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Tag Archives: trust in God

Running Away from the Hand of God

After the death of Joseph, who God used to save Egypt from a historic famine, future leaders forgot his impact on their country.  When Pharaoh Rameses II rose to power, the once favored Jews became enslaved for 400 years.  Four centuries leader, God chose a man named Moses to lead Israel to a promised land, free from slavery.  Despite this hardship, the Lord was afraid that Israel might change their mind by returning to Egypt and accept a state of misery.

So it happened, when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearer; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war [that is, that there will be war], and return to Egypt,” Exodus 13:17. 

Upon the banks of the Red Sea, the Egyptian army was on the verge of surrounding Israel when the hand of God intervened.  Like a scene out of a tsunami movie, one million Jews walked to the other side before a wall of water returned to swallow up chariots and soldiers.  For the eyewitnesses, this event should have transformed their faith forever.  Yet, based upon the words of Moses in Exodus, some began to convince others to return to Egypt rather than trust in God to provide manna from heaven.

Further, he shall not acquire many [war] horses for himself, nor make the people return to Egypt in order to acquire horses [to expand his military power], since the Lord said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again, Deuteronomy 17:16.

As crazy as this may seem, modern believers continue to run away from the hand of God.  Despite countless miracles, signs and wonders, the faith of some have become weak.  The Lord doesn’t want his people to go back to being enslaved, yet weak minds can cause faith to crumble.  Jonah ran away from God in the opposite direction rather than following his call to go to Nineveh.  Unfortunately, my own actions reflect a similar pattern, doing what I want to do.  If only I would let go and trust God, I will see the hand of God at work rather than running away due to fear.

by Jay Mankus

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I Don’t Know How He Does It

The thought of patience is foreign to me.  I have a short fuse, easily enraged by obstacles that get in my way, slow me down or become a burden to me in any manner.  So when I read the Bible, the command to love, be patient and kind seems impossible to achieve.  The idea of forgiving and loving enemies is hard to comprehend.  Nonetheless, when religious leaders and the people who followed Jesus turned on him, shouting for death by crucifixion, this Man practiced what He preached.  Moments from death, Jesus cried out to his heavenly father, “forgive them for they know not what they do.”  I don’t know how He did this?

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

The context of the passage above shines light on the nature of God.  Anyone can talk a good game, pretend to be good person or use money to influence the general public.  However, if you don’t display love, all of your gifts and talents are meaningless.  The apostle Paul uses the analogy of a clanging symbol to prove his point.  You may be an amazing musician, but without love you are nothing.  Perhaps, people inside of church at Corinth were forgetting the purpose of being a Christian, becoming Christ like is all aspects of life.  Essentially, Paul was trying to prove a point, this is not how you do it.

Let all that you do be done in love, 1 Corinthians 16:14.

Today, many believers fail miserably, unable to love, display patience or be kind.  Part of this failure is due to a departure of complete trust in God.  Rather, the temptation to be self-reliant has trumped faith.  Instead of undergoing a subtle spiritual transformation, the world is winning, with compromise after compromise.  If the apostle Paul struggled to defeat temptation, Romans 7:14-18, everyone will face a similar fate.  In the meantime, yield to God, surrendering control of your life.  When you do, the mercy God displayed for you can flow outwardly toward others.  While I still don’t know how Jesus loved the unlovable, let all that you do be inspired by love.

by Jay Mankus

Quitters Focus on the Wrong Things

1. Success is the process of arriving, not victory.

Instant gratification often causes the casual athlete, fan or participant to give up before seeing the fruits of their labor.  Christian apologist Clive Staples Lewis defines success as the process of arriving in his book Mere Christianity.  Unfortunately, a spirit of perfection leads many to fail to comprehend this mindset.  Thus, every year individuals stop pursuing their dreams, end a career prematurely or quit their jobs due to a lack of satisfaction.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established, Proverbs 16:3.

2. Failure is a blue print for knowing what does not work.

In 1994, my fiance gave me her blessing to pursue professional golf in 1995.  I spent the first three months playing on the Tommy Armour Tour, a mini-tour based in Florida.  The day before my first tournament, I completely changed my swing.  After three humbling tournaments, I made my way up north to Ohio before participating in Qualifying School on Vancouver Island for the Canadian P.G.A. tour.  After being even par after 4 holes, I fell apart missing the 36 hole cut.  Looking back, if I would have waited one year before turning professional, I would have had a better chance.  Yet, for now, I know what not to do.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever, Psalm 73:26.

3. Humility strips away pride, prompting hearts to trust in God, not self.

One of the hardest things to determine in life is knowing when to say when.  For me, it didn’t take long for me to realize I didn’t belong on the P.G.A. tour.  Facing failure tends to strip away arrogance, especially when you come to the reality “I can’t do this.”  However, today I struggle with determining if I have done everything possible in power to ensure success.  In the past, when I’ve allowed frustration to dictate my decision making, I quit before the timing was right.  Therefore, before you make a rash decision in the future, make sure you trust in the Lord’s understanding instead of yourself.

In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight, Proverbs 3:6.

by Jay Mankus

A Prayer for the Verbally Assaulted

Canadian born Rock Star Bryan Adams was right when he sang “love cuts like a knife.”  Lesser known contemporary singer Wes King added to this concept, focusing on Sticks and Stones which wound human souls.  Whether you hear it through the grapevine, feel it through dirty looks or experience harsh words first hand, no one likes to be verbally assaulted.

Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues, Psalm 120:2.

When gossip spreads, innuendos fly and rumors begin to sway people against you, helplessness can consume your heart.  Thus, if no one has your back to set the record straight, a supernaturally intervention is often necessary.  Although the context may be different, desperate individuals cry out to the heavens asking for a shell of protection against the flaming arrows of evil spewed from the mouths of bitter people.

Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.  I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war. – Psalm 120:6-7

Although verbal attacks will continue throughout your lifetime, make sure you don’t lower yourself to others’ standards or begin to stoop to a level of pettiness.  Rather, as the curses come forth, place your trust in God above, leaning on the Lord in times of distress, Psalm 120:1.  The moment you sense an urge to retaliate, make sure you choose your words wisely.  As difficult as it may be, follow the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you want others to do unto you.  If successful, your act of kindness will fulfill the words of Proverbs 25:22, heaping coals on the heads of those you verbally assault you.

by Jay Mankus

What You’ve Got Left

Aspiring athletes and students are always looking for an edge, seeking to attain new heights.  Meanwhile, coaches and teachers use motivational speeches to get the most out of their pupils, trying to maximize their God given talents.  However, sometimes you need to remember the words of Job, “the Lord gives and takes away.”  Thus, whether you’re enduring a trial in life, struggling your way through a test or trying to stop a losing streak, God only has one question for you: what do you have left?

The apostle Paul shares this sentiment, reflecting upon a physical ailment he was forced to accept, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  Paul’s health concerns led him to embrace this situation, leaning on the Lord to help him cope with daily pain.  Humbled and helpless, Paul found inner strength when he placed his trust in God with what he had left.  Once he reached this point in his life, Paul uncovered the power of Christ in human weakness.

As for me, I find myself doing just the opposite, relying on my own strengths and talents to get by.  The end result has been predictable, lacking joy, peace and unfulfilled in my current state of life.  Despite my failures, I serve a God of second chances, able to rescue me from myself, Psalm 91:14-15.  Therefore, if you find yourself in a similar predicament, swallow your pride by giving God what you’ve got left.

When has Christ shined through your weaknesses?

by Jay Mankus

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