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Fighting Off Worry with Prayer

As a parent of teenagers, it’s not uncommon to receive a troubling text or phone call about a developing situation. While driving home from a friend’s house last night, my wife answered her cell phone. I could hear my son’s voice as Daniel was upset about a disturbing letter. Focused on driving, I tried to keep my mind on the road as the winds of worry began to consume my soul.

Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened, Matthew 7:7-8.

After getting home after 10 pm, nothing could be done to resolve this issue until Friday morning. The letter my son received claimed that he didn’t complete his defense driving course over the summer which triggered a series consequences. Until my wife called our attorney in the morning, nothing could fix this error. Thus, my son and I remained restless, unable to sleep last night.

And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a] firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done. And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive, Matthew 21:21-22.

As I finally sat down in bed before sunrise, the verses above raced through my mind. The more I thought about these passages on prayer, I became emboldened, claiming these promises in a moving movement of prayer. Part of my didn’t want to be disappointed, but an inner faith fought off worry with prayer. When I woke up before noon, I was excited to hear that this mistake was corrected and no court hearing was necessary. The past 24 hours have taught me a valuable lesson, fighting off worry with prayer.

by Jay Mankus

Unmasking Nightmares

As Halloween 2019 arrives, will the events of today result in nightmares tomorrow? Nightmares are triggered by anxiety, stress or trauma. These unpleasant dreams can range from reliving a scene from a recently watched horror movie to strong emotional unrest within your mind. The most severe nightmares are brought on by posttraumatic stress disorder. Engaging in military combat, coping with abuse or witnessing a death can make every night like a real life Nightmare on Elm Street.

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully, 1 Peter 5:7.

At the beginning of chapter 5, a former disciple of Jesus addresses the sufferings individuals will experience on earth. Anyone who makes the decision to follow Jesus is at greater risk. For example, the person who wrote this letter was crucified up-side down for his faith. When anxieties, concerns and worries overwhelm your soul, Peter urges Christians to cast their cares at the feet of Christ. As nightmares begin to stir your mind into a tizzy, cry out to God in prayer to stop these brain tremors in their tracks.

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

Just when I thought it was safe, Peter drops a bombshell about a spiritual danger that exists. As a child, I loved to watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. One of the episodes illustrated the passage above as lions recognized, separated and wore down weak animals who were surrounded and killed. This passage unmasks Satan’s schemes on earth. One of the ways people get worn down is through nightmares. When bodies don’t get enough sleep, minds are weakened, affecting how you function. If you want to fight back, the apostle Paul suggests using spiritual weapons to protect your mind, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. As believers begin to put on the armor of God, Ephesians 6:12-18, minds will receive the protection you need to unmask nightmares as an attack from the evil one.

by Jay Mankus

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

Where Did all the Time Go?

On the first weekend in February 2012, a thought entered my mind, “why don’t you start writing a blog?”  Unsure of where to go or what to do, I consulted a few close friends with similar aspirations.  After receiving their insight, I needed to clear one last hurdle, a name which would define the reason for my blog’s existence. 1300 blogs later, I’m astonished wondering, where did all the time go?

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.

There is an old adage that all good things must come to an end.  However, when you find something that you enjoy like an activity, hobby or relaxing pastime, time has a tendency to fly by.  Whenever individuals invest in leisure forms of recreation, the soul is re-energized.  Serving as a distraction from the stresses and worries in life, writing is an oasis for me.  Although I occasionally spend too much time on a blog, going in circles without any progress, I find joy in the journey.

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

If there was a prayer or wish that would make this world a better place, it would be helping people locate jobs that they love.  Unfortunately, love doesn’t always pay the bills.  Nonetheless, there is something to be said about discovering an occupation or position that you were born to do.  The pressure of making decisions causes many to lower their standards, settling for less than ideal.  Therefore, as you wait for the clock to reach quitting time, may God direct your steps so that your dreams will come true.  Then, you too will wonder, “where did all the time go?”

by Jay Mankus

 

What is this World Coming to?

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it, John 1:5.

Safe schools, tranquil neighbors and model citizens are becoming rare.  Not so long ago, parents told their children to go outside and play, not coming home until dinner without any fears or worries.  Now, a pilot can’t even go to the bathroom without his own plane being taken over and crashed into a mountain side.

To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace, Luke 1:79.

If events like this happened once a year, maybe hope for a better world might still exist.  Yet, a deluge of horror movie concepts have become a common occurrence, inspiring copycat acts of violence nearly every day.  In an attempts to obtain 15 seconds of fame, innocent victims are left dead, dying or scarred for the rest of their lives.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven, Matthew 5:16.

Some where among the negativity, there must be a city on a hill, a shining example of God’s goodness.  Unfortunately, these lights are harder to locate than the Aurora borealis.  Perhaps, this may explain the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon of the Mount, encouraging his followers to become salt and light.  Although you and I can’t control the path individuals are on, you can blaze a trail for others to follow to avoid a world gone crazy.

by Jay Mankus

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