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Tag Archives: trust in the Lord

The Worry Meter

Joyce Meyer blames human nature for the cause of worry in an article on this topic.  Troubled and uneasy feelings haunt millions of Americans daily.  Demons, the devil and powers of darkness prey on these raw emotions, causing many to worry beyond what is reasonable.  When conditions are ripe, panic attacks come on suddenly, involving intense and often overwhelming fear.  Panic attacks can happen to anyone, yet multiple occurrences can be a sign of a panic disorder.  When you add anxiety to this condition, the anticipation of a stressful event or situation, the worry meter starts BEEPING intensely.

Jesus said to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; or about your body, as to what you will wear,” Luke 12:22.

In the passage above, Jesus refers to three main sources of worry.  Depending upon how you want to classify daily concerns, food, health and clothing are basic essentials.  The poor may not know where their next meal will come from.  Those in debt may have to choose the cost of health care over hearty meals.  Teenagers may be forced to buy clothes at resale shops just to have money for other activities in high school.  In terms of worry, the amount of money available to you will often dictate the degree to which you become stressed.  Some concerns will be superficial, based upon social status.  Meanwhile, those without a place to call home will not rest until shelter is found.  No matter what your situation, an internal worry meter is tracking your emotions.

So it is for the one who continues to store up and hoard possessions for himself, and is not rich [in his relationship] toward God,” Luke 12:21.

The worry meter tends to reflect your relationship with God.  However, there is a catch, a glitch.  The closer you get to God, the more the Holy Spirit reveals your imperfections.  Thus, as some draw near to God, there is a hesitancy to get closer.  To avoid conviction, you may chose to go in the opposite direction, taking a break from God for a while.  Whatever your situation may be, Jesus wants his followers to become rooted in Christ, Philippians 2:6-7.  As your relationship with God improves, your level of worry should decline.  Trusting God and worry are reciprocal, polar opposites that work against one another.  If you want to reduce your own worry meter, the Bible offers solutions.  Solomon suggests to trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5-6.  Meanwhile, Jesus urges people to seek God first and his righteous, Matthew 6:33-34, then all the things you are worrying about will be given unto you.  May you put this advice into action so that the worry meter will quickly return to low levels.

by Jay Mankus

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What are You Hiding From…Waiting For?

The concept of a superman was conceived into a fictional comic book character by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938.  Forty years later, Christopher Reeves starred in the movie, disguising himself as Clark Kent, a mild-mannered newspaper reporter at the Daily Planet.  Unsure of how or when to reveal his super powers, Clark waits until his adult life to introduce himself to the world.  Perhaps, Superman was afraid, not sure how he would be received.  This fear, although subtle as it might have been, prevented miraculous acts from being demonstrated daily.

Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, and his son Gideon was beating wheat in the wine press [instead of the threshing floor] to [hide it and] save it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O brave man,” Judges 6:11-12.

Human beings can have fragile psyches, especially when confidence is lacking.  In the passage above, you find a mighty warrior working in a blue collar job.  Before Gideon became a famous Old Testament leader, he lived in relative obscurity.  Whether Gideon was hiding, waiting or uncertain about the next move to make in life, an angel of the Lord reminded him of his calling in life.  Gideon wasn’t just a hard working man, he was brave commander who needed a slight nudge from God.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said, “And we are coming with you.” So they went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. As morning was breaking, Jesus [came and] stood on the beach; however, the disciples did not know that it was Jesus, John 21:3-4.

After Jesus died on a cross, the disciples lost their leader.  After a couple days of mourning, Peter appears to fall back on his former life as a fisherman.  Peter convinces a couple of the disciples to go with him, staying out all night to fish.  When this trips turns out to be a complete failure, Jesus arrives on the scene to save the day.  Following what some refer to as the First Breakfast, Jesus gives Peter a pep talk.  The subtitle of this conversation, John 21:15-17, in my Bible is love motivation.  Jesus reminds Peter of his spiritual identity, petra, the rock upon which Jesus will build an earthly church.

The Lord is good to those who wait [confidently] for Him, To those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word], Lamentations 3:25.

For the past six years, my life has been in a holding pattern.  To a certain extent, I can relate to Gideon and Peter, stuck in a transitional period.  Yet, at some point I have to come out of the doldrums.  What am I hiding from?  What am I waiting for before I act?  Perhaps, I need to turn my attention to the Old Testament, putting into practice Lamentations 3:25.  May this blog inspire you to get off the bench and get into the spiritual game called life.  Trust in the Lord, lean on the Holy Spirit for understanding and God will straighten your path for the future.

by Jay Mankus

Losing Faith in the Media

Prior to the introduction of cable and the internet, most Americans only had four to six channels available on their television.  If you wanted to keep up with current events, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC provided local news at six, followed by world news at 6:30pm.  Names such as Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Bob Schieffer, Mike Wallace and Barbara Walters were the people in the media that my parents trusted.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5.

If my father left for a business trip, he took the local newspaper delivered to our home daily.  Whenever my dad went away for a conference, national papers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or some other financial magazine were reliable sources for news.  However, when CNN introduced the concept of a twenty four hour cable news network in 1980, the trust factor began to fade as news started to become more and more sensational to attract new viewers.

Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:20-21.

Today, as new competitors have entered the arena of cable news, the quality of reporting has declined.  Channels that share common worldviews use talking points to communicate a unified message.  As you switch networks, it seems like several anchors and reporters are reading from the same teleprompter.  Meanwhile, assumptions are regularly made about mainstream Americans which ignore most of the heartland in this country.  As this trend continues, I am offended weekly by members of the media.  Thus, I have reached a point in my life where the less news I hear, the better I feel about life.  This may explain why a growing number of Americans have lost faith in the media.

by Jay Mankus

Whose Hands Are You Holding?

Assurance, confidence, dependence and expectation are words associated with trust.  Human beings have a tendency to become co-dependent, relying on someone or something.  In the Peanuts Cartoon, Charles Schultz developed a character, Linus, who couldn’t function without his security blanket.  Meanwhile, some individuals can be insecure, clinging to family, friends or strangers when loneliness sets in.  Depending upon the circumstance, whose hands you hold during times of trials reflect whom you ultimately trust.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5.

One day, a father took his son aside to discuss an important life lesson.  This conversation is condensed in the passage above.  Solomon who received wisdom from the Lord passed his insight down to one of his many sons.  This command goes against mainstream beliefs, urging readers to hold God’s hand when you don’t understand why something is happening.  Like faith in the dark, when life takes unexpected twists and turns, trust in the Lord with all your heart.  This action suggests that you are all in, clinging to God’s hand.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! – Psalm 40:4

Solomon’s father, David, provides his own perspective of trust in the passage above.  From a man who went from a lowly shepherd to king of Israel, David recognizes God’s role in his ascension to the throne.  David views his status as a blessing from trusting the Lord as a child.  Unfortunately, some people handle success poorly, boasting and taking all the credit themselves.  If you want to guard against arrogance and pride, make sure that you are holding God’s hand, looking up instead of trusting in your own understanding.

by Jay Mankus

What am I Doing and Where am I Going?

I was introduced to the concept of evaluation early on as a youth director.  Through conferences, seminars and a youth ministry trade school, I learned the importance of gaining feedback from participants.  During my decade of teaching high school, I incorporated this into my curriculum, encouraging students to be critical, honest and fair.  After years of fine tuning, the last day of each class I asked five questions.  What did you like?  What did you dislike?  What topic(s) did I not spent enough time addressing?  What topic(s) did I spent too much time covering?  What changes would you make to improve this class?  After giving students five minutes in silence to write down their opinions, I gave individuals an open forum to express their feelings verbally if so inclined.  While some discussion were brief, others carried on for several minutes.  These papers were collected, stored in notes books and became the foundation for improving my curriculum each summer.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

Unfortunately, outside of the classroom it’s easy to become so consumed with life that you forget what you’re really doing and where your going?  Thus, I must confess that as I write blog after blog, I often forget the purpose for Express Yourself 4Him.  Initially, I wanted to create a modern day diary using the Confessions of Augustine as my inspiration.  The autobiography of this 4th century theologian from Hippo details Augustine’s conversion to Christ and the evolution of his understanding of the Bible.  As Augustine reflected on life while sitting on his back porch, the Holy Spirit began to unveil pieces to the puzzle called life.  Over the weekend, God convicted me of my haphazard nature, sensing a need to become more focused.  Thus, in the coming days, weeks and year, I plan on focusing on two main areas.  First, continue to use the Bible to help explain and understand current events.  Second, become more interactive by using the comments I receive as a source for future blogs.  If I don’t help my readers address their concerns, issues and problems of others, I’m missing an opportunity to use my God given gift.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you, Psalm 32:8.

If you have ever played a team sport team, sometimes the play called by a coach is flawed.  If you are quick or shrewd enough, you might be able to freelance enough to turn a loss into a gain.  This same concept applies to life.  There will be circumstances, days and scenarios where what normally works is ineffective.  Therefore, you have to improvise, change while on the fly.  This is where individuals must learn to place their sole trust in the Lord.  Yes, like anything else, this can be scary, requiring blind faith.  Like the Psalmist suggests above, this leap of faith involves counsel, instruction and teaching.  If you really want to make sure you are on the right track, Bible Study, prayer and worship is available to most everyone.  As I start my sixth as a blogger in February, I pray that the Lord enables me to keep in step with the Holy Spirit so I can minister to those in need.

by Jay Mankus

Looking for Answers in ALL the Wrong Places

Between self help books and talk shows, these avenues have become popular sources for finding answers to problems in life.  Internet sites like You Tube have a plethora of videos for almost everything that you need to do around the house.  Instead of seeking the advice of godly counsel, elders, parents or guardians, most people are becoming self-sufficient formulating answers on their own.

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, Psalm 13:2-3.

In the days of his youth, David spent the majority of his time as a shepherd.  Watching over his families flock, David regularly stayed out in the fields overnight, guarding these sheep.  There wasn’t a book on how to ward off bears or wolves.  Rather, David was forced to trust in the Lord, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide this flock to green and safe pastures.  Like in the passage above, David turned to prayer when he didn’t know what to do.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person, Colossians 4:6.

Unfortunately, I tend to get distracted, looking for answers to my problems in all the wrong places.  Instead of finding comfort, joy and peace, I regularly experience disappointment.  According to the apostle Paul, there is only one source who leads to peace, Philippians 4:6-7.  However, Jesus told his disciples the only way to find life is lose it.  Anyone not one hundred percent devoted to God has a tendency to go back to the ways of the world when hardship or suffering arises.  Therefore, if you’re tired of uncertainty, start looking upward toward heaven instead of within .

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Waiting for Superman to Arrive

William Shakespeare wrote about lovers whose deaths reconciled two feuding families.  When tragedy strikes Romeo and Juliet, readers feel the pain of this story.  Shakespeare borrowed from an Italian tale adding his own spin to his famous novel taught in American English classes.  Yet, like anything in life, people change, evolve and learn to adapt.  If a similar classic was crafted today, the title would read something like Waiting for Superman to Arrive.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him, Lamentations 3:25.

As millennials become co-dependent on technology, the next generation is in danger of being lulled into complacency.  Sure, it’s nice to be able to keep up with electronic advances, but do you really need a device named after a girl to help you remember things?  Have people become so lazy that you can’t even find a location without asking Alexa or Sery?  This trend breeds individuals to go through life waiting for others to help you out.  Unfortunately, Superman is a comic character who isn’t going to rescue you from the trials of life.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay, Habakkuk 2:3.

Don’t get me wrong, waiting isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, the Bible encourages souls to be patient, seeking God as you wait for answers.  Nonetheless, the only Superman in history lived most of his life undercover, serving his community as a carpenter.  Before his departure in the first century, this man spoke of a counselor yet to come, an invisible presence able to direct and guide human hearts.  Instead of sitting back and relying on an electronic voice, it’s time to be proactive.  Therefore, as followers of Christ waiting for the second coming of Superman, Jesus, trust in the Lord so that you will be ready like the good servants in the Parable of the Talents.

by Jay Mankus

 

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