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Tag Archives: hobbies

Beware of the Weary Traveler

Drained, drowsy, exhausted, fatigued and spent are words associated with being tired and weary.  Depending upon your hobbies, occupation and physical fitness routine, energy can be released emotionally, mentally and physically.  Perhaps this is why the commandments reference loving God with all your heart, soul and mind.  Exercising each of these three aspects of the human body prevents the enemy, Satan, from snatching the good news of Jesus Christ from human hearts, Matthew 13:18-19.  The apostle Paul addresses this within 1 Thessalonians 5:23, urging his audience to prepare your spirit, soul and body for the second coming of Jesus.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up, Galatians 6:9.

Unfortunately, many good intentioned Christians use busyness as an excuse not to follow the advice of Jesus and Paul.  Yet, the longer any believer goes without praying, studying the Bible and worshipping God, the closer you get to the weary traveler.  This is a spiritual condition, not an actual person, where souls become vulnerable to demonic attacks.  Instead of resisting evil, weary travelers often contemplate forbidden fruits, entertain thoughts of doubt and open their minds to alternative lifestyles.  In the passage above, the apostle Paul urges his readers to hold on, press on and don’t give up on following the narrow path that leads to life, Matthew 7:13-14.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint, Isaiah 40:31.

In the days of the Old Testament, devout Jews grew weary of the ancient practices for seeking forgiveness.  Animals needed to be collected, trips to the temples planned and sacrifices made by a high priest to atone for the mistakes, rebellious acts and transgressions made by you and your family.  When you consider the blood, killing and smell left behind by this grueling tradition, its no wonder that Israelites in the days of the prophet Isaiah began to lose hope.  Receiving a vision from God, Isaiah compares the Lord to eaglets nurtured and raised by caring parents.  Thus, when you feel like you can’t go on any longer, let God carry you on wings like eagles.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30.

Today, a week doesn’t go by without news of a Christian falling from grace, caught in a surprising act of sin.  These tarnished believers often follow the pattern found in 2 Samuel 11:1-4.  Just because you are a man or woman after God’s own heart doesn’t make you immune to sin.  Rather, when the spirit of the weary traveler enters your soul, anything is possible.  Just ask King David who didn’t feel like going to work one day.  This decision led to idleness, boredom and a wandering spirit.  One thing led to another and suddenly a righteous man commits adultery, get’s another man’s wife pregnant and gives order to have her husband left behind and killed.  This Old Testament passage should serve as a wake up call to all Christians who are on the verge of entertaining the weary traveler.

by Jay Mankus

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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

A New Type of Addiction

Cravings, dependence and enslavement are all terms associated with addiction.  This invisible struggle tends to go unnoticed.  Initial signs are subtle as souls wrestle with self-control prior to patterns being revealed.  In the context of alcohol and drugs, actions, behavior and obsessions become obvious over time.  Unfortunately, until individuals come to grips with their losing battle, conditions will continue on a downward spiral.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God, Colossians 3:1.

Last weekend I had lunch just north of Amish country.  After picking up my kids from their week long camp, I wanted to spend some time together learning of their experience.  Hoping to get a flavor of Lancaster County, my son chose a diner with several cars in the parking lot.  To my surprise many of the customers were busy playing Pokemon Go on their phones.  This popular app’s success is a sign of a new type of addiction.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things, Colossians 3:2.

Recreation serves as a vehicle to revitalize souls.  However, when individuals become captivated with what’s on their phones, hearts and minds become weakened.  Hobbies are a good and fun way to pass time.  Yet, as people become attached and hooked to their phones or tablets, unhealthy patterns form.  The concept of being still before the Lord is replaced by a new type of addiction to technology.  May those distracted by these modern devises reflect upon the apostle Paul’s words and be moved to fix their hearts and minds on eternal things.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Death of Professional Sports

In the 1996 film Jerry McGuire, Tom Cruise plays a hot shot sports agents who begins to develop a conscience.  When a defense men in the National Hockey League that he represents sustains another concussion, Cruise chooses money over his clients health.  Seeing right through this scheme, the son goes off on Jerry, setting the stage for conviction.  Unable to sleep with his guilt, McGuire has a vision which turns into a mission statement.  Unfortunately, this decision leads to his firing from the firm he practically built.  This mentality no longer exists just in Hollywood.  Rather, its a sign that the death of professional sports is near.

The way most leagues are run today, labor unions seek to get each player top dollar.  However, as salaries rise so do season ticket prices, parking and stadium concessions.  At some point, the annual income of fans will be tapped out; unable to commit to a full season.  Meanwhile, as stars continue to be insulted by excessive million dollar contracts not big enough for their ego, when will the masses begin to revolt?  Although I love watching sports on television, I see a day in the future when even I will tune out professional sports.

Back in its infancy, athletes worked jobs during the off-season as sports were more of a hobby with little pay.  This generation of stars played for the love of the game.  These pioneers made it possible for today’s athletes to flourish, earning more money than their wildest dreams.  Unfortunately, when individuals become bigger than life they lose touch with the middle class.  I try not to be negative, but if this current trend continues, it won’t be long before professional sports dies.

by Jay Mankus

 

And Then I Three Putted

Golf is one of those hobbies that parallels life.  Sometime you may be right down the middle while others will find you deep into the woods or within a hazard.  Unlike most sports, practice doesn’t always insure progress.  Thus, the game of golf can be cruel causing even professionals to waste an amazing shot with a three putt.

Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, James 1:3.

During my final year of coaching high school golf, I drove a par 4 with a 2 iron hybrid.  Unfortunately, when I got to the green, I had a 40 foot putt over a ridge to a hole on the other side going away from me.  Focusing on the line, I forgot to hit the ball hard enough, ending up 1o feet short.  Two putts later this once and a lifetime drive was a distant memory ruined by a three putt.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything, James 1:4.

In this life, its common to celebrate prematurely, before a day, round or year is over.  As over confidence or pride lures individuals into a false sense of security, victory is often replaced by defeat.  Thus, before you complete your next competition, project or task, finish strong.  Or else you may be like me, interrupting a moment of glory with the sobering reality, “and then I three putted.”

by Jay Mankus

 

Where Did all the Time Go?

On the first weekend in February 2012, a thought entered my mind, “why don’t you start writing a blog?”  Unsure of where to go or what to do, I consulted a few close friends with similar aspirations.  After receiving their insight, I needed to clear one last hurdle, a name which would define the reason for my blog’s existence. 1300 blogs later, I’m astonished wondering, where did all the time go?

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, 2 Peter 3.8.

There is an old adage that all good things must come to an end.  However, when you find something that you enjoy like an activity, hobby or relaxing pastime, time has a tendency to fly by.  Whenever individuals invest in leisure forms of recreation, the soul is re-energized.  Serving as a distraction from the stresses and worries in life, writing is an oasis for me.  Although I occasionally spend too much time on a blog, going in circles without any progress, I find joy in the journey.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

If there was a prayer or wish that would make this world a better place, it would be helping people locate jobs that they love.  Unfortunately, love doesn’t always pay the bills.  Nonetheless, there is something to be said about discovering an occupation or position that you were born to do.  The pressure of making decisions causes many to lower their standards, settling for less than ideal.  Therefore, as you wait for the clock to reach quitting time, may God direct your steps so that your dreams will come true.  Then, you too will wonder, “where did all the time go?”

by Jay Mankus

 

Jumping to Conclusions

Gossip can be a compulsive hobby for those who indulge in the grapevine.  When you add an inquisitive mind to this equation, information can be misinterpreted.  Subsequently, individuals often jump to conclusions based upon their desired outcome.

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” – Mark 3:22

Shortly after he began his earthly ministry, Jesus gave the religious leaders plenty to talk about.  Healings and miracles created a huge following.  However, once Jesus began to perform exorcisms, that was taking this faith thing too far.  Unable to comprehend Jesus’ power, teachers of the law started a rumor, assuming Jesus was the prince of demons in disguise.

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. – Mark 3:25-26

If you have ever lived in a small town, drifted off the beaten path or don’t correct misleading reputations, you too will find yourself part of an exaggerated story.  A month before leaving my youth pastor position in Columbus, Indiana, people claimed that I said the world was coming to an end.  While studying the Book of Revelation, certain individuals began to improvise causing some of my friends to buy into these lies.  In view of this, the next time you feel an urge to jump to a conclusion, make sure you test everything you hear, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, before you pass on information.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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