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Tag Archives: desperation

The Sons of this Age

While sharing the parable of the shrewd manager, Jesus makes an interesting observation.  Even in the first century, followers of Jesus did not treat one another as well as non-believers.  Perhaps, competition, immaturity and judgmental spirits began to cause infighting within the body of Christ.  Instead of demonstrating the love of God as salt and light, Matthew 5:13-15, religious leaders afraid to let go of Judaism stunted the spiritual growth of many new converts.

And his master commended the unjust manager [not for his misdeeds, but] because he had acted shrewdly [by preparing for his future unemployment]; for the sons of this age [the non-believers] are shrewder in relation to their own kind [that is, to the ways of the secular world] than are the sons of light [the believers], Luke 16:8.

In the passage above, Jesus refers to non-believers as the sons of this age.  To certain extent, many of these individuals would be categorized as amoral, not knowing right from wrong.  Yet, the parable of the shrewd manager illustrates that it’s never too late to change.  Despite whatever misdeeds you have committed in the past, God uses conviction to elicit repentance.  When the man in this story was fearful his position would be lost, a sense of desperation produced a series of business transactions to save his job.

And I tell you [learn from this], make friends for yourselves [for eternity] by means of the wealth of unrighteousness [that is, use material resources as a way to further the work of God], so that when it runs out, they will welcome you into the eternal dwellings, Luke 16:9.

The passage above urges readers to avoid legalism which stifles faith.  Instead of analyzing this or that, don’t be afraid to use earthly income to make friends for eternity.  While this context contradicts other passages above money, Jesus wants people to realize that material resources purchased by wealth furthers the work of God.  Essentially, what Jesus is saying is the sons of this age are like a harvest waiting to be picked.  However, the workers with the right mentality are few.  Thus, if you want to become fishers of men, set your heart and mind on things above.

by Jay Mankus

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Petitions, Prayers and Intercession

If you are moved, passionate or perturbed by a certain issue, you might choose to start a petition.  This formal written request attempts to organize a body of concerned citizens uniting over a common cause.  While I have signed petitions in the past, I’ve never thought of prayer in this context.   According to the apostle Paul, Christians should come together to petition God through concerts of prayer.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—1 Timothy 2:1.

Growing up in a Roman Catholic church, I was taught prayer was suppose to be a private matter.  Jesus reaffirms this in the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:6.  Nonetheless, Solomon professes in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time for everything.  Thus, whether its drug addiction, suicide or violence, its time to petition God with other like minded individuals to cease these cancers of society.

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise, James 5:13.

In times of desperation, intercession is one of the last lines of defense.  I’ve read several amazing testimonies from church members interceding on behalf of missionaries in the field.  One of my favorites involves a group of believers witnessing to a tribe of head hunters.  During one particular evening, this group’s village was surrounded, fearful for their lives.  Yet, instantaneous prayers ushered angels into action, spooking these warriors away in a biblical like miracle.  Though the situation you are currently encountering may seem dire, petition, prayer and intercession is the best solution to confront mounting issues in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Earnest Prayers

Grave, serious and solemn describe the emotions connected to the term earnest.  Tragic events like the San Bernardino terrorist attack on a company Christmas party sent shock waves across the United States last week.  Like the nation of France following their own recent encounter, the news of death tends to bring people to their knees.

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him, Acts 12:5.

Although less and less people annually consider themselves to be born again Christians, crying out to God is like a natural response in the face of desperation.  Unfortunately, earnest prayers usually arrive after disaster occurs.  Thus, for God to answer most prayers miracles are necessary or else people will go home disappointed and disenfranchised.  This wasn’t always the case, especially during the first century.

When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”  “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel,” Acts 12:14-15.

Persecution was a way of life for early Christian as many leaders were martyred for their faith.  Hopeful that Peter didn’t face the same fate of James of Zebedee in Acts 12:2, a spirit of earnest prayer spread.  This sober mood spawned an angel into action.  The ultimate goal of any prayer to receive the answer that you’re hoping for.  However, sometimes God answers quicker than you expect.  Thus, before the morning sunrise, Peter was set free, arriving at their front door.  Initially shocked like a dream too good to be true, this earnest prayer was blessed immediately.  In view of this account, be proactive to form a hedge of protection as you participate in a modern example of earnest prayer.

by Jay Mankus

A Bold Request

The recent commercials sponsored by Credit Karma suggest that getting a free credit score empowers individuals with boldness.  Thus, whether you are buying a car or house, you should always ask for more.  Perhaps the meek have a bargaining chip, yet reality is a far cry from Hollywood.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you, ” Matthew 7:7.

Boldness can be manifested within Type A personalities, conceived through desperation or develop overtime through confidence.  In the case of a criminal, hanging on a cross next to Jesus, it didn’t take long to realize He was different.  Whether it was listening to nearby conversations or something inside his heart, a sense of urgency grew.  When the time presented itself, this unworthy soul asked for forgiveness and a place in paradise.

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened, Matthew 7:8.

One of the areas where I am not bold enough is when I pray.  During a discussion with followers prior to his death, Jesus unveiled a secret about prayer.  “You don’t have because you haven’t asked!”  This dilemma applies to many who are currently experiencing a life without much joy.  Therefore, if you want to make a bold request, approach God’s throne of grace with an expecting heart, believing that you too will experience paradise.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Take No For An Answer

The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter, Mark 7:26.

Nai, Ne, Nee, Nei, Nein, Nej, Nem, Nie, Nil and Non.  Each of these terms are used to deny, refuse or negate a request.  Yet, not everyone gives up the first time they are rejected.  Children have a unique gift to beg, plead and wallow until they get their way.  Perhaps, the Lord has created each soul with a natural reflux to not take no for an answer.

“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs,” Mark 7:27.

This phenomena is best illustrated in what we know today as the parable of the Persistent Widow, Luke 18:1-8.  However, there is another biblical account which displays how desperation causes human minds to reason with God.  The woman in this passage found in Mark 7:24-30 demonstrates an uncanny wit, coming back with quick replies, one after the other.  Though most would have given up following Jesus’ initial comment, she refused to take no for an answer.

“Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs,” Mark 7:28.

One of the most disappointing things anyone can experiencing is praying for a loved one to not die only to have their life cut short.  Trying to regroup after this loss can take years to recover.  Thus, the next time you pray, its common to be reluctant, gun shy about asking God for a specific request.  Inside your mind can play tricks on you as doubt whispers, “don’t waste your time.”  However, when worry enters your life, don’t forget the example set by this God fearing woman.  Therefore, as you approach the throne of grace, don’t take no for an answer when you pray.

Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone, Mark 7:29-30.

by Jay Mankus

 

Stranded

Before the days of cell phones, I found myself stranded on Interstate 74 between Indianapolis and Cincinnati.  As my car died, I was helpless as vehicles flew by without a glance.  Waiting for a good Samaritan to come to the rescue, minutes turned to hours.  Like a fish out of water, I reached a point where I didn’t know what to do.

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed, Proverbs 19:17.

You would think a youth pastor might naturally turn to prayer for assistance, but the shock of the moment distracted my focus.  Desperation pointed me in the right direction, upward toward the sky.  Shortly after praying, a jeep arrived to take me to the nearest tow truck.  Although the fix wasn’t easy, a credit card enabled me to make it home several hours behind schedule.

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you, Matthew 5:42.

Today, God’s timing doesn’t always make sense, especially when you endure hardship.  Numerous people feel spiritually stranded, stuck in a rut and unable to find rest for a weary soul.  During this waiting game, many around you may fake it for a while, putting on a good front.  However, unspoken words hope for eternal security, 1 John 5:13.  In this search for the meaning to life, may the Holy Spirit pick you up from the curb, helping you put all the pieces together from your past, present and the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

Desperation, Inspiration or a Combination?

After New Year’s Resolutions have been broken, forgotten or wasted by misguided steps in 2015, one of two emotions consume individuals.  Desperation is brought on by agony, despair and worry.  Meanwhile, inspiration is conceived when souls are awakened and spurred on by a glimpse of what could be in the near future.  Somewhere in between the conscience is stimulated by a combination of desperation and inspiration.

Holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain, Philippians 2:16.

As I reread the gospel in May, I get the feeling that the sick, sinners and those who had lost their way in the first century were fueled by desperation.  Since doctors couldn’t cure, help or figure out what was wrong, ill people will willing to try anything regardless how far they had to travel.  Caught in the grips of addiction, desolation led the needy to explore the stories of miracles performed by a carpenter from Nazareth.  Finally, prodigals who had neglected their families for years returned seeking reconciliation and a fresh start on life.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, Romans 15:13.

A week ago I was comfortably numb, going through the motions of a mediocre life.  I’m not sure if it was desperation, inspiration or a combination of the two, yet I snapped out of the malaise which keep me depressed for most of 2015.  Subsequently, a sense of motivation returned, providing just the spark I needed to complete my second movie script in a nick of time.  Now back on track, I am leaning on the Holy Spirit to keep the fire burning as I press on to that which God has called me to do.  As for now, but let a rough day, week or month drag you down.  Rather, look to the Son for inspiration.

by Jay Mankus

 

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