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The Secret of a Heart Laid Bare

Until high school, a severe speech impediment kept me from pouring my heart out to others. While my neighborhood friends knew how competitive I was, fear of stuttering prevented me from going beyond surface level conversation. I guess you can say the longer I waited to come out of my shell, anticipation to finally express my inner feelings became like a pressure cooker. When this opportunity arrived, I was ready to become vulnerable.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]? 10 I the Lord search the mind, I try the heart, even to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings, Jeremiah 17:9-10.

As I received invitations to attend Christian camps, lay witness missions and retreats, my heart began to open up, laid bare to complete strangers. I reached a point in life that I no longer cared what others thought about me. Instead of being fake or playing it safe, I immediately opened up to those who I clicked with or related to. Perhaps, this explains why I developed friends so quickly. These friendships propelled me to become a faithful letter writer in college, pouring my heart out via pen every week.

The secrets of his heart are laid bare; and so, falling on [his] face, he will worship God, declaring that God is among you in very truth, 1 Corinthians 14:25.

My vocal coming out party coincided with my decision to become a Christian in the middle of my sophomore year of high school. According to the apostle Paul, as you begin to truly worship God, human hearts are laid bare. As I drew closer to God, I became willing to live my life as an open book. Some of my most intimate conversations on earth began with a innocent walk. The moment someone began to confess their sins or unload secret scars from their past, an instant bond is formed. As Christians learn to keep in step with God’s Spirit, hearts will continue to be laid bare.

by Jay Mankus

Letters of Love

Prior to 10th grade, I hated the English language. Perhaps, this explains why I took 4 years of French and 2 years of Spanish in high school. As a shy stuttering student who was afraid of embarrassing myself, two English teachers laid a foundation for letters of love to express what I was unable to say out loud. Mrs. Ehrig and Mrs. Harker instilled in me a desire to write.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him, John 3:16-17.

This ability didn’t come naturally until I fully grasped key elements of English like grammar and spelling. This progress coincided with the coming out of my shell to let others in. Following high school graduation, I wanted to find a way to maintain these newly formed friendships. This desire gave birth to a passion for writing letters. Each year of college I devoted more and more time for letter writing to share my appreciation to those individuals who blessed and enriched my life.

Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us, Romans 5:7-8.

While I still enjoy writing, there is another letter of love that surpasses all understanding. The Bible is God’s letter of love revealing His willingness to give up His one and only son to die for our sins. The passages above illustrate Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, Colossians 2:13-15, willing to be nailed to a cross to pardon the sins of the past, present and future. May this act of love and the attached song by the Kry remind you of God’s letter of love.

by Jay Mankus

Message in a Bottle

This 1979 song details a lonely castaway, searching for love, thereby sending a message in a bottle to see if anyone shares a similar sentiment.  Message in a Bottle appeared on the Police’s second album, Reggatta de Blanc and ranks as one of the top 100 greatest guitar songs of all time by Rolling Stones Magazine.  Before the advent of cell phones, the internet and computers, individuals looking for companionship wrote letters, pouring out their souls on a piece of paper.  For some unknown reason, this song popped into my head this morning and inspired this Easter Blog.

If I could write a short message in a bottle to summary what Easter Sunday means, it would begin with the lyrics to Keith Green’s song Asleep in the Night.  His words from the 1970’s are profound, as people either don’t care anymore, are too numb to feel anything or apathy has caused many to fall asleep spiritually.  Despite where you are, what you’ve done or who you’ve hurt, Easter is a the season of new beginnings, Psalm 103:11-12.  Therefore, get out of bed and make your way to the nearest house of worship.

While some may wear their Sunday best, God wants you to come as you are, Matthew 11:28-30.  Don’t deceive yourself or try to put on a show like the Pharisees of the first century.  Rather, be yourself, come to the door and open up, for Jesus is knocking, Revelation 3:20.  Faith is not about a list of do’s and don’ts.  Instead, walking with Jesus is a journey, where you yield areas of your life over to God, one at a time.  From here its not easy, yet as Steven Curtis Chapman once sang, this is the Great Adventure.

As I experience another Sunrise Service on the beach, I’m sending out an SOS, to save our souls this Easter Sunday.

What does Easter mean to you? I would love to hear your response.

by Jay Mankus

 

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