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Starting next week, a new drama will hit the airways entitled Complications.  Jason O’Mara plays Dr. John Ellis who is transformed by a life altering event, saving a young boy’s life after a drive by shooting.  A real life good Samaritan, Dr. Ellis is interrupted when the attackers return to finish the deal.  Faced with life or death, John kills one of the assailants, making his life much more complicated than the day before.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything, James 1:2-4.

Growing up, I gradually became disappointed by evangelists, pastors and teachers of the Bible who proclaimed an idealist approach to Christianity.  Although not verbatim, messages often included phrases like “just come to Jesus and all your troubles will go away.”  This story book ending never happened to me, nor did I ever meet someone who hasn’t experienced a series of complications in the form of trials.  This is the reality of the world we live in.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 8:38-39.

According to Jesus, every difficult situation individuals encounter is used to promote maturity, perseverance and growth.  Coaches, professional athletes and hard luck losers regularly tell reporters about learning more from a loss than from a victory.  Therefore, complications are merely opportunities to develop as a human being.  Along the long and winding road, there may be moments that appear hopeless.  However, in the end, God allows the good, bad and ugly to occur for his own glory.

by Jay Mankus



A Mid-Faith Crisis

Hollywood’s depiction of a mid-life crisis doesn’t get much better than the 1991 film City Slickers.  Billy Crystal plays a man in his late 30’s who has lost his joy for life.  Depressed, disappointed and struggling to maintain hope for the future, Crystal is sent away by his wife to find himself during a week in Colorado with his buddies.  Disturbing their trail guide, a chain of events culminates in a mid-faith crisis, a watershed moment for Crystal and his 2 friends.

Beyond the big screen, dysfunctional faith forces individuals to confront life’s problems or ignore them, wishing they will disappear.  Enduring a restless night, hours of reflection revealed a troubled heart.  Some where during the last 5 years, I began to neglect most of the relationships in my life.  Subsequently, I find myself in a mid-faith crisis, not sure where to begin.  As my faith has turned lukewarm, Revelation 3:16, not pleasing to the Lord, its time to start over or like the life lesson in City Slickers, do everything better with Christ’s help.

In times of intense difficulty, its easy to throw up your hands, wave the white flag and withdraw into a shell.   Yet, each crisis provides a crossroad where you will wilt under pressure or trust God in the dark.  This critical moment will dictate your proximity to God.  As one who is approaching 30 years of walking with Jesus, I wish I could say faith gets easier the older you become.  Unfortunately, complications in life prove to serve as obstacles, mountains that prevent you from experiencing genuine faith.  Whenever you approach, face or stand in a valley of despair, remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 21:21-22 to conquer any mid-faith crisis you encounter.

by Jay Mankus



Things That Break the Heart

If the words of King Solomon in Proverbs 4:23 hold true today, the heart is vulnerable to numerous attacks.  Beyond physical ailments, there are various trials which can upset, puncture or wound this precious organ.  As women lose a child to complications, a miscarriage or still born death, one can only imagine the grief experienced by this poor soul.  Beside the obvious, accidents, illness and shattered relationships can bombard an innocent heart, leaving pain that lasts a lifetime.

According to King David, another element inflicts jabs to the heart, Psalm 69:19-20.   Scorn is like a deadly weapon, poison on the tips of human tongues which derides a bystander, resulting in a sense of worthlessness.  In an attempt to get ahead in life, words cut like a knife using contempt, disdain and mockery.  When thoughts become verbalized, the Holy Spirit grieves, Ephesians 4:29, recognizing that a heart has been bruised by sticks and stones with names that do leave a scar on one ‘s soul.

Beside watching what you eat, it’s impossible to control or predict the circumstances in life.  Thus, it’s essential to guard your heart with the word of God, Psalm 119:9-11.  No matter where you live or work, unless you’re prepared for the future, you will likely fail,   Hosea 4:6.   Although heartbreak may be a way of life for some, you don’t have to accept this negative mindset.  Yet, when a piece of your heart does break, remember the promise of Psalm 34:18.  In God’s timing, He will mend your broken heart.

by Jay Mankus

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