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Tag Archives: trusting God

Magnifying Confidence

If you have a tendency to be analytical like me, you might over think things instead of relying on common sense.  Yet, you can’t deny the difference confidence makes within an athlete, Christian and student.  Uncerainty can stiffle souls, causing individuals to be hesitant, without conviction to act.  However, confidence transforms lives, taking quiet soft spoken individuals to new heights.

When Jesus saw their [active] faith [springing from confidence in Him], He said, “Man, your sins are forgiven,” Luke 5:20.

One day Jesus was teaching in a home when crowds surrounded the building.  By this time in history, Jesus’ healing powers had become legendary as no condition was impossible to cure.  This knowledge empowered a few friends to climb on top of the roof, carrying their friend who was paralyzed.  Eager to get Jesus’ attention, these men cut open a few tiles and lowered their friend to Jesus’ feet.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

This act of faith impressed Jesus and one of four gospel authors.  Luke magnifies confidence by referring to belief, energy and passion linked to those who trust in God’s power to transform lives.  Luke uses the imagery of a spring, bubbling over out of the ground.  When Christians stop focusing on the cants in this life and begin to open their minds to the possibilities with God’s help, confidence is magnifed.

by Jay Mankus

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Searching for a Ray of Hope

The latitude lying within the Arctic Circle is known as the “land of the midnight Sun.”  Each summer the sun never sets, remaining on the horizon in this polar region.  While this is the season of never ending rays of sun, the other side of the world in Antarctica plunges into four months of darkness.  Unfortunately, you don’t have to reside in the South Pole to experience extended periods of darkness.  Accidents, trials and unexpected illnesses can leave dazed individuals searching for a ray of hope.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it, John 1:5.

Over the last few decades, researchers and scientists have uncovered some of the negative influences that darkness has on human beings.  Seasonal affective disorder causes depression due to the limited number of hours of daylight every winter.  Depending upon the location, schedule and where people work, some individuals only see a few hours of daylight daily until the weekend arrives.  Darkness has a psychological affect, invoking doubt, fear and uncertainty.  Thus, beside waiting for Spring to come, the Bible provides a cure for those searching for a ray of hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, Romans 15:13,

Any day now I will be receiving an email from Hollywood about a movie, screenplay that I submitted in April.  For six consecutive summers, I have opened up “I regret to inform you” notices, rejecting my previous projects.  I’m not sure if I can handle the news of another failure, but I am trusting God to shine light into any future darkness that I face.  When storm clouds roll in and begin to surround you, rays of hope enable souls to persevere until extreme conditions subside.  In the meantime, lean on the Holy Spirit as you struggle and fight to make your dreams come true.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Bible’s Role in the Me Too Movement

Following a series of sexual assault accusations by high profile men in Hollywood and politics, the Me Too Movement began.  Since October of 2017, previous transgressions like subtle forms of flirting are no longer accepted as normal.  Rather, a growing sensitivity toward women is redefining what is acceptable behavior and what is no longer tolerated.  Instead of making up new standards, perhaps its time to turn to the Bible for direction and guidance.

But sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you, as is proper among saints [for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith], Ephesians 5:3.

Atheists, liberals and progressives have suggested that the Bible is out of date; no longer relative in today’s culture.  Yet, if the passage above is adopted and embraced, these guidelines will prevent future cases of sexual assault, harassment and inappropriate touching.  The apostle Paul uses a key phrase, “must not even be hinted.”  This ensures that there is no room for compromise, meant to protect the purity and sanctity of life.

Let there be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God], Ephesians 5:4.

As a father of a teenage daughter about to enter her first year of high school, I want to do everything in my power to protect women.  After shielding my daughter in home school the past three years, you have to let go at some point, trusting God to watch over those whom you love.  Although we live in a fallen world, the Bible provides a blue print for morality.  Thus, its time for the Me Too Movement to open their hearts to the Bible so that America can rid itself from inappropriate sexual conduct.

by Jay Mankus

The Mystery of Prayer

Seven years ago, my career path took an unexpected turn from a high school Bible teacher to the unemployment line.  Following previous setbacks, God always gave me feedback, insight or some sort of sign to know if I was on the right path.  Unfortunately, my soul has never fully healed from this crushing disappointment, not quite sure what I am suppose to do or where I need to invest my time in the future.  This perplexing situation has lead me to contemplate the mystery of prayer.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26.

My research has led me to narrow in on three conditions which influence whether or not prayers are answered.  According to Deuteronomy 28, blessings are directly related to diligently listening, obeying the voice of God and carefully following God’s commands in the Bible.  The second piece of criteria is provided by Moses’ predecessor Joshua 1:5-9.  The new leader of Israel introduces the concept of spiritual disciplines which begins with reading, reflecting upon and mediating upon God’s Word.  Finally, Jesus provides the final condition during a conversation with his disciples in Matthew 21:19-22.  If you place your trust and confidence in Jesus, free from doubt, ask whatever you desire in the context of God’s will and the mystery of prayer will be unlocked.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Timothy 2:1-4.

After Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, the apostle Paul instructs first century believers on what to do now.  In a letter to the church of Rome, Paul writes about times when you are struggling to come up with words to say while praying.  According to Paul, this is when you need to lean on the Holy Spirit, trusting God to intervene as you pray.  When I evaluate my own life against these biblical standards, I can clearly see where I have come up short.  Thus, for now I need to get back to the basics: listening to God, studying the Bible, applying what I am learning and submit my life to prayer.  May the words in this blog help you better understand the mystery of prayer.

by Jay Mankus

Help Me Overcome My Unbelief

There’s an expression that has been used by various Hollywood productions in the last half century.  “Fake it until you make it” derives from cognitive behavior therapy.  This saying is meant to coerce someone into believing they can do something prior to possessing the confidence, knowledge and or training.  The idiom “act is if you are” is similar to Aristotle’s idea to be virtuous you must act as a virtuous individual.

Jesus said to him, “[You say to Me,] ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes and trusts [in Me]!” – Mark 9:23

The opposite of this mentality is confessing your weaknesses.  This goes against modern beliefs that cause many to go through life living a lie.  Unfortunately, those who follow in these footsteps are not trusting God.  According to the passage above, all things are possible in life, but first you must believe and trust in Jesus.  If you come to your senses, you may be inspired like one father to profess, “help me overcome my unbelief.”

 Immediately the father of the boy cried out [with a desperate, piercing cry], saying, “I do believe; help [me overcome] my unbelief,” Mark 9:24.

The earthly brother of Jesus reflects upon his own struggle in life.  Jealous of his perfect brother, resentment filled his heart, not believing the outlandish statements of Jesus.  Like many unbelieving souls, the resurrection transformed James.  This led him to write James 5:16, noting that a public confession is the first step toward healing.  Therefore, if you want a fresh start in life, cry out to the Lord to help overcome any remaining unbelief.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

When God Uses Less Than Perfect Places

Due to prejudices that exist, accomplishments of certain individuals are brushed aside, ignored or neglected.  During Black History Month in America, its important to recall how God can use less than perfect places to further His will on earth.  In the Old Testament, God sends Abraham to Gerar during a time of famine.  Oddly enough, when translated into English, Gerar means to drag off roughly.  Infested with Philistines, a land of giants eager to display their dominance over others is the city that God chose as a place of refuge for the founding father of Israel.  Sometimes trusting God requires extreme faith, overlooking clear and present dangers for hidden treasures revealed in the future.

Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines, Genesis 26:1.

In the early first century, certain towns had become a haven for criminals.  Nazareth developed a reputation for being a tough place to live, with rampant crime.  These reports poisoned the mind of Nathanael, doubting if any good could ever come out of this place.  Despite the evidence leading to Jesus as the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, many were skeptical.  Instead of listening to rumors, Philip encourages his friend to just come and see, to find out for yourself.  Unfortunately, stereotypes stifle people from different backgrounds from really getting to know each other.  Perhaps, the enemy, the Devil uses this strategy to prevent intimate friendships from developing on earth, keeping atheists from taking a leap of faith to trust Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip, John 1:45-46.

I have spent the majority of my life on earth living in or near Wilmington, Delaware.  I spent three years at an inner city school, Harlan Elementary, using sports as a way to connect with African Americans and Hispanics.  When I was on the basketball court at recess, I wasn’t a cracker or honkey.  I was a normal kid trying to fit in by doing what he loved.  Today, Wilmington is often in the news for the wrong reasons, ranking in the top ten for murder rates for its size and number one in teenage pregnancy.  Sure, for those teens trapped in this hopeless environment, the percentages for success isn’t high.  Yet, if God can use places like Gerar and Nazareth, then anything is possible for those who believe, Matthew 21:22.

by Jay Mankus

More Than Just A Ditch

If you have ever visited Palm Springs, California, you will see a series of concrete channels.  While this desert region only receives between 2-5 inches of rainfall annually, these man made ditches serve a purpose.  When the rare storm hits this area, water quickly runs off of the surrounding San Jacinto mountains into the Coachella Valley.  Without these flood canals, portions of the city would be washed away.  Although an eye sore to residents and visitors at times, the construction of these ditches collect and restore water levels to this oasis in southern California.

But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha 16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water. 17 For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink, 2 Kings 3:15-17.

During the reign of  Jehoshaphat, the prophet Elisha visits the king of Judea.  Asking for a musician, the melody of a harpist inspires a prophecy from the Lord.  Unusual at first, God commands Judea to dig at ditch in the middle of a desert.  Void of air conditioning and state of the art construction equipment, citizens began this project by hand and whatever tools available.  Similar to the springs underneath the desert in California, water began to fill each ditch dug.  When God asks you to do something that doesn’t make sense, sometimes you have to exercise your faith until you see the benefits of your hard labor.

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable, Romans 11:29.

Unfortunately, many people don’t receive special gifts or unique callings.  Rather, you have to grind your way through life, often blindly trusting God through confusing and dark periods.  Like Dory’s character in the Finding Nemo film, instead of following her just keep swimming command, God wants his followers to keep digging.  This may get boring from time to time, but you never know when you are going to hit gold.  Therefore, keep the faith as what God is doing through you is more than just digging a ditch.  As long as you remain faithful, springs of joy are bound to rise up at any moment.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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