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A Life Void of Substance

Substance can be defined as a particular kind of matter with uniform properties.  Yet, something as simple as water can be labeled as boring.  Subsequently, human nature draws individuals toward that which is intoxicating or stimulating.  Those who lack this substance can get lost, disappearing from sight, hidden by strong personalities.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot,” Matthew 5:13.

As someone born with a severe speech impediment, I have never been known to be eloquent.  If you don’t possess this quality, it’s essential to add flavor to the lives of those whom you meet.  However, if you lose your passion for a career, hobbies or life in general, there is a tendency to become stale, adding little to daily conversations.  Unfortunately, this is where I currently find myself, a life void of substance.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent, Exodus 14:14.

The times when I become alive are often influenced by my hot button issues.  These topics allow me to express my knowledge, love and perspective.  When conversations do not provide an opportunity to open out, there is another source which adds flavor.  Whether it’s opening up the Bible, fellowship with believers or times of prayer, God unveils spiritual insight to those listening.  Therefore, if you find yourself on the verge of a life void of substance, fuel up on the Holy Spirit to add flavor to the lives of those you interact with.

by Jay Mankus


When You Run Out of Words to Say

As someone who clings to pray, I experience many days where I draw a blank.  Unable to come up with the words to express what I’m feeling, I pause, wondering where to go next.  Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, I don’t have the gift of conversation.  Sure, I have my hot button issues that friends may tell me to shut up or change the topic.  Nonetheless, most of the time I am tapped out, running out of words to say.

And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, Ezekiel 11:19.

When it comes to prayer, some people truly have a gift.  As these individuals open their mouth, words flow freely as it God is in room with them.  Trying to follow anyone like this in a prayer group can be humbling, spitting out whatever comes to my mind.  Yet, there is much to learn from those who possess the gift of prayer.  Asking, probing and seeking wisdom is a great place to start, especially if you struggle like me to come up with words to lift up to God as you pray.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also, Luke 12:34.

Several years ago I attended a Bible Study with a couple of doctors.  One was a physician and the other a vet.  One thing I took away from these interactions was the need to focus on a specific word when you pray.  When my eye was beginning to revert back to its pre-surgery state the word regeneration came to my mind.  Immediately, I began to ask God to regenerate the cells within my eyes, to restore that which was lost.  Suddenly, I noticed a quick improvement.  Although my eye hasn’t been completely restored, when you run out of words to say in the future, narrow in on a key word and pray with faith for a miracle.

by Jay Mankus

A Life Void of Passion

My earliest recollection of passion began in Junior High as friends debated the best music video on MTV, the greatest rock band and favorite sports teams.  In High School, I began to live by the 3 G’s: Girls, Golf and God, fluctuating in order depending upon the timing or season.  By the time college arrived, my interests shifted toward amusement parks, intramural sports and sand volleyball, with the latter dominating most of my summer nights.  When I began my career as a youth pastor, interacting with families, karaoke and water sports consumed most of my time.  As a family man, I have mellowed, spending time listening to music, working on my golf green out back and writing on a daily basis.

Passion is embodied in enthusiasm, excitement and feelings.  Although I still possess hot button issues inside my heart, most of the things I once held dear don’t illicit much of a response any more.  Sure, it would be nice for the Eagles to win a Super Bowl or witness another local team win a championship, but I refuse to place my hope in someone or something that disappoints you 99% of the time.  Likewise, I find it futile to debate music, politics and television shows.  As Solomon once said, “everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 2:11, in reference to pleasures on earth.  Perhaps, this may explain why I am currently living a life void of passion.

If you have ever reached this point, emptiness tends to cause you to lose your voice, bored by most of the conversations you hear.  However, when you find a cause worth living for, passion can and will return.  In Acts 4:29, the passion of Jesus Christ prevented the disciples from being shut down.  Rather, the power of the Holy Spirit consumed their souls, not able to forget about the risen Savior who suffered, died and rose again 3 days later.  This is the passion I am missing, lost in translation between the pages of the Bible and putting faith into action.  May the fire of Christ followers burn bright in your region so that lives void of passion will be invigorated by the power of God.

by Jay Mankus


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