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Tag Archives: trusting

Changing Your Strategy

Depending upon the situation, some things in life are an easy fix. The more complex the scenario, the harder and longer it will take to resolve. When a solution is beyond your reach, perhaps it’s time to change your strategy. Instead of looking around for an answer, take a moment to look up. The word prostrate is used 256 times the Bible. Of these passages, 131 times this refers to laying face down while crying out to or speaking with God.

Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand), Jeremiah 33:3.

The prophet Jeremiah assures that those who do pray, it won’t be a waste of your time. While praying, God gave Jeremiah an image of a fenced in area, hidden from view. As you fall to your knees to place your trust in an invisible God, your eyes will be opened to great and mighty things. Although Jeremiah isn’t specific about exactly what he learned, this particular moment in prayer was powerful.

And the prayer [that is] of faith will save him who is sick, and the Lord will restore him; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working], James 5:15-16.

The earthly brother of Jesus shares his own experiences praying. A skeptic until his brother’s resurrection, James highlights the fruits of prayer. The initial passage likely references Jesus, healing the sick every day during his three year ministry on earth. However, the latter verse illustrates the power of confession mixed with prayer. If your current strategy isn’t working, follow in the footsteps of Jesus by praying with faith for answers.

by Jay Mankus

Who am I and Where did I Come From?

I was watching a documentary on meanings to life recently.  One of the interviewers suggested two likely possibilities.  “Either life occurred due to an accident or some sort of a Creator.”  The Big Bang Theory is on one side of this argument as the ideal conditions were present to occur.  Meanwhile, the opposing view suggests God spoke and bang life was conceived.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life, John 3:16.

Regardless of what you believe, there is another question to consider.  What should individuals do with your time each is given on earth?  Eat, drink and be merry or consider the eternal consequences and rewards for every action?  While the first choice seems obvious, the latter considers a life devoted to serving a higher power.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him, John 3:17.

From some reason, when I was twelve, I began to reflect upon the meaning to life before I fell asleep each night.  As I pondered this question for over a month, life doesn’t make sense to me to be born out of thin air, live for a while and then die.  Something inside my soul felt like there had to be more, a place after earth.  One of Jesus’ disciples refers to this eternal promise in 1 John 5:13.  During this period of enlightenment I realized that I am a child of God, created to serve and worship the Lord; trusting in the Holy Spirit to guide me throughout this life.

by Jay Mankus

 

He’s Not One of Us

In this age of multiculturalism, you might assume communities, groups and schools would be welcoming to outsiders.  However, cliques tend to form quickly like a defense mechanism, afraid of trusting a stranger until they prove their loyalty.  Thus, classmates, co-workers and transients tend to judge a person like a book, by the outside cover.

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us,” Mark 9:38.

The disciples were no different.  Perhaps jealousy played a role in their actions, fearful another individual’s gifts might impress Jesus more than their own talents.  Insecure, at least a few of the disciples thought someone was trying to move in on their turf.  Correcting their flawed mindset, Jesus encourages his followers to get behind others who fight and stand for the same cause.

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us, Mark 9:39-40.”

As a son of an immigrant, I remember the stories my father shared about coming to this country, learning English and embracing America as a melting pot.  Unfortunately, I run into people daily who come to this country without ever integrating, keeping to themselves and speaking their native language daily.  Without any sense of unity, this trend will continue to form a great divide as foreign cultures profess, “they’re not one of us!”  Don’t give into this mindset.  Rather, support those who make a stand for a worthy cause, especially soldiers of the cross.

by Jay Mankus

Taking a Closer Look at the Meaning of Life

An apostle of Jesus once made a distinction between the Bible and all other books.  According to Hebrews 4:12, the Bible is living and acting.  This passage suggests that each time you open up any of the 66 books inside, the Holy Spirit will teach you something different or new depending upon what you are going through or have recently experienced.  Unfortunately, many readers succumb to pride with thoughts such as “been there done that, heard that before or how many times do I have to hear the same old story?”

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it, Mark 8:35.

As I was minding my own business this weekend, God awakened me, providing discernment to take a closer look at the meaning of life.  The verse above struck a nerve as if to say to me, “you’re going down the wrong track, trying to hold on to your life.”  Immediately, I was confronted with my current situation, trusting in my own abilities and talents to provide for my family rather than solely rely on Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides.  I know this may sound crazy to some or many of my readers, yet listen to the case study below.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? – Mark 8:36

From 2002-2012, I spent a decade losing my life as a high school Bible teacher, placing everything into God’s hands.  Subsequently, despite making much less than public school teachers, the Lord supernaturally provided daily bread.  Checks came in the mail at the perfect timing, secret donors paid for my children’s tuition and relative strangers handed me cash to stay out of debt.  Whereas the past 3 years since leaving youth ministry, trying to save my life has resulted in mounting debt.  It shouldn’t make sense, yet in biblical terms it does.

Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? – Mark 8:37

Nobody wakes up one day and says, “I’m going to forfeit my soul.”  Rather, this is a gradual process of choosing to save your own life instead of laying it down into your heavenly Father’s hands.  Sure, it feels good to be in the driver’s seat, maintaining control.  However, in the long run, lives are wasted in exchange for the temporary pleasures in life.  Though my testimony may be unbelievable, I pray that the next time you open the Bible, your heart, mind and soul will possess a teachable spirit so that the Holy Spirit will help you to embrace this living and active book.

by Jay Mankus

Owner of a Lonely Heart

The classic rock group Yes introduced their song in 1983.  Debuting on the 90125 album, Owner of a Lonely Heart spoke to broken souls, striking a nerve that many experience throughout life.  Prior to its success, this song was turned down by a number of record companies, calling Owner of a Lonely Heart a strange song that would never be a hit.  If Paul Harvey was still here, I’m sure he would say, “and now you know the rest of the story!”

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

In recent years, Jon Anderson, the lead singer of Yes teamed up with 4Him, a Christian Contemporary group to sing Where There is Faith.  Whether its coincidence, fate or mere circumstance, but believing you will be set free from a lonely heart takes faith.  If you’re down in the dumps, with little hope of improving, doubt creeps in, opening the door for depression, isolation or suicide.  This is where faith can intervene.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6

The lyrics of Owner of a Lonely Heart refers to free will on several occasions.  After reading the lyrics, loneliness is a choice, a decision one makes to either dwell in their sorrows or take a chance on tomorrow.  If any of you find yourself to be an owner of a lonely heart today, take some time to read God’s promises in the Bible for those suffering from loneliness.  May the message in these words turn your heart from grief to comfort, trusting in the loving hands of Jesus for healing.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Cures for the Cold

As a former resident of the Twin Cities during the winter, even if it was for just 3 months, I know the bone chilling effects of cold weather.  Each evening, I ran 3-5 miles when thermometers dipped below zero.  On a night in February, it was close to -20 without the wind chill as I started my jog.  A couple of blocks down the road, my hair grew icicles.  After a quarter mile, I felt my body beginning to shut down.  Without a thought, I made a quick u-turn to head for home.

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh, Ezekiel 11:19.

One of the most obvious cures for the cold is the creation of shopping malls.  Beside Woodfield Mall in Chicago, nothing compares to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.  Built on the old site of Metropolitan Stadium, former home to the Vikings of the NFL and Twins of MLB, this mall contains an amusement park, movie cinema and 400 stores.  In this wasn’t enough, an expansion project looks to add an ice rink, dinner theater, hotels and waterpark.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me, Psalm 51:10.

However, there is another cure for the cold that is often overlooked.  This one focuses on warming up a cold and weary heart.  Sure, a hot cup of chocolate, warm fire or steaming bath will provide a temporary fix.  Yet, what can you do to re-energize your soul?  When I come inside to a numb heart, the best remedy I can recommend is a quiet time with God.   Opening the Bible, you will find nourishing words of encouragement.  May the promises within get you through the dreary months of winter.

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord, Psalm 112:7.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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