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Another Reason to Pray

In this age of chaos, parents have loads to worry about.  However, as priorities distract many from taking time to pray, minds can race out of control.  Thus, when the temptations of life prey upon children, asking God for a hedge of protection is another reason to pray.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, Philippians 4:6.

A few years ago I began to become fed up with the mediocre life I was living.  In response I started to keep a prayer journal writing down my thoughts and concerns.  Although this may not work for everyone, if I don’t write prayers down my mind wanders, having a hard time concentrating.  In this past week, I have begun to see the fruits of answered prayer.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:7.

One of the common phrases I jot down daily is hoping my children reach their full potential.  While the context changes weekly, my oldest son’s recent success can only be described as an answer to prayer.  I didn’t ask for a specific outcome, yet God allowed James to become an individual state champion in pole vault as well as helping his team win a state title.  Life goes on from here, but I will use this miracle as another reason to pray.

by Jay Mankus

Now I’ve Seen Everything

During the Clinton Administration, 1993-2001, America citizens were less intrusive.  When rumors of affairs, murmurs of  sexual misconduct and witnesses of past improprieties began to come forward, many people protested, claiming the president has a right to his own privacy.  The talking points in the media were clear, “as long as you work hard, give your all each day, everyone, including the president of the United States has the freedom to do what they want on their own time.”  As Dorothy proclaimed to her dog Toto upon landing in Oz, “we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore!”

This is how I felt last night while driving home from work when I heard the news Adrian Peterson, star running back for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings was arrested for spanking his child.  After one of his children pushed another out of the way while playing on a swing seat, Peterson choose to discipline his son, following in the footsteps of his parents.  Maybe he got carried away, but Adrian was simply trying to practice a biblical principle, Proverbs 22:6.  Surely, the state of Texas would understand this?  At least in the past they did, yet not now and not today in this culture of chaos.

If Adrian is guilty, then maybe the authorities need to go after the founders of Scared Straight and Beyond Scared Straight?  I’m kidding!  Remember when you could tell a joke, say something funny or sarcastic and not have to worry about the social police from shutting you down.  Anyway, my point is that spanking is a form of scared straight, associating pain with punishment.  My father used a paddle with a steel insert from his college fraternity.  As a former college football player, sure my butt was paddled a few times, yet I was a quick learner, acknowledging the importance of honoring your father and mother.  I’m not sure what’s next nor can I recommend a clear cut solution.  Nonetheless, now that I’ve seen everything, I sense Jesus’ return is closer than its ever been before.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Different Type of Refuge

In 1903, President Teddy Roosevelt designated Florida’s Pelican Island as America’s first National Wildlife Refuge.  More than100 years later, 560 refuges exist nationwide encompassing more than 150 million acres of water and land.  Hollywood embraced this movement with their 1993 film the Pelican Brief starring Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts.  The People for the ethical treatment of animals continue this mission today, putting animals in front of the line, with human beings pushed to the side.

King David introduces a different type of refuge in Psalm 59:16.  Whenever David was having a bad day, he withdrew to a quiet place to seek God’s help through prayer.  Although David may not of seen results after he said Amen, a sense of peace filled his heart.  Despite the chaos surrounding him, the Lord’s presence provided hope to carry on.  Words like Psalm 63:6-8 recount a spiritual refuge, where humans can find rest for their souls.

With America’s economy still sputtering, its hard to forget about rising gas, groceries and living expenses.  While some may be prospering, many are searching for a place of refuge where hope, peace and relaxation are present.  Though manufactured for fish and wildlife, this doesn’t prevent predators from cutting short lives.  Therefore, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted by life’s trials, flee to a quiet place like Mark 1:35 to find a different type of refuge.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Sheep Without A Shepherd

If you’ve ever gone to a mall to people watch, it doesn’t take long to see who knows where they are going and who is lost, trying to find their way.  Whether you’re driving a car, searching for something you’ve misplaced or walking on a unmarked trail, everyone from time to time experiences the pain of loss.  In the midst of this crisis, a sense of helplessness paralyzes souls, making it obvious that no matter hard one tries, you can’t save yourself.

While traveling throughout towns and villages, Jesus observed the crowd of individuals following him.  Watching intently, tears began to swell up in his eyes, as Jesus saw this group as sheep without a shepherd, Matthew 9:35-36.  They were looking for something more in life, hoping that Jesus had the answer.  Like sheep aimlessly roaming the countryside, hungry hearts longed for meaning to life.

Today, the silent majority wonders when their Shepherd will return.  As chaos abounds, modern sheep have been led astray by false prophets, hypocritical leaders and the twisting of the Bible.  Exiting the church after high school or during college, pessimistic sheep are searching for alternative means to enter heaven’s gate.  Although some turn back, coming to their senses like the prodigal in Luke 15, a growing number remain sheep without a shepherd.

by Jay Mankus

 

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