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Tag Archives: Victory

Slipping Away

Normaly, the phrase slipping away is used in a negative context.  Competitors may experience a sure victory slip away as momentum leads their opponent to a shocking comeback victory.  Meanwhile, pastors use this term when Christians begin to develop unhealthy habits, slowly slipping further and further away from God.

Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me, John 15:4.

Yet, Jesus refers to slipping away as a means to get away from the distractions in this life.  As crowds following Jesus’ earthly ministry got out of control, having a quiet time alone with God became increasingly difficult.  Thus, Jesus made a habit of sliping away, withdrawing to an isolacted location to listen to and pray to his heavenly father.

I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned, John 15:5-6.

If you aren’t careful, its easy to begin to make excuses for not spending quality time with God.  Busy schedules, important meetings and working hard to pay the bills are valid reasons to maintain a full schedule.  Nonetheless, if you want to be all you can be spiritually, you must remain connected to Jesus.  If you don’t, you may find yourself slip sliding away like a prodigal heading in the wrong direction.

by Jay Mankus

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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

 

The One that Got Away

One of the certainties in life is that you will experience disappointment at some point in time.  Despite having an ideal or perfect day, there will be outcomes that surprise you.  These twists and turns having lasting effects, especially when you are so close to victory.  Thus, everyone has a story, as painful as it may be about the one that got away.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, 1 Peter 1:6.

As a student in high school, I was one dimensional.  Although I eventually improved my grade point average, my sole concern was with sports.  I guess you can say I lived and died with each victory and loss.  While I was blessed to be apart of many great teams, I never won a state championship, finishing second in cross country, third in a swimming relay and fourth in golf.  If only I was healthy, stronger or I could putt, the ending may have been different.  Since there is no time travel device or vehicle to go back, all I can do is think about what might have been.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed, 1 Peter 1:7.

Each of these failures digs up a certain degree of anguish.  As a junior I watched my cross country team lose by 7 points as I sat on the sidelines after reconstructive ankle surgery.  This was excruciating, but losing the state golf championship as a senior probably stings more, letting a first round lead slip away, clawing back to within one on the back nine, only to fade down the stretch.  Exactly why God allows individuals to endure heartbreak is hard to say.  Yet, in every defeat, there is a life lesson, something to learn from so you can overcome the one that got away.

by Jay Mankus

 

And Then I Three Putted

Golf is one of those hobbies that parallels life.  Sometime you may be right down the middle while others will find you deep into the woods or within a hazard.  Unlike most sports, practice doesn’t always insure progress.  Thus, the game of golf can be cruel causing even professionals to waste an amazing shot with a three putt.

Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, James 1:3.

During my final year of coaching high school golf, I drove a par 4 with a 2 iron hybrid.  Unfortunately, when I got to the green, I had a 40 foot putt over a ridge to a hole on the other side going away from me.  Focusing on the line, I forgot to hit the ball hard enough, ending up 1o feet short.  Two putts later this once and a lifetime drive was a distant memory ruined by a three putt.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything, James 1:4.

In this life, its common to celebrate prematurely, before a day, round or year is over.  As over confidence or pride lures individuals into a false sense of security, victory is often replaced by defeat.  Thus, before you complete your next competition, project or task, finish strong.  Or else you may be like me, interrupting a moment of glory with the sobering reality, “and then I three putted.”

by Jay Mankus

 

Victories Don’t Come By Accident

Depending upon the nature of a competition, bystanders may suggest that someone is lucky, getting good breaks along the way.  Eyewitnesses to a sporting event might throw out conspiracy theories, blame biased officials or poor conditions to explain an upset or unlikely champion.  However, in the context of prayer, victory does not come by accident.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up, James 4:8-10.

Even those whom drew near to the Lord, walking closely with God during their life experienced moments of doubt.  Job struggled to comprehend the hardships he endured.  Elijah wanted to die after receiving death threat from Queen Jezebel.  Despite being a man after God’s own heart, David wrote against God’s silence in response to his prayers.  Nonetheless, when a persistent prayer enters God’s presence, victory is not far behind.

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? – Luke 18:7-8

At the end of the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus brings up the question of faith.  As the day of Christ’s return approaches, cynicism within this world increases.  The more that bad things happen to relatively good people, human minds wrestle to comprehend God’s logic.  Thus, good results are attributed to coincidence, luck and the yin and yang effect.  However, for those who believe in the power of prayer, victories are not a fluke.  Rather, blessings are a direct correlation to obedience, prayer and submitting to God.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Power of Positivity

In episode four of Project Afterlife, the power of positivity is credited as one of the main reasons for Dean Braxton being brought back to life.  Afraid that negativity might cause family members or friends to lose faith, Dean’s wife Marilyn surrounds her dead husband with encouraging words and prayer.  This spiritual warrior mentality, never giving up, eventually led the man that she loved to be resurrected.

Jesus said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him, Matthew 9:24.

As a coach of nearly twenty years, I’ve witnesses teams collapse due to a spirit of doubt.  All it takes is one key individual to become consumed with pessimism to turn the tide of a game.  Following a bad inning in the field two seasons ago, I called my baseball team into the dugout.  The body language displayed signaled the game was over, yet it had just begun.  Looking into the eyes of these boys, I asked “do you believe we can win?”  After hearing several no’s, I threatened to forfeit the game.  Negative minds kept this team from tasting victory.

Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live, John 14:10.

Whether you’re in school, working or retired, no one is immune from negativity.  This mindset can be contagious, contracted by oppressive parents, bossy siblings or Debbie downers.  If you’re not careful, you might join their misery or be brought down, sucking the life out of a room.  To avoid going down this road, its essential to clothe yourself in the fruits of the spirit.  Even when environments can be suffocating, the Holy Spirit has the ability to pierce the darkness through the power of positivity.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

I Can’t Get Over It

A recent episode of Deadliest Catch showed the reaction of fans to Russell Wilson’s interception in the final minute of last year’s Superbowl.  The crew of the Northwestern based out of Seattle could not believe the Seahawks opted to pass rather than rely on their patented running attack.  When you are only one yard from tasting victory, its hard for individuals to get over this heart breaking loss.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled, Hebrews 12:14-15.

It’s one thing to lose a game, yet in life there are several disappointments people encounter that can linger.  These scars are like bad dreams, nightmares that don’t go away.  When you add emotions into this equation, human nature can be unforgiving.  Thus, the next time you try to console someone who is hurting, don’t be surprised if you hear, “I can’t get over it!”

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice, Ephesians 4:31.

Storybook endings are usually something you see in the movie theater or at home as a rerun.  While this feel good conclusion may bring tears of joy, the rest of the world is stuck in the past, unable to move on.  Tempted by bitterness, frustration and a wounded soul, some feel better venting rather than cope with the issue at hand.  Before the voices of your past drag you to indulge in another pity party, may the love of Christ help you get over it by moving on with the rest of your life.

by Jay Mankus

 

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