Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: encourage

When All You Know Begins to Fall Apart

After graduating from high school and college, some may use this newly acquired knowledge to look down upon less educated individuals.  Meanwhile, others will immediately apply this wisdom, believing every word graduate assistants and professors divulge.  Unfortunately, many learn the hard way when trusted theories begin to fall apart under the reality called life.  Thus, when all you know begins to fall apart, developing a back up plan is a crucial step toward recovery.

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.

The Bible is full of advice for anyone who undergoes trying times.  One of Jesus’ disciples offers some tough love in the passage above.  You shouldn’t be surprised by accidents, circumstances or events that occur.  These happenings are merely used by God to challenge, refine and test your faith.  Jesus’ earthly brother encouraged first century Christians to embrace trials, James 1:3-6, considering these as teachable moments to grow and mature as a person.  However, putting this into practice is much easier said than done.

“So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, will be like a wise man [a far-sighted, practical, and sensible man] who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish (stupid) man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great and complete was its fall,” Matthew 7:24-27.

Sometimes people will have their foundation rocked by natural disasters.  Others are forced to cope with disease, illness or viruses that have no known cure, hoping and waiting for a miracle.  These events will either break or make you.  How you respond will dictate your future path.  Thus, when everything you know begins to fall apart, lean on a cornerstone who is reliable, Ephesians 2:20.  If you do, you will find a solid rock to stand upon when everything else get’s washed away.

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

Active, Lukewarm or Dead?

Animated, bubbly, dynamic, energetic, perky and vigorous are all synonyms which highlight active individuals.  When you came in contact with these lively souls, its possible to feed off of their enthusiasm.  During Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged his followers to add flavor to the lives of people you encounter, Matthew 5:13-16.  When actions and words co-exist, faith rubs off on others, similar to a lamp shining light into the darkness of this world.

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth, Revelation 3:16.

Prior to modern appliances, cooling drinks or adding ice cubes wasn’t an option.  Thus, past civilizations were forced to endure room temperature drinks.  The Bible refers to this as lukewarm.  The context in which this term is applied signifies an inactive faith.  From a spiritual point of view, idle faith is an insult to God, void of salt and light.  Unfortunately, I find myself closer to lukewarm than active.  In fact, in recent weeks I am hovering somewhere between a lukewarm and dying faith.

For just as the [human] body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [of obedience] is also dead, James 2:26.

When talking about judgment, Jesus uses the expression take the plank out of your own eye before criticizing someone else, Matthew 7:1-5.  One of the members in the audience that day opens up about his own life in the passage above.  Taking a look in the mirror from a spiritual perspective, James looks back at a time in his life when his faith was dead.  Despite being raised by Mary and Joseph, James’ faith was lukewarm at best until the resurrection of Jesus.  I guess we all need a wake up call at some point.  May this blog awaken your soul to activate your faith, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

When You Come Up One Shot Short

Unlike most sports, golf doesn’t use a running clock with a set number of periods or quarters.  Rather, tournaments consist of a defined number of holes depending upon the degree of competition.  For the past sixteen years I have spent the two days after Memorial Day watching the Delaware High School State Golf Tournament.  My first ten years were spent as a head coach, the last six as a parent and volunteer on the state committee running this event behind the scenes.  Over the past two decades, I’ve seen more heartbreak than jubilation.  One golfer endured 180 shots over 18 holes while a recent senior missed out on qualifying for states by one stroke two years in a row.  In view of this, how do you move on when you come up one shot short?

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light, Colossians 1:11-12.

When I experienced disappointment, failure and setbacks as a teenager, one adult suggested that I go back to the drawing board.  The point of this idiom encourages those who fail to go back to the beginning, hoping to figure out what went wrong and why.  During my final spring at Concord High, my last golf season got off to a miserable start.  After two embarrassing losses, I spent an afternoon playing 36 holes in the rain.  Channeling my anger in a positive manner, I refused to repeat the same stupid mistakes for the rest of the season.  This day served as a turning point, when God gave me a resolve to do whatever it took to reach my full potential.  By the end of the season, I was leading the state tournament after day one and despite fading on the back nine during the final round, a top ten finish resulted in all state honors.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

Sometimes, individuals are given back stage access, able to interact with celebrities and stars.  Such was the case for the earthly brother of Jesus who never believed until the resurrection.  The words from the passage above were inspired by the attitude demonstrated by Jesus throughout his life.  Jesus didn’t dwell over bad breaks, criticism or results that didn’t meet his own expectations.  Rather, Jesus remained steadfast despite coming up just short from time to time.  Therefore, when you come up one shot short in life, ask the Holy Spirit for the resolve to press on until dreams, goals or visions are fulfilled.

by Jay Mankus

 

Decisions and Destinies

Dehydration, exhaustion and reaching the point of being mentally spent are good reasons to take a break.  No matter how disciplined, focused or strong you may be, everyone needs to take the time to rest and recover.  However, if this period takes longer than expected, dreams, goals and visions may be in jeopardy.  This is where decisions and destinies are linked as different avenues lead to success and failure, victory and the agony of defeat.

For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies, 2 Thessalonians 3:11.

My first introduction to the term idleness came through a common expression, “the early bird gets the worm.”  The point of this saying encourages individuals to be active, diligent and persistent.  Those who emulate these traits are rewarded with consistent results on the way toward securing an eternal destiny.  Meanwhile, the dazed, distracted and emotionally tired are proceeding toward a different destiny, void of significant accomplishments.

The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor, Proverbs 12:24.

Solomon is much more blunt while discussing idleness.  The analogy mentioned above suggests that your ultimate destiny is determined by the daily choices you make.  Anyone who seizes the day by maximizing the opportunities that God gives you will be blessed, earning favor and financial gain.  On the other side of the spectrum people will end up in some sort of blue collar job, often grueling which may feel like forced labor.  Therefore, if you want to pursue high hopes in this life, make sure daily decisions are guided by a mind set on the destiny you are eager to achieve.

by Jay Mankus

The Pathway to Addiction and Freedom

As a story teller, there was no one better during the first century than Jesus.  Appealing to visual learners, Jesus painted vivid pictures allowing the minds of listeners to follow along with each word.  Nearing the end of his sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gives those in attendance two choices.  There are two different roads that you can follow in this life.  One leads to addiction, the other toward freedom.  You may have a great time on the popular path, but in the end you’ll be left with an eternal hangover.  Meanwhile, the path less traveled is a difficult journey, but the benefits to staying the course are eternal.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it,” Matthew 7:13-14.

After Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, one of Jesus’ disciples goes into greater detail about the broad road that leads to destruction.  John refers to emotions that keep individuals ensnared, paralyzed by lustful desires.  These cravings distract souls from any standards that they may have held, kept or were raised with prior to turning on to this interstate.  Lust, sensual desires and pride tend to blind those ashamed, guilty or filled with remorse by this change of course.  Unfortunately, the longer anyone stays on the path to addiction, the harder it becomes to leave for good.

Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever, 1 John 2:15-17.

Instead of typical road signs that you may see everyday, the pathway to freedom contains God’s precepts.  These nuggets of truth preach an alternative message from the flashy advertisements on the highway to hell.  Words such as serve, surrender and selfless appeal to those searching for something deeper, pondering the meaning of life.  The further you travel along this barren road, the narrower it becomes.  Ideally, accountability partners, friends and mentors will encourage you to choose freedom over temporary pleasures.  To persist, press on and demonstrate resolve.  In the end, the choose is yours.  I’ll leave you with Moses’ farewell address to Israel, Deuteronomy 30:19, choose life.

by Jay Mankus

Praying for the President

Thursday was the National Day of Prayer.  On April 17th, 1952 Harry S. Truman signed a  bill into law declaring this day as the National Day of Prayer for the United States of America.  However, in 1988 President Ronald Reagan ammended this law.  Part of a simplification process, Reagan decreed the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way, 1 Timothy 2:1-2.

Anyone with a busy schedule may be caught off guard by this special day.  I didn’t realize this until late last night.  Thus, I was compelled to ascertain what could I do with the little time that was left.  In a letter to a young pastor, who happened to be a teenager, the apostle Paul encouraged his pupil to pray for everyone.  Since America does not have a king, the president and civil servants in high positions should be included within your daily prayers.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44.

However, skeptics may reply, “what if I don’t like the president?”  Political enemies may come to the conclusion, “surely I can’t pray for someone that I detest.”  Perhaps this explains Jesus’ words above, urging his followers during the Sermon on the Mount to love and pray for your enemies.  Granted, democrats, liberals and progressives will have a tougher time adhering to this call.  Nonetheless, if you want to be a doer of God’s Word, pray for president Trump no matter what your political leanings may be.  As you pray, the Holy Spirit will either change your heart or his.  Regardless, a simply prayer can make a difference.  May the National Day of Prayer become a 365 day practice.

by Jay Mankus

Doing Whatever It Takes

As a parent, I can anticipate failure before a grade is given or the final score is relayed.  The secret to this insight is simple, hard work is often rewarded and laziness is penalized.  For me, the most painful aspect of parenting is seeing the potential your child has yet being unable to convince them to do whatever it takes to ensure success.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you, Philippians 4:8-9.

For those of you who coach or teach, this same dilemma exists.  How do you express someone’s gifts or talents without trying to live your life through them?  In the film Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams plays a psychologist who is introduced to a genius played by Matt Damon with a troubled past.  These secret scars, hidden from plain view prevent Will from doing whatever it took to apply his knowledge in a positive manner.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” John 14:15.

Today, the future is bright, but too many young people don’t have the resolve necessary to see their dreams come true.  Sure, the average teenager wants to have a great life, but this doesn’t happen with a snap of your finger.  Only the disciplined, driven and hungry will begin to see the fruits of their labor.  Thus, a parent can encourage, inspire or motivate their offspring.  In the end, a parent can only pray that their child develops a zeal to follow God’s will on earth.  The key to this fulfillment is doing whatever it takes.

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: