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When Time is the Enemy?

Depending upon by your occupation, time is often a driving force, setting daily deadlines for the work that needs to get done.  As this specific hour approaches, stress builds as a team of individuals scramble to complete projects and tasks.  When deadlines are missed, blame is assigned to designate who or what department is at fault.  Thus, under these circumstances, time is the enemy.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

Anyone who works a normal five day week, experiences another aspect of time.  When your responsibilities at work overwhelm your soul, time has a way of dragging on, slowing down to the point that one hour feels like 90 minutes.  Meanwhile, weekends fly by like a Nascar race.  As soon as you sit down to relax for a while, your weekend is gone and over.  If you don’t love your job, getting up Monday morning to repeat this vicious cycle will wear you down.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, 2 Peter 3:8.

In the song Somewhere Somehow, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith sing about moments in life when time is the enemy.  One of my favorite stanzas contain the words “Somewhere far beyond today I will find a way to find you And somehow through the lonely nights I will leave a light in the dark.  While the will to love someone on earth may make this a reality, only God will leave a light on in the dark.  Thus, when time becomes an enemy, it’s never too late come to Jesus, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

The Passing

Time can serve as a foe or a friend.  When you are young, classes, days or months may drag on seeming endless.  Yet, special moments are portions of time that you never want to end, savoring each second while it lasts.  Unfortunately, all things in life will eventually pass.

Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah, Psalm 39:5.

Human being shouldn’t be surprised by death.  God created Adam out of dust and Job came to the realization from “ashes we were created and to dust we will return.”  As great as celebrating the birth of a new child can be, the news of death can ruin your day.  When I called my father to tell him Leanne was pregnant for the first time, he responded your grandmother is dead.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes, James 4:14.

The worst aspect of any passing is for those who don’t get the chance to say goodbye.  My dog Autumn passed away earlier in the week after being part of the family for over ten years.  While Autumn and I had our differences, it’s strange not seeing her by our bed each morning.  Since my son Daniel was at a baseball game, he never got the chance to say a final goodbye.  Whether its a person or a pet, live each day like its your last so you take the time to say goodbye to those whom you love.

by Jay Mankus

 

Time’s Up

Even when you stop for a while to sit down and rest, there’s always a clock running somewhere in the world.  Whether its Time Square, Big Ben or a clock in your house, time never stops ticking.  When your time is up on earth, the Lord will send someone else to finish any task that you were unable to complete.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

One of the nice things about time is that after 24 hours everything resets to zero.  Subsequently, each day should be a learning process, a chance to improve on the mistakes of yesterday.  Solomon suggests that those open to teaching will receive a heart of wisdom.

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:16.

Like the tragedy at the Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida, days can turn evil at any point.  In the case of today, five innocent individuals were taken from this planet.  Life can be cruel when someone who is influenced by powers of darkness exercises free will with the intent to harm others.  May God have mercy on those who time has expired, divinely providing for family members left behind on earth.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Lost Days

I’m not sure how or why it happens, but a couple of times each year I wake up and a week, month or season has suddenly vanished.  Perhaps, my tunnel vision is too blame, so caught up by my job, project and other pursuits that I failed to slow down to embrace life.  Subsequently, I am left to wonder what did I miss on these lost days.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes, James 4:14.

Unfortunately, you can’t get these moments in time back.  Although the catch phrase to the soap opera theme song Days of Our Lives may be simple, “like sand through an hour glass, these are the days of our lives,” its so true.  The apostle Paul concurs, comparing each day to a fine mist which disappears as soon as the sun comes out.  The only question remaining: what is the best approach to prevent future opportunities from slipping through your hands?

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

The answer lies in a powerful Latin saying, Carpe Diem, seize the day.  One of my favorite scenes from the movie Dead Poets Society occurs on the first day of class.  Trying to avoid the normal boring routine, Robin Williams who plays English teacher John Keating, takes his class for a walk down the hall.  Using school history as a teachable moment, Williams provides hope for those struggling with the lost days.  May you exercise your faith by savoring the time you have left with your children, friends and family.  Seize today!

by Jay Mankus

You Can’t Have Favor Without the But

The idea of taking a short cut is enticing, saving time and effort.  However, if this risk doesn’t pay off, unfortunate souls are left to swim in a pool of disappointment.  When success becomes a distant memory, blame is often shifted to the big Guy upstairs.  Nonetheless, you can’t experience the favor of God until you display the but.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. – Daniel 1:8

For those of you have who been disenfranchised by faith, you need to draw your attention toward a teenager from Israel.  Despite living through the fall of Judah to Babylon, Daniel remained faithful to the values instilled in him by his parents.  When encouraged to abandon the practices of his youth, Daniel resolved not to defile himself.  God did not bless this young man until the but prompted Daniel to take a stand.

Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel – Daniel 1:9.

Years prior to this event, one of the forefathers of faith helped connect the dots to the hand of God.  According to Moses, obedience is the first step to obtaining the Lord’s favor, Deuteronomy 28:1.   Yet, unless the commands of the Bible are carefully followed, favor will be unattainable.  In modern times, developing a Matthew 6:33 mindset is a great starting point, opening the door for one to receive God’s daily bread.  May this blog help you see the but comes first before God’s favor.

by Jay Mankus

 

Reaching Your Desired Destination

Whether you’re a child busy day dreaming or an adult trying to crunch financial numbers, everyone has a desired destination.  Some dreams may appear lofty, others middle of the road with a few unrealistic.  Nonetheless, without vision, people perish, Hosea 4:6, dying inside without anything tangible to live for.

Israel longed for a promised land, African Americans envisioned a nation free from slavery and the poor seek a life without hunger.  On the road to success, doubt, a lack of resources and time stand in the way.  Depending upon the voices you hear, the people you surround yourself with and what you choose to believe, your destination may be altered, seeing but never reaching the Land of Oz.

The apostle Paul understood this concept, writing to the church in Philippi, Philippians 3:12-14.  Pride didn’t get in the way of his goal.  Despite his past ideology, Paul set his mind on heaven.  While his life was cut short on earth, martyred for his belief in Christ, faith allowed this servant of God to reach his desired destination.  May promises like Philippians 1:6 encourage you to never waiver until you arrive where you belong.

by Jay Mankus

 

Do You Remember When?

Time has a way of skewing our memories.  When life is great, people expect things to continue, letting the good times roll.  On the other hand, as soon as the tide turns, individuals are shocked by unfortunate events like death, illness or trials.

Every so often, I will do something to aggravate my ribs that I broke last winter.  This soreness serves as a reminder of a scary moment in my life.  Unable to breathe, cringing in pain, I watched helplessly while a dozen Emergency Room attendants prepared for my surgery.  As the painkillers knocked me out, I wasn’t sure if I would ever wake up again.

Nine months later, I am thankful for life, a great job and wonderful family.  If it wasn’t for the cold weather, I might have forgotten this traumatic event.  Yet, the Lord brought this to my attention while reading Psalm 105.  Just as the Lord inspired Jewish leaders to remind Israel of God’s covenant to Abraham, the Holy Spirit brought to recall the healing power of the Great I Am.

by Jay Mankus

Faith Beyond Comprehension

Before the first rain drop touched earth, mankind had lost touch with God.  Like a New Year’s Celebration, out with the old and in with the new, boundaries were eliminated.  This mentality is described in Genesis 6:1-6, causing the Lord grief.  In an age of wickedness, Noah found favor with the Lord.  Unlike Adam and Eve, Noah actually did everything the Lord commanded, Genesis 6:22.  Building an ark the size of a football prior to the existence of rain, now that’s faith beyond comprehension.

Abraham was an old man when the Lord came calling.  The thought of a nation as massive as the sand on the seashore must have been enticing, Genesis 12:1-3.  However, there’s just one problem, elderly men don’t have children with elderly women.  As time ticked away year by year, most people would have given up, quit and called it a life.  Just as a doctor once confirmed in Luke 1:37, “nothing is impossible with God” so Abraham held on until his first child was born.

Today, skepticism abounds, with countless souls disappointed by lies, hypocrisy and unbelievable promises.  Although in their hearts they want to believe, troubled minds hardly ever come around to faith, side tracked by doubt.  Perhaps the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16 still serves as a stumbling block to the wise.  A fool doesn’t have much to lose whereas the wise have their reputation to hold on to.   Regardless of the barriers that are present, may Christ like lives and transformed saints shine light into a dark world so that faith can be embraced by the lost.

by Jay Mankus

Coping With the Silence of Death

Three weeks ago, Nascar driver Tony Stewart was living his dream, driving and racing on whatever surface he could find.   While competing on a dirt track race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Stewart spun out Kevin Ward going into a corner.  One lap later, Kevin got out of his vehicle, stepped toward on coming traffic and was struck by Tony’s back tire.  Flying several feet in the air backwards, Kevin laid motionless as a hushed crowd waited, not sure if what they saw was real.  This is the silence of death.

One of the biggest mistakes individuals make at a funeral is to try to relate with someone who has just lost a loved one.  Although your words may be eloquent and motivated by compassion, the silence of death is different for each person.  Some never recover, like a widow who dies shortly after their spouse passes away.  Others go through months or years of depression before the sun shines upon their bruised and broken soul.  Regardless of where you fit into this spectrum, the silence of death takes its course, using time, reflection and seeking God to ease the pain.

An unnamed author provides insight to the process of healing.  According to Psalm 93:16-17, divine intervention is sent from heaven to those struggling to carry on with life.  Whether through angels, friends or the power of the Holy Spirit, God reaches down to give footing for those slipping away, Psalm 94:18.  Though anger is a natural emotion connection with death, consolation comes once you let go of “what if, why me and how could you?”  As the silence of death lingers for those still not able to cope with this harsh reality, may joy rain from heaven to touch and encourage your soul, Psalm 94:19.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where Did the Summer Go?

Boredom, enjoyment and time have a unique connection.  When experiencing something dull or uninteresting, time seems to drag, slowing down to a crawl as you check the clock regularly.  On the other hand, as you indulge in a leisure activity that you love, times often flies by at warp speed.  Perhaps, this may explain where the summer went.

At the end of June, I got the news of my promotion at work.  Initially, time ticked away at a normal pace.  Yet, by the time families book this weekend, plan that weekend and try to fit in some old acquaintances, September is on the horizon.  Unfortunately, the older I become, time appears to vanish, with entire months disappearing from the calendar.  Where did the summer go?  Maybe its stored away in one’s heart, separating the cherished memories from the moments you would like to forget.

As for now, the Lord’s brother provides great advice for those trying to make sense of time, James 4:13-15.  Since today has enough trouble of its own, each soul must savor the remaining days of summer.  Although you may not be able to check off something from your bucket list, a day at the beach, fishing, taking a drive in the country or watching the sunset will certainty relieve stress.  Before Labor Day arrives, soak in the sun while you still have time.  Feel free to share what your favorite summer pastime?

by Jay Mankus

 

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