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Tag Archives: survive

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

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Designed for More

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. – Romans 12:11

Human beings are often creatures of habit, celebrating the highs and struggling through the lows.  Somewhere in between, joy, passion and zeal for life can be temporary lost.  For many, these emotions are never found except for periods of good news from time to time.  Despite what you encounter, God has designed you for more.

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” – John 2:17

According to Matthew 5:48, Jesus wants his followers to strive for perfection.  Yet, despite this plea many coast through life, living pay check to pay check trying to survive.  Stress induced by financial strain can suck the energy out of the strongest.  Thus, people settle for the ordinary rather than seek the extraordinary will God has designed for you.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

The promise of Jeremiah 29:11 reminds me of God’s plans for prosperity and success.  Furthermore, the Lord’s work is not a waste of time.  Rather, Philippians 1:6 confirms the Holy Spirit will carry what we started, a life of faith, to completion.  Therefore, commit yourself to becoming a servant of the kingdom as you were designed for more than just an average life.

Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. – James 5:20

by Jay Mankus

 

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

A few years ago, an atheist neighbor cried out to Jesus late in the evening.  When his dog got loose once again, she ran in front of  a car traveling down the street.  With little time to react, this accident could not be avoided.  As his dog struggled to survive, his prayer was fervent, “O Jesus, don’t let my dog die!”  On his way to a local vet, this prayer was repeated several times, speeding off in his SUV.  Unfortunately, sometimes our prayers don’t get answered or the outcome we desire is not fulfilled, ending in another pet tragedy.

Following the terrorists attack on the United States during September 11th, 2001, millions of Americans dropped to their knees to pray.  In this moment of despair, people turned to houses of prayer seeking comfort.  When the South Tower of the World Trade Center came crumbling to the ground at 9:58 am, several thousand were thought to be dead.  Although nearly 3000 did pass away in 3 different states, desperation led countless individuals to re-evaluate their lives.  As a result, families were conceived, relationships renewed and faith born again.

Thirteen years later, the worse is yet to come.  If the book of Revelation is correct, there will be 7 seven years of tribulation, unlike anything the world has seen before.  Once the prophecies within the Bible have been fulfilled, Jesus will return.  Though no one knows the exact day or time, signs have been left as clues to the future in Matthew 24.  I won’t speculate like many false prophets of the past, yet God will continue to use desperate times to achieve His will.  If you reach a point of desolation, may the promise of Psalm 102:17 lead God to hear and answer your prayers.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Sounds of Violence

Yesterday, I was taking a walk on a cart path just north of down town Wilmington.  With a fence separating this golf course from nearby neighborhoods, I began to hear some commotion a few blocks away.  Voices gradually increased in volume, leading to a fervent disagreement between 2 individuals.  Others joined in yelling back and forth.  Memories of school yard fights flashed before my mind.  However, on this day, no fists, knives or guns were raised, just the sound of violence.

A few years ago in Newark, while having practice with my sons baseball team, I wasn’t as fortunate.  When a suspicious car rolled slowly through an adjacent street, several rounds of bullets were fired.  Before I knew it, I experienced my first drive by shooting, pulling the team quickly off the field into the building behind home plate.  The gunman proceeded to cross a creek behind the left field foul line, run across a field and hid near the University of Delaware until a police helicopter found him about a half hour later.  This time the sound of violence was too close for comfort.

The apostle Paul warned first century Christian’s that this day would come, 2 Timothy 3:1-5.  His words were prophetic as children are regularly disobedient to adults and their parents.  Junior high and senior high teachers are now front row witnesses since the sound of violence has entered the classroom, especially in public education.  The consequence of this reality is persecution, with Christ absorbing this anger and hatred on the cross, Isaiah 53:3-11.  May the hope of this fulfilled prophecy help you overcome the sound of violence.

Please comment on how God has helped you rise above the violence in our world.

by Jay Mankus

 

One Another

The pied piper is often a dynamic leader who attracts others to follow his cause and ways.  However, without consistency, these individuals can be abandoned, left for someone or something better.  If there is no one around to inspire you, people tend to fall back into their complacent habits.  Perhaps, this is where you and I fit into God’s puzzle.

The author of Hebrews is a mystery, with a few candidates, but no clear clue to unveil the actual writer.  Nonetheless, this book contains essential instructions for church goers sitting in the pew.  According to Hebrews 10:23-25, one another are placed into a congregation to call other believers to persevere when the going get’s tough.  When a situation appears hopeless, the faithful are encouraged to be a voice of reason, uplifting disappointed souls.

King Solomon thought so highly of this concept, he suggests one another is crucial to overcoming oppression, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

1. One worker can motivate the other to reach their goal for the day, setting the tone for others to follow.

2. A friend can help their mate if one falls down or is tired, picking up the other to press on another day.

3. If lost, two people can endure cold temperatures together, surviving until a search and rescue team arrives.

4. Finally, alone one person can be over powered, but two soldiers can band together to defend themselves.

God designed human being to spur one another on  toward love and good deeds, Hebrews 10:24.  In view of this truth, Christians should be inspired to continue meeting together, holding their peers accountable, verse 25.  Without another, all you’re left with is one, separated from the flock with the devil waiting to pounce, 1 Peter 5:8.

by Jay Mankus

Sunup to Sundown

Beginning December 1st, I will only witness the sun on Sunday’s over the next 3 weeks leading up to Christmas.  As the peak shopping season has commenced, I am planning to spend 18 of the next 21 days at work, from sunup to sundown.  Since my shift starts at 7am and goes until 5:30 pm, the sun doesn’t rise before I arrive and has set well before my ride home.  While there are plenty of lights inside, for now making enough money to survive is of vital importance.

At least for one month, I can relate to the schedule Moses kept during Israel’s 40 year trek in the wilderness, prior to experiencing the promised land, Exodus 18:13-14.  That is until Jethro, a concerned father in law, intervened, providing Moses with a plan to elevate his stress level.  Although I will miss several opportunities for fun in the sun, the bigger picture is etched in my mind.  Despite the exhaustion and pain my body will endure, a large paycheck will make Christmas that much more merrier, knowing I will have the funds to pay off most of our bills.

As a child, I went to sleep every night listening to Here Comes the Sun by the Beattles off their Abbey Road album.  Before the days of itunes, mp3 players, CD’s and cassettes, all I had was a hand me down record player with an 8 track deck.  It wasn’t much, but I treasured this possession, taking good care of it for nearly 20 years until I could afford to buy a new stereo.  Thus, I had a tradition, when the sun set and my lights went out, I maneuvered the needle just in the right place, listened to the dust, occasionally making a skipping sound and feel asleep dreaming of another day of the sun rising over the ocean.  In this Christmas season, may the sun shine bright on your life and family.

by Jay Mankus

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