RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Victory

When You Need to be Propped Up

A farmer developed an unusual way of ending his prayer at church. Whenever called upon to close Sunday’s service in prayer, this farmer opted to skip the typically Amen. Instead, this man of God would close using the phrase, “God prop us up on our leaning side.” Curious, the senior pastor wanted to understand the meaning of this expression. This was conceived after noticing an old barn on his property began to lean to one side. To avoid losing this barn, the farmer braced it on one to secure it’s future.

[Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality, Jude 1:23.

In the 17th chapter of Exodus, Moses recalls a memorable battle. Instead of fighting, Moses delegates this task to his successor Joshua. According to Exodus 17:9-10, Moses played the role of cheerleader, holding up the rod of God. As long as Moses arms were held high, Israel was winning. However, as soon as Moses’ arms grew weak, Amalek prevailed. To ensure a victory, the Lord sent Aaron and Hur to prop up Moses’ arms. This is another form of being propped up.

Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]—Jude 1:24.

Due to our fallen nature, Romans 3:11, every human being has a tendency to lean toward the sinful nature, Galatians 5:19-21. Instead of continuing leaning until you stumble and fall, Jude provides an alternative. Just as the apostle Paul urges believers to set your heart and mind and things above, Jude wants us to prop others up before they fall over. The more you focus your attention on helping other, the less likely you’ll find yourself indulging your sinful nature. The next time you see someone leaning, ask God to prop them up on their leaning side.

by Jay Mankus

Perhaps It’s Time to Sober Up?

I have what medical professionals refer to as an addictive personality. An addictive personality is a hypothesized set of personality traits that make an individual predisposed to developing addictions. I can’t just have one drink; everything I do is to the extreme. Whether it’s playing golf every day in high school, running 6 miles for fun in college or playing sand volleyball up to 8 hours a day each summer that I lived in Ohio, my motto for life is all or nothing. This aspect of my DNA puts me at risk of becoming an alcoholic.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a riotous brawler; and whoever errs or reels because of it is not wise, Proverbs 20:1.

When it comes to alcohol, I was a quick learner. Sure, there was a temptation in college to act cool by drinking. Yet. after one semester of partying, I grew out of this stage by sobering up. While I still went clubbing along the Flats in Cleveland, Ohio each summer, I usually went as the designated driver. From time to time, I let my guard down by drinking to excess. Following a severe hangover that last 2 days and an alcohol poisoning scare at a wedding reception, my drinking days ended.

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world, 1 Peter 5:8-9.

The Bible uses sober in a different context. While sober can refer to the practice of abstinence, one of Jesus’ disciples writes about becoming alert, clear-headed and spiritually awake. In this context, alcohol isn’t the enemy. Rather, the Devil possesses angelic powers, roaming the earth like a predator eager to pounce on the unprepared. Although quitting drinking can be extremely difficult, demonic influences and oppression seek to keep the powerless addicted. In view of this, it’s to sober up by joining Jesus, teaming up through a personal relationship so that freedom and victory is achieved.

by Jay Mankus

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

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

 

%d bloggers like this: