RSS Feed

Tag Archives: dreams

Do Not Hinder or Delay

Procrastination is a common default of human nature. While everyone has aspirations, dreams and goals in life, anyone who is afraid to fail will put this a hold temporarily. Once you fail to act or exercise, it’s even harder the next day to get back into living a disciplined life. Subsequently, as Eliezer is ready to return home to fulfill his mission, he refuses to wait another day, eager to act and proceed now.

Then they ate and drank, he and the men who were with him, and stayed there all night. And in the morning they arose, and he said. Send me away to my master. 55 But [Rebekah’s] brother and mother said, Let the girl stay with us a few days—at least ten; then she may go, Genesis 24:54-55.

Anyone beaming with confidence, won’t be afraid to try something new. Meanwhile, those who have experienced an extended period of failure, will be more likely to put something off, delaying the inevitable in their minds. This is where Eliezer remains mentally tough, focused on prayer and God’s blessing for his quest to find Isaac a wife.

 But [the servant] said to them, Do not hinder and delay me, seeing that the Lord has caused me to go prosperously on my way. Send me away, that I may go to my master. 57 And they said, We will call the girl and ask her [what is] her desire. 58 So they called Rebekah and said to her, Will you go with this man? And she said, I will go, Genesis 24:56-58.

As I write this blog, I find myself more of the latter, delaying one major project as I’m afraid it won’t turn out like I hope and want. Perhaps, Eliezer ‘s success is more about a positive mindset, prayer and expectation that God will bless his journey. Whatever you’re currently facing in life, may you learn from Eliezer to do not delay or hinder what God has in store for your future. If you can live out Proverbs 3:5-6, God will take care of the rest.

by Jay Mankus


Is This a Nightmare or is this Really Happening?

I don’t dream as much as I did as a child. However, when I do have dreams, they are often vivid. I’m not sure what causes adults to dream, but stress has led me to have nightmares in the past as if I was living a bad dream. Whenever I read the Bible, current events tend to determine what I learn or pick up from a particular passage. When I think about the words below, the apostle Paul could be talking about right now, 2023 in America.

But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane,2 Timothy 3:1-2.

As an optimistic individual, I try to see the positive in any given situation. Yet, the older I get, the sadder I become about the spiritual condition of America. When I was a high school Bible teacher, I could make a difference in the lives of my students. Yet now I just have this blog platform, Express Yourself 4Him to determine if what I’m experiencing is simply a nightmare or is this really happening?

[They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God, 2 Timothy 3:3-4.

One of my former pastors regularly reminded his congregation that “hurt people hurt other people.” Whenever anyone tries to replace God with something else, a void grows in this person’s heart. Paul’s message to a teenage pastor named Timothy is merely the byproduct of hurt, lost and lonely souls. May the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:1-6 help convict community and political leaders. Only when America’s leaders repent and turn back to God will this current nightmare end.

by Jay Mankus

The First Nightmare

My first nightmare as a child occurred after watching an episode of In Search Of with my father. This particular documentary starring Leonard Nimoy featured Bigfoot and Sasquatch encounters with interviews of eyewitnesses. While drifting off to sleep later that night, all of sudden I found myself running for my life. Bigfoot was chasing me around my neighbor’s backyard as a sprinted, gasping for air as I woke up, sweating from my first nightmare.

When the sun was setting, a deep sleep overcame Abram, and a horror (a terror, a shuddering fear) of great darkness assailed and oppressed him. 13 And [God] said to Abram, Know positively that your descendants will be strangers dwelling as temporary residents in a land that is not theirs [Egypt], and they will be slaves there and will be afflicted and oppressed for 400 years. [Fulfilled in Exod. 12:40,] Genesis 15:12-13.

The book of Genesis contains several firsts in the Bible. According to Moses, Abram has the first nightmare recorded in the Old Testament. As this nightmare was passed down orally from generation to generation, horror and terror are associated with the raw emotions Abram experienced in the passage above. As a great darkness assailed and oppressed Abram in his sleep, God comes to the rescue to explain the meaning of Abram’s first nightmare.

On the same day the Lord made a covenant (promise, pledge) with Abram, saying, To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates—Genesis 15:18

As an adult, I try not to read too much into my dreams. Yet, sometimes dreams serve as a warning to prevent you from doing something God doesn’t want you to do. However, this first nightmare is a foreshadowing of a future event which the author Moses experienced firsthand. Following 400 years of living as slaves in Egypt, God raised up Moses to free Israel from this dark period. The next time you find yourself shaking in your sleep, turn to the Lord in prayer so that you can escape the darkness of future nightmares.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 314: Whatever Your Plan Is

Christmas is sometimes referred to the season of miracles. The Make a Wish Foundation often makes this happen for children battling a crippling disease between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As a former high school Bible teacher, there is no greater miracle than a Christian reaching a point in their lives where you are actually living out and fulfilling God’s will for your life. Josie Buchanan sings about this process in her song Whatever Your Plan Is.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

King Solomon reflects upon this in Proverbs 19:21. Everyone has aspirations, dreams, and goals in life that you want to achieve. Sometimes this may coincide with a calling from God, but it is the Lord’s purpose that ultimately prevails. If you ever find yourself restless this Christian season, unfulfilled by your current career path, follow the advice of the apostle Paul in the passage above so the Whatever God’s Plan is for you will be revealed sometime in the near future.

by Jay Mankus

A Strange Dream or Locust from Hell?

Most of my dreams come from stress or things that I watched recently. When I’m really tired, I usually collapse without a thought. Yet, experts claim dreams are created by the unconscious mind, which is a part of the brain that is not bound to reality. As I continued my study of Revelation, I tried to visualize what I was reading like a strange dream, but what I discovered was a locust from hell.

 He opened the [b]long shaft of the Abyss (the bottomless pit), and smoke like the smoke of a huge furnace puffed out of the [c]long shaft, so that the sun and the atmosphere were darkened by the smoke from the long shaft. Then out of the smoke locusts came forth on the earth, and such power was granted them as the power the earth’s scorpions have, Revelation 9:2-3.

Of all the films inspired by the Book of Revelation, I’m surprised no one has written about the Locusts from hell. While I do enjoy some of the End Time movies on the Sci-Fi Channel, this hybrid creature described by John seems too unreal. Revelation 9:7-10 suggests these locusts have human faces, hair like women, teeth as sharp as a lion, an iron breastplate, scorpion tails and super propelled wings.

They were told not to injure the herbage of the earth nor any green thing nor any tree, but only [to attack] such human beings as do not have the seal (mark) of God on their foreheads. They were not permitted to kill them, but to torment (distress, vex) them for five months; and the pain caused them was like the torture of a scorpion when it stings a person. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it; and they will yearn to die, but death evades and flees from them, Revelation 9:4-6.

Some of the best written screenplays have a scene so vivid you think it’s real until this person wakes up from their dream. Other people experience something so bizarre that they think they’re dreaming, but it’s a living nightmare. Once I’ve reached 50 years of age, I wish I could go back in time to change the person that I’ve become. Yet, the camera is still rolling, as you have time to adjust. May this blog inspire you keep dreaming big as you strive to fulfill the promise of an abundant life in Christ, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

Finding Spiritual Spotters

I was a novice weightlifter as I entered college. While I went with friends to local gyms, I didn’t really know what I was doing. When I moved off campus my junior year, one of my roommates was a former high school all-American linebacker. Mike turned our attic into a hardcore gym. Mike introduced me to the concept of spotting someone. When you lose the ability to finish a lift, the spotter comes to your rescue by pushing with you to place the bar into the barbell holder.

When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and when he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy and grew weary. So [the other men] took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Then Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side and one on the other side; so his hands were steady until the going down of the sun, Exodus 17:11-12.

Depending upon your age, strength, and the weight you are lifting, you may need one or two spotters. Anytime you’re lifting over 250 pounds, its safer to have 2 spotters, one on either side of the barbell. Yet, if you’re working out with someone like Mike whose body resembled a chiseled rock, one spotter is all you need. One of the roles of a spotter parallels a modern day life coach. Mike weekly challenged, encouraged, and pushed me to become stronger every day.

And Joshua mowed down and disabled Amalek and his people with the sword, Exodus 17:13.

One of the immediate benefits of having a spiritual spotter occurred during the Intramural Ultimate Frisbee title game. The guy who was guarding me was 6 foot 3, just under 200 pounds. While in the end zone, I was practically tackled as my elbow violently hit the ground. Yet, I held on, our team tied the game on the final play and won the championship in overtime. As you find and surround yourself with spiritual spotters, you’ll reach new heights, often well beyond your imagination and dream.

by Jay Mankus

Shutting the Door on Fear

Two first century authors use the imagery of a door to prove their point. The apostle Paul warns Christians against giving the Devil an open door to enter your life. This analogy suggests that you shouldn’t leave a crack or a gap. One of Jesus’ disciples focuses on the positive. This spiritual illustration uses God’s love as a source of superior power to snuff out fear by closing the door.

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love [g]turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear [h]brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection], 1 John 4:18.

As I read the passage above recently, my mind turned to 2 Corinthians 10:5-6. Trying to confront the Devil alone is reckless. Yet, when you learn to take your thoughts captive by making them obedient to Christ, shutting the door on fear is possible. If fear feeds on weakened minds that become paralyzed by ungodly beliefs, you’re giving the Devil a foothold to use your fears against you.

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. 27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him], Ephesians 4:26-27.

One of Jesus’ disciples compares the Devil to a predator that feeds on isolated and wounded Christians. When a door is left ajar or cracked open, fear will enter your dreams while you’re sleeping. Anyone who doesn’t shut the door on fear will allow nightmares to continue to fester. These threats will only intensify as time goes by. This is why shutting the door on fear is essential for all Christians to practice.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 25: For Those Who Wait

A couple of years ago, my work station was moved underneath a flat sorter. Due to the constant noise, I was forced to use ear protection whenever I sit at my desk. The positive side of this change is that I’ve been able to listen to music, podcasts and shows throughout my shift. As I’ve scanned the internet to find new Christian artists, I came across a group called Fireflight.

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name, Hebrews 13:15.

The best way to describe their music is a mix between Fleetwood Mac and Pat Benatar. Today’s feature song is also the name of one of Fireflight’s 5 albums. The attached video uses an aspiring violinist who has a father who doesn’t support her dream to use her God given gift. As you listen and watch, I pray that the lyrics of For Those Who Wait will inspire you not to give up until fulfilling goals that others said were impossible to achieve.

by Jay Mankus

So That Hope Survives

Ambition, aspiration, cravings, dreams, longings and yearnings are all associated with hope. When theses desires begin to slip away, individuals have to fight with determination so that hope survives. Whenever your confidence is shaken by defeat, failure or a loss, hope is like a dim light surrounded by darkness, ready to be snuffed out by unforeseen events.

But we belong to the day; therefore, let us be sober and put on the breastplate (corslet) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation, 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

In a letter to a community with a troubled pass, Paul reminds this church that Christians are children of the light. Thus, as the Devil continues to bring and drag up skeletons from your past, don’t let doubt creep into your mind. The longer negative thoughts continue to linger, the closer the enemy comes to achieving his goal, John 10:10.

For God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath [He did not select us to condemn us], but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), 1 Thessalonians 5:9.

The apostle Paul flips the script in the passage above. Instead of always being on defense, Paul takes up the Sword of the Spirit to go on offense, reminding believers of the ultimate prize. God’s end game is salvation, the opportunity to be reunited with Jesus in heaven. Hope is like an exit sign in the distance, the only way to God, John 14:6. When darkness blocks your path from this doorway, hope is what keep souls alive, surviving to live another day.

by Jay Mankus

Losing Sight of God

While special horses are trained to become thoroughbreds, horses can’t see everything in it’s peripheral vision. To avoid horses from becoming distracted or scared, blinders are used to keep the horse focused on what is in front of it. Controlling a horse at 40 miles per hour requires a rare combination of strength and lightness for a jockey. Those jockeys who do the best at keeping their horse focused on the finish line, tend to accumulate more victories.

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1.

Unfortunately, I share similar traits with horses, often veering off course. I tend to become so consumed and fixated on what I am doing that I lose track of time. The clearer you are about your vision in life, the greater the impact you will have in the world. Vision is the ability to think about or plan your future with imagination, insight and wisdom. Whenever I stray from my dreams and goals, my vision grows dim.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you that you shall be no priest to Me; seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children, Hosea 4:6.

An Old Testament prophet blames a lack of knowledge for those who fail to reach their full potential. At the time that Hosea pens this letter, Israel began to do what was right in their own eyes. Instead of following the ten commandments, many were blinded by worldly beliefs and principles. A similar trend is taking place today as progressive ideas have been embraced by many churches. Thus, losing sight of God becomes an unpleasant reality. If you’re ready to regain focus on God, do so with perseverance, fixated on the cross of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: