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When Bad Things Start to Happen

According to C.S. Lewis, there are 2 theories which explain why bad things happen to good people: dualism and the Christian view.  Dualism believes there are 2 independent powers, one good and another bad that are in conflict with each other resulting in good or bad things.  The Christian view is based upon Galatians 5:16-18, detailing the cosmic battle between Lucifer and the Holy Spirit.  The X-Factor is freewill as whenever temptation results in a bad choice or decision, the lives of innocent bystanders are at risk.

For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do, Galatians 5:17.

As a former assistant and playing professional, I’ve seen a lot of bad things happen on golf courses.  To the average spectator, the final result is what matters.  However, the slightest gust of wind can ruin a great shot that only the player hitting a golf ball knows.  Meanwhile, an amateur, casual golfer or kid have hit foul balls that glance off a tree, bounce down a cart path and skip over a water hazard, ending up on the green.  Now, that’s a miracle!  Unfortunately, I haven’t seen many of these go my way on a golf course.

For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere, Ephesians 6:12.

One of the hardest parts of life is seeing a rising star’s life cut short due to cancer, a car accident or suicide.  To make matters worse is standing there at a funeral watching parents grieve, grasping to make sense of their loss.  At the end of one ceremony, a mother whispered into my ear, “I pray that the words you taught my daughter in Bible class were etched upon her heart.”  When bad things start to happen, the frailty of life is put into perspective, Job 34:15.  From dust man was created and to dust we will return.  All we can do now is enjoy each day the Lord gives us on earth.

by Jay Mankus

Overcoming the Coronavirus Mountain

If you listen to cable news, scan social media or regularly follow Twitter, fear is spread daily about the Coronavirus. When the CDC updates their numbers of new cases and death toll every afternoon, panic can set in at anytime. Trying to fight this invisible disease can overwhelm even optimistic souls. Thus, the more contagious and deadly the Coronavirus becomes. it’s like trying to climb the Mt. Everest in Himalayan Mountains by yourself, without any assistance.

And Peter remembered and said to Him, Master, look! The fig tree which You doomed has withered away! 22 And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly], Mark 11:21-22.

Beside being called a Jewish Rabbi, Jesus was an amazing teacher, using visual aids to illustrate spiritual truths. Earlier in the day, Jesus was hoping to rely on a fig tree to satisfy his hunger. Upon further review, this tree was barren. Seizing the moment, Jesus cursed this tree which withered immediately. This act wasn’t done for selfish ambition. Rather, Jesus wanted to demonstrate the power of prayer. To show the spiritual potential for those who believe in God.

23 Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. 24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it], Mark 1:23-24.

In his book Relentless, John Tess shares his battle with cancer. Given 18 months to live with a rare form of prostrate cancer, this disease was relentless, coming back time after time. Three years into his struggle to survive, one verse from the Bible transformed John’s perspective. Mark 1:23 uses a mountain to convey that obstacles face individuals daily. The only way to conquer and overcome these barriers is through prayer. May God give you the faith to believe that fasting and prayer will result in developing a cure for Coronavirus.

by Jay Mankus

Overcoming the Loss of a Loved One

My son Daniel and I were in the middle of deep frying chicken wings and homemade french fries when news of Kobe Bryant’s death first broke. In the days that have passed since January 26th, cable news, sports talk shows and Twitter have shared reflections on the life of Kobe Bryant. Yet, what about all the others? The homeless, outcasts and poor who die daily rarely make their local newspaper. Thus, Kobe Bryant’s tragic death has brought attention to overcoming the loss of a loved one.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, Psalm 147:3.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, there were 2,813,503 registered deaths in 2017 in America. This comes out to 7708 deaths per day or 321 per hour. While some of these deaths may include an entire family, friends and neighbors need to learn how to get by without them. The first step to recovery is dealing with the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Unfortunately, I have a friend who lost his son to cancer a decade ago and still hasn’t come to grips with this loss. Like many throughout history, the death of a loved one can send you into a tailspin that you never fully recover from.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” Matthew 5:4.

One of my good friends from high school died during my sophomore year of college, losing her two year battle with cancer. I took Maureen’s death hard, struggling to come with grips with why. As the years have passed since her death, the Lord has provided a few answers to my prayers. Although I wasted my opportunities to share my faith with Maureen, her death has inspired me to make sure I don’t repeat this mistake. Maureen’s death in 1989 conceived in me a desire for evangelism which has led to the creation of Express Yourself 4Him. While everyone grieves differently, may this blog help you better cope with overcoming the loss of a loved one.

by Jay Mankus

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