RSS Feed

Tag Archives: attitude

Is It Really That Simple?

In the past year, a couple of comedians from Hollywood have referred to individuals who pray to God as being mentally ill.  While children have a tendency to have make believe friends, adults who talk out loud to an invisible God seems strange.  Although non-believers may refer to this sight as a sign of mental illness, this spiritual practice is an act of faith.  One day Jesus’ disciples were floundering as novice prayers, asking the son of God for help, to teach them how to pray effectively.

“So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you,” Luke 11:9.

In the beginning of Luke chapter 11, Jesus gives his disciples an outline for praying known as the Lord’s Prayer or Our Father.  This is similar to modern day acronyms like ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication or PRAY: petition God, repent, adoration for God and your own needs.  After receiving this basic format, perhaps one of the disciples pondered, is it really that simple?  In the passage above and below Jesus responds with the attitude, desire and will necessary to develop a powerful prayer life.

For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened, Luke 11:10.

First, don’t be afraid to ask God.  Since the Lord is all knowing, just verbalize any desire on your heart and thought on your mind.  However, when you do pray, be diligent, eager to hear and see the power of prayer at work in your life.  If any prayer is denied, in limbo or unclear, demonstrate persistence like the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8.  Jesus doesn’t want passive prayers.  Rather, keep on knocking, wrestling with God in prayer as you seek answers to prayer in the context of God’s will.  For those who seek a deeper relationship with God, may you come to a point when you can honestly say, prayer really is this simple.

by Jay Mankus

Overcoming an I Don’t Care Anymore Attitude

Care refers to the provisions of that what is necessary.  Synonyms include alertness, attentiveness, cautious, guidance, management, protection, safe keeping and watchfulness.  As I reflect upon my early days as a father, I recall hearing the word “no” often.  This expression reveals human nature at work within the lives of children.  Before infants learn the English language, no is code for I don’t want or I don’t care.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others, Philippians 2:4.

In 1974, Harry Chapin collaborated with his wife Sandy to compose the song Cat’s in the Cradle.  The lyrics of this classic convey a sad but true story about extreme dedication to work and its negative impact on a family.  Those who are workaholics place a higher priority on their career, leaving little or no time at home.  Spouses left at home with the kids regularly will likely begin think their significant other does not care anymore.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you, Ephesians 4:32.

Those who develop an I don’t care anymore attitude often become jaded.  This process occurs gradually as disappointment erodes hope.  If negative conditions persist, optimism will be replaced by sarcasm, expecting bad things to continue.  Thus, if you sense this mentality beginning to take over, the apostle Paul provides useful advice in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  To break free from the temptation to not care anymore, you need to take spiritual measures to protect your mind.  Only when you begin to take your thoughts captive by making them obedient to Christ can you overcome an I don’t care anymore attitude.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Stubborn Things in Life

In the past, stubbornness was associated with a mule.  This saying referred to the determination not to change one’s attitude or position.  The mule is the offspring of a donkey and horse, often relegated as a beast of burden.  Perhaps, as this animal grinds its way through life, forced to do grueling work, stubbornness is merely a byproduct of its trade.  Mules aren’t the only things on earth that succumb to stubbornness.

“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or of his mother, and when they reprimand and discipline him, he will not listen to them,” Deuteronomy 21:18.

During his political career, John Adams faced opponents who were unwilling to change their positions.  These interactions led the second president of the United States of America to once say “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”  Unfortunately, if you repeat a lie over and over again, those who don’t do their research are vulnerable to being deceived.

They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard,’ Deuteronomy 21:20.

Moses compares stubbornness to alcoholism in the passage above.  Anyone who drinks too much will come under the influence of foreign spirits.  Meanwhile, those who are strong willed struggle to accept ideas, beliefs and notions unfamiliar to their life.  Evidence, facts and truth are meant to set people free from stubbornness.  Yet, human minds are just as obdurate as a mule.  Therefore, if you want to break away from the stubborn things in life, set your heart and mind on things above, Colossians 3:1-4.  This process won’t happen over night, but with time God can transform your life if you are willing.

by Jay Mankus

A Brand New Day

If I didn’t put Lamentations at the end of the passage below, these words could have spoken or written by any disgruntled individual today.  Whenever anyone endures a stretch of bad breaks, failure and sadness, it feels as if God is punishing you for some unknown reason.  As a child I attended a church that over emphasized the Old Testament, painting a different picture of God from the New Testament.  Thus, I grew up without a limited perspective of God’s true character and nature, seeing the Lord as a disciplinarian, judge and punisher for those who do evil.

I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.  He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long, Lamentations 3:1-3.

The book of Lamentations has one of the most interesting chapters in the Bible.  The prophet Jeremiah begins by expressing the anguish of his depression.  This remorse continues like a tirade of complaining for twenty verses.  After letting all of his emotions out in the form of recorded words, Jeremiah transitions to the positive.  Despite how bad things may look, Jeremiah recalls a message of hope from the Torah, another name for the first five books of the Bible.  This promise altered his mood, bringing to light that each new day serves as a fresh start on life.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness, Lamentations 3:21-23.

While you can’t reset life like a video game without removing the consequences, altering your attitude is a good place to start.  The hardest part of any complete transformation is learning how to forgive yourself.  This is even more difficult for those who possess a quest for perfection.  While God forgives and forgets, casting your sins as far as the east is from the west, the Devil uses guilt to haunt your mind by bringing up secret scars.  For most of my life, I have fought a losing battle, overlooking God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy, distracted by past failures.  After hearing a song from the group Firefight earlier in the week, I know the course of action I must take; viewing each morning as a Brand New Day.

by Jay Mankus

Attitude Trumps Ability

Acceptance, mentality and outlook creates a culture for attitude.  Depending upon the environment you allow yourself to be surrounded by will influence how positive or negative you become.  According to former Colorado University football coach Bill McCartney, attitude is four times more powerful than someone’s overall ability.  This statement is played out in the 1993 film Rudy based upon the true story of Rudy Ruettiger’s unlikely quest to make the University of Notre Dame football team as a walk on.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Philippians 2:14-15.

Sometimes the most talented individuals never come close to reaching their full potential due to poor attitudes.  Complacency, pride and being spoiled can cause the best to lose their edge.  Meanwhile, less gifted athletes take their place at the top, fueled by a hunger for greatness.  During one scene from Rudy, Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian played by Jason Miller makes a confession to Sean Astin, “Rudy, I wish God would put your heart into some of my star players.”  In this example, attitude trumps ability.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him, Colossians 3:17.

As a former professional golfer, commentators refer to this sport as being 75 to 90 percent mental.  Talent to drive the ball, hit consistent iron shots and develop a strong short game is important.  However, I found that my mood going into a round of golf often dictates the end result.  Staying in the moment, remaining positive and moving on to the next shot are crucial for success.  Yet, without a good attitude, clubs will be tossed, curse words will fly and regret will occur post round.  Whether you are talking about a career, hobby, job or sport, attitude trumps talent.  May times of humility help you to develop a Christ like mindset in the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

From End to End

Whether you are completing a task, playing a game or finishing a project around the house, it’s natural to have an urge to take a break.  However, if you relax too long, the desire to finish quickly fades away.  Subsequently. anyone who tends to give up before the end will earn a reputation as a quitter or slacker.  This label is hard to erase unless you develop an attitude to live end to end.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him, Colossians 3:17.

As a former coach, it doesn’t take a trained eye to see who is into a sporting competition and those with minds somewhere else.  Watching hundreds of youth baseball games over the years, hustle distinguishes the average athletic from those who will excel.  Meanwhile, my one season as a high school basketball coach helped me recognize the importance of a two way player.  The selfish athlete tends to work hard on the offensive end, trying to score as many points as possible.  Team players concentrate on both ends of the court, putting as much energy into defense as offense.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

If you are paying attention, these characteristics are demonstrated daily.  Whether it’s a neighbor, student or co-worker, the determined exhibit a passion, resolve and zeal rarely seen.  These individuals are constantly keeping busy, driven and on the go to fulfill dreams and goals in life.  Unfortunately, I see more slackers than end to end people.  Perhaps, cell phones, electronic devices and new technology have caused many to rely on taking short cuts instead.  While this saves times, the concept of hard work is lost in translation.  May this blog serve as motivation to live each remaining day, end to end, seizing the moments that God gives you in life.

by Jay Mankus

You Are the One

As a boy growing up on the playground during recess, kickball was the game of choice.  Since school wasn’t that exciting, I longed for this time.  The only awkward moment was picking teams, sitting on a bench until your name was called.  While some waited longer than others, it was always great to hear, “you are the one” on my team.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

God has a different way of choosing individuals.  While the average person looks at size, strength or stature, the Lord examines the heart.  Subsequently, many of God’s servants often get overlooked in this life, not appreciated like they should be.  When things don’t go your way, its hard to keep a good attitude.  Thus, some get stuck on the bench until the very end, never hearing “you are the one.”

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” – Esther 4:14

There are others who experience divine intervention also known as God’s providence.  In the case of Esther, she was born into a situation to save the Jews from extinction.  This wasn’t by accident, chance or dumb luck.  Rather, a close relative saw her situation for what is was, an opportunity for serve God for such a time is this. While this blog may find you still sitting on a bench, waiting for God to call your name, don’t give up hope.  The day will come when you hear those precious words, “you are the one.”

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: