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The Power of Positivity

In episode four of Project Afterlife, the power of positivity is credited as one of the main reasons for Dean Braxton being brought back to life.  Afraid that negativity might cause family members or friends to lose faith, Dean’s wife Marilyn surrounds her dead husband with encouraging words and prayer.  This spiritual warrior mentality, never giving up, eventually led the man that she loved to be resurrected.

Jesus said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him, Matthew 9:24.

As a coach of nearly twenty years, I’ve witnesses teams collapse due to a spirit of doubt.  All it takes is one key individual to become consumed with pessimism to turn the tide of a game.  Following a bad inning in the field two seasons ago, I called my baseball team into the dugout.  The body language displayed signaled the game was over, yet it had just begun.  Looking into the eyes of these boys, I asked “do you believe we can win?”  After hearing several no’s, I threatened to forfeit the game.  Negative minds kept this team from tasting victory.

Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live, John 14:10.

Whether you’re in school, working or retired, no one is immune from negativity.  This mindset can be contagious, contracted by oppressive parents, bossy siblings or Debbie downers.  If you’re not careful, you might join their misery or be brought down, sucking the life out of a room.  To avoid going down this road, its essential to clothe yourself in the fruits of the spirit.  Even when environments can be suffocating, the Holy Spirit has the ability to pierce the darkness through the power of positivity.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

About to Pass You By

Anyone who is fixated on their circumstances, may miss someone or something that God wants you to see.  Blind spots don’t just occur on car mirrors, individuals can get so entrenched in their own lives that time can pass you by.  If you’re not careful, you might wake up one morning and most of your life is gone.

He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, Mark 6:48.

Jesus tried to teach his disciples a similar lesson following the feeding of the 5000 in Mark 6.  Sending them ahead in a boat, Jesus stayed back to pray on a mountainside.  I’m not sure why he walked on the water, but it appears God wanted His son to do so, serving as an abstract lesson.  Although the sun had not risen yet, moonlight provided Jesus with light to see his way.  About to pass their boat by, the disciples finally recognized him, causing a stir of emotions.

But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – Mark 6:49-50

If Jesus could feed a crowd of 5,000, walking on water shouldn’t have been a surprise to his disciples.  Nonetheless, people limit God’s power, surprised by answered prayers and miracles.  Perhaps so many walk around defeated, they don’t know what its like to experience victory in Christ.  Doubt, failure and misery can promote a sense of hopelessness that lingers. Therefore, if you feel like time is about to pass you by without tasting success, take courage, don’t be afraid and believe in the power of the resurrection to transform your situation.

by Jay Mankus

He Ain’t All That

In every success story, there are two primary factors which often impact the final chapter to each Cinderella story.  The first involves an individual with talent, dedicated to mastering his or her trade.  Discipline, hard work and sacrifices can lead to fame and fortune.  While on the rise, friends, family and relatives begin to develop a sense of entitlement, expecting some sort of payment for their involvement in the process.  When this obligation is not met, things can get ugly as those on the outside looking in respond with, “he ain’t all that!”

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. – Mark 6:3

This tragedy of society is nothing new.  Jesus dealt with a similar situation as he went back to his hometown to teach at the synagogue.  Whether it is envy or jealousy, people can be cruel, taking occasional jabs to lessen your accomplishments.  In the case of Jesus, the negativity of the crowds grew, causing his ability to heal to decline.  As the murmurs of “he ain’t all that” intensified, this lack of faith restricted the power of God from being displayed.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” – Mark 6:4

With the invention of social media, ordinary people get their kicks out of trashing celebrities, professional athletes and those in the media.  Perhaps by tearing others down, insecure souls feel a little better about themselves.  Although misery loves company, lives will not change for the better until an environment for healing is formed.  Therefore, the next time you get the urge to say, “he ain’t all that,” follow the principles of James 5:16 so that the resurrection power of Christ can be unleashed.

by Jay Mankus

Inside a Humbled Heart

When things are going well in life, one’s mood will tend to become more talkative.  Reveling in the good times promotes conversation, chatting about the blessings God has bestowed upon you.  However, as the tide turns, bringing in trials, turmoil and suffering, joy quickly leads to silence.

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. – Psalm 25:9

Like seasons of change, humility is a natural way of purging any arrogance or pride inside the human soul.  Yet, when unfortunate events linger beyond a normal period of time, hearts become troubled.  While tongues may speak of their misery, the sound of good news is a distant memory.

For when they are humbled you say, ‘It is because of pride’; but he saves the lowly. – Job 22:29

Wounded souls often withdraw, waiting for something positive to discuss.  If nothing approves, the pain inside will scream out through body language.  Unless family, friends or strangers are observant, depression will form, creating a downward spiral.  Inside any humbled heart, patients long for healing, hoping humility will be replaced by love, joy and peace.  May this blog inspire to reach out to the humbled hearts which surround you.

by Jay Mankus

Whatever?

If you live in the Northeast, then you’ve been at the mercy of God this winter.  One of these days Spring will arrive, yet for now snow, sleet or freezing rain is likely in your weekly forecast.  However, these events shouldn’t be shocking since part of God’s nature is doing whatever pleases Him.

The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. – Psalm 135:6

Whether worldviews are formed through Sunday School, reading books or how you were raised, few have a clear understanding of God’s attributes.  Instead of researching the Scriptures to make sense of the bumps and bruises individuals experience, many human beings respond to trials by accusing, blaming or cursing the Lord for their misery.  When unfortunate events continue to pile up without any end in sight, even the strong can lose hope.

“I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.  You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me.  You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm.” – Job 30:20-22

Although the majority of Christians are uninformed while living on earth, one day the life you endure on this planet will make sense.  I’m assuming some where along the way, God will unveil the jigsaw puzzle known as your life.  This may not happen until being called home to heaven, but one day the “whatever” in life will be revealed.

by Jay Mankus

 

Delight or Affliction?

Tired of negativity and pessimism within society?  Ready for the tide to turn in your direction this year?  Well, the answer can be found in the center of the Bible.

If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. – Psalm 119:92

The various distractions you encounter can easily shift one’s attention away from the positive aspects in life.  Thus, the saying misery loves company becomes a self-fulfilled prophecy.  If minds continue to dwell on afflictions, the desire to live will fade, resulting in a state of pity heading toward the road to destruction, Matthew 7:13.

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. – Psalm 37:4

However, if you begin to cling to the promises of the Bible, drawing near to the Lord, affliction will be replaced with peace, Job 22:21.  While you can’t control the hand you are dealt in life, you are responsible for your attitude.  Therefore, you can choose to embrace God’s laws or endure affliction.  May your feet find the path that leads to delight.

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. – Psalm 119:35

by Jay Mankus

How Would You Respond to This?

Like most men, I’m not as emotional as my wife, nor do I get involved in the lives as others like she does.  However, today I witnessed something gut-wrenching.  On my out of a local restaurant, I saw an elderly man with his head down on a table.  Continuing toward the exit, I noticed the reason for his grief on the other side of the glass, a lone suitcase on the floor.

Before the days of retirement communities, families took care of and watched over their grandparents.  This wasn’t a nuisance or something to dread, rather it was expected.  This was the least you could do to pay homage to the legacy each lived.  Unfortunately, this man is a casualty of the times, a victim of families destroyed by abuse, abandonment and divorce.  With no where to go, this broke man took a break from his misery, hoping to wake up with a place to call home.  How would you respond to this situation?

Before my eyes was a modern day parable of the good Samaritan, Luke 10.  Immediately following the sending out of 72 disciples, they were put to the test to see what they were made of.  As for me, I re-enacted the character of the priest and Levites, pausing before moving on with my life.  Disappointed by my failure, I pray that a good Samaritan arrives to lend a helping hand.  When you face a similar scene, how will you respond to this?  May the Holy Spirit fill you with a heart of action to be the hands and feet of Christ to the brokenhearted.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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