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Tag Archives: hope

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

 

 

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Three Ways God Saves Us From Ourselves

Young people can be naïve, unaware of the dangers that lurk outside of their comfort zones.  Thus, when individuals turn eighteen or twenty one, a thirst for freedom causes many to enter situations that result in a free fall.  This is where God steps in, swooping down like an eagle to save an eaglet who still doesn’t know how to fly on their own.  Unfortunately, the average person fails to recognize, see or thank the invisible presence who saves us regularly.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; Isaiah 40:31.

When you do earn your wings, there are other factors in life that can halt your growth in a split second.  The apostle Paul compares the Christian life to a marathon.  For those of you who experienced running in some capacity, everyone sooner or later hits a mental wall.  When you do reach this point, human nature tells you to stop, rest a while or simply quit, never to run again.  As soon as this whisper arrives, God intervenes sending angels, the Holy Spirit or other runners to encourage you to keep going until you cross the finish line.  This second sign also goes unnoticed as many participates fail to acknowledge God’s hand, saving you from defeat or failure.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint, Isaiah 40:31.

The final way God saves us from ourselves is through our perspective of trials and tribulations.  Since the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, perfection does not exist.  There is no perfect family, job, neighborhood or state.  Each has it’s frustrating, irritable and negative influences.  Those who seek perfection in any aspect of life will always be disappointed.  Therefore, if situations won’t change, God has to transform your attitude of unpleasant experiences in life.  This process is like sanctification, taking a lifetime to complete.  Yet, only those who trust in the Lord and lean not in their own understanding will see life through the eyes of Christ.  As you stand in the storm clouds of life, may God save you by adopting the attitude and mind of Jesus.

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

 

When You Can’t Put It Back in the Box

Pandora’s box is an artifact from Greek mythology.  However, this box was actually a jar that belonged to Pandora.  Upon opening the lid, all the evils of the world escaped.  When she placed the lid back on, the only thing remaining inside of Pandora’s box was hope.  This story illustrates certain things in life like innocence.  When individuals entertain temptation, purity will eventually be lost.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves, Genesis 3:7.

Ancient writings and the Bible share similar stories passed on from one generation to the next.  The story of original sin starring Adam and Eve parallels Pandora’s Box.  Despite given only one rule to obey, the image of the tree of life planted a seed of lust within human hearts.  The more Eve stared at the fruit hanging from the limbs, enticement clouded her judgment.  As soon as she took a bite and gave one to her husband to try as well, Eve quickly realized that you can’t put it back in the box.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden, Genesis 3:8.

Just as Pandora was filled with remorse for allowing evil to enter the world, guilt caused Adam and Eve to hide from God.  Today, many people do not enter churches due to scars from their past.  Wounds to the soul cause individuals to withdraw, ashamed of who they are or what they have done.  Satan has convinced many broken souls that God can not forgive them for their sins of the past.  This mindset serves as an obstacle to healing.  Although you can’t put evil back into Pandora’s Box, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection occurred to cancel your sins, Colossians 2:13-15.  Despite your current spiritual condition, may the promise of eternal life in 1 John 5:13 give you hope to overcome the spiritual forces of evil in this world.

by Jay Mankus

The Mindset Behind a Miracle

In the last 25 years, sports psychology has impacted professional sports.  Individuals, star players and teams have sought help to reach their full potential.  Based upon books that I have read and from my own personal experience, the human mind plays a crucial role.  I’ve heard many successful athletes point to visualization, being able to see themselves making a catch, hitting a ball or sinking a putt.  When belief, faith and your mind intersect, the recipe for a miracle is set.

She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed,” Matthew 9:21.

The are two examples in the Bible of people who shared a common mindset.  Each sought medical help for a serious condition without any signs of improvement.  They came to the realization that spending money on doctors was a waste of time.  Thus, when word of a miraculous religious leader spread, hope came alive.  This good news gave birth to a thought listed in the passage above.  Despite suffering from a bleeding disorder for twenty years, this woman cast out any hints of doubt.  Eager to find Jesus, this resolve set the stage for a miracle to occur the moment she touched Jesus’ cloak.

When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  “Yes, Lord,” they replied, Matthew 9:28.

The final story refers to a pair of blind men.  Unlike the woman mentioned above, neither of these men could see.  Thus, they were forced to raise their voices once the commotion of Jesus passing by intensified.  Desperate to see, both began to shout, rising above everyone else in the crowd.  Recognizing their plea for mercy, Jesus had compassion on both men.  Like a doctor performing a preliminary check-up, Jesus asked one simple question, “do you believe I am able to heal you?”  The unswerving mindset within each led to another miracle.  The key to experiencing similar results today lies untapped within the mindset behind a miracle.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

How I Feel Verse What I Should Do?

There are some mornings when my alarm goes off that I feel like staying in bed.  Whatever plans I made in my mind the night before are cast aside as I hit snooze numerous times.  When my life is void of dreams, goals or vision, feelings dictate what I actually do.  At the end of the week as this cycle resets, I often discover little accomplishments on my to do list.  Thus, how I feel is currently winning this endless tug of war against what God wants me to do.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out, Romans 7:18.

During a trip to Rome, the apostle Paul appears to have developed some bad habits.  The text above doesn’t specify the issue except for implying Paul wasn’t able to follow through with God’s plan while visiting Rome.  Earthly desires were either distracting or preventing Paul from making the progress he hoped and prayed for.  You don’t have to be a missionary or pastor to experience these feelings.  In fact, the average Christian understands failure more than success.

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing, Romans 7:19.

When other people that you know live according to another set of rules, it’s hard not to lower your own standards through subtle compromises.  Unfortunately, by doing so you allow feelings to trump faith.  The earthly brother of Jesus once wrote “faith without deeds is dead.”  Thus, every time I slip, giving into the sinful nature, my faith drifts closer to death’s door.  To avoid the inevitable, I need a spiritual heart transplant, injected with new life by the Holy Spirit so that how I feel will yield to what God wants me to do.

by Jay Mankus

Excuse Me

A generation ago, respect was demanded, encouraged and reinforced by most suburban neighborhoods.  Whenever someone burped, farted or responded in a rude manner in public, this act was addressed immediately.  Local communities looked out for the best interest of adolescents as adults weren’t afraid to correct inappropriate behavior.  This era reflected a time when the majority ruled.

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come, 1 Corinthians 10:11.

Following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, there is a growing movement in America to remove any monument or statue linked to slavery.  During an interview with the media last week, President Donald Trump addressed this issue.  Using George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as examples, Trump replied “where are you going to stop?”  If this trend is allowed to continue, the offended will expand their sights to erase remaining traces of Christianity within America.  Today, the minority find ways to rule.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! – 1 Corinthians 10:12.

If this removal of American history doesn’t disturb you, let me remind you of Kryziukalnas, Lithuania.  When the former Soviet Union invaded the Baltic States in June of 1940, Soviet officials removed all resembles of faith.  This meant removing all religious symbols.  When the iron curtain fell in the 1980’s, crosses that were found were placed on a hill in northern Lithuania.  This site ensures that future generations won’t forget what happened in the past.  Today, this area is known as the hill of crosses, a symbol of religious freedom.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, Romans 15:4.

In recent days, traces of America’s Civil War are being destroyed.  Fueled by a media frenzy, any monument or statue that suggests racism is under consideration for removal.  However, if local, state and government officials allow this excuse me mentally to reign, any landmark could be in jeopardy.  Do Americans really want to follow in the footsteps of communism?  Who will learn from history if it’s completely obliterated?  May the city of crosses serve as a living example to learn from past mistakes.  Instead of saying excuse me, use any offensive historic symbol as teachable moments to educate those who were not alive.

by Jay Mankus