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Tag Archives: overcoming stress

Letting Things Roll Off Your Back

Mammals such as otters and seals have very greasy fur which serves as protection from becoming water logged. Meanwhile, waterfowl such as ducks possess greasy feathers which enables beads of water to roll off their backs. This is where the saying “let things roll off your back” is derived. This simile is an expression of encouragement urging a friend not to let criticism, disappointing news or hardship bother them.

One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid anymore, but go on speaking and do not be silent; Acts 18:9.

During the apostle Paul’s second missionary journey, a mob of unbelieving Jews began to follow him from city to city. These individuals disrupted his teaching and made threats upon his life. By the time Paul reached Corinth, modern day Greece, stressed consumed his soul. One night the Lord appeared in a vision, urging Paul to let things roll off his back. Continue doing what I called you to do, keep speaking without fear.

For I am with you, and no one will attack you in order to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So he settled there for a year and six months, teaching them the word of God [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ], Acts 18:10-11.

Based upon the promise above, God placed a remnant of believers in Corinth. Some of these individuals such as Gallio were in leadership positions to shield Paul from harm. Subsequently, Paul experienced 18 months of blessings, peace and spiritual revival. Paul sent 4 letters to the church of Corinth, 2 of which are found in the New Testament. When you let things roll off your back like Paul, the possibilities are endless.

by Jay Mankus

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When Stress Drags You To Your Knees

When it comes to stress, I am usually immune to worry.  After being broke a few times in life, God has always provided in my time of need.  Food, shelter and work have come to me in a variety of ways.  However, 2019 has been one of the more trying years of my life occupationally speaking.  Budget cuts, changing roles and the unknown has consumed me with stress, dragging me to my knees.

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad, Proverbs 12:25.

King Solomon writes a letter to impart wisdom to his children.  As a man who married 700 woman and fathered children with an addition 300 concubines, Solomon understood the stress that parents face.  The more you focus on your numerous responsibilities, anxiety can weigh on your heart.  One of the ways Solomon urges people to overcome stress is by focusing on the positive, savoring encouraging words.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved, Psalm 55:22.

When this advice doesn’t work, the Psalmist provides a more practical resolution.  This reflective poem written by David urges stress filled individuals to cast burdens upon the Lord.  During his earthly ministry, Jesus turned to a crowd, calling the stressed out to come to me and I will give you rest, Matthew 11:28-30.  Therefore, whenever you can’t control,  endure or handle the stress of a current situation, fall to your knees and lighten your burdens through prayer.

by Jay Mankus

When Time is the Enemy?

Depending upon by your occupation, time is often a driving force, setting daily deadlines for the work that needs to get done.  As this specific hour approaches, stress builds as a team of individuals scramble to complete projects and tasks.  When deadlines are missed, blame is assigned to designate who or what department is at fault.  Thus, under these circumstances, time is the enemy.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

Anyone who works a normal five day week, experiences another aspect of time.  When your responsibilities at work overwhelm your soul, time has a way of dragging on, slowing down to the point that one hour feels like 90 minutes.  Meanwhile, weekends fly by like a Nascar race.  As soon as you sit down to relax for a while, your weekend is gone and over.  If you don’t love your job, getting up Monday morning to repeat this vicious cycle will wear you down.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, 2 Peter 3:8.

In the song Somewhere Somehow, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith sing about moments in life when time is the enemy.  One of my favorite stanzas contain the words “Somewhere far beyond today I will find a way to find you And somehow through the lonely nights I will leave a light in the dark.  While the will to love someone on earth may make this a reality, only God will leave a light on in the dark.  Thus, when time becomes an enemy, it’s never too late come to Jesus, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

What Do Strangers See in Me?

 

Spending the past week in the south has allowed me to slow down, catch my breath and reflect.  Stressed out, rushed and unhappy isn’t a vibe that I enjoy giving off.  Subsequently, I am only left to ponder, what do strangers see in me when they look my way?

One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts, Psalm 145:4.

I wish I could say that I stick out as a positive influence in a negative world.  On a good day maybe, yet life is a marathon not a sprint.  Thus, I tend to suck wind, not always finishing each day strong.  Some days I may even crawl past the finish line, wishing I can press a reset button.

They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works, Psalm 145:5.

The Psalmist suggests the faith of one generation is passed on to the next.  However, what if the lives of believers don’t reflect a biblical love?  Will a hopeless generation come to the conclusion that God is dead?  While God does promise a remnant will always exist, whether small or large, I’m fearful saints aren’t recognizing the sense of urgency at hand.  What do strangers see in you?  God willing, deep inside your heart exists grace, love and forgiveness that today’s generation will pass on to the next.

by Jay Mankus

Green Pastures of Prayer

Psalm 23:2 implies several things about the relationship between a sheep and his shepherd.  The expression “makes me lie down” suggests a sheep has submitted to his master.  This commitment yields an individual’s power of control over to their shepherd, acknowledging total surrender.  Like an act of faith, this decision essentially communicates that you have embraced God’s ways, a sign you have turned over a new lease on life to the Lord of heaven and earth.  In return, Jesus promises a future which contains green pastures.

Mark 1:35-39 is a real life example of Psalm 23.  Jesus models an ideal prayer life, early in the morning, in solitude, without the distractions of the world to interrupt your connection with God the Father.  Although some may claim there know exactly what they want to do and where they expect to go on a specific day, the Shepherd knows best.  While praying, the Holy Spirit showed Jesus where to go and what to do, Mark 1:38.  As a result, the disciples experienced the green pastures of prayer during their 3 years with Jesus before his death, resurrection and ascension.  The only question remaining is, can modern followers of Jesus find similar blessings?

Although opinions vary, I believe beyond the walls of doubt exists a lush oasis, waiting for your arrival.  However, daily obstacles often keep you from day dreaming of such a place.  Nonetheless, once you wade through the stresses of life, a shepherd stands guard at a gate.  This entrance to a promised land, illuminates the truth of the Word of God.  Accessible by prayer, may you see for yourself the green pastures awaiting for God’s children.  When prayer inspires tithing, the floodgates to heaven on earth will open, Malachi 3:10-12.  Come now will the grass is still green…

by Jay Mankus

The Thorns of Life

 

When speaking to someone was impossible, Jesus became an engaging figure, using stories to captivate his audience.  Like tiny little morsels, Jesus’ parables contain a wealth of knowledge about life.  On this particular Sabbath in Matthew 13:1-9, the crowds grew so extensive that Jesus entered a boat just off shore, sitting down as his followers gathered around the beach to listen.

 

As he continued, Jesus had the farmers in the palm of his hands, speaking about the different terrains each encounters.  Since cursing the land in Genesis 3:17-18, finding ideal conditions was rare, leaving compacted, rocky and weed infested areas to grow crops.  God’s words in Genesis foreshadowed current conditions with painful toil resulting in thorns, thistles and some plants to eat, Matthew 13:22.

 

Within my own yard, I see the thorns of life more than ever before.  It seems like the older I get, briar patches of worry begin to choke the joy out of life.  Meanwhile, sticker bushes leave marks, wounds to my soul, often tearing my heart in the wrong direction.  Thistles have become like sand on the seashore, sticking like burrs, embedding within my body like a parasite.  If I don’t seek spiritual medical attention soon, even my mind is in danger of being poisoned like Peter, Matthew 16:23.

Unfortunately, these thorns aren’t going anywhere until Jesus returns.  Therefore, you must use your Bible as a spiritual Farmers Almanac, getting clued in daily about impending droughts, famine or trials.  Although you have no control over the soil, you can place yourself into a healthier social environment.  Change is hard, but its a step in God’s direction.  May the Holy Spirit serve as a spiritual Round Up to stop, thorns, thistles and weeds of life before they wrap around your soul.

by Jay Mankus

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