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Tag Archives: perseverance

As Times Change… Don’t Get Left Behind

My first stereo was a record player with an eight track built in below.  I typed my high school research paper on a type writer.  The most advanced computer classes available for me in college was CAD and Word Perfect 2.1.  I didn’t join social media until 2012 and my children mock me each time I pull out my ancient cell phone.  As times have changed, I’m afraid that I have been left behind, now struggling to catch up.

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

In the Old Testament, the average life expectancy was much lower than today.  While royalty and the wealthy possessed the resources to extend life, dying in your twenties and thirties wasn’t uncommon.  Thus, the Psalmist urged individuals to seize the day, making the most of the years God provides.  Subsequently, the Bible details genealogies that include teenage marriages and pregnancies.  Young women gave birth to most of their children before the age of thirty.  As times changed, ancient believers sought a heart of wisdom to prevent being left behind.

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

As I approach my 49th birthday next week, I have spent the last week reflecting on what I have done, where I have been and what I would like to do in the future.  Yet, as I hold on to the things I have treasured from my past, time has passed me by.  Resistant to change, I haven’t made the effort to keep up with technological advances.  This oversight on my part has caused me to be left behind.  As I open my mind to this painful reality, I pray that God gives me the energy and perseverance to make up for lost time.  May the Lord direct your steps so that you obtain a heart of wisdom in the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Try, Try Again

Since the election of Donald Trump in November of 2016, a resistance movement conceived within the United States.  Those who have joined this political wave are refusing to accept the outcome of this election.  Instead activists are urging supporters to battle, defy, fight and oppose the policies of president Trump.  After nearly two years, members of the House, Senate and mainstream media are putting on a full court press to override the will of the people.  Despite numerous failures to achieve their goal to impeach Donald Trump, the leaders of this movement continue to try and try again.

“And I will put enmity (open hostility) Between you and the woman, And between your seed (offspring) and her Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, And you shall [only] bruise His heel,” Genesis 3:15.

There is another adversary who has a long history of perseverance.  When the archangel Lucifer exercised free will to seek praise for his own beauty as the angel of song, Ezekiel 28:12-15, he was kicked out of heaven.  Apparently, one third of all angels from heaven backed Lucifer, expelled from heaven along with their leader.  Hungry for power, Lucifer successfully deceived the first human family on earth as Adam and Eve’s blunder netted Satan authority over plant earth.  Although limited based upon encounters with God in Job 1-2, Satan continues his reign today as ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2.  In an eternal game of chess, God quickly regained control by sending a second Adam to restore that which was lost, Luke 19:10.  When news of this plan reached Satan, demons were assigned to cut off this seed.  Planting evil thoughts within the mind of King Herod, Matthew 2:13-23, all male infants two years and younger were slaughtered to abort God’s plan for redemption.  Yet, an angel of the Lord awoke Joseph just in time, escaping to Egypt for a few years until King Herod’s death.  According to the book of Revelation, all of Satan’s efforts are all for not for in the end God is victorious.

Yet death ruled [over mankind] from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who had not sinned as Adam did. Adam is a type of Him (Christ) who was to come [but in reverse—Adam brought destruction, Christ brought salvation], Romans 5:14.

If your life is like mine, every day can be a grind; leaving me exhausted.  Having the desire and energy to try, try again doesn’t come naturally for me.  Thus, in my weakness, I am compelled to cry out to Jesus like 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, praying that the power of the Holy Spirit will make me strong.  One of the hardest aspects of life is dealing with failure, especially for perfectionists.  Coping with and getting over the thought of embarrassment and losing is a tough pill to swallow.  For some, they have a hard time forgiving themselves, especially if you blow it big time.  Thus, most people need a friend, mentor or motivation to live and learn from past mistakes.  Recently, I came across the song Overcomer by Mandisa.  The point of the chorus within the lyrics is to get back on your feet after falling.  If you ask God to give you the resolve and will to press on, then you too can try, try again until success is achieved.

by Jay Mankus

Overcoming a Miscarriage

As a former seminary student, I have come to appreciate the Greek language.  Unlike English which tends to be bland, dull and generic, Greek uses a variety of words to clearly distinguish raw emotions.  For example, the term miscarriage refers to the spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus before it is viable, usually between the 12th and 28th weeks of gestation.  From a scientific perspective, this is an acceptable definition.  Yet, for any woman who has endured this horrific event, the English language fails to detail the emotional anguish, heart break and pain couples go through in the days that follow a miscarriage.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

While I can’t imagine the disappointment women experience, I do have a unique connection to miscarriage.  My mother’s third child was a still born, a form of miscarriage.  I never met this individual who would have been my third sister.  There is no logical explanation to suffice why this took place.  Yet, a few years later, my parents tried one more time to have a child.  I’m sure deep down my father wanted a boy to avoid being drastically outnumbered.  Nonetheless, as my parents persisted, I was conceived, born during the summer of 1969.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” Revelation 21:4. 

According to the Bible, there will be no crying in heaven.  For the lost souls mothers and fathers never got the chance to meet, love and raise, they go immediately to heaven.  Although this fact may not comfort those still hurting, God longs to wipe away your tears, to heal and mend your broken heart.  After your period of mourning comes to an end, may God give you a spirit of perseverance to try again.  If your biological clock for giving birth is coming to an end, don’t forget the miracles of Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary.  May this blog serve as a means to help you overcome the pain of a miscarriage.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Escaping a Head Down Eyes Straight Ahead Mentality

When you work in a building with two thousand people, you are bound to encounter an unpleasant conversation.  If you keep your head up, you might have a flashback of high school as you dodge people in a crowded hallway, with some not paying attention to those around them.  To avoid awkward situations, some may choose to keep their heads down, fixated on what lies ahead.  Unfortunately, this decision will cause individuals to miss out on opportunities to serve others.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do, James 1:22-25.

The author of the book of James was Jesus’ younger brother.  Since the Bible has an 18 year time gap between Jesus’ bar-mitz-vah and the beginning of his earthly ministry, we don’t know much about their relationship.  However, Mark 3:20-35 unveils a shocking comment from members of Jesus’ family with James a likely unnamed source.  After healing a demon possessed man, Jesus is accused of being mentally ill, using Satanic powers to drive out demons.  This type of judgement comes from a head down, eyes straight ahead mentality.  This mindset prevents individuals from recognizing the power of God at work in the lives of faithful servants.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, Hebrews 12:1-2.

Part of the passage above written by James serves as a confession.  James was immature, going through the motions without putting the Bible into practice.  At some point, James was convicted of his head down, eyes straight ahead life style.  The author of Hebrews provides the cure for this condition.  Using an analogy of a marathon, this advice encourages believers to run with perseverance, fixing your eyes on Jesus throughout the race called life.  As the Holy Spirit transforms your perspective, the Lord will begin to help you see that distractions are opportunities to serve God.  May this blog inspire you to slow down, look around and see how God can use you to serve others daily.

by Jay Mankus

 

SWAG

Swag is one of those words that has evolved over time.  Initially short for swagger, swag is a personality trait which naturally flows out of confident individuals.  Professional athletes display this by playing to the crowd, swaying and strutting after successful impacts during a competition or game.  Journalists sometimes equate swag with gravitas, inner qualities that attract others to want to be around those who possess this special gift.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Recently, I stumbled upon an acronym for swag, Spiritual Wonders Anointed by God.  Although my employer refers to swag as stuff we all get, I know from experience not everyone receives the same allotment in life.  Rather, some people are more blessed than others, attaining and obtaining much more than the average person.  While a portion of success can be linked to dedication, hard work and perseverance, God’s role in swag can not be denied.

Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? – Hebrews 1:14.

Spiritual wonders anointed by God can be explained by guardian angels or ministering spirits.  Without divine intervention, there may be some of you who would not be alive today if it wasn’t for this insight and protection.  Meanwhile, swag can be developed from a permanent meaningful lasting relationship with God.  As one begins to pray, study the Bible and worship the Lord each week, the Holy Spirit living inside of you can produce swag.  As a new year approaches, may the Lord inspire you to draw near to God so that your faith will flourish in 2018.

by Jay Mankus

When Jesus Gives People a Reason to Leave

No matter when you were born, there will always be a culture, group or segment of society that is not welcome.  This perception begins through stereotypes, prejudging an entire race or nation based upon previous actions, beliefs and practices.  Such is the case of Canaan and Israel.  While Noah’s grandson gave birth to descendants who embraced evil, idolatry and wicked ways, God called Israel to be set apart from the rest of the world.  This tension continued during the first century when a needy woman approaches Jesus.

Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel,” Matthew 15:23-24.

Based upon the passage above, a Canaanite woman appeared to have heard about Jesus’ healing powers.  Desperate to find help for her demon possessed daughter, this woman makes a scene in public, hoping to get Jesus’ attention.  Approaching on her knees, Jesus offers two interesting responses to this Canaanite woman’s request.  If you just read Jesus’ reply, he is blunt, initially disregarding her plea.  If you read between the lines, Jesus is giving her a reason to leave, to walk away without receiving an answer to her prayer.

He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table,” Matthew 15:26-27.

The underlining theme of this passage is perseverance.  This woman refused to take no for an answer, doing everything in her power to convince Jesus to extend his power beyond the Jews.  She could have walked away disappointed upon hearing that Jesus came for the lost sheep of Israel.  Hanging on despite the initial response, Jesus’ second comment in the passage above would have sent most people away in tears.  Nonetheless, this woman showed resolve, coming back with a witty response to win Jesus over.  In the end, you have two choices in life: accept reality by walking away disappointed or persist until God answers your prayers.

by Jay Mankus

Keep Pounding

Sam Mills was a gritty defensive player in the National Football League.  Despite his 5 foot 9 inch frame, Mills played 12 years in the NFL, spending his time with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers.  Before entering the NFL, Mills spent 3 seasons with the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars earning the nickname Field Mouse for his tenacity.  Playing along side Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White, the Stars won 2 league titles.  Through the years, Sam became a leader on and off the field, eventually serving as an assistant defensive coach for Carolina following his retirement.

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.

Before his untimely death, Mills was known for giving inspirational speeches.  Prior to a playoff game with the Dallas Cowboys in 2004, Mills encouraged his defense to Keep Pounding for 60 minutes, referencing his battle with cancer.  This phrase became a mantra for the Carolina Panthers as the team later added a drum to drive this message home to each player.  In April of 2005, Mills succumb to his battle with cancer, dying in his home town of Charlotte.  In the following fall, the Panthers honored Mills by retiring his number 51 jersey.  The legacy of Sam Mills continues today with the theme, Keep Pounding.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up, Galatians 6:9.

In the verse above, the apostle Paul uses a different way of expressing keep pounding.  Instead of applying this to football, these words refer to life.  Everyone will face trials in life.  Whether it’s an accident, illness or unforeseen circumstance, staying positive isn’t easy.  Yet, when you develop perseverance and a will to keep pressing on, God honors the steadfast.  Therefore, whatever obstacle is currently standing in your way, keep pounding until victory is obtained.

by Jay Mankus

 

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