RSS Feed

Tag Archives: God’s will

Never Me… Always We

I have always appreciated creative minds.  Whether it’s an amusing advertisement, catchy commercial or funny bumper sticker, I enjoy unique themes.  While watching my daughter Lydia’s volleyball game, I sat behind the opposition’s varsity team as new T-shirts arrived.  On the back, a powerful message was displayed about what it means to be a great teammate, “Never Me Always We.”

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me, Galatians 2:20.

This motto got me thinking about my own Christian faith.  Sadly, I find my own life resembling another T-Shirt design.  However, this one reads “Always Me, Occasionally Thee.”  Some where along the way I have discarded a servant’s heart for selfish reasons.  Unfortunately, I have forgotten one of the apostle Paul’s life’s verse, dying to self.  This is the way these students can proclaim “Never Me Always We.”

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me, Luke 9:23.

Before accepting individuals as disciples, Jesus had three expectations for each one to follow.  There were no exceptions to these standards, turning away many who were not willing to submit.  First, you needed to deny yourself, to become part of God’s team.  Second, join this crusade, to make fishers of men by saving souls.  Finally, commit to following God’s will wherever this may lead you.  If you are willing to submit to these requirements, you too can say with confidence Never Me God Always Thee.

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

A Race Against Time

When you hear someone mention the term race, it’s often in reference to Track & Field, Horses or Nascar.  Yet, my use is in the context of a personal battle.  Currently, I have fluid in my left eye along with a recent collapsed cell wall.  The sad thing is that this is my good eye.  Following emergency glaucoma surgery in December, a cataract has developed in my right eye to blur my vision.  Subsequently, I’m in a race against time to finish the book that I started this Spring.  Meanwhile, I still have a collection of screen plays I need to edit and an additional script in my head.  God willing I am hoping to complete these projects while I can still see.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him, 1 John 5:14-15.

Seeing and believing are two different aspects of faith.  According to the verse above, prayers should be based upon God’s will.  However, if what you are asking is foreseeable in the context of God’s will, you should be confident in having this request honored.  The only problem with my current dilemma is I’m not sure if it’s in God’s will for me to write full time.  As for now, I am trying to maximize my time away from work so that I can make the most of the gift of sight.

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith,” Matthew 21:22.

This second verse on prayer refers to overcoming mountains, persisting despite obstacles blocking your current path.  Since last winter, I wake up daily not knowing if my vision will be blurred or clear.  I have the faith for the Lord to heal and restore my sight, but a medical miracle has not arrived.  The only thing I can do is press on like the persistent widow.  This woman of faith did not stop praying until she received the outcome she desired.  Perhaps, perfect vision is illogical to hope for in prayer.  Yet, I cling to the promises in the Bible waiting for a miracle to occur in connection with God’s will.  This is my race against time.

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

 

Unlikely Heroes

Hollywood has a way of portraying films that appear to be genuine, but add an unlikely hero to appeal to the masses.  Although this may draw tears from some viewers, others may think quietly to themselves, “yeah right.”  Teenagers tend to be truth detectors, not afraid to be blunt by cutting through the crap in life that exists.  Despite this painful truth, every once in a while unlikely heroes do come forth.

By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given friendly welcome to the spies, Hebrews 11:31.

One of these which pops up in history is a prostitute from Jericho named Rahab.  I guess you can say she was the Dolly Parton or her day except her whore house wasn’t in Texas.  Nonetheless, God needed someone on the inside.  While her occupation doesn’t fit the typical servant of God, this testimony reveals that the Lord can use anyone to fulfill His will.

And Salmon the father of Bo’az by Rahab, and Bo’az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, Matthew 1:5.

Rahab may not have done much to receive the honor of being selected as a member of the Hall of Faith.  Yet, she kept her word and held up her end of the bargain.  This simple act of faith saved her families life and opened the door for becoming a distant relative of Jesus.  Therefore, if you want to be an unlikely hero in the future, let faith guide you to the place where God can use you the most.

by Jay Mankus

What are you Chasing After?

A kitten may become enamored with their own tail and begin chasing after it.  Puppies tend to run after any critter which enters their domain.  Meanwhile, children follow a plethora of dreams until one captures their attention.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Along the way, individuals may be deceived or simply unsatisfied when they get to the end of the rainbow.  The apostle Paul refers to those who are blinded by the god of this world.  Perhaps, Paul is eluding to those things in life that are appealing externally but lead to disappointment in the end.

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God, 1 Peter 2:16.

While driving home from work this week I heard the Britt Nicole song After You for the first time.  The lyrics refer to the temptation to chase after worldly pursuits.  Feeling empty, Britt realizes her she was chasing after the wrong things.  Rather, a spirit of conviction has inspired her to begin running after God.  May this blog and the song motivate you to start chasing after God’s will for this life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

When the Conductor Arrives

In the absence of leadership, chaos often ensues.  Subsequently, if you want to get from point A to point B, you need to wait for a guide who you can trust.  While some grow impatient choosing someone without proven experience, the faithful wait it out despite the uncertainty.  Time has a way of straightening out unanswered questions, revealing glimpses of God’s providence.

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

Without God’s direction, anyone can wander far from the life the Lord designed for you.  For reasons unknown, trials come and go unannounced, wearing on souls who are put through a series of tests.  In some ways, these unpleasant experiences serve as a way to nudge individuals closer to God’s will.  Yet, in trying to comprehend the whys, putting the pieces together to life’s mysteries, some lose faith.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose, Romans 8:28.

One of the roles Jesus plays is a conductor, leading his lost sheep in the right direction.  Like a maestro, God has a way of taking average people and bringing them together to make amazing music.  Unfortunately, when things don’t go your way, its hard to see God’s hand at work.  Thus, its vital to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, ready to jump on the train to heaven when the conductor arrives.

by Jay Mankus

 

Frustration

Annoying, defeating and unfulfilled are words synonomous with frustration.  Whenever your expectations for something is not met, individuals can overreact.  This is often displayed in public through fits of rage, tantrums and wounded relationships.

The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful, Proverbs 22:12.

According to King Solomon, the origin of frustration can be easily explained.  When people try to manufacture something outside of God’s will, attempting to bypass knowledge, the Lord steps in.  Thus, the unfaithful are thwarted resulting in a closed door, failure or rejection.

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, Hebrews 10:26.

Meanwhile, the principle of sowing and reaping also applies, Galatians 6:7-8.  God is not going to bless or allow prosperity over the long haul to the unfaithful.  In view of this information, confess any wrong doing of the present and past.  Although frustration usually results in humility, a broken heart provides the environment for grace and forgiveness.  May disappointment and trials lead to a spirit of revival this Christmas season.

by Jay Mankus