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Trying God’s Patience

Patience is one of those areas in life where I continue to struggle. Whether I’m driving in a car, waiting in a line or pleading with God in prayer for a specific request, I want things to happen on my time. History is filled with individuals who forced the issue, trying to make something happen without God. According to Moses, when human beings start to blame God for things not going as expected, we try the Lord’s patience.

Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at [Mount] Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah [proof] and Meribah [contention] because of the faultfinding of the Israelites and because they tempted and tried the patience of the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not? – Exodus 17:6-7

For the last 6 months, I’ve had my own wilderness experience. Rather than travel to a promised land, I’ve done everything in my power to find a job in South Carolina. My initial plan was to submit paperwork for an internal transfer within Amazon to a facility close to where my mother in law resides who is currently in hospice care. While I’m aware of some of my shortcomings as an individual and worker, I’m either testing God’s patience or the Lord has a completely different plan for my life.

Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. 12 Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer, Romans 12:11-12.

Failure and rejection are becoming a weekly occurrence to me, The last time I’ve seen this much resistance to a specific career is when I tried to pass the Players Ability Test as an assistance golf professional. Despite hitting 26 of 36 greens in regulation, I had 40 putts in round one, including a 4 putt. I missed by 2 strokes with 7 putts on the easiest hole over 2 rounds. Since my journey to South Carolina begins this weekend, I’m either going to try God’s patience by not knowing God’s will or receive a job in the final hour. Only time will tell.

by Jay Mankus

Too Many Vehicles to Pull Over

My house lies a quarter of a mile from Interstate 95 in northern Delaware.  Residing in the I-95 corridor, an hour north of Baltimore and hour south of Philadelphia, I regularly travel this busy highway.  In recent trips, its seems like the average speed now exceeds the 65 limit by nearly 20 miles per hour.  Thus, police officers are often faced with the dilemma of too many vehicles to pull over.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days, 2 Timothy 3:1.

Perhaps this aggression is a sign of end times.  The apostle Paul receives a vision, a glimpse of the moral decline within society.  As this culture leaves absolutes for politically correct stances, selfish individuals will continue to commit transgressions against innocent citizens.  Subsequently, road rage is causing impatient drivers to take their frustrations out on anyone who infringes upon their lane or space.

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2.

There was a time when driving was a leisure activity, exploring back roads for fun over the weekend.  Yet, as a growing number of people are in a hurry, friction leads some to explode emotionally.  While there are many prophecies that still need to be fulfilled before the end of days arrives, recent acts of terrorism suggest this isn’t too far off.  Before this occurs, may those struggling to make sense of our fallen world slow down enough so that police won’t be overwhelmed with too many vehicles to pull over.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Jukebox of Memories

Before the days of cell phones and personal computers, a jukebox connected individuals at local restaurants.  Portrayed in sitcoms like Happy Days, placing a coin in the jukebox and selecting a hip song  often inspired young people to join the dance floor.  Thus, music enhanced the life of teens creating jukebox memories.

As technology advanced, diners began to install miniature jukeboxes in each booth, enabling guests to interact while listening to their favorite songs.  Over time, music became associated, linked and tied to special moments in time.  Whether you were traveling somewhere on vacation, going out on a date or enjoying your prom, music etches memories within our minds.

Today, I can be shopping in a local grocery store, driving in my car or walking down Main Street when I hear a song from my past.  Within seconds, my mind takes me back in time, reminiscing about where I was, who I was with and the friends I made along the way.  Through the good and bad, music is like a recipe to cure the blues in life.  Regardless of what you use to access modern music, may these devices provide soothing jukebox memories.

by Jay Mankus

Coasting on Cruise Control

If you’re traveling cross country in a car or planning a long day trip, the invention of cruise control is a nice luxury.  Although vacation traffic may limit your opportunities, open highways, especially at night, provide a chance for drivers to rest their legs.  With only a few weeks of summer remaining, try to get away for a little R & R coasting on cruise control.

From a spiritual perspective, coasting through life is something that you want to avoid.  Unfortunately, there is where I find myself, using a busy work schedule as an excuse.  Somewhere in the last month, I’ve lost my spiritual mojo.  As a result, my devotional time is sporadic, prayer life lame and influx of the Holy Spirit is wading.  Like the classic line from Star Trek, I feel like Captain Kirk’s frequently request to Scotty, “I need more power!”

Regardless of your circumstances, sooner or later everyone grows tired, Isaiah 40:29-31.  When you reach your breaking point, find yourself exhausted or wake up spiritually numb, God saw this coming.  In these days of desperation, running on empty, you might find yourself crying uncle, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  While coasting on cruise control led you to this state, yielding to the Lord will help you rise up from the ashes of despair.  Fan into flame 2 Timothy 1:7 so that the only coasting you do in life is driving in the country.

by Jay Mankus

 

Lead… Don’t Drive!

Cowboys and Shepherds?  Unfortunately, this book never made it off the presses; replaced by Cowboys and Indians.  While toy manufactures likely made millions manufacturing bow and arrows, cap guns and miniature figurines to simulate battles, the differences between cowboys and shepherds must be distinguished.

Cowboys lead from behind, driving and prodding the herd in the direction they desire.  Today, a growing number of executives, managers and politicians live by the motto, “do what I say, not as I do!”  Like a bully pulpit, modern leaders are actively forcing, whipping and yelling the masses into submission.  Unlike cattle, individuals are rejecting this style of supervision, speaking out, yearning for a genuine sheriff to lead the way.

Meanwhile, the shepherd is out front, looking in the distance for any obstacles that might harm his or her flock.  If any sheep wander off, the shepherd will persist until each comes back safely, Luke 15:1-7.  Although, their voice might be raised, the shepherd earns the respect of the flock over time, John 10:1-16.  When people in power begin to lead by example, followers will begin lining up, eager to serve.  Lead… Don’t drive!

by Jay Mankus

America’s Dying Small Towns

As I was driving to Florida for Spring Break with my family, I was reminded of a scene from the movie Cars.  Sally was cruisizing the countryside with Lightning McQueen when his eyes were opened to the beauty of Route 66.   Awestruck, Lightning asks Sally why he’s never heard of this place.  Unfortunately, the completion of Interstate 40 bypassed this scenic overlook to save 10 minutes of driving time.  Thus, the same story holds true for many small towns in America, on the verge of extinction.

While searching for a place to eat, fuel and rest for the night, I stumbled upon several vacant towns along I 95.  Hotels were boarded up, gas stations closed and the majority of folks abandoned these once bustling areas.  If vacations don’t stop citizens from slowing down to enjoy God’s creation, Psalm 46:10, several small towns will be forgotten, fading away from our memories.  My wife’s words cut like a knife, “how can a hotel survive with only a few cars in the parking lot?”  She answered her own question; they can’t!

When I return home tomorrow, I will bring a new appreciation for the back roads of America, trying to support mom and pop businesses as much as I can.  By doing so, you are keeping alive someone’s dream as you savor a moment in time.  Life is too precious to be in hurry, rush through traffic or snarf down another meal.  May you and I remember the lesson of  this Disney’s movie, taking each journey one drive at a time.  Perhaps, these efforts might save a dying town in your neck of the woods.

Are there any small towns you like to frequent? If so, let my audience know.

by Jay Mankus

Slip Proof

Whether you’re driving a car in wintry weather, trying to walk on a slippery surface or seek to keep a conversation clean with children ease dropping, its impossible to guarantee a slip proof day.  You may have good intentions, yet how can you be so sure that you won’t misstep, stumble and fall?  Daily obstacles await individuals, like potholes that can lead to blunders, errors or gaffes if you’re not paying careful attention.

Despite these odds, there was a king who suggested another way.  Psalm 37:31 contains a plan that is slip proof, demonstrated by a man after God’s own heart.  The key is to hide the words of the Bible in your heart, meditating on God’s laws as an honor student hungers for straight A’s, Psalm 119:7-9.  Once the mind is transformed, Romans 12:2, a slip proof day isn’t out of the equation.  This is the goal set out for people to strive for, Matthew 5:48.

Slipping often occurs in 3 ways: physically, mentally and spiritually.  Physically slipping could be an accident or a byproduct of poor judgment.  Perhaps, this may explain the apostle Paul’s warning to believers in Corinth, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Compromise is conceived in minds, trying to convince souls to alter their values.  If an Eve like moment occurs, a mental weakness produces a spiritual slip known as sin.  Whenever you reach this point, go back to the drawing board, remember David’s words in Psalm 37:31 to regain a slip proof footing.

Do you have a stategy for avoiding “slips”? If so, please share.

 

by Jay Mankus

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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