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Getting Close to God’s Heart

To sense the invisible, God created human beings with a conscious, a general awareness to lead you to the right path.  Beyond the ability to feel, hear, see, taste and touch, it takes time to draw near to God.  For some getting close to the Lord’s heart is a lifelong journey, using trial and error to find your way.

And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD, Psalm 148:14.

Along this search, obstacles, road closures and temptation pop up causing some to quit, giving up before acquiring a heart like David.  Finding the time the read the Bible, prayer and meditate on God’s principles is hard to fit into one’s daily schedule.  Thus the thought of getting close to God’s heart becomes a pipe dream for most, content with a mediocre faith.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

According to Jesus, the heart is like a treasure chest, Luke 6:43-45.  What people store up inside come out in the form of actions, behavior and words.  The moment souls are irritated, pushed or prodded, either good or evil will come out.  In view of this reality, its essential to guard your heart, Proverbs 4:23, nourishing it with the promises of God in the Bible.  Then and only then will seekers begin to get close to God’s heart.

by Jay Mankus

The Anointing

Sometimes there are things in life that are difficult to explain.  While you may try to verbalize specific details, unless you experience, feel or sense it, no one will likely believe you.  Earlier on, I disregarded such a notion.  Yet now, after stumbling upon the words of a Psalmist, I have come to acknowledge the anointing of God is real.

He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you, Psalm 147:13.

The opposite of this force is similar to the Haunting, a show on Destination America.  Although many people remain skeptics, certain properties, homes or land are subject to demons, ghosts or spirits which dwell on these premises.  Once limited to documentaries and horror movies, powers of darkness has risen up to make their domain a living hell on earth.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, Ephesians 6:12.

In view of these unwelcomed visitors, its essential for individuals to begin to ask God for a special anointing.  Home owners can invite members of their church to dedicate and prayer over newly acquired property.  Meanwhile, prayer walks along the borders of businesses and land owners can serve as a hedge of protection for those who believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Finally, setting aside time to prayer for children and family members, especially inside of their own room can have life altering effects.  May readers embrace this concept and be inspired to practice it so that the anointing of God will be fanned into flame to negate any demonic influences currently keeping you from living the abundant life Jesus promised, John 10:10.

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

 

 

Empty Again

The saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” first appeared in 1602, published within Francis Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody.  This expression applies to several aspects in life.  Thus, while working nights since July, I began to miss some of the television shows I use to watch with my family.  Until Saturday, a marathon to check up on a few of my favorites, I forgot how empty entertainment can leave a soul, void of any significant meaning.

Although spending an entire day as a couch potato sounds appealing, boredom is a likely destination despite how many channels your cable or dish company provides.  According to Philippians 2:4, every human does need to be refreshed, before they can be of any benefit to others.  Yet, indulging in comedies, movies and sitcoms provide temporary pleasure before fading fast.  If you choose this path, emptiness is unavoidable.

Subsequently, individuals need to look in a different direction to experience a complete restoration.  Emptiness can be replaced by practicing Romans 12:1-2, leading to a transformed mind.  Depending upon your own desire, devotion and discipline, the timing on this change varies.  Whether you’re listening to or reading the Bible, Romans 10:17, faith will not disappoint, making the empty feel whole once again.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

To the Next Generation

When I was your age, I had to walk to school both ways up hill.  This mantra is repeated to each new generation, worded slightly different to drive home the point, “you have it so much easier than I did.”   Whether this is exaggerated, somewhat true or simply a ploy to illicit guilt, the next generation is waiting for a positive message.

A humble shepherd understood this concept, passed over as an after thought by his own father, 1 Samuel 16:2-11.  If there is one lesson everyone can learn, don’t judge someone based upon their physical features, impressive or not.  Rather, the heart holds the key to greatness, 1 Samuel 16:7.  However, unless you speak from the heart, Luke 6:45, no one will know for sure who they should follow.

David verbalizes his beliefs in Psalm 71:14-18.  Recognizing that not everyone shares the same faith, the king felt led by God to express what his eyes have seen.  Instead of regurgitating the same old mantra, David was inspired to pass onto the next generation a message of hope.  Therefore, if you know the truth, don’t withhold this information.  Rather, boldly proclaim the marvelous acts of a risen Messiah to the next generation, 1 Corinthians 5:54-58.

by Jay Mankus

 

No Reason to Pretend

In order to put on a happy face, some individuals feel compelled to hide their misery from co-workers, family and neighbors.  Like a Halloween masquerade party, many profess to be fine all the while anguish, grief and pain collect.  Although the motto “fake it until you make it” sounds logical, there is no reason to pretend.

From a mere vocational point of view, the last 5 years of my life have been like a hurricane, causing flood waters to break through levy’s.  As the storm surge continues to rise, my heart, soul and mind cling to promises of the Bible, hoping the trials subside soon.  When success reigned supreme, life was a piece of cake.  However, as turmoil entered my life through the winds of change, I’m not the same person.

Sure, I try to stay upbeat, but I am a mirage of my younger years, a piece of drift wood transformed by time, wind and water.  Water logged, especially around the waist, I long for dry land, a beach to call home.  Footprints along the shore are obvious signs that God has been carrying me.  When the waves calm, I will arise, perhaps wiser than before.  Like a work in progress, a strand of clay in the molding process, there is no reason to pretend it isn’t well with my soul.  Yet, I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12-14.

Don’t be afraid to be transparent; real so that a hurting world can see the only thing holding believers together, Romans 5:5.

by Jay Mankus

Making A Clear Distinction

In a world of diminishing absolutes, making a clear distinction between right and wrong isn’t what it use to be.  Shades of grey have entered the equation, leaving the truth uncertain.  To erase this confusion, one must shine the light of the Bible on this matter to distinguish the moral from immoral.

History reveals this struggle is nothing new as periods in time are filled with examples of people who blended in like chameleons, hiding their faith from society.  This pattern led Moses to challenge Israel to make a clear distinction between holiness and common citizens in Leviticus 10:10-11.  This lesson from the past should challenge us to examine our own lives to ascertain where do you stand?

When you’re feeling good about yourself, pride will lead you to hold a higher view than your actions actually display.  On the other hand, when your day of humility comes, you might feel like the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15.  Despite the good and bad that you do, Jesus still wants believers to shine their light, Matthew 5:13.  Like the childhood song proclaims, don’t hide your light anymore, make a clear distinction today by imitating God, Ephesians 5:1-4.

by Jay Mankus

Why Losses Outweigh the Victories in Life

Earlier today, I began to feel like Job, pondering when my recent streak of trials will end.  While attending a friend’s concert this evening, enjoying the Raymond Lee Band, I sensed an answer coming from the Holy Spirit.  If victories out numbered losses, individuals would not learn essential life lessons.  Therefore, God allows losses to outweigh victories in life so that humility produces teachable moments.

As I read the book of Psalms, it appears King David does more complaining than celebrating.  In the tough times. people are forced into a corner, revealing their true character.  Behind the sadness and tears, rough circumstances leads troubled souls to trust in the Lord.  Without failure. you don’t truly appreciate the good things in life.

Perhaps, this is the main message of James 1:2-4.  After the storms of life fade from the horizon, souls are left to pick up the pieces.   Subsequently, wisdom is gained through maturity and perseverance.  Winning is nice, but sometimes victory hides flaws and imperfections.  Thus, the Lord places losses in life more than victories so that Jesus’ power might be displayed in our weaknesses, 2 Corinthians 12:9.

by Jay Mankus

I Don’t Feel Like It Today

After another frustrating day visiting the doctor, sometimes its hard to stay motivated.  When I woke up this morning, I didn’t feel like reading the Bible or praying.  Part of me thought, “what’s the point?”  I’ve done everything I can think of and I’m still not cleared to return to work.

Perhaps, this same emotion is experienced by millions of individuals on a daily basis.  Once you bust your butt and work hard without any tangible results, apathy and pessimism often set in.  Thus, staying hopeful is a battle, especially when others around you seem to be better off than yourself.  In these moments, faith must be more than a feeling or else you will collapse under a sea of disappointment.

Despite my initial inclination, I fought through these urges to give God my first fruits, the first hour of my day.  Although I did not receive the outcome I wished for, there is still enough time in this day for my prayer to be answered.  When desperation sets in, the Lord is the only firm foundation remaining, Psalm 28:1.  Within my own uncertainty, I cling to the promise of Psalm 28:7, hoping to leap for joy instead of feeling depressed.

by Jay Mankus

How Bad Do You Really Want It?

If I had to take an honest assessment of my goals in life  and compare this with how I actually spend my time, my actions display a lack of hunger to make my American Dream a reality.  While playing on a  Florida mini-tour in 1995, I met several individuals who were willing to risk everything, sacrificing food, shelter and wants to one day make the P.G.A. Tour.  Clearly, they wanted it more than me as some ate peanut butter and jelly 3 times a day, 7 days a week, a few lived in their cars and many more worked the night shift so they could play in golf tournaments during the day.  In essence, I’m the only one to blame for not fulfilling this desire of my heart.

Cover Photo

Nearly 20 years later, I not willing to let another dream slip through my hands.  Back in the late 90’s, I had a 45 minute phone conversation with Max Lucado’s editor, set up by a mutual friend who owned a Christian Bookstore.  At the time, I was a freelance writer trying to break through, asking as many questions as possible without being rude.  Two of his statements serve as a glimmer of hope for this amateur author: “If you want to get noticed, the average professional writes full time for 7 years before getting paid or if you can only afford to do this part time, you must be willing to invest 15 years of your life.”  Over the past 3 years, I am in the process of paying my dues, with over 700 daily articles, 1 complete 90 minute movie script and currently a third of the way through my first book called Behind the Devil’s Door.  Though I could probably devote more time to writing each week, this time around the block I want it more than ever.

In Psalm 27:4, King David asks a similar question, but from a spiritual perspective: “How badly do you want to spend time with God?”  Are you happy with your current relationship or are holding back, not ready to commit fully to the Lord?  Based upon verses 1-3, if you are afraid, faithless or weak, you’re likely missing essential pieces.  What’s holding you back, keeping you from experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit daily?  Perhaps you don’t want God as bad as He longs to be with you, Luke 15:20.  May the words of Matthew 6:33-34 provide the assurance you need to re-prioritize your life as soon as possible.  While every human feels the pain of unfulfilled dreams, I pray that gazing upon the beauty of the Lord will transform your perspective on life.  Your actions in the days that follow will answer the question, how bad do you really want it?

by Jay Mankus

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