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Tag Archives: priorities

When Children Think Dad is No Longer Cool

When I became a first time parent 19 years ago, I began to ask elders from church about parenting.  Although each shared different principles to apply, one common message was passed on.  At some point, kids will reach a stage in life when hanging out with dad is no longer cool.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.

As teenagers begin to develop a social life, priorities change.  At some point parents have to let go and allow their children to grow up.  When kids are still young, Solomon encourages fathers to demonstrate, emulate and model godliness.  Raising children with character is only effective if fathers live out what they believe.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4.

Instead of taking things personal, fathers with older children need to re-direct their attention.  This involves setting goals, developing vision and start thinking about what life will be like when your nest is empty.  On this father’s day, don’t exasperate your children.  Rather, ask the Lord for direction in prayer when kids reach the stage in life when dad is no longer cool to hang out with.

by Jay Mankus

 

Measuring Your Treasures

There are various youthanisms which exist about measuring riches.  Some claim he who dies with the most toys wins.  Meanwhile, the eternalist states you can’t take it with you.  Others believe beauty is the eye of the beholder.  These distinctions force individuals to begin to measure their own personal treasures in life.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal, Matthew 6:20.

During his sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus makes a connection between treasure and the human heart.  Priorities dictate how you ultimately invest your time while on earth.  Although some treasures appear to be worth the journey, often your soul experiences fools gold, disappointed in the end.  To avoid future heartache, Jesus encourages his followers to seek treasures that are eternal.

But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! – Matthew 6:24

Within any treasure quest, greed often comes into play.  This desire is portrayed as darkness that can influence your heart.  Anyone who allows darkness to linger is in danger of inviting a spiritual poison into your heart.  Sure, everyone wants to have cake and eat it too.  Yet, at some point you have to determine what you are chasing after.  Since you can’t serve two masters, measure your treasures carefully.

by Jay Mankus

Where Dreams and Destiny Intersect

Working at Amazon, I come across thousands of books annually with interesting titles.  One book that I own is entitled, You Are What You Speak.  While I haven’t read this book from cover to cover, its premise claims the words you choose influences the person you become.  For example, the more positive your outlook, the better your chances improve on reaching your dreams and goals in life.  Meanwhile, the more pessimistic you get, the less likely your dreams and destiny will ever intersect.

Saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer,” Exodus 15:26.

In a world losing honesty and integrity, Moses shares an important message to Israel during the Exodus out of Egypt.  Moses doesn’t guess or speculate, he writes with certainty.  If you want to avoid the same fate as Pharaoh’s people, be diligent in listening to the voice of the Lord.  Moses isn’t out of his mind, rather he is leading the way toward healing, safety and security in this life.  When you keep God’s commandments, you are laying a fertile foundation for faith to take root.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, Matthew 6:33.

In the middle of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he references Moses indirectly.  Yet, Jesus lays out a blue print for those who long for a place where dreams and destiny intersect.  Instead of creating a shopping list of prayers to present before God, Jesus sets out the priorities needed to receive God’s blessings.  First, seek out God’s kingdom as you pursue righteousness.  Once faith becomes a life style, then daily bread and many more things will be provided supernaturally from God.  Although I haven’t reached this place yet, I long for the day when my dreams and destiny intersect.

by Jay Mankus

Another Reason to Pray

In this age of chaos, parents have loads to worry about.  However, as priorities distract many from taking time to pray, minds can race out of control.  Thus, when the temptations of life prey upon children, asking God for a hedge of protection is another reason to pray.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, Philippians 4:6.

A few years ago I began to become fed up with the mediocre life I was living.  In response I started to keep a prayer journal writing down my thoughts and concerns.  Although this may not work for everyone, if I don’t write prayers down my mind wanders, having a hard time concentrating.  In this past week, I have begun to see the fruits of answered prayer.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:7.

One of the common phrases I jot down daily is hoping my children reach their full potential.  While the context changes weekly, my oldest son’s recent success can only be described as an answer to prayer.  I didn’t ask for a specific outcome, yet God allowed James to become an individual state champion in pole vault as well as helping his team win a state title.  Life goes on from here, but I will use this miracle as another reason to pray.

by Jay Mankus

Sharp, Sloppy or Somewhere in Between

After experiencing a mediocre 2015, I vowed to alter my priorities in 2016.  Early on I was sharp, starting each day off on the right foot with a quiet time in the Bible, prayer and workout sessions.  By the end of January, my daily routine had become second nature.  Yet, somewhere over the last month, I have gotten careless, allowing a lukewarm spirit to enter my soul.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another, Proverbs 27:17.

Over the weekend, the verse above served as a reminder to what I was missing.  To remain sharp takes time, effort and being open to change.  While the average American can’t afford a personal trainer to keep you in shape, other believers can serve as a life coach.  Meeting together, interacting and talking walks together can be the boost or motivation to stop being sloppy and begin to maximize the life God has given you.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” John 15:5.

Like anything in life, everyone experiences cycles, periods where things clicks and phases where nothing flows.  So whether you are sharp, sloppy or somewhere in between, Jesus’ words in the gospel of John provides hope for those struggling.  The analogy within this passage illustrates God as a gardener who prunes those unproductive areas of our lives.  However, individuals must stay connected to the vine, Jesus, to remain sharp.  Therefore, if you feel like you can’t go any further or are sick of mediocre results, reach out to Jesus today and you will find life.

by Jay Mankus

What a Waste of Time

Every weekend, depending upon your work schedule, most Americans have 48 hours to recover before starting a new week.  Sure, there are things you need to do around the house, check up on or complete before Monday morning arrives, but you have plenty of time.  Unfortunately, the older I get, the better I become at finding ways to waste time.  In fact, my time off is like a blur, a mist that appears for a while, then disappears just as quick.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes, James 4:14.

Although I’m not distracted by cell phones or computers, once I plop down on my recliner time flies, often losing half a night in one sitting.  At least I’m not alone.  According to the Bible, time has always been a struggle.  I guess if you get too focused on the future, you lose sight of the here and now.  Yet, wanting to get some thing important done and have it actually happen are two different things.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

One of the solutions to stop wasting time is provided by a Psalmist.  Seizing the moment or simply prioritizing your time is a good place to start.  By concentrating on the here and now, wisdom can be achieved.  Yet, prayer, fasting and reflection will lead individuals in the right direction.  As you wrestle with your own time management issues, may the Holy Spirit guide you to make the most of the free time that you possess.

by Jay Mankus

 

Forget Me Not

Myosotis sylvatica, a member of the borage family, consists of a light blue flower regarded as a symbol of friendship.  As Spring showers bring May flowers, Forget Me Not arrangements are a popular gift.  Despite their beauty, time will cause the most gorgeous flowers to fade.  Likewise, absence can cause anyone to forget an important anniversary, birthday or relationship.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you,” Isaiah 49:15.

Distance, distractions and neglect are primary factors which lead to forget.  Work hours may cause a father to not spend enough time with family.  Misguided priorities can steer someone off course, resulting in poor choices and wasted opportunities.  Finally, a state of busyness can lead faithful followers to fall away from God, gradually slipping away by missing church, godly fellowship and quiet times praying and reading the Bible.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. – Psalm 137:5

Psalm 137:5 acknowledges that even God’s chosen people were vulnerable to a short term memory.  Thus, to avoid this from going any further, this servant of God asks to lose their gifts and talents rather than abandon the Lord.  Today, one careless decision, lazy day or rut can break God’s heart.  While Valentine’s Day is full of Forget Me Not cards, one prayer from heaven rains down to earth daily, hoping God’s children will not forget their heavenly Father.

by Jay Mankus