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Centered and Resting in God

The term centered refers to an individual who is well balanced, confident, and serene. Meanwhile, resting is the act of ceasing work in order to relax, refresh oneself, and recover. In the book of Genesis, God laid out a plan for Israelites to rest once a week. Rather than lay in bed all day, the Sabbath is a day of worship where believers are centered on and place their trust in the Lord that God is in control.

Through Him you believe in (adhere to, rely on) God, Who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him honor and glory, so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God, 1 Peter 1:21.

One of my resolutions each year is to spend more time with God. While reading the Bible and prayer doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a great day, it will improve your chances. I find that if I start my day by opening up the Bible first thing in the morning before I do anything else, my perspective is centered on God. Perhaps, this is what Jesus experienced in Mark 1:35-38, inspired to follow the Spirit’s calling.

For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors [f]peculiarly His own. 11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell], Hebrews 4:10-11.

As someone who weekly struggles with getting a full night of sleep, resting plays an integral role in my productivity. Anytime I wake up following a great night of sleep, I’m more energized and ready to go. Yet, if I stay up too late and barely get any sleep, I don’t get much done; if anything at all. This is why it’s important not only to be centered on God, but to rest in his strength as well, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

by Jay Mankus

A Power Nap

While experiencing college, I discovered sleep was overrated.  During my sophomore year, I averaged five hours tops.  However, in the few spare moments that I had, I began to indulge in short naps, laying down for 15 to 30 minutes before resuming homework.  Subsequently, a strange phenomena occurred, waking up with a burst of energy as if I had slept for hours.

All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep, Jonah 1:5.

Although the experts claim individuals are at their best when having 8 hours of sleep per night, naps serve as a good alternative.  On the flip side, sleep can also act as a diversion, especially if someone is struggling with depression or merely attempting to escape reality.  Running away from God on a boat heading toward Tarshish, hurricane force winds caused the ship he was on to fill with water, Jonah 1:3-4.  Napping in the hull, this short rest prepared Jonah for a three day adventure inside a whale.

Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm, Mark 4:39.

Meanwhile, others use naps to test individuals, seeing whether or not pupils can survive on their own.  Thus, Jesus napped during the Bible’s White Squall, waiting to see how his disciples would respond.  Screaming like little girls in a haunted house, the twelve disciples woke up Jesus, assuming they were going to drown.  Unfazed, Jesus’ power nap allowed him to calm this storm with a few words.  Beyond the realm of sleep, an invisible force called the Holy Spirit is waiting for God’s children to get plugged into.  When and if Christians do, perhaps they too can experience the surge from a power nap,

by Jay Mankus

Turning Distress into Rest

If you’ve ever had one of those days; then you know how I felt last night when I came home.  Restless, my frustrations began to boil over, spewing out venom fueled by annoyance and irritation.  Replaying this in my mind, over and over again, I allowed distress to interrupt my ability to sleep.

Like a scene from a horror movie, I sensed the clutches of demons taking over my mind, inspired by hatred and revenge.  Before I let my thoughts get out of control, I cried out to the Lord, rebuking the images racing through my head, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  This tug of war went on for nearly 15 minutes, drifting back and forth, with huge momentum swings.  Finally, as the noises around me started to dissipate, God turned my distress into rest.

When I awoke the next day, I stumbled across Psalm 107:6.   “Then, they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he (God) delivered them from their distress.”  Perhaps, a coincidence?  I don’t think so!  Rather, I believe the Lord let this night of turmoil occur so that I could remind the world that God can turn distress into rest, a deep peaceful sleep.

by Jay Mankus

Wilted Flowers… Wilted Souls

Based upon  a 2013 CNN article, roughly 224 million roses are grown to prepare for Valentine Day shoppers.  Beside candy, roses have become a symbol for this special day, with the average person spending $130 to impress their significant other.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for these expensive flowers to die.  Life can be prolonged by adding fresh water daily and trimming the stems.  Yet, in the end, the smell of flowers will fade, wilt and end up in the trash.

The human soul can relate to the final resting place for roses.  Individuals who are quiet, shy or wonder why no accepts them for who they are, often wilt like flowers.  The lack of communication, intimacy and relationships can weigh on a heart, resulting in loneliness.  Unless a soul experiences good news, hope or something positive, faith can fade into oblivion.  Like a deer that pants for water on a hot summer day, those that thirst for temporary pleasures will taste the sourness of disappointment.

According to the Bible, the soul finds rest in God alone, Psalm 62:1.  Though many will try other avenues to fill this void, nothing can satisfy like Jesus; just ask the woman at the well, John 4.  Mankind may try to stop the grass from withering and flowers from falling off their stems, yet the only cure to wilted souls is the Word of God, Isaiah 40:8.  If the thought of a cold dark winter has brought you down, may the promise of Romans 8:38-39 sustain you when all seems lost.

by Jay Mankus

When Guardian Angels are Ushered into Action

To some, angels are a myth, a figment of your imagination.  For others, the concept of angelic beings is something you grow out of, like a childhood phase.  Yet, those who place their trust in the Bible, hold a belief, clinging to the promise of Psalm 91:11, hoping and waiting for the day for this verse to come true.

There appears to be 3 prerequisites before guardian angels are assigned to your side.

1) Individuals need to reach a point of desperation, recognizing that the only safe place on earth is resting in the shadow of God’s wings, Psalm 91:1.

2) In additional, priorities must be reorganized until a trust level develops, leading people to seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. Matthew 6:33-34.

3) Finally, to complete the setting for angels to enter the scene, souls must be willing to give up  complete control, yielding the reigns of their life to Jesus, Matthew 16:24.

Unfortunately, most Christians want results without the effort on their part.  As those who bypass the sweat and tears part of this equation, a lack of results leads to bickering as disenfranchised customers complain to God.  Despite these cries, their treatment is no different than that of Israel in Isaiah 1:15.  The missing ingredient is perking God’s attention.

Right now, angels are looking down from heaven, waiting to get into the game.  However, until the prayers of the saints ask for a hedge of protection, angels will continue to sit on the bench.  The words of Jesus is Matthew 7:7-12 are just begging leaders to make specific requests now.  “You don’t have because you haven’t asked!”  May this blog inspire you to proclaim bold prayers so that guardian angels will be ushered into action today.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Refreshment

The average adult might associate refreshment with their favorite alcoholic beverage.  Meanwhile, a typical child will likely imagine their favorite soft drink, shake or slurpee.  After working 12 of the last 13 days, refreshment for me is laying in my hydrotherapy tub and relaxing until its time to go back to work.  As for Sunday’s, my only day off in December, God has given me a new appreciation for the day of rest.

While woman across America will shop until they drop in December, men tend be distracted by sports on the Sabbath.  Although I don’t intend to know why God chose to create the heavens and earth in 6 days, I understand the need to recharge your batteries.  Thus, if you want to experience spiritual refreshment, investing time in prayer, worship and a quiet time studying the Bible on Sunday is a step in the right direction.

At the end of Romans 11, the apostle Paul places a doxology to complete this chapter.  A doxology is a liturgical formula of praise to God like Romans 11:33-36.  By practicing worship, it appears that God rewards those who master this art with divine knowledge from the Lord, Romans 12:2.  A modern form of worship includes soaking in the Spirit, where some churches play non-stop praise and worship music as believers can rest and recline while absorbing and reflecting on the lyrics.  If you want to experience true refreshment, this is a great place to begin.

by Jay Mankus

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