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Tag Archives: a message of hope

Putting the New into a Brand-New Day

Celebrating New Year’s Eve as an adult isn’t as exciting as it was when I was younger. I’m not sure if it’s my new work schedule which forces me to go to sleep between eight and nine on weekdays or I’ve lost enthusiasm and luster of the newness of a brand-new day. While reading words from the prophet Jeremiah, I was reminded how quickly sadness can be replaced with joy. In the passage below, Jeremiah transitions from bad news to a message of hope.

My soul has them continually in remembrance and is bowed down within me. 21 But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: Lamentations 3:20-21.

Depending upon how bad of a day, month or year you are having, God’s promise of grace and forgiveness is encouraging to any sinner. Despite his numerous missionary trips, the apostle Paul still considered himself one of the greatest sinners of all, 1 Timothy 1:15. The closer that some believers get to God, the more their sins are laid in plain sight. While the perfectionist in me still causes me to beat myself up from time to time, meditating on God’s love and nature gives me hope for tomorrow.

It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. 24 The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him, Lamentations 3:22-24.

Perhaps, the ideal manner to start a brand-new day is simply emulating Jesus’ early morning practice in Mark 1:35. Although you may not be a morning person but taking a walk before you pray is a great way to clear your mind from the worries of life. Back in college, I ran three to five miles a few times a week to refresh my mind before returning to complete my homework. As 2023 continues to unfold, may the Holy Spirit guide you to develop a special time with God daily so that you’ll be eager and excited to put the new into a brand-new day.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 335: Out of My Hands

As a parent, there comes a time when your child’s future is out of your hands. Whether this time waits until a daughter or son goes off to college or is speed up as they enter high school, don’t worry when it’s out of your hands. While parents can always pray for children, it’s hard to let go, especially for those of you who are control freaks. As I listened to Out of My Hands by Tony Vincent for the first time, this is the topic that came to my mind.

Arise [from your bed], cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift up your hands toward Him for the lives of your young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street, Lamentations 2:19.

The scripture that I feel aligns with Out of My Hands was written by Jeremiah. Earning the nickname of the Weeping Prophet, God often brought Israel bad news for the future due to a combination of disobedience and rebellion. However, beginning in chapter 3 of Lamentations, Jeremiah does share a message of hope based upon God’s grace and forgiveness. The next time you feel helpless with a situation out of your control, remember the message of today’s Tony Vincent song.

by Jay Mankus

A Platform for Hope

According to C.S. Lewis, hope is one of three theological virtues, 1 Corinthians 13:13. While charity (love) and faith often overshadow hope, the author of one New Testament book highlights how you can’t have faith without hope, Hebrews 11:1-6. Faith and hope go hand in hand as faith is an assurance in God’s promises and hope is the spirit of perseverance which believes that one day they will become a reality.

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome, Jeremiah 29:11.

Senator Barrack Obama rode a platform of hope into two full terms as president of the United States. Obama’s message of “hope and change” placed this articulate candidate into the White House and became the new leader of the Democratic party for more than a decade. One Old Testament prophet shared a message of hope to Israel. This passage serves as a source of optimism for the future.

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope, Romans 15:13.

The Greek noun euangelion appears 76 times in the Bible while the verb euangelizo occurs 54 times. This is where the English term Gospel is derived. Gospel refers to the good news about Jesus Christ, John 3:16-17. The apostle Paul sums up this spiritual platform of hope in two verses: Romans 5:8 and Romans 6:23. While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us to cancel the wages of sin. This is the platform of hope which inspires Christians to wake up to see another day on earth.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Lose Your Edge to be Great

I was first introduced to the concept of losing your edge while watching the film Top Gun. The context of this expression occurs following an intense encounter with bogeys over the ocean. Cougar, the top pilot on the ship requests a private meeting with his Commanding Officer. Shaken up by this close call, Cougar lost his edge and then turns in his wings so he can return to be home with his newborn child. Cougar’s resignation opens the door for Maverick played by Tom Cruise to attend the Top Gun school with co-pilot Goose.

For thus says the Lord, When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you and keep My good promise to you, causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. 12 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. 13 Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart, Jeremiah 29:10-13.

Sixteen years later, American rock band LCD Soundsystem released their single “Losing My Edge”. The lyrics of this song refer to younger kids, a new generation who are about to take your place. Whenever an individual loses their confidence, the swagger that individuals once possess quickly vanishes. However, if another person comes along out of nowhere to challenge your position, this should inspire you to greatness. If you lose your edge to be great, apathy and complacency will soon take its place.

And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will. 28 We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose, Romans 8:27-28.

In a first century letter to the Church at Rome, the apostle Paul provides a message of hope for those of you filled with doubt. The difference between confidence and doubt is night and day. A confident golfer will put a tee in the ground, take a practice swing and drive a tee shot straight down the middle of a fairway. A golfer consumed with doubt will likely block a tee shot out of bound or snap hook it into a nearby hazard. When Christians start accepting, believing and claiming the promises in the Bible, an ordinary day is replaced by answered prayers and miracles. Therefore, whenever you lose your edge to be great, place your trust in the Lord, Proverbs 3:5-6, so that confidence can be regained.

by Jay Mankus

Buy and Do Not Sell the Truth

In this age of modern technology, you can order almost anything on line. With one click of a mouse, purchases could arrive within an hour in some cities with Amazon Prime. To the impulse shopper, this access can be dangerous, racking up thousands of dollars in credit card bills if you are not careful. Nonetheless, buying and selling is a way of life, the free will of God.

Buy the truth and sell it not; not only that, but also get discernment and judgment, instruction and understanding, Proverbs 23:23.

During his reign as king of Israel, Solomon made countless transactions. When asked by God in a dream to choose between wealth or wisdom, Solomon selected the latter, 1 Kings 3:5. This decision resulted in countless riches, blessed beyond belief by God. Yet, Solomon reached a point in life where he realized truth should never be sold, only purchased.

Yet, O Lord God, You said to me, Buy the field with money and get witnesses, even though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans. 26 Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, saying, 27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?- Jeremiah 32:25-27

The prophet Jeremiah provides an intriguing prophecy in the passage above. Instead of giving into panic like the Stock Market in recent weeks, Jeremiah urges individuals to buy what others are abandoning. Flexing his spiritual muscles, Jeremiah reminds those willing to listen “is anything too hard for God?” These words serve as a message of hope today for those who fear the Coronavirus pandemic. Whatever the future may bring, buy the truth of the Bible as nothing is impossible with God.

by Jay Mankus

Where Do You Go From Here?

Everyone will hit that proverbial bump in the road at some point in life.  This moment of inconvenience could be a quick pit stop, a rough stretch or turn into a dead end.  If the latter is you, its hard to start over, especially if you’re not sure where to go from here.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12.

Upon receiving the news of my most recent rejection from Hollywood, fourth in five years, I’m starting to have second thoughts on my writing career.  Part of me truly believed my latest script Dragged Behind the Devil’ s Door would be a box office hit, but now that reality is setting in I wonder if I’m on the right track or simply chasing some improbable fantasy.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13.

Perhaps the apostle Paul went through a similar phase during his first century mission trips throughout the Middle East.  Instead of seeing progress, Paul experienced failure, persecution and suffering.  While writing a letter to one of his favorite churches, Paul had a vision that gave him direction for the last portion of his life.  May the words above serve as a message of hope to those ready to give up, quit or abandon your calling.  Although I’m not sure what role writing will play in the next stage of my life, I need to forget past disappointments by straining toward what is ahead, eternal life with Christ my Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

Exchanging Fear With Joy

In Luke 2:8-9, an ordinary group of people have a supernatural encounter with angelic beings.  These blue collar workers. shepherds in a field, were interrupted from their daily responsibility of overseeing their master’s sheep.  As bright lights shined on their face, each was gripped with fear, paralyzing their bodies as each dropped to their knees trying to protect their eyes the glory of the Lord.

Noticing their response, the angel sent by God brings a message of hope to a dark night in verses 10-12.  According to Luke 2:13, a great company of heavenly hosts appear.  The Greek word Luke chooses is stratus, referring to layers and layers of angels in the skies.  This event doesn’t happen at church or in temple, rather God celebrates Jesus’ birth out in the open.  Somewhere in between Luke 2:9 and Luke 2:14, the shepherds exchange their fear with joy as the angel sang praises to God.

Unfortunately, this simple story has been neglected, overlooked due to modern practices of this holiday.  Christmas is not about exchanging gifts, receiving items that you either don’t need or have too much of.  Rather, Christmas is spiritual practice of exchanging your earthly fears with the joy of Jesus entering the world.  Romans 5:6-8 highlights the true meaning of Jesus’ birth, coming to earth and dying as a perfect sacrifice so that the fear of death is eliminated.  May the promise of John 3:16 transform for you the purpose and meaning of Jesus on this Christmas Day.

by Jay Mankus

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