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Tag Archives: sleep

All Out of Sorts

Sort isn’t one of the sexiest words in the English language.  Yet, its synonyms reveal a wide array of meanings.  Arrange, categorize and grouping items enables individuals to bring order to their lives.  However, it doesn’t take much until complacency, laziness or unexpected trials leaves you all out of sorts.

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 1 Corinthians 14:33.

After my son was rushed to the hospital last Tuesday, my routine schedule was thrown out the window.  One week later, dazed, exhausted and in dire need of sleep, I find myself hanging by a thread.  All out of sorts, I’m trying to leave the land of confusion for the peace promised in the Bible.

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves, Romans 15:1.

During a visit to the church of Corinth, Paul witnessed several believers all out of sorts.  Subsequently, Paul called on godly leaders to be patient with those failing in their faith.  While its nice to have others focused on your own well being, hurting individuals receive much more by serving others.  Therefore, despite your current situation, reach out to someone less fortunate to help the body of Christ heal.

by Jay Mankus

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Overwhelmed by Priorities

Every day when I arise from sleep, my mind is overwhelmed by the choices at hand.  Do I read?  Should I write?  Perhaps I need to work out?  Maybe hitting the snooze button and rolling over is my best option.  Either way, the choices you make will dictate the path your life takes.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Luke 12:34

Like most years, my New Years Resolutions are being modified as desires to lose weight, eat healthy and draw closer to God have fallen short.  Sometimes I feel as if I am in a tug of war, pulled in a direction I don’t want to go, yet over time I submit, dragged to a new low.  By enduring these trials, I am beginning to comprehend the words of the apostle Paul as he explains how the sinful nature can influence one’s priorities.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. – Romans 7:15

When Jeremiah opened his mouth to Israel, negative messages usually came forth.  Thus, this servant of God was nicknamed the weeping prophet.  If you too feel depressed, frustrated or lost, there are some promises in the Bible to cling to.  Lamentations 3:20-24 suggests God’s forgiveness is new every morning.  Therefore, if you fail to keep the priorities that you hold dear, may God’s grace lift you up each time you fall.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Waking Up in the Minority

When you fall asleep each night, only God knows what will occur in the dark of night.  However, you don’t have to rest for the world to change.  Rather, the moment you begin to stop standing up for what you believe, eventualy you will wake up in the minority.

America is a good case study to test this theory.  Prior to the 1960’s, faith was a foundation for most communities with the local church serving as a beacon of hope.  Yet, when the religious community was lulled to sleep by apathy, Woodstock transformed the worldview for future generations.  Subsequently, only 33 % of Americas believe in absolute truth, now in the minority.

All you have to do is take a look at the war on Christmas, banning Nativity Scenes even in the Bible belt to recognize this societal change.  It’s no wonder that public schools are erasing Christian holidays from its calendars.  Freedom of speech is free unless you profess Christ, then you will be silenced.  If this trend continues, you too may wake up one day, finding yourself in the minority.

by Jay Mankus

Those Were the Days

Over the weekend, I got off the Exit called Reflection.  Trying to avoid an eat, sleep, work and repeat the same cycle over again mentality, I pulled off to take a breather, camping in the mountains with my daughter.  Subsequently, I was able to slow down enough to take my spiritual pulse.  Laying back in the wilderness, thoughts began to flood my mind.

Healed from most of the scars from losing my teaching position to a new management group, God allowed me to see positive images from my past.  Similar to the theme song from All in the Family, the Lord brought to recall memories that made me think, those were the days.  Skipping my planning period to partake in a gym class with juniors and seniors, participating in school fundraisers like Donkey Basketball, Dodgeball, Golf Megaathon & Volleyball and developing an Ultimate Frisbee class will always hold a special place in my heart.

Although, you and I may not be exactly where we want to be currently, there’s still time to change course.  Perhaps you need to pull over, take a break or spend time reflecting.  You can start by reading Philippians 4:8; then apply this principle like a scene from Polyanna, playing the good game.  If this exercise can become a habit or daily routine, you may reach a point in time when you can honesty say, “those were the days!”

by Jay Mankus

Where Do Certain Thoughts Come From?

At age 10, I began to experience a reoccurring nightmare.  Maybe I watched one too many scary movies, but each night I was awaken in the same manner.  Whether I was restless or enjoying a peaceful sleep, an image appeared out of no where.  First, I felt the sensation of slipping off a cliff.  Once I reached a free fall mode, I was at ease until the ground came into view.  Just before striking the canyon floor, my body shook, waking me up.  This went on for nearly 2 years.  Why, I’m not sure.  Perhaps, God allowed these thoughts to enter my mind to lead me toward the meaning of life.

A couple of years ago, I was driving my family home after vacationing in Chicago for a week.  It was getting late, the sun had set and everyone in the car was asleep.  I was traveling on the Ohio Turnpike, heading east toward the Maumee River.  As I was approaching the river valley, a whisper entered my mind, “drive off the bridge.”  Shocked initially, it didn’t take long to determine the origin of this thought.  Similar to the Dana Carvey’s Church Lady skit on Saturday Night Live, “could it be Satan?”

Over the course of a lifetime, the mind will become weary, bombarded with a plethora thoughts.  If individuals are careless, lazy or tempted, souls are vulnerable.  When you try to fight a spiritual battle with mental discipline, sooner or later you will lose.  Therefore, its essential to practice 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, by taking your thoughts captive.  Whether thoughts are from God, Satan or your own sinful desires, how you respond to them will dictate the path that you choose.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Christmas Without Gifts?

This morning a thought came to my mind, what would Christmas morning be like without gifts?  First of all, most would enjoy a good night sleep before going to church or sleep later after attending a midnight service.  Once awake, the distractions of presents might actual promote quality conversations as individuals reflect upon the previous year.  As breakfast or brunch is served, discussions would likely move toward meaningful topics, free from typical superficial talk about who received the best gift and which family member got the shaft or least favored status.

Without the rush of getting back to play with your newest toy, the birth of the Messiah might become real to young children.  Instead of being brain washed by traditions of Christmas, Colossians 2:8, words from the Bible would fall upon fertile soil, Matthew 13:23, opening the door for faith to prosper, Romans 10:17.  Thus, Christmas wouldn’t be about what you got for Christmas.  Rather, hearts and minds would be transformed from “Thank you Santa, to Thank you God for the promise of Matthew 1:23.”

If I struggle with balancing a traditional Christmas with worshiping baby Jesus, I’m sure I am not alone.  My Christmas Day prayer is that I will point my children toward the true reason for this season.  When the sunsets on the 25th, families shouldn’t have to wait another calender year to celebrate the birth of Christ.  Rather, the Spirit of Christmas can and should be kept alive through the power of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4, given to all those who believe.  Although the day is now December 26th, its never too soon to start preparing your hearts for a Christmas without gifts, devoted to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

by Jay Mankus

Not So Weak After All

On my only day off during last week, I spent time helping finish field work in anticipation of Opening Day for Greater Newark Baseball.  Fighting a fever, extreme exhaustion and side effects from medicine, I quickly became emotionally drained.  Unable to sleep, I wrote a blog at 4:30 am, that’s in the morning for those who slept past noon over Spring Break.  Anyway, the only strength I could muster was a lame, but effective prayer, “In my weakness Lord, be strong today!”

Minutes after verbalizing these words, I lost my keys, was late to work and felt worthless for most of my first shift.  However, as I look back on my day, somewhere near the end of my first shift, the power of the Holy Spirit kicked in.  From there, God blessed me with one amazing encounter after another.

I was able to bring a smile to hundreds of children through a 30 minute long Chick-fil-A cow appearance at the Christiana Mall.  I nearly brought one parent to tears after offering her infant a Mini-Cow.  Another woman mumbled under her breath, “I need to eat Chick-fil-A, their people take care of their customers like first class citizens.”  Between 4-8pm this evening, I was walking on air, floating on the wings of angels.  Paul was right in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, when we are weak, Christ truly is strong, and not so weak after all!

by Jay Mankus

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