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Tag Archives: self-help

Is That All I Needed?

After spending 3 seasons as an assistant golf professional and another 10 coaching high school boys and girls, I’ve seen my share of bad golf swings.  While many were beyond help, I did have a few success stories.  The most recent involved a player who had a decent short game, but their swing produced a slice like an out of control boomerang.  Observing from behind the range, I discovered a major glitch.  With one slight adjustment, this senior went from struggling to break 60 consistently for 9 holes to shooting 94 for 18 in his last conference tournament.

The other day, I left my house without my Bible and journal before leaving for work.  My daily routine involves getting to work 30 minutes early, listening to music, read and journal my prayers and thoughts before each shift.  Unprepared, I had to wing it, quietly preparing myself for another 40 hour week.  Since I was running late, I only had a few minutes before exiting my car.  Void of any earth shattering content, I yielded my future over to the Lord, placing it solely in His hands.  Twenty minutes later I was called back to my seasonal management position leading me to ponder, “is that all I needed?  Is this what God was waiting for me to do?”

Whether you’re trying to improve your golf game or follow God, sometimes the slightest adjustment produces amazing results.  Perhaps, this was the message Moses was trying to relay to Israel before his retirement, Deuteronomy 28:1-14.    Either way, the next time you experience periods of inconsistency, invite the Lord to become your Rock during the trying times in life, Psalm 28:1-2.

by Jay Mankus

Where Do We Go Now?

 

In recent years, great advancements have been made in business, medicine and technology.  Self help books, the internet and you tube videos have helped make life a little easier than in previous centuries.  However, these new resources have also crippled the human mind, replacing hard work, research and time with a click of a mouse.  The art of problem solving, trouble shooting and preventative maintenance have been replaced by computer and phone apps, calling on others to do what families once did on their own.

So where do we go from here?  Should culture continue on its current hi-tech / hi-touch path or will common sense take over, clearing hidden paths, left and forgotten by overgrown brush?  If this decision is put off, another crossroad will intersect at some point down the road, offering another choice for change.  In the movie the Patriot starring Mel Gibson, there is a touching scene between father and daughter.  Not wanting to see her father to die like an older brother, Susan begs him to stay.  Unfortunately, there are times one must face battles, giants or wars before you can resume a normal life.

If your life is anything like mine, I often find myself living the movie Castaway, standing at a 4 way stop, not sure where to make the next turn.  Each choice that is made, Deuteronomy 30:15-16, either moves you closer or farther from where you really want to go.  For a while, each will provide flashes of brilliance and possibly pleasure, yet in the end only one road leads to satisfaction, Psalm 34:4-8.  May we find each other there one day.

by Jay Mankus

A Solution for Pollution

Prior to the 1970’s, rivers and streams in the United States were treated like garbage disposals, passing on your trash to someone else down stream.  After the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught on fire for the 5th time, the modern environmental movement was born.  These pioneers inspired the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

From a societal point of view, individuals have been crashing and burning for centuries.  As a result, daily doses of anger, frustration and lashing out have gone airborne, leading to a different type of pollution.  Commencing with curiosity and temptation in the Garden of Eden, sin has entered this world.  Signs of this toxic behavior have corrupted children, scarred adults and wounded innocent bystanders.

If a government can establishment an agency to nurture God’s creation, why can’t the church develop a solution to cure polluted souls?  At this moment in time, planet earth is in dire need of ambassadors, representing Christ in a dark and desolate culture.  One of the first steps is to recognize the source of soul pollution, Romans 3:23.  The next logical process requires a check up visit to see the Doctor of Life, receiving the antidote for this disease, John 3:16-17.  Finally, the best solution for eliminating soul pollution is to embrace our own weaknesses, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, trusting that Christ will incinerate our lusts, inappropriate passions and self-seeking desires.  Join me in this battle of flesh and blood, Ephesians 6:10-12.

by Jay Mankus

Worship + Fasting = Spiritual Insight

The question, “am I in the right place,” is something I often ponder.  At my wit’s end, I turned to the pages of the Bible to find answers to this dilemma.  To my amazement, the words of Acts 13:2-4, jumped off the pages today, putting an equation into my mind: Worship + Fasting = Spiritual Insight.

Worship isn’t a service you attend once a week on Saturday night or Sunday.  Nor is worship a portion of a church service where you sing hymns or modern worship songs.  Rather, worship is an acquired adoration of a living God, where an individual devotes time each day to honor and revere the creator of the heavens and the earth.  As this relationship kindles, lyrics of praise become etched upon their hearts, paying tribute to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Fasting is a spiritual practice neglected by many denominations in recent years.  My first encounter with fasting began in high school, by not eating red meat on Friday’s during the Catholic celebration of Lent, prior to Easter.  Authors like Jentezen Franklin have helped me grasp this concept through books like the Fasting Edge.  The notion of fasting can be traced back to Jesus’ words in Matthew 26:41.  By replacing food with prayer for a meal, day, week or month, your body can be strength by a willing Spirit.  Like any type of training, start small and work your way your goal of a day, few days or an entire week.

According to Acts 13:2, something supernatural transpired when worship and fasting were present in Paul and Barnabas’ life.  During a normal Sunday service, the Holy Spirit filled each with spiritual insight.  Prior to this day, their future was unclear.  However, in the midst of these joint acts of faith, God called each to the mission field.  Though cautious initially, the Holy Spirit guided their inaugural journey, leading them to Seleucia and Cyprus, Acts 13:4.  The apostle Paul didn’t just write about faith, Galatians 5:25, he lived it!

Like a teacher becoming a student, are you where God wants you to be or are you resisting a spirit of change?  Since everything else I have tried has failed up to this point, its time for me to try the equation Worship + Fasting.  As I commit to next 3 days to this exercise, I am praying that spiritual insight will follow.  The only thing standing in the way of a modern miracle is weak faith.  Therefore, trust the promises within 2 Peter 1:3-9 to pave the way for blessings and a fruitful life in Christ!

by Jay Mankus

If God Used Logic…We’d All Be Dead!

Throughout the course of history, a series of cycles retrieve, add to and reinvent old theories about the Bible.  Gnostics build upon the teachings of Simon Magus in Acts 8:9-19 with modern theories like the Jesus Seminars and Da Vinci Code.  Meanwhile, books like the Secret take biblical principles out of their proper context by blending these truths with metaphysics and self-help methodology.  Despite what so called experts may claim, the Bible continues to be an annual best selling book about the creation of earth, the fall of man and restoration of life through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  If you read and study this book you will soon discover, if God used logic, we’d all be dead!

If you were God, how would you respond when your only rule, Genesis 2:16-17,  is quickly broken by your second created being, the first child born on this planet becomes a murderer, Genesis 4, and a few generations later, the only person worth saving is Noah.  Meanwhile, the flood is immediately forgotten by the people of Babel in Genesis 11, your only leader, Abraham, is a habitual liar, Genesis 20:1-2, and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were given over to shameful lusts, Romans 1:26-27.  Like a frustrated parent whose children never listen to them, if God used logic, the earth would have been destroyed once and for all in Genesis 19:29.

Fortunately, for all of mankind, God is love, 1 Corinthians 13.  Logically, God should have given up on us years ago, but He loved us so much that God gave us His one and only son, John 3:16-17.  Despite the wages of sin, Jesus paved a new way toward heaven in Romans 6:23.  Jesus left a final reminder of God’s love with his best friend on earth, John.  According to 1 John 3:16-20′ true love today is found today by living out the love of Jesus.  Like the classic country song by Crossway, “Thank God I’m not Jesus!”  Come alive by following the apostle Paul advice in Galatians 2:20.

by Jay Mankus

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