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Tag Archives: confidence

Not Just a Guess

I have grown to appreciate the Amplified Bible this year.  While this translation of Scripture can be confusing upon first sight, this version gives you a full perspective of the context in which each book and verse was written.  Although you may choose to use your favorite commentary while studying the Bible, I don’t have to guess when I read the Amplified Bible.  What makes this version unique is that all the possibly translations from Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew into English are provided in italics.

Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses], Hebrews 11:1.

Given the title of the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11 records the triumphs of faith throughout the history of the Bible.  This chapter details godly men and women who walked by faith, not by sight.  These individuals did not guess.  Rather, each was filled with an assurance not of this world.  Like a deed to a title, hope was divinely guaranteed by promises made throughout the Old Testament.  This conviction directed, guided and steered these souls to spiritual heights that the world still struggles to comprehend.

By faith [that is, with an inherent trust and enduring confidence in the power, wisdom and goodness of God] we understand that the worlds (universe, ages) were framed and created [formed, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose] by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible, Hebrews 11:3.

The greatest feature of any faith is the enduring confidence that one possesses.  While doubts will appear from time to time, those who have decided to follow Jesus are often filled with divine power.  This inherent trust arrives during periods of hardship and trials, sending hope on dark days.  According to the apostle Paul, faith begins when people hear or read the Bible, Romans 10:17.  If you’re tired of going through life guessing, may the Holy Spirit nudge you to take a leap of faith.  God willing, you will soon possess the confidence mentioned in 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Help Me Overcome My Unbelief

There’s an expression that has been used by various Hollywood productions in the last half century.  “Fake it until you make it” derives from cognitive behavior therapy.  This saying is meant to coerce someone into believing they can do something prior to possessing the confidence, knowledge and or training.  The idiom “act is if you are” is similar to Aristotle’s idea to be virtuous you must act as a virtuous individual.

Jesus said to him, “[You say to Me,] ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes and trusts [in Me]!” – Mark 9:23

The opposite of this mentality is confessing your weaknesses.  This goes against modern beliefs that cause many to go through life living a lie.  Unfortunately, those who follow in these footsteps are not trusting God.  According to the passage above, all things are possible in life, but first you must believe and trust in Jesus.  If you come to your senses, you may be inspired like one father to profess, “help me overcome my unbelief.”

 Immediately the father of the boy cried out [with a desperate, piercing cry], saying, “I do believe; help [me overcome] my unbelief,” Mark 9:24.

The earthly brother of Jesus reflects upon his own struggle in life.  Jealous of his perfect brother, resentment filled his heart, not believing the outlandish statements of Jesus.  Like many unbelieving souls, the resurrection transformed James.  This led him to write James 5:16, noting that a public confession is the first step toward healing.  Therefore, if you want a fresh start in life, cry out to the Lord to help overcome any remaining unbelief.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Right Here Right Now

Jesus Jones was the first to record the song Right Here Right Now in 1990.  Fatboy Slim, Zac Efron, Giorgio Moroder and Jordin Sparks have since followed this British alternative dance artist with their own version.  The original lyrics talk about a revolution, waiting for and taking advantage of the moment, right here, right now.  Unfortunately, many people have lost hope, doubtful and faithless that their life will make a difference.

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught, Proverbs 3:26.

While success breeds confidence, any type of extended losing stretch can crush fragile souls.  When individuals lose their momentum, assurance quickly fades away.  Subsequently, body language, certainty and positivity tends to waver.  Instead of seizing the moment like the song right here right now, its not uncommon for people to become a shell of themselves.  This is where you have a choice to bear down or throw in the towel.

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 2 Corinthians 3:5.

Following his conversion, the apostle Paul discovered an important lesson about life.  Although its natural to want to be in control of your life, faith has a way of altering your focus.  Instead of worrying about worldly aspects, Paul found sufficiency by trusting in God.  If you’re tired of dealing with the stress of life, its time to make a permanent change.  Therefore, right here right now place your trust in Jesus so that God will make your life whole, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

Whose Hands Are You Holding?

Assurance, confidence, dependence and expectation are words associated with trust.  Human beings have a tendency to become co-dependent, relying on someone or something.  In the Peanuts Cartoon, Charles Schultz developed a character, Linus, who couldn’t function without his security blanket.  Meanwhile, some individuals can be insecure, clinging to family, friends or strangers when loneliness sets in.  Depending upon the circumstance, whose hands you hold during times of trials reflect whom you ultimately trust.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5.

One day, a father took his son aside to discuss an important life lesson.  This conversation is condensed in the passage above.  Solomon who received wisdom from the Lord passed his insight down to one of his many sons.  This command goes against mainstream beliefs, urging readers to hold God’s hand when you don’t understand why something is happening.  Like faith in the dark, when life takes unexpected twists and turns, trust in the Lord with all your heart.  This action suggests that you are all in, clinging to God’s hand.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! – Psalm 40:4

Solomon’s father, David, provides his own perspective of trust in the passage above.  From a man who went from a lowly shepherd to king of Israel, David recognizes God’s role in his ascension to the throne.  David views his status as a blessing from trusting the Lord as a child.  Unfortunately, some people handle success poorly, boasting and taking all the credit themselves.  If you want to guard against arrogance and pride, make sure that you are holding God’s hand, looking up instead of trusting in your own understanding.

by Jay Mankus

Stronger Than You Think

Like any start to a new year, the longer you make it in fulfilling resolutions on the calendar, confidence and optimism grows.  Those who use hope as a catalyst for change begin to see the fruits of their rededication toward accomplishing goals in life.  Signs of progress make successful individuals appear stronger than you think.

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

Unfortunately, most people don’t make it through the first week before breaking one of their vows.  Diets are ruined by leftover treats from Christmas and New Years.  Exercise programs are put on hold after you pull a muscle, over doing it after your first few work outs.  Meanwhile, those attempting to cease bad habits from their past are lulled back, unable to escape addictive behavior.  These poor souls seem weaker than the rest, plagued by one bad decision after the other.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26.

According to the apostle Paul, there is a solution for those of us who have already failed miserably in fulfilling New Year Resolutions.  In your time of need or moment of weakness, pray.  As you slow down by crying out to God, ask for the Holy Spirit’s intervention.  When you do, the Lord will replace blank ideas with the right course of action.  This is where blind faith pays off, trusting in God to guide you through failure so that victory becomes a certainty.

by Jay Mankus

 

Believing that You are Deserving

There is an insecurity that exists within human beings.  This fear plants doubt into the minds of the humbled, frustrated and unsuccessful.  Thus, many individuals go through life believing that they are not deserving.  This lack of confidence gives birth to a self-fulfilled prophecy as negativity becomes reality.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind, James 1:6.

Earlier in the week I caught an emotional interview on television.  While most of the media’s attention centered around the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, one professional golfer provided words of inspiration.  After losing his PGA card in 2016, Shawn Stefani was relegated to the Web.com Tour this year.  At the final event of the season, Shawn’s future as a professional golfer was up in the air.  On the bubble of earning a promotion to the PGA tour, Stefani’s had to play a solid final 18 holes to earn of one the 25 cards up for grabs.  After just making it by shooting 65, Shawn broke down in tears saying,”sometimes you have to believe that you are deserving.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, Romans 15:13.

When circumstances in life don’t go your way, it’s hard to stay optimistic.  There is an expression in sports that refers to digging down deep while fighting adversity.  This same concept applies to life when individuals are placed into situations where you are forced to develop a will to survive or accept defeat.  It is during this struggle where desperate people need to begin to believe that yes, you are deserving to accomplish the dreams and goals in your heart.

by Jay Mankus

 

Rediscovering the American Spirit

While Hurricane Harvey and Irma have received most of the headlines this month, another human interest story hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.  As Americans watched images of devastation, flooding and property loss from these storms, compassionate hearts have been compelled to act.  Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watts thought maybe he could raise some money using social media.  More than thirty million dollars later, donations continue to pour in.  Meanwhile, average citizens with boats, trailers and trucks have driven to Texas to aid in the search and rescue of stranded homeowners.  Countless others have provided clothes, diapers and water for victims who have lost everything except their lives.  In the face of adversity, these hurricanes have revived the American Spirit.

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.

From a historical perspective, King Solomon is considered one of the wisest human beings to ever walk the face of the earth.  In the passage above, Solomon points to the goal Israelites should strive to achieve.  Human beings can be fragile, often in need of a social companion.  Whether this is a classmate, co-worker or friend, life is easier when you have someone close to pick you up after a fall.  Sometimes falling refers to a physical act, but others struggle with a lack of confidence, depression or insecurity.  Based upon the context of Genesis 2, Adam spent a portion of his life searching for a suitable helper.  Initially, Adam looked for companionship among animals, likely taking some home as pets.  Yet, at some point these relationships didn’t suffice, eventually resulting in God creating Eve.  The Lord in his infinite wisdom understood the power of one person helping another in need.  Like the pay it forward movement, as one person demonstrates random acts of kindness, other good Samaritans are motivated to join in.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him, Luke 10:33.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus uses an analogy to illustrate what happens every day.  Sometimes people get into an accident, need help or are stranded along side of the road.  The people that should come to the rescue like priests and religious people use a busy schedule as an excuse to continue on their way.  The social outcast like the Samaritan ends up saving the day.  One of the points Jesus is trying to make is which one are you?  Are you going to remain on the sideline, failing to lend a helping hand to the countless who lost a home or family member?  Or will the selfless response by J.J. Watt inspire you to abandon your own worries to reach out to someone less fortunate?  Many the power of the Holy Spirit fall upon the volunteers in Florida and Texas to rediscover the American Spirit.  Although there will be other natural disasters in the future, I pray that this kindred spirit of giving continues to impact the lives of individuals forced to start over from scratch.  When communities love their neighbors as themselves, this world becomes a better place to live.

by Jay Mankus