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Whispers of Hope

If your voice tends to dominate or over power conversations, your ears will have a hard time hearing the whispers of others.  Breaths, murmurs and subtle tones will be drown out, oblivious to talkative souls.  Meanwhile, the down trodden, hurting and hopeless can become skeptical to any sort of good news.  Jaded hearts turn to sarcasm, laughing at any glimpses of hope.  Regardless of where you may be on this spectrum, a growing number of individuals ignore daily whispers of hope.

And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you, Psalm 39:7.

Like any distressed soul, its not uncommon to want to find someone who will listen to your frustrations.  Whether this is a co-worker, friend or neighbor, venting has a way of releasing any built up tension within you.  After sessions of complaining, ranting and unloading the stress weighing you down, periods of relief can be temporarily found.  In the Old Testament, David discovered a way to embrace whispers of hope.  Although living as a shepherd can be lonely, with few interaction with people, God is only a prayer away.  Thus, pouring our his heart to the Lord became a daily practice, waiting for his life to change for the better.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, Romans 15:4.

The apostle Paul takes David’s concept to a new level in the passage above.  While praying enables individuals to cry out to God, reading the God allows the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart through whispers of hope.  Whenever Paul was depressed, discouraged or frustrated, reading the Old Testament provided encouragement and the inspiration to endure.  Since modern readers have the luxury of a completed Bible, the Old and New Testaments, studying the Bible is the best way to hear whispers of hope.  May this blog inspire you to live out Romans 10:17 as faith comes from listening and reading God’s Word.

by Jay Mankus

Before I Sink Any Further

One of my favorite shows on the Discovery Channel was called Swamp Loggers.  From June 2009-December 2012, Bobby Goodson was the star of a family run business, illustrating how technology could be used to log once unreachable forests.  Through success and failure, this program was as close to real life as a reality show has come.

However, in real life, there aren’t any machines who can save us from sinking.  King David often used the analogy of a swamp, which bogs human beings down, sucking each in like a suction cup, Psalm 69:14-15.  Whenever you get stuck, there is only One who can save you, Acts 4:12.  This life guard can walk on water, silence storms and stretch out His hand to lift you up.

Before you sink any further, take David’s advice in Psalm 30:1-3.  Sure, you might be able to get yourself out of a few jams from time to time, but the open arms of the Great I Am is waiting.  Come to your senses now, Luke 15:17, swallow your pride and ask God to relieve you from distress, Psalm 4:1.  Before I sink any further, I surrender all, all to you O Lord.

I encourage everyone to share a time you’ve been saved from the muck and mire in life.

by Jay Mankus

After the Pain Subsides

Some psychologists often suggest pain is a way of life.  Infants battle teething, youth struggle with puberty, teens endure broken relationships and adults face failed marriages.  How you handle this pain influences whether or not you’ll reach the goals you aspire to achieve in life.  After the pain subsides, who will be left standing?

Trials, tribulations and unexpected setbacks are difficult to overcome.  In fact, a weak mind may begin to accept defeat, allowing a season of disappointment to alter their expectations.  This demise lowers the bar so low, that there’s not much to celebrate.  Thus, one becomes like the wind, blowing to and fro trying to make it through each day, dead inside.  However, a time is coming when the sun will rise after the pain subsides.

Perhaps, this is the emotion, feeling and peace a weeping man experiences in Lamentations 3:22-23.  Despite his current condition, a glimmer of hope arises from one of God’s promises, bringing a sense of relief.  Like a cold Alaskan winter, the sun stands on the horizon all summer long to help forget the memory of the bitter cold.  As you try to resist the pain of life, may the words of the Bible offer a sweet pill of truth to get you through the present until your pain subsides.

by Jay Mankus

P.A.I.N.

As I was struggling to fall asleep, the following acronym popped into my head: Previous Accidents Impacting Nerves.  With 2 broken ribs, a lacerated liver and lungs still not functioning as they should, pain is something I must overcome if I want my health to be restored fully.   Unfortunately, pain often influences individuals in a negative manner, leading to changed attitudes, behavior and unhealthy patterns.

For instance, once a solider completes his or her tour of duty, no one fully understands the hell they endured except for their squadron or team.  Thus, when the John Rambo’s of America’s armed services return home, fitting in takes time and for some, adjusting to the spoiled brats of today’s culture never happens.  Nightmares depict a living video game, without a happy ending or reset button to start life over.

Meanwhile, pain is something a husband and wife can never fully grasp once a decision to divorce fatally wounds the souls of their children.  Blaming themselves, many youth across this country cry themselves to sleep, praying that mom and dad will change their mind.  The unborn child doesn’t receive a voice, discarded in dumpsters daily as mothers can only think of what could have been.  Pain is not a pleasant topic to address, yet without tackling these issues people of faith won’t learn to endure hardship as they should, 2 Timothy 2:3-5.  As previous accidents impact your own nerves, come to Jesus for relief, nurturing your soul as you cope with these ongoing pains, Matthew 11:28-30.

by Jay Mankus

Good Tidings in the Air

As individuals begin to finish up their Christmas shopping, a sense of relief enters their soul.  Sure, there’s still wrapping gifts, but the hard part is over, along with the long lines and maniac drivers fighting over the last good parking spot.  Maybe this is the reason good tidings appeared in the air today over Delaware.

Although I may never know why, I’m glad that the spirit of Christmas has arrived.  Faces were of good cheer, conversation pleasant and the mood around the office made me proud to be an American.  While its hard to emphasize the good in others, its important not to let a praiseworthy moment go by without a mention.  As I walked out the door for a 5 day break, the concept of rest and relaxation is a refreshing thought, at a perfect time in the year.

There was no baby in a manger or magi coming from afar, yet an angelic presence seemed to shine through, transforming a tired and weary staff.  Like an island of misfit toys, the hope of Christmas breathed a new spirit within the hearts of those present.  Or perhaps I have awoken from a slumber, having my eyes opened for the first time in months.  Regardless of the reason, may you embrace the final days leading up to Christmas as the Holy Spirit stirs hearts and minds to display good tiding in the air.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

by Jay Mankus

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