RSS Feed

Tag Archives: hope

God of the Impossible

If you follow, read or watch the news, it’s hard to remain positive.  Like the down trodden in this life, hope can disappear for extended periods of time.  Thus, many are left alone, stuck in an impossible situation praying for a miracle.

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you,” Matthew 17:20.

For some the story of David and Goliath is nothing more than a fairy tale, a figment of one’s imagination.  Yet, history conveys the truth found in the Old Testament, 1 Samuel 17.  While David’s size was an obstacle, a midget compared to the giant mocking God on a daily basis, his experience as a shepherd prepared him for this battle.  Against all odds, David shot down Goliath with his sling shot opening the door to become king of Israel.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father,” John 14:12.

When Jesus traveled throughout the Middle East during the first century, doubt was prevalent.  Doing the impossible was a dream blocked by the mountain known as reality.  Thus, Jesus found it necessary to regularly talk about the power of faith and belief.  As Jesus began to cure, heal and perform miracles, the impossible seemed to be within reach.  Therefore, don’t let doubt keep you trapped.  Rather, cry out of Jesus so that the God of the impossible will return to perform another miracle.

by Jay Mankus

 

Remember Where You Came From

Whether your life has turned out to be a success, disappointment or some where in between, its always important to remember where you came from.  Depending upon how you were raised, you’ve likely developed stereotypes about certain occupations, places or people.  Over time these views will either be reinforced or shattered.  Whatever happens make sure you remain humble so you don’t miss out on meeting special people.

For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; Galatians 1:13.

Paul was a religious zealot who initially persecuted and gave the order to kill the apostle Stephen.  Thus, after his conversion to Christ many were hesitant to believe his faith was real.  This backlash inspired Galatians 1, a summary of his testimony.  It wasn’t until Paul began his missionary journeys when fellow Christians began to accept and embrace him as a genuine believer.

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, Galatians 1:15.

While my past isn’t as radical as Paul, I still have issues to overcome.  Years of stuttering stunted my communication skills and ability to draw close to others.  Periods of depression still cause me to withdraw at times, wandering away from the people I love.  Yet, because of God’s grace, I have hope for the future.  Despite my own imperfections, God sent His one and only Son to die for my sins.  Therefore, don’t let the sun go down without accepting God’s free gift of eternal life.  When you remember where you came from, you will likely find a sinner saved by God’s grace.

by Jay Mankus

When Confidence Fades Away

There was a time in my life when I believed that I could do anything.  A few months after graduating from the University of Delaware, I felt like I was missing something.  This emptiness led me to pursue a leadership trade school in Minnesota called Tentmakers.  Following my completion of this youth ministry training in March of 1993, I was equipped with the tools I was previously missing.  This training propelled me to new levels of confidence.  Unfortunately, beginning in 1994 this confidence faded away, never to fully recapture again.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

During my fifteen years of coaching, I’ve seen similar situations occur on the athletic field.  Golf is probably the one sport where confidence is essential.  One day golfers may flirt with shooting par and the next can’t break 50 for 9 holes.  Meanwhile, I’ve seen dominant pitchers be unhittable one day and the next can’t find the strike zone.  Confidence is like fuel that drives individuals.  When it runs out its easy for people to become lost, a shell of who they once were.

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

There is a term which refers to someone floundering, flopping back and forth without any sense of direction.  This state is often a by product of confidence that fades away.  If you have ever reached this point in life like me, Solomon encourages people to lean on God.  While you may not regain the heights you once obtained, the Lord promises to restore hope to those who have endured the pain of lost confidence.

by Jay Mankus

Let God Write Your Story

There are times in life when you want something so badly that you might force the issue.  If a desired outcome doesn’t go your way, you may even attempt to manipulate this situation.  Yet, before you go too far perhaps its better to drop your pen and begin to allow God to write the rest of your story.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them, Ephesians 2:10.

In a letter to the church of Ephesus, the apostle Paul uses the Greek word poiema.  Although the English translates into God’s workmanship, this doesn’t provide an accurate description.  What Paul is actually saying is God is the Poet and we, human beings, are poems in progress.  Thus, don’t seize control through selfishness and self seeking motives.  Rather, trust God to finish the work which He began in you.

For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring,’ Acts 17:28.

During a speech in the streets of Rome, Paul references a Greek poet.  Sometimes poetry highlights and brings to light previously hidden truths.  Quoting a line, Paul reminds the crowd that individuals are all one of God’s children.  In view of this fact, resist the urge to trust in your all understanding.  Instead, place your hope in the Author of Faith who is eager to write your story.

by Jay Mankus

Running Out of Safe Places

When I was younger, a parents mentality was much different.  Summers were spent outside exploring the woods in the neighborhood with other boys.  The concept of terrorism wasn’t even a thought.  Sure, there were boundaries, areas or places to avoid, but the friends in my development had plenty of safe places to play.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go, Joshua 1:9.

When you fast forward to modern times, parents don’t have the luxury of a generation ago.  Today, concerts, malls and schools have been targets of terrorism.  Some are motivated by a chance for 15 minutes of fame.  Meanwhile, others have been deceived by evil to attack areas once thought to be safe.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety, Psalm 4:8.

In the midst of terror, God is the only one who can restore peace.  The element of freewill has ushered in a new era of turmoil, not knowing the next safe space to be targeted.  Yet, when chaos subsides the only source of hope is Jesus.  Therefore, don’t allow the frenzy stirred up by the media to dictate your mood.  Rather, cry out to the Lord in prayer so that you may dwell in safety.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Be So Hysterical

Crazed, distraught and frantic are words associated with hysterical.  In this day and age, if you post, say or tweet something contrary to the secular worldview, the mainstream media goes bonkers.  Instead of participating in an honest debate of ideals, individuals on the wrong side of political correctness are attacked, defamed and trashed publicly.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15.

One of Jesus’ disciples explains the appropriate way to convince others who currently disagree with you.  Peter talks about being prepared for various questions opposing views may ask you.  This requires research, study and words of wisdom.  Nonetheless, when someone refuses to come to your side, gentleness and respect must be offered.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so, Acts 17:11.

As a former teacher, its sad to see the immaturity that exists when it comes to debate in this country.  College students who are fearful of opposing worldviews are offered safe spaces on campuses to protect their minds.  Meanwhile, conservative voices are being silenced, with many having their freedom of speech revoked and shut down by protesters.  If only more people would emulate the practices of the Bereans perhaps this current state of hysteria might end.  As for now, apply the words of Peter by sharing your views with gentleness and respect.

by Jay Mankus

Have Faith in God’s Power to Deliver Miracles

The vigor of youth often breeds self-reliance.  The concept of praying for healing is not relative, especially if good health has always been maintained.  Thus, many young people will continue to press on without relying on God’s power to survive.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise, Jeremiah 17:14.

Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet.  This nickname comes from the messages Jeremiah often shared with Israel.  The majority of the prophecies he receives from God we negative, focused on pending doom and punishment.  Yet, there are some rays of hope, illustrating the power of prayer.

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security, Jeremiah 33:6.

As for me, the older I become the more I need God’s help to get through each day.  Over the last week, my vision has faded, unable to see or read letters unless the font is 48 is bigger.  While I may need glasses, I still believe and cling to God’s power to deliver miracles.  Whatever mountain standing in your way, may you find hope in God’s power to transform your current situation.

by Jay Mankus