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Tag Archives: trial and error

The Picture of Perfection

As a young aspiring athlete, my picture of perfection was the best player in every sport. Wayne Gretsky in hockey, Dr. J in basketball, Steve Carlton in baseball and Reggie White in football. Before the existence of social media, news was strictly based upon a player’s performance. Today, there is no picture of perfection as critics on the right and left pick apart rising stars like vultures during a feeding frenzy.

You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete [ak]maturity of godliness in mind and character, [al]having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect, Matthew 5:48.

The Sermon on the Mount points to perfection, but in the sense of striving towards it. The apostle Paul quotes an Old Testament prophet in Romans 3:9-12 to burst the bubble on human perfection. In case you haven’t heard, this is impossible as all men and women has fallen short of God’s glory despite how hard each has tried, Romans 3:23. Despite this painful reality, Hebrews 4:15-16 refers to Jesus as a great high priest who was a model of perfection, dying on our behalf.

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), [d]recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live], Ephesians 2:10.

If life is meant to be a series of trial and error, sooner or later you’ll start to take steps toward perfection. The apostle Paul compares God to a spiritual potter, constantly molding and fashioning us into His image, Romans 9:20-21. Meanwhile, Paul compares God to a carpenter in the passage above. Depending upon your gifts and talents, the Holy Spirit seeks to guide you toward the good works God has planned for you in the future, Philippians 1:6. As you keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, may your life resemble the fruits if God’s Spirit like a picture of spiritual perfection.

by Jay Mankus

Admirable, Fitting, and Good

I recently completely a six-month project of regrading my backyard in South Carolina. Prior to moving in, there was a 45 degree drop off at our property line due to having a house on the top of a hill. My brother-in-law Mike worked with a local landscaper to build a retaining wall along a 50 feet section in the middle of our backyard. While this was completed in March, moving 4 tons of sand/fill with wheel barrels took longer than expected. After sodding this area last weekend, I gave the final approval of this work.

God called the dry land Earth, and the accumulated waters He called Seas. And God saw that this was good (fitting, admirable) and He approved it, Genesis 1:10.

Like an artist completing a portrait, God gazed and reflected upon the land mass called the earth. At the end of the second day of creation, God approved of the work He had completed. Unfortunately, human beings often get caught up with what’s happening tomorrow that they fail to focus on what the Lord has allowed you to accomplish today. While I am a realistic, I need to be less critical of myself by developing a spirit of appreciation for all the accomplishments and blessings in my life.

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them], Philippians 4:8.

The apostle Pail writes about this positive mindset in the passage above. Perhaps, Paul learned this lesson from Jesus’ earthly brother, James 1:2-4. If you learn to consider the obstacles in life as the process and road to maturity, your perspective will change. Since part of life is trial and error, think about life lessons that are admirable, fitting, and good. While human emotions will cause knee jerk reactions in the future, accept this and move on to a healthier and positive state of mind.

by Jay Mankus

Who or What is Your Inspiration?

As a former professional athlete, part of my DNA is to find a way to improve daily. Sometimes this occurs naturally through trial and error, learning from the mistakes I make in life. While I rarely play video games anymore, I treat each day at work like a game, attempting to earn a new high score. This mentality was first conceived in me at a Youth Ministry Trade School that I attended in Minnesota back in 1993.

 [Yet] first [you must] understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of any personal or private or special interpretation (loosening, solving). 21 For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so—it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:20-21.

One of the methods Tentmakers incorporated was called “In What Ways Can We.” Using a tool called Green Light Thinking, students were given a few minutes to write down whatever came to your mind. Following this exercise, you would re-evaluate your list by adopting the best and most practical solutions. Since this 7-week training program transformed my life, this is who I’ve become, using writing as my ministry as I work to provide for my family.

I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them or to take them upon you or to grasp them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future], John 16:12-13.

The term Tentmakers comes from the apostle Paul who became a tentmaker to pay for his mission trips in the first century. While some churches did support Paul and his ministry team, making tents allowed Paul to follow God’s will for his life. Although I’d love to write full time as a screen writer or streaming service, my calling from God and inspiration is to share my faith through this blog, Express Yourself 4 Him.

by Jay Mankus

Where Has the Time Gone?

As I was writing my next screen play at a local McDonald’s, I watched a woman struggling to corral two out of control boys. Each time she turned away, both boys would launch their new Happy Meal toy into the air. One of these cars ended up under my table, reaching down to hand it to one of the boys. This encounter led to a flashback, turning back the clock to when Leanne and I would take James and Daniel to McDonald’s. A little whisper inside of me asked, “where has the time gone?”

Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse], James 1:17.

As a former teacher, I know what it’s like to lose control of an entire class. In my initial years, I would give out busy work to fill up any extra time remaining at the end of a period. These exercises gave the disciplined and focused students something to do, but there are always individuals who seek to extend and push the defined boundaries. As a parent, I understand why computers, television and videos are relied upon to entertain children. Yet, if you use this technique too often, it’s like trying a bribe kids with chocolate.

And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself], James 1:18.

Thus, there is a tendency to want to speed up time as a parent. To skip the terrible two’s for a more pleasant period in a child’s life. What parents and teachers fail to recognize is that life is about trial and error. When you fail miserably, you try something else to see if it works. One boy may hate being sent to time out while another enjoys being left alone in silent. Each day is a learning experience, an opportunity to improve and perfect the parenting process. Instead of wanting to fast forward to a more enjoyable age, seize each day that you have with your little boy or girl. When you do, you won’t have to wonder where has the time gone?

by Jay Mankus

When You Are Moving in the Wrong Direction

Whenever you find yourself in uncharted territory, common sense leads you to ask others who have been in a similar situation. If you just ask the first person that you find and respond accordingly, you might find yourself heading in the wrong direction or going to the wrong place Whether you are dealing with an illness like cancer, considering a career change or searching for wisdom to overcome a current obstacle, the more insight you compile the better.

When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean, Luke 17:14.

The man in the passage above is simply following the crowd, doing what the locals are accustom to do for a healed leper. This step was necessary to be fully restored back into society; receiving acceptance from spiritual leaders. While on his way to see a priest in Jerusalem, this Samaritan has a change of heart. This didn’t seem right as this man’s conscience told him to turn around. Whispers in his mind like, “why are you going to a priest instead of the One who healed you?” Some sort of internal struggle persuaded this man to turn around abruptly and return to Jesus.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; Luke 17:15.

When a couple leaves the hospital with a new born child for the first time, there is no handbook to follow step by step for the rest of your life. Sure, there are books you can read, classes you can take and grandparents to reach out to, but in the end you need to figure out what works and what doesn’t. This trial and error applies to most aspects of life, living and learning along the way. Yet, when your conscience is awakened, your heart is convicted and ears hear God’s still small voice, make sure you listen so you don’t end up going to the wrong place.

by Jay Mankus

The Unusual Path to Success

During a sleepless night off, I began channeling surfing to find something entertaining.  Using the scroll down future, I found a show entitled Finding Success Through Failure.  Hosted by John Stossel, this Fox Business Channel program examined unusual beginnings of famous companies.  For example, following a forty dollar fine for forgetting to return a video to the store, the concept to Netflix was born.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

For those entrepreneurs who fail multiple times, Stossel interviewed a couple of guests who honed in on grasping what went wrong during failed ventures.  These people go through a purification process using trial and error as a teaching aide.  Meanwhile, the spoiled, unprepared and weak often quit at the first sign of adversity.  Real life is not a fairy tale.  Rather, there are usually several road blocks, directional arrows and u-turns along the way before you arrive at the dream job.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.

When life throws you a curve ball, sometimes you have to reinvent yourself.  Five years ago I had aspirations of becoming a college professor, starting at a new community college.  When that plan was thwarted, I went into survival mode, throwing things up in the air to see what stuck.  Although I have found a home at Amazon for now, I believe I have what it takes to write movie scripts.  While I may not get to the career my choice, I’m ready to take the unusual path to success wherever it takes me.

by Jay Mankus

The Rise and Fall of Nations

During every election season, campaigns vie for votes, trying to convince cities, counties, states and nations that their candidate is most qualified for the job.  In this jousting of ideas, some politicians don’t have a record to run on.  Thus, victory is achieved through mudslinging, convincing potential voters through a series of exaggerations and lies that their opponent can’t be trusted.  When individuals don’t do their own research, nations can begin to crumble as those who get elected aren’t able to implement what they promised.

For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers, Proverbs 11:14.

As King of Israel, Solomon understood what qualities were necessary to become a godly ruler.  Whether through wisdom passed down by his father David or through trial and error, leadership is essential to keep God’s promised nation in step with God.  However, no one can do this alone as its vital to surround yourself with advisors, counselors and elders.  Unfortunately, this is a lesson that his son Rehoboam failed to accept, leading to a divided nation during his reign.

Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens, Exodus 18:21.

If you are one of those individuals classified as undecided, then the verse above will give you a measuring stick to narrow down your choice before November 8th.  Although many consider the Bible to be out dated, 3 qualities are recognized in honorable candidates.  First, individuals should fear God, then be trustworthy and finally refrain from and detest those trying to bribe you.  While there are other traits are important as well, may God guide you over the next month before you cast your vote on election day.

by Jay Mankus

 

What is God Cooking Now?

Anyone who desires or longs to be a cook may choose a career in culinary arts.  This school involves teaching students government standards, preparation procedures and provide wisdom about what it takes to be successful.  However, novice chefs tend to learn from trial and error.  Meanwhile, others learn the hard way that they don’t belong in the kitchen.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12.

Beyond menus and specials, God has His own way of cooking.  The Bible refers to methods like smelting, pottery and purification.  Trials in life are like sitting in a crock pot, slowing blending a myriad of ingredients into a tasty meal.  Likewise, God takes the gifts and talents individuals possess, using disappointment, heartache and setbacks to mold people into vessels, instruments ready to serve the kingdom of God.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13.

However, like secret recipes of famous restaurant chains, God’s seasoning is unknown.  There are instructions inside the Bible, but the time and temperature is still a mystery.  Faith is the missing link, the glue that holds the church together until the final dish is unveiled.  In the mean time, may the Lord give you guidance, patience and understanding as you eagerly wait for God to finish what’s brewing inside of you.

by Jay Mankus

Bouncing Back After Rejection

“There is nothing in this life that can destroy you but yourself. Bad things happen to everyone, but when they do, you can’t just fall apart and die. You have to fight back. If you don’t, you’re the one who loses in the end. But if you do keep going and fight back, you win.” – Alexandra Monir

For a scientist, trial and error is merely a series of experiments to ascertain whether or not your theory is correct.  Thomas Edison didn’t give up after ten, one hundred or one thousand failed tests.  Rather, he pressed on, bouncing back after countless rejections to invent the light bulb.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me, Philippians 4:12-13.

In today’s climate, you have to be mentally tough to survive.  The best baseball hitters in history only succeeded thirty three percent of the time.  Perfectionists would never survive this degree of failure.  Thus, perspective is crucial to mustering up the strength to carry on.

But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded, 2 Chronicles 15:7.

Last weekend I received my third rejection letter in the past four years in my quest to become a professional screenwriter.  My first movie, Express Yourself never had a chance, not knowing the proper format to get noticed.  The second, Behind the Devil’s Door was better, yet after submitting it I realized the flaw of my conclusion.  Sometimes I wonder if I should continue with my third, Dragged Behind the Devil’s Door or invest my time in something else.  Despite thoughts of doubt, I can’t quit until I feel like I’ve done everything in my power to make this dream a reality.  Therefore, regardless of the adversity that you endure, ask God to give you the faith to bounce back following rejection.

by Jay Mankus

Getting Close to God’s Heart

To sense the invisible, God created human beings with a conscious, a general awareness to lead you to the right path.  Beyond the ability to feel, hear, see, taste and touch, it takes time to draw near to God.  For some getting close to the Lord’s heart is a lifelong journey, using trial and error to find your way.

And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD, Psalm 148:14.

Along this search, obstacles, road closures and temptation pop up causing some to quit, giving up before acquiring a heart like David.  Finding the time the read the Bible, prayer and meditate on God’s principles is hard to fit into one’s daily schedule.  Thus the thought of getting close to God’s heart becomes a pipe dream for most, content with a mediocre faith.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

According to Jesus, the heart is like a treasure chest, Luke 6:43-45.  What people store up inside come out in the form of actions, behavior and words.  The moment souls are irritated, pushed or prodded, either good or evil will come out.  In view of this reality, its essential to guard your heart, Proverbs 4:23, nourishing it with the promises of God in the Bible.  Then and only then will seekers begin to get close to God’s heart.

by Jay Mankus

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