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Tag Archives: helpless

Lifting Up Friends to You

There will be moments in life where you will feel helpless.  Even if you are near a loved one, sometimes fate is out of your hands.  Whether you are talking about an accident, heart attack or illness, the only thing you can do is pray.  Perhaps if more people were proactive, lifting up friends to God daily, you wouldn’t have to face as many emergencies in life that some are forced to endure.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Proverbs 18:24.

King Solomon eludes to the power of friendship in the Old Testament.  Whenever you find an individual who shares a common interest, hobby or passion, an instant bond often develops.  If nourished, friends can quickly become like close members of the family.  According to Solomon, there is a tendency to accumulate as many friends as possible, but those who seek quality relationships over quantity will be rewarded.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends, John 15:13.

One day Jesus uses a gardening analogy during a conversation with his disciples.  Just as a gardener cares for, prunes and nourishes plants under his or her care, a good friend does the same thing.  Likely referring to his impending death on a cross, Jesus brings up the greatest act a friend can demonstrate.  Sacrificing, serving or laying down your own wants and needs for a friend reveals love.  While this commitment may not be possible for everyone, the least you can do lift up friends in prayer to the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

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Clouds of Darkness

It doesn’t always take a meteorologist or radar to predict a pending storm.  Temperatures may drop, wind gusts rise and skies blacken to serve as a warning sign.  Before the thunder claps, streams of showers on the horizon begin to fall like a ballet in the distance.  However, until it comes, nobody knows what’s hidden in the clouds of darkness.

This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain.  For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet.  No one was strong enough to subdue him, Mark 5:3-4.

Besides weather, clouds of darkness can hover over individuals.  Elements could be demonic, a product of bad environments or caused by poor decisions.  In this state, people can take a change for the worse, often reaching a place where they appear to lose their mind.  Loved ones become helpless, unable to snap friends, neighbors and co-workers out of the spell, veiled by a cloud of darkness.

When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid, Mark 5:15.

Prior to the arrival of Jesus, those held hostage by these clouds were helpless.  However, resurrection power changed the fate of those living in darkness forever.  Today, healing is just a prayer away.  Complete restoration doesn’t usually occur overnight.  Rather, ungodly beliefs take time to be purged, cleansed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  If clouds of darkness start to surround you, may the Lord of Light stand with you until the storm is over.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Stranded

Before the days of cell phones, I found myself stranded on Interstate 74 between Indianapolis and Cincinnati.  As my car died, I was helpless as vehicles flew by without a glance.  Waiting for a good Samaritan to come to the rescue, minutes turned to hours.  Like a fish out of water, I reached a point where I didn’t know what to do.

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed, Proverbs 19:17.

You would think a youth pastor might naturally turn to prayer for assistance, but the shock of the moment distracted my focus.  Desperation pointed me in the right direction, upward toward the sky.  Shortly after praying, a jeep arrived to take me to the nearest tow truck.  Although the fix wasn’t easy, a credit card enabled me to make it home several hours behind schedule.

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you, Matthew 5:42.

Today, God’s timing doesn’t always make sense, especially when you endure hardship.  Numerous people feel spiritually stranded, stuck in a rut and unable to find rest for a weary soul.  During this waiting game, many around you may fake it for a while, putting on a good front.  However, unspoken words hope for eternal security, 1 John 5:13.  In this search for the meaning to life, may the Holy Spirit pick you up from the curb, helping you put all the pieces together from your past, present and the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Not So Happy Thanksgiving

For most of my days, I’ve lived a sheltered life.  However, my first job after graduating from college brought me to inner city Wilmington, Delaware as a social worker.  My eyes were opened to the homeless, poor and unfortunate.  This experience led me to serve the needy during my first Thanksgiving in Chicago, going to a homeless shelter near Cabrini Green, one of the roughest projects in Chicago.  I didn’t see any television cameras or professional football players handing out free turkeys, what I observed was a not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Everyone should get of their comfort zones once in a while to see what its like on the other side.  I’m not talking about Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.  Rather, I think its healthy to see how little other people have so that you may begin to appreciate all the things you have accumulated in life.  Fashion, shopping and temporary pleasures blind most individuals to what’s really important: family, faith and fellowship.  Without this type of perspective, a spoiled generation will continue to whine, “what’s in it for me,” while the less fortunate have another not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Clothes, food and a place to call home is foreign to some individuals.  Though many may receive a Turkey to cook, how long will the leftovers last?  Will some have to wait til Christmas before the next act of generosity finds these helpless souls?  Therefore, as you watch the parades, gather for a feast and watch some football for dessert, don’t limit your giving to a couple of times per year.  Rather, take a look around and see who you can help so that a not so Happy Thanksgiving can turn into a very Merry Christmas.

by Jay Mankus

Helpless… Except for Prayer

After last week’s election, most voters were optimistic that their newly elected leaders would cease this opportunity to make a difference.  Several days later, it appears that many career politicians have reverted to their former ways.  Add in a rogue president who disregards the constitution and citizens become helpless.

In a whirlwind of disappointment, I was reminded of a simple solution, prayer.  Scouring over the Psalms of David, there is nearly a prayer for each emotion you encounter.  Whether you feel betrayed, running for your life or in need of divine intervention, help is just a prayer away.

For those of us who struggle to let go, yearning to take control of daily situations, there is one truth you can’t ignore: the Lord reigns over heaven and earth.  Although you may not like the path America is going down or the road God has chosen for you, there is still time to act.  If you’re feeling  helpless like me, don’t let the sun go down without crying out to the Lord.  In the end, warriors of prayer will usher God’s ultimate will into existence.

by Jay Mankus

 

Do You Remember When?

Time has a way of skewing our memories.  When life is great, people expect things to continue, letting the good times roll.  On the other hand, as soon as the tide turns, individuals are shocked by unfortunate events like death, illness or trials.

Every so often, I will do something to aggravate my ribs that I broke last winter.  This soreness serves as a reminder of a scary moment in my life.  Unable to breathe, cringing in pain, I watched helplessly while a dozen Emergency Room attendants prepared for my surgery.  As the painkillers knocked me out, I wasn’t sure if I would ever wake up again.

Nine months later, I am thankful for life, a great job and wonderful family.  If it wasn’t for the cold weather, I might have forgotten this traumatic event.  Yet, the Lord brought this to my attention while reading Psalm 105.  Just as the Lord inspired Jewish leaders to remind Israel of God’s covenant to Abraham, the Holy Spirit brought to recall the healing power of the Great I Am.

by Jay Mankus

Prayers of Change

For the  helpless, hurting and poor, change is something that can’t come soon enough.  These desperate souls are searching for the secret to getting God’s attention to alter their circumstances.  When waiting becomes excruciating, what should you say to obtain prayers of change?

In the days of the Old Testament, the heart and its spiritual condition directly influenced God’s response to mankind, Isaiah 1:15-18.  Meanwhile, the mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially when doubt blocks faith from taking root, Matthew 21:18-22.  If you don’t believe God can transform your situation, miracles will cease to exist.  Thus, what can I do to be heard?

History provides a benchmark, a series of success stories in life.  When you desire wisdom, pray to possess the knowledge of Solomon.  If discernment is what you need, ask for the insight of the sons of Issachar.  Is it faith that you lack, claim the double portion the Lord gave Elisha.  Do you struggle to love?  Lean on Jesus to fill this void.  Finally, if the favor of God seems distant, persist in prayer to experience the blessings of Joseph.  May the words of Matthew 7:7-12 inspire you to offer up prayers for change.

by Jay Mankus

 

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