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Tag Archives: failure

Thankfulness in the Midst of Adversity

The human spirit can handle many things in life.  When knocked down by disappointment, failure or rejection, the hope of a better future enables individuals to get up.  Yet, at some point the psyche can only take so much.  Thus, if a spirit becomes crushed, its difficult to be thankful in the midst of adversity.

The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? – Proverbs 18:14

The passage above written by King Solomon summarizes 2016 for me up to this point.  Although the start of this year went well, the ending has been like a nightmare that you can’t get out of your head.  While my screen writing project failed to be embraced by Hollywood, a more serious situation developed.  In early August, my youngest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes that has zapped his energy.  The hardest thing for a parent is wanting to do something to make things better, yet helpless and unable to intervene.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, Philippians 4:6.

The apostle Paul provides direction for those void of a thankful heart.  When you can’t make a difference, the Lord uses prayer as a vehicle for change.  Thus, I am thankful for the life that I have, not the one I want.  Perhaps, circumstances will turn around soon as I concentrate on prayer.  Even so, I can be thankful in the midst of adversity, especially when I consider my marriage of twenty one years with Leanne which I celebrate every Thanksgiving.

by Jay Mankus

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Suppressing the Urge to Quit

Disappointment, heart break and failure are hard to recover from.  The pain from these gut wrenching experiences attacks one’s confidence.  Whenever you lose hope or faith, thoughts about quitting begin to surface.  As soon as this arises, you must suppress the urge to quit.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, 2 Timothy 4:7.

The apostle Paul compares life to an Olympic race, similar to a marathon.  Thus, when a spirit of doubt creeps inside your mind, you must battle this like a heavy weight champ.  If you allow negativity to fester, your invisible opponent’s power will strengthen to the point of overwhelming wounded souls.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Philippians 4:13.

When you don’t have the strength to carry on, the apostle Paul introduces a trump card.  Despite the pain Jesus endured, he suppressed any desire to quit by fulfilling God’s plan and purpose.  Therefore, the next time you feel like giving up, call out to Jesus in prayer to suppress the urge to quit.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Why Some Don’t Get Over the Hump?

There have been times in my life that I wanted to know, “why me Lord?”  Whenever you experience disappointment, failure or rejection, its not selfish to want understand why you have to endure yet another trial.  The Bible is full of servants questioning God for the hand each has been dealt.  Yet, I recently came across a passage which might explain why I haven’t gotten over the proverbial hump.

Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism, Colossians 3:25.

According to the apostle Paul, individuals are repaid for each wrong doing committed.  While the world is full of favoritism with many getting free passes on past transgressions, the Bible has a different standard to live by.  Subsequently, heartaches I have faced could be directly or indirectly related to prior poor choices made by me.  Whatever the reason for the rough stretches I have undergone, maybe I need to ask God for forgiveness before I point the blame toward heaven.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows, Galatians 6:7.

Perhaps, this is what the apostle Paul is referencing above.  A growing number of people pass the buck today, blaming others or situations instead of taking personal responsibility for their own actions.  Despite this attempt, God can’t be mocked.  Thus, until Christians recognize the sowing principle, they won’t be able to get over the hump.  When you come to this realization, practice the words of James 5:16.

by Jay Mankus

Where Do You Go From Here?

Everyone will hit that proverbial bump in the road at some point in life.  This moment of inconvenience could be a quick pit stop, a rough stretch or turn into a dead end.  If the latter is you, its hard to start over, especially if you’re not sure where to go from here.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12.

Upon receiving the news of my most recent rejection from Hollywood, fourth in five years, I’m starting to have second thoughts on my writing career.  Part of me truly believed my latest script Dragged Behind the Devil’ s Door would be a box office hit, but now that reality is setting in I wonder if I’m on the right track or simply chasing some improbable fantasy.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13.

Perhaps the apostle Paul went through a similar phase during his first century mission trips throughout the Middle East.  Instead of seeing progress, Paul experienced failure, persecution and suffering.  While writing a letter to one of his favorite churches, Paul had a vision that gave him direction for the last portion of his life.  May the words above serve as a message of hope to those ready to give up, quit or abandon your calling.  Although I’m not sure what role writing will play in the next stage of my life, I need to forget past disappointments by straining toward what is ahead, eternal life with Christ my Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

Keeping Your Heads Held High

After a fairly successful coaching career over the past 20 years in youth sports, I find myself with my greatest task to date.  After a couple of coaches bailed, I have volunteered to help a developmental baseball team at the 13-15 year old level.  Unfortunately, every opponent so far has been much more advanced, leading to lop-sided results.  Thus, at this point all I can do is encourage the players to keep their heads held high.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin, 1 Peter 4:1.

You don’t have to play sports to experienced being smeared or creamed.  Depending upon who you are, what you do or where you work, its not uncommon to come in contact with far superior individuals.  If these people carry an attitude, ego or pride, its easy to feel helpless, overwhelmed and unqualified.  Yet, even if you’re staring failure in the face, its essential to keep your head held high, knowing you gave your best effort.

As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God, 1 Peter 4:2.

The latter is the most crucial element in times of failure.  Knowing you are beaten is one thing.  However, the moment you give up mentally, its not worth even competing anymore.  Sure, human nature will tempt those who have gotten use to losing.  Nonetheless, those who cling to perseverance will be rewarded in the end.  You might not see progress right away, but the Lord will honor and lift up those who keep their head held high.

by Jay Mankus

 

Reasoning with God

As I read a portion of the Bible known as the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11, there is a common characteristic found within many of these individuals.  In times of uncertainty, when life’s circumstances did not make sense, these historical and spiritual figures reasoned with God.   Instead of turning toward doubt, each trusted in God’s ability to resolve their situation with a Hollywood ending.

Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death, Hebrews 11:19.

Take for instance, Abraham who waited most of his life to have a son with his wife Sarah.  Shortly after receiving this promised child, God asked him to sacrifice Isaac.  Within Abraham’s heart, soul and mind, the concept of resurrection was conceived.  Thus, despite his confusion, Abraham took out a knife in faith, hoping and trusting that the Lord would provide a substitute, a replacement sacrifice for his son.

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict, Hebrews 11:23.

In modern times, life can be just as complex, not sure how or why God allows acts of terrorism, deadly diseases and failure to continue.  Yet, when trials arrive, Hebrews 11 exists to help people learn from models of faith.  Reasoning with God is a natural response, crying out to Him in prayer for understanding.  Although, answers may not come right away, don’t give up hope until God provides a solution for your latest dilemma.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Daughters of Prophecy

A forecast, prediction or prognostication are words synonymous with prophecy.  In this age of cynicism the majority of people I know have their doubts.  In fact, some may place these individuals in the same category as mediums, palm readers or psychics.  However, the apostle Paul refers to four woman in Ephesus as daughters of prophecy.

He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied, Acts 21:9.

This concept is foreign territory for most people.  During a few stints of unemployment four years ago, I met a stranger in a Christian bookstore.  This man came up to me at the counter and began to claim I would soon be blessed with a high paying job, beyond my wildest dreams.  When you’re desperate, sometimes you cling to any positive news, no matter how outlandish it appears.  Unfortunately, I got sucked in, was set up for failure and as time flew by without an answer to my prayers, I lost hope in the idea of prophecy.

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy, Acts 2:17-18.

Nonetheless, I can’t overlook Paul’s claims.  Based upon the context, these girls did not make up prophecies or try to impress Paul.  Rather, they only shared what God revealed to them.  While not a woman, Agabus accurately recounts Paul’s persecution in Jerusalem before it happens.  Luke was so impressed that he makes sure this prophet is mentioned in Acts.  I  can’t explain this rare spiritual talent, yet the Bible is clear, four daughters living in Ephesus possessed the gift of prophecy.

by Jay Mankus

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