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Tag Archives: character

For Those Who Wait It Out

As I look back on my life, one disturbing pattern exists.  When I failed to reach a goal, rejected by a company or cut by a sports team, I changed course.  Trying to rebound quickly, I altered my dreams in life to avoid further disappointment  Sure, this made me feel better momentarily, yet I regret not sticking it out longer to see if I could have achieved my desired destination.

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

The group Firefight sings about this topic in the song For Those Who Wait.  The attached video illustrates a natural response to failure, quitting.  Yet, the lyrics point to the reward for those who hang in there despite not succeeding on your first attempt.  This is where rationale thoughts wrestle with faith.  While some may never taste success, perseverance shapes character and will prepare you for future opportunities in this life.

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

If you are like me, sharing dreams with family and friends can be frustrating.  Responses like don’t quit your day job and don’t get your hopes up are typical.  Meanwhile, those who don’t comment roll their eyes or mutter “yeah right.”  This vision that you paint for others doesn’t fit their current perception of you.  Thus, you have one of two options.  Think about what might have been or step out in faith by toughing it out like those who wait?  I pray that you choose the latter.  Take courage as you wait on the Lord to open the next door in your life.

by Jay Mankus

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When Children Think Dad is No Longer Cool

When I became a first time parent 19 years ago, I began to ask elders from church about parenting.  Although each shared different principles to apply, one common message was passed on.  At some point, kids will reach a stage in life when hanging out with dad is no longer cool.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.

As teenagers begin to develop a social life, priorities change.  At some point parents have to let go and allow their children to grow up.  When kids are still young, Solomon encourages fathers to demonstrate, emulate and model godliness.  Raising children with character is only effective if fathers live out what they believe.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4.

Instead of taking things personal, fathers with older children need to re-direct their attention.  This involves setting goals, developing vision and start thinking about what life will be like when your nest is empty.  On this father’s day, don’t exasperate your children.  Rather, ask the Lord for direction in prayer when kids reach the stage in life when dad is no longer cool to hang out with.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Fellowship of Suffering

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.  Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed, Luke 22:59-60.

While individuals may not want to admit it, there is a lot of Peter within most human beings.  When questioned by someone like Jesus, its easy to become defensive proclaiming, “I’d never do that.”  Yet, when push comes to shove human nature longs for acceptance.  Thus, few people ever join the fellowship of suffering.

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go,” John 21:18.

When Jesus witnessed Peter’s final denial, this event likely cut to his heart.  Usually a big talker, Peter’s fear of persecution revealed a major flaw within his character.  Based upon the words within the gospel of John, it appears that this betrayal of Jesus haunted Peter for years.  Nonetheless, Jesus shows the way toward the fellowship of suffering, letting go and allowing God to lead you where you don’t want to go.

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, 1 Peter 3:17.

Following a moment of reconciliation with Jesus, Peter begins to enter a special group.  Unless you are willing to endure hardships for doing what is right, the fellowship of suffering is unattainable.  Jesus’ brother James refers to embracing trials by considering each attack on your faith a joy.  Whether it was maturity or a spiritual transformation, Peter gave up his life to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.  Prior to his death, Peter demanded to be crucified upside down claiming he was unworthy to die in the same manner of his Savior.  May this blog inspire you to follow in Peter’s footsteps by joining the Fellowship of Suffering.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Role of Failure in Life

Within a 48 hour period, my son Daniel experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  Last Saturday he placed 5th in the state in Pole Vault earning St. Georges four points.  After the final event, his school won the state track title by three points.  On Monday, playing in an qualifier for the state golf tournament, Daniel fell 7 shots short.  A few bad holes led to his demise.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

The apostle Paul writes about the role of failure in life.  Disappointment serves as teachable moments.  Failure allows suffering to change your perspective on life.  If you deal with this in a mature manner, character is developed.  If not fits of rage will likely follow.  Each failure you endure allows growth to take shape.  However, it only depends upon how you respond.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever, Psalm 73:26.

No matter what you tell a younger generation, sometimes you have to let people learn the hard way.  You can only hold someone’s hand so long.  Eventually, you have to let the people you love sink or swim.  Shielding children from failure will only hurt in the long run.  Therefore, let go and let God use trials to strengthen the people you love.

by Jay Mankus

Running with Giants

Prior to the passage below, the members of the Hall of faith are introduced.  Hebrews chapter 11 serves as a summary of the great men and women of faith who have walked the face of the earth.  I guess you can refer to these individuals as spiritual giants.  The context of running likely represents those inspired to follow in the footsteps of these godly people.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, Hebrews 12:1-2.

Meanwhile, the apostle Paul eludes to a sporting event in his letter to the church at Corinth.  The Corinthians Games are similar to the modern day Summer Olympics with an emphasis on track and field.  Paul is encouraging readers to see the big picture, only one person is victorious per event.  Therefore, run in such a way which glorifies God.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it, 1 Corinthians 9:24.

In modern times, there are some who take short cuts to get ahead in life.  These decisions shape your character.  The only problem is if you get away with cutting corners, you might be tempted to continue living on the edge.  Any type of compromise will disqualify you.  Therefore, if you want to start running with the giants of the faith, take the advice of God’s Word.  If you want it enough, developing a daily spiritual regiment will get you in shape to make running with these giants possible.

by Jay Mankus

Champ or Chump?

On the surface, it may be hard to tell the difference between a champion and a chump.  Appearances may be deceiving, misleading even the most sophisticated individual.  While time will reveal winners from losers, the prophet Samuel introduces a measuring stick to decipher one from the other.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD‘s anointed stands here before the LORD.”  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:6-7.

From a logical stand point, you can’t open a window to observe someone’s heart.  However, Jesus encourages people to listen what people say.  A first century doctor adds to this concept, claiming words are derived from the overflow of the heart.  While talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words.  A close observation to actions, behavior and vocabulary will distinguish champs from chumps.

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?  But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them,” Matthew 15:17-18.

Unfortunately, modern champs, especially in the context of sports often talk too much.  Thus, someone may be a champ, but also a chump, with little or no character.  This current trend makes it tough to ascertain a champion of the faith.  Trials can radically change individuals, resulting in emotional outbursts.  Therefore, if you need to recognize a genuine champ from an imposter, perseverance and maturity will lead the way.  Emulate the qualities of Christ in this life and you too can become a champion of the faith.

by Jay Mankus

Where Did Ethos Go?

While I never finished completing seminary due to my iritis, the classes I completed have provided a plethora of knowledge.  One of my favorite terms is the Greek word ethos.  Philosophers like Aristotle used ethos in the context of a person’s character.  Yet, ethos means so much more, its the expression of love, allowing others to see that you genuinely care about their lives.  Those individuals who demonstrate ethos on a daily basis earn the right to be heard.

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, Matthew 9:12.

Unfortunately, as I interact with people, listen to what others believe and watch how different worldviews treat one another, the concept of ethos is vanishing.  Narcissism, pride and stubborn hearts are leaving a trail of hate, attacking anyone who opposing their beliefs.  C.S. Lewis eludes to this oblivious trait as diabolical pride in Mere Christianity.  If this flaw continues, the concept of ethos may disappear.

But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners,” Matthew 9:13.

There are certain areas, subjects or topics where people claim to be experts, knowing much more than most others.  Yet, it would help if individuals would learn to become humble and more teachable.  While you may think you know more than a boss, manager or teacher, showing respect breeds ethos.  If the phrase sharing is caring is employed, a generation will begin to witness the powerful effects of ethos on society.

by Jay Mankus