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Tag Archives: hopeless

Complications

Starting next week, a new drama will hit the airways entitled Complications.  Jason O’Mara plays Dr. John Ellis who is transformed by a life altering event, saving a young boy’s life after a drive by shooting.  A real life good Samaritan, Dr. Ellis is interrupted when the attackers return to finish the deal.  Faced with life or death, John kills one of the assailants, making his life much more complicated than the day before.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything, James 1:2-4.

Growing up, I gradually became disappointed by evangelists, pastors and teachers of the Bible who proclaimed an idealist approach to Christianity.  Although not verbatim, messages often included phrases like “just come to Jesus and all your troubles will go away.”  This story book ending never happened to me, nor did I ever meet someone who hasn’t experienced a series of complications in the form of trials.  This is the reality of the world we live in.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 8:38-39.

According to Jesus, every difficult situation individuals encounter is used to promote maturity, perseverance and growth.  Coaches, professional athletes and hard luck losers regularly tell reporters about learning more from a loss than from a victory.  Therefore, complications are merely opportunities to develop as a human being.  Along the long and winding road, there may be moments that appear hopeless.  However, in the end, God allows the good, bad and ugly to occur for his own glory.

by Jay Mankus

 

McFarland USA

As a former cross country runner, the story of McFarland intrigued me.  While not every sport is perfect, nor will every athlete possess special memories, yet cross country is like a good book you can’t put down.  Eager to find out the conclusion, the message of the movie McFarland USA is a story book ending vanishing from America, a species on the verge of extinction.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it, 1 Corinthians 9:24.

For those foreign to the term Cross Country, family is at the very essence of this sport.  Perhaps, long bus rides to attend Saturday invitationals is forced upon participants initially.  However, after the training is over, the stop watch reset and pain fades away, strangers share a common bond of sweat and tears.  Regardless of the final outcome, the journey to improve far surpasses wins and losses.  In the end, treasured memories exist, as vulnerable hearts pour out their souls to teammates, welcoming people into their lives they never dreamed of or imagined.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint, Isaiah 40:31

The most important message of McFarland USA is choosing community over a career.  When success at a small school leads to a dream job, most follow the money, looking for an easy excuse to leave.  Yet, Coach Jim White’s legacy, played by Kevin Cosner, was built as the lives of his runners began to be transformed.  While his resume did include victories, he brought hope to hopeless Latinos.  Therefore, the next time you think you’re on the verge of striking it rich, make sure you don’t run anyone over on your way out of town.  Although wealth may feed your family, becoming a part of a community enriches your soul.

by Jay Mankus

Words of Healing

When someone is down in the dumps, its hard to break through the shell holding in their misery.  Good intentions, kind words and loving attempts don’t always work to uplift downcast spirits.  Nonetheless, when all else fails, there is one source that provides words of healing, Psalm 107:20.

Growing up, I often experienced a wide range of emotions.  On the good days, I could lift others up, elevating their moods to my level.  Meanwhile, if depressed, I made sure no one had a smile on their face, bringing whoever I could down into my pit of despair.  Only a couple friends developed a few tricks to snap me out of these gloomy states.

Today, I have learned to become more self-reliant.  Not in my own abilities.  Rather, I trust in the power of God’s Word to infuse my soul with the strength to carry on, Isaiah 40:31.   Therefore, if you’re having a bad day, feeling hopeless or stuck in a rut, open up the Bible today to find words of healing, Matthew 11:28-30.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

One Another

The pied piper is often a dynamic leader who attracts others to follow his cause and ways.  However, without consistency, these individuals can be abandoned, left for someone or something better.  If there is no one around to inspire you, people tend to fall back into their complacent habits.  Perhaps, this is where you and I fit into God’s puzzle.

The author of Hebrews is a mystery, with a few candidates, but no clear clue to unveil the actual writer.  Nonetheless, this book contains essential instructions for church goers sitting in the pew.  According to Hebrews 10:23-25, one another are placed into a congregation to call other believers to persevere when the going get’s tough.  When a situation appears hopeless, the faithful are encouraged to be a voice of reason, uplifting disappointed souls.

King Solomon thought so highly of this concept, he suggests one another is crucial to overcoming oppression, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

1. One worker can motivate the other to reach their goal for the day, setting the tone for others to follow.

2. A friend can help their mate if one falls down or is tired, picking up the other to press on another day.

3. If lost, two people can endure cold temperatures together, surviving until a search and rescue team arrives.

4. Finally, alone one person can be over powered, but two soldiers can band together to defend themselves.

God designed human being to spur one another on  toward love and good deeds, Hebrews 10:24.  In view of this truth, Christians should be inspired to continue meeting together, holding their peers accountable, verse 25.  Without another, all you’re left with is one, separated from the flock with the devil waiting to pounce, 1 Peter 5:8.

by Jay Mankus

Remembering Your First Fruits

As Christmas Day approaches, thinking about God; make that slowing down to consider the Lord is a difficult task.  Pondering what presents you are going to buy, how much each will cost and when you will make take to find them all can be exhausting.  Thus, tithing back to God or offering your talents to the church often get’s lost in the holiday rush.

While reading the Bible recently, traces of giving back to God are interspersed within the Pentateuch, another name for the first 5 books of the Old Testament.  In the back of my mind, I want to give 10 % or the first portion of my paycheck back to God, yet a lack of a faith is preventing me from experiencing supernatural blessings.  If only I would trust God to provide daily bread, then the storehouses of heaven might open.

Perhaps this is why the apostle Paul wrote, “the things I don’t want to do I do, but those I hate I do, ” Romans 7:15.  This invisible force field prevents genuine believers from a spiritual breakthrough.  Alone, on my own strength, I am hopeless, destined for failure, Romans 3:23.  However, by grace, through faith, stands a God of second, third and fourth chances, Ephesians 2:8-10.  May this promise catapult you to new heights as you remember to give God what is rightfully His, your first fruits, Romans 7:4.

by Jay Mankus