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Tag Archives: death

People, Problems and Pain

While every April makes Americans think of 2 certainties in life, death and taxes, there is another that exists.  No matter where you go, what you do or how long you do, there will always be the 3 P’s: people, problems and pain.  People can be the reason or source of your problems and pain.  Some may think if I just eliminate the bad apple or get rid of this negative influence, everything will change for the better.  Unfortunately, there will always be someone else who comes along who possess similar traits.  Thus, to escape problems and pain that are destined to arrive, soulmates play a vital role to survival.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed, 1 Peter 4:12-13.

One of Jesus’ disciples reveals a common held belief during the first century.  Evidently, some individuals were surprised to see turbulent times enter their lives.  This flawed mindset is exposed by Peter, making sure everyone understands what to expect month to month.  Trials aren’t a strange occurrence.  Rather, people, problem and pain are placed into one’s life, serving as a means to refine your faith.  While not everyone will marry, Christian friends are placed on earth to help the suffering endure pain.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us, Romans 8:18.

The apostle Paul brings up a mindset necessary to overcome the turmoil that life brings upon unexpected souls.  The suffering mentioned in the passage above refers to the persecution, trials and harsh treatment from those who opposed the good news about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  While there were days filled with pain, Paul developed a heavenly mindset, understanding that his current battle was temporary.  Thus, if you find yourself in a precarious situation, submit to God by trusting in the Holy Spirit to enable you to overcome the people, problem and pain you face throughout life.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Blinded for a Time

In the 1988 action film Bloodsport, Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a martial arts expert Frank Dux.  The name is derived from a famous competition known as the Kumite.  During the championship match, the defending champion who killed on of his opponents in a preliminary match, throws a foreign substance into Dux’s eyes.  Blinded for a short time, Frank panics before relying on his training which carries him onto victory.

Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus, Acts 9:8.

The saying “you don’t know what you have until its gone” can be applied to several aspects in life.  A soldier who relies on his strength may loose a limb or limbs in battle.  Individuals may take forgranted a special relationship until death takes this person away prematurely.  Meanwhile, a career or home can be ruined in a blink of an eye.  Regardless of who you are or where you live, sooner or later you will be blindsided by a trial.  How you respond will determine the path you take in life.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, 1 Peter 1:6.

Looking back over the last 5 years of my life, I was forced to fight through adversity.  Through some of the ups and downs, there were times I felt God turned his back on me.  Yet, as I was blinded for a time, I learned that God never moved.  Rather, I allowed bitterness, frustration and regret lead me to drift away into period of depression.  However, like Jean-Claude Van Damme in the end of Bloodsport, my previous training in the Bible is helping me return to a victorious life in Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Living on Life Support

Several years ago my Aunt Tonya was diagnosed with an aggressive form of ALS.  Three months later, she was hanging on by a thread, living on life support.  Whenever you experience the frailty of life up close, a helpless feeling consumes one’s soul.  Less than four months after her first doctor’s visit, Tonya passed away.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me, John 15:4.

From a spiritual perspective, meditation, prayer, reading the Bible and worship are four food groups for the human soul.  Unfortunately, like trying to eat healthy, it doesn’t take much to stray off course.  Before you know it, each poor decision can sap bodies of their energy.  Thus, if human beings do not receive a daily dose of spiritual soul food, it won’t be long until these individuals will be clinging to a different kind of life support.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

Anyone who is tuned in to current events, may make an additional connection.  As the Middle East battles for control, refuges are crossing the borders into Europe to escape death, persecution and turmoil.  While segments of society are doing okay, the rest of the world is falling apart.  People are searching for hope, peace and love without much success.  Therefore, if you want to possess the ability to breathe on your own again, ask the Holy Spirit to fill your empty cup with the abundant life.

by Jay Mankus

The Replacement

In life you always have to be prepared for the unexpected.  Death, injury or sickness is a daily occurrence causing companies, organizations or teams to search for a suitable replacement.  The NFL has created practice squads, MLB has its minor leagues and most businesses use interns to ascertain a potential substitute if necessary.  While each system may have its own flaws, management understands this vital role to insure their success in the future.

Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, Acts 1:21.

Following the suicide of Judas, feeling guilty after betraying Jesus, the disciples were short one person.  Based upon the leadership structure, continuing without a treasurer would have been futile.  Thus, one of Jesus’ last commands to his disciples was to find a replacement.  Although the method chosen was unusual, the lots that were cast fell upon Matthias.

Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles, acts 1:26.

Sometimes the Bible and God doesn’t make sense.  This is one of those occasions.  Yet, when I thought about this for a moment, casting lots is similar to prayer.  You have a 50/50 chance.  If you want to get technical, 33.3 % as God can either answer your request, deny it or respond with not now.  Therefore, whether you’re looking to replace an athlete, co-worker or spiritual leader, don’t forget to add prayer to your decision making process.  Whatever you decide, may the Lord give you wisdom when the time comes to choose a replacement.

by Jay Mankus

 

Misreading the Road Signs in Life

I guess you can say I’ve always been geographically challenged the first time I drive to a new place.  Once I find it, my photographic memory will bring me back time after time.  However, sometimes the anticipation of arriving causes me to jump the gun, misreading road signs, causing me to regularly get off on the wrong exit.

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

The night before I met my wife for the very first time, I was on my way to a regional conference in Chicago.  Unfamiliar with the area, I wasn’t sure which exit to take.  Not afraid to ask for directions, I got off trying to find a convenience store or gas station to point me in the right direction.  Instead, I drove into what I thought was a development, actually one of the projects.  Before I could roll my window down, I found myself in the middle of a movie, about the get car jacked.  Whether it was the Holy Spirit or mere instincts, I gunned my engine, almost took out 2 people and fled as fast as I could back to the main highway.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Fortunately for me, I escaped a life altering experience, similar to the events of Robert Allenby’s brush with death last weekend in Hawaii.  Every know and then, we all happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Subsequently, death can result like an incident bystander struck by a drunk driver.  Thus, trying to make sense of life’s bizarre circumstances is nearly impossible.  Nonetheless, when roadblocks send you in an alternate or different direction, open life’s road map, the Bible, to help you get you back on course.

by Jay Mankus

 

Learning to Get Back Up When Life Knocks You Down

Death, financial worries and illness are the 3 most common trials that trigger depression.  If any of these obstacles linger or are replaced by another debilitating force, its hard to remain optimistic.  Thus, learning to get back up when life knocks you down begins with words of encouragement.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – Galatians 6:9-10

In the moment of his greatest distress, David sought refuge in a cave within Adullam.  When his friends heard of his despair, they joined him to uplift David’s spirits.  Unable to stand on his own, David was able to get back up, inspired by their camaraderie.  Subsequently, a rejuvenated soul compelled David to become their leader.

All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him. – 1 Samuel 22:2

After I lost my job on New Year’s Day 2012, I was crushed.  I felt like I had just been punched in the gut, without any warning.  However, 2 close friends stood by me in these days of darkness.  One brought my family a meal that night and another scheduled a time to meet weekly.  Through the good and bad, the friends God provides in times of need have helped me get back up when life has knocked me down.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The End of Days

Whether you pick up a news paper to read, watch headline news or listen to daily conversations, life is full of opinions.  Each voice filters current events through their own worldview, trying to sway others to embrace their beliefs.  However, some arguments deviate from the truth, based upon emotions rather than the facts.  The only conclusion I have come to recently is we are living in the end of days.p

Jesus first gave initial warning signs in Matthew 24:6-15.  The end of days is compared to a pregnant woman enduring labor pains.  Contractions will begin with false Messiahs, followed by wars and rumors of war.  In addition, earthquakes and famines will bring death, suffering and trials to the ends of the earth.  As these pains intensify, persecution, hatred and wickedness will spread.  One of Jesus’ final statements rings true today, “the love of most will grow cold.”

I’m no prophet nor will I make any predictions.  Yet, as I look to the Bible to try to understand what’s going on in the world, the apostle Paul builds upon Jesus’ words, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9.  In the last days before Jesus returns, Satan will influence human being to believe lies.  As soon as minds become deceived, lawlessness will reign.  Once a baby is ready to come out, you can’t stop this natural process.  However, if these signs are a precursor to the end of days, prepare your life now or you may be left behind.

by Jay Mankus

 

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