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Tag Archives: excitement

The Connection between Confidence and Passion

Whenever an individual experiences a glimpse of their full potential, an infusion of confidence emerges.  If this stretch continues for an extended period of time, passion is conceived to ignite future possibilities.  A recent example is my son Daniel, who shot one under par through a five hole stretch early last golf season.  When his chip for birdie lipped out on the hardest hole, excitement, hope and promise entered Daniel’s mind.  A few days later, during a spring break trip, Daniel stayed up past midnight, talking about his endless potential in golf.

Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory, Colossians 3:2-4.

Unfortunately, golf is like life, it can be cruel at times, leaving you lost as if you have never played this game before.  After a few embarrassing weeks on the course, confidence and passion left Daniel as quickly as it arrived.  As I look at my own life, I am going through a similar stage.  As I approach my 50th birthday, I have put most of my time and energy into writing.  When I endure numerous rejections with few signs of progress, I question if it’s worth continuing to write.  As my mind participates in a tug of war like the song Should I Stay or Should I Go, my inner confidence and passion has deflated.

Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him, Colossians 3:17.

The apostle Paul provides advice to anyone who has lost confidence and passion for life.  In a letter to the church of Colosse, Paul urges individuals toward a new mindset.  Instead of allowing self pity to develop, set your heart and mind on things above.  Don’t live for yourself; rather place all your onus on serving God.  When your life is all about you, confidence and passion can be like riding a roller coaster.  Yet, the moment you place your focus on eternity, your purpose for living changes.  Therefore, if you are like me, sick and tired of the highs and lows in life, let the Holy Spirit raise you up, fueled by a mind set on heavenly things.

by Jay Mankus

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Dueling Forces

Whether you accept this premise or not, there are dueling forces that exist on earth.  Previous illustrations have depicted an angel with wings whispering into one ear, with a demon urging individuals to do the exact opposite.  Former atheist C.S. Lewis referred to this invisible tug of war as dualism.  This theological term believes there are two equal and independent powers at the back of everything, one of them good and the other bad, and that this universe is the battlefield in which they fight out an endless war.

But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts], Galatians 5:16.

The apostle Paul applies spiritual elements to dualism in the passage above, revealing the Holy Spirit as the positive force and sinful nature as a series of negative impulses.  The presence of this spiritual battles make appreciating the little things in life difficult.  As soon as your heart is pierced by conviction, minds are bombarded by disparaging thoughts to diminish that which you should be thankful for.  Perhaps, this may explain the apostle Paul’s advice in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 about taking your thoughts captive.

For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do, Galatians 5:17.

One of Satan’s objectives is to turn joyful Christians into cynical souls, void of any excitement, hope or life.  When cold water is poured out over a blazing fire, it does little to extinguish the flames.  However, as steady rains persist like Tropical Storm Florence, drenching tired and weary believers with a deluge of trials, it doesn’t take long for even the strong to become comfortably numb.  In view of this harsh reality, prepare your heart, soul and mind for the powers of darkness, Ephesians 6:12.  Submit to God, resist the Devil and let your faith become rooted in Christ so that future storms won’t hinder your ability to appreciate the little things in life.

by Jay Mankus

Human Inspired or from Above?

When an individual wakes up, the day can dictate one’s degree of excitement.  Anticipation for an activity, event or the weekend can produce adrenaline, enthusiasm and vigor for life.  However, sometimes the energy burst you receive may come from above?

“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?” – Mark 11:28

In the days of Jesus, his ministry was always under scrutiny.  Whether he was feeding the masses, performing a miracle or outwitting the Pharisees, religious leaders doubted his authenticity.  It wasn’t until Jesus used John the Baptist as an illustration to prove inspiration can come from above.

.John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”- Mark 11:30

Following a milestone or success story, individuals will give a myriad of responses.  Some will credit their coach, trainer or parents.  Others may reference their discipline, re-dedication  or state of the art training program.  However, a few will profess of a higher power, strength from above which ultimately led to their victory.  Although the media may not show all those who give glory to God, I believe human inspiration only takes you so far.  With this in mind, tap into the Holy Spirit to help reach your full potential.

by Jay Mankus

 

Pump Up The Volume

For the meek, shy and soft spoken, its easy to allow others to walk all over you.  Although, the silent majority once ruled the roost, the brash, power hungry and rude have shouted down Americans toward their ideology and worldview.  Subsequently, atheists,  lawyers and politicians have redefined the rules, pumping up the volume of their talking points.

In the aftermath of this stampede, foundations have been cracked and principles weakened, leaving historians scratching their heads.  When England began to limit their citizens to worship God in one church, the Magna Carta was conceived, leading the way for colonists to set sail for a new land.  This excitement stoked a passion in the founders, pumping out the volume to remind people of the reason each crossed the Atlantic.

When Patrick Henry stood up to naysayers at the Virginia Convention in 1775, he spoke out of the overflow of his heart, crying out for freedom.  “Give me liberty or give me death,” swayed those who were on the fence, paving the way for  the Revolutionary War.  If the United States of America has any hopes of surviving, there needs to be a spiritual revival so that God’s blessing will not removed permanently.  As you cope with today’s grim reality, may the Holy Spirit inspire you to pump up the volume, Acts 4:29, to ignite a movement to win back our moral compass.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Romantic Interlude

Feelings of excitement and mystery go hand and hand with romance.  Deep inside the human heart, passion is ignited by a spark, triggering previously unknown emotions.  Curiosity, flirting and love set the scene for a romantic interlude.

After this experience fades, a void is left behind.  Within the DNA of mankind, there is a relational component often neglected by individuals.  Subsequently, human beings attempt to recreate interludes of the past, usually without success.  One of the side effects of romance are rash decisions, like that of Sarah in Genesis 16:1-5, putting any chance for romance on thin ice.

Just as men and women long for one another, God yearns for intimacy with his children.  While teaching his disciples, Jesus refers to pursuing the Lord with the same level of commitment as a romantic interlude, Matthew 16:24-26.  Sometimes in life you have to take a chance, risking humility to pursue the desires of your heart.  May the hope of John 3:16-17 inspire you to drawn near to God, James 4:8, like a romantic interlude.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Life Void of Passion

My earliest recollection of passion began in Junior High as friends debated the best music video on MTV, the greatest rock band and favorite sports teams.  In High School, I began to live by the 3 G’s: Girls, Golf and God, fluctuating in order depending upon the timing or season.  By the time college arrived, my interests shifted toward amusement parks, intramural sports and sand volleyball, with the latter dominating most of my summer nights.  When I began my career as a youth pastor, interacting with families, karaoke and water sports consumed most of my time.  As a family man, I have mellowed, spending time listening to music, working on my golf green out back and writing on a daily basis.

Passion is embodied in enthusiasm, excitement and feelings.  Although I still possess hot button issues inside my heart, most of the things I once held dear don’t illicit much of a response any more.  Sure, it would be nice for the Eagles to win a Super Bowl or witness another local team win a championship, but I refuse to place my hope in someone or something that disappoints you 99% of the time.  Likewise, I find it futile to debate music, politics and television shows.  As Solomon once said, “everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 2:11, in reference to pleasures on earth.  Perhaps, this may explain why I am currently living a life void of passion.

If you have ever reached this point, emptiness tends to cause you to lose your voice, bored by most of the conversations you hear.  However, when you find a cause worth living for, passion can and will return.  In Acts 4:29, the passion of Jesus Christ prevented the disciples from being shut down.  Rather, the power of the Holy Spirit consumed their souls, not able to forget about the risen Savior who suffered, died and rose again 3 days later.  This is the passion I am missing, lost in translation between the pages of the Bible and putting faith into action.  May the fire of Christ followers burn bright in your region so that lives void of passion will be invigorated by the power of God.

by Jay Mankus

 

Captivated or Captured?

Growing up in the 1980’s, arcades, malls and skating rinks were places teenagers congregated for social interaction.  Subsequently, I developed a soft spot in my heart for video games, longing to master the pattern for Pac-Man, flip Space Invaders from 999,999 back to zero on my Atari and complete every stage of Dragon’s Lair, one of the first games in 3D.  Looking back, I wonder if I was merely captivated by this new form of entertainment or was I captured by the devil, 2 Corinthians 4:4?

Compromise doesn’t happen over night.  Rather, the father of lies places subtle thoughts into your mind, hoping you will bite, James 1:13-15.  For the first 14 years of my life, I was hooked, spending countless hours on my Atari seeking to enter the hall of fame for each game I owned, taking a picture with a polaroid camera of my score or time.  However, with each accomplishment, excitement soon passed, creating a void in my heart that video games did not fulfill.  Breaking this habit was difficult, needing assistance from a higher power.

By the middle of my sophomore year of high school, I was ready, captivated by a man in wheelchair, claiming to be a famous athlete.  After receiving over 1,000 full scholarships in 4 different sports, a water skiing accident left Skip Wilkins paralyzed from the waist down.  Despite his humbling disposition, there was something different about him.  Whatever Skip had inside of him, I wanted.  Thus, when an altar call was offered, I was one of the first to come down, captivated by a godly witness and now captured by a forgiving Savior, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

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