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Tag Archives: oblivious

Opening Your Eyes to the Suffering of Friends

When I was younger, I was naive.  This immaturity lead me to become blind, oblivious to the needs of my friends.  Carl who eventually became my best friend in high school often punched me in the shoulder, shouting out “punch buggy” yellow or blue.  Behind this aggression was a boy crying out for help as he silently watched cancer take his mother’s life.  I could have been there for him, providing a shoulder to lean on.  Yet, I was consumed by my own life.

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him, Job 2:11.

News of the tragedy that struck Job spread to his friends and neighbors.  Since no funerals are referenced, these three men dropped what they were doing to comfort Job.  However, as they approached, the sight of Job’s condition was overwhelming.  This brought out raw emotions, crying with their friend.  Based upon the words used by Job, none of these friends could come to terms with what happened, remaining silent for a week.  Sometimes a hug is more powerful than words.

When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.  Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was, Job 2:12-13.

In this day and age, its easy to connect or reach out to friends using social media.  Since my emergency eye surgery last November, I posted on Facebook a need for prayers a couple of times.  I’ve been amazed and touched by the outpouring of support that I have received.  In the moments immediately following requests for prayers, I have felt the healing power of your prayers.  This experience has inspired me to open my eyes to the suffering of friends.  May this blog inspire you to reach a helping hand like the friends of Job in chapter 2.

by Jay Mankus

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Are You Ready to Jump In?

Every so often I will come face to face with a crisis.  Usually, its a mom or dad not paying attention to their children, wondering off into trouble.  Sometimes I become the good Samaritan, reaching out just in time to prevent an accident or fall.  Unfortunately, this is rare, often consumed with my own life, oblivious to everything else around me.  Thus, I’m not ready to jump in.

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross, Mark 15:21.

One Friday morning, a man was minding his own business, possible thinking about what he was going to do over the weekend.  Suddenly, commotion from the crowds standing along the street peeked his curiosity.  Going over to see what was going on, a soldier called out, demanding his help.  Though its unclear if he was a willing participant, Simon jumped into action, carrying a cross for a pitiful soul, full of blood, bruises and open flesh.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

The term Christian was first derived in the town of Antioch.  Faith wasn’t just a spoken word.  Rather, the followers of Jesus displayed the same love, peace and servanthood of their former leader.  Pleasantly surprised by these acts, citizens began to say, “hey, you must be one of those Christ followers?”  Overtime this phrase was condensed to simply Christian.  In view of this historical fact, may you be compelled to jump into action, following in the footsteps of Jesus, 1 John 2:6.

by Jay Mankus

 

Ignoring an Obvious Blessing

As the sun rises on another day, alarms sound waking up individuals to begin a new adventure.  Pressed by hustle, bustle, and trying to get ahead in life, leaves many oblivious to a blessing right before their eyes.  The greatest miracle on earth are the children that are procreated and conceived by woman.

Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. – Psalm 127:3-4

While the passage above is true, love, sex and relationships can’t be forced.  Panicking due to a barren womb, Sarah tried to force the issue by sharing her maidservant with Abraham, her husband.  This selfish act gave birth to Ishmael, the Father of Arab nations.  This momentary lapse of judgment has haunted the nation of Israel ever since creating a clear and present danger for the Jewish faith.

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. – Psalm 127:1

According to Solomon, churches and homes can’t be manufactured.  Though each requires discipline, hard work and faith, the future of any heritage is dependent upon the Lord.  Formulas, gadgets and technology may give a perception of success, yet in the end God will either bless or curse man-made efforts.  Therefore, before you start your next adventure, project or task, follow the words of Deuteronomy 28:1-14 so you no longer ignore obvious blessings.

by Jay Mankus

 

Judge, Jury and Executioner

If you follow Twitter, listen to Talk Radio or watch Cable News, then you have a slight inclination on what’s wrong with this country and the world as a whole.  Countless individuals have forgotten the words of Jesus in John 8:6-9, “let him who is without sin throw the first stone.”  Blinded by hypocrisy, ignorance or simply oblivious to their spiritual condition, many are acting as judge, jury and executioner, piling on with stone after stone.

In view of TMZ’s release on their website earlier in the week of Ray Rice striking his soon to be wife in an elevator, the media has stirred the masses into a tizzy.  With one person down, Ray Rice, kicked to the curb on Monday after being release by the Baltimore Ravens, the next victim is Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL.  People are lining up in droves to take their shots, putting pressure on Goodell to resign.  As radio and television analysts comment on the hot topic of this week, abused women, there’s an eerie silence for the unborn child, killed every day because the law says its okay.

The only person in the media who has made any sense this week is Steve Smith, veteran wide receiver of the Ravens, formerly a member of the Carolina Panthers.  Steve reminded the press that God is the only true judge.  Although citizens like to pretend to be the judge and part of the jury, God will hold everyone accountable based upon what they have done on earth, Matthew 12:36-37.  Before another human being in thrown under the bus this week, refrain yourself the next time you have an urge to trash someone.  For if you do, you will likely reap what you sow and one day you will be at the mercy of the judge, jury and executioner.

by Jay Mankus

 

Why I Experienced the Bottom of the Barrel

For those of you fortunate enough not to have tasted defeat, experience failure or feel the pain of loss, your perspective is limited.  Sheltered from this anguish, you haven’t been forced rely on the Lord.  Instead this smooth journey leads passengers to trust in their health and wealth, oblivious to the bottom of the barrel.

As I look back on recent heartaches of a 2-19 season as a coach, the struggle to rebuild my work career and dedication to the dreams of my youth, hardship has refined my faith.  Although the furnace isn’t a pleasant place to visit, 1 Peter 1:6-7, this necessary evil has lifted me up from the bottom on the barrel.  In the midst of this storm, I have a new appreciation for the little things in life.

Humility has helped me come to the realization that I can’t do it on my own.  Rather, I need a Savior to pick me up when I fall, Matthew 11:28-30.  Sure, it would be nice to forgo past trials, yet I wouldn’t be where I am today if these events did not occur.  Therefore, my focus shifts upward, Philippians 3:12-14, so that if I experience the bottom of the barrel again, the sun will shine upon my face letting me know that everything will be okay.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Shopping Test: Who is Naughty and Nice ?

If you go to the grocery store or shopping mall, you will likely be tested to see just how patient you are.  Finding a parking spot can be an adventure as oblivious individuals will walk in front of you car, others rush to get the last close spot and the lazy leave shopping carts in parking spaces to make your blood boil.  When you finally locate a cart, trash is often left in the bottom, filled with expired coupons.

As you make your way into the entrance, speeds vary, like a Nascar race going 4 wide into a corner.  However, the fast lane isn’t always the left, requiring zig zag maneuvers to navigate your way to finish your check list.  Non planners talk on the phone the whole time, stopping right in front of you without warning.  Meanwhile, the carefree window shoppers, seem to block your intended route every other aisle.  Courtesy separates the naughty from the nice, in a hurry to get to no where, as the self absorbed carry on, going as fast as possible.

Today, I failed the shopping test, bickering, complaining and talking to myself the whole time.  My idea of shopping is like a quick splash and go on pit lane, trying to stay out in front of the crowds.  Instead of enjoying the journey, impatience has made by grumpy, frustrated by a lack of urgency demonstrate by my fellow shoppers.  On my way out to the car, the Holy Spirit convicted me of Philippians 2:14-15.  Although I didn’t directly voice my beefs, I was naughty, not shinning the light of Christ as God calls, Matthew 5:13-16.  See where your patience falls on the Shopping Test Scale.

Level                                                                                     Attributes                                                                                      Meter

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1                                                                                              Calm & Relaxed                                                                           Pleasant

2                                                                                              Sarcastic & Slightly Irritated                                                 Okay

3                                                                                              Rolling your Eyes / Frustrated                                             Selfish

4                                                                                              Gossiping / Grumbling                                                             Angry

5                                                                                              Ignorant / Rude                                                                          Naughty

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Where do you fall on the scale? Any thoughts on how to become more patient?

 

by Jay Mankus

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