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Tag Archives: enduring trials

After a Loss

Whether situations in this life or the actual grieving process following the loss of a life, neither is a pleasant experience.  In the moments afterward, raw emotions are stirred causing an individual to teeter between depression and frustration.  How you handle disappointment will influence the person you will become.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, 1 Corinthians 13:5.

Last night I was a substitute baseball coach during the final scrimmage of the preseason.  Over matched by better athletes, competitors and talent, I think the final score was 24-0.  The game was called in the bottom of the third after the opposition stole home on 3 consecutive wild pitches.  Its bad enough to get beaten, but when you have to wave the white flag to surrender, its a hard pill to swallow.

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

During my final year in Chicago, I spent most of that time working for Michael Jordan Golf, serving as a sales associate before being promoted to Assistant Manager and Store Manager.  This allowed me to rub shoulders with people close to Michael.  While I never met him directly, no one hated to lose more than Michael.  Thus, he was relentless, coming back more determined than ever.  Although this has nothing to do with the Bible in particular, this is the mentality you should possess after a loss.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Overwhelmed by Priorities

Every day when I arise from sleep, my mind is overwhelmed by the choices at hand.  Do I read?  Should I write?  Perhaps I need to work out?  Maybe hitting the snooze button and rolling over is my best option.  Either way, the choices you make will dictate the path your life takes.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Luke 12:34

Like most years, my New Years Resolutions are being modified as desires to lose weight, eat healthy and draw closer to God have fallen short.  Sometimes I feel as if I am in a tug of war, pulled in a direction I don’t want to go, yet over time I submit, dragged to a new low.  By enduring these trials, I am beginning to comprehend the words of the apostle Paul as he explains how the sinful nature can influence one’s priorities.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. – Romans 7:15

When Jeremiah opened his mouth to Israel, negative messages usually came forth.  Thus, this servant of God was nicknamed the weeping prophet.  If you too feel depressed, frustrated or lost, there are some promises in the Bible to cling to.  Lamentations 3:20-24 suggests God’s forgiveness is new every morning.  Therefore, if you fail to keep the priorities that you hold dear, may God’s grace lift you up each time you fall.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Up the Down Staircase

Bel Kaufman’s novel Up the Down Staircase spent more than a year on the New York Times Best Seller’s List in the late 1960’s.  This success evolved into a movie and a play, the first one I ever saw in person.  However, as I try to bob and weave my way  through life, I often find myself going up the down staircase.

Humility and pride serve as ebb and flow, bringing me back to earth from past successes while lifting me up when I  fall.  On the days I leave my house thinking, “now I’ve got it all figured out,” trials flare up, knocking me off my feet.  Meanwhile, on the days I don’t want to get out of bed, with little strength to tarry on, a mysterious force carries me to places I never thought I could go.

From a spiritual perspective, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 illustrates what its like to go up the down staircase.  Ignorance causes individuals to repeat past failures daily.  A surely that won’t happen to me mentality breeds overconfidence, leading souls toward a moment of decision, 1 Corinthians 10:12.  In the end, there are only 2 logical choices: trusting God or yourself.  As you contemplate your current footing, may you place your feet on the solid rock of Christ, Psalm 30:1-3.  By doing so you will avoid of pain of going up the down staircase.

by Jay Mankus

When the Lord Turns His Face

Sometimes in life, you don’t achieve the results you’re looking for.  Instead, you begin to search for answers to explain why you were defeated, failed and were unsuccessful.   As you wrestle for the truth, some may be tempted to blame God.  Although you may never discover the source of life’s failure, there are times when the Lord turns His face.

According to the director of music, God does not listen to those who cherish sin in their hearts, Psalm 66:18.  As individuals begin to entertain, harbor, foster and nurture sinful desires, it becomes impossible to please God, Romans 8:5-8.  Once minds are set on self indulgence, the Lord will wait to act until you’re willing to come back to your senses, Isaiah 1:15-16.

The next time disappointment knocks on your door, may be its time to search your heart, to see if you’re to blame, Psalm 139:23-24.  If no one is clearly at fault, perhaps you’re experiencing growing pains, 1 Peter 1:5-7, as the Lord is preparing you for the future.  Whatever obstacle you are currently facing, don’t forget that the Lord will turn His face and if God does remember what you need to do to regain His attention, Romans 12:1-2.

by Jay Mankus

 

More Than A Dirty Bird

While the undrafted Jamal Anderson, former NFL running back of the Atlanta Falcons introduced the dirty bird in 1998 to celebrate scoring a touchdown, this is not the inspiration for today’s blog.  After reading the words of Leviticus 11:13 I was surprised to see that the eagle made God’s detestable list for birds.  Sorting through which animals are considered clean and unclean to eat for Israel, the eagle is categorized as unclean.  Despite this classification, I believe the eagle is more than a dirty bird.

On June 20th, 1782, the eagle became the national emblem of the United States of America.  To honor this dirty bird, the great seal featuring the eagle was adopted, portrayed on the backs of gold coins, the silver dollar, half dollar and quarter.  The rationale for this decision was based upon the eagle’s long life expectancy, mighty strength and effortless guiding through the sky.  In addition, the eagle is a symbol of freedom, roaming over the vast spaces above mountain tops and hovering over the valleys below.

If you want to be accurate, the dirtiest birds are chickens and sea gulls based upon their hygiene habits.  However, prior to modern technologies, individuals could not determine whether or not an animal was thoroughly cooked.  Therefore, the book of Leviticus was written to warn Jews to forgo eating forbidden animals to prevent the contraction of aggressive bacteria and disease.  Although the eagle is no longer on the endangered species list, the sight of one in nature often illicit a sense of pride.  In God’s eyes, the eagle is more than a dirty bird, they are an image of hope, able to soar above the trials in life, Isaiah 40:30-31.

by Jay Mankus

 

What You’ve Got Left

Aspiring athletes and students are always looking for an edge, seeking to attain new heights.  Meanwhile, coaches and teachers use motivational speeches to get the most out of their pupils, trying to maximize their God given talents.  However, sometimes you need to remember the words of Job, “the Lord gives and takes away.”  Thus, whether you’re enduring a trial in life, struggling your way through a test or trying to stop a losing streak, God only has one question for you: what do you have left?

The apostle Paul shares this sentiment, reflecting upon a physical ailment he was forced to accept, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  Paul’s health concerns led him to embrace this situation, leaning on the Lord to help him cope with daily pain.  Humbled and helpless, Paul found inner strength when he placed his trust in God with what he had left.  Once he reached this point in his life, Paul uncovered the power of Christ in human weakness.

As for me, I find myself doing just the opposite, relying on my own strengths and talents to get by.  The end result has been predictable, lacking joy, peace and unfulfilled in my current state of life.  Despite my failures, I serve a God of second chances, able to rescue me from myself, Psalm 91:14-15.  Therefore, if you find yourself in a similar predicament, swallow your pride by giving God what you’ve got left.

When has Christ shined through your weaknesses?

by Jay Mankus

Miner 34

As I child, I remember hearing the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  Despite threats from King Nebuchadnezzar, these 3 men were willing to face death rather than break the first commandment, Daniel 3:17.  While in a fiery furnace, a 4th figure appeared, resembling the son of God, Daniel 3:24-25.  However, until today, I was not aware of the modern miracle of Miner 34.

On Thursday, August 5th, 2010, a mining accident in Copiapo, Chile, trapped 33 miners nearly a half mile beneath the surface of their San Jose mine.  Despite the initial cave in, all 33 men survived 69 days in darkness, banding together as a close knit community.   During this ordeal, each man was given a task that they were responsible for until their rescue.  Jose Henriquez was delegated the man of prayer, the only Christian miner.  Gathering around a pole, Jose introduced his co-workers to Miner 34, praying to the Living God.

Although not accepted by everyone, Jose’s words pierced the hearts of several men on the verge of death.  When a drill reached their location 17 days later, food, water and Bibles were dropped into their small living quarters.  Once Jose began to quote God’s words to his fellow miners, a revival broke out 2,400 feet under the earth’s surface.  Thirty two men entered this mine without plans for eternity on August 5th.  On October 10th, when these men were extracted from this mine, 22 men were reborn, dedicating their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10.  Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, these 33 miners were visited by Miner 34 until their rescue was complete.

Please share any other miracles you’ve experienced, heard or seen with your own eyes.

by Jay Mankus

 

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