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Tag Archives: Israel

How Long is this Going to Last?

Fifteen years is a little more than a third of my life to date.  Human beings go through a myriad of change over a decade and a half.  However, how would you respond if God promised you something and you didn’t receive this until fifteen years later.  The anticipation to see this fulfilled would be grueling.  The average person might become frustrated, impatient or may even lose hope.  The passage below written by David details his long wait between being anointed by Samuel as king and actually becoming king of Israel more than fifteen years later.  This nerve wrecking period brought David to his knees to pray.

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! – Psalm 31:15

When it comes to driving a car, some possess the mindset “ride it until it dies.”  The only lemon I ever brought lasted a few months.  After a small leak in one of my hoses spilled on to the engine, this vehicle was toast, abandoned at a gas station in New Jersey.  Meanwhile, sometimes you are fortunate to possess a car that lasts much longer than it should.  Despite nearing the 200,000 mile mark, my Pontiac Vibe keeps ticking, approaching it’s fifteenth birthday.  Nonetheless, I don’t know how long this car is going to last.

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night, Psalm 90:4.

In the passage above, a Psalmist makes an interesting statement about life.  This individual received some sort a vision of the past, connecting it with the future.  Unfortunately, most people place so much emphasis on time that they lose sight of the present.  While it would be nice to have knowledge of the future, savoring the here and now is a more noble cause.  Therefore, don’t allow anticipation to spoil your mood.  Rather, take life one day at a time so that wondering how long life is going to last doesn’t steal your hope, joy and peace.

by Jay Mankus

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Mountains on the Horizon

For someone who resides in Delaware, mountains are foreign to this state.  With an elevation of 447.85 feet, the peak on Mount Ebright is nothing more than a hill.  You have to travel west toward the panhandle of Maryland or north through Pennsylvania to witness mountains on the horizon.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you,” Matthew 17:20.

In the first century, Jesus didn’t have to explain to his followers what a mountain looked like.  Rather, he could point toward Mount Hermon, which stands 2814 meters above sea level.  This tallest peak in Israel served as a teachable landmark, able to illustrate to his disciples the difference between faith and the faithless.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

If you have ever climbed a mountain, the first glimpse can be intimidating.  Before you make your trek toward the summit, you have to believe you can make it.  One of Jesus’ several sayings in the Bible is “consider the cost,” meaning don’t start until you have a plan.  If you rush aimlessly, without any preparation or training, mountains on the horizon may cause you to quit.  Instead, all you need to possess is faith as small as a mustard seed and nothing will be impossible.  Don’t let mountains on the horizon become obstacles to fulfilling your dreams.  Rather, look up, don’t waiver and allow the power of prayer to produce miracles.

by Jay Mankus

It’s How Well Your Faith Lasts

John Deere came up with a catchy slogan a few years ago to increase sales of their newest riding mower.  “It’s not how fast you mow; it’s how well you mow fast” commercials took on a life of their own, evolving over time.  This branding of a product has led to name recognition, accomplishing the goal of John Deere’s advertising campaign.

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field, Matthew 13:31.

In the first century, there was another individual who was well ahead of his time.  Speaking to crowds using parables, Jesus painted such a vivid picture with his stories that his words left a lasting impression.  Instead of using a used car salesman approach, Jesus related everything to heaven in plain and simple terms.  In the parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus wanted everyone in the crowd to realize, “it’s not how big you are; it’s how well your faith lasts.”

Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches,” Matthew 13:32.

Back in the days of the prophet Samuel, human nature compelled the nation of Israel to seek a leader who was handsome, strong and wise.  Thus, the Jews rejected God as their king, turning to man in the form of Saul.  Not much has changed several thousand years later as appearance, stature and size trumps what is in your heart.  To avoid repeating the past mistakes of history, make sure your main priority in life is that your faith lasts.

by Jay Mankus

When Your Mind Get’s in the Way

Depending upon how you were raised, parents give advice, guidance and warnings as you grow up.  Some of the common phrases of my generation were “think before you speak, open mouth insert foot” and simply “think.”  These words suggest that sometimes your mind gets in the way.

But the men who had gone with him said, “We can’t attack those people! They’re too strong for us!”  – Numbers 13:31

In the Old Testament, God had promised Israel a new land flowing with milk and honey.  Before entering this place, Moses sent out a team to explore this region.  Known as the 12 Spies, only two brought back a positive report.  The other ten were misled by minds gripped with fear.  This first glance underestimated the power of God as their minds got in the way.

 Caleb told the people to be quiet and listen to Moses. Caleb said, “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it,” Numbers 13:30.

In the end, the voices of Caleb and Joshua were silenced by the majority.  However, if you want to overcome doubt, leaders must raise their voices to convince the feeble and weak.  The next time you hear a crowd minimizing the power of God, step out in faith to persuade the masses.  If you don’t the human mind will get in the way, leaving you outside of the blessings God has in store for you.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

The End of Innocence

As I look around, listen and observe modern culture, I feel like a foreigner living in a strange land.  Maybe I lived a sheltered life up to this point in time?  Yet, the anger expressed, constant acts of disrespect displayed and vulgar vocabulary casually verbalized daily signal the end of innocence.

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble, Proverbs 16:4.

I’m clearly not the first to suggest this.  During the glory years of the nation of Israel, Solomon recognized similar signs.  After reflecting upon why this may be occurring, King Solomon came to the conclusion that everything happens for a reason.  Perhaps, these social cycles serve as a transitional period like the cleansing of the tides in the ocean.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today, Genesis 50:20.

Despite how bleak the future looks on the surface, it’s important to remember the words from Joseph above.  Although his brothers meant to harm him through an act of revenge, God allowed this to occur to lead Joseph to the land of Egypt.  Once the timing was ideal, the Lord elevated Joseph to second in command, preparing the region for seven years of famine.  As you experience turbulent times in life, may the Lord give you the foresight to remain optimistic whatever the situation.  Use the end of innocence as an opportunity to shine the light of Christ into the darkness of this age.

by Jay Mankus

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

My Daily Bread

The concept of daily bread was introduced to Israel following the exodus out of Egypt.  What was meant to be a short journey into the promised land, became a 40 year journey in the wilderness.  To survive the extreme conditions of the desert, God sent manna 6 days a week, daily bread for hungry souls.  When some began to grumble, the Lord sent quail to satisfy starving stomachs.  When people become helpless, God provides daily bread for life.

I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food, Job 23:12.

During his preparation prior to beginning his earthly ministry, Jesus withdrew into a desert.  Although, this region may have differed from the trek the Israelites took, fasting and prayer fueled Jesus.  Thus, as the devil approached with his twisting of the truth, Jesus was aimed with the right attitude.  Subsequently, when hunger pains began to surface, Jesus understood bread only takes you so far.  Rather, God’s Word is daily bread which makes you whole.

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,’ Matthew 4:3-4.

One of the reasons this world appears to be upside down is that many are looking for love in all the wrong places.  Hunger is being satisfied by earthly pleasures.  Yet, this choice is similar to eating sugar instead of a healthy meal.  Subsequently, many lack the spiritual protein found in studying the Word of God.  If individuals would only turn to trusting in the Lord, feasting on daily bread could turn your life around.  Choose the true breakfast of champions, meditating of the Bible daily.

by Jay Mankus