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Tag Archives: overcoming hardship

I’ll Be Back… Again

Terminator Dark Fate premiered on November 1st, 2019, thirty years after the first Terminator film debuted in theaters. When a cyborg is sent on a mission from the future, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the terminator sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate Sarah Conner. Actress Linda Hamilton plays Conner, a mother whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the sentient machines. The creation of Dark Fate gives Arnold Schwarzenegger’s catchphrase “I’ll Be Back” a new meaning, I’ll be back again.

Blessed be the Lord, my Rock and my keen and firm Strength, Who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight—Psalm 144:1.

History is filled with examples of famous comebacks. Former heavy weight boxing champion George Foreman came out of retirement to fight at age 50. Michael Jordan retired from the NBA in 1993 following his father’s death to pursue at a professional baseball career. Two years later Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls, winning another 3 National Basketball League titles. Sometimes when famous athletes retire, the desire to compete doesn’t disappear or fade away. These aspirations elicit and ignite a desire to try one more time before bodies can no longer compete at the highest level.

For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity, Proverbs 24:16.

Exposure to failure often reveals the character of a person. The earthly brother of Jesus writes about how hardships are designed to produce endurance, faith and a steadfast nature, James 1:2-4. While everyone wants to stay on top, eventually you will fall, humbled by your own limitations. How you respond to defeat will ultimately dictate your future. According to Solomon, the righteous rise up again and again. Therefore, you don’t have to be a famous movie star to proclaim “I’ll be back again!”

by Jay Mankus

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God’s Role for Hardship

Back in the days when the rod of correction was a useful parenting tool and not child abuse, I remember what my parents said a few times.  I don’t remember the exact words but it was something like, “this is going to hurt me more than you” just before the spanking began.  In the years that followed, I was a quick learner, only needing a couple of paddles to straight me out.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it, Hebrews 12:11.

As an adult, things aren’t as clear for me and it was for my parents.  More analytical now, I wonder how God uses events like hardships as a form of discipline.  Are there certain things we deserve for past transgressions?  Is the current storm one faces some sort of a generational curse brought upon by ancestors?  Until a friend brought these theological terms to my attention nearly a decade ago, I didn’t have a clear understanding of hardship.

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, Exodus 20:5.

Sometimes I feel like life is some sort of spiritual boot camp.  Pushed to the brink at times, just when I am about to quit, Jesus gives me the strength to carry on.  However, there are still plenty of unanswered questions, things that I may need to wait until heaven to comprehend.  Yet, for now, I know there is a reason for the trials I endure.  I just hope that I learn quickly like my days as a child so I don’t have to spend more time suffering.  Through the ups and downs in life, may the Lord give you wisdom to persevere and overcome.

by Jay Mankus

Humility and Tears

During a period known as the Healing Revivals of the 1950’s, prosperity theology first became prominent in the United States.  Yet, the origins of the prosperity gospel can be traced back to the New Thought Movement which began in the 19th century.  Based upon the teachings of Malachi, referencing the storehouses of heaven, those who embrace this theology emphasizes that God will deliver his promises of the Bible for those who believe.  Unfortunately, this mindset differs from the ministry of the apostle Paul.

I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents, Acts 20:19.

In a meeting with the elders of Ephesus, Paul gives a farewell address, preparing church leaders for a time when he will longer be with them.  Paul’s description of his service is interesting, similar to words shared in Philippi.  To avoid becoming prideful, Paul felt led to pursue meekness.  Despite the victories Paul experienced, he admits that ministry can be painful, especially when someone you love abandons or leaves the faith.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12.

Warning a community of believers from complacency, Paul suggests to diligently work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  Sure, part of the journey of faith is to pray for and cling to God’s promises.  However, genuine faith involves overcoming hardship, leaning on God’s grace in times of trials.  Thus, as this new year continues, may you follow in the footsteps of the apostle Paul by practicing humility and crying out to the Lord in prayer.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Wall of Remembrance

The American rock band the Cars once sang, Let the Good Times Roll.  Debuting in 1978 as a single, Good Times Roll is synonymous with joyous occasions in life.  While these moments may not happen that often, those who experience a season of blessings don’t want it to end.  Unfortunately, when the tides change in the form of disappointment, hardships and trials, its important to create a wall of remembrance.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

In the 2015 film War Room, Miss Clara uses this concept to remind her of all the prayers the Lord has answered.  Whenever discouragement tried to steal her joy in life, Miss Clara found comfort and encouragement from God’s previous faithfulness.  These reflections from your past serve as a point of reference.  Therefore, whenever the good times disappear, dates, letters and pictures of transformed individuals can keep hope alive.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

During the first mission trips I ever served on, I was introduced to the concept of care cards.  Team members were encouraged to write notes to anyone who said something or did something that was noteworthy over the course of each day.  These cards were placed into individual mail boxes that were only accessible on your trip home.  When I became a youth pastor, I implemented this on two service projects that I oversaw.  When depression caused me to lose faith, I started my own wall of remembrance in my bedroom.  While 2016 is still in its infancy, perhaps its time to start your own wall to remind you of God’s goodness.

by Jay Mankus

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