RSS Feed

Tag Archives: you reap what you sow

Don’t Throw it Away

Every now and then, I will be overwhelmed by frustration. Whatever I am working on at this time turns into an epic failure. Human nature will trigger thoughts like “what’s the point or you’re wasting your time.” Apparently, one of Jesus’ disciples encountered a similar situation during the first century. Due to a growing number of spiritual imposters, John warns leaders to not throw away all that you’ve invested.

Look to yourselves (take care) that you may not lose (throw away or destroy) all that we and you have labored for, but that you may [persevere until you] win and receive back a perfect reward [in full], 2 John 1:8.

Perhaps John is reminded of the words of Jesus in Luke 14:28. Before you build anything, start a new project or commit yourself to a time-consuming task, consider the costs. If you don’t have a time of reflection to sort out all the details, there’s a chance you’ll never finish this endeavor. Therefore, before you pour your heart and soul into anything, sit down to see if this can be accomplished.

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. 10 So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [[i]morally] to all people [not only [j]being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers], Galatians 6:9-10.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul writes to Christians who are thinking about giving up on someone or something. Whether you’re reaching out to a friend or working on a worthy project, in the end you reap what you sow. If anything is good or worthwhile, Philippians 4:8-9, think about such things. May the encouragement provided above help you not throw away all that you have invested. Keep the faith!

by Jay Mankus

The Reason to Forgive

Everyone has been burned, disappointed with or hurt by a close friend. Whether this was due to betrayal, growing apart or temptation bought on by human nature, there is no one righteous, not even one, Romans 3:9-12. When the shoe is on the other foot and you are the guilty one, remember the principle you reap what you sow. When you add this to Jesus’ teaching in the passage below, this is the reason to forgive.

And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 14 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their [g]reckless and willful sins, [h]leaving them, letting them go, and [i]giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their [j]reckless and willful sins, [k]leaving them, letting them go, and [l]giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses, Matthew 6:13-15.

As a child, forgiveness is a daily ordeal. Someone hurts your feelings, said something mean to you or as you get older, breaks your heart. If the words of Jeremiah 17:9 are any indication, life is filled with anguish, frustration, and pain. This is where children learn the hard way that it’s better to forgive rather than holding a grudge. The sooner you mend fences with friends, the better you’ll feel. Unfortunately, stubbornness often blocks the path toward peace.

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and [e]disregards the offenses of others], 1 Peter 4:8.

The words of the passage above might have been conceived in John 21:15-17. Peter is confronted by Jesus following his public denial. This conversation serves as a form of reconciliation as Jesus forgives Peter for his past sin. While the Lord’s Prayer is a basic prayer children learned in Sunday School classes, this is a great aid for forgiveness. As you reflect upon the past day, week, month or year, forgive those who have trespassed against you. If you want God to forgive you, this is the reason to forgive others.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Give Up on Struggling People

As a former high school coach, I’ve stood on the sidelines as one of my stars began to struggle. This is a helpless feeling to watch a gifted athlete completely lose their confidence. Sometimes a benching helps but most of the time this only worsens a crumbling situation. Meanwhile, in the classroom, there are plenty of hopeless students who are easy to give up on. Yet, as the apostle Paul once said in a first century epistles “don’t give up on struggling people.”

I am sending him back to you in [a]his own person, [and it is like sending] my very heart. 13 I would have chosen to keep him with me, in order that he might minister to my needs in your stead during my imprisonment for the Gospel’s sake, Philemon 1:12-13.

This portion of Paul’s letter was inspired by his relationship with a man named Onesimus. Paul served as the spiritual father of Onesimus, leading him in prayer to faith in Christ. While specific details aren’t included, at one point in his life Onesimus was unprofitable. This term doesn’t refer to his financial status. Rather, Paul is eluding to his spiritual condition as a lack of maturity stunted his growth. Despite this phase of disobedience, Paul doesn’t give up on him.

For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. 10 So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [[i]morally] to all people [not only [j]being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers], Galatians 6:8-10.

In another letter to the Church at Galatia, Paul reveals a spiritual reality, “you reap what you sow.” Struggling people tend to be their own worst enemy, as poor choices result in self destruction. Whether you’re a coach, friend or parent, seeing someone whom you love struggle can be heart breaking. Nonetheless, don’t lose heart or grow weary for fighting for what is good and right. If you stand by their side by bathing this person in prayer, faith will prevail.

by Jay Mankus

Tell It How It Is

Every month businesses, media sites and television networks preach to the masses about Black History, Woman’s History, Gay Pride and so on as the calendar year unfolds. Whether you’re attending school, walking into a retail store or work for a large corporation, monthly themes often take on the form of propaganda. Advertisements, commercials, internet pop up ads and posters bombard individuals with a specific message or spotlight every week.

Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect—being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will), 3 John 4.

While many great people have been overlooked or omitted from history, who you are and what you become is based upon the choices that you make in life. If you come out of the closet to profess a desire to be recognized as homosexual or transgender, these individuals are now celebrated and praised by the national media. Meanwhile, if you speak up about being a devout Christian or Trump Supporter, you’ll probably be labeled a bigot, narrow minded or be accused of being a racist. Freedom of Speech appears to only apply to those who hold a progressive worldview.

Who of you convicts Me of wrongdoing or finds Me guilty of sin? Then if I speak truth, why do you not believe Me [trust Me, rely on, and adhere to Me]? 47 Whoever is of God listens to God. [Those who belong to God hear the words of God.] This is the reason that you do not listen [to those words, to Me]: because you do not belong to God and are not of God or in harmony with Him, John 8:46-47.

The world is like a series of cycles which go up and down and back and forth. In the days following September 11th, 2001, more people went to church than ever before in the United States. However, in the last 20 years, a sense of urgency has been lost as individuals have found other hobbies, things and ways to replace God. The apostle Paul says it best about maintaining a biblical worldview in Galatians 1:10. The choices that you make will reveal if you’re pleasing God or pleasing others. You reap what you sow whether good or bad. This is how it is. Choose wisely, Deuteronomy 30:15-18.

by Jay Mankus

The Size of Your Harvest

The term harvest can be found in ancient Egyptian calendars.  Based upon this geographic location in the Middle East, the harvest season coincides with the low water portion of each summer.  The final season on the lunar calendar, the harvest begins immediately following the season of Emergence.  While the weather doesn’t always cooperate with modern calendars, a typical harvest begins in the Spring and concludes each fall.  However, this too varies depending upon the crop planted by farmers.

Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed]. Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift], 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.

According to the apostle Paul, spiritual harvests are influenced by your degree of giving.  Blessings are proportionally tied to what you put into life or the lives of others.  Those who are consistent, disciplined and work hard will be rewarded with a plentiful harvest.  Meanwhile, the lazy, lethargic and inconsistent workers will only get what they put into their trade.  Thus, you can’t expect good results when half hearted attempts are made on a daily basis.

The one who is taught the word [of God] is to share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his spiritual and material support]. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life, Galatians 6:6-8.

The size of your harvest depends upon two factors.  First, your willingness to give of your resources, talents and time.  God doesn’t want people to experience regret.  Cheerful givers begin with an acceptable and reasonable tithe with an expectation that as God blesses you this amount with increase.  The second aspect is based upon your motives.  Are you self seeking, expecting something in return?  Or is your inspiration for giving driven by the Holy Spirit?  In the end, hoarders receive their harvest on earth.  Those who seek God and his righteousness first will be blown away when the Lord opens the storehouse to heaven, Malachi 3:10.  May 2018 yield a mighty harvest.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Hanging of John Brown

Funerals and wakes are meant to celebrate someone’s life.  This time of reflection gives individuals a chance to say goodbye, paying respect to people whom may have touched your life.  Following the hanging of John Brown, a wide array of Americans paid homage to this abolitionist.  Poet Henry David Thoreau gave a speech simply entitled Remarks After the Hanging of John Brown where he referred to this man as the Soul’s Errand.  In a recent documentary produced by Ken Burns, John Brown is called the Meteor that ignited the Civil War.

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done, Psalm 78:4.

Historians remember John Brown as a failure in most aspects of his life.  Unsuccessful as a businessman, Brown felt compelled by God to help end slavery.  Following the sacking of Lawrence, Kansas by pro-slavery forces, Brown and his supporters fought back by killing five men in May of 1856.  However, three years later John Brown’s fortune would change.  During a raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, John Brown tried to form a resistance to set slaves free.  Yet, this attempt ended in the death of some men, desertion by others and his own conviction for treason by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Thus, John Brown was hung in public.

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also, Matthew 6:20-21.

There are two certainties in life. First, you will die unless Jesus returns prior to your death. Second, the seeds that you sow in life will produce a legacy.  While speeches at memorials focus on the good that individuals accomplished in life, not everyone will paint a rosy picture of interactions with you.  In view of this fact, I hope that I can develop a sense of urgency to dedicate my life toward worthwhile causes.  Life is too short to give up before you taste success.  Therefore, seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness by setting your heart on eternal treasures; a fate that John Brown was wiling to die for.

by Jay Mankus

When Evil Never Leaves

Evil is one of those traits which is shocking.  Whether its heinous, malicious or repulsive, the presence of such actions are chilling.  Any type of demonstration can leave eye witnesses shivering with fear.  According to Solomon, this cloud of darkness never leaves some souls.

Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good, Proverbs 17:13.

The concept of evil is often left to Hollywood.  Whether its a horror, murder mystery or science fiction film, few come face to face with a resident of evil.  Apparently, anyone who seeks revenge will be cursed with evil spirits that never leave,  This belief is similar to the Bible’s sowing principle, “you reap what you sow.”

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life, Galatians 6:8.

In view of this scary information, its vital to avoid entering a world of darkness.  Instead, begin to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, relying on prayer to guide your way.  By doing this you will steer clear of the hauntings that other lost souls have endured.  Learn from the mistakes of others by fleeing from evil.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

What’s Behind Blessings and Curses?

There is something fascinating behind the lives of the rich and famous.  If you have ever had the opportunity to visit resorts, visit wealthy neighborhoods or vacation in exquisite destinations, its amazing what money can buy.  Yet, one has to wonder, what has led to the accumulation of mass possessions?  While the answers vary, discipline, hard work and persistence are involved.  However, at some point the blessing of God must be considered.

The LORD‘s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous, Proverbs 3:33.

During my 10 years as a high school teacher, I spent numerous hours developing curriculum.  One of the most intriguing chapters I taught was based upon an 18th century case study.  A pastor’s family and criminal were placed side by side, examining the descendants of each for 2 generations.  The findings revealed the pastor’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren went on to pursue higher education, serve the military and become self-sufficient.  Meanwhile, this alcoholic turned criminal gave birth to needy individuals, costing local, state and the federation government over 1 million dollars.

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, Exodus 20:5.

Few people fail to recognize the conditional relationship crafted into the 10 commandments.  Growing up Catholic the verse above was omitted from CCD, similar to Sunday School in evangelical churches.  This passage suggests that God will not allow those people who chose to ignore God’s principles to prosper.  Unfortunately, modern sermons highlight the loving God of the New Testament, often canceling out the teachings of the Old Testament.  Yet, behind blessings and curses, you reap what you sow, leading to one or the other.  In view of this truth, choose obedience today.

by Jay Mankus

 

Why Some Don’t Get Over the Hump?

There have been times in my life that I wanted to know, “why me Lord?”  Whenever you experience disappointment, failure or rejection, its not selfish to want understand why you have to endure yet another trial.  The Bible is full of servants questioning God for the hand each has been dealt.  Yet, I recently came across a passage which might explain why I haven’t gotten over the proverbial hump.

Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism, Colossians 3:25.

According to the apostle Paul, individuals are repaid for each wrong doing committed.  While the world is full of favoritism with many getting free passes on past transgressions, the Bible has a different standard to live by.  Subsequently, heartaches I have faced could be directly or indirectly related to prior poor choices made by me.  Whatever the reason for the rough stretches I have undergone, maybe I need to ask God for forgiveness before I point the blame toward heaven.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows, Galatians 6:7.

Perhaps, this is what the apostle Paul is referencing above.  A growing number of people pass the buck today, blaming others or situations instead of taking personal responsibility for their own actions.  Despite this attempt, God can’t be mocked.  Thus, until Christians recognize the sowing principle, they won’t be able to get over the hump.  When you come to this realization, practice the words of James 5:16.

by Jay Mankus

Sinning, Stupidity and a Slippery Slope

You don’t have to be Forrest Gump to say something that you regret.  It only takes a careless word, foolish act or fopa caught on film to ruin one’s reputation.  Perhaps, this is the difficult lesson Donald Trump is learning following his generalization of Mexican immigrants.  Whether you are blatantly sinning or do something stupid, is the media ready for the slippery slope for those who are politically incorrect?

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets,” Matthew 7:12.

I wouldn’t call the band Ratt prophetic, yet their classic song Round and Round reveals a simple truth, “what comes around goes around.”  Or as the apostle Paul proclaims, “you reap what you sow,” Galatians 6:7.  Taking this one step farther, Jesus makes the finger pointers aware of their actions, “you will be judged in the same manners that you judge others,” Matthew 7:2.  Therefore, before you pick up a stone to throw, jump on the pile of bashers or incite a mob, be careful what you wish for.

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 22:39.

Currently, Donald Trump is the media’s whipping boy.  However, tomorrow it could be you.  Sure, the elite do control the bully pulpit, yet the Lord controls the universe.  Subsequently, no one is perfect and stupidity is not immune to the wise.  I’m not sure what source or standard cultural leaders are following today, but when the shoe is on the other foot, a ground swell of forgiveness will likely emerge.  Therefore, follow the golden rule by treating others as you want to be treated.

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: