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When You Feel Like You Can’t Hold On Any Longer

Over the course of my life, music has gotten me through several difficult moments.  While in college, I developed an unhealthy pattern of drawing close to the Lord during the school year, then falling away over the summer.  On any given day, I listened to a few hours of music.  Whether I was running, studying or working out, the beat, lyrics and sound motivated me to press on.  One of the songs that touched my soul in college was Hold On by Wilson Phillips.  The following stanza helped me overcome the stress of college: “Don’t you know things can change. Things’ll go your way. If you hold on for one more day. Can you hold on for one more day. Things’ll go your way. Hold on for one more day.”

So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery], James 4:7-8.

When I became a high school Bible teacher I tried to incorporate music into my classes and lesson plans.  Unfortunately, most of my music was archaic, out of date and wasn’t appealing to my students.  After swallowing my pride, I began to search for modern artists that my students could relate to.  One of my former students Evan introduced me to the group Stellar Kart.  Although I didn’t have much disposable income back then, I searched the Sonshine House for discounted music.  After losing my teaching job, I spent a month struggling to find a new one.  The song that got me through this ordeal was Hold on to Jesus by Stellar Kart.  While walking through un-charted territories, the Lord used this song to help me persevere.

But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast. 22 Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.

Since the Coronavirus shut down professional sports in March, I have increased my time listening to music.  During the week, I spend 5 hours a day minimum, listening to Christian music.  Although I still struggle to find artists, groups and songs with a specific message and style, there is one song that gotten me through these months of social distancing.  While listening to You Tube one night, I came across a spontaneous worship montage.  Kari Jobe has a 19 minute video starting with Speak to Me before moving into the songs Defender and Closer.  This worship medley has become a daily prayer for me, another way of Holding on to Jesus as the world tries to makes sense of COVID-19.  May these songs touch you like they have inspired me to hold on when you feel like you can’t hold on any longer.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Standing at the Edge of a Breakthrough

A breakthrough is defined as a dramatic, sudden, and important discovery or development. This may include advancements in technology, cures for infectious diseases, innovations, inventions and quantum leaps in science. I stumbled upon to a spontaneous worship clip on You Tube the other night. Kari Jobe was leading worship for her church when the Holy Spirit led her to sing “standing at the edge of breakthrough.” This montage moved me, opening my eyes to my current situation.

And in the fourth watch [between 3:00—6:00 a.m.] of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, It is a ghost! And they screamed out with fright. 27 But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I Am! Stop being afraid! – Matthew 14:25-27

Over the past 8 years, I’ve spent January through April working on screen plays for the annual Nicholls Fellowship Screenwriting Contest. Over this time frame I have now completed and currently in the process of perfecting three movies. Meanwhile, I have an outlines for two more projects that I hope to start working on in May. If this wasn’t enough, I received a vision for a Sitcom with the initial season having 10 episodes. Essentially, I find myself standing at the edge of a breakthrough, waiting and trusting God to have and see this dream be fulfilled soon.

And Peter answered Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. 29 He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. 30 But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]! 31 Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? – Matthew 14:28-31

One of Jesus’ disciples experienced an impressive spiritual breakthrough. When the disciples left Jesus behind to finish ministering to others, they got in a boat to cross of Sea of Galilee. The initial plan was for Jesus to meet up with the disciples the next day. Instead, Jesus took a short cut, walking across this body of water late at night. At first, those who were awake thought Jesus was a ghost. However, after identifying himself, Peter dared Jesus, “if it’s really you, let me walk on water as well.” This is exactly what Peter did until he took his eyes off of Jesus. Whenever you are standing at the edge of breakthrough, trusting God is the final piece to ensure success.

by Jay Mankus

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