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Tag Archives: enjoy

What You Need

Following in my father’s footstep, I attempt to plant a garden each spring so I can enjoy the fruits of this labor.  Most of these vegetables compromise my favorite salsa recipe, a pastime I enjoy sharing each summer.  Unfortunately, some time over the last month, my garden has become a haven for weeds.  I didn’t plant them; nor did I water them.  Weeds just show up, wherever and whenever they want.

But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away, Matthew 13:25.

Weeds are like adversaries individuals encounter on a weekly and monthly basis.  If you ignore these people, their impact can choke, suffocate or steal your joy in life.  Thus, the quicker you act, the better your chances for survival.  However, your response must be calculated or else their roots will multiple and can leave you outnumbered.

“ ’An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’  “ ’No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them, Matthew 13:28-29.

In view of these obstacles, believers need to develop an action plan based upon what you need in life.  First, everyone needs nourishment, quenching the thirst of the soul.  Second, its essential to establish a healthy routine, which helps promote a consistent and vibrant life.  Finally, when you surround yourself with positive influences and engage in activities that energize and are uplifting, you will be ready to conquer the weeds that infest this world.

by Jay Mankus

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Hireling, Servant or Friend?

The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep.  So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. – John 10:12

Depending upon your desire, energy or level of commitment, you will likely fall into one of 3 categories.  The unmotivated will fall into a hireling classification, doing things because its a job.  Those who enjoy their place of employment will likely transform into a servant, taking ownership of the business where they work.  Finally, the friend goes one step further, placing their heart and soul into what they do daily.

The greatest among you will be your servant. – Matthew 23:11

The hardest part of any career is uncertainty, when the dedication you pour forth is not rewarded, going unnoticed.  Unless you receive some sort of compliment, encouragement or raise, some may give up before experiencing the fruits of their labor.  Thus, maintaining a positive attitude can be difficult, often coming to a point where you begin to think, “what’s the point anyway?”  Even the most devoted servant needs a pat on the back to keep them going.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:15

According to Jesus, there is a difference between a servant and friend.  When someone becomes all in, surrendering a what’s in it for me mentality, they turn the corner.  This devotion sees the big picture, doing what’s best for their heavenly Father.  “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it, ” Matthew 16:25.  May the Holy Spirit lead to from a hireling, beyond the serving phase to a friend in Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Place of Silence

When I arrived earlier than normal to school in my teaching years, I felt like I had time to converse before the first bell signaled the beginning of another hectic day.  Scanning the hallways, I discovered a place of silence.  Walking back to the teacher’s lounge, the students present were tuned out, listening to music with ear buds on,  preventing any chances for a meaningful conversation.

Modern parents have been convinced by government agencies that spanking is wrong.  Thus, fear has been replaced with the silent treatment.  Unfortunately, sending kids to time out isn’t always punishment.  While the social may feel like they have been sent to solitary confinement, quiet children enjoy the place of silence.

Psalm 115:7 introduces the Bible’s readers to a new concept of hell, the place of silence.  This imagery brings a new perspective of hell, combining loneliness with time out.  When your time on earth runs out, there only 2 possible destinations, heaven or hell.  Either you will find a destination where your cries for help go unheard.  Or you will enter a place where your tears will be wiped away.  Take the advice of Moses by choosing life today, Deuteronomy 30:15-17.

by Jay Mankus

Tone Deaf or Tuned Out?

Technology is changing so quickly that sometimes the media can’t keep up.  While the elderly long for the days of the type writer, youth are downloading the next app to make their life more enjoyable.  For the computer illiterate, if this divide continues, there will be a large portion in society who will either become tone deaf or simply tune out these changes.

Today, the typical print media and evening news is on the verge of becoming extinct.  With the advent of twitter, camera phones and internet blogs, news is outdated by the time articles are written or news is reported.  Perhaps, this may explain the sensationalism in journalism through coverage, headlines and graphic videos..  This desperate attempt suggests the main stream media is losing their power to influence minds as talk shows and pod casts have emerged.

As for the average Joes like me, we might get lost in the shuffle.  Yes, I can know how to blog, email and make a video for my youtube account, but too much information can be overwhelming.  The less informed may get to a point where they think, “what’s the point,” giving up on technological advances.  Regardless of where you stand on this issue, God remains in control.  Thus, whether you become tone deaf or tune out, don’t forget to find life by living in the pages of the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

To Enjoy, Invest or Waste?

If each day on earth is considered a gift, then individuals have 3 choices.  You can enjoy each moment, soaking in the world around you.  Another option is  investing your energy, talents and time into hobbies, interests or passions.  Finally, the self-absorbed might follow the path of the prodigal son, wasting life savings to satisfy their fantasies.

While reflecting on my own life, I wish I could say that my time has been well spent.  Unfortunately, transitioning to my new work schedule has resulted in countless unproductive hours.  Although I hope to develop healthier patterns, I can’t replace the time that I’ve lost.  In view of this, I need to hit the reset button to begin again, Lamentations 3:22-23.

When you go through patterns of disappointment, keep your head up, Galatians 6:9-10.  With Christ’s help, Philippians 4:13, you can stop negative momentum.  If you want to turn the pages of your past toward love, joy and peace, emulate the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.  By doing this, you will find enjoyment while investing in kingdom activities during your days on the earth, Matthew 6:19-22.

by Jay Mankus

 

Starving for Conversation

Everyone has their own warts, imperfections that prevent people from achieving peace and prosperity.  For me, my greatest weakness is the inability to slow down to enjoy, indulge or relax by conversing with co-workers, family and neighbors.  Thus, by the end of the day or week, I often find myself starving for conversation.

While a youth pastor in Indiana, I spent 50 hours a week minimum interacting with youth, parents and church staff.  Since my job description involved investing in relationships, I spent countless hours reclining, sharing and walking with a wide range of personalities.  Whether I was tubing in a lake, attending a sporting event or sitting on a dock having an impromptu Bible Study, these were my best years, bringing out my God given talents.

Now twenty years later, its time to reinvent myself as I hunger and thirst for meaningful conversations.  Starting with the beatitudes appears to be a logical starting place, Matthew 5:3-12, encouraging individuals to be listeners first.  From here, the apostle Paul provides good advice in Colossians 4:2-5, adding flavor to the conversations you encounter.  Perhaps, by applying these biblical principles, I will be content, satisfied by future conversations.

What advice do you have for others searching for fulfilling conversations?

by Jay Mankus

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