RSS Feed

Tag Archives: hope

Seize, Hold Fast to and Retain Hope

Famous poet Robert Frost published the poem Carpe Diem in 1938. Carpe diem is a Latin aphorism taken from book 1 of the Roman poet Horace’s work Odes. When translated into English, Carpe Diem refers to “seize the day”. To seize involves to make the most of this present time and give little thought to the future. This is the sense of urgency the author of Hebrews is attempting to communicate.

So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the [c]hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word, Hebrews 10:23.

Holding fast means to tightly secure something that is deemed important and valuable. This process focuses on continuing to believe in and adhere to an idea or principle. In the passage above, hope is the glue meant to cement the faith of modern day Christians. Like a cherished teddy bear that a small child clings to each night in bed, hope is what you wrap your arms around in times of need.

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. For by [faith—[b]trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report, Hebrews 11:1-2.

In football games, defensive players attempt to force, intercept, punch and remove the ball from the individual who has it. To retain possession, running backs, receivers and quarterbacks do everything in their power to avoid turning the football over. This is the message Hebrews is trying to convey by seizing, holding fast to and retaining hope. As life continues to fly by, may faith and hope be secured despite what the forces of this world may do to try to change your mind, Ephesians 6:12.

by Jay Mankus

The Introduction of a Better Hope

In this age of COVID-19, rising gas prices and shortages of essential supplies, hope isn’t a word that comes to my mind. Instead anxieties, concerns, and doubt take center stage of daily conversations. While venting your frustrations is good for your soul, too much complaining can lead to a toxic environment. If there was ever a time when human beings needed the introduction of a better hope, today is that day.

For the Law never made anything perfect—but instead a better hope is introduced through which we [now] come close to God. 20 And it was not without the taking of an oath [that Christ was made Priest], Hebrews 7:19-20.

The author of Hebrews provides this positive message. The Old Testament law was designed to define the boundary lines for every day living. Yet, following biblical rules doesn’t make you perfect. Rather, these guidelines are intended to keep danger and evil out as you draw closer to God. The passage above suggests that as you read and study the Bible, you will eventually find Jesus. Entering into a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-10, is the introduction of a better hope.

Therefore, since we are justified ([a]acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to [b]enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God, Romans 5:1-2.

The apostle Paul shares the spiritual benefits of this new hope. As human beings make peace with God by verbally confessing their errors, mistakes, and sins, you gain access to God’s grace by faith. Meanwhile, one of Jesus’ disciples reveals how the Holy Spirit gives you everything you need for life, 2 Peter 1:3-4. Yet, until you enter into a life long relationship with God, this isn’t available. Therefore, if this blog finds you in a state of despair, come to Jesus, the eternal source of a better hope.

by Jay Mankus

Two Unchangeable Things

The book definition of unchangeable is not liable to variation or able to be altered: From a human perspective, you may claim to be stubborn and unchangeable, but the sinful condition will result in Peter like moments no matter how hard you try. Whether it’s “I’ll never do this” or “I’ll never say that,” there was a reason Solomon wrote, “pride comes before the fall,” Proverbs 16:18. Despite this fatal flaw, we do have a great high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, Hebrews 4:14-16.

This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us], Hebrews 6:18.

According to one New Testament author, there are two spiritual things that are unchangeable. God’s promise beginning in Genesis 3:15, brought up by Jesus in Luke 19:10 and fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection, 1 Peter 1:3. The second is God’s oath sworn to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. While this promise seemed iffy as Sarah was unable to have children and became well beyond the age of a normal conception, but with God anything is possible. Abraham and Sarah learned this the hard way, despite doubting on numerous occasions.

[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot [c]break down under whoever steps out upon it—a hope] that reaches [d]farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, 20 Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with [e]the rank) of Melchizedek, Hebrews 6:19-20.

The passage above deals with the reality of doubt. When your faith starts to slip, God offers a sure and steadfast anchor. Symbolic of hope, the author is trying to remind flawed human beings of God’s power to endure and survive the storms of life. Although human beings will break their promises to one another, God’s promise and oath are guaranteed for life, 1 John 5:13-15. Therefore, don’t let anxiety, concerns and worry rock your faith. Rather, hold fast to the promises of the Bible, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus

Why Hurt People Begin to Hurt Others

Every day hurt people are like ticking time bombs. Depending upon the circumstances going on in their lives, once the wrong situation comes along, there are usually no warning signs. When a frustrated individual snaps, negative energy is unleashed upon everyone in the room where this unfortunate event takes comes. Like someone under the influence of alcohol, it may take hurt people a few days to realize the pain they’ve inflicted upon innocent souls.

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. 27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]. 28 Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need, Ephesians 4:26-28.

During a letter to the Church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul begins to diagnose why emotional outbursts happen. The initial issue is anger that goes unresolved. Instead of explaining one’s frustration, this fury is swept under the rug temporarily. As days lead to weeks, a root of bitterness brews within human hearts. Meanwhile, this open door gives the Devil a foothold, an opportunity for hurt people to be used as a vessel of darkness.

I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture. 10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [b]overflows), John 10:9-10.

Jesus predicted this scenario 2000 years ago. Whenever someone can not distinguish the voice of God from whispers of the Devil, self fulfilled prophecies begin to occur. Hurt and negative people begin a steady decline as hope and joy seems to disappear. To those who reach this spiritual condition, the Devil will steal, kill and destroy the lives of hurt people. If you feel like your life is too far gone, remember the words of Paul so that in your own weakness, Christ will become strong, 2 Corinthians 12:7-12.

by Jay Mankus

Created, Connected and Called

If you’re not careful, life can become like a never ending roller coaster with corkscrews, free falls and upside down loops that make you dizzy. When your feet hit the pavement after immediately getting off this ride, it may take a couple of minutes before you can walk in a straight line again. On the surface, an amusement ride may look harmless, but the thrill that follows can affect your body for the rest of the day. Whenever you experience this uneasy feeling, all you want to do is find a seat. hoping that you’ll recover quickly.

Do not blush or be ashamed then, to testify to and for our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for His sake, but [[d]with me] take your share of the suffering [to which the preaching] of the Gospel [may expose you, and do it] in the power of God. [For it is He] Who delivered and saved us and called us with a calling in itself holy and leading to holiness [to a life of consecration, a vocation of holiness]; [He did it] not because of anything of merit that we have done, but because of and to further His own purpose and grace (unmerited favor) which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago], 2 Timothy 1:8-9.

From a spiritual perspective, one of Satan’s schemes to disconnect you from God. Like a long distance relationship that falls apart over time, separation causes you to forget what drew you together. Likewise, if you go a couple of days, weeks or a month with reading the Bible, spiritual qualities which once flowed naturally out of you begin to evaporate. If this persists, Christians may forgot who created them, faith will start to crack and the calling you once received from God can become like a distant memory.

We are assured and know that [[j]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was [k]aware and [l]loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. 30 And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being], Romans 8:28-30.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul touches on God’s persistence throughout life. Like the loving Father portrayed by Jesus in the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, God is waiting for you to return. Just as front porches once served as ways to pass the time each summer, God is the parent in a rocking chair waiting for you to come home. When you do, minds will be refreshed by your heavenly Creator. Hearts will start to sense the Holy Spirit drawing you closer to reconnect with God. Finally, as you reflect upon the Bible and pray, God’s will and purpose will be revealed so you can continue this life long journey known as faith.

by Jay Mankus

Mind Games

As a teenage boy, I wasn’t charismatic or eloquent. I struggled to maintain a B average and entered high school at 5 feet tall and 100 pounds. While competing in sports was my first love, attractive females began to get my attention. Unfortunately, I was so small and quiet, that I was invisible when other guys were around. Subsequently, dating was something that I longed for, but was unable find someone that liked me more than a friend.

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

What made matters worse was a severe speech impediment. When I opened my mouth, I never knew if I was going to embarrass myself in class or actually spit something out. I could visualize what I wanted to say, but my mind would play tricks on me. The longer this condition persisted, I began to develop an ungodly belief that I would never be able to share what was in my heart and on my mind.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

After entering into a personal relationship with Jesus as a sophomore in high school, I was introduced to the promises of the Bible. When I learned about my own internal struggles in Galatians 5:16-18, the miracles of Jesus gave me hope. My prayers began to focus on healing my stuttering so that this mind game would end. Twenty years after my condition was first diagnosed, the power of the Holy Spirit finally broke through. While the Devil still tries to remind me of my past, the Bible has steadied my faith as this spiritual mind game continues today.

by Jay Mankus

The Sequence of Story

A sequence is a particular order in which related events, movements, or things follow each other. In the process of telling a story, the best communicators set the scene using what some writers refer to as the 10 magic words. This information highlights who a story is about and details the journey which is about to begin. Depending upon the author or story teller, the sequence of story involves a beginning, middle and end.

Then the disciples came to Him and said, Why do You speak to them in parables? 11 And He replied to them, To you it has been given to know the secrets and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given, Matthew 13:10-11.

From a biblical perspective, the son of God used parables to connect with first century citizens. A parable is story structure used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson as told by Jesus in the Gospels. The New Testament details 46 different parables as Jesus tried to explain mysteries and secrets of the kingdom of heaven. My favorite is the Parable of the Sower as Jesus reveals how the environment in which you live influences the person that you become.

Paul, Silvanus (Silas), and Timothy, to the assembly (church) of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah): Grace (spiritual blessing and divine favor) to you and [heart] peace. We are ever giving thanks to God for all of you, continually mentioning [you when engaged] in our prayers, Recalling unceasingly before our God and Father your work energized by faith and service motivated by love and unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [O] brethren beloved by God, we recognize and know that He has selected (chosen) you;For our [preaching of the] glad tidings (the Gospel) came to you not only in word, but also in [its own inherent] power and in the Holy Spirit and with great conviction and absolute certainty [on our part]. You know what kind of men we proved [ourselves] to be among you for your good, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5.

While writing 13 letters known as epistles, the apostle Paul developed a story structure known as U Centered Writing. Paul regularly starts his letters by getting the attention and gaining the interest of fellow Christians. Once this is accomplished, Paul creates a felt need, a flaw or weakness that believers need to work on. The remainder of his letters are designed to create a sense of urgency so that a commitment to change is conceived. Whether you’re writing a letter, telling a story or working on a screen play, stories continue to speak to human hearts and provide hope or inspiration to make a difference in the life that God has given you.

by Jay Mankus

When a Feeling Passes

The American rock band Boston released More than a Feeling as the lead single from their Eponymous debut album in 1976. According to Tom Scholz who wrote this classic ballad, this song was inspired by a fantasy event, dreaming of his days with Marianne. When you’re having a bad day, a positive dream that comes out of nowhere often provides hope. Yet, when dreams don’t come true, feelings of optimism fade away leaving behind doubt and emptiness.

[Oh, I know, I have been rash to talk out plainly this way to God!] I will [in my thinking] stand upon my post of observation and station myself on the tower or fortress, and will watch to see what He will say within me and what answer I will make [as His mouthpiece] to the perplexities of my complaint against Him, Habakkuk 2:1.

I have a bad habit of reading too much into conversations and personal encounters. When I am unable to clarify or understand someone’s intent, senses often turn into feelings. If a co-worker is around, I’ll double check to see if my instincts are correct. Unfortunately, most of the time, my gut reaction to a situation doesn’t consider all the variables that exist. Thus, when my feeling passes, what I see isn’t reality.

And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by. For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day, Habakkuk 2:2-3.

The Old Testament places a high priority on vision. Instead of going through life chasing after feelings, the Bible urges it’s readers to become vision oriented. The prophet Hosea claims that people perish when they go through life without knowledge of a clear vision. When a feeling passes, where to go or what to do is uncertain. If you want to live with a clear purpose and reason, ask the Lord for vision so that this can be engraved within your heart.

by Jay Mankus

Comforted, Cheered, and Encouraged

The term encourage(d) appears 9 times in the King James Version of the Bible. In an age where negative news steals most of the headlines, most Americans are searching for hope. Some sort of cheer, inspiration or uplifting story that rallies troubled souls to keep moving forward. Life is hard enough as it is without critics and condemnation from haters on social media.

[For my concern is] that their hearts may be braced (comforted, cheered, and encouraged) as they are knit together in love, that they may come to have all the abounding wealth and blessings of assured conviction of understanding, and that they may become progressively more intimately acquainted with and may know more definitely and accurately and thoroughly that mystic secret of God, [which is] Christ (the Anointed One). In Him all the treasures of [divine] wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden, Colossians 2:2-3.

While writing a letter to members of the Church at Colosse, Paul gets sentimental in the passage above. Just as King Solomon warned Old Testament readers to guard their hearts, Proverbs 4:23, Paul urges believers to brace human hearts with comfort, cheer and encouragement. If the heart is the wellspring of life, protecting it all cost is essential. This is Paul’s prayer for the church that he helped plant during one of his missionary journeys.

Who died for us so that whether we are still alive or are dead [at Christ’s appearing], we might live together with Him and share His life. 11 Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing, 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11.

In one of two letters to the Church at Thessalonica, Paul reminds Christians of the hope that is in Jesus. Instead of dwelling on the negative side of mankind’s fallen, sinful nature, Paul shifts to the positive. Verses like John 3:16-17 and Romans 5:8, reinforces that Jesus died while we were still sinners. This is the good news of the gospel, 1 John 5:13, providing a reason to celebrate. This is why modern Christians should be comforted, cheerful and encouraged.

by Jay Mankus

Out of the Control and Dominion of Darkness

Depending upon the translation of the Bible that you use, there are 47 verses that directly mention darkness. Two of these passages were written by the apostle Paul. Rather than contrast darkness with light, Paul refers to dominions of darkness. In the passage below, Paul refers to physical territories and spiritual dimensions. Some of these places are ruled by world leaders with master spirits working behind the scenes.

Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place], Ephesians 6:11-13.

In the middle of the passage above, Paul makes an interesting correlation. Instead of fighting a physical opponent on earth, look beyond human beings to the forces at work influencing people. Every now and then I will encounter an individual who is having a bad day. Some people are like a ticking bomb ready to explode if you do or say the wrong thing. If your timing is bad, you may be the trigger that puts someone over the edge.

[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, Colossians 1:13.

Despite this unsettling news, Paul explains how Jesus has drawn Christian’s out of the control of and the dominion of darkness. In the second chapter of Paul’s letter to Colosse, Paul reveals how Jesus disarmed the principalities and powers of darkness, Colossians 2:13-15. Meanwhile, 1 Corinthians 15:53-56 details how Jesus removed the sting of death by rising from the dead. This is the hope that Christians have by trusting in Jesus, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: