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Regaining Your Childhood Gaze

A gaze is to look steadily and intently, especially in admiration, surprise, or thought. While it’s hard to remember my own childhood, I do recall faces my own children made when they were young. Certain things caused each of them to be in awe. As an adult, you can get caught up in the rat race called life. When you don’t take the time to have balance, all work and no fun, it’s easy to lose your excitement and joy for life.

For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit, And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come, Hebrews 6:4-5.

The author of Hebrews writes about a spiritual gaze. Whenever an individual enters into a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-11, there is an enlightenment along with an internal peace within your heart. Unfortunately, just as a child can lose their gaze, any addiction, bad habit or habitual act will cheapen God’s grace. When temptation becomes too great, some Christians pray for God’s forgiveness before indulging in sin all over again. This appears to be the context of the passage above.

If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance—[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace, Hebrews 6:6.

I was introduced to Lay Witness Misson Weekends in high school. A visiting team of adults and teenagers come Friday for dinner as a meet and great and leave Sunday afternoon following church. I didn’t know what a spiritual revival was until I attended one. Under the leadership of Ken Horne, building blocks were used to point toward a climax on Saturday night. Over a decade, I was fortunate to attend several of these weekends which helped me regain my childhood gaze. It’s never too late to retreat to a place where you can reconnect with Jesus.

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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