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The Blessing of a Busted Nest

A nest represents home to newly hatched baby birds. Within this enclosed area, mothers and fathers display  love, commitment, and effort to raise their young. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus points to how his heavenly Father provides for the birds of the air, Matthew 6:26. However, from time to time, gusts of wind will cause an egg to fall to the ground or relocate a nest from it’s original branch. These unforeseen events force adult birds to adjust, regroup, and start over.

Then I said, I shall die in or beside my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand. 19 My root is spread out and open to the waters, and the dew lies all night upon my branch, Job 29:18-19.

Job’s nest was busted up early in his book of the Bible. According to the first 2 chapters, Job’s life is plagued by a series of trials. Like a tsunami wave that continues to rise higher and higher, Job lost his possessions, children and his health. The passage above suggests that Job became complacent, ready to retire and play it safe the rest of his earthly life. God had different plans by busting up Job’s nest. The more you lose in life, the hopeless are drawn back to God, leaning on the Lord until the storms of life subside.

He found him in a desert land, in the howling void of the wilderness; He kept circling around him, He scanned him [penetratingly], He kept him as the pupil of His eye. 11 As an eagle that stirs up her nest, that flutters over her young, He spread abroad His wings and He took them, He bore them on His pinions. 12 So the Lord alone led him; there was no foreign god with Him, Deuteronomy 32:10-12.

During the initial stages of the Coronavirus, I was fortunate to have my position considered to be an essential job. With many of my co-workers afraid of contracting COVID-19, voluntary over time has been offered every week since March. These circumstances have led to ideal conditions for earning money. Just as I began to accumulate wealth, the Lord allowed a storm to bust up the front of my home, causing more than $3000 of damage. While paying for the repairs has been a hassle, this unexpected storm has put life into perspective. My faith and trust needs to be in Christ alone.

by Jay Mankus

Unfinished

Every once in a while, I will get ahead of myself. Instead of finishing strong, I will celebrate too early, before an outcome has been determined. This premature response often causes individuals to take their foot of the gas, coasting the final portion of a contest, day or game. Whether arrogance, overconfidence or pride is to blame, victory tends to slip out of your hands as you try to run out the clock.

For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit, And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come, Hebrews 6:4-5.

The author of Hebrews writes about a similar mindset, Christians who want to fast forward to heaven. Although a specific person is not mentioned, it appears that first century converts from Judaism to Christianity became complacent. Instead of growing closer to God day after day, spiritual exercise was replaced by a casual faith. One of Jesus’ disciples refers to this condition as a lukewarm spirit in the first century.

If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance—[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace, Hebrews 6:6.

Those who allow this trend to continue end up an unfinished product, not fulfilling God’s calling, plan or will. The words used in the passage above imply a stubborn heart has resulted in a lack of urgency. Like a scene from the 1993 film Groundhog Day, souls keep falling prey to temptation, committing sins over and over again. If want to break free from this addictive pattern, it’s time to invite Jesus to become the Lord of your life so that unfinished areas are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Attitude Trumps Ability

Acceptance, mentality and outlook creates a culture for attitude.  Depending upon the environment you allow yourself to be surrounded by will influence how positive or negative you become.  According to former Colorado University football coach Bill McCartney, attitude is four times more powerful than someone’s overall ability.  This statement is played out in the 1993 film Rudy based upon the true story of Rudy Ruettiger’s unlikely quest to make the University of Notre Dame football team as a walk on.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Philippians 2:14-15.

Sometimes the most talented individuals never come close to reaching their full potential due to poor attitudes.  Complacency, pride and being spoiled can cause the best to lose their edge.  Meanwhile, less gifted athletes take their place at the top, fueled by a hunger for greatness.  During one scene from Rudy, Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian played by Jason Miller makes a confession to Sean Astin, “Rudy, I wish God would put your heart into some of my star players.”  In this example, attitude trumps ability.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him, Colossians 3:17.

As a former professional golfer, commentators refer to this sport as being 75 to 90 percent mental.  Talent to drive the ball, hit consistent iron shots and develop a strong short game is important.  However, I found that my mood going into a round of golf often dictates the end result.  Staying in the moment, remaining positive and moving on to the next shot are crucial for success.  Yet, without a good attitude, clubs will be tossed, curse words will fly and regret will occur post round.  Whether you are talking about a career, hobby, job or sport, attitude trumps talent.  May times of humility help you to develop a Christ like mindset in the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

Yearning for the Favor of God

As life seems to pass people by, its easy to become a grumpy old man or woman, complaining about this or that.  To ease your pain, you might even wish harm on someone’s success, jealous of their apparent blessings from God.  Yet, in the end, all people really yearn for is the favor of God.

When you reach a state of helplessness, unable to pay your bills, provide for your family or know where your next meal is going to come from, faith is a last resort.  Sure, winning the lottery would be great, but reality tells another story.  Hard work and prayers only take you so far, the rest depends on whether or not your daily life pleases the Lord like Abel or results in the disappointment of Cain.

Genesis 39-42 provides a spiritual road map for becoming the apple of God’s eye.  Despite the various tough luck Joseph endures through these chapters of the Bible, others recognized the hand of God in his life.  Potiphar gave him total control of his estate and a warden delegated full responsibility of a prison to his care.  In the ups and downs of life, Joseph’s relationship with God was a mainstay, the wind beneath his wings.

A couple of thousands of years after Joseph’s death in Egypt, Jesus shares a parable in Matthew 25:14-30.  Though the term favor is not mentioned directly, Jesus reveals how someone can get God’s attention.  Like a master going on a long journey, no date is set for his return.  Nonetheless, the goal is simple, live each day as if they are coming home today.  Void of complacency, seeking God’s favor is not unattainable.  On the contrary, take the unique gift, personality and talent you have received from the Lord, applying each daily.  God willing, by His grace and mercy, one day, you will hear those words spoken by Jesus, “well done good and faithful servant!” – Matthew 25:21.

by Jay Mankus

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