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Tag Archives: overcoming failure

Some Days You Have It… Some Days You Don’t

Watching a sporting event can be like a television drama with unexpected twists and turns.  As this presentation enfolds, it won’t take long to determine who is playing up to their potential and who is having a rough night.  Baseball and golf events are prime examples as a hall of fame pitcher will have a night or two where it looks like there are throwing batting practice in a homerun derby.  Meanwhile, David Duval, a former British Open champion started his opening round of the 2019 British Open one under par through six holes.  Twelve holes and 20 over par later, a professional golfer shot 90 for 18 holes.

For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity, Proverbs 24:16.

You don’t have to play a sport to experience this strange phenomena.  As a former teacher, some days I was on a roll, coming up with amazing examples to highlight my lesson plan.  Then, out of the blue, I went through periods where I struggled to get my point across as students looked dazed and confused.  Although preparation is necessary for any type of teaching, more time spent planning doesn’t always translate into success.  While there isn’t a Bible verse that contains a direct link, all I can say to explain these occurrences is that “some days you have it and some days you don’t.”

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever, Psalm 73:26.

Solomon and the Psalmist provide advice for individuals who experience failure on days where they don’t have it.  King Solomon states that the righteous keep getting back up no matter how many times they fail.  Meanwhile, the Psalmist points to trusting in God to help you overcome disappointment and failure.  King Solomon also encourages believers to learn from mistakes so that you don’t repeat epic failures from your past.  No one likes to fail, but when you do lean on the hope in relief of God’s mercy, Lamentations 3:21-23.

by Jay Mankus

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Will You Pass the Love Test

For those of you who enjoy taking cup cake classes in school, searching for an easy A, the Bible contains some difficult challenges.  Depending upon how self critical you are, the words of scripture expose darkness with light.  Subsequently, no matter how good of a person you may be, its surprising how many people fail the Bible’s love test.

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen, 1 John 4:20.

The one whom Jesus loved opens up this short quiz.  When all other disciples abandoned Jesus following his arrest, John stood by his side at the cross where he died.  What John heard on this day sent shock waves to what he believed about love.  Despite being beaten, mocked and tortured, Jesus cried out, “forgive them for they know not what they do.”  This statement inspired question number one.

1. Is there anyone you despise, hate or treat with contempt?

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins, Matthew 6:14-15.

The second participant chimes as from an unique perspective.  Serving as a tax collector, Levi also known as Matthew worked in one of the most corrupt occupations of his day.  During Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he mentions prostitutes on the same level with tax collectors.  Thus, its highly possible that Matthew made many enemies, cheating and stealing money from hard working citizens.  With this in mind, forgiveness is something that Matthew sought, touched by Jesus’ words above.

2. Have you forgiven everyone who has hurt you or is there a grudge you are currently holding on to?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these,” Mark 12:30-31.

Finally, John Mark is an individual who initially left the mission field, letting down the apostle Paul.  Yet, over time Mark matured, eventually winning back the respect he lost with Paul.  This transformation was made possible with the words shared by Jesus above.  The context of this question involved a trap with Pharisees attempting to trick Jesus into de-emphasizing one of the 10 commandments.  Yet, his words essentially summarize the first four with one comment and the final six with his second statement setting up the final question.

3. Where is your love for God currently and are you following the golden rule in your interactions with others?

If you failed this test like me, may God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy lift you up and fill you with a heart willing to bear with, embrace and love one another.

by Jay Mankus

 

Are We Almost There?

As an aspiring screen writer, I know the pain of being close, but not quite there.  Every spring thousands of like minded individuals register one to three scripts in the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screening Contest.  This international competition brings the best and brightest amateur writers hoping for their big break each year.  Depending upon how my current edit goes of my first film, Express Yourself, I should find out in July if I have arrived or I’m not quite there yet.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13.

In the mean time, the best path to take toward achieving your goals and dreams in life is through a steady grind.  Sure, most people wake up tired, weary and uninspired.  Yet, the ones who fight through the temptation to become lazy to stay focused pass those who are more talented but less committed.  Like anything in life, you have to really want it and be willing to overcome countless failures to get where you want to be.  Unfortunately, some never make the compromises necessary to reach their full potential.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus, Philippians 3:14.

There is an old expression, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”  Well, this may be true to some extent, pressing on toward your goal in life will ultimately shape the final outcome.  While I do know my current limitations, I do believe writing is part of God’s plan for my life.  Although I’m not sure if I’m currently on the right track, I press on in faith so that almost home will become finally there in the near future.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Presence of An Extraordinary God

The expression “timing is everything” applies to many aspects of life.  Whether its buying a house, finding the right job or waiting to marry the right person, the environment has to be ideal for you to receive the desires of your heart.  Beyond the natural, sometimes the presence of the supernatural can lead you to heights never reached before.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus, Acts 4:13.

The fear of public speaking is a common struggle for the ineloquent, uneducated and those who are insecure.  Something about talking in front of large crowds can make the confident feel uneasy.  Yet, for Peter and John, fishermen without a high school diploma, these men possessed an uncanny ability to convince their audience about Jesus.  Invisible to the religious leaders, the presence of an extraordinary God spoke through these disciples.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” Matthew 19:26.

If you are like me, you have endured periods of failure,  Despite your dedication, efforts and hard work, success is no where to be found.  This is where Jesus’ words to his disciple come into play, man’s attempts will come up short.  Therefore, when things aren’t going your way, reach out for help.  Then, on the wings of angels and prayer, the presence of an extraordinary God may visit you soon.

by Jay Mankus

 

Bouncing Back After Rejection

“There is nothing in this life that can destroy you but yourself. Bad things happen to everyone, but when they do, you can’t just fall apart and die. You have to fight back. If you don’t, you’re the one who loses in the end. But if you do keep going and fight back, you win.” – Alexandra Monir

For a scientist, trial and error is merely a series of experiments to ascertain whether or not your theory is correct.  Thomas Edison didn’t give up after ten, one hundred or one thousand failed tests.  Rather, he pressed on, bouncing back after countless rejections to invent the light bulb.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me, Philippians 4:12-13.

In today’s climate, you have to be mentally tough to survive.  The best baseball hitters in history only succeeded thirty three percent of the time.  Perfectionists would never survive this degree of failure.  Thus, perspective is crucial to mustering up the strength to carry on.

But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded, 2 Chronicles 15:7.

Last weekend I received my third rejection letter in the past four years in my quest to become a professional screenwriter.  My first movie, Express Yourself never had a chance, not knowing the proper format to get noticed.  The second, Behind the Devil’s Door was better, yet after submitting it I realized the flaw of my conclusion.  Sometimes I wonder if I should continue with my third, Dragged Behind the Devil’s Door or invest my time in something else.  Despite thoughts of doubt, I can’t quit until I feel like I’ve done everything in my power to make this dream a reality.  Therefore, regardless of the adversity that you endure, ask God to give you the faith to bounce back following rejection.

by Jay Mankus

Developing a Faith like That

After a series of disappointments, Jesus takes an inventory of his twelve disciples, wondering if they will ever get it.  Cutting directly to the point, Jesus asks “who do you say that I am?”  Despite previous and future blunders, Simon Peter get’s it right this time, “Son of the living God.”  While the timing was right, Jesus unveils the future, what will happen and by whom He will endure suffering.  From one moment of greatness to the gutter, Peter tries to privately rebuke Jesus.  Instead the tables are turned as Peter begins to think like the devil.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns,” Mark 8:33.

In the passage which follows, Jesus lays out a three step plan for developing a genuine faith which takes into consideration the mind of God.  After nearly three full years with Jesus, the disciples struggled to break free from human concerns.

1. Deny Yourself: Take on the very nature of a servant, placing the needs of others above yourself.

2. Take Up Your Cross: Set out on ascertaining what God’s will is and make this your calling in life.

3. Follow Christ: Through prayer, study of the Bible and worship, follow in the foot steps of Jesus.

I’m not sure who first said the mind is a terrible thing to waste, yet this also applies to faith.  Christians can do the right thing, say the right thing and worship in an ideal church, but still fail miserably in their faith.  Like any competition, if you don’t play a complete game, it only takes one bad stretch to blow it.  Therefore, as you wrestle with balancing necessary human concerns, may you take Jesus’ advice in Mark 8:34 and develop into a faith like Christ.

by Jay Mankus

About to Pass You By

Anyone who is fixated on their circumstances, may miss someone or something that God wants you to see.  Blind spots don’t just occur on car mirrors, individuals can get so entrenched in their own lives that time can pass you by.  If you’re not careful, you might wake up one morning and most of your life is gone.

He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, Mark 6:48.

Jesus tried to teach his disciples a similar lesson following the feeding of the 5000 in Mark 6.  Sending them ahead in a boat, Jesus stayed back to pray on a mountainside.  I’m not sure why he walked on the water, but it appears God wanted His son to do so, serving as an abstract lesson.  Although the sun had not risen yet, moonlight provided Jesus with light to see his way.  About to pass their boat by, the disciples finally recognized him, causing a stir of emotions.

But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – Mark 6:49-50

If Jesus could feed a crowd of 5,000, walking on water shouldn’t have been a surprise to his disciples.  Nonetheless, people limit God’s power, surprised by answered prayers and miracles.  Perhaps so many walk around defeated, they don’t know what its like to experience victory in Christ.  Doubt, failure and misery can promote a sense of hopelessness that lingers. Therefore, if you feel like time is about to pass you by without tasting success, take courage, don’t be afraid and believe in the power of the resurrection to transform your situation.

by Jay Mankus

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