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Tag Archives: pain

Embracing the Headwinds in Life

Without wind a sailboat is dead in the water.  On the other hand, when gale or hurricane force winds arrive, the situation turns to a matter of life and death.  Thus, one man’s curse is another’s blessing.  Either way, its important to embrace the headwinds in life.

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job 1:21.

As a golfer, I once hit a drive in high school 340 yards uphill with a 75 miles per hours gust at my back.  On the same day, I struggled to hit mid-irons 100 yards into the same wind.  For an airplane to take off, it must face headwinds.  If attempting to get off the ground with the wind at their back, the downward force of this wind prevents lift, doing just the opposite.  Therefore, headwinds create ideal conditions for flight.

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit,” John 3:8.

Although wind is invisible, you can hear it coming.  While tornadoes create debris clouds, the Holy Spirit restores human beings from the inside out.  Transformation usually takes time, especially for anyone overcoming previous storms which has ravaged souls.  Beyond broken hearts, pain and scars, a supernatural force uses headwinds to bring individuals back to where they need to be.  In view of this fact, remember to thank the Lord like Job for the good and bad so that God will use headwinds to lift you up.

by Jay Mankus

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Push It

If if wasn’t for Geico Insurance commercials, this generation probably wouldn’t be familiar with the Salt-N-Pepper song Push It.  Recent ads illustrate actors being pushed around in a couple of scenes while being hearing chorus.  This song was initially released in 1987 on the B-side of the 45 Tramp.  Perhaps, even Salt-N-Pepper underestimated the popularity of this night club hit, re-released a year later as its own single.

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

In the passage above, King David writes about his broken heart.  After being confronted by the prophet Nathan, David’s adultery with Bathsheba was exposed.  Caught in a web of lies that culminated in the death of Uriah, David had no one else to blame.  Filled with anguish, David dropped to his knees, pleading with God to receive forgiveness.  Although this wasn’t done physically, David mentally pushed all of the burdens he was carrying, placing each upon the feet of God.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, Matthew 11:28-29.

In the first century, Jesus takes push it to a new level.  Understanding the human condition, Jesus verbalized the pain which many try to cope with alone.  However, Jesus encourages individuals to take the burdens  bringing you down and place them at the foot of the cross.  Holding on to this baggage will only wear people out over the long haul.  Therefore, don’t put this off any further.  Rather, push it, laying all your burdens upon a God of grace and forgiveness.

by Jay Mankus

When Days Don’t End Like You Hoped

The endings of Hollywood movies have ingrained in American minds that life should conclude in a certain way.  Unfortunately, film and reality are miles apart.  Subsequently, more and more individuals feel the crippling effects of sleepless nights caused by days which end far from what each expected.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

After losing my teaching position 5 years ago, I transitioned into screen writing based upon the advice of a former co-worker.  Three complete scripts later my initial goal is to sell one my these scripts before I reach 55; then write a script a year in retirement.  Despite my desires, an unexpected eye condition may put my own plan on hold or cancel it completely.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Matthew 11:28.

When things don’t go your way or days end in heart break, there’s only one place to turn.  Carrying around all your burdens, pain and worry will wear you out.  Therefore, do let trials suck out your joy for life.  Instead, go to the Lord in prayer so that Jesus will replace your burden with peace.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

God’s Appointed Season

According to one the wisest people to walk the face of the earth, there is a time for everything.  Solomon learned this during his reign as king of Israel.  Whether you are talking about planting, war or the harvest, God’s appointed season exists to maximize productivity.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Unfortunately, those individuals currently in a holding pattern, struggle to find hope.  Any type of wait can be painful, but those who endure extended arid seasons tend to grow impatient, causing some to lose their faith.  However, this is when you need to cling to the promise within Ecclesiastes.

And which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, Titus 1:3.

The apostle Paul refers to a different moment in time.  This occurs when people are introduced to the Bible’s teaching.  Whether its an evangelist, preacher or student of the Word, the Holy Spirit awakens souls.  Thus, when the timing is right and hearts are ready to receive the gospel’s message, God’s appointed season has arrived.

by Jay Mankus

The Barbs of Jealousy

One of the most graceful creatures of the sea are rays.  Guiding effortless like an airplane in the sky, sting rays are harmless unless provoked or stepped on.  When threatened, rays use their tail as a defense mechanism.  Tails contain barbs, stingers on the top and venom glands on the bottom.  Its hard to believe the legendary Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin died on September 4th, 2006, falling victim to the barbs of jealousy.

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice, James 3:16.

Human beings don’t need a tail to inflict pain.  Rather, the tongue serves as a cruel weapon, spitting out poisonous venom daily.  Similar to rays, most individuals are good and decent.  However, when an only child get’s replaced by a new addition to the family, their monopoly on mom and dad is broken.  Meanwhile, adults who are phased out of a relationship or don’t get the attention they deserve tend to erupt like an immature child.  In an attempt regain center stage, barbs of jealousy take the shape of harsh words.

But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up, Acts 17:13.

Jews of the first century didn’t take too kindly of no longer being the apple of God’s eye.  As soon as Gentiles began to come to faith, some took exception to this.  Thus, jealousy caused Jews to stir up opposition to Paul’s ministry, which extended grace to those outside of God’s chosen people.  This frenzy continues to today in denominations, fighting for a larger audience, more members and a greater offering.  Unfortunately, its time to expose this movement for what it is, barbs of jealousy trying to remain in power.  In view of this invisible force, trust in the Lord so that the barbs of jealousy don’t harm anyone you love.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Day of Laziness

While some individuals will be making last second New Year’s resolutions, there is an invisible obstacle that tends to sneak up on the unassuming.  Commercials such as “you deserve a break today” feed into this mindset.  Thus, if you let your guard down, become complacent or careless, a day of laziness can be the beginning of the end of your dreams.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied, Proverbs 13:4.

As I reflect upon what is left of 2015, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been a victim of days of laziness.  Somewhere along the way, a laissez-faire spirit entered my body.  Sleeping in here and a lack of discipline there has resulted in a luck luster year.  Before I could mount a comeback, compromise has stalled my momentum, leaving sorrow and pain in my heart.

The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor, Proverbs 21:25.

Unfortunately, my spiritual state is like a lukewarm bottle of water on a sunny spring day.  Poor decisions on days of laziness have led me to a tattered soul.  There is no one else to blame but me.  The only blessing is that tomorrow is another day filled with God’s mercy, forgiveness and grace.  Therefore, I press on, hoping to avoid days of laziness in 2016 so I can begin to take hold of that which God has prepared for me in advance to do.

by Jay Mankus

 

McFarland USA

As a former cross country runner, the story of McFarland intrigued me.  While not every sport is perfect, nor will every athlete possess special memories, yet cross country is like a good book you can’t put down.  Eager to find out the conclusion, the message of the movie McFarland USA is a story book ending vanishing from America, a species on the verge of extinction.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it, 1 Corinthians 9:24.

For those foreign to the term Cross Country, family is at the very essence of this sport.  Perhaps, long bus rides to attend Saturday invitationals is forced upon participants initially.  However, after the training is over, the stop watch reset and pain fades away, strangers share a common bond of sweat and tears.  Regardless of the final outcome, the journey to improve far surpasses wins and losses.  In the end, treasured memories exist, as vulnerable hearts pour out their souls to teammates, welcoming people into their lives they never dreamed of or imagined.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint, Isaiah 40:31

The most important message of McFarland USA is choosing community over a career.  When success at a small school leads to a dream job, most follow the money, looking for an easy excuse to leave.  Yet, Coach Jim White’s legacy, played by Kevin Cosner, was built as the lives of his runners began to be transformed.  While his resume did include victories, he brought hope to hopeless Latinos.  Therefore, the next time you think you’re on the verge of striking it rich, make sure you don’t run anyone over on your way out of town.  Although wealth may feed your family, becoming a part of a community enriches your soul.

by Jay Mankus

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