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Where Do Certain Thoughts Come From?

At age 10, I began to experience a reoccurring nightmare.  Maybe I watched one too many scary movies, but each night I was awaken in the same manner.  Whether I was restless or enjoying a peaceful sleep, an image appeared out of no where.  First, I felt the sensation of slipping off a cliff.  Once I reached a free fall mode, I was at ease until the ground came into view.  Just before striking the canyon floor, my body shook, waking me up.  This went on for nearly 2 years.  Why, I’m not sure.  Perhaps, God allowed these thoughts to enter my mind to lead me toward the meaning of life.

A couple of years ago, I was driving my family home after vacationing in Chicago for a week.  It was getting late, the sun had set and everyone in the car was asleep.  I was traveling on the Ohio Turnpike, heading east toward the Maumee River.  As I was approaching the river valley, a whisper entered my mind, “drive off the bridge.”  Shocked initially, it didn’t take long to determine the origin of this thought.  Similar to the Dana Carvey’s Church Lady skit on Saturday Night Live, “could it be Satan?”

Over the course of a lifetime, the mind will become weary, bombarded with a plethora thoughts.  If individuals are careless, lazy or tempted, souls are vulnerable.  When you try to fight a spiritual battle with mental discipline, sooner or later you will lose.  Therefore, its essential to practice 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, by taking your thoughts captive.  Whether thoughts are from God, Satan or your own sinful desires, how you respond to them will dictate the path that you choose.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Uncharted Waters

During my last summer as a boy scout, I spent a week canoeing 50 miles in the Canadian wilderness.  To reach our goal, our troop had to average just over 7 miles a day to complete this journey.  Due to a few stormy days, one day was stretched to 10 miles after whitecaps, 3 feet high at times, through a curve ball into our original plans.  Once leaving our guide at the boat dock, our scout master had the only map of these foreign bodies of water.  Faith, trust and hard work was to key to finishing this adventure.

After graduating college, I faced a similar dilemma, but this time I endured uncharted territories, not 100 % sure where to go, what to do and how to survive living on my own.  Although I had friends who had made a smooth transition to this next phase in life, I thought finding a full time job would be much easier.  My greatest fear was settling for something less than ideal, but not waiting too long to decide.  Finally, like a master navigator, God provided the perfect position in Columbus, Indiana.  While having one of the best summers of my life, I treated my new position like a sprint instead of a marathon, eventually burning myself out after 15 months due to immaturity.

Twenty years later, I feel as if I am living the lyrics to Willie Nelson’s song “On the Road Again.”  Some where along the way, doubt has crept into mind whispering words of confusion.  Whether you are new parents driving home from the hospital with your first child, starting a new job or looking for purpose and meaning in life, uncharted waters await you.  Although waves of uncertainty may come crashing around you, James 1:6, there is a living God who can lead you beside still waters, Psalm 23:2.  Whatever trial is currently staring you in the eye, may the God of the Bible help navigate you through life’s storms so you may experience the gift of eternal life, Romans 6:23.

by Jay Mankus

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