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Tag Archives: strength

When Our Problems Meet God’s Possibilities

As life takes an unexpected twist or turn, certain things don’t make sense.  A typical response to unfortunate events is to question God wondering, “why is this happening to me?”  When confronted with problems, struggles and worries, perhaps its time to consider these situations as an opportunity for God to meet us in the storms of life.

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you, Genesis 45:5.

While his arrogance may have created the environment for hardship, Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit, thrown into prison and forgotten after helping a member of the king’s service.  Despite one disappointment after another, Joseph didn’t dwell in the past or throw a pity party, “woe is me.”  Rather, Joseph saw his problems as a chance for the power of God to rescue him.

But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance, Genesis 45:7.

Amid these setbacks, God gave Joseph the strength to press on.  Raising him up on wings like eagles, Joseph persevered until he found his true purpose in life.  Sure, the path the Lord took him on was a long and winding road, but Joseph’s problem met God’s possibilities.  If you find yourself spinning your wheels in 2016 or going around in circles, don’t lose hope.  Rather claim the promise of Luke 1:37, with God all things are possible!

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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Training Days

If you choose to enter the military, individuals must complete boot camp, also known as basic training.  Depending upon which branch of the armed services and career path you select, skills vary as basic combat training is followed by advanced individual training.  For those who survive phase one, soldiers must complete their service time before moving on to college, a professional career or accept another tour of duty.  Without these training days, the military would be unprepared for Murphy Law like scenarios.

And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus, Acts 9:19.

Training days aren’t limited to the military.  Prior to his missionary journeys, Paul spent several days with the disciples.  Steeped in Judaism, this apostle needed to adjust his mindset, poisoned by the false stereotypes he developed about Jesus.  While the details of these training days are absent, I’m assuming Paul participated in a Q & A with those who knew Jesus best.  Once Paul was able to connect the dots in the Old Testament leading to Jesus, he was ready for action.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Most people have endured the school of hard knocks.  This school doesn’t need a recruiter.  Rather, candidates are chosen through a series of trials placed in their lives.  Depending upon how you handle and react to these unfortunate events will determine if you pass or fail.  When the rubber hits the road, how will these training days shape you?  As you experience any trauma, don’t forget to apply God’s Word to help you overcome any painful situations that you face.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

I Can’t Believe This Is Happening to Me

Action scenes from modern movies can be far fetched, unrealistic and unimaginable.  However, every so often individuals experience something bizarre, emulating a page from a Hollywood script.  Perhaps someone sees an unidentified flying object, Bigfoot or has a supernatural encounter.  These events can produce mixed emotions, amazement and fear, making eyewitnesses cry out, “I can’t believe this is happening to me.”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid, Mark 16:8.

During the first century, a group of women came face to face with an angel.  Initially, afraid and perplexed, they did not know how to respond.  Most likely, each was quietly thinking, “is this a dream?  Did I see what I thought I saw?  People are going to think I’m crazy if I tell anyone?”  Nonetheless, as this entity vanished, the instructions communicated made sense.  Thus, despite what others thought, these women obeyed the voice of God.

After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper, 1 Kings 19:12.

In the first season of Joan of Arcadia, Amber Tamblyn plays a junior in high school who begins to hear God speak to her.  At first, Joan Girardi thinks she’s losing it, yet each time she follows the Lord’s advice, things go well.  Despite this success, Joan never tells anyone of these encounters until the final episode.  Unfortunately, a bout with lyme disease causes doctors to suggests these interactions were simply hallucinations.  When others question your own faith, may the Holy Spirit give you the strength to carry on.

by Jay Mankus

The Tug of War between Self-Esteem and Pride

On a level playing field, there isn’t much between winning and losing.  Whoever possesses confidence often comes out on top.  While talent does make a difference, self-esteem either strengthens or weakens individuals.  Too much success can go to your head, creating a false sense of security.  Thus, the tug of war between self-esteem and pride commences.

I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses, 2 Corinthians 12:5.

The psyche craves encouragement, wanting to receive positive feedback.  Although constructive criticism can be beneficial, compliments boast one’s self-esteem like a pat on the back.  Yet, balance must be achieved by surrounding yourself with people who are  honest, realistic and truthful.  Maintaining this atmosphere is crucial to keeping you from going back and forth between self-esteem and pride.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me, 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Unfortunately, wounds to the soul leave most wallowing in self pity.  In a cruel world that can be unforgiving, recovering from any defeat is tough.  Perhaps, the words of apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians was meant to console and educate those with lost confidence.  Whenever you feel like you can’t go on, reach out to Jesus in prayer and God will provide the strength to carry on.  Subsequently, as the momentum turns in your favor don’t forget to thank the good Lord above so that pride doesn’t invade your soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Empty

Air Supply, a popular soft rock group from Australia was in its prime during the 1980’s.  One of Air Supply’s greatest albums, Love in Love featured three classic songs which made the top 100 billboard charts.  The highest, All Out Of Love, reached number two in the early 1980’s.  After reading through the lyrics, this song refers to an individual who is tapped out, unable to muster the strength necessary to love.  Essentially, this soul is empty.

I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things, Isaiah 45:7.

This week I attended a Wilmington Blue Rocks game, a local Class A minor league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.  My sister’s company usually rents out one of the boxes or suites so I enjoy spending the night with family.  However, on this particular night the ballpark was empty.  While the full capacity is over 2000, there might have been two hundred people sitting in the stands.  Normally, the heat of summer would be an excuse, except it was 80 degrees with little to no humidity.  Either people are too busy, don’t have the extra money to spend or are simply empty, losing their love for America’s summer pastime.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint, Isaiah 40:31.

Baseball is not the only thing in life people have grown cold toward.  The stress to provide for your family, struggle to fit in and the worries of each day can suck the life out of individuals.  Thus, people like me endure periods of feeling numb.  Though psychologists may call this depression, I think sometimes in life, people need to sort things out on their own.  When the malaise ends, you can snap out of it.  However, don’t be surprised when someone you love is quiet for a while until emptiness is replaced by joy.

by Jay Mankus

 

Human Inspired or from Above?

When an individual wakes up, the day can dictate one’s degree of excitement.  Anticipation for an activity, event or the weekend can produce adrenaline, enthusiasm and vigor for life.  However, sometimes the energy burst you receive may come from above?

“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?” – Mark 11:28

In the days of Jesus, his ministry was always under scrutiny.  Whether he was feeding the masses, performing a miracle or outwitting the Pharisees, religious leaders doubted his authenticity.  It wasn’t until Jesus used John the Baptist as an illustration to prove inspiration can come from above.

.John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”- Mark 11:30

Following a milestone or success story, individuals will give a myriad of responses.  Some will credit their coach, trainer or parents.  Others may reference their discipline, re-dedication  or state of the art training program.  However, a few will profess of a higher power, strength from above which ultimately led to their victory.  Although the media may not show all those who give glory to God, I believe human inspiration only takes you so far.  With this in mind, tap into the Holy Spirit to help reach your full potential.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Source of Wealth

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” – Deuteronomy 8:17

Upon their arrival and occupation of the promised land, Israel may have forgotten who provided for their needs.  Sensing a  spirit of pride among the ranks, Moses devotes an entire chapter to guard against forgetting the Lord.  After years of failure, the taste of success may have gone to some of their heads.

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. – Deuteronomy 8:18

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Moses sets the record straight, giving God the credit for Israel’s newly gained wealth.  Remembering the promise made to Abraham, Moses confirms the origin of their recent success, God’s covenant.  Perhaps the suffering Moses experienced in Egypt produced a grateful heart, thankful for the answered prayers.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. – Malachi 3:10

In modern times, an Old Testament prophet suggests an untapped potential of wealth can be found in tithing.  As current believers begin to practice giving a minimum of ten percent of their gross income to the church and needy causes, God unleashes financial blessings.  Although a prosperity gospel preached in numerous churches perverts this biblical principle, the more you trust in the Lord to provide for your needs, you will begin to believe God is the ultimate source of wealth.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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