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Tag Archives: busyness

Taking a Turn for the Worse

The expression “taking a turn for the worse” often applies to someone’s health. Whenever an individual experiences an accident, battles cancer or recovers from a major operation, conditions can improve or deteriorate at a moments notice. When a celebrity, former president or icon makes headlines due to a medical condition, the words taking a turn for the worse is a polite way of saying that this person is about to die.

But the high places were not removed. Yet Asa’s heart was blameless with the Lord all his days, 1 Kings 15:14.

The Bible refers to a different kind of taking a turn for the worse. Solomon refers to human hearts as the wellspring of life, Proverbs 4:23. Thus, when spiritual leaders take a turn for the worse, their hearts grow cold. This condition may be attributed to backsliding, busyness, a lack of time spent praying, worshiping or studying the Bible daily. As individuals slowly drift apart from God, hearts lose their excitement, fire and passion for serving the Lord.

And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error. 12 And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, Matthew 24:11-12.

In the first century, Jesus makes a prediction about the future. As deception and error occur, persuaded by false prophets, the love of many will grow cold. Hearts that grow cold will pursue lawlessness and iniquity. In the case of King Asa, he failed to remove altars, idols and temples dedicated to secular gods and goddess. This inaction eventually led future Jews astray. To avoid a similar fate, refuel your heart with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25 so that your spiritual life doesn’t take a turn for the worse.

by Jay Mankus

Struggling to Find Momentum

Scientifically, momentum measures the mass and velocity of a moving body.  Meanwhile, in sports this term is like a changing of the tides, an invisible wave that can alter the outcome of a game.  When “Old Mo” is on your side, everything seems easy, falling into place with ease.  Yet, as momentum slips through your fingers, a sense of hopelessness sets in.  If you don’t believe me, just ask the Houston Oilers, who squandered a 32 point lead in the second half, losing to the Buffalo Bills in overtime on January 3rd, 1993.

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand, Matthew 7:26.

Those who don’t follow or play sports likely have a different understanding of momentum.  Perhaps you’ve tried to diet, exercise or workout on a regular basis.  This first couple of days or week may run smoothly.  Then, busyness, distractions and exhaustion weaken your initial commitment.  Before you develop a solid routine, any roll that you may have experienced is broken and gone, causing you to start all over again.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, Matthew 6:33.

As I struggle to find my own spiritually momentum, I have reflected on past victories as well as what lead me to find this rhythm.  These days seem so long ago as I’ve forgotten the taste of success.  Thus, its back to the drawing board, trying to sort out where I’ve gone wrong so the future can be bright once again.  In these days of disappointment, life lessons can provide a foundation to build upon, starting with prayer, Bible Study and worship.  Yet, a splash and go pit stop just won’t cut it.  Therefore, if you’re struggling to find your momentum, set first the kingdom of God and He will make your paths straight.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Forget Me Not

Myosotis sylvatica, a member of the borage family, consists of a light blue flower regarded as a symbol of friendship.  As Spring showers bring May flowers, Forget Me Not arrangements are a popular gift.  Despite their beauty, time will cause the most gorgeous flowers to fade.  Likewise, absence can cause anyone to forget an important anniversary, birthday or relationship.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you,” Isaiah 49:15.

Distance, distractions and neglect are primary factors which lead to forget.  Work hours may cause a father to not spend enough time with family.  Misguided priorities can steer someone off course, resulting in poor choices and wasted opportunities.  Finally, a state of busyness can lead faithful followers to fall away from God, gradually slipping away by missing church, godly fellowship and quiet times praying and reading the Bible.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. – Psalm 137:5

Psalm 137:5 acknowledges that even God’s chosen people were vulnerable to a short term memory.  Thus, to avoid this from going any further, this servant of God asks to lose their gifts and talents rather than abandon the Lord.  Today, one careless decision, lazy day or rut can break God’s heart.  While Valentine’s Day is full of Forget Me Not cards, one prayer from heaven rains down to earth daily, hoping God’s children will not forget their heavenly Father.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Living in the Fastlane as Friendships Passby

Whether I like it or not, I fall into the same category as Maverick and Goose in Top Gun, ” I feel the need, the need for speed!”  Lately, I’ve been the car in the left hand lane that is going too fast, missing my exit.  As a result, my busyness has caused me to lose touch of several friendships, in a hurry to get to no where

Although Ke$ha once sang about your love is my drug, I believe living life in the fast lane possesses dangerous side effects.  Adrenaline breeds anxiety, impatience and a self-centered heart .  As discernment flies by like a blur, this lifestyle can leave you alone, distant and void of meaningful relationships.

Trying to survive on an empty tank, I pulled over to the curb this weekend.  Like a car needing to see a mechanic, my soul is longing for a spiritual diagnostic check up.  Slowing down is the first step to recovery.  Yet, change takes time, especially for anyone who has allowed their life to get out of control.  Just a David went to the Cave at Adullam for healing, 1 Samuel 22:1-5, retreating with friends can mend fences and revitalize lonely and hurting souls.

by Jay Mankus

Gotta Get It Right

During my last year as a youth pastor, I was responsible for running Confirmation, a year long class for 8th graders who sought to take ownership of their faith.  Before the actual ceremony during church in the Spring, I took my group away on a retreat about 30 minutes west of Columbus, Indiana.  Coming out a year earlier, I showed the movie Groundhog Day to break the ice, easing the tension for those uncomfortable with talking about God.  Essentially, Bill Murray keeps repeating the same day over and over again, until he gets it right.

Unfortunately, time doesn’t stand still like this movie.  However, there are several life lessons worth noting.  First, too many individuals, me especially, become consumed with what they are doing, where they are going and what they need to accomplish every day.  As a result, blinders prevents you from appreciating, interacting and slowing down long enough to develop permanent meaningful lasting relationships.  Secondly, distracted people often don’t recognize, see or stop to help someone in need with a smile, word of encouragement or passing prayer.  Finally, life is best served by embracing daily distractions that God provides.  These interruptions offer opportunities to minister, nurture and uplift struggling souls.

While listening to the song Get it Right by Silverline, I sensed the urging of the Holy Spirit to write this blog.  Although each day is filled with trials and errors, life is too short to keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  If  you are touched by these words, join me in the quest to get it right, John 10:10.  Yet, when you fail, don’t give up, Galatians 6:9-10.  Rather, by leaning on Christ, Philippians 4:13, believe in your heart that over time, you will get it right.

Please comment on my blog how your journey is going.  This post is dedicated to Elizabeth, one of my students who gave her heart to Jesus, Romans 10:9-10, at the end of our confirmation retreat.

by Jay Mankus

Where it All Began

Initially, the Bible was a gift I received after partaking in my first Holy Communion as a 2nd grader.  This white leather covered book was filled with pictures, perfect for someone that age.  As I grew older, busyness, distractions and other interests caused me to leave these pages on my shelf, collecting dust for years.  By the time junior high rolled around, the Roman Catholic Church informed me that it was time for confirmation, usually a year long process filled with a detailed checklist.  Despite receiving an adult black leather King James Bible for my hard work, I treated this book like a hotel visit, inside my nightstand.

 

As I entered high school, the priests at my parent’s church claimed that only they could properly interpret the Bible.  Sarcasm inside of me thought; “why did you give me 2 Bible’s if you knew I wouldn’t understand it?”  Turned off by men of the cloth, God placed me into an unique setting.  Although superficial at first, I began running cross country to get my name in the news paper, like our paperboy who always finished in the top 3 of each race.  The Lord used this artificial motivation to bring me into something special, like a small family of strangers who seemingly hit it off from the beginning.  Cross Country was no longer just running, it was eating meals together, spending time dreaming about life and sharing burdens to help each other to get through the day.

 

The Bible became more than just a book before each cross country race.  It all began during chapels, pre-race huddles when a senior would share an inspirational story, our coach would read a verse from the Bible about running and a captain usually closed in a short prayer.  Hearing passages like Hebrews 12:1, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and Galatians 5:7 transformed my perspective of the Bible.  Prior to high school cross country, the Bible was a book, too holy for me to comprehend.  Yet, when my own peers began to recount the words of the apostle Paul, an avid sports enthusiast, there was an instant connection, Romans 10:17.  By the end of my sophomore running season, I was ready to take the plunge, Romans 10:9-10, a leap of faith.  For me, this is where it all began.

by Jay Mankus

Idle Potion #666

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were the architects of the 1959 hit Love Potion #9.  Originally performed by The Clovers, this song rose to as high as 23 on the U.S. charts before falling back into the capsule of history.  Love potion number 9 refers to a spell which falls upon on man who ends up kissing everyone he sees like the modern country song Beer Goggles written by Neal McCoy.

Similar trances exist today, causing anyone who drinks of the world’s ways to gradually fall prey to a spirit of idleness.  Two months ago I was hungry for the Word of God, spending 1-2 hours daily reading the Bible and praying.  These daily reflections kept me from buying into the schemes of the devil, Ephesians 6:11.  However, as March faded away, so did my desire to continue super sizing my faith.  Thus, like tumbleweeds in steady Texas winds, I have been performing back flips, rolling ever closer to idle potion #666.

The expression out of sight, out of mind rings true, as the devil uses busyness as a portal into idleness.  When you add to this equation distractions and weariness, it only takes a whiff to induce innocent souls toward the devil’s lair.  God sends a spiritual wind to snap anyone out of idleness in the form of 1 Thessalonians 5:4-10.  Therefore, before you get too comfortable, examine your heart to see who or what you are actually following.  Set your mind on obeying 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 or else you might be the next victim of idle potion #666.

by Jay Mankus

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