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Tag Archives: selfish ambition

Pursuing God While Breaking Bad

The television series Breaking Bad ran from 2008 to 2013 on the AMC Network.  This popular drama starred Bryan Cranston, a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.   The plot thickens when White turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family’s future.  Sometimes when your motives are pure, souls can become lured away, distracted by temptation, resulting in the spiritual version of breaking bad.

As it is written and forever remains written,There is none righteous [none that meets God’s standard], not even one, Romans 3:10.

The apostle Paul expands upon this concept in a letter to the church at Rome.  The context of the passage above refers to legalistic religious leaders like the Pharisees who attempted to be holy without God’s help.  Paul corrects anyone who thinks otherwise by stating that no one meets God’s standard of perfection.  Thus, when individuals seek to pursue God without leaning on the power of the Holy Spirit, becoming bad can happen to anyone.

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose, Romans 8:28.

The passage above contains a promise.  However, as people go through life, there are accidents, bad breaks and unfair circumstances that don’t make any sense when they occur.  These unforeseen events make embracing this promise from God difficult.  The human mind struggles to grasp the purpose of heart breaking moments, painful experiences and gut wrenching trials.  Nonetheless, as Christians pursue God’s will for their life, don’t be surprised by periods when you are not yourself.  These troubling stretches are marked and stained by immaturity when demons, selfish ambition and worldly desires result in breaking bad until repentance occurs.

by Jay Mankus

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The Invisible Yield

Yield signs are usually found at the intersection where roads merge.  Typically, one road deadends into another, warning drivers of possible oncoming traffic.  Instead of a sign, some states use flashing red lights that serve the same purpose.  However, when two individuals meet, there is no sign.  Rather, there is an invisible set of unspoken rules.

But he gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble,” James 4:6.

When it comes to submission, especially for woman, times have changed.  Perhaps, the world is trying to cancel the truths of the Bible, referring to it as sexist and out of date.  Whatever the reason, submission in the spiritual sense is like obeying an invisible yield sign.  This act is symbolic of humility, opening the door for God’s favor.  Considering others more important than your own needs and wants honors the invisible yield.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3.

The greatest obstacle to submitting to God is the “what’s in it for me” mindset.  This mentality is aided by the notion what have you done for me lately God?  This selfish consciousness blinds many from putting others first.  Subsequently, a me first focus permeates throughout most cultures.  This byproduct has deteriorated ethics, morals and standards nationwide.  Only a spiritual transformation will change this current trend and lead to the invisible yield, submitting to God.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Receive Your Call

Before you can receive a call, you have to hear or sense it.  Depending upon where you are in life, distractions can delay, postpone or cause individuals to miss their call.  If you allow compromise, impatience and selfish ambition to influence your decisions, you could bypass the life God created for you to live.

So she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said, Genesis 16:2.

When individuals feel like they missed God’s calling, panic is a common response.  Thinking God was not going to honor the promise of a child, Sarah became desperate.  This fleeting act isn’t uncommon as people today often lower their standards before waiting to receive what they desire.  Subsequently, careless acts often leads to disappointment, resulting a second rate life, without any clear direction or idea if people are on the right track.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8.

Despite your current situation, its never too late to receive God’s call.   Therefore, remember the words of Isaiah, keeping an ear open for God’s voice.  Wait in eager expectation, ready at a moment’s notice.  Thus, when a faint whisper is spoken, you will be ready to receive God’s call.  Don’t be afraid!  Rather, trust in the Lord and God will make your paths straight.

by Jay Mankus

The Barbs of Jealousy

One of the most graceful creatures of the sea are rays.  Guiding effortless like an airplane in the sky, sting rays are harmless unless provoked or stepped on.  When threatened, rays use their tail as a defense mechanism.  Tails contain barbs, stingers on the top and venom glands on the bottom.  Its hard to believe the legendary Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin died on September 4th, 2006, falling victim to the barbs of jealousy.

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice, James 3:16.

Human beings don’t need a tail to inflict pain.  Rather, the tongue serves as a cruel weapon, spitting out poisonous venom daily.  Similar to rays, most individuals are good and decent.  However, when an only child get’s replaced by a new addition to the family, their monopoly on mom and dad is broken.  Meanwhile, adults who are phased out of a relationship or don’t get the attention they deserve tend to erupt like an immature child.  In an attempt regain center stage, barbs of jealousy take the shape of harsh words.

But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up, Acts 17:13.

Jews of the first century didn’t take too kindly of no longer being the apple of God’s eye.  As soon as Gentiles began to come to faith, some took exception to this.  Thus, jealousy caused Jews to stir up opposition to Paul’s ministry, which extended grace to those outside of God’s chosen people.  This frenzy continues to today in denominations, fighting for a larger audience, more members and a greater offering.  Unfortunately, its time to expose this movement for what it is, barbs of jealousy trying to remain in power.  In view of this invisible force, trust in the Lord so that the barbs of jealousy don’t harm anyone you love.

by Jay Mankus

 

When Jealousy is in the Air

The presence, sight or trace of gifted, special or talented individuals can be a tough pill to swallow for a typical American.  Whenever average, mediocre and middle of the road people come in contact with someone who appears to be more blessed, an uneasy feeling grips souls.  Subsequently, when the conditions are ripe, a spirit of jealousy fills the air around the insecure.

But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast, Genesis 4:5.

As children experience new emotions for the first time, coping with these feelings can be challenging.  In fact for some, this may be the root of temper tantrums, overcome by the moment or unable to accept reality.  This is where we find Cain in the book of Genesis, frustrated by his younger brother’s success.  Despite his hard work as a farmer, God was more pleased with Abel’s giving heart as a shepherd.  Sensing a mounting tension, the Lord tried to intervene, but it was too late as jealousy was conceived inside of Cain.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God, Galatians 5:19-21.

When in the air, jealousy can turn mature men into childish individuals.  By products of this sinful nature produce fits of rage, selfish ambition and division among groups.  Once conceived, jealousy breeds envy, blinding one’s perspective of your own gifts and talents.  Therefore, the next time you sense the presence of jealousy in the air, fight back with prayer and the sword of the Spirit.  If you claim God’s promises in prayer you will likely avoid following in the footsteps of Cain.

by Jay Mankus

Taking A Back Seat To Your Children

In my younger days, naive and immature, I cared more about my men’s softball team than my oldest son’s T-Ball game.  Thus, as other men were coaching and influencing my son James, I got lost in trying to relive and hold on to my youth.  Learning the hard way, I realized Father Time couldn’t be beaten before I took a back seat where my children could be in the forefront.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3.

Unfortunately, too many young men never see the light, blinded by selfish ambition.  Fueled by pride, egos cause adults to remain the center of attention, long after their own high school graduation.  While hanging out in bars reminiscing about the Glory Days, far too many children are growing up without a role model to emulate.  Subsequently, teenagers often look toward pop culture to find meaning in life, only to be disappointed in the long run.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

After hearing the phrase “its better to give than receive” countless times throughout life, I finally tasted a piece of this fruit over the weekend.  As a proud parent on Sunday, watching my children all place in the top 3 of their age group, with James earning first, 11th overall, in the 2015 Blue Hen 5K, I realized all those times I went jogging with my kids finally paid off.  Although I was the only one in the family who didn’t medal, it didn’t matter.  I found joy in taking a back seat to my children, observing each one begin to find their niche, place and calling in life.  If you haven’t taken your seat, find one soon.

by Jay Mankus

 

In the Business of Solutions; Not Assigning Blame

If you read the title of professions such as Civil Rights Leader, Community Organizer and Man of the Cloth, common sense would lead you to believe each is in the business of solutions.  In fact, when working together in unison, these positions play a vital role in dictating the environment that exists in their own cities across America.  Unfortunately, when the cameras of the media show up in town, rogue individuals often lose sight of the goal by assigning blame.

Ratings, selfish ambition and talking points do just the opposite as negative words incite relational forest fires, placing classes, races and political ideologies against one another.  Ferguson, Missouri is the latest epicenter, as citizens searching for justice and revenge did not receive the verdict from the Darren Wilson Grand Jury as they had hoped.  Despite the collaborating accounts of eyewitnesses, the media has withheld key facts from this investigation to encourage outrage.  Instead of wanting the truth like Col. Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men, they have chosen to assign blame.

I’m not an expert on the media, but it appears they are suppressing the news rather than presenting it.  What this nation and every country needs are people hungry for developing solutions.  When placed in charge, the United States government has a history of failure.  As the number of individuals on Food Stamps and Unemployment continue to grow, who will get behind visionaries like Glenn Beck to start solving problems one community at a time.  While Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream, unless neighbors put aside their petty differences, this dream will never become a reality.

by Jay Mankus

 

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