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Category Archives: Hope

After the Storm

Depending upon where you live, everyone will face some sort of storm in life.  The northern states must cope with blizzards.  The heartland must be on guard against tornados.  The coasts need to keep watch for hurricanes, nor’easters and tsunamis.  Those who live somewhere in between might face a combination of these natural disasters.  However, no one, not even the weather forecasters foresaw how destructive Hurricane Harvey and it’s tropical moisture could impact southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping, Matthew 8:24.

After this storm goes away, Texas and part of Louisiana might experience a 9/11 like effect.  Only God knows what lies underneath the millions of gallons of water flooding entire cities.  To rebound from this epic tragedy, communities, neighbors and residents are going to have to come together despite their political differences for a common goal, rebuild.  While news crews are waiting anxiously to air this carnage, nothing can prepare these individuals for the resolve needed to overcome these extreme conditions.  Like the motto following the Boston marathon bombing, Boston Strong, Texas and Louisiana need to unite to rise again after this storm.

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm, Matthew 8:25-26.

During the first century, Jesus had just turned down individuals who wanted to become disciples.  Perhaps, even some of the twelve disciples questioned their own abilities to meet Jesus’ expectations on a trip across the Sea of Galilee.  Out of no where, a violent storm emerged without warning.  Tired from healing countless needy people earlier in the day, Jesus took a nap.  Fearful for their lives, the disciples woke up Jesus, hoping He would save them.  Based upon Jesus’ response, his disciples had a long way to go, far from the faith expected by now.  For those affected by Hurricane Harvey and it’s tropical storm, may you possess great faith while you cope with the unknowns in the future.

by Jay Mankus

A Byproduct of the Wussification of America

For the last 8 years, Christian businesses have been attacked, fined and sued by local individuals and states for not serving those whom share a different worldview.  A few bakeries, florists and pizzerias have lost court battles after sticking to their convictions.  Yet, now that Rockettes are being forced to preform for Donald Trump’s inauguration, the left has changed their tune.  Claiming this is a woman’s right issue, concerned Rockettes are now able to opt out.

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord, Proverbs 23:17.

The illustration above is just one of the examples of the Wussification of America.  It’s not as if college students needed coloring books and plato to help them cope with Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election.  Oh, that happened.  Well, at least therapy dogs weren’t brought in to console other immature adults.  When you add in Hollywood’s attempt to get electors who voted for Trump to switch their votes, the last few months has revealed the true colors of those who despise American exceptionalism.

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off, Proverbs 23:18.

Perhaps a lack of leadership on a state and national level is the true cause of the turmoil that exists in this country.  Whatever the reason, there are too many people passing the buck and not enough talking responsibility for their own actions.  According to Solomon, too many individuals are envying sinners instead of fearing the Lord.  Until this change takes place, the wussification of America will continue.  May God have mercy on the childish acts which occur almost daily and steer souls back to common sense by fearing and trusting the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Anguish of Disobedience

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was to consul a shaken mother the day after her son died in a car accident.  According to friends in attendance at a party, he only had one beer before leaving.  Impaired slightly, this young man couldn’t negotiate the bend on a countryside road, striking a tree head on, dead on arrival to the nearest hospital.  My sense is this woman wanted me to assure her that her son was doing well in heaven.  Since this boy was missing in action from youth group without any apparent faith, the anguish of her son’s disobedience on earth stirred in her soul.

According to Leviticus 10:1-3, Aaron endured similar trauma, sitting in stunned silence after his 2 oldest sons died suddenly.  Not the greatest role model, Aaron’s greatest claim to fame or should I say shame was creating a golden calf, Exodus 32:2-4.  Perhaps their father’s hypocrisy encouraged Nadab and Abihu to turn a deaf ear to his instructions.  Instead of carefully obeying the words God relayed to Moses, Aaron’s 2 sons began to experiment like 2 curious boys in a chemistry lab.  Subsequently, the pain of disobedience cost Nadab and Abihu their life.

Whether its a suicide note left behind for a family, the dairies of a troubled school shooter or victims of drunk driving, the anguish of disobedience is on display daily.  The free will of one individual’s action has been felt by several members of society.  People are left to wonder what might have been if one out of control human being didn’t cut short the life of their loved one.  May the words of Psalm 34:18 provide some comfort this day for anyone still coping with the anguish of disobedience.

by Jay Mankus

 

Weaned From Violence

Unfortunately, a day rarely goes by without a fight, shooting or stabbing making headline news.  Students, workers and innocent bystanders are being caught in the cross fire of violence.  As a vehicle of peace, Gandhi believed you had to slowly wean people from violence without force.  Over time, you will win people toward your point of view.

Jesus demonstrated this belief during his 3 year ministry in the late 20’s of the first century.  When his fellow Jews flirted with the idea of overthrowing the political leaders in Israel, Jesus chose peace.  Despite being falsely accused of crimes he did not commit by the Sanhedrin, Jesus gave up his right to life so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled, Matthew 26:52-56.  Although he invested 3 years into 12 men, the temptation to fight back could not be quenched.

Today, domestic violence is a common occurrence, like a nagging cold that won’t go away.  Instead of demonstrating temperance, going the right distance and no further, human beings have lost control of their emotions.  Patience has been discarded, as anger, control and power is urging frustrated souls to lash out, often harming family members.  The only way I know to wean people from violence is to adhere to the apostle Paul’s advice in Ephesians 4:25-32.  When you reach this state of mind, God will lead you to lay your weapons down.

What’s your solution to wean Americans from violence?

by Jay Mankus

 

Staying True to Your Passion

Whether you prefer a pat on the back, verbal approval or  a hug, you have to prepare yourself for arid periods in life.  When signs of encouragement are absent, what will keep you going?  As for me, I am determined to stay true to my passion.

If I’ve learned anything from previous trials, writing brings joy to my soul.  Without spending time daily reading the Bible and reflecting upon it’s message, a part of me is missing.  Regardless of how disappointed I may be at times, I can’t message success based upon how many visitors read my posts.

Rather, I need to be faithful to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33.  Despite how famous, popular or successful one may become, your priorities is what is important in God’s eyes.  Therefore, whether you’re an athlete, gifted musician or an individual trying to get the most out of life, seek God first.  As you strive after eternal things, you will stay true to your passion and God willing discover your purpose in life, Romans 12:2.

by Jay Mankus

Blotting Out Your Past

Whether you’re young or old, everyone has scars, wounds from the past which mask pain and suffering.  Like  bringing home a brand new car, dings, scratches and wear quickly appear.  Perfection fades ushering in guilt, shame and uncomfortable feelings.  These emotions prompt individuals to yearn to blot out their past.

As David comes to grips with his rebellious ways in Psalm 51:1, he leans on God’s mercy.  Images of his sin haunt David, brought to the forefront of his mind by the devil.  Snapping out of his mean streak, a humbled heart brings this servant of God to his knees.  Like resetting a video game to start over after making a careless error, we have all longed for God to blot out portions of our past.

Although memories will always return, God’s love can turn the ugliness of sin into snow, restoring a sense of purity to souls, Isaiah 1:18.  The message of resurrection isn’t limited to one day or merely for a season.  Rather, the triumph of Jesus over the cross, Colossians 2:15 is available daily, Lamentations 3:22-23.  Therefore, don’t let the devil steal your joy any longer, John 10:10; hit the reset button by asking God to blot out the sins of your past.

Please feel free to share testimonies of God’s power to forgive.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Deep Wounds

As a child, you tend to place your favorite people up on a pedal stool, doing no wrong in your eyes.  However, when reality sets in as these people shatter your perfect image of them, heart break often follows.  Subsequently, deep wounds open, inflicting your soul with anguish unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

During the days of Israel’s exile, the prophet Jeremiah pours out his heart in a letter entitled Lamentations.  Weeping through his writing, Jeremiah refers to wounds as deep as the sea floor, Lamentations 2:13.  Perhaps Jeremiah is struggling with his expectations of God’s promises compared to the reality of his current condition.  Like being rejected by the man or woman of your dreams, deep wounds form which some never recover from or take years to heal.

If you stop for a moment to look around, you are probably surrounded by individuals hiding their pain.  Whether it’s the reckless driver on your way to work, the disgruntled employee or quiet neighbor, each is trying to cope with their pain.  Depending upon your response to their needs, you will either sooth or worsen their wounds.  Let your light shine today, Matthew 5:13, to help others begin to heal from the deep wounds of life.

Please comment on how you have been healed or helped someone else start this process.

by Jay Mankus

Life is Just a Blip on the Radar Screen

Modern television is filled with episodes or series devoted to UFO’s, unidentified flying objects.  Several shows claim unidentified “bogeys” entering foreign air space. They are not from this world, far more technologically advanced than our planet.  These blips on radar screens don’t belong, creating tension for pilots who encounter the unexplainable.  As theories continue to fester about the existence of aliens, one thing is certain: life is just a blip on the radar screen.

Depending upon the career you choose, hand you’ve been dealt or how you were raised, life seems to go faster the older you become.  While talking to former students at a going away party over the weekend, my teaching career seems eons ago.  Before you know it, 7th graders are graduating from high school, accelerating this blip, like the USS Enterprise at warp speed.  On this journey through life, unless you take time to slow down, Psalm 46:10, your life will be void of permanent meaningful lasting relationships.

King David eludes to this blip in Psalm 49:10, where no one is exempt as the foolish and wise perish together.  Perhaps this may explain Solomon’s comments in Proverbs about using wealth to earn and entertain friends, taking his father’s words to heart.  The younger brother of Jesus learned a similar lesson, comparing life to a mist that vanishes into thin air, James 4:14.  In view of this truth, seize the moments you have today, Ephesians 5:15-18, making the most of the opportunities God provides.  Make your blip count before it disappears on life’s radar screen.

What legacy are you leaving behind for friends, family or neighbors? Who has been the greatest blip on your radar screen?

by Jay Mankus

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