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Trying God’s Patience

Patience is one of those areas in life where I continue to struggle. Whether I’m driving in a car, waiting in a line or pleading with God in prayer for a specific request, I want things to happen on my time. History is filled with individuals who forced the issue, trying to make something happen without God. According to Moses, when human beings start to blame God for things not going as expected, we try the Lord’s patience.

Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at [Mount] Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah [proof] and Meribah [contention] because of the faultfinding of the Israelites and because they tempted and tried the patience of the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not? – Exodus 17:6-7

For the last 6 months, I’ve had my own wilderness experience. Rather than travel to a promised land, I’ve done everything in my power to find a job in South Carolina. My initial plan was to submit paperwork for an internal transfer within Amazon to a facility close to where my mother in law resides who is currently in hospice care. While I’m aware of some of my shortcomings as an individual and worker, I’m either testing God’s patience or the Lord has a completely different plan for my life.

Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. 12 Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer, Romans 12:11-12.

Failure and rejection are becoming a weekly occurrence to me, The last time I’ve seen this much resistance to a specific career is when I tried to pass the Players Ability Test as an assistance golf professional. Despite hitting 26 of 36 greens in regulation, I had 40 putts in round one, including a 4 putt. I missed by 2 strokes with 7 putts on the easiest hole over 2 rounds. Since my journey to South Carolina begins this weekend, I’m either going to try God’s patience by not knowing God’s will or receive a job in the final hour. Only time will tell.

by Jay Mankus

Waiting for Good Things to Come

Waiting is contrary to human nature.  When you see something that you like or want, the concept of waiting seems pointless.  Yet, as I look back on my on life, there are certain things that I wasn’t ready to possess.  A lack of maturity, given something instead of earning it and forcing the issue are all contributing factors.  Perhaps, waiting is a tool God uses to prepare individuals for the future.

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

When you don’t have the financial means to afford a place to live, food to eat or resources like a vehicle, even atheists may offer up prayers for their current situation to improve.  If there is no one on earth to lean on, its only natural to look up the heavens and hope for better days.  The Bible encourages souls to seek God instead of seeking alternative routes or taking short cuts.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

David compares waiting to a spiritual exercise like working out.  Waiting requires a gut check, seeing if you have what it takes to stick it out.  This process involves concentration, focus and a willingness to finish what you start.  Those who receive what they have been waiting for tend to appreciate what they now have.  Therefore, if you want to pursue a noble cause, trust God as you wait for good things to come.

by Jay Mankus

Learning to Let Go of Those Things You Can’t Control

I spent a couple of hours in and out of waiting rooms on Friday, waiting to hear what the tests on my eyes revealed.  Like a prophet, I overheard a Christian woman provide some profound advice.  Chatting with a woman next to her, she replied, “I’ve learned you have to let go of those things you can’t control.”

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? – Psalm 56:3-4

Almost an hour later, I was prepared for the bad news that I received.  While various medical terms spoken were foreign to me, I was told eye surgery was imminent.  The doctors advice was the sooner was better, causing my mind to race about how this will change my life.  Yet, as the woman in the waiting room professed, you can’t worry about things beyond your control.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love, 1 John 4:18.

One of Jesus’ disciples shines some light on this topic.  Whenever faced with something beyond your control, fear is a common response.  However, the cure to overcoming this is the perfect love found in Jesus Christ.  As I cope with what awaits me in the next few weeks, I can’t say I am confident.  Nonetheless, my hope lies in Christ alone as I trust God’s providence to oversee that which I can’t control.

by Jay Mankus

 

God’s Appointed Season

According to one the wisest people to walk the face of the earth, there is a time for everything.  Solomon learned this during his reign as king of Israel.  Whether you are talking about planting, war or the harvest, God’s appointed season exists to maximize productivity.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Unfortunately, those individuals currently in a holding pattern, struggle to find hope.  Any type of wait can be painful, but those who endure extended arid seasons tend to grow impatient, causing some to lose their faith.  However, this is when you need to cling to the promise within Ecclesiastes.

And which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, Titus 1:3.

The apostle Paul refers to a different moment in time.  This occurs when people are introduced to the Bible’s teaching.  Whether its an evangelist, preacher or student of the Word, the Holy Spirit awakens souls.  Thus, when the timing is right and hearts are ready to receive the gospel’s message, God’s appointed season has arrived.

by Jay Mankus

Dropping Anchor to Pray

During a trip to Rome, the apostle Paul’s ship got caught in a northeaster, sending violent waves that crashed against his boat for three days.  Fearful of nearby rocks, the crew dropped anchor upon the sandbar beneath them.  As 276 people waited in the dark, each began to pray for daylight to come quickly.  In the end, this decision to drop anchor kept everyone on board safe.

Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight, Acts 27:29.

Its uncanny how people tend to wait until the last second to pray.  Instead of thanking God for the little things in life, God has become like Monopoly’s Get out of Jail Free Card.  Subsequently, the Master of the Universe is a crutch people only use when they are in trouble.  When the good times roll, complacency makes the average person think its there doing, not a blessing from God.  Thus, this cycle continues today, using prayer as a last resort.

Pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Perhaps, the apostle Paul also became fed up with this mentality during his life.  In his first of two letters to the church of Thessalonica, Paul urges believers to pray without ceasing.  Whether you are sitting, traveling or walking, prayer is a powerful weapon if relied upon.  Dropping anchor to pray shouldn’t be saved for emergencies.  Rather, prayer provides a covering, a hedge of protection against demonic attacks.  Therefore, in good, bad or indifferent times in life, don’t forget to drop anchor to pray.

by Jay Mankus

 

Angels Waiting for a Prayer

In this politically correct world certain words have been phased out, too ignorant and harsh for this generation to hear.  One of these banished words is pig-headed, meaning stubborn.  Unfortunately, I tend to bang my head against the door hoping for a different outcome like a starving pig, doing whatever it takes to pick up the last scrap of food.  Perhaps, I need to take a new approach, shifting my focus toward prayer with the hope that an angel is awaiting on a prayer to act.

But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out, Acts 5:19.

Throughout the Bible, angels magically appear after someone prayers.  Whenever an apostle was arrested or imprisoned, the local church began to pray.  While not every prayer resulted in a miracle, angels rescued Peter from jail twice.  Though a scientist may dispute this theory, unable to directly link angels to prayer, its not that far fetched to consider that angels are waiting for specific instructions in the form of prayers.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways, Psalm 91:11.

According to author of Psalm 91, God created angels to guard and protect individuals.  This invisible force isn’t something people should experience once in a life time.  Rather, the Psalmist suggests angels are meant to guide you in all your ways on earth.  Therefore, the more believers in the supernatural begin to offer up requests, angels waiting for a prayer can respond immediately like the accounts in the Bible.  If you’re like me, disappointed by your current state in life, then maybe you’re a prayer away from ushering angels into action.

by Jay Mankus

Waiting for the Workplace Anointing

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him, 1 John 2:27.

One of the greatest misconceptions Christians make is limiting the power of God outside of church.  Anointing is something most leave for missionaries, preachers and teachers.  The Old Testament disagrees with this mentality as the Lord called Elijah to anoint both kings and a prophet.

Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet, 1 Kings 19:16.

When selecting an individual to anoint, its not always obvious.  Religious leaders tend to concentrate on physical features, personality and stature.  In the case of David, he was the least likely candidate, yet his heart was prime to serve God.  Nonetheless, the Lord made David wait 22 years before receiving the promise of his anointing.

So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives,” 1 Samuel 16:11.

Anyone else who chooses to run a business, follow a career or pursue a profession must wait for things to fall into place.  In the meantime, its essential to prepare yourself for the future.  Just as pastor takes time each week to carefully construct their message, those called to the workplace should invest the same time and energy to better their company.  If success is the process of arriving, may prayer pace you along the way as you wait for the workplace anointing, 3 John 2.

by Jay Mankus

How Long Must We Wait O Lord?

Waiting for anything isn’t natural.  The idea you have to remain inactive, stationary and pause until expectations are fulfilled can be agonizing.  The longer one waits, the greater doubts grow, wondering if prayers will be answered.

How long must your servant wait?  When will you punish my persecutors? – Psalm 119:84

Several Psalmists describe their anguish waiting to experience God’s promises.  As the wicked prosper without any penalties, cries for justice may go unnoticed for years.  Thus, screams of frustrations point toward heaven hoping for action to occur soon.

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God.  Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 4:1

In this silence, impatience often boils over.  This is when most turn their back on God.   For those clinging on to hope, only time will dictate whether or not faith will be reignited.  How long must we wait O Lord?  Keep praying til your requests become reality, following in the footsteps of the persistent widow, Luke 18:1-8.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Imprints on Heaven

While listening to a sermon over the weekend, I was challenged to reflect on what if any impact I’ve had during my days on this planet.  Jesus and the apostle Paul, shared a similar message, urging their listeners to begin to store up treasures on earth, Matthew 6:19-21 and Colossians 3:1-4.  If heaven does exist and Jesus went ahead to prepare the way, John 14:2, then its time you and I begin the imprinting process.

Although minor in many ways, my first mark involved music.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, I felt compelled  to inform people of God’s love.  Sorting through a vast collection of Christian music in college, I created a mix that I began to give to individuals, just as a high school friend did for me.   Trying to introduce people to contemporary artists, one particular creation entitled A Father”s Love struck a cord with several friends and strangers.  In the days of writing letters, words of encouragement appeared in the mail box, confirming that I was on the right track.

My greatest inscription occurred during a Lay Witness Mission, a fancy name for a retreat geared toward reviving souls for a  spiritually dead or dying congregation.  Beside being an active participant during youth group activities, my main responsibility was to share a brief testimony, what God was teaching me or doing in my life.  At a moment’s notice, I was suppose to be ready.  Well, I waited and waited and waited.  Finally, on Saturday night, I was told I would be talking to the entire congregation.  After praying with my roommate that night, the Lord took over so when the appointed time came, I opened my mouth and the Holy Spirit spoke.  Before finishing, I offered up a call for action, then played a song.  As I looked up, some were actually running to the altar, dedicating their lives to Jesus.

Since this day, I guess I can include my wife, kids and a decade as a Bible teacher.  However, in between the victories, there have been plenty of moments of failure, idleness and periods of self-indulgence.   When you taste defeat, the best pill to swallow is humility, an important practice to keep you on the narrow path to heaven, Matthew 7:13-15.  As the second coming of Jesus draws near, don’t forget to leave your imprints on earth while heaven awaits for those who call on the name of the Lord, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

 

Unusual Displays of Faith

One of my college roommates was a highly touted  football player coming out of high school.  Chiseled like a rock, Mike had the physique to play in college and possibly the pros.  However, when the Lord got a hold of his heart, a new passion blossomed.  Ditching the party scene, faith turned this giant into a man of praise.  Thus, weekend nights offered up a chance to relax, sit on a beach chair in the front yard and listen to worship music, interacting with strangers walking by.

This unusual display of faith inspired me to become more bold in my faith.  Although I don’t remember how it started, another Mike, Michael Mestern and I began a weekly tradition on Main Street.  Before each session, Mike and I prayed on the steps of the mall at the University of Delaware’s Campus in Newark.  Following this, we were moved to sing, like a street evangelist, walking back and forth, up and down Main Street, making a joyful noise unto the Lord.  Whether it was singing Christmas carols or songs from Chrysalis, the Holy Spirit guided us each evening like Galatians 5:25.  Sometimes we hummed, on certain occasions we raised our voices and most of the time we responded to conversations with praise.

The point of today’s blog is that you don’t have to be extremely gifted to be used by God, you just need to make yourself available.  Rollen Stewart displayed his faith by studying where cameras were set up during professional sporting telecasts.  Then, he used his wealth to purchase tickets, find the best place to stand out and hold up John 3:16 signs.  The question is: what are you waiting for or who are you trying to please?  May the words of 2 Timothy 1:6-7 inspire you to fan into flame your God given talents so that through usual or unusual means, the light of Christ will continue to shine, Colossians 4:2-6.

by Jay Mankus

 

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