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Tag Archives: hope

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

 

No Barriers

I was having one of those humbling/trying weeks where nothing seemed to go right.  As I was about to have a pity party for myself, I stumbled upon an article on the top 25 most adventurous men of the last 25 years.  Number 23 on this list was Erik Weihenmayer for kayaking through the Grand Canyon.  This feat may seem relatively obscure unless of course you consider the fact that Eric is blind.

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” John 20:29.

This incredible journey is detailed in the book No Barriers.  While I have had my own eye issues over the past 20 years, I am still able to see the beauty of God’s creation.  As someone who has canoed and kayaked down river rapids, past guides trained me to look for the V.  This is the safest place to enter rapids.  However, down one sense, Erik Weihenmayer has to rely solely on his hearing.  This is where ability and faith meet, trusting in God to get you down stream safely.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1.

It’s only fitting that I discovered No Barriers while waiting to see my eye doctor.  Despite my fears of glaucoma, I experienced a divine appointment with the Lord this afternoon.  Instead of feeling sorry for myself, this article was like a kick in the butt to persevere.  If Erik Weihenmayer can kayak blind through class four rapids on the Colorado River, then the Lord can still use my decaying body to bear spiritual fruit.  The only barriers that exist are seeds of doubt which cause many individuals to give up before obtaining your dreams in life.

by Jay Mankus

Is There Anybody Out There?

I heard a depressing conversation this week.  A woman called into a talk show to discuss her nightmare experience with healthcare.  This woman talked about a company who promised her full coverage if she was willing to move to the west coast.  After believing every spoken word and following through with this relocation, promises began to be broken.  Formerly a religious woman, she cried out to God hoping to be saved from further disappointment.  Day after day these prayers went unanswered, wondering “what’s the point if there’s nobody out there?”

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly, Psalm 5:3.

At the end of this phone call, this woman revealed that she stopped praying, giving up hope that God could change her situation,  Unfortunately, too many people know the pain of unfulfilled prayer requests.  When heaven is silent or signs of help do not arise, it’s hard to press on.  Talking to an invisible God requires faith, persistence and a strong will to carry on.  Yet, there will always be those who give up before a miracle is delivered.

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer, Psalm 4:1.

The Psalmist had his own struggles with waiting on God to intervene.  Based upon the words chosen. it appears Solomon throw his hands up in frustration wondering, “is there anyone out there?”  While technology continues to advance, waiting on God remains the same, a long and trying road.  Therefore, the next time you begin to panic when a prayer goes unanswered, let go and trust the Holy Spirit to lead you where God wants you to go.

by Jay Mankus

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