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Tag Archives: joy and peace

How Long is this Going to Last?

Fifteen years is a little more than a third of my life to date.  Human beings go through a myriad of change over a decade and a half.  However, how would you respond if God promised you something and you didn’t receive this until fifteen years later.  The anticipation to see this fulfilled would be grueling.  The average person might become frustrated, impatient or may even lose hope.  The passage below written by David details his long wait between being anointed by Samuel as king and actually becoming king of Israel more than fifteen years later.  This nerve wrecking period brought David to his knees to pray.

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! – Psalm 31:15

When it comes to driving a car, some possess the mindset “ride it until it dies.”  The only lemon I ever brought lasted a few months.  After a small leak in one of my hoses spilled on to the engine, this vehicle was toast, abandoned at a gas station in New Jersey.  Meanwhile, sometimes you are fortunate to possess a car that lasts much longer than it should.  Despite nearing the 200,000 mile mark, my Pontiac Vibe keeps ticking, approaching it’s fifteenth birthday.  Nonetheless, I don’t know how long this car is going to last.

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night, Psalm 90:4.

In the passage above, a Psalmist makes an interesting statement about life.  This individual received some sort a vision of the past, connecting it with the future.  Unfortunately, most people place so much emphasis on time that they lose sight of the present.  While it would be nice to have knowledge of the future, savoring the here and now is a more noble cause.  Therefore, don’t allow anticipation to spoil your mood.  Rather, take life one day at a time so that wondering how long life is going to last doesn’t steal your hope, joy and peace.

by Jay Mankus

Looking for Answers in ALL the Wrong Places

Between self help books and talk shows, these avenues have become popular sources for finding answers to problems in life.  Internet sites like You Tube have a plethora of videos for almost everything that you need to do around the house.  Instead of seeking the advice of godly counsel, elders, parents or guardians, most people are becoming self-sufficient formulating answers on their own.

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, Psalm 13:2-3.

In the days of his youth, David spent the majority of his time as a shepherd.  Watching over his families flock, David regularly stayed out in the fields overnight, guarding these sheep.  There wasn’t a book on how to ward off bears or wolves.  Rather, David was forced to trust in the Lord, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide this flock to green and safe pastures.  Like in the passage above, David turned to prayer when he didn’t know what to do.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person, Colossians 4:6.

Unfortunately, I tend to get distracted, looking for answers to my problems in all the wrong places.  Instead of finding comfort, joy and peace, I regularly experience disappointment.  According to the apostle Paul, there is only one source who leads to peace, Philippians 4:6-7.  However, Jesus told his disciples the only way to find life is lose it.  Anyone not one hundred percent devoted to God has a tendency to go back to the ways of the world when hardship or suffering arises.  Therefore, if you’re tired of uncertainty, start looking upward toward heaven instead of within .

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Midnight Stroll

One of my most memorable New Year’s Eve celebrations occurred in 1992.  In the middle of a mild Winter, temperatures in Delaware soared above 70 by midday.  Instead of your typical indoor festivities, I spent most of the day and evening outside.  Spending my last New Year’s in Newark before moving to the mid-west with friends from Chrysalis and college, I had ample time to say goodbye.  After watching the ball drop, commencing 1993, a half dozen people or so took a midnight stroll.

The temperature was 62 degrees at 12:15 am, perfect to walk, star gaze and reminisce about the special times I encountered while growing up in Delaware.  I don’t recall how many miles this stroll involved, but nearly 3 hours later the temperature dropped to 26 degrees as an arctic cold front blew through, causing the pace to pick up during the last mile just to stay warm.  This was one of those nights where time seemed to stand still allowing me to soak in the memories.  Despite the sadness, I knew God was leading me to a better place, preparing me through a trade school in Minnesota to become a polished leader.

Looking back, its hard to believe 21 years have passed.  Now as a parent, strolls become like wind sprints, stopping and starting, trying to keep up with busy schedules of 3 children.  Midnight strolls would be nice if I didn’t go to sleep shortly after eating dinner on some work days.  Thus, I do my best to be balanced, while trying to survive the difficulties of life.  On this special night, may God help you to slow down enough to practice Psalm 46:10.  The more you practice this biblical principle, the Holy Spirit can provide joy and peace for you in 2014.  Have a memorable, but safe New Year’s Eve!

by Jay Mankus

Twisting Words

The game of Twister is classic interactive board game of bending your body in all sorts of positions.  Before Ice Breakers were a common teaching aid, Twister was a great activity for getting to know a group of people.  Men in Black II even devotes a scene of their movie to this game as the light of Zartha passes time with aliens.  However, when words are twisted toward your direction, pain can be felt beneath the surface of your body, affecting your heart and deflating your soul.

Exodus 23:8 introduces the Israelites to God’s vision for social justice.  Although its normal to embrace likable individuals, God warns human being against showing favoritism.  If practiced, justice can be perverted when allegiances are made, opening the door for bribes.  This temptation blinds society from the truth as political talking points are exchanged in place of integrity.  As a result, the words of the righteous are twisted, becoming campaign slogans, trashing reputations for a chance at re-election or taking control of power in Washington DC.

There was a time not so long ago that liars were called out, held accountable for the words they have spoken.  I guess when the Bible is replaced by social agendas, right and wrong have turned to gray and opinions elevated to a fact status.  Its’ no wonder Jesus said in his day, “you have ears but do not hear and eyes, but do not see!”  May this blog cause people to stop, reflect and think about their lives.  Through God’s grace, may twisting words cease, replaced by words of love, joy and peace, 1 Corinthians 13:13.

by Jay Mankus

An Anniversary Day Prayer

Eight teen years ago today, I took the plunge, walking down the altar to a new life with my wife Leanne.  Three kids, two states and  one adventure after another has etched fond memories of the past two decades together.  With marriages, relationships and vows not lasting as long as they once did, an anniversary day prayer is necessary to keep the flame of love alive.

As Adam learned eons ago, Genesis 2:20-24, finding a suitable helper isn’t easy.  Maybe this is one of the reasons why King Solomon continued to seek wife after wife according to 1 Kings 11:1-3.  Unfortunately, even one of the wisest men to ever walk the face of the earth forgot to consider how being unequally yoked would influence his own relationship with God, 2 Corinthians 6:14-15.  All you have to do is read Proverbs 19:13 and 21:9 to understand Solomon’s regrets about rushing into marriage.

With this in mind, I am thankful for waiting, watching and trusting God to provide a godly spouse.  Although each of us have our own imperfections, the Lord has guided our steps together as a couple, Galatians 5:25.  Whatever the future holds, I am grateful to a loving wife, 3 great kids and daily bread.  Prayer is what has held my family together, offering up loved ones to God and asking angels to keep watch when you are not around.  In the end, one of my favorite prayers is for God give me the wisdom of Solomon, the love of Jesus and  the favor of Joseph from Genesis.    May you find the same joy and peace that I have experienced over the last 18 years.

by Jay Mankus

Quiet Waters

Words like silent, tranquil and undisturbed seem so far away from reality.  While America was sleeping, peace has been replaced by violence, slipped into minds full of mush through video games.  Those who are too busy to care, indulge or play, find their amusement is movies, pop culture and the latest car chase on television.  A life full of distractions, interruptions and noise drowns out the serenity of God’s quiet waters.

This promise of Psalm 23:2 may be a flashback from the image portrayed in Psalm 1:1-3.  Those blessed souls who are able to outran the wicked, flee from the presence of careless sinners and avoid joining a crowd full of mockers find their way through the jungle of life.  Beyond the temptations, lies a bubbling brook, full of love, joy and peace.  This living water offered by Jesus in John 4:10 produces conifers, trees that stay green 365 days a year.  Prosperity is like the morning dew, a subtle reminder of God’s presence in this sacred place.

Once you experience this hidden spring, its hard to find enjoyment in the ways of the world.  Sure, temporary pleasures abound, yet nothing satisfies, quickly losing its allure.  The old Southwest Airlines’ commercials have it partially right.  Yes, you’ve got to get away.  However, where you need to arrive is upon the shores of God’s quiet waters.  Like Kokomo, its a mythical destination that only a few find, Matthew 7:13-14.  May the spirit of God, guide you, step by step, until you reach the healing pool, John 5:1-7.  It doesn’t matter why you came or what state you’re in, as long as you believe entering quiet waters will leave you transformed, once and for all.  Get fulfilled today, Matthew 5:6.

by Jay Mankus

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