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When Fear Causes Your Dreams to Begin to Sink

When you are young, minds aren’t afraid to dream big.  Summit Ministries refers to this as BHAG’s, short for big hairy audacious goals.  Innocent minds don’t think of common obstacles that stand in the way of adults.  Rather, a child like faith exists which sets the stage for great things in the future.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus, Matthew 14:27-29.

Unfortunately, at some point in life, doubt creeps into confident individuals.  Such is the case of Peter, a bold disciple not afraid to take chances.  Thus, when Jesus asked him to join him on the water, Peter jumped at this opportunity.  Initially, Peter was defying gravity as he was actually walking on water just like Jesus.  Then, a gust of wind caught Peter by surprise.  This act of nature led to a chain of events as fear caused Peter to begin to sink into the middle of the lake.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:30-31

This story is symbolic of people who allow fear to interfere with accomplishing their dreams in life.  Determination, focus and vision enable individuals to get off to a good start in life.  Yet, at some point we take our eyes off of Jesus.  The moment this occurs people begin to think about the reasons why you can’t fulfills dreams and goals.  The next time this doubt creeps into your mind, shift your attention toward the power of God so that fear doesn’t cause your dreams to sink.

by Jay Mankus

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Do Something

While civilizations have evolved since the first century, the same problems still exist.  Although beggars, the needy and poor may gather in different segments of town than previous cultures, you must be oblivious to not notice.  Strangers at a gas station looking for a few bucks, hungry stomachs at a local fast food restaurant sipping coffee or a homeless sign made of cardboard waiting for a good Samaritan to stop at a major intersection.  Each is whispering a simple plea, “do something.”

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food,” Matthew 14:15

During the first century, the disciples found themselves in a similar position.  However, in the passage above, there wasn’t an ATM, 7 Eleven or Wawa available.  Thus, as several thousand hungry souls stood waiting for someone to intervene, Jesus’ disciples didn’t want to be bothered.  Hoping Jesus would think of himself first, the disciples urged their leader to send everyone home.  Not surprised, Jesus commanded his servants in training to do something.

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat,” Matthew 14:16.

This instruction still applies to modern followers of Jesus today.  Unfortunately, many people like me exist, too busy, lazy or tired to lend a helping hand.  Despite recognizing several needs, my faith is inactive, forgetting to be the hands and feet of Christ.  Before Judgement Day arrives, it’s essential to fan into flame the gifts the Lord has given each of us.  Just are Jesus urged his disciples, the Holy Spirit is pleading with those who are still listening, “do something.”

by Jay Mankus

When There is No One Left to Lean On

There are times in life where events happen so fast that it’s hard to adapt, adjust or merely hang on.  If you fall behind, trying to recover from what just occurred, you can feel lost, not sure what step to take next.  Unfortunately, death has a way of leaving some with no one left to lean on.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: Ecclesiastes 4:9.

These words above and below by Solomon may not mean much to someone surrounded by a loving family, friends or neighborhood.  Yet, for abandoned kids, single moms and widows, verse 10 may be a foreshadowing of the future.  Meanwhile, addicts, the depressed and lonely struggle to find anyone who will be there during times of need.

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up, Ecclesiastes 4:10.

These two passages of Scripture have a new meaning to me.  For the past 22 years I have taken my wife for granted, unaware of all that she does daily.  Now that she is in Chicago taking care of her mom following her dad’s death, I know how it feels to have no one to lean on.  As I struggle to manage for a couple of more weeks raising my children, there is an invisible force who can pick you up, John 16:13.  When there is no one left to lean on, cry out to Jesus who may send angels, the Holy Spirit or a stranger to get you through each day.

by Jay Mankus

The Final Resting Place

At end of a grueling day, many people have a bed which serves as resting place.  The less fortunate may have to rely on a couch, sofa or floor to lay their heads.  Meanwhile, the homeless are forced to find an abandoned home, park bench or shelter to survive.  Whatever struggle you are forced to endure, everyone faces the same destination, a final resting place six feet under the earth.

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

Solomon provides insight to what happens to individuals after dying.  Just as God created Adam out of dust, one day human beings will return to this previous state.  Yet, this wise king adds a new dimension to death.  In the same way that Jesus gave up his spirit on the cross, this essence returns back to the Creator the moment you pass away.  This concept suggests that our lives are on loan from God, a temporary gift that lasts far too short.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away, Revelation 21:4.

On Monday afternoon, I watched helplessly as my father in law was laid to rest.  As crying, grief and sobbing surrounded me, I came face to face with the grim reality of life.  As the casket was lowered six feet beneath the earth’s surface, this final resting place is permanent.  Yet, John the Revelator shines light on the hope which waits to those who call upon the name of the Lord.  The words in the passage above should serve as inspiration to get right with God before your hour glass of life runs out.  While your final resting place on earth will not change, there is time to secure your reservations for heaven now, 1 John 5:13.  May this blog encourage you to leave no doubt, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Whatever is Morally Wrong Can’t Be Politically Correct

From 1993 to 2002, Bill Maher was the host of Politically Incorrect.  This thirty minute late night show began on Comedy Central and moved to ABC a year later before being cancelled 9 years later.  While this concept was great, it didn’t take long for this show to lose it’s purpose.  When you give someone a microphone, sooner or later their true beliefs will come through.  When preconceived notions and secular worldviews guide someone’s thoughts, it’s nearly impossible for members of the mainstream media to be politically incorrect.  Why, you may ask?  Whatever is morally wrong can’t be politically correct.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? – Galatians 5:7.

No one likes or wants to be preached to, especially by hypocrites who don’t live out what they claim to believe.  Some of this resistance is a by product of the preaching by pastors in the 1970’s.  Shepherd’s of the house of God responded to the sex. drugs and rock n roll era with messages filled with hell and damnation.  Void of love, sinners rejected the church, gradually embracing the progressive movement.  Thus, Hollywood has abandoned shows like Leave it Beaver, Little House on the Prairie and Happy Days.  In it’s place, a new era of sitcoms dictate what’s socially acceptable and what’s not.  Now that Hollywood has taken control of the mic, they don’t mind preaching to the crowd which rejected them four decades ago.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world, 1 John 4:1.

The Bible is full of offensive verses which explains the movement to ban this book from public education.  Yet, one crucial purpose of the Bible is to reveal right from wrong, good from bad, proper and improper.  In the letter to the church of Rome, the apostle Paul writes if it weren’t for God’s commandments, human beings would not know that coveting is wrong, Romans 7:7.  Unfortunately, at some point in time Americans have become more concerned about how someone feels rather than doing the right thing.  Just as the Holy Spirit is in direct conflict with human nature, political correctness is no longer morally based as grey areas have taken over.  As absolutes vanish, so does the power of Scripture.  While this process has taken nearly two generations to be fulfilled, whatever is morally wrong can’t be politically correct.  Perhaps, this may veer back in the right direction, but for now this is the reality of these days.

by Jay Mankus

 

Let the Weeding Begin

 

Unless you love a freshly manicured yard or need the money, not many people get excited about doing yard work.  Beside heat and humidity, keeping up with rampant weeds that overtake a garden can be demoralizing.  You may spend an entire weekend pulling up every invasive plant only to see others re-emerge in it’s place a few days later.  While using weed killer products like Roundup is an option, most of the modern products are so watered down that there isn’t enough chemicals inside to permanent remove these nuisances of the neighborhood.

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil, Matthew 13:41.

Jesus introduces an new concept of weeding during a private meeting with his disciples.  Unable to figure out the meaning of the Parable of the Weeds, Jesus begins to reveal the symbolism of this story.  According to the passage above, at the end of this age Jesus will command the angels to weed out all negative influences on earth.  These forces are demonic, evil and unruly spirits who have led astray willing participants.  Unfortunately, this process won’t begin until Jesus’ second coming, leaving vessels of the Devil that create chaos.  This dark power eventually filled Stephen Paddock, taking the lives of 58 innocent victims.

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work, 2 Timothy 2:21.

While individuals wait for the weeding to begin, many people like me have a lot to clean up.  Time, weariness and unkempt souls have led everyone to do something dishonorable.  Although these actions vary in degree, hearts should develop a sense of urgency to get right with God.  Instead of judging others, perhaps a little soul searching may reveal areas of decay in desperate need of healing.  Therefore, as evil continues to flourish, it’s time to commence your own spiritual weeding so that through the Holy Spirit you will become an honorable vessel ready to serve your Creator.  Let the weeding begin.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Orchestrator of Comebacks

The phrase comeback is often associated with sports.  A retired boxer may get the itch to regain the title belt he gave up.  After walking away due to injury, a new medical procedure gives a former star one last chance for glory.  Following a successful career in the armed services, a former athlete tries out for a team seeking to fulfill a life long dream.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled, John 11:33.

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of individuals get to play a professional sport.  Thus, everyone else has to go to school, pursue a trade or find out the hard way that life can be a long and lonely road.  Without any cameras, reality show or viewers to cheer you on, average people struggle to survive.  Yet, those who refuse to accept defeat make an upturn by rallying, fueled by a spirit of determination.  Anyone on the verge of giving up needs the orchestrator of comebacks.

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” – John 11:40

There are two factors that initiate a comeback.  The first is heart felt compassion that inspires individuals into action.  The second involves an unswerving confidence in God’s power to make the impossible reality.  Raising someone who has been dead for more than three days would be considered one of the greatest comebacks ever.  The passage above highlights the resurrection of Lazarus, a close friend of the family.  When the odds are stacked against you and science says it’s not possible, there is only one person to call; the orchestrator of comebacks, aka the Son of the Living God.  Reach out to Jesus today.

by Jay Mankus