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When Life Get’s in the Way of Your Plans

The older you become, the more likely it is that one phone call will radically change your life.  Bad news has a way of stealing joy as well as altering any plans that you have previous made.  Just before Christmas, my wife’s mom was rushed to the hospital.  In the week’s that have followed, there have been ups and downs, resulting in a series of trips to Chicago to see her mother.  In the end, everyone will pass, but preparing for the inevitable is like riding a roller coaster in the dark.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

In moments like these, the wisdom of Solomon shines light on what’s truly important.  Sure, developing goals are helpful to create a five or ten year plan for prosperity.  Yet, beyond a man’s or woman’s heart, the Lord will throw an occasional curve ball to keep you off balance.  Subsequently, if your steps aren’t in alignment with God’s calling, a detour will likely be coming, drawing you back to where you need to be.  Whether that’s taking care of an ailing parent or pursuing a promotion to keep get your children through college, only time will time.  Yet, for now life is like a wheel of fortune, around and around it goes, where it stops nobody but God knows.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them, Ephesians 2:10.

So what do you do when life get’s in the way of your plans?  First, praying can serve as a vehicle for healing as well as a source of comfort.  Second, seek counsel from those who have already gone through a similar situation.  This provides prospective as well as the ability to avoid making the same mistakes as your predecessor.  Finally, cling to the promises of the Bible, memorizing these passages to instill in you hope that God is not finished using and working through you.  May the Holy Spirit guide your steps the next time life get’s in the way of your plans.

by Jay Mankus



Just Pray

In recent years, my mother and wife’s mom have been rushed to the hospital.  The older you become, the closer death draws near.  Yet, when you reach that point of helplessness, worry doesn’t do anything but make matters worse.  Thus, as my wife returned from visiting her ailing mother, the first thing that came to my mind to cope with her stress was, “just pray.”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, Philippians 4:6.

Beside dealing with health concerns, almost everyone has a co-worker, family member or neighbor who is their own worst enemy.  This type of individual tends to be stubborn, failing to listen or take the advice of friends.  Thus, a vicious cycle is repeated as the same mistakes and sins occur over and over again.  Although gossip is often the first response to these unfortunate souls, a better alternative is to resist this temptation through prayer.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26.

Jesus demonstrated an unusual but effective practice related to prayer.  Whenever a person was on the verge of death or presumed dead, Jesus told everyone to leave the room or house.  The purpose of this was to get rid of anyone who did not believe God could change a dire situation.  Essentially, Jesus removed doubt from hindering his prayers.  Subsequently, healings, miracles and resurrections occurred on a regular basis.  Wherever you are and whatever you are going through, when you feel like giving up, just pray.

by Jay Mankus



Are You Ready to Jump In?

Every so often I will come face to face with a crisis.  Usually, its a mom or dad not paying attention to their children, wondering off into trouble.  Sometimes I become the good Samaritan, reaching out just in time to prevent an accident or fall.  Unfortunately, this is rare, often consumed with my own life, oblivious to everything else around me.  Thus, I’m not ready to jump in.

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross, Mark 15:21.

One Friday morning, a man was minding his own business, possible thinking about what he was going to do over the weekend.  Suddenly, commotion from the crowds standing along the street peeked his curiosity.  Going over to see what was going on, a soldier called out, demanding his help.  Though its unclear if he was a willing participant, Simon jumped into action, carrying a cross for a pitiful soul, full of blood, bruises and open flesh.

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 term Christian was first derived in the town of Antioch.  Faith wasn’t just a spoken word.  Rather, the followers of Jesus displayed the same love, peace and servanthood of their former leader.  Pleasantly surprised by these acts, citizens began to say, “hey, you must be one of those Christ followers?”  Overtime this phrase was condensed to simply Christian.  In view of this historical fact, may you be compelled to jump into action, following in the footsteps of Jesus, 1 John 2:6.

by Jay Mankus


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