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Tag Archives: illness

From Bad to Unbearable

There is an old cliché of going from bad to worse.  However, in some circumstances individuals experience unbearable conditions.  Sometimes this occurs due to an accident, illness or trial.  Whenever you encounter one of these extremes, faith and perseverance are essential to survive.

“You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw.  But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God,’ Exodus 5:7-8.

During Israel’s 400 years of slavery in Egypt, Pharaoh took out his frustrations on the Hebrew servants.  Beginning in Exodus 5, the quota of work remained the same, but the workers were forced to now collect straw to make bricks.  This decision was like the last straw forcing God’s hand to ramp up the plagues on Pharaoh.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

One of Jesus’ brothers records a mindset necessary to overcome harsh periods in life.  Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that when most people hear it you reply, “yeah right.”  Nonetheless, staying positive is half the battle.  Any type of negativity can poison minds resulting in an avalanche of doubt.  Therefore, the next time things go from bad to worse in your life, consider it a pure joy so that those who endure will receive the crown of life.

by Jay Mankus

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Worn

Frayed, ragged, shabby and tattered are synonyms for worn.  While most people will visualize a physical condition, there are other ways to become worn.  Counselors, psychologists and therapists can become emotionally overwhelmed by a patients life.  Meanwhile, clergy, pastors and spiritual leaders may be shaken by the problems of their flock.

“Man is also chastened with pain upon his bed, and with continual strife in his bones;” Job 33:19.

When disease, illness or sickness strike individuals, just getting up for a moment can make someone exhausted.  Depending upon the severity of a condition, physically features may be altered.  Without a cure or medicine to improve, bodies will continue to deteriorate.  In the passage below, time has a way of wasting away bodies.

His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen; and his bones which were not seen stick out, Job 33:21.

Currently, I find myself in a different state of worn.  One that involves a loss of energy, passion and vigor for life.  Trying to keep any type of positive momentum is a grind.  Thus, I struggle to experience joy in this life.  Perhaps I need to remember the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 embracing my weakness so that Christ may be strong.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where Did I Go Wrong?

Life tends to be a series of choices which lead you to the place where you end up.  Sure, accidents, illness and tragedy may be the exception to this rule, but it doesn’t take much to take the wrong path.  Compromise starts off subtle, lulling souls to sleep spiritually.  Before you know you have a problem, its often too late as people are left to ponder, “where did I go wrong?”

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot, Romans 8:7.

Some might argue that its impossible to know if you are exactly where God wants you to be.  Meanwhile, others claim the conscience was designed into every human being to regulate your soul.  Yet, if your mind isn’t right, thoughts can become hostile to God.  Whenever anyone drifts off course from the path God desires you to take, Satan can use your own mind against you to justify false actions and behaviors.  Thus, determining where you went astray can be more difficult than it seems.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15.

As Joshua leads a new generation into God’s promised land, it was fitting to urge Israel to consider who they are willing to serve.  The blessings are out there, fruits for those who remain on the straight and narrow.  Yet, the sooner you recognize where you went wrong, the quicker you will find reconciliation.  Therefore, I’m calling all prodigals to come to their senses to find forgiveness, hope and the peace of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

Someone Will Always Have It Worse Than You

Last week I spent a few days at A.I. Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware.  This is one of the premiere facilities on the East Coast for young people struggling with crippling illnesses.  When my son Daniel arrived at the hospital, his blood sugar level as at 1000, the highest A.I. had ever received was 700.  Anything over 300 is considered dangerous.  Thus, despite all my family went through last week at least my son is alive.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven, James 5:14-15.

Passing by several rooms, I encountered children in much worse shape than Daniel.  While diabetes is life altering, at least it can be treated.  There are countless battling for their lives, not knowing if and when their condition will worsen.  I guess the last 7 days has helped me put life into its proper perspective.  I learned that someone will always have it worse than you.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul, 3 John 1:2.

One of the benefits of working at Amazon is that I engage several generations on a weekly basis.  Some associates are fresh out of high school, others trying to find their place in life and others forced out of retirement to receive healthcare.  Although everyone has good, bad and indifferent days, if you open your eyes you will always find someone worse off than you.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

All Insuranced Out

When I was a teenager, the only insurance that impacted me was obtaining auto so that I could drive.  The rest were an after thought.  I only went to the doctor when I was sick thus life was much more simplistic.  I guess you can say I was young and naive.

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all, Ecclesiastes 9:11.

Today, insurances have spun out of control.  Disability, identity protection, health and life have become nearly essential.  It only takes one accident, encounter with fraud, illness or tragedy to alter your life forever.  Without these protective measures, individuals can lose their life savings and more.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come, John 16:13.

However, if nothing happens to you, monthly bills can wipe away an entire pay check.  Thus, one is left to ponder, do I take the risk, bite the bullet by paying for all these insurances or do I trust God that nothing back will happen to me or my family?  There must be an easier solution to this long list of security measures, but as of now, “I’m all insuranced out” forced to play the game until something better comes along.

by Jay Mankus

Thorns of the Flesh

And twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” – Matthew 27:29

In the passage above, Jesus’ head endured excruciating pain when Roman soldiers forced a crown of thorns into his head.  This particular species of thorn is only found in Israel.  The tips of each extend beyond two inches in length.  Similar crowns can be purchased online as even an inch of cardboard padding can not keep the longest thorns from breaking through their box.  If the slightest contact can draw blood from a finger, imagine the flow that poured forth fooling this cruel act thousands of years ago.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. –        2 Corinthians 12:7

Although recent persecution of Christians in the Middle East has brought back crucifixion, most face a new type of danger.  According to the apostle Paul, some face spiritual anguish in the form of illness, physical limitations or oppression from demons.  While you won’t draw blood, these moments, periods or trials can be extremely draining, sucking the lives out of souls.  In your weakness, you must lean on Christ to keep you strong.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. – Proverbs 18:21

Meanwhile, some may be wounded by words, cut to the heart and pierced by those whom you love.  When you reach this point or experience the pain of disappointment, remember the message of Hebrews 4:14-16.  Jesus has been tempted in every way just as we are, but did not sin.  In view of this truth, when the thorns of the flesh are pressed against your mind, cry out to Jesus for help.  Pray the prayer in 2 Corinthians 12:9-12 so that in your weak moments Christ will be strong!

by Jay Mankus

 

An Illness Called Isolation

No father ever starts out their quest to provide for their family with visions of fulfilling the words of Cats in the Cradle by Cat Stevens.  Yet, the pressure to survive, make rent, pay off a mortgage or actually save money takes individuals into a land of mirages.  Unable to distinguish between bare necessities from the luxuries in life, some men contract an illness called isolation.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.- 1 Timothy 5:8

Like an aggressive form of cancer, isolation blinds people from what’s important in life: faith, family and friends.  Subsequently, many press on unaware they are on the verge of forfeiting their soul.  Searching for something bigger and better, Americans leave their roots for the almighty dollar.  Unfortunately, one day victims will awaken from their coma only to realize that their family is grown, relationships have faded away and isolation is their only true friend.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:34-35

The cure to this crippling disease is found when patients start to embrace the community around them.  Only when you exit the rat race and slow down enough to invest in the lives of your neighbors do the symptoms of isolation begin to vanish.  The life of Coach Jim White, inspiration for the film McFarland USA reminds me its not too late for change.  Therefore, the next time you receive an invitation for a job too good to be true, look around before you say yes to ensure isolation doesn’t seduce you, carrying you away from the community God designed you to embrace.

by Jay Mankus