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Tag Archives: Carpe Diem

Opportunities

A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. The world is full of opportunities, when moments, occasions and time align. When you add this to Carpe diem, a Latin aphorism for to seize the day, what you once thought to be impossible can become a reality. As Christians add prayer to begin each day, the probability for success increases.

Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), 16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

While watching Evan Almighty over the weekend, I was reminded of the power of opportunities. In a scene at a restaurant, Evan’s wife played by Lauren Graham has a talk with God, Morgan Freeman. Thinking Evan was going through a mid life crisis, God sets the record straight. Using an analogy about praying for patience, God doesn’t provide this quality. Rather, the Lord gives you opportunities to demonstrate patience.

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. 10 So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only [j]being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers], Galatians 6:9-10.

Opportunities are like playing a video game. While each game is going on, you have a chance to improve, reach a new level or high score. However, when the game is over, you have to move on, live and learn. As the sunrises, a new day awaits, full of opportunities. The key is making sure you don’t allow past errors, mistakes and sins to discourage you. Those who don’t grow weary or lose heart, press on to seize new opportunities as they unfold. May this blog inspire you to make the most of each God given opportunity that you have today.

by Jay Mankus

Time Matters

There are moments in life that are overshadowed by accidents, hardship or other unforeseen events. Just when you find yourself on the verge of a breakthrough, something beyond your control breaks your momentum. Unfortunately, most people never regain this mojo, quickly disappearing. As time goes by, priorities often change due to new responsibilities. Thus, as the days of your youth fly by, now in my rear view mirror, time matters.

Remember [earnestly] also your Creator [that you are not your own, but His property now] in the days of your youth, before the evil days come or the years draw near when you will say [of physical pleasures], I have no enjoyment in them—Before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened [sight is impaired], and the clouds [of depression] return after the rain [of tears]; Ecclesiastes 12:1-2.

The most quoted chapter, Ecclesiastes 3, points to the concept that there is a season and time for every matter and purpose. In the 1984 film Footloose, Kevin Bacon plays a high school senior, Ren who fights city hall to restore dancing so that a class prom can be held. Ren’s girlfriend Ariel played by Lori Singer, gives him a series of Bible verses as the pastor’s daughter. The force that drives Bacon’s character is the belief that “this is our time.”

In the day when the keepers of the house [the hands and the arms] tremble, and the strong men [the feet and the knees] bow themselves, and the grinders [the molar teeth] cease because they are few, and those who look out of the windows [the eyes] are darkened; When the doors [the lips] are shut in the streets and the sound of the grinding [of the teeth] is low, and one rises up at the voice of a bird and the crowing of a cock, and all the daughters of music [the voice and the ear] are brought low; Ecclesiastes 12:3-4.

In the passage above, King Solomon uses a series of symbols to illustrate how time flies by on earth. The days of your youth end in a flash, like a twinkling of your eyes. Perhaps this explains the origin of carpe diem, found in book 1 of the Roman poet Horace’s work Odes. While this Latin phrase literally means “pluck the day,” Horace’s goal was to seize the moment before time slips away. Since time matters, make sure you seize each day the Lord gives you on earth, making the most of the opportunity to live.

by Jay Mankus

The Time Share Theory

The term timeshare was coined in Great Britain during the 1960’s. This vacation system where a property with a divided form of ownership or use rights became popular after World War II. The downside to modern timeshares is that the exact price varies depending upon the week that you own and maintenance fees often increase every year. In addition, trying to sell your timeshare can be extremely difficult which explains the rise in companies devoted to selling unwanted timeshares.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, Ecclesiastes 3:1-4.

The Time Share Theory is based upon the decisions that you make in life. The choices you make daily will reveal your priorities. During a portion of the Sermon on the Mount detailed in Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus uses the analogy, “where your treasure is, your heart will be also,” Matthew 6:19-24. Thus, whether on purpose or subliminally, habits will determine how you spend your time each week.

Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free], Matthew 20:28.

A disciple from the tribe of Levi unveils Jesus’ time share theory. According to Matthew in the passage above, Jesus viewed each day as an opportunity to serve to God. John Marks shares a story how an early morning time praying by Jesus changed and shifted what was previous scheduled, Mark 1:35-39. If your daily goal is to seize the day, how your share your time will determine the outcome. The only question remaining is will you be more like Ebenezer Scrooge this Christmas season or more like Jesus?

by Jay Mankus

Leaving God’s Footprint Behind

The Roman lyrical poet Horace first coined the Latin phrase carpe diem.  When translated into English, carpe diem loosely means to “seize the day.”  This may explain why professor John Keating, a poetry teacher played by Robin Williams in the film Dead Poets Society references this expression.  When applied to a Christian faith, believers should be focused on leaving God’s footprint behind.

For Barnabas was a good man [privately and publicly—his godly character benefited both himself and others] and he was full of the Holy Spirit and full of faith [in Jesus the Messiah, through whom believers have everlasting life]. And a great number of people were brought to the Lord.  And Barnabas left for Tarsus to search for Saul; Acts 11:24-25.

Luke introduces a man named Joseph in Acts 4:36-37 who developed the nick name Barnabas, “son of encouragement” for his generous donations to the church.  When Jesus’ disciples were skeptical of Saul’s conversion to Christ, it was Barnabas who defended his faith, Acts 9:27.  In the passage above, Luke reveals the secret behind Barnabas’ success, full of the Holy Spirit.  At some point, God called Barnabas to disciple Saul, investing one year of his life to nurture his faith.

And when he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. For an entire year they met [with others] in the church and instructed large numbers; and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians, Acts 11:26.

By the time these men left, Antioch became a symbol of God’s footprint on earth.  As members of the church emulated the life and teachings of Jesus, community members referred to this group of believers as Christians.  Today, Professor William Rees is the father of carbon footprints, derived from a paper, Environment and Urbanization, written in 1992.  While Christians should be good stewards of the earth God created, the Holy Spirit is searching for individuals who want to leave behind God’s footprint wherever you go and whatever you do.

by Jay Mankus

Maximizing the Moment

Time can be a friend or a foe.  Timing can be on your side or about to run out on the next Cinderella.  As a new year approaches, I have been pondering the best strategy to maximize each moment.  The apostle Paul provides advice to take advantage of the days you are given on this earth.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

If you want to practice Carpe Diem, “seize the day,” a careful examination is necessary.  Reflecting each night before you go to sleep can help individuals determine how well or poorly your time was spent.  Paul uses the word walk, referring to how you invested your time.  What did you do, say or which opportunities did you let slip away?  This daily self evaluation serves as a method to improve your use of time in the future.

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5:17.

The second aspect you must consider is God’s will for your life.  Are you doing what God created you to do or have you been wandering in the wilderness, not sure what to do or where to go next?  Ascertaining God’s will brings purpose and meaning to life, enabling you to begin to maximize each moment.  Sure, there will be detours, dead ends and rock blocks that you will face, but those who discover God’s will often press on to the end.  May 2018 be the year God’s Holy Spirit opens your eyes, Galatians 5:25, to find your place in this world so that maximizing the moment becomes reality.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Days

I’m not sure how or why it happens, but a couple of times each year I wake up and a week, month or season has suddenly vanished.  Perhaps, my tunnel vision is too blame, so caught up by my job, project and other pursuits that I failed to slow down to embrace life.  Subsequently, I am left to wonder what did I miss on these lost days.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes, James 4:14.

Unfortunately, you can’t get these moments in time back.  Although the catch phrase to the soap opera theme song Days of Our Lives may be simple, “like sand through an hour glass, these are the days of our lives,” its so true.  The apostle Paul concurs, comparing each day to a fine mist which disappears as soon as the sun comes out.  The only question remaining: what is the best approach to prevent future opportunities from slipping through your hands?

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.

The answer lies in a powerful Latin saying, Carpe Diem, seize the day.  One of my favorite scenes from the movie Dead Poets Society occurs on the first day of class.  Trying to avoid the normal boring routine, Robin Williams who plays English teacher John Keating, takes his class for a walk down the hall.  Using school history as a teachable moment, Williams provides hope for those struggling with the lost days.  May you exercise your faith by savoring the time you have left with your children, friends and family.  Seize today!

by Jay Mankus

Life is Just a Blip on the Radar Screen

Modern television is filled with episodes or series devoted to UFO’s, unidentified flying objects.  Several shows claim unidentified “bogeys” entering foreign air space. They are not from this world, far more technologically advanced than our planet.  These blips on radar screens don’t belong, creating tension for pilots who encounter the unexplainable.  As theories continue to fester about the existence of aliens, one thing is certain: life is just a blip on the radar screen.

Depending upon the career you choose, hand you’ve been dealt or how you were raised, life seems to go faster the older you become.  While talking to former students at a going away party over the weekend, my teaching career seems eons ago.  Before you know it, 7th graders are graduating from high school, accelerating this blip, like the USS Enterprise at warp speed.  On this journey through life, unless you take time to slow down, Psalm 46:10, your life will be void of permanent meaningful lasting relationships.

King David eludes to this blip in Psalm 49:10, where no one is exempt as the foolish and wise perish together.  Perhaps this may explain Solomon’s comments in Proverbs about using wealth to earn and entertain friends, taking his father’s words to heart.  The younger brother of Jesus learned a similar lesson, comparing life to a mist that vanishes into thin air, James 4:14.  In view of this truth, seize the moments you have today, Ephesians 5:15-18, making the most of the opportunities God provides.  Make your blip count before it disappears on life’s radar screen.

What legacy are you leaving behind for friends, family or neighbors? Who has been the greatest blip on your radar screen?

by Jay Mankus

Saving the Best for Now

Attending weddings are often a family affair, seeing relatives that you’ve only heard stories of or seeing others you haven’t seen for years.  Whether you are on the bride or groom side, marriage is meant to publicly celebrate the union between a husband and a wife, where two individuals become one flesh, Matthew 19:4-6.  Although not mentioned in John 2:1-11, the rabbi overseeing the proceeding likely quotes Genesis 2:24 during the vows portion of the wedding in Cana that Jesus and his family attended.

Based upon the accounts in chapter 1, only 6 disciples had been selected by Jesus, with 6 more to complete his ministry team.  This passage also suggests Joseph, Mary’s husband and Jesus’ earthly father had been dead for sometime.  The final piece of the puzzle insinuates that Mary is a close acquaintance to the parents of the bride as she is concerned about how her friend would be perceived if they ran out of wine at the reception, with some carrying on for 3-4 days.  If this is true, these elements help explain Jesus’ comment, “my time has not yet come,” Joseph’s absence from the text and Mary’s anxious reply to her son.  An observer to all of these occurrences is James, the author of the Catholic Letter and younger brother of Jesus.

Although his earthly ministry was not suppose to start yet, Jesus felt compelled to obey 5th commandment, Exodus 20:12, “honor your father and mother.”  The perfect child, Jesus calls the servants at the party to listen to his instructions, John 2:6-8.  Knowing the miracle had been done from a distance, Jesus orders the master of the banquet to receive a cup from one of the 6 stone jars, filled with water.  Remaining in the background, Jesus allows the bridegroom to take credit for the choice wine created by the son of God.  The master of the banquet refers to his sip as, “saving the best til now!”

An eyewitness of this miracle, James probably never forgot what his oldest brother had done, a special memory etched in his mind.  Perhaps James 4:13-17 is a small glimpse of the lesson God taught him in Cana.  You may love your past or can’t wait for a future event, but all that matters is the here and now.  Therefore, don’t worry about what could of or should have been and avoid the temptation of what may be.  Rather, live out Colossians 3:17 today as you save the best for now!

by Jay Mankus

The Last Gift

hersheygolfcollection.com
Since my father’s dad and mother’s mom died prior to my birth, I only knew 2 grandparents.  While my grandmother spoiled me with donuts and money, Grandpa Kautz and I developed a special bond through golf.  In his retirement, he worked part time at Hershey Country Club as a marshal and starter, able to play golf with his friends after each shift.  Before his health quickly faded, my wife and I were invited up for the day to play 18 holes on the East Course, a cherished memory I keep to this day.  A month following his funeral, my Aunt Marcia pulled me aside saying, “Paul wanted you to have this”, pointing to his set of Tommy Armour 845 irons.   Only a few years old, he knew I would appreciate them more than any other relative.  This was the last gift I received.

 
Beginning in John 12:20-36, Jesus pulled his disciples aside, revealing God’s plan for his life.  Trying to comfort their souls, Jesus conveys a message of hope, promising the Holy Spirit in John 14:15-31.  Jesus refers to a counselor who serves as a spirit of truth.  Continuing, Jesus makes a comparison to an orphan, vowing to provide relief to those who miss Jesus, John 14:18-19.  This promise became reality in Acts 2:1-4, as the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostle.  The man whom weeks earlier denied Jesus, afraid of being arrested or possibly meeting the same fate of Jesus, Peter is transformed by the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:14-39.  Jesus’ last gift provided a confidence his followers did not possess until after his ascension.

As time passed, some began to wonder if a Pentecost like Spirit was still possible.  The apostle Paul addresses this concern in Ephesians 19:1-6.  Verse 2 implies some believers had not even heard of the Holy Spirit.  However, when examining the original Greek text, the verse actually refers to receiving confirmation, a word from the Lord, on whether or not the Holy Ghost has ceased or continues to move as in the days of Pentecost.  Although this debate continues today, with most theologians clinging to the ceasing side, Joel 2:28 promises a mighty conclusion.  This prophet suggests that God’s last gift, will be poured out upon all people.  May you experience the presence of God like 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus

Living in Anticipation or Dying with Regret?

In the days of my youth, I often longed for certain moments in time, excited about a specific day, event or weekend.  Like a student who lives for Spring Break and summer vacation, anticipation was building up inside, waiting to be satisfied.  However, recently, I haven’t had much joy living day to day.  As I was filling up my car at a local gas station, a song from the 80’s, piped through exterior loud speakers, convicted me of my blasé attitude.

Robin Williams communicates a similar message to his students in the film Dead Poets Society.  Instead of a boring first day of class with assigned seats, handing out books and going over a course syllabus, Williams wants his students to live English.  Quoting a Latin phrase from a poem, Carpe Diem, Williams challenges his class to seize each day!  Thus, the question remains; will you live the rest of your days in anticipation of what may occur or die with regrets?

One of the most intriguing passages of scripture is found in the gospel of John.  The red letters in John 10:10 indicate that Jesus is speaking, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  They refers to Jesus’ sheep, those people who know the voice of their shepherd and follow him.  The first portion of Jesus’ words focus on how Satan attempts to steal your joy for living, kill any dreams you may have and destroy your life.

Therefore, this battle is not only internal; finding motivation to make the most of each day, but it is also spiritual.  Thus, if you want to make the promise in John 10:10 a living reality, putting on the armor of God is essential, Ephesians 6:11.  Otherwise, you might die regretting your last years on earth.  As Andy Dufresne says in Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living or get busy dying,” the choice is yours?  Seize the day now before its’ too late!

By Jay Mankus

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