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Tag Archives: mistakes

Zero Tolerance

Every year, more and more businesses, organizations and schools are instituting zero tolerance policies.  Essentially, institutions punish any infraction of a rule, regardless of accidental mistakes or ignorance.  This movement is geared toward eliminating the use and possession of illicit drugs as well as preventing weapons from entering buildings.  Although every policy has its flaws, the overall goal is to provide a safe environment for children and adults.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go; Joshua 1:7.”

The Old Testament has its own zero tolerance policy.  Surrounded by cultures who worshiped gods and goddesses of earth, the Lord understood the temptations which lurk around every corner.  Thus, as Moses retires and is about to pass the torch to Joshua, God introduces his zero tolerance policy to the nation of Israel.  There was no ifs, ands or buts.  Rather, God urged Joshua to be all in to achieve blessings and success in life.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful, Joshua 1:8.

Today, anyone who holds to the principles within Joshua 1 is considered old fashion, radical and extremists.  The idea of following a set of rules and regulations seem foolish, especially since God is invisible.  Yet, if a mediocre life is what you desire, keep on living as you are.  However, if results is what you are hungering, then trust and obey the advice in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

Beyond Redemption

Wherever you go in life, you will find signs.  Some contain mistakes, others confusing messages and a few will make you laugh.  Yet, there is one that is profound, Beyond Redemption.

God sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! – Psalm 111:9

If you have ever visited Niagara Falls, this sign serves as a final warning.  At the point of no return, where help can not arrive soon enough, the sign Beyond Redemption has been placed.  Just as the Niagara River plummets 325 feet before it flows north to Lake Ontario, this sign assumes death is inevitable.

In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:14

Today, individuals consume, drink and eat things which will harm their bodies.  Subsequently, nearly every package contains a warning label, usually describing a worst case scenario, especially if you suffer from this or that.  In view of the frailty in this life, please consider the redemption offered by life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ before you reach a point of no return.

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

Living Life in Your Rear View Mirror

Although many people enjoy playing the role of Monday morning quarterback, some are haunted by prior mistakes.  Like a back up quarterback who is adored until they get in the game, an embarrassing moment while in the spotlight can stay with individuals for years.  Every time someone tries to move on, the stains of time appear in the rear view mirror.

As for me, I can think of several days I would like to forget or get a mulligan to do over.  One of things I regret the most in life  is not telling one of my best friends from high school the reason for my new found joy.  Before I had another open invitation to share my faith, she died of cancer.  This image returns in various forms such as her favorite songs, topics of previous conversations and visions of a precious smile.  Even when you try, its hard to let go of pain from your past.

A common theme professed by pastors in history refer to the devil reminding sinners of their past.  Once preoccupied by guilt, remorse and shame, new believers are unable to experience the new beginning promised by Jesus.  Thus, souls live in fear, with one eye on the future and the other in their rear view mirror.  May any of you stuck in the past experience a resurrected spirit, washed by the blood of the Lamb, Colossians 2:13-15.

by Jay Mankus

 

Anal or Apathetic?

There was in time in American history when most of its’ citizens would cross their i’s and dot their t’s.  This was considered normal, a byproduct of rugged individualism.  Unfortunately, those days have passed, leaving 2 extremes on either side of the spectrum: anal or apathetic.

Someone who is anal tends to be meticulous, a stickler for the rules, paying close attention to details.  A negative connotation of anal are individuals who are OCD, suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder.  Meanwhile,  those who seem disinterested, emotionless or half-hearted are associated with apathy.  Thus, there is a growing generation of people who either care too much or are tuning out society, lukewarm at best about life.

Jesus wasn’t a fan of politics, but he did speak out and against religious leaders who allowed ideology to trump God’s Word.  Essentially, the anal are similar to self-righteous souls who look down at the flaws, mistakes and sinners around them without looking at themselves in the mirror.  Whereas the apathetic realize their condition, yet like the prodigal son, most keep on going down a path toward destruction.  Whether you are anal, apathetic or somewhere in between, may the parable of the Two Sons in Matthew 21:28-32 straighten you out to develop a Christ like life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Gotta Get It Right

During my last year as a youth pastor, I was responsible for running Confirmation, a year long class for 8th graders who sought to take ownership of their faith.  Before the actual ceremony during church in the Spring, I took my group away on a retreat about 30 minutes west of Columbus, Indiana.  Coming out a year earlier, I showed the movie Groundhog Day to break the ice, easing the tension for those uncomfortable with talking about God.  Essentially, Bill Murray keeps repeating the same day over and over again, until he gets it right.

Unfortunately, time doesn’t stand still like this movie.  However, there are several life lessons worth noting.  First, too many individuals, me especially, become consumed with what they are doing, where they are going and what they need to accomplish every day.  As a result, blinders prevents you from appreciating, interacting and slowing down long enough to develop permanent meaningful lasting relationships.  Secondly, distracted people often don’t recognize, see or stop to help someone in need with a smile, word of encouragement or passing prayer.  Finally, life is best served by embracing daily distractions that God provides.  These interruptions offer opportunities to minister, nurture and uplift struggling souls.

While listening to the song Get it Right by Silverline, I sensed the urging of the Holy Spirit to write this blog.  Although each day is filled with trials and errors, life is too short to keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  If  you are touched by these words, join me in the quest to get it right, John 10:10.  Yet, when you fail, don’t give up, Galatians 6:9-10.  Rather, by leaning on Christ, Philippians 4:13, believe in your heart that over time, you will get it right.

Please comment on my blog how your journey is going.  This post is dedicated to Elizabeth, one of my students who gave her heart to Jesus, Romans 10:9-10, at the end of our confirmation retreat.

by Jay Mankus

A Pedestal of Disappointment

There are certain individuals which possess gravitas, tempting family, friends and followers to place them up on a pedestal.  These dynamics personalities make it hard not to jump on the bandwagon as some become held in high regards as a cultural hero.  However, when you choose to place someone up on a pedestal, its a matter of time before you will experience disappointment.

According to Romans 3:23, no one is perfect.  Regardless of your efforts and motives, sooner or later will you fail, mess up or make a mistake.  This blunder often shatters the image of your fans, causing many to jump ship.  In the aftermath of sin, its difficult to come with terms with the failures of leaders.  The painful reality of this disappointment will make you think twice before placing another treasured soul on a pedestal.

The relational aspect of life makes people vulnerable to pain.  Perhaps, a growing number of adults are forgoing marriage to avoid the heartbreak of unfilled vows.  While you may believe this is a good idea, there is only One who is worth placing up on a pedestal, Hebrews 4:14-16.  Don’t blame the creator for imperfect people.  Rather, lift up the only One who is worthy to be praised, Romans 5:8.

by Jay Mankus

 

Life’s Ransom

Director Ron Howard used a 1954 episode of The United States Steel Hour from the series Fearful Decision to produce the 1996 film Ransom starring Mel Gibson and Rene Russo.  Author Ed McBain’s novel King’s Ransom also influenced Howard’s portrayal of police procedure in this movie.  When a millionaire’s son is kidnapped, the ransom is set for $2 million for his safe return.

The Bible refers to another ransom in Psalm 49:7-9.  However, this amount is like the entertaining Master Card commercials, priceless.  Whether you’re rich or poor, white or blue collar, no payment is sufficient enough to receive eternal life.  Helpless, life a parent held hostage, Jesus intervenes, going to the bank called Calvary, Matthew 20:28.

The apostle Paul describes life’s ransom in Romans 6:23.  The wages, payment due for the errors, mistakes and sin you’ve committed in life is death, separated from God.  Despite your dire condition, Jesus decided to pay the ransom for your life on Good Friday, 30 AD, Romans 5:8.  Thus, the gift of God is in the mail, waiting for you to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10.  May the power of the Easter message come alive in your soul, resurrecting faith, hope and love, 1 Corinthians 13:13.

by Jay Mankus

A Team Without Players

The competitor inside of me yearns to win, doing what it takes to bring a team into the winners circle.  Yet, what do you do when you find yourself a part of a team without any players?  Sure, you might have some individuals who can make a play or two, but you can’t expect each teammate to be perfect when they don’t possess essential skills to succeed.  This is where I find myself this baseball season.

Like a high school student who can’t add, read or write, some where along the way young people get neglected, promoted and pushed ahead without meeting appropriate standards.  Currently, the NBA is seeing a similar dilemma as phenoms are great one on one players, but most don’t know how to move, set picks or space the floor when they don’t have the ball.  Whether this is rooted in a lack of discipline, poor coaching or selfishness, every sport is in jeopardy of becoming a team without players.

Patience is a vital attribute while you wait to experience victory for the first time all season.  Teachable pupils is also important to keep morale from slipping toward doubt, constantly correcting errors, mistakes and poor habits as they occur.  The best thing you can do is live out Colossians 3:17, maintaining a positive attitude like a beacon of hope for sad faces.  Until you taste the joy of victory, keep your head up as you make strides to develop players for the future.

What advice do you have for coaches who have inherited a team without players?

by Jay Mankus

 

The Gift of Imperfection

Sports uses cards, errors, flags, fouls and misconducts to magnify mistakes made by participants.  The world isn’t as kind calling individuals frauds, hypocrites and losers when actions, behavior or words don’t live up to their expectations.  While the 2006 film The Ultimate Gift illuminated several gifts that people take for granted daily, one is missing from their list.  Perhaps the greatest of all is the gift of imperfection.

Although Jesus’ goal is to strive for perfection, Matthew 5:48, to obtain this is impossible.  Romans 3:9-12 breaks the bad news to mankind as everyone who has attempted this feat has failed at some point in their quest.   Since sin was conceived in the Garden of Eden, a generation of misfits have come up short, unable to please God, Romans 3:23.  Like a mad scientist going back to the drawing board, the sinful nature has foiled any hope of earning salvation on your own, Romans 6:23, requiring plan Z.

At the end of the road, hanging by a cross, Jesus has come to our rescue, Colossians 2:13-15.  Despite my intentions on wanting to control my own destiny, Jesus holds the keys to the kingdom, Matthew 16:19.  Therefore, I need to grasp the secret the apostle Paul discovered during an illness, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  The gift of imperfection forces souls to place their entire trust in the hands of an unseen God.  The weaker one is, 1 Timothy 1:16, the stronger the Holy Spirit can become.  May you experience this special gift, securing your reservations for eternity, 1 John 5:13, by letting go through faith.

Feel free to comment or share a time when you were weak, but Christ was strong!

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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