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Tag Archives: endure hardship

When the Future Looks Bleak God Does Intervene

There are many ways to explain favorable outcomes in life.  The confident will pass this off as hard work, preparation and flawless execution.  The humble often give others credit, expressing gratitude and thanksgiving for their success.  Meanwhile, there will be some who face a bleak future, with the odds stacked against them.  For those who stave off death, endure hardship or witness divine intervention, God’s timing is perfect.

That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him, Esther 6:1.

In the Old Testament passage above, Mordecai’s future didn’t look good.  If everything went as planned, Mordecai was scheduled to be hung the next day.  An enemy of Haman, second in command to the king, hatred and jealousy of this outspoken Jew resulted in his sentence to death.  Hours away from this fate, God’s providence kicked into action.  The king couldn’t sleep, his subject selected a book to read, Mordecai was mentioned and it was discovered nothing was done to honor him for exposing a plot to assassinate the king.

It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.  “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked.  “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered, Esther 6:2-3.

When the queen, Esther threw a banquet for Haman and the king the next day, Mordecai received the honor that Haman desperately sought.  This twist of fate altered the outcome of Mordecai’s life, changing places with Haman.  Seizing the opportunity, queen Esther revealed Haman’s hidden plot to kill the Jews living in the kingdom.  In twenty four hours, the tables were turned as good triumphed over evil, sending Haman to the gallows set up for Mordecai.  In view of this historic event, don’t forget that when the future looks bleak, God can and will intervene.

by Jay Mankus

 

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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

 

Learning to Praise the Lord for the Little Things in Life

Anyone can handle blessings, like getting a hole in one on the first day of the New Year.  However, the moment you endure hardship, failure or loss, true character is revealed.  While relishing my hole in one stayed with me a couple of days, sudden disappointments put my faith to the test in the week that followed.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds – James 1:2.

As someone who use to riding an emotional roller coaster, celebrating the good before depression brings me back to earth, God is teaching me to remain even keel.  Thus, on New Year’s Day I took strides in the right direction, savoring the time with my children rather than feeding my own ego.  Whether I have a great or miserable day, praising the Lord for the little things like family, shelter and time spent together is crucial to prevent oneself from becoming burned out.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

The easy thing to do when trials strike is to cast blame, usually throwing God under the bus like Adam in the Garden.  Yet, with maturity comes perspective, seeing life’s events through the Lord’s eyes.   Upon hearing the news that his children died in an accident, Job replied, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21.  Although I’m no where near the model Job set, I’m in the infant stages of learning to praise God for the little things in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

P.A.I.N.

As I was struggling to fall asleep, the following acronym popped into my head: Previous Accidents Impacting Nerves.  With 2 broken ribs, a lacerated liver and lungs still not functioning as they should, pain is something I must overcome if I want my health to be restored fully.   Unfortunately, pain often influences individuals in a negative manner, leading to changed attitudes, behavior and unhealthy patterns.

For instance, once a solider completes his or her tour of duty, no one fully understands the hell they endured except for their squadron or team.  Thus, when the John Rambo’s of America’s armed services return home, fitting in takes time and for some, adjusting to the spoiled brats of today’s culture never happens.  Nightmares depict a living video game, without a happy ending or reset button to start life over.

Meanwhile, pain is something a husband and wife can never fully grasp once a decision to divorce fatally wounds the souls of their children.  Blaming themselves, many youth across this country cry themselves to sleep, praying that mom and dad will change their mind.  The unborn child doesn’t receive a voice, discarded in dumpsters daily as mothers can only think of what could have been.  Pain is not a pleasant topic to address, yet without tackling these issues people of faith won’t learn to endure hardship as they should, 2 Timothy 2:3-5.  As previous accidents impact your own nerves, come to Jesus for relief, nurturing your soul as you cope with these ongoing pains, Matthew 11:28-30.

by Jay Mankus

There’s No Change Without Pain

Self gratification has become like a cancer within the human soul, slowing eating away white blood cells of common sense.  This obsession fed by commercialism, “you can have your cake and eat it to,” has left individuals blinded by empty promises.  In a quest to fulfill this hunger, people have forgotten a simple truth of life: there’s no change without pain.

 
The apostle Paul speaks to this corruption while writing to the church in Ephesus, Ephesians 4:22.  As standards continue to decline, its easy to compromise, “well, everyone else is doing it?”  This futile thinking darkens understanding, leading individuals toward the cliff known as addiction.  Once formed or established, a continued lust for more can steer the disciplined into unhealthy habits, craving the latest junk food the world throws your way.

Snapping your fingers and poof, your request is granted is a mirage, a lie that the weak want to believe.  Real change requires developing a mindset of an Olympic  runner, ignoring pain so you can reach your desired destination, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.   Regardless of what your body longs for, keep your goal in sight, Philippians 3:12-14 to avoid being sidetracked.  Like the song from Rocky IV, there’s No Easy Way Out.  Therefore, throw off any excess baggage, endure hardship and run with perseverance until change becomes reality, Hebrews 12:1-4.

by Jay Mankus

Billy Joel Was Right

For many, music serves as a time warp, taking you back to the days of your youth upon hearing a song on the internet, mp3 player, radio or television.  According to 1 Samuel 16:21-23, music contains healing powers, soothing the soul of King Saul.  When I was younger, 8 track players were on their way out, vinyl had hit its peak and cassette players were the rage.  As for musicians, I was partial toward Billy Joel, Chicago and REO Speedwagon.  Two days ago, I couldn’t get one of Billy Joel’s song out of my mind.

Honesty was released in 1979 on Billy Joel’s 6th album 52nd Street.  The more I played the lyrics over in my mind, especially the chorus below, a truth hit home.

Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you.

In this politically correct age, void of honest humor, honesty has become a lonely word.  Instead of pushing individuals toward greatness, they are coddled, hand fed and led to believe they are greater than they really are.  Public education is the biggest offender of this crime against humanity.

My high school teachers told us the truth, even when you didn’t want to hear it.  These words served as inspiration and motivation to prove others wrong.  As a parent of 3 children now, all in public education for the first time, administrators need to apply the message of Billy Joel’s song.

Students don’t need award ceremony after award ceremony, celebrating who came to school every day and who didn’t.  This generation needs to be challenged by demonstrating tough love.  Affirmation and encouragement is important, yet to be a rugged individual, you must learn to endure hardship, embrace trials and pursue excellence.  The more you hear the truth through constructive criticism, your ability to reach your full potential increases.  As you practice this for yourself, you will see Billy Joel was right, honesty is a lonely word.  Change it now!

by Jay Mankus

On a personal note, its nice to hear how great you are.  However, to be the best writer I can be, please send me comments about topics I am not covering, how I can improve my writing or flaws you pick up reading my blogs.  Perfection may be impossible to achieve, Matthew 5:48, but trying to achieve it often results in future benefits or break throughs.  Any constructive criticism you are willing to send my way is greatly appreciated.  Good day and may God bless you all!

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