like a holiday.  Although plans were passed on, most periods turned into a study hall, a break from the normal routine.  Whether this lasts for a day, week or longer, this individual serves as a substitute for reality.

Stressed out by the events of a week, human beings often turn to their televisions to escape.  Whether its a favorite channel, show or sporting event, this time mends the broken and heals wounded souls temporary.  However, if this habit becomes a life style, entertainment can become a substitute for reality.

Perhaps  the breakdown of the American family started with different viewing interests.  Once on, there isn’t a need for communication as the big screen turns into an alternate reality.  If this pattern continues, minds zone out, numb to deadening relationships inside their home.  As soon as the number of televisions increase to multiple rooms, the stage is set for a divided house.  May those on the verge of falling into this trap, awaken before this idol becomes a permanent substitute for reality.

by Jay Mankus

The Cleansing of the Soul

The Greek philosopher Plato referred to the soul as a psyche with 3 parts: reason, high spirited and appetite.  Modern definitions suggest the soul is the essence of who you are, personification or something connected to the heart and mind.  However you envision the soul, one thing is clear, sooner or later a cleansing will be necessary.

If a car needs their cooling system flushed every 50,000 to 75,000 miles, then why would individuals go years without cleansing their soul.  The Message Bible provides a modern illustration of what it means to be purge your soul from the stresses of life.  Listen to Jesus as he addresses wounded souls:   28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

An Old Testament prophet recounts a similar procedure within Isaiah 1:12-20.  The situation recorded takes us behind the scenes to God’s perspective.  Exposing the flaws of mankind, impure motives abound, preventing the Lord from answering prayers for forgiveness.  Yet, when honest lips take the initiative, the cleansing process can commence.  Nonetheless, words are meaningless unless acts of contrition follow.  Therefore, if you truly want transgressions of the past flushed out of your body, practice the words of Isaiah 1:16-18 and you too can experience a cleansing of your soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Tainted

To blight, contaminate or destroy highlight terms to describe the word tainted.  This suggests prior to someone or something being tarnished, innocence and purity existed.  Like the days before Adam’s failure to lead and Eve’s misguided curiosity, perfection was in reach.

Unfortunately, individuals have now been infected with an undetectable virus.  This blemish has marred human DNA, corrupted by a nature designed to be at war with God, Galatians 5:16-18.  Defiled by sin, Romans 3:9-12, attempts to be disciplined, do right and stay out of trouble is no longer a given, Romans 7:14-20.  This stain on human beings has left a path of destruction throughout history.

While ruin daily visits once regarded saints, the promises of James 5:16 provides hope for the hapless.  Although stigmatized by the world, wounded souls seek refuge at the altar of God.  When the burdens of life become too heavy to handle on your own, come to Jesus for He will give you rest, Matthew 11:28.  Like an infomercial for dirty laundry, shout out your sins to the Lord and He will transform your life from tainted to become as pure as snow, Isaiah 1:18.

by Jay Mankus

Regifting Jesus

Over the years, countless songs have expressed the ideal manner in which to regift Jesus to a lost and dying world, Luke 19:10.  Camp fire songs like “Pass It On” convey how a little spark from the love of God can produce a spiritual fire within another human being.  Hymns such as “Be Not Afraid” supplies a message of hope for those who follow Jesus, promising rest for weary souls.  Modern lyrics from hits like “If We Are the Body” by Casting Crowns questions why acts of believers in Christ aren’t consistent with the words of Scripture, Romans 12:4-5.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJL7Eis0Rb0
The concept of regifting refers to giving or handing down something that you don’t need anything or find appealing.  Unfortunately, this mentality influences who we love, for how long and the extent to which faith is displayed.  Consequently, innocent bystanders are confused by inconsistencies within the church and by those who claim to be Christmas worshipers.  Thus, poor examples of regifting Jesus will leave many at home this holiday season.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeTpISSA5x8
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then the quality of regifting Jesus lies within your heart.  Philippians 2:4 suggests that wounded individuals might need to heal before they can begin to successfully impact others for the good.  Whatever your current condition is, may you look to the Lord for strength, Philippians 4:13.  During these weak moments in life, may the power of the Holy Spirit empower you to regift Jesus in a genuine and loving manner.

Too Precious to be Flushed Down the Toilet

I guess you can say there is something within me that tries to figure out why people behave in a specific manner.  A shy personality early on in life gave me time to people watch, pondering and narrowing in on traits others often overlook.  Although this thought never crossed my mind, deep down I believed all of God’s creatures are too precious to be flushed down the toilet.

As a teacher, I learned to notice subtle behavior changes in my students.  Death, divorce and unemployment were common denominators.  While no one responds to trials exactly the same way, mood swings typically give away the emotions young people endure.  Distractions, temptations and wanting to grow up too fast can devastate delicate souls.  One untimely comment, put down or word can push a distraught mind over the edge, staring suicide in the face.

Looking back as an adult, warts become more obvious, sticking out like a sore thumb.  Pessimism has contributed to society’s demise, creating a tsunami of anger, hatred and negativity.  This venom is expressed verbally each day through trash talking.  The byproduct of the tongue’s wrath is carnage, lies and tarnished reputations.  One of the few glimmers of hope is songs like Gold by Britt Nicole.  May the lyrics of this song touch your heart and remind you, life is too precious to be flushed down the toilet.

The Thorns of Life

 

When speaking to someone was impossible, Jesus became an engaging figure, using stories to captivate his audience.  Like tiny little morsels, Jesus’ parables contain a wealth of knowledge about life.  On this particular Sabbath in Matthew 13:1-9, the crowds grew so extensive that Jesus entered a boat just off shore, sitting down as his followers gathered around the beach to listen.

 

As he continued, Jesus had the farmers in the palm of his hands, speaking about the different terrains each encounters.  Since cursing the land in Genesis 3:17-18, finding ideal conditions was rare, leaving compacted, rocky and weed infested areas to grow crops.  God’s words in Genesis foreshadowed current conditions with painful toil resulting in thorns, thistles and some plants to eat, Matthew 13:22.

 

Within my own yard, I see the thorns of life more than ever before.  It seems like the older I get, briar patches of worry begin to choke the joy out of life.  Meanwhile, sticker bushes leave marks, wounds to my soul, often tearing my heart in the wrong direction.  Thistles have become like sand on the seashore, sticking like burrs, embedding within my body like a parasite.  If I don’t seek spiritual medical attention soon, even my mind is in danger of being poisoned like Peter, Matthew 16:23.

Unfortunately, these thorns aren’t going anywhere until Jesus returns.  Therefore, you must use your Bible as a spiritual Farmers Almanac, getting clued in daily about impending droughts, famine or trials.  Although you have no control over the soil, you can place yourself into a healthier social environment.  Change is hard, but its a step in God’s direction.  May the Holy Spirit serve as a spiritual Round Up to stop, thorns, thistles and weeds of life before they wrap around your soul.

by Jay Mankus

House of Horrors

As I went to bed last night, everyone was talking about the horrific discovery within a house in Cleveland, Ohio.  With Breaking News alerts regularly appearing on the bottom of my television screen, the title House of Horrors became the obsession of cable news networks.  Like the Weather Channel drooling over yet another named winter storm, Fox News made it seem that nothing else in the world mattered.  Surrounding the house like vultures, scanning the area for another neighbor or friend of Ariel, Onil and Pedro Castro to interview live, this event became the latest media feeding frenzy.

While the full story is yet to be told, any case of child abduction, rape, sexual abuse and torture is one too many.  These 3 woman have been stripped of their innocence, violated beyond what anyone should ever endure and had their mind filled with nightmare images of this decade long ordeal.  Though the media is still looking for answers into the moral depravity of these 3 brothers, Hollywood has left a trail of bread crumbs to follow.

Copy cat crimes are nothing new, a pattern law enforcement have tackled for over a century.  At first glance, this appears to be similar to the case in Germany, exposed 2 years ago.  However, when you consider Americans have become like Romans 1:21-27, exercising freewill to chase after sexual fantasy’s, the actions of the Castro brothers don’t appear as irrational as first thought.  When you add increased sexual content within movies, immoral television shows and pornographic videos to this equation, 3 sexual predators are born.  In addition, George Michael pleaded for your sex in his lyrics of a song, Madonna crawled along a set like a pussy cat hoping to arouse you and modern day hip hop / rap stars continue to degrade women in their music videos.

For now, what’s done is done.  Nothing can take back the years stolen from these 3 women.  Yet, there are proactive steps one can take to help heal these wounded souls in Cleveland.  First, pray for Amanda, Michelle and Gina by name, asking God to cleanse their minds from the living hell they endured.  Second, you can fast for a day, going without food to either donate the funds you would have spent to these girls or seek the Holy Spirit for further areas of prayer each so desperately need.  Finally, keep your eyes open locally, so that something similar never happens again.  Follow the words of Colossians 4:2-6, staying alert so that future plots like this House of Horrors will be foiled before they ever begin.  Just do it!

by Jay Mankus

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