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Sleep Well and Dream Big

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/olympics/molly-seidel-wins-bronze-olympic-marathon-after-battle-through-heat-n1276240

The origin of the phrase ‘third time’s a charm’ dates date to ancient times.  Things that come in sets of three have often been associated with good luck. As an element of astrology and fortune-telling, numerology has long been employed to predict future events. From a biblical perspective, the Bible is full of symbolism. The number 3 is used 467 times in the Bible with an imagery of completeness like the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

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, Jeremiah 29:11-12.

During a 4th grade Art Class, a little girl from Wisconsin draw a little picture with a dream beneath it. Molly wrote “one day I am going to complete in the Olympics and win a gold medal.” Fast forward two decades and Molly Seidel competed in her second marathon ever. This race just happened to be the qualifier for the 2020-21 Olympics. Despite her limited experience as a long distance runner, Seidel finished second and earned her spot on Team USA.

A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure, Proverbs 16:9.

After waiting an additional year due to Covid-19, Molly ran in her third marathon earlier today. While she did not earn the medal in her childhood dream, Molly Seidel became the second American woman to ever medal in the Olympic Marathon. The passage above is a reminder that you may have certain aspirations, but the Lord’s purpose prevails. May the bronze medal that Molly Seidel earned today inspire you to sleep well and dream big.

by Jay Mankus

Coming Back Stronger in 2021

As the National Football League ends their 2020 regular season this weekend, 18 teams will miss the playoffs. After having high hopes at the start of 2020, these coaches and players have failed to win the necessary amount of games to earn a postseason birth. While 14 teams will advance with their eyes on a Super Bowl Championship, the remaining teams will turn their attention to the off-season. As fan bases start to play the “what if” game in their minds, owners and general managers will begin to sit down to ascertain what went wrong and why?.

For it is easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye than [for] a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. 26 And those who heard it said, Then who can be saved? 27 But He said, What is impossible with men is possible with God, Luke 18:25-27.

You don’t have to be part of a professional organization to have aspirations to come back stronger in 2021. Depending upon your age, career and occupation, you either spent a lot of time at work or most of your time stuck on home. Perhaps, some of you began a new hobby in 2020, revealing a hidden gift or talent. Meanwhile, others may feel like you wasted too much time in front of a television, eager to break this habit in 2021. Thus, as a New Year approaches, make sure whatever resolution(s) you do make for 2021 are centered around coming back better and stronger this year.

And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:19.

The only resolution that I kept in 2020 was making Jesus more of a priority. Using Mark 1:35 as a model, the first thing that I did when I came home from work in the morning was read the Bible and pray using a journal. I was diligent for most of the year, keeping this vow nearly every week. Instead of rushing through my quiet time to get it done, I had several spiritual breakthroughs. This led to some of the most profitable days I have had writing. While I don’t know what 2021 has in store for me, I do know that the Lord will provide everything I need for life, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus

Putting in Order What was Left Unfinished

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If you own a home or like to work on cars, you probably have some type of project that you haven’t gotten to.  Sometimes time is the issue.  Yet, other aspirations remain unfinished due to hidden problems, a lack of resources and technical difficulties.  Thus, situations will arise when you will have to rely on others to get the job done.

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you, Titus 1:5.

Unfortunately, some people tend to be Lone Rangers, enjoying the freedom of doing things their own way.  Meanwhile, others allow pride to get in the way, afraid, ashamed or too proud to ask for help.  The end result often leads to abandoned dreams, clutter and countless unfinished projects rusting away in attics, garages and sheds.

This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you,” Ephesians 5:14.

When the raw emotions of being overwhelmed fade, its time to snap yourself out of it.  You might have to wait longer than you planned, but Jesus is waiting for you to call upon his name.  Therefore, don’t get bogged down by the mountain of unfinished work waiting for you to tackle.  Rather, pray that the Holy Spirit will send someone or something to help you complete that which is left unfinished.

by Jay Mankus

 

Sunken Treasure

After viewing ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 presentation Rand University featuring Randy Moss, I was struck by the mentality possessed by citizens of Rand, West Virginia.  According to Sam Singleton Jr, dreams stop after high school for those who call Rand home.  Regardless of how gifted you are, few make it pass the 7 Eleven, the only convenience store in town, known as Rand University.  This is where shining stars become sunken treasures.

Although Randy Moss and Bobbie Howard did overcome the odds to make it to the National Football League, they are the exception to this rule.  Enrollment at Rand University begins with a few 6 packs here or a joint there.  Once blinded by addiction, apathy or both, the students in Rand become stuck, unable to escape the grips of invisible demonic forces.  Subsequently, dreams sink to the bottom of the ocean, where hope is nothing more than fool’s gold.

From a spiritual perspective, there are many towns like Rand, places where aspirations die.  If you pull back the third dimension, you will find generational curses and sins of the father blocking success, Exodus 20:3-5.  Unfortunately. Sam Singleton is merely a casualty of this spiritual war, Ephesians 6:12.  If you want to avoid becoming a sunken treasure of untapped potential, make sure you are prepared, Ephesians 6:13-20, with the armor of God to shield yourself from future attacks.

by Jay Mankus

 

How Do You Measure Up?

Whether you’re daddy’s little girl or the son of Mr. so and so, its hard to live up to a parents lofty expectation.  Sure, most kids have their own aspirations and dreams, but with expectations comes the pressure to succeed.  Thus, every day at a concert, musical or sports complex across the fruited plains, fans are cheering their children on, hoping for the best.

A growing number of adults and guardians are precariously living their lives through their children.  Subsequently, parents have become like sports agents pushing youth into joining clubs and travel teams to fine tune their skills.  If successful, teenage prodigy’s are formed, dedicated to pleasing their moms and dads.  However, will these fragile souls continue or surpass expectations for greatness?

One of the greatest things I did in college was to opt to play intramural sports rather than play at the division 1 level.  Although winning was important, the thrill of competition and friendships surpassed my own expectations.  Sooner or later, you have to take ownership of your life, separating yourself from your parents goals.  Therefore, whatever you do in life, live out Colossians 3:17 and Colossians 3:23 so that God will be glorified by your life.

by Jay Mankus

Dying Nations

If you study geography, globes and maps appear to be in a constant state of flux.  Portions of Africa and other regions of the world go through transitions as individuals wrestle for control and power.  Depending upon the ruler and their worldview, citizens are at the mercy of its leaders.

According to Psalm 135:15-17, vital signs can be detected  by the finger prints left by mankind.  The images of a culture reflect their aspirations, priorities and ultimately, their god.  When idols cripple a nation, Acts 17:16, its only a matter of time before empires fall like Rome.  If America continues on its current path, the inevitable will happen, erasing any impact it has as a world leader.

To change course, nations have options if they wish to survive.  Civil wars, rebellions and revolutions are just a few of the usual suspects.  However, if 1799 is any clue from the past, only a spiritual revival can save countries from vanishing from the pages of modern textbooks.  As concerts of prayer began to change the mindset of Christians in America, God began to ignite a fire within lost souls.  May history repeat itself, giving life to dying nations across the globe thereby fulfilling the great commission in the process, Acts 1:8.

by Jay Mankus

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