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Inspiration Doesn’t Follow a Schedule

The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something is known as inspiration. This invisible force tends to reveal itself in the form of artistry, creativity, flair, imagination, and vision. While attending a youth ministry trade school more than 25 years ago, I was introduced to Green Light Thinking. This exercise channels inspiration from our minds on to a piece of paper. During this 5 minute period, there is no such thing as a bad idea, writing down every inspirational thought.

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), 17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

According to the apostle Paul, authors of the Bible were inspired by divine forces. Whether morning, day or night, inspiration doesn’t follow a schedule. Like momentum that fluctuates back and forth in a close athletic competition, spectators are on the edge of their seats until the end of the game. This is the type of anticipation that Christians should experience each time they open up the Word of God. When hearts and minds become open to the spiritual realm like a sponge, inspiration will flow.

But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future], John 16:13.

During a conversation with his disciples, Jesus unveils what the Holy Spirit will resemble when it arrives on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2. This invisible Spirit is like a personal guide to direct you toward the Truth, the meaning of life. There isn’t a set place or time to meet. Rather, the Holy Spirit counsels those of you who are paying attention, keeping in step with this inspirational force, Galatians 5:25. Despite what your daily schedule may bring, may you be open to the possibility so that you go with inspiration when it arrives.

by Jay Mankus

How Long is this Going to Last?

Fifteen years is a little more than a third of my life to date.  Human beings go through a myriad of change over a decade and a half.  However, how would you respond if God promised you something and you didn’t receive this until fifteen years later.  The anticipation to see this fulfilled would be grueling.  The average person might become frustrated, impatient or may even lose hope.  The passage below written by David details his long wait between being anointed by Samuel as king and actually becoming king of Israel more than fifteen years later.  This nerve wrecking period brought David to his knees to pray.

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! – Psalm 31:15

When it comes to driving a car, some possess the mindset “ride it until it dies.”  The only lemon I ever brought lasted a few months.  After a small leak in one of my hoses spilled on to the engine, this vehicle was toast, abandoned at a gas station in New Jersey.  Meanwhile, sometimes you are fortunate to possess a car that lasts much longer than it should.  Despite nearing the 200,000 mile mark, my Pontiac Vibe keeps ticking, approaching it’s fifteenth birthday.  Nonetheless, I don’t know how long this car is going to last.

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night, Psalm 90:4.

In the passage above, a Psalmist makes an interesting statement about life.  This individual received some sort a vision of the past, connecting it with the future.  Unfortunately, most people place so much emphasis on time that they lose sight of the present.  While it would be nice to have knowledge of the future, savoring the here and now is a more noble cause.  Therefore, don’t allow anticipation to spoil your mood.  Rather, take life one day at a time so that wondering how long life is going to last doesn’t steal your hope, joy and peace.

by Jay Mankus

Hope verses Heart-break

Anticipation, day dreaming and utopia are synonyms for hope.  Like an anxious child eager to open presents on Christmas morning, hope is like a promise waiting to be unwrapped.  The only problem is sometimes the hype doesn’t live up to your own expectations.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer, Romans 12:12.

When desires are unfulfilled, a wave of agony, dire and sadness replace inner joy.  In these moments of disappointment, its easy to overreact.  However, if you are not careful, heart-break can lead to depression.  If healing does not occur, hope can fade like the setting sun.

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

If this blog finds you down in the dumps or recovering from a broken heart, the Bible provides two words of encouragement.  The first urges individuals to rely on prayer in times of trouble.  Prayer serves as a source of hope.  Meanwhile, if your spirit has been crushed by a relationship, tragedy or uncertainty don’t lose hope.  God promises to surround you with either angels, friends or strangers to get you through the tough times in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Placing Your Hope in the Wrong Things

For students and workers, every weekend provides opportunities for hope.  Anticipation, confidence and expectation await hoping to maximize your free time.  Yet, sometimes in an attempt to reach your goals, people place their trust in the wrong things.

Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing, Proverbs 11:7.

In the days of King Solomon, hero worship was a major problem.  Instead of thanking the God who created these heroes, individuals placed their hope in mortal human beings.  This decision will always lead to disappointment, especially after athletes, celebrities and stars past their prime or pass away.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer, Romans 12:12.

The apostle Paul provides useful advice for anyone who has made the mistake of placing your hope in the wrong things.  Rather, hope should be a source of joy.  While you wait, endure the trials and tribulations that confront you.  Finally, remain diligent in prayer, leaning on the Lord to guide your steps in the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where Did My Fervor Go?

As a child, there was nothing like the anticipation of opening presents under a Christmas tree.  I must confess that sometimes I snuck down stairs in the middle of the night just to see what was in my stocking.  On a couple of occasions I dozed off under our tree, before going back up to my bed so I wouldn’t be seen.  Unfortunately, somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, I lost my fervor for life.

Apollos had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John, Acts 18:25.

One of the more interesting characters of the Bible is a man named Apollos who first met Paul during a trip to Ephesus.  Although this man from Alexandria was an outsider, his passion for God made up for his limited knowledge.  To a certain extent, I see a lot of Apollos in me during my early years in youth ministry.  I didn’t possess the theological background that most youth pastors acquire, yet my determination and fervor was strong.  Yet, when I left the ministry for good 5 years ago, my fire has dimmed.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, Colossians 3:23.

Previous mentors would suggest that I haven’t re-fueled, not spending enough time in Bible study, prayer or worship.  Other friends might lean to a lack of commitment, fellowship and service to a local church.  While this advice may be true, the most logical reason for losing my fervor is a lack of joy.  When you’re a perfectionist, its hard to enjoy the little things in life.  Thus, as I continue to search for answers, I cling to a life verse from high school.  Whatever I do in the future, I must devote my heart to serving the Lord.  If you find yourself in a similar state this year, may the Lord show you the way to rekindle your fervor for life.

by Jay Mankus

Overwhelmed by the Future

There are several variables which can produce anxiety, stress or worry.  Anticipation can make the mind race, questioning all the possible scenarios, often starting with the worst first.  Fear of the unknown adds a feeling of uncertainty, producing a myriad of emotions.  Thus, it doesn’t take much for an individual to become overwhelmed by the future.

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch,” Mark 14:34.

Those who possess discernment, keen insight and the gift of prophecy can sense when bad things are about to happen.  In the case of Jesus, he knew when and how he was going to die.  Thus, as  the hours drew closer, Jesus’ soul was consumed with sorrow.  To make matters worse, the twelve men he invested the last three years of his life into were about to abandon, betray or deny him publicly.  The human side of Jesus was also overwhelmed by the future.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood, Hebrews 12:4.

As Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked his disciples to keep watch and pray.  In the hours that followed, the author describes a level of stress which is unprecedented, suggesting his sweat was like blood.  Whether this happened or not doesn’t matter, the key is Jesus died for all sinners, Romans 5:8.  Therefore, if you are stressed out about today or the future, prepare yourself just like Jesus: keep watch and pray so temptation doesn’t hold you hostage.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Human Inspired or from Above?

When an individual wakes up, the day can dictate one’s degree of excitement.  Anticipation for an activity, event or the weekend can produce adrenaline, enthusiasm and vigor for life.  However, sometimes the energy burst you receive may come from above?

“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?” – Mark 11:28

In the days of Jesus, his ministry was always under scrutiny.  Whether he was feeding the masses, performing a miracle or outwitting the Pharisees, religious leaders doubted his authenticity.  It wasn’t until Jesus used John the Baptist as an illustration to prove inspiration can come from above.

.John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”- Mark 11:30

Following a milestone or success story, individuals will give a myriad of responses.  Some will credit their coach, trainer or parents.  Others may reference their discipline, re-dedication  or state of the art training program.  However, a few will profess of a higher power, strength from above which ultimately led to their victory.  Although the media may not show all those who give glory to God, I believe human inspiration only takes you so far.  With this in mind, tap into the Holy Spirit to help reach your full potential.

by Jay Mankus

 

Misreading the Road Signs in Life

I guess you can say I’ve always been geographically challenged the first time I drive to a new place.  Once I find it, my photographic memory will bring me back time after time.  However, sometimes the anticipation of arriving causes me to jump the gun, misreading road signs, causing me to regularly get off on the wrong exit.

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

The night before I met my wife for the very first time, I was on my way to a regional conference in Chicago.  Unfamiliar with the area, I wasn’t sure which exit to take.  Not afraid to ask for directions, I got off trying to find a convenience store or gas station to point me in the right direction.  Instead, I drove into what I thought was a development, actually one of the projects.  Before I could roll my window down, I found myself in the middle of a movie, about the get car jacked.  Whether it was the Holy Spirit or mere instincts, I gunned my engine, almost took out 2 people and fled as fast as I could back to the main highway.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Fortunately for me, I escaped a life altering experience, similar to the events of Robert Allenby’s brush with death last weekend in Hawaii.  Every know and then, we all happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Subsequently, death can result like an incident bystander struck by a drunk driver.  Thus, trying to make sense of life’s bizarre circumstances is nearly impossible.  Nonetheless, when roadblocks send you in an alternate or different direction, open life’s road map, the Bible, to help you get you back on course.

by Jay Mankus

 

I Couldn’t Do It Justice

Once upon a time, there was a mother who gave birth to a son who was blind.  Heart-broken but not hopeless, this loving mom became the eyes to illuminate her son’s darkness.  Similar to a radio broadcast, she tried to paint a vivid picture of the world her son could not see.  Day after day, this scene repeated itself until news of a medical miracle arrived.

After saving up enough money, this woman made an appointment with an eye doctor who had success with a cutting edge operation.  Following a consultation, a surgery was schedule for this boy who had only known darkness.  Anticipation was in the air, yet to achieve maximum vision, bandages were required to remain over the boy’s eyes for a couple of days post this procedure.  Time would tell if the boy would be teased or thankful.

What happened next was like a scene from out of the Bible, John 9:6-7.  As the doctor unwrapped the cloth, rays of light penetrated the boys face.  Exuberant, the boy ran to the window to look outside for the very first time.  Speechless, a joyful mother listened as tears began to stream down her face.  “Mom, it’s more beautiful than I ever imagined!  I can’t believe how many details you left out.”  In response, wiping away tears, she replied, “I couldn’t do it justice my darling for God’s creation is beyond our understanding.”

by Jay Mankus

Desperation: A Recipe for Restoration

In the 1971, Carly Simon released Anticipation, featuring the song that inspired this album.  Eight years later, Heinz Ketchup developed the slogan, “Anticipation is making me wait,” by mixing Carly Simon’s song with images of ketchup slowly flowing out of a bottle.  During an interview on National Public Radio, also known as NPR, Carly Simon shared the meaning of Anticipation.  While waiting for Cat Stevens to pick her up on their first date, the lyrics to this song were formed and the rest is history.

Although ketchup and God don’t have any thing in common, Heinz’ marketing campaign and Carly Simon’s song illustrate how the Lord works behind the scenes.  God allows individuals to experience desperation, causing hearts to develop a sense of urgency.  As one hungers for something more in life like the prodigal son in Luke 15:16-20, a recipe for restoration is generated.  Thus, despite any anguish, brokenness and heartache people have to endure, the Lord uses desperation to lead hurting souls beside still waters, Psalm 23:1-6.

Everyone understands how painful waiting can be.  Whether you’re at the hospital anticipating news from a doctor regarding life or death, impatiently waiting for God to answer your prayers or searching for clues to understand the trial you are currently undergoing, each scenario breeds desperation.  Like Nicodemus, seeking out Jesus at night in John 3:1, sometimes you have to humble yourself, realize you’re not in control and kneel before God, Luke 7:37-38.  May any lukewarm spirit holding you down be expelled as God uses desperation as a recipe for restoration.

by Jay Mankus

 

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