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Desperation, Inspiration or a Combination?

After New Year’s Resolutions have been broken, forgotten or wasted by misguided steps in 2015, one of two emotions consume individuals.  Desperation is brought on by agony, despair and worry.  Meanwhile, inspiration is conceived when souls are awakened and spurred on by a glimpse of what could be in the near future.  Somewhere in between the conscience is stimulated by a combination of desperation and inspiration.

Holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain, Philippians 2:16.

As I reread the gospel in May, I get the feeling that the sick, sinners and those who had lost their way in the first century were fueled by desperation.  Since doctors couldn’t cure, help or figure out what was wrong, ill people will willing to try anything regardless how far they had to travel.  Caught in the grips of addiction, desolation led the needy to explore the stories of miracles performed by a carpenter from Nazareth.  Finally, prodigals who had neglected their families for years returned seeking reconciliation and a fresh start on life.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, Romans 15:13.

A week ago I was comfortably numb, going through the motions of a mediocre life.  I’m not sure if it was desperation, inspiration or a combination of the two, yet I snapped out of the malaise which keep me depressed for most of 2015.  Subsequently, a sense of motivation returned, providing just the spark I needed to complete my second movie script in a nick of time.  Now back on track, I am leaning on the Holy Spirit to keep the fire burning as I press on to that which God has called me to do.  As for now, but let a rough day, week or month drag you down.  Rather, look to the Son for inspiration.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Window Into the Soul

Although opinions vary about talk radio, there are moments that are enlightening, original and refreshing.  While driving home from work the other night, a caller made a comment about the host.  Going into specific details on a random topic, the caller replied, “this reveals a window into your soul.”

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles, Psalm 34:17.

Sure, everyone possesses at least one hot button issue, an interest which you are passionate about.  However, the more I ponder this comment, I’m convinced conversations do give strangers a peak into your heart.  Yet, what happens if your words are few and far between, empty of any substance?  Does this suggest your soul is broken, crushed or wounded?

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake, Psalm 23:3.

As I experience an arid period of conversation, what use to be important doesn’t excite me any longer.  Perhaps, this is merely a phase,  something that will pass overtime.  Nonetheless, words are like a pulse, providing a window into your soul.  Thus, the next you feel like the cats got your tongue, pay close attention to the words that you do profess.  If they are not pleasing to Lord, seek guidance from the Lord, leaning on God’s mercy and ask the Holy Spirit to transform your lips.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Owner of a Lonely Heart

The classic rock group Yes introduced their song in 1983.  Debuting on the 90125 album, Owner of a Lonely Heart spoke to broken souls, striking a nerve that many experience throughout life.  Prior to its success, this song was turned down by a number of record companies, calling Owner of a Lonely Heart a strange song that would never be a hit.  If Paul Harvey was still here, I’m sure he would say, “and now you know the rest of the story!”

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.- Isaiah 41:10

In recent years, Jon Anderson, the lead singer of Yes teamed up with 4Him, a Christian Contemporary group to sing Where There is Faith.  Whether its coincidence, fate or mere circumstance, but believing you will be set free from a lonely heart takes faith.  If you’re down in the dumps, with little hope of improving, doubt creeps in, opening the door for depression, isolation or suicide.  This is where faith can intervene.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6

The lyrics of Owner of a Lonely Heart refers to free will on several occasions.  After reading the lyrics, loneliness is a choice, a decision one makes to either dwell in their sorrows or take a chance on tomorrow.  If any of you find yourself to be an owner of a lonely heart today, take some time to read God’s promises in the Bible for those suffering from loneliness.  May the message in these words turn your heart from grief to comfort, trusting in the loving hands of Jesus for healing.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

After the Morning Has Broken

Busted, cracked, fractured, ruptured and smashed are all indications that someone or something is broken.  Though goods and items usually reveal obvious signs of damage, human beings are better at hiding their pain.  Unfortunately, the scars of the past prevent some from ever seeing another sunrise.

My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. – Psalm 131:1

Humility is a vessel God uses to bring arrogant individuals back to earth.  Whenever anyone becomes too puffed up in their minds, trials will arise to regain the proper perspective.  If this is achieved, souls will begin to discover the meaning behind Cat Stevens 1972 hit Morning has Broken.

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 3:22-23

Whether this blog finds you depressed or sky high, each time the morning has broken to commence another day, this symbolizes a second chance at life.  Since the Lord keeps no records of wrongs, 1 Corinthians 13:5, everyone get’s a fresh start, with the slate wiped clean daily.  In view of this, thank God for every time you experience the dawn of a new day!

by Jay Mankus

 

 

If the Lord had Not Been on My Side

If human beings could catch a glimpse of the spiritual dimension, a preview of what lies behind the scenes in life, perhaps souls would have a greater appreciation for divine intervention.  An individual loses their keys momentarily, only to escape a fatal car crash.  Someone wakes up with an uneasy feeling, deciding not to go to work at the World Trade Center on the day of 9/11/01.  A sluggish woman has a premonition to go to a doctor, finding a deadly disease in its infant stage, saving her life through early prevention.  Looking back on numerous miracles, if the Lord had not been on my side, I wouldn’t be alive today to write about it!

We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. – Psalm 124:7

The Bible would be just another book if the boat God told Noah to build didn’t float.  If the flood waters of the mighty Nile decided to break as Israel was crossing upon dry land, Moses wouldn’t have survived to complete the Pentateuch.  Meanwhile, if Mary choose to abandon her new born babe before the Magi arrived, the Savior of World would be like all the aborted babies, a distant memory of what could have been, but never was.  Despite all of these scenarios, somehow, someway and for unforeseen purposes, the Lord of the heavens and earth choose to protect his people.

Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, – Psalm 124:8

Like a scene from Groundhog Day, lives have been altered forever.  Unfortunately, not everyone has been saved, spared or protected.  Many have become victims, dealt a knock out blow, sending any hopes for life to the grave.  Many of those left behind on earth never recover, bitter at God for months, years and decades.  Feeling betrayed, few overcome the heartbreak and suffering of seeing wonderful souls eliminated from society by accidents, bloodshed and demonic influences.  May this piece give readers a new appreciation for life and faith to overcomes moments in time when God doesn’t appear to be on our side.

by Jay Mankus

Deep Inside A Sad Face

In an ever increasing uncensored society, you never know what’s hiding behind a sad face.  As frustration builds, pain lingers and troubles remain unsolved, sadness may go underground.  Subsequently, wounded hurts may turn toward apathy, becoming comfortably numb, dying a slow death inside.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

If this sadness is ever unleashed, don’t be surprised by what comes out of the mouths of the broken.  Some may opt to express their feelings in other venues like Facebook or Twitter.  Emotional outbursts may simply be a ploy, crying out for help, hoping that someone will give them the attention that they need.

 Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
A sad face will remain in its current condition until an act of kindness, bright smile or word of encouragement snaps them out of this spell.  Induced by depression, souls feel trapped until a Good Samaritan comes to the rescue.  The next you you witness a sad face, don’t look the other way.  Rather, extend a loving hand to those in need, Romans 12:15.

by Jay Mankus

The Unbreakable Theory

In the realm of Super heroes, there are usual two polar opposites who become arch enemies.  Like characters within Marvel Comics, it takes time for each individuals’ hidden powers to become realized.  Through trial and error, supernatural abilities are developed, harnessed and put into action to either better the world or pursue evil.  Although appearing unbreakable, every hero and villain possess a weakness, invisible until their Kryptonite sucks away their strength.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. – Galatians 5:17

In the 2000 film Unbreakable, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis portray a modern day relationship between a villain and superhero.  However, each character appears lost, unaware of their purpose in life.  Inspired by a love for comic books, Samuel L. Jackson resorts to terrorism, searching for someone who is unbreakable.  Meanwhile, Bruce Willis plays a security guard, unaware of his unique gift until he passes Jackson’s test, the lone survivor of a deadly train wreck.

As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. – Romans 7:17

In the spiritual world, a similar force is at work, resulting in an unseen battle between good and evil.  C.S. Lewis tackles this subject in Mere Christianity within chapter 1 of Book 2, entitled the Invasion.  Known as dualism in theology, there are two independent powers in the universe that are in conflict with one another.  These competing forces of good and evil require a third party, a judge to determine who is to blame or at fault.  This war rages on in the human body daily as the sinful nature and worldly desires entice souls through temptation to choose wrong over right.  Although there aren’t superheroes in this life, may the power of the Holy Spirit keep you from becoming forever broken.

by Jay Mankus

A Substitute for Reality

As a student, whenever a substitute was standing up front or sitting in a chair, it was like a holiday.  Although plans were passed on, most periods turned into a study hall, a break from the normal routine.  Whether this lasts for a day, week or longer, this individual serves as a substitute for reality.

Stressed out by the events of a week, human beings often turn to their televisions to escape.  Whether its a favorite channel, show or sporting event, this time mends the broken and heals wounded souls temporary.  However, if this habit becomes a life style, entertainment can become a substitute for reality.

Perhaps  the breakdown of the American family started with different viewing interests.  Once on, there isn’t a need for communication as the big screen turns into an alternate reality.  If this pattern continues, minds zone out, numb to deadening relationships inside their home.  As soon as the number of televisions increase to multiple rooms, the stage is set for a divided house.  May those on the verge of falling into this trap, awaken before this idol becomes a permanent substitute for reality.

by Jay Mankus

Strangely Wrapped Gifts

My first gift in life was a severe speech impediment.  Whether you want to call it stammering or stuttering, either way I had a difficult time communicating.  Each time I opened my mouth, I never knew if hot air or words would come out.  Despite the frustration and pain, when I opened this box, inside I discovered an ability to express myself through writing.

At the pinnacle of my athletic career, the second strange present arrived in the form of reconstructive surgery.  Although a state championship in cross country was in my reach, God had other plans.  Watching from the sidelines on crutches, my team fell a few points short, stealing my only chance for a title.  Beyond this disappointment, an likely blessing came my way, standing on a podium of praise following a 3rd place finish in the 200 Individual Medley Relay.

The final gift came in waves, as a series of broken relationships.  I’m not sure if I was to blame or if fate had another destiny.  Regardless of the circumstances, this lack of connection brought me to my knees.  Humility, loneliness and spiritual isolation wasn’t a pleasant thing to unwrap.  Nonetheless, all these things occurred for a reason, 1 Peter 1:6–7.  Today, strangely wrapped gifts come in many shapes and sizes.  However, these life events are necessary to fulfill the words of Romans 8:38-39, developing a close bond to an unseen God and Savior.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

When God Turns Out the Lights

Always is one of those words that is regularly spoken, yet rarely applied.  Similarly, patience is a trait people know they need, but refuse to pray for it.  Consistent, unfailing and unconditional are terms that characterize God’s love.  However, when God turns out the lights during a trial, many respond with complaining, doubt and frustration.

On the other hand, the last thing individuals who experience death, gloom or tragedy need to hear is their loss is all part of God’s will.  While answers might be provided over the course of time, broken and wounded hearts need time to sort through the pain inside.  Yet, when God does turn out the lights, always is a good place to start.

According to the author of Psalm 105, when you don’t have the energy to press on with life, look toward the Lord for strength, verse 4.  However, this isn’t something you can do occasionally.  Rather, the Psalmist urges his audience to always seek God’s face.  If you want answers, sometimes or most of the time doesn’t cut it.  Therefore, the next time God turns out the lights, illuminate this darkness with faith ignited by God’s Word, Psalm 119:105.

by Jay Mankus

 

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