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Hireling, Servant or Friend?

The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep.  So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. – John 10:12

Depending upon your desire, energy or level of commitment, you will likely fall into one of 3 categories.  The unmotivated will fall into a hireling classification, doing things because its a job.  Those who enjoy their place of employment will likely transform into a servant, taking ownership of the business where they work.  Finally, the friend goes one step further, placing their heart and soul into what they do daily.

The greatest among you will be your servant. – Matthew 23:11

The hardest part of any career is uncertainty, when the dedication you pour forth is not rewarded, going unnoticed.  Unless you receive some sort of compliment, encouragement or raise, some may give up before experiencing the fruits of their labor.  Thus, maintaining a positive attitude can be difficult, often coming to a point where you begin to think, “what’s the point anyway?”  Even the most devoted servant needs a pat on the back to keep them going.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:15

According to Jesus, there is a difference between a servant and friend.  When someone becomes all in, surrendering a what’s in it for me mentality, they turn the corner.  This devotion sees the big picture, doing what’s best for their heavenly Father.  “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it, ” Matthew 16:25.  May the Holy Spirit lead to from a hireling, beyond the serving phase to a friend in Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Voice of Experience

Confidence isn’t lacking in society today as narcissists can be found in nearly every work place.  However, a humble voice of experience is missing from many segments, replaced by pride and arrogance.  When absent, people can lose their way, often repeating the same mistakes that have led past empires to disappear.

 Psalm 118

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.

The words of Psalm 118:8-10 sound like something King David would have said.  After calling for and taking a census of Israel’s tribes, a spirit of conviction falls upon David.  Failing to listen to his commander Joab, a voice of experience, God punishes Israel’s for David’s sin of pride, 1 Chronicles 21:1-8.  When given three options for his penalty, David opts for the hand of God, 1 Chronicles 21:9-15.

Although Public Service Announcements for the Boys & Girls Clubs are important, its essential for mentors to rise up to begin influencing a generation looking for positive role models.  On the other hand, its also vital for adults to remain teachable so that advice from the Joab’s in your life aren’t ignored.  May you take heed of the Psalmist by learning to take refuge in God rather than trusting the hands of men.

by Jay Mankus

Life Could Be Worse…You Could Be a 76er Fan

Nobody likes to lose.  Although, some players and teams don’t have the talent to compete with the rest of their competitors, sooner or later a victory will arrive.  Unfortunately, fans of the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA might not see a win in 2014, 0-17 with little hope in sight.

The unemployed likely experience a similar feeling.  Despite perfecting resumes, nailing job interviews and becoming a finalist for a position, heart breaks come way too often.  The sad thing is when the offers do arrive, the pay is like a slap in the face.  In the end, job seekers wonder if they will ever get another job.

When things aren’t going your way, there needs to be something firm that you can trust in.  A refuge where you can find a peace that surpasses all understanding.  James 1:2-4 suggests losing builds character, leading to maturity over time.  If you can develop this mindset, perseverance can carry you until you taste success.  Therefore, whether you win, lose or draw, the Holy Spirit can transform your perspective to become a complete person in Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Faith Beyond Comprehension

Before the first rain drop touched earth, mankind had lost touch with God.  Like a New Year’s Celebration, out with the old and in with the new, boundaries were eliminated.  This mentality is described in Genesis 6:1-6, causing the Lord grief.  In an age of wickedness, Noah found favor with the Lord.  Unlike Adam and Eve, Noah actually did everything the Lord commanded, Genesis 6:22.  Building an ark the size of a football prior to the existence of rain, now that’s faith beyond comprehension.

Abraham was an old man when the Lord came calling.  The thought of a nation as massive as the sand on the seashore must have been enticing, Genesis 12:1-3.  However, there’s just one problem, elderly men don’t have children with elderly women.  As time ticked away year by year, most people would have given up, quit and called it a life.  Just as a doctor once confirmed in Luke 1:37, “nothing is impossible with God” so Abraham held on until his first child was born.

Today, skepticism abounds, with countless souls disappointed by lies, hypocrisy and unbelievable promises.  Although in their hearts they want to believe, troubled minds hardly ever come around to faith, side tracked by doubt.  Perhaps the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16 still serves as a stumbling block to the wise.  A fool doesn’t have much to lose whereas the wise have their reputation to hold on to.   Regardless of the barriers that are present, may Christ like lives and transformed saints shine light into a dark world so that faith can be embraced by the lost.

by Jay Mankus

Where Do Certain Thoughts Come From?

At age 10, I began to experience a reoccurring nightmare.  Maybe I watched one too many scary movies, but each night I was awaken in the same manner.  Whether I was restless or enjoying a peaceful sleep, an image appeared out of no where.  First, I felt the sensation of slipping off a cliff.  Once I reached a free fall mode, I was at ease until the ground came into view.  Just before striking the canyon floor, my body shook, waking me up.  This went on for nearly 2 years.  Why, I’m not sure.  Perhaps, God allowed these thoughts to enter my mind to lead me toward the meaning of life.

A couple of years ago, I was driving my family home after vacationing in Chicago for a week.  It was getting late, the sun had set and everyone in the car was asleep.  I was traveling on the Ohio Turnpike, heading east toward the Maumee River.  As I was approaching the river valley, a whisper entered my mind, “drive off the bridge.”  Shocked initially, it didn’t take long to determine the origin of this thought.  Similar to the Dana Carvey’s Church Lady skit on Saturday Night Live, “could it be Satan?”

Over the course of a lifetime, the mind will become weary, bombarded with a plethora thoughts.  If individuals are careless, lazy or tempted, souls are vulnerable.  When you try to fight a spiritual battle with mental discipline, sooner or later you will lose.  Therefore, its essential to practice 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, by taking your thoughts captive.  Whether thoughts are from God, Satan or your own sinful desires, how you respond to them will dictate the path that you choose.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Use It or Lose It

These are words a coach, parent or teacher may express to someone they care about.  The basis for this expression, “use it or lose it,” serves as a warning to anyone who fails to practice a newly acquired ability.  The longer individuals wait before they apply information, the greater the probability someone will forget this skill.  Fearful leaders encourage their pupils to seize the moment or risk losing their lesson until next week, month or year.

One of the first students, Adam, was given a few simple commands from the Lord in Genesis 2:15-17.  First, Adam was promoted to become the caretaker of Eden’s Garden.  Secondly, Adam was given clear boundaries defined by God, “you can eat from every tree except for one,” this is off limits.  In other words, God told Adam, use it or lose it.  After a long day of work, Adam was tired, not having the strength to contain his wife’s curiosity in Genesis 3:6.  By not using his God given authority, the first family loses it all, kicked out of their home, Genesis 3:23.

Today, father’s are suppose to be the head of their family, 1 Peter 3:1-7.  Unfortunately, children born out of wedlock, divorce and absentee dad’s are signs of wasted authority.  If these trends continue, fathers will suffer the same fate of Adam, a man without a place to call home.  I can hear the following words being shouted from heaven to dad’s on the verge of disaster, “use your God given authority or lose it!”  Like the movie Courageous, may today’s blog inspire parents to leave a legacy of integrity for their children to follow.  Or else you may lose your children to a similar fate.

by Jay Mankus

 

Uninspired

Creative, innovative and stimulated, words synonymous with inspiration.  Normally, words flow for me, like water trickling over a majestic waterfall.  Yet, today is one of those days where silence reigns.  Although my mind is enduring writer’s block, my heart still dreams of a time writing pays the bills.  Uninspired, I press on to take hold of that which Christ has called me to do, Philippians 3:12-14.

In life, there are 5 basic stages of motivation: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.  Achieving goals require discipline, inspiration and reflection.  If you fail to set aside time for the things that you love, don’t be surprised if you lose joy for living.  Its no wonder that misery loves company as the uninspired spend more time breaking dreams and dashing hopes than casting vision for others to follow.

If the stages of motivation aren’t nourished, boredom, depression and displeasure will move in.  One of the keys to life is establishing, maintaining and nurturing balance in one’s life.  If you miss a beat like me, you’ll find yourself uninspired, struggling to find a reason to get up in the morning.  Depending upon the mood this blog finds you in, don’t forget the promise of Galatians 6:9-10.  When a spirit of depression tries to invade your soul, fight back with prayer.

by Jay Mankus

 

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