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For To Me To Live is…

I may be alone, but my priorities are constantly changing. As my children grow up, I try to make myself available when my work schedule allows. Yet, as seasons change, one activity takes precedent over another. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself in a state of flux, unable to do everything that you want. Nonetheless, how you invest your time will reveal to others what you seek to find life in.

For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity], Philippians 1:21.

Priorities often change when you approach a crossroad in life. This fork in the road requires a decision. Whatever you choose will alter your lifestyle. Whether this is caused by an accident, a medical issue or spiritual conviction, sacrifices have to be made. The disciplined will view this as a challenge. The driven will set goals to inspire toward and reach. Yet, the distracted often struggle, unsure where and what to find life in.

If, however, it is to be life in the flesh and I am to live on here, that means fruitful service for me; so I can say nothing as to my personal preference [I cannot choose], 23 But I am hard pressed between the two. My yearning desire is to depart (to be free of this world, to set forth) and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; Philippians 1:22-23.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul reached a point where he stopped caring about what other people thought about his relationship with God. Instead of trying to please others, Jesus became Paul’s main priority. This mindset led Paul to find life in serving Christ. Whenever Paul drifted spiritually, Paul felt dead inside. Thus, the motto “to live is Christ and to die for his faith” was conceived. However, free will gives everyone the choice to accept or reject God. Therefore, it’s up to you to decide where and in what you will find life. Choose wisely, Deuteronomy 30:15-16.

by Jay Mankus

Loosen Up

Depending upon your personality type, it may be hard to be serious, joke around or relax.  Everyone is wired a certain way so to break out of your norm isn’t easy.  As for me, I tend to be competitive and intense.  Sometimes I wonder if God places me in certain situations to loosen me up.

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them, Mark 10:13.

Based upon the context of Mark 10, it appears the twelve disciples had a tendency to be all work and no play.  Watching from a distance, Jesus intervened, trying to teach a valuable life lesson.  Whether it was the innocence of children or the endless energy most possess, Jesus stressed the importance of welcoming young people.  Perhaps interacting with youth might loosen up the disciples.

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these, ” Mark 10:14.

This passage serves as a reminder to not to forget the next generation.  While you may think you are right, another voice may provide a new or quicker way of doing things.  Beside accepting children, adults would be wise to invest time in nurturing young men and women.  By doing this, you will honor God and leave a legacy of prepared believers to impact those struggling to make sense of these ever changing days.

by Jay Mankus

Waiting for the Workplace Anointing

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him, 1 John 2:27.

One of the greatest misconceptions Christians make is limiting the power of God outside of church.  Anointing is something most leave for missionaries, preachers and teachers.  The Old Testament disagrees with this mentality as the Lord called Elijah to anoint both kings and a prophet.

Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet, 1 Kings 19:16.

When selecting an individual to anoint, its not always obvious.  Religious leaders tend to concentrate on physical features, personality and stature.  In the case of David, he was the least likely candidate, yet his heart was prime to serve God.  Nonetheless, the Lord made David wait 22 years before receiving the promise of his anointing.

So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives,” 1 Samuel 16:11.

Anyone else who chooses to run a business, follow a career or pursue a profession must wait for things to fall into place.  In the meantime, its essential to prepare yourself for the future.  Just as pastor takes time each week to carefully construct their message, those called to the workplace should invest the same time and energy to better their company.  If success is the process of arriving, may prayer pace you along the way as you wait for the workplace anointing, 3 John 2.

by Jay Mankus

The Cure to an Eroding Soul

Whether you call it depression, a funk or unhappiness, whenever things start going in the wrong direction, it’s hard to snap yourself out of it.  Sometimes a vacation, getting away from the mundane will do the trick.  Other people try to allot time from busy schedules for activities which bring them joy.  If these attempts fail, your condition likely involves an eroding soul.

After dwelling upon my current situation, I tried to back track to ascertain where this all began.  I only had to go back a few months to discover that my life has become void of goals, planning and vision.  Subsequently, I am aimlessly wandering without any direction, purpose or vigor for life.  To stop the bleeding so to speak, I must begin to reconsider my priorities, restructure my schedule and seek discernment from God.

The prophet Hosea proclaimed that people without wisdom or vision will perish, Hosea 4:6.  Modern motivational speakers claim, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”  Meanwhile, a tiny voice in my head suggests that if I invest my time in what I was created to do, I will once again be able to say, “it is well with my soul.”  If you find yourself in a similar stage in life, may the Lord answer your cry for help by healing your eroding soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

To Enjoy, Invest or Waste?

If each day on earth is considered a gift, then individuals have 3 choices.  You can enjoy each moment, soaking in the world around you.  Another option is  investing your energy, talents and time into hobbies, interests or passions.  Finally, the self-absorbed might follow the path of the prodigal son, wasting life savings to satisfy their fantasies.

While reflecting on my own life, I wish I could say that my time has been well spent.  Unfortunately, transitioning to my new work schedule has resulted in countless unproductive hours.  Although I hope to develop healthier patterns, I can’t replace the time that I’ve lost.  In view of this, I need to hit the reset button to begin again, Lamentations 3:22-23.

When you go through patterns of disappointment, keep your head up, Galatians 6:9-10.  With Christ’s help, Philippians 4:13, you can stop negative momentum.  If you want to turn the pages of your past toward love, joy and peace, emulate the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.  By doing this, you will find enjoyment while investing in kingdom activities during your days on the earth, Matthew 6:19-22.

by Jay Mankus

 

Drifting Off Course

It’s hard to believe that after a first weeks, most of my New Year resolutions have gone up in smoke as I drift off course, not following several of my goals for 2014.  My workout sessions didn’t last a week, eating healthy never got off the ground and others high hopes faded from the enthusiasm of a clean slate.  As I drove to work this morning, my biggest disappointment is the lack of leadership I have displayed in charting out a new course for the future.

Life as many of you know, involves ebbs and flows, highs and lows and periods of coasting where I find myself presently.  Caught in a state of transition, I’m not sure what I should commit to, where to invest my time and how my current financial position will be impacted by Obama Care and an economy propped up by a mirage.  In moment’s like this, true leaders blaze a new trail, see light beyond the darkness and become a rock of faith for their family.

In my current condition, this is impossible.  Fortunately, history reveals a message of optimism for those of you who have drifted off course.  Matthew 19:16-20 shares a story about a young man who on the surface appeared to have his act together.  Jesus, realizing this individual was trying on his own to earn eternal life, throws a curve ball sending the man away sad and causing his own disciples to question their own faith.  However, the point of this encounter is to teach the masses that with God, all things are possible, Matthew 19:25-26.  May this news turn your day and year around!

by Jay Mankus

Mere Images

The expression “you are what you eat” is nothing new.  Nor is practice what you preach.  However, the prophet Hosea brought me something fresh and poignant this morning.  According to Hosea 9:10, you become a mere image of that which you worship.

If you study time management theories, you will stumble across the Pyramid Theory, which attempts to break each day into 24 one hour time slots.  Since the average individual sleeps roughly 8 hours a day, every person has 16 hours to invest their time.  If work consumes another 8-10 hours per day, people may only have 6 hours for their own personal use.  Thus, how you treat these precious hours will reveal your character, interests and priorities.

Israel had wasted their free time indulging in self gratifying practices during the days of Hosea.  This decision caused most of the Jews to become like grapes rotting in the desert heat.  As a result, their hearts shifted toward corruption, radically transforming their lives.  Instead of dedicating their bodies to the God of Abraham, most desecrated their flesh to shameful idols.  Looking into a mirror, their witness became just as vile as the images they worshiped.

Today, golden calves have been replaced by the internet, television and twitter.  While Jesus calls people to go into the world to tell others what God has done for you, Mark 5:19, the real question is, are you living in this world or of the world?  When people look into your day planner, where are you investing your time?  Do people see Jesus living in you or in something else center stage?  May the month of March serve as a transition, a restoration project to erase sin from your life by allowing Abba Father, to mold and shape you into the precious image of Jesus his son, 2 Corinthians 4:1-6.

by Jay Mankus

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