RSS Feed

Tag Archives: worry

The Hunger

Appetites and thirst are an internal signal that our bodies want food and drink.  When it’s hot thirst drives individuals to stay hydrated.  Meanwhile, when you miss a meal, hunger pains may persuade you to binge, raid the refrigerator or order take out to satisfy this desire.  However, God designed human beings with a soul, craving a different kind of hunger.

After He had gone without food for forty days and forty nights, He became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But Jesus replied, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God,’” Matthew 4:2-4.

As Jesus prepared for his three year ministry on earth, a fast was performed to focus solely on God.  In this vulnerable state, the Devil tempted Jesus with food, hoping Jesus’ physical need for food would override his spiritual preparations.  Instead, Jesus reminds the Devil that God desires human beings to meditate on God’s Word day and night, Joshua 1:7-8.  While food satisfies the stomach, spiritual nuggets fuel the soul.

For the [pagan] Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; [but do not worry,] for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also, Matthew 6:32-33.

During a segment on worry, Jesus uses common sense to illustrate how God provides.  This portion of the Sermon on the Mount focuses on the proper attitude individuals should possess.  Instead of being consumed by worry, believers should develop a spiritual hunger for righteousness.  When God and the Bible become your main priority on earth, everything else falls naturally into place.  While hunger pains may come and go, may the hunger for God keep your soul satisfied daily.

by Jay Mankus

The Ghost of Worry

Apparitions, phantoms and shadows are often associated with ghosts.  Television channels like Destination America are feeding this craze with a series of programming related to paranormal activity.  Whether you are talking about ghost towns, haunted houses or demonic encounters, there are so many spirits roaming this country and throughout the world.    One of these invisible presences is the ghost of worry.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:25-27

Worry is the little bug or gnat that constantly pesters you.  This nuisance can be emotionally draining, sucking any joy that you may have out of your life.  If you allow this force to continue to wear on your soul, stress levels can explode resulting in panic attacks.  In the passage above, Jesus uses common sense to address the ghost of worry.  Instead of dwelling of things that you can’t control, trust God to provide what you need.

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them, Matthew 6:28-32.

When I was a child, if I took too much food at the dinner table and did not finish it, my parents often said, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach.”  If the ghost of worry gets the best of you each week, your mind is bigger than your faith.  Revealing God’s special care and concern for nature and wildlife, Jesus illustrates how the Lord provides for the most basic elements on earth.  Therefore, if you want to perform an exorcism on worry, seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.  If you adhere to this advice, the ghost of worry will slowly dissipate as God provides for each of your needs.

by Jay Mankus

 

Going to the Dump

Every  summer I was exposed to a local dump in Maine.  Since our cabin did not have garbage pick up, guests were expected to take all their trash to be disposed of at the county recycling center.  The smell of the bags in the August heat was fowl, but this was all part of the complete experience of going to the dump.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Matthew 11:28.

While addressing the masses one day, Jesus refers to a different kind of dump.  The context of this discussion is based upon individuals carrying around baggage.  Whether its depression, stress or worry Jesus doesn’t want people to go through life alone.  Rather, when trash in life begins to pile up, drop to your knees to unload the garbage you have collected.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

The world proclaims he who dies with the most toys wins.  Yet, when people pass away your body will eventually become dust.  Thus, our bodies are on loan from God.  The Holy Spirit is the source of life for human souls.   The opposing force known as the sinful nature wages war by bombarding minds with trash from life.  To combat this weapon used by the Devil, go to the dump daily to unload worries in prayer which God replaces with rest.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

When Days Don’t End Like You Hoped

The endings of Hollywood movies have ingrained in American minds that life should conclude in a certain way.  Unfortunately, film and reality are miles apart.  Subsequently, more and more individuals feel the crippling effects of sleepless nights caused by days which end far from what each expected.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

After losing my teaching position 5 years ago, I transitioned into screen writing based upon the advice of a former co-worker.  Three complete scripts later my initial goal is to sell one my these scripts before I reach 55; then write a script a year in retirement.  Despite my desires, an unexpected eye condition may put my own plan on hold or cancel it completely.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Matthew 11:28.

When things don’t go your way or days end in heart break, there’s only one place to turn.  Carrying around all your burdens, pain and worry will wear you out.  Therefore, do let trials suck out your joy for life.  Instead, go to the Lord in prayer so that Jesus will replace your burden with peace.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Reruns, Rewind and Revive

The summer tends to be a season for reruns.  As students and teachers take a break until the fall semester begins, there is time for late night binge watching.  While most use On Demand, Netflix or DVR’ed programs, the older generation still rely on television guides to plan their viewing pleasures.  Classic movies have a way of grabbing your attention.  Although you know the story, desires from within carry you away for hours at a time as a distraction from the stress and worries in life.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3.

For those of you who don’t spend much time watching television, perhaps you prefer reflection.  Either during a jog, walk or while doing yard work, its nice to rewind, taking an inventory of where you’ve been, where you are or where you want to go.  This practice is like setting goals in your mind, providing direction for the future.  One of the things I enjoy pondering about are those things in life which bring me the most joy.  Listening to music, playing sports, writing and working on projects around the house fill me with a sense of accomplish along with purpose and meaning in life.

Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others, Philippians 2:4.

One of the final activities I engage in involves food for the soul.  Beyond a dose of daily Bible reading and prayer, hearts and minds need to be revived and refreshed to make it in life.  Thus, I have days where I soak in music while I rest.  Sometime I find a book on a topic that interests me, giving me a broader perspective on life.  Although I waste just as much time as the average American lounging around on a couch or sofa, I experience peace that surpasses understanding when I rewind my direction and revive my soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Another Reason to Pray

In this age of chaos, parents have loads to worry about.  However, as priorities distract many from taking time to pray, minds can race out of control.  Thus, when the temptations of life prey upon children, asking God for a hedge of protection is another reason to pray.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, Philippians 4:6.

A few years ago I began to become fed up with the mediocre life I was living.  In response I started to keep a prayer journal writing down my thoughts and concerns.  Although this may not work for everyone, if I don’t write prayers down my mind wanders, having a hard time concentrating.  In this past week, I have begun to see the fruits of answered prayer.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:7.

One of the common phrases I jot down daily is hoping my children reach their full potential.  While the context changes weekly, my oldest son’s recent success can only be described as an answer to prayer.  I didn’t ask for a specific outcome, yet God allowed James to become an individual state champion in pole vault as well as helping his team win a state title.  Life goes on from here, but I will use this miracle as another reason to pray.

by Jay Mankus

The Key to Helping the Weak

If you are observant, you will likely cross paths with an exhausted, fragile or shaken soul.  Unfortunately, many symptoms of the weak are subtle.  This leads the driven, focused and self-centered to be oblivious, unfazed by the down trodden, hurting and wounded.  Unless you slow down, similar to the words of the Psalmist, you won’t notice or take the time to help the weak.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth,” Psalm 46:10.

A natural response to a bad day is to over-react, allowing a spirit of bitterness or worry to consume you.  Thus, when you are able to get over this disappointment, the sooner you can begin to turn your attention to the concerns of others.  In a letter to the church of Colosse, Paul encourages members to bear with each other; sharing the burdens of those hurting.   Though it may be difficult to forgive some individuals, its a start in the right direction to helping the weak.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others, Philippians 2:3-4.

Finally, the key to helping the weak is found in the art of giving.  Jesus claims it is better to give than receive.  While part of human nature will expect something in return, I’m learning the joy of giving without expectation.  It’s not easy, but the sooner people can get over the life’s not fair stage, your perspective can change.  May the Lord revitalize your hearts to become a student of giving.

by Jay Mankus

Regaining Strength

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble was a 1976 television special based upon a true story of two boys who lacked an effective immune system, forced to live in a controlled environment.   Those living outside this bubble may contract mono, draining people of their energy, sleeping up to 18 hours a day until their health is restored.  While healing time varies, its important to take time away from your normal routine for regaining strength.

And after taking some food, Saul regained his strength, Acts 9:19a.

Poor eating habits, stress and long work hours can take a toll on human bodies, leading to other illnesses.  Unfortunately, those stricken with cancer are often forced to endure chemotherapy if they want to survive.  Add in the loss of hair and this disease can suck the will to live out of normally positive people.  Recent clinics based by dietary advances have been successful in curing forms of cancer, yet some individuals are unable to digest the food necessary to live another day.

So Elijah got up and ate and drank.  Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God, 1 Kings 19:8.

Invisible to doctors, depression can also attack healthy people.  Loss of appetite is a common sign.  In the case of Elijah, he let the circumstances of life overwhelm him.  Each day without food, Elijah became weaker.  However, an angelic encounter snaps him out of this funk.  Therefore, if you are burdened by stress or worry, set time aside to eat and sleep so that one day soon strength will be regained.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Resting in Hope

Fifty years ago, most families consisted of a husband, wife and children.  In those days, moms stayed at home, taking care of the kids while the father was usually the main bread winner.  Over the last half century, this sight is rare, like a species of animals on the verge of extinction.  Subsequently, adults are now working nights, weekends or two jobs just to keep up with their monthly bills.  The idea of resting in hope is a fantasy for many tired souls.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, Acts 2:26.

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter was filled with peace.  Looking back on the last few months, the hand of God on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection began to make sense.  This clarity boosted the spirits of the disciples.  Despite Jesus’ absence following his ascension into heaven, a metamorphosis was ongoing in the hearts and minds of God’s people.  Peter attributes this reformation due to resting in hope.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all, 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

Stress has an opposite effect on individuals, leading to restless nights.  A by product of stress, worry induces doubt, causing minds to wonder if things will ever improve.  This is where I am from time to time, struggling to remain optimistic.  Nonetheless, when I reach low points in life, I am reminded of the promises in the Bible.  The more I hear and read these words, I begin to rest in hope.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Take No For An Answer

The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter, Mark 7:26.

Nai, Ne, Nee, Nei, Nein, Nej, Nem, Nie, Nil and Non.  Each of these terms are used to deny, refuse or negate a request.  Yet, not everyone gives up the first time they are rejected.  Children have a unique gift to beg, plead and wallow until they get their way.  Perhaps, the Lord has created each soul with a natural reflux to not take no for an answer.

“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs,” Mark 7:27.

This phenomena is best illustrated in what we know today as the parable of the Persistent Widow, Luke 18:1-8.  However, there is another biblical account which displays how desperation causes human minds to reason with God.  The woman in this passage found in Mark 7:24-30 demonstrates an uncanny wit, coming back with quick replies, one after the other.  Though most would have given up following Jesus’ initial comment, she refused to take no for an answer.

“Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs,” Mark 7:28.

One of the most disappointing things anyone can experiencing is praying for a loved one to not die only to have their life cut short.  Trying to regroup after this loss can take years to recover.  Thus, the next time you pray, its common to be reluctant, gun shy about asking God for a specific request.  Inside your mind can play tricks on you as doubt whispers, “don’t waste your time.”  However, when worry enters your life, don’t forget the example set by this God fearing woman.  Therefore, as you approach the throne of grace, don’t take no for an answer when you pray.

Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone, Mark 7:29-30.

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: