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Tag Archives: expectations

A Stubborn Refusal to Believe

Authors Chester and Becky Kylstras have developed a simplistic approach to understanding how people form their belief systems.  Co-writing Restoring the Foundations, the Kylstyra’s rely on case studies, personal encounters and testimonies to apply biblical principles to real life.  Worldviews are shaped through experiences, which if repeated lead to beliefs.  These beliefs develop expectations such as ” if I do this or that, this should happen.”  Subsequently, behavior is dependent on the outcome of these expectations, either good or bad,

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen, Mark 16:14.

Jesus invested the last 3 years of his life on earth with twelve men.  During this great adventure, the blind received sight, mute were given a new voice and dead raised back to life.  Yet, after Jesus was crucified, the disciples relapsed into a state of doubt.  Although not mentioned in the Bible, I can hear Jesus ask, “don’t you remember all the miracles?”  Disappointed, the words of Mark 16:14 reveal a stubborn refusal to believe.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

If you believe everything happens to a reason, then life is filled with twists and turns.  While the good will lift up your spirits.  The bad and ugly times will either make or break you.  The disciples failed miserably when Jesus was gone for three days.  However, the introduction of the Holy Spirit breathed new life into the souls of these men.  This power is still available for us today.  Therefore, if you want to overcome a stubborn heart, ask the Lord in prayer to receive to receive the power of the Mighty Counselor, John 16:15.

by Jay Mankus

On Again Off Again

The origin of getting cold feet has three different links to history.  The first derives from an Italian play written in 1605 entitled Volpone.  The context of Ben Johnson’s words, “to have cold on one’s feet,” refers to having no money.  Two centuries later, a German novel uses a similar expression when speaking of gamblers who have cold feet as their money runs out.  Finally, Stephen Crane’s piece, Maggie: A Child on the Streets from 1894 has a modern understanding as cold feet is in reference to making tough decisions.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.- Hebrews 11:1

Today, On Again Off Again could be the title of the latest Reality TV Show as people change their minds on whether or not to get married.  However, this phrase is used by sports fans who jump on and off their favorite team’s bandwagon.  Whenever expectations of a relationship or viewing interest let you down, faith to continue your vested interest wanes.  Thus, the words On Again Off Again become a self-fulfilled prophecy.

That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:5

Unfortunately, these words often describe a Christian’s volatile relationship with God.  As long as things go well, their commitment remains true.  Meanwhile, the littlest sign of turmoil leads many to get cold feet wondering, “is this Christian thing really worth it?”  Anyone who has ever felt periods of distance from God might consider taking a break, putting the Lord on hold until you need Him again.  Regardless of where you may be, sincere faith requires trust.  Therefore, don’t live life like a roller coaster full of emotions.  Rather, remain steadfast on the narrow road which leads to heaven.

by Jay Mankus

 

It’s a Tough World Out There

As I listen to the media’s so called experts, I have a hard time believing what they are trying to sell.  Reports of economic recovery, declining unemployment and a Stock Market’s all time high seem misleading.  As I try to slow down to observe the culture around, citizens are conveying a different story.

While driving in my car, a day usually doesn’t go by without seeing at least one homeless person at an intersection with a cardboard sign: will work for food.  The retired are coming out of retirement not because they want to, but out of necessity after their pension, 401K or both have disappeared.  Meanwhile, former students who are now college graduates are beginning to consider grad school since the jobs in their fields either aren’t hiring or don’t pay enough to make a better life.

I doesn’t take a PHD to recognize it’s a tough world out there.  Individuals are struggling to find a place to call home.  Others are downgrading their expectations, wondering if they will ever find a good paying job again.  Despite these circumstances, it’s time to put on your big boys pants, buckle up your chin strap and fight hard to the finish.  Whether you taste success or failure, remember that each day on earth is a gift from God.

by Jay Mankus

That Will Solve The Problem…Not

A PSA is short for Public Service Announcement.  Whether organizations are motivated by personal convictions, political correctness or remorse, PSA’s have become a common vehicle to communicate messages.  In view of players involved in domestic violence cases, the National Football League has created a recent commercial using stars to stop this assault on women.

Unfortunately, PSA’s often assume 2 things.  First, listening to this ad will result in stopping this behavior.  Second, if you follow the advice provided, together you can eliminate it from society.  This mindset is flawed, not taking the sinful nature into consideration.  Thus, sarcasm leads me to think to myself, “that will solve the problem, not!”

From my experience as a parent, teacher and worker, no one wants to be told what to do.  Sure, as a leader, you have to set the expectations you want others to adhere to.  Nonetheless, hearts have to change before the culture becomes transformed from violence to good Samaritans.  Unless individuals become born again, John 3:3-5, the world will remain hampered by the stains of sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

Behind Closed Doors

With the advent of twitter, overreaction has a voice, tweeting out emotions, opinions and rage.  Subsequently, there is a growing fear among citizens of telling others how you really feel.  To guard against the next media frenzy, the truth is often found off the record, behind closed doors.

Growing up in the 1980’s, I was taught not to be afraid of letting others know who you are.  Nonetheless, deep inside there were whispers, “what if people don’t like me?”  Fueled by peer pressure, I blended into my environment, letting my guard down only when the timing felt right.  Except for a few friends, my faith was hidden behind closed doors.

One of the most difficult passages of the Bible to comprehend is Matthew 10:32-39.  Jesus is about to send his disciples out into the world for the first time.  As the Lord goes over a list of expectations, the words of this passage sends a wave of conviction, crashing over my soul.  Essentially, if anyone is ashamed of their faith, they will be left behind closed doors.  In view of this fact, open the door to your heart by sharing your faith today.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Read the Fine Print

Its amazing how dishonest commercials have become in this age of disclaimers.  By the time you try to listen to and or read the warning at the bottom of your television screen, another ad appears.  In a rush to strike it big, reward stock owners or pay for future projects, imperfections abound when you read the fine print.

Meanwhile, walking billboards are just as guilty.  Whenever you hear words like “I’ve never done that, my pastor’s never sinned or you struggle with that,” wait a couple days or weeks and sin will flow like rain.  Christians that sound too good to be true aren’t doing anyone any good.  Rather, the closer you are to God, the more humble you become.  Yet, the opposite is true as the further you stray from the Lord, the better you feel initially until pride sets people up for a fall.

If you want to read the fine print, just open up one of the 4 gospels in the Bible.  Although Jesus spoke in parables to drive home a point, he doesn’t beat around the bush.  Jesus set high expectations for his disciples, causing many to walk away, unable to meet his standards, Luke 9:57-63.  Despite our own inabilities to achieve holiness, John 3:16-17 provides a highlighted reminder of God’s eternal plan.  Don’t let bad examples keep you from the truth.  Rather, read the fine print for yourself to reserve a room in eternity, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

It’s Not Okay Anymore

On December 29th, 2010, Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell criticized the NFL and Philadelphia Eagles for cancelling a prime time Sunday Night due to a snow storm.  Rendell’s referred to this decision as another sign of the wussification of America.  Although these comments created a backlash against the city’s former Mayor, its about time someone stood up and proclaimed, “It’s not okay anymore!”

When you set the bar low or don’t clearly communicate your expectations of others, results usually suffer.  While the pacifist wil say, “that’s okay.”  Visionary leaders strongly disagree, refusing to accept failure as an optional.  Deep inside the human heart, a tug of war is raging back and forth.  Minds caught in the middle struggle to see a glass half full. Blurred by disappointment, teary eyes try to focus, gazing in on the emptiness if life.

One of the last weapons to change a world losing hope is accountability.  Whether its positive peer pressure steering individuals toward healthy disciplines or tough love to confront a wayward child, each act is screaming out, “its not okay anymore!”  Regardless of where you are in life, may the Matthew 18:15-18 principle motivate you to train others in the way that they should go, Proverbs 22:6.  Make a stand today by shouting, “It’s not okay anymore!”

by Jay Mankus

What Did You Expect?

Eleanor Porter’s book Pollyanna was first published in 1912.  Nearly 50 years later, Walt Disney brought this little girl to life in the form of a movie bearing her name.  In a world of pessimism, Pollyanna saw circumstances through rose colored glasses, focusing her attention on the good things in life.

Seventy years wiser, Pollyanna’s are nearing extinction, killed by negativity.  Instead, a new age is dawning, starring, “What did you expect anyway?”  Debbie downers have set fire to optimism, extinguishing hope with self-fulfilling prophecies of failure.  This attitude is breeding a generation of despair, void of expectations.  The blame game, put downs and trash talking are leaving the masses to settle for mediocrity.

To escape this mentality, one must arm themselves with the mind of Christ, 1 Peter 4:1-2.  Sometimes debating others until you are blue in the face is a waste of time.  Rather, rid yourself of negative influences, Colossians 3:8-10, replacing these with the practices of Jesus, Colossians 3:12-15.  Although you won’t have many fans along the way, be doers of the Word, not doubters, Matthew 7:24.  In the end, through thick and thin, you can expect a room in heaven, John 14:2.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Shake, Rattle and Rut…

Jesse Stone wrote a 12 bar blues rock and roll song in 1954 under his alias song writing name, Charles Calhoun.  This piece was first recorded by Big Joe Turner, yet most notably sung by Bill Haley and the Comets.  Music in its truest form involves rhythm displayed in Shake, Rattle and Roll.

The opposite of this is a rut, void of any flow, inspiration or momentum.  Over the course of time, craters, ditches and potholes disrupt individuals from developing a rhythm in life.  Instead patterns of negative behavior leads to disappointment, a lack of production and unfulfilled expectations.  Once you reach these doldrums, like the dog days of summer, sometimes a spiritual awakening is necessary to break you from this mental state.

This is where I find myself today, stuck in a rut.  To escape this, I need to claim the prayer of David in Psalm 30:1-3.  The blue print laid out in this passage involves praising God from the middle of your circumstances.  Whether you’re stuck in the mud or recovering from a major trial, praise initiates healing.  As soon as you muster the strength to possess a Paul like attitude, Acts 16:25, God transforms ruts into shakes, rattles and spiritual rolls.

by Jay Mankus

Last Call

Every classic movie or sitcom filmed in a bar has at least one scene based upon the notion, last call for one more round of drinks.  In the 1996 film Invincible, Mark Wahlberg plays Vince Papale, a bartender who fulfills a life long dream of trying out for Philadelphia Eagles, his local NFL team.  As the plot develops, several of the beginning scenes take place at the establishment where Vince hangs out and takes a part time job after losing his teaching position.  Like the closing bell on Wall Street, the last call serves as a two minute warning before closing up for the night.

In life, few people receive a clear indication that their time on earth is up.  Sure, those stricken by an incurable disease have an inclination that the end is near, yet countless are cut down, killed in accidents or murdered without any signs or notice.  These individuals don’t have any time to prepare for eternity.  Instead, their destination is determined by the life they have lived.  Unfortunately, no one is perfect, Romans 3:9-12, falling short of God’s expectations, Matthew 5:48.

In Luke 23:32-43, three man were sentenced to death.   As curious spectators got their kicks, watching 3 men die on a cross, one man took advantage of this last call on life.  Acknowledging his crime publicly and worried about his future, one criminal pleaded with Jesus, Luke 23:41-42.  As a result, this fortunate soul received something better than a last drink, the gift of eternal life, Luke 23:43.  May you seize the moments God gives you during the living years so that you will enter the place Jesus calls paradise, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

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