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Tag Archives: overcoming doubt

Don’t Throw it Away

Every now and then, I will be overwhelmed by frustration. Whatever I am working on at this time turns into an epic failure. Human nature will trigger thoughts like “what’s the point or you’re wasting your time.” Apparently, one of Jesus’ disciples encountered a similar situation during the first century. Due to a growing number of spiritual imposters, John warns leaders to not throw away all that you’ve invested.

Look to yourselves (take care) that you may not lose (throw away or destroy) all that we and you have labored for, but that you may [persevere until you] win and receive back a perfect reward [in full], 2 John 1:8.

Perhaps John is reminded of the words of Jesus in Luke 14:28. Before you build anything, start a new project or commit yourself to a time-consuming task, consider the costs. If you don’t have a time of reflection to sort out all the details, there’s a chance you’ll never finish this endeavor. Therefore, before you pour your heart and soul into anything, sit down to see if this can be accomplished.

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. 10 So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [[i]morally] to all people [not only [j]being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers], Galatians 6:9-10.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul writes to Christians who are thinking about giving up on someone or something. Whether you’re reaching out to a friend or working on a worthy project, in the end you reap what you sow. If anything is good or worthwhile, Philippians 4:8-9, think about such things. May the encouragement provided above help you not throw away all that you have invested. Keep the faith!

by Jay Mankus

Are You Sure About That?

I was never a great student; always taking me twice as long to complete an assignment than my fellow classmates. It wasn’t until 10th grade that I was diagnosed with a learning disorder. Subsequently, as I was preparing to study for a test, I was always skeptical. When I couldn’t keep up with a fast-talking teacher during a review session, I would lean over a ask a friend, “are you sure about that?”

I write this to you who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) the name of the Son of God [in [c]the peculiar services and blessings conferred by Him on men], so that you may know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have life, [d]yes, eternal life, 1 John 5:13.

The passage above serves as a slice of certainty. For anyone doubting the Bible’s authenticity, John provides directions to settle any questions that you may have. However, there are three requirements that you must commit to before you can be absolutely sure. First you must adhere to the teaching of Jesus, trust in God’s promises, and rely on Jesus’ strength when you’re weak, Philippians 4:13.

And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us, 1 John 5:14.

When these three spiritual disciplines are exercised daily, feelings are transformed into faith. Doubt is replaced by boldness and confidence. This new found assurance in God’s power will propel your prayer life from a do to list into a purpose driven life. As your focus turns toward seeking and fulfilling God’s will, the Holy Spirit will begin to guide your steps along the way, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 93: Something Changed

One of the aspects that I miss about modern music is the lack of quality soundtracks found in current films. I grew up in the 1980’s where music and scenes complimented one another in a perfect manner. Perhaps, this explains why today’s song spoke to my heart in the 2006 movie the Ultimate Gift. Parts of Joseph Campbell’s the Heroes Journey is apparent as Jason Stevens played by Drew Fuller experiences a dramatic transformation as he seeks to fulfill the hopes of his dead grandfather Red.

For indeed I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but [it came to me] through a [direct] revelation [given] by Jesus Christ (the Messiah), Galatians 1:12.

As the credits start to roll to signal the end of the Ultimate Gift, Sara Groves song Something Changes begins. Flashbacks are used to illustrate the journey Jason Stevens went on and the man that he has become. The key to faith is that conviction, guilt or a gnawing discontentment deep inside our hearts realizing that something has to change. Sara sings about overcoming doubt and pain to become the person that God wants you to do. May this song and movie urge you to be transformed by faith.

by Jay Mankus

The First Fruits of a New Year

The concept of biblical first fruits is one of those things I always struggled to visualize. First fruits is introduced in Genesis 4 where two brothers are called by God to give an offering up to the Lord. Since Cain was a farmer and food takes time to grow, he was hesitant to give God the best crops that he just picked. Meanwhile, Abel was a shepherd and offered up his very best sheep to the Lord. Abel gave his first fruit of the year believing God would provide in the future, but Cain held back food, doubting God.

And [we obligate ourselves] to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the first of all the fruit of all trees year by year to the house of the Lord, 36 As well as the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, as is written in the Law, and the firstlings of our herds and flocks, to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in [His] house. 37 And we shall bring the first and best of our coarse meal, our contributions, the fruit of all kinds of trees, of new wine, and of oil to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God. And we shall bring the tithes from our ground to the Levites, for they, the Levites, collect the tithes in all our rural towns, Nehemiah 10:35-37.

Nehemiah was living in exile, serving as bodyguard for the king of Persia. One day a messenger sent word to Nehemiah that the wall of Jerusalem had been broken and the gates were on fire. This devastating news stirred Nehemiah’s heart, inspiring an extended period of fasting and prayer. Following this time of mourning, God gave Nehemiah a vision and plan to repair and rebuild the wall. The passage above serves as a celebration to give first fruits to the Lord as the wall surrounding Jerusalem was completed.

And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself], James 1:18.

The earthly brother of James provides a modern interpretation of first fruits. Instead of offering up a sacrifice similar to that of the Old Testament, our lives should be a demonstration that we’re serve a living God. As you read and study the Bible today, you should be inspired to live out your faith like Jesus, Romans 10:17. Colossians 3:17 and 23 provide a call to action. “Whatever you do, whether in action or words, do this all in the name of Jesus” as a first fruits offering in this new year.

by Jay Mankus

Doubting God’s Ability to Intervene

Doubt has a tendency to deteriorate one’s confidence. People who doubt on a regular basis experience uncertainty. This uneasy feeling intensifies when you see things you can’t control. Meanwhile, if things don’t go according to plan, you may begin to wonder why God is allowing this to happen to you. If conditions or situations don’t improve, it won’t be long until you doubt God’s ability to intervene.

Then King David answered, Call Bathsheba. And she came into the king’s presence and stood before him. 29 And the king took an oath and said, As the Lord lives, Who has redeemed my soul out of all distress, 1 Kings 1:28-29.

This lack of confidence in an invisible God isn’t rare. Rather, anyone who seeks to become self-reliant may end up finding substitutes for God. Sigmund Freud refers to the Hero Complex which is an inherent desire and compulsion to help people. Yet, as these individuals attempt to become a super human being, it often leads to their own demise. Desire, inspiration and motivation only lasts so long.

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of [b]the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, James 1:5-7.

Subsequently, this is where one must remember historical accounts of past miracles performed by God and His followers. In the passage above, the earthly brother of Jesus places faith into a storm at sea. Life can erode faith as the winds increase, causing waves to grow higher and stronger. However, as souls become distressed by external forces, this is where faith must intervene. When Christians access the power of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4, belief in God’s ability to intervene is restored and intensifies.

by Jay Mankus

So That Hope Survives

Ambition, aspiration, cravings, dreams, longings and yearnings are all associated with hope. When theses desires begin to slip away, individuals have to fight with determination so that hope survives. Whenever your confidence is shaken by defeat, failure or a loss, hope is like a dim light surrounded by darkness, ready to be snuffed out by unforeseen events.

But we belong to the day; therefore, let us be sober and put on the breastplate (corslet) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation, 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

In a letter to a community with a troubled pass, Paul reminds this church that Christians are children of the light. Thus, as the Devil continues to bring and drag up skeletons from your past, don’t let doubt creep into your mind. The longer negative thoughts continue to linger, the closer the enemy comes to achieving his goal, John 10:10.

For God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath [He did not select us to condemn us], but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), 1 Thessalonians 5:9.

The apostle Paul flips the script in the passage above. Instead of always being on defense, Paul takes up the Sword of the Spirit to go on offense, reminding believers of the ultimate prize. God’s end game is salvation, the opportunity to be reunited with Jesus in heaven. Hope is like an exit sign in the distance, the only way to God, John 14:6. When darkness blocks your path from this doorway, hope is what keep souls alive, surviving to live another day.

by Jay Mankus

When Voices of Doubt Wear You Down

Over the past month, I wanted to refresh my mind of the spiritual realm. I decided to reread Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti, opening my mind to what is going on behind the scenes spiritually. Peretti’s style of writing does a good job of illustrating how demons like doubt can wear individuals down. Comparing evil spirits to pests that feed on negativity, Christians that don’t take the spiritual dimension seriously will be overwhelmed as spiritual warfare intensifies.

Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind, James 1:6.

Jesus’ earthly brother compares doubt to crashing waves upon a shoreline. As someone who loves going to the beach, waves are relentless. While tides rise and fall, waves keep coming. While the size of waves varies depending upon the weather, waves don’t call time out, pause or take time off. Rather, one after another, waves weaken body surfers and boogie boarders with each crashing blow. James’ analogy doesn’t consider voices of doubt.

For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides], James 1:7-8.

The passage above transitions from physical waves to waves of emotions. Whenever confidence is invaded by doubt, hesitation is conceived. Instead of building confidence, doubt erodes human minds spiritually like crashing waves on sandy beaches. While salt water exposes hidden debris, doubt makes minds unstable. As soon as thoughts begin to slip, voices of doubt will wear you down. As this enfolds, make sure you follow the apostle’s Paul advice in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 to take captive your thought life when doubt tries to invade your soul.

by Jay Mankus

Lone Survivor

Bruce Willis played David Dunn in the 2000 film Unbreakable. As the film begins, Dunn’s marriage is falling apart, taking the train to New York for an interview. Upon his return, the train derails and Dunn is the lone survivor. Little did David know that this was no accident, a plot by Elijah Price played by Samuel L. Jackson to see if his polar opposite existed.

And the Sabeans swooped down upon them and took away [the animals]. Indeed, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you, Job 1:15.

In the passage above and below, Job suggests that no matter how great an accident or natural disaster, there is usually at least one survivor. This individual often served as a reporter, recounting exactly what happened and when. After God allowed Satan to inflict Job’s family with a series of tribulations, a lone survivor brings back the bad news to Job.

While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, The fire of God (lightning) has fallen from the heavens and has burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you, Job 1:16.

If there are no positive signs of surviving a trial, hope can be lost. Unless you begin to experience a victory or victories, confidence disappears. As doubt enters your mind, thoughts can wander from fear to panic and even suicide. Thus, if you want to overcome your current crisis, remember the hidden remnant that the Lord sustains, 1 Kings 19:18. This knowledge serves as a promise to help the hopeless survive and see another day.

by Jay Mankus

Get Your Mind Right with Belief

Doubt is a natural instinct which serves as a protective predisposition within human minds. Excessive inclinations to always doubt is a byproduct of success being rare and failure a normal occurrence. This hindrance to one’s life prevents individuals from reaching the level and potential God desires for you. If you find yourself reading today stifled by doubt, it’s time get your mind right with belief.

For I am already about to be sacrificed [my life is about to be poured out as a drink offering]; the time of my [spirit’s] release [from the body] is at hand and I will soon go free, 2 Timothy 4:6.

The context of the passage above is Paul’s final letter before his death. While in prison awaiting his death sentence, Paul writes to encourage a teenage pastor. When an expected outcome ends up falling apart in front of your eyes, maintaining a positive outlook on life is difficult. Thus, Paul reminds readers today that achieving life’s goals requires perseverance. Whenever you suffer your next defeat, carry on with a new found belief.

I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith, 2 Timothy 4:7.

Like an athlete who leaves everything out on the field, Christians are called to fight to the very end. Instead of trying to sprint a marathon before burning yourself out, you must pace yourself in this race called life. As a former cross country runner, I always wondered why some of my opponents would sprint ahead of me before slowing down to walk. This doesn’t make any sense. In the same manner, if you want to get your mind right, do so with your heart and soul fixed on Jesus, Colossians 3:1-4.

by Jay Mankus

When You Need to be Encouraged

I tend to be a positive person, trying to stay optimistic about life. However, over the past week, a wave of depression has come crashing upon the shores of my life. Like a rogue wave that comes out of no where, I wasn’t prepared to deal with this emotional undertow. As I attempt to regain my balance so that I’m not swept away by this strong current, I find myself in need of encouragement.

When I kept silence [before I confessed], my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand [of displeasure] was heavy upon me; my moisture was turned into the drought of summer. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! – Psalm 32:3-4

I’m definitely not the first to experience such a strange week nor will I be the last to undergo what the Bible calls a trial. In the passage above, a series of bad choices causes King David to be overwhelmed by guilt. The longer David waited to confess his careless errors and mistakes to God, the worse he feels. As each day passed without acknowledging his sin, David’s strength was sapped like humidity from a summer heatwave.

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind, James 1:5-6.

Jesus’ earthly brother reveals that earthly trials take the form of waves of doubt. Once fully developed, these spiritual storms contain a billowing surge that keeps coming. When you add the wind. conditions only get worse. According to James, when you find yourself stuck in one of these systems, call out to God in prayer to receive wisdom to get you through. While each storm varies, James 1:12 provides hope for those who hold on to Jesus until your storm passes.

by Jay Mankus

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