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Tag Archives: happiness

Not Without A Price

Novelist Orson Scott Card made a interesting observation in regards to sacrifice.  “Happiness is not a life without pain, but rather is life in which pain is traded for a worthy price.”  Whether you are referring to freedom of speech, defending a just cause or standing up for what you believe, nothing is accomplished with a cost.

Perhaps, your reputation takes a hit, attacked by those with opposing views.  Or friendships are estranged as your worldview comes in direct conflict with a person you care about.  Either way, actions, choices and decisions will create enemies, hatred or jealousy.  What you need to determine is… is it worth the price?

When becoming of disciple of Jesus became popular, motives for following were mixed.  Some wanted to join because it was cool, others for the fame and a few for the right reasons.  Thus, Jesus set the bar high in Luke 9:57-62, causing many to quit, unable to pay the price.  Whether you are excelling as an athlete, student or servant, to become the greatest in anything takes unswerving devotion.  May you consider the costs, make up your mind and take a leap of faith, paying the price today to achieve a better tomorrow.

by Jay Mankus

Before God’s Presence Appears

Most Americans have become spoiled, expecting a response at the snap of their fingers.  Subsequently, when people go out to eat, go to a show or make a significant purchase, they want perfection.  When disappointed by a product or service, heads will roll and reputations will be harmed if these individuals don’t get their way.  If this is how a growing number of citizens are responding, its no wonder God is waiting to appear until faith and actions coexist.

The book of Leviticus consists of a conversation God had with Moses while on Mount Sinai in Exodus.  As I recently read through Leviticus, a pattern forms throughout the first 8 chapters, “God said to Moses.”  Following these instructions, Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord told Moses.  However, it wasn’t until Leviticus 9:4 before God’s presence appears before Israel.  Thus, this passage suggests God is waiting for his children to carefully follow the Bible’s commands prior to being accompanied by blessings, Deuteronomy 28:2.

While some may say, “what are you waiting for,” others are trying to twist the Bible to conform to their own beliefs.  As for me, a lack of results makes the obvious seem clear once again, “be doers of the word, not just hearers,” Matthew 7:24-27.  Once I realign my priorities to Matthew 6:33, God promises to provide for my daily needs.  Therefore, if you are hungry and thirsty to experience God’s presence, listen to words of Jesus like Aaron followed Moses.

Let us know when you’ve encountered God’s presence.

by Jay Mankus

 

Finding Solace in Sorrow

Although inconsistent at times, I’ve tried to be a positive person in my spheres of influence, set on changing the mindsets of defeated souls.  In high school, one of my ministries was seeking out the depressed and down to bring a glimpse of happiness, laughter and joy to their sad faces.  However, now I find the shoe on the other foot as sorrow has moved in, keeping me company during the entire month of February.

Like a prized heavy weight slug fest from the Rocky series, my body has become a punching bag for Apollo Creed, scrambling for the ropes to hang on.  Repeated blows to the heart have erased any remnants of confidence, making room for sorrow to feel at home.  Since I lost control of my health weeks ago, I am finding solace in this helpless condition.  Stripping away my impurities, desolation has forced me to seek a higher power to be rescued from disappointment.

Sorrow has lead me into the furnace, testing my faith beyond what I expected, 1 Peter 1:6-7.  Stretching me like Plastic Man, I have a new appreciation for misfortune, viewing it as an opportunity to display a heavenly perspective, James 1:2-4.  After this hurricane, I will be a better man, able to see the sun on the other side of the storm.  With no easy way out, I am content to find solace in sorrow until the Lord calls me home.

by Jay Mankus

Even When It Hurts

Abuse, damage, injuries and pain are synonymous with hurt.  When the course of life turns in your favor, contentment, happiness and joy are expected.  However, as the tables turn, sending unexpected storms and trials, the true nature of a human being is unveiled.  In the heat of the moment, how will you respond to adversity?  One of the strangest stories of the Bible’s highlights this point, doing what’s even when it hurt.

Jephthah was a mighty warrior, following in the footsteps of Gideon, Judges 11:1.  Jephthah was moved by the Spirit of God prior to a battle with the Ammonites, prompted to make a vow to the Lord.  According to Judges 11:30-31, Jephthah promised to sacrifice the first living creature he came across on his way back home.  Perhaps speaking before thinking things through, this victorious leader didn’t see a soul until his one and only daughter came out to greet him.  Yes, this passage seems like a scene from Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does,” Judges 11:34-37.  Nonetheless, this is one of those head scratching verses of the Bible that illustrates keeping your promises, even when it hurts.

The story of Jephthah lives on today as a painful reminder for those make vows without contemplating the price to be paid.  David likely eludes to Jephthah in Psalm 15:4, emphasizing the importance of doing what you say.  Solomon also appears to be moved by this principle, adding the thought process one should go through before making any vows, Ecclesiastes 5:4-6.  In an age where many children have lost faith in their parents, letting them down time after time, make sure you keep your word even when it hurts.

by Jay Mankus

Better Than Life

Human nature encourages individuals to eat, drink and be merry.  The selfish side of human beings urges people to go for the gusto, get it while its hot and live for the moment.  A herd instinct sways citizens toward peer pressure, taking risks and indulging in activities you were told not to by parents or guardians.  In my own search, following these influences, I have discovered something better than life.

As a teenager, I reluctantly engaged my human nature, often left feeling empty and guilty from my participation, being out of character.  At the end of high school and most of college, I found time to satisfy my selfish needs.  Unfortunately, the pleasures of life quickly faded, furthering the void within my heart.  An independent spirit keep me from conforming to typical herd instincts, yet like Romans 3:23 proclaims, I had my moments of compromise, falling to lies of persuasion.  In recent days, even viewing my favorite sports teams on television does not bring the joy it once did.

What I was longer for, was right there all along, on the other side of the door way, Revelation 3:20.  When the timing was right, I couldn’t hold back the force which drew me in, Romans 10:9-10.  Therefore, within the basement of a conference center, I had a divine appointment with the Creator of Life.  Though the temptations of sin still exist, there is something better than life.  Psalm 63:3 reveals this truth, where the grace, forgiveness and mercy of God is above all, greater than life!

by Jay Mankus

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