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Tag Archives: quit

Three Ways God Saves Us From Ourselves

Young people can be naïve, unaware of the dangers that lurk outside of their comfort zones.  Thus, when individuals turn eighteen or twenty one, a thirst for freedom causes many to enter situations that result in a free fall.  This is where God steps in, swooping down like an eagle to save an eaglet who still doesn’t know how to fly on their own.  Unfortunately, the average person fails to recognize, see or thank the invisible presence who saves us regularly.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; Isaiah 40:31.

When you do earn your wings, there are other factors in life that can halt your growth in a split second.  The apostle Paul compares the Christian life to a marathon.  For those of you who experienced running in some capacity, everyone sooner or later hits a mental wall.  When you do reach this point, human nature tells you to stop, rest a while or simply quit, never to run again.  As soon as this whisper arrives, God intervenes sending angels, the Holy Spirit or other runners to encourage you to keep going until you cross the finish line.  This second sign also goes unnoticed as many participates fail to acknowledge God’s hand, saving you from defeat or failure.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint, Isaiah 40:31.

The final way God saves us from ourselves is through our perspective of trials and tribulations.  Since the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, perfection does not exist.  There is no perfect family, job, neighborhood or state.  Each has it’s frustrating, irritable and negative influences.  Those who seek perfection in any aspect of life will always be disappointed.  Therefore, if situations won’t change, God has to transform your attitude of unpleasant experiences in life.  This process is like sanctification, taking a lifetime to complete.  Yet, only those who trust in the Lord and lean not in their own understanding will see life through the eyes of Christ.  As you stand in the storm clouds of life, may God save you by adopting the attitude and mind of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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Getting Close to God’s Heart

To sense the invisible, God created human beings with a conscious, a general awareness to lead you to the right path.  Beyond the ability to feel, hear, see, taste and touch, it takes time to draw near to God.  For some getting close to the Lord’s heart is a lifelong journey, using trial and error to find your way.

And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD, Psalm 148:14.

Along this search, obstacles, road closures and temptation pop up causing some to quit, giving up before acquiring a heart like David.  Finding the time the read the Bible, prayer and meditate on God’s principles is hard to fit into one’s daily schedule.  Thus the thought of getting close to God’s heart becomes a pipe dream for most, content with a mediocre faith.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

According to Jesus, the heart is like a treasure chest, Luke 6:43-45.  What people store up inside come out in the form of actions, behavior and words.  The moment souls are irritated, pushed or prodded, either good or evil will come out.  In view of this reality, its essential to guard your heart, Proverbs 4:23, nourishing it with the promises of God in the Bible.  Then and only then will seekers begin to get close to God’s heart.

by Jay Mankus

Throwing in the Towel or Giving A Broken Dream Another Shot?

Every now and then, something on television will speak to me.  Such was the case during Friday Night’s Season finale of Gold Rush Season 5.  During a behind the scenes interview, Todd Hoffman, founder of 316 Mining, decided to quit after an epic failure in 2013.  Seeping further into depression brought on by accumulating debt, his wife reached out to Todd’s father and local church pastor.  Resigned to seek another profession in life, Todd began volunteering to build a new church.  As this project began to take shape,  Jack Hoffman and Pastor Mike challenged Todd, “are you going to throw in the towel or give your dream of mining another shot?”

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.- Romans 5:3-5

Unfortunately, most ambitious entrepreneurs usually give up after a couple of failed attempts.  The thought of another rejection is too much for a fragile heart to handle.  Yet, if great inventors of the past possessed this same mentality, several of the modern luxuries society enjoys today would not exist.  Perseverance is a difficult trait to hang on to when your present situation doesn’t show any signs of progress.  Thus, when the urge to bow out enters your mind, remember the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 1:6, God will finish the work that He began in you.

Always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:4-6

As an inspiring writer, I know I have the talent, but I’m not sure if I have the faith to overcome any more disappointment.  With the rough draft of second movie now complete, the editing process makes me feel like Todd Hoffman, not sure if the countless hours I have invested is worth continuing.  Yet, deep down, I hear a voice telling me to weather the storm, fight through temptation and carry this project to the finish line.  Although I’m not sure what the outcome will be, I’d rather give my broken dream another shot rather than wondering what might have been.  Join me in this journey!

by Jay Mankus

 

There is No One Else to Blame

Sometimes, if you don’t succeed initially, the second time you attempt it is a charm.  Such is the case for Howard Jones, whose rerecording of the song No One is to Blame produced by Phil Collins peaked at #4 of the Billboard Hot 100.  If failure causes you to quit prematurely on any goal or task, there is no one else to blame but yourself.

Despite this reality, people are still following in the footsteps of Adam, looking for someone to be the scapegoat.  “Surely its someone else, not me,” brushing off responsibility by passing the buck to God and his wife, Genesis 3:12.  Subsequently, lame excuses linger, grasping at straws to point the blame in another direction.

In the end, there is no escape clause as the Bible is clear, Romans 1:18-20.  Between sunrise and sunset, God’s invisible qualities are on display.  Thus, the onus is on you, to take ownership of the choices you make.  Therefore, the next time you make a mistake, don’t look around to pass judgment for there is no one else to blame.

by Jay Mankus

Fan or Follower?

As a person who enjoys watching sports, I’ve met several fare weather fans in life.  When the local team is winning, there isn’t enough room on the bandwagon.  However, as the years pass without a Superbowl win, Stanley Cup, NBA championship or World Series title, a mass exodus occurs.  This trend causes individuals to adopt other teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Heat or New York Yankees to raise their self esteem.  Time will distinguish the casual fan from the avid follower, living and dying with their team despite the anguish or pain.

Jesus used another method to disclose fans from genuine followers.  One day, a first century doctor, watched in awe as Jesus began to ask a few people some questions, Luke 9:57-63.  Like a coach pushing his players to see who will rise to the top or quit, Jesus’ words pierce the hearts of these lukewarm fans.  Despite their good intentions, one by one, each fell by the wayside, unable to meet the conditions Jesus was searching for in a follower.

Whether I’m shaking my head at another Phillies loss, Eagles meltdown, Flyers defensive breakdown or 76er’s losing streak, being a fan in the greater Philadelphia area isn’t easy.  On the other hand, being a followers of Jesus is even harder, Matthew 10:32-39.  Sometimes I find myself in the shoes of the ruler in Matthew 19:16-25, wondering if I have the moxie to endure life’s trials.  Unfortunately, my actions don’t always express what I believe.  In the end, I’m at the mercy of God, relying on Him to make the impossible a possibility, Matthew 19:26.

Where do you find yourself on the spectrum of fan or follower?

by Jay Mankus

         

Around the Next Corner

I’ve never been known as a quitter, but the mystery of the future is hard to endure when life isn’t playing out as you expected.  Influenced by instant success early on, I assumed there wouldn’t be surprises around the next corner, causing you to want to turn around or head off in a different direction.  Saturday was one of those days, as impatience brought me to a ledge of despair.  Just as I was about to give up, a glimmer of hope appeared in the distance.

Galatians 6:9-10 contains a similar message to those who begin to think, “what’s the point; why should I waste my time doing good when nothing seems to change?”  This mindset is like the parable of weeds, Matthew 13:24-30, sowed by the devil, trying to convince souls their short term effort isn’t worth the long term gains.  This explains why so many so called Christians fall away from God during their college years, illustrated by the 2014 movie God is Not Dead, with one foot in the world and the other trying to remember what the Bible says.  Perhaps, Jesus’ younger brother was right, writing, “nobody knows what’s around the next corner in life,” James 4:14.

As for me, I was frustrated by a lack of progress at work.  Like Charles Dutton, the janitor at Irish Stadium in the movie Rudy, I allowed bitterness get the best of me.  These negative thoughts prevented me from seeing around the next corner, a compliment and reward for my hard work.  Thus, what started off as a bad day in my view, changed in an instance.  Therefore, don’t let your mind blind you from the gifts from above waiting for you in the future, James 1:17-18.  I look forward to hearing what the Lord is doing in the lives of his children around the next corner.

by Jay Mankus

Eclipsed by Glory

Inspired by the first woman to swim the English Channel, a California swimmer attempted a similar feat, trying to make the 22 mile journey from Catalina Island to the California coastline.  Swimming for 15 hours, with a boat on either side of her for safety, a thick Marine layer prevented this woman from seeing the finish line.  Exhausted and swimming blind the entire time, she gave up only a few hundred yards from the beach.  Thus, the fog, as thick as pea soup, eclipsed her glory, failing to make history.

From January 1st, 2012 through March 23rd, 2013, I was living in a dense spiritual fog.  During this 15 month stretch, there were moments, even a day or two, when I thought, finally these clouds are dissipating.  To my disappointment, another layer of fog rolled in, more dense than the one before.  My career path became like a yo-yo, slinky and a series of one hit wonders, showing hope and promise one day, yet gone the next.  As a result, I was ready to quit, as my plans kept coming up empty, Proverbs 19:21.

From an astronomy perspective, an eclipse occurs when there is an obscuration of light as a moon or planet intervenes momentarily.  From a spiritual point of view, human beings often seek fame for themselves, stealing God of the glory He is due.  Despite these efforts, the Lord’s purpose always prevails, using the weather to steer you in the direction, toward His will.  Therefore, move out of God’s way, let Jesus take the wheel, Ephesians 2:10 and submit to the Creator’s commands in Philippians 2:13-14.  Then, you can experience the eclipse of God’s glory!

by Jay Mankus

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