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The Ocean Raging Inside of Me

Depending upon how your parents were raised, you will likely reflect these traits. My father who was born in Lithuania is your prototypical European stoic, taught to greet others with a handshake. Meanwhile, my mother grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania where offering a hug was a common manner to greet a friend or family member. Like any teenager, I went through a series of phases where I wore my emotions on my sleeves until I began to hold everything in as the ocean raging inside of my soul intensified.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls,] Matthew 11:28.

When Jesus addressed a first century crowd in the passage above, He understood that it’s unhealthy to go through life living in isolation. No matter how mentally tough you are, everyone reaches a breaking point. To avoid being weighed down by heavy burdens on your soul, Jesus promises to give you rest. His only request is to lay your burdens at the foot of the cross. Jesus wants to part the seas raging inside of your soul. God doesn’t want to see broken hearts crippled by this internal battle.

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne, Matthew 11:29-30.

In their 2013 song the Oceans from the Other Side album, Tonight Alive sings about this internal struggle. While you may seem fine externally, internal strife can paralyze souls as each day becomes a struggle. If you are honest with yourself, everyone has inner demons, secrets that you are afraid of being exposed. Yet, until you implement Jesus’ request from above, freedom is just an empty word. Thus, if you want fast acting relief, try the spiritual Rolaids, Jesus, to calm the raging oceans inside of you.

by Jay Mankus

Staying True to Your Passion

Whether you prefer a pat on the back, verbal approval or  a hug, you have to prepare yourself for arid periods in life.  When signs of encouragement are absent, what will keep you going?  As for me, I am determined to stay true to my passion.

If I’ve learned anything from previous trials, writing brings joy to my soul.  Without spending time daily reading the Bible and reflecting upon it’s message, a part of me is missing.  Regardless of how disappointed I may be at times, I can’t message success based upon how many visitors read my posts.

Rather, I need to be faithful to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33.  Despite how famous, popular or successful one may become, your priorities is what is important in God’s eyes.  Therefore, whether you’re an athlete, gifted musician or an individual trying to get the most out of life, seek God first.  As you strive after eternal things, you will stay true to your passion and God willing discover your purpose in life, Romans 12:2.

by Jay Mankus

The Detours of Life

When unforeseen events, startling situations or the unpredictable occur, you end up in a foreign place, side tracked by life.  These trials can be time consuming, often resulting in cancellations, delays or detours from the route you thought you would be traveling.  The most common response from Christian observers is Romans 8:28, thinking they are helping by quoting, “all things work together for the good for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

What these first responders don’t recognize is that mothers, fathers and hurting people aren’t ready to accept the fact that their child, friend, relative or spouse is dead.  Having a front row seat, I’ve had classmates die in car accidents, friends fall to cancer and others end their life through suicide.  While exiting out of funeral homes, the promise of Romans 8:28 was the furthest thing from my mind.  The only thing I could provide was a hug, shoulder to lean on and my silent prayers.

During the exile of the Israel, a similar thought process went on in Psalm 137.  To cope with this detour, the Psalmist called people to remember the good times, the glory of Zion.  Through time, reflection and mediation on the word of God, healing comes.  Unfortunately, rates vary, with some turning a journey in the desert into 40 years of aimless wandering.  As you go through your own detours in life, lean on James 1:2-4 to provide you wisdom until a new path opens or the old is restored.

by Jay Mankus

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