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Tag Archives: wise

The Squeeze

Squeeze has multiple definitions depending upon the context.  This term can refer to firmly gripping an object, getting through a restricted space, obtaining something with difficultly or shooting a round from a gun.  In the 2015 film the Squeeze, a young hot shot golfer played by Jeremy Sumpter is lured by a high priced gambler to play golf for money.  Based upon the real life events of Keith Flatt, Sumpter goes to Las Vegas to put his life and family on the line in a high stakes bet for 1 million dollars.  In the end, Sumpter has to choose between keeping the woman of his dreams or remaining undefeated as a golfer.

For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.” And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise and insightful, she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate, Genesis 3:5-6.

After Lucifer was kicked out of heaven for glorifying himself as the most beautiful arch angel, he took with him a third of the angels.  Maintaining angelic powers while on earth, Ephesians 2:2, this ruler of the air recruited powers of darkness to put the squeeze on mankind.  Lucifer’s first victim is an innocent woman, Eve, curious about the Tree of Knowledge.  Although her husband Adam was right there with her, he allowed enticement to linger.  This lack of spiritual leadership enabled sin to be conceived.

Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive and remain with man forever, because he is indeed flesh [sinful, corrupt—given over to sensual appetites]; nevertheless his days shall yet be a hundred and twenty years,” Genesis 6:3.

By the time of Noah’s generation, the presence of sin spread like a spiritual plague throughout the earth.  Disappointed by the choices made by the human beings, God decided to punish future generations by limiting life on earth to 120 years.  Similar to the tactics used by Riverboat played by Christopher McDonald in the Squeeze, temporary pleasures are hard to resist.  What make matters worse is that Satan knows your weaknesses, luring weakened souls to indulge their sensual appetites.  In the end, what choices will you make when you are squeezed by temptation?  Choose wisely.

by Jay Mankus

Turning Procrastination Into Desire

In the minutes leading up to your lunch break or end of the day bell, signs of procrastination come forth.  To pass the time, there is a temptation to remain idle, delaying or loitering as much as possible without being noticed.  Others who are forced to endure deadlines, wait until  the last possible moment to begin, relying on adrenaline to finish on time.  This pattern may be effective for some, but after any failure in life, guilt tends to prompt individuals to consider a change, turning procrastination into desire.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied, Proverbs 13:4.

In the book Communicating with a Purpose, procrastination is the fourth barrier to effective communication.  After rejection, indifference and skepticism, the last two hurdles to clear are procrastination and fear.  The author uses dreaming as a technique to help people visualize success.  When a group or audience fails to act immediately, remind each person of the ideal outcome, what could be or should be if desire is exercised.  Once inspiration is conceived, motivated hearts can turn procrastination into desire.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5:15-17.

After spending a year and a half in Corinth, the apostle Paul had a limited schedule.  Thus, his stay in Ephesus is brief, eager to maximize his time with Jewish converts to Christianity.  During his short stint, Paul reassures this new church that if you commit to the apostles teaching, following the blue print found within Acts 2:42-47, success is possible.  Seizing each day, Paul was driven to cast out any thought of procrastination with desire fueled by faith.  May this blog help you resuscitate hope, joy and the motivation to change for the better.

by Jay Mankus

 

Maximizing the Moment

Time can be a friend or a foe.  Timing can be on your side or about to run out on the next Cinderella.  As a new year approaches, I have been pondering the best strategy to maximize each moment.  The apostle Paul provides advice to take advantage of the days you are given on this earth.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

If you want to practice Carpe Diem, “seize the day,” a careful examination is necessary.  Reflecting each night before you go to sleep can help individuals determine how well or poorly your time was spent.  Paul uses the word walk, referring to how you invested your time.  What did you do, say or which opportunities did you let slip away?  This daily self evaluation serves as a method to improve your use of time in the future.

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5:17.

The second aspect you must consider is God’s will for your life.  Are you doing what God created you to do or have you been wandering in the wilderness, not sure what to do or where to go next?  Ascertaining God’s will brings purpose and meaning to life, enabling you to begin to maximize each moment.  Sure, there will be detours, dead ends and rock blocks that you will face, but those who discover God’s will often press on to the end.  May 2018 be the year God’s Holy Spirit opens your eyes, Galatians 5:25, to find your place in this world so that maximizing the moment becomes reality.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe It’s Make Believe?

According to systematic research within the field of child psychology, there are benefits for children engaging in pretend games.  Based upon an article in Psychology Today, Jerome and Dorothy Singer suggest this type of behavior is acceptable up to age seven.  Recent studies have found cognitive benefits to pretending as participants increase their language usage while role playing adults.  Meanwhile, the concept “theory of the mind” is developed and enhanced by children who exercise their imaginations by pretending.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction, 2 Peter 2:1.

If you had to summarize 2017 in American History, some might suggest this is the year of “fake news.”  After a series of anonymous sources, articles and media reports were proven to be false, president Donald Trump took a phrase previously used and made fake news his trademark term.  As a former journalist, I know that there is a degree of truth in every statement.  However, when a bias exists within the mainstream media, exaggerations, opinions and theories are often shaped in such a way to be conceived as fact or the truth.  Perhaps, some individuals have never grown up, still pretending as if a six or seven year old.  This behavior has tainted current journalists and reporters, causing the average American to wonder, “maybe this story is make believe?”

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world, 1 John 4:1.

As you grow older, you will meet adults who want to hear themselves speak.  Maybe, these individuals were ignored as children growing up.  On some occasions I have met co-workers who pretend to living an amazing life.  Upon further review, digging deeper through a series of questions, I discovered these adults were simply living a lie.  According to the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, the first century was full of people who twisted the truth.  Thus, unless you test what you hear against the Bible, history and reality, you become vulnerable to believing a distortion of the truth.  May the lessons of 2017 make you wiser in 2018, practicing the advice of the Bible by dong your homework before believing that which is reported.

by Jay Mankus

 

Folding Under Pressure

As a parent with three teenagers, I am introduced to the latest usage of sayings.  From time to time, I may question my children about their culture expressions.  For those that make sense, I add to my reputare when the timing is right.  One such term is folding, referring to someone who caves under pressure.

A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left, Ecclesiastes 10:2.

One of the common news stories of 2017 are the various reports of whistle blowers.  When administrators, co-workers or research uncovers wrong doing, many people remain quiet, afraid to get someone in trouble.  Solomon categorizes this type of behavior as foolish, folding under peer pressure to not do that which is right.

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, 1 Peter 3:17.

Being a whistle blower takes guts.   Sometimes this may result in losing your job.  The courageous won’t care if friends are lost or relationships severed.  As Peter encourages individuals in the passage above, it’s better to suffer for doing good.  Therefore, if you find yourself in a compromising situation in the future, take this advice from the Bible so that you don’t find yourself folding under pressure.

by Jay Mankus

 

From End to End

Whether you are completing a task, playing a game or finishing a project around the house, it’s natural to have an urge to take a break.  However, if you relax too long, the desire to finish quickly fades away.  Subsequently. anyone who tends to give up before the end will earn a reputation as a quitter or slacker.  This label is hard to erase unless you develop an attitude to live end to end.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him, Colossians 3:17.

As a former coach, it doesn’t take a trained eye to see who is into a sporting competition and those with minds somewhere else.  Watching hundreds of youth baseball games over the years, hustle distinguishes the average athletic from those who will excel.  Meanwhile, my one season as a high school basketball coach helped me recognize the importance of a two way player.  The selfish athlete tends to work hard on the offensive end, trying to score as many points as possible.  Team players concentrate on both ends of the court, putting as much energy into defense as offense.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

If you are paying attention, these characteristics are demonstrated daily.  Whether it’s a neighbor, student or co-worker, the determined exhibit a passion, resolve and zeal rarely seen.  These individuals are constantly keeping busy, driven and on the go to fulfill dreams and goals in life.  Unfortunately, I see more slackers than end to end people.  Perhaps, cell phones, electronic devices and new technology have caused many to rely on taking short cuts instead.  While this saves times, the concept of hard work is lost in translation.  May this blog serve as motivation to live each remaining day, end to end, seizing the moments that God gives you in life.

by Jay Mankus

Rediscovering the American Spirit

While Hurricane Harvey and Irma have received most of the headlines this month, another human interest story hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.  As Americans watched images of devastation, flooding and property loss from these storms, compassionate hearts have been compelled to act.  Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watts thought maybe he could raise some money using social media.  More than thirty million dollars later, donations continue to pour in.  Meanwhile, average citizens with boats, trailers and trucks have driven to Texas to aid in the search and rescue of stranded homeowners.  Countless others have provided clothes, diapers and water for victims who have lost everything except their lives.  In the face of adversity, these hurricanes have revived the American Spirit.

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up, Ecclesiastes 4:10.

From a historical perspective, King Solomon is considered one of the wisest human beings to ever walk the face of the earth.  In the passage above, Solomon points to the goal Israelites should strive to achieve.  Human beings can be fragile, often in need of a social companion.  Whether this is a classmate, co-worker or friend, life is easier when you have someone close to pick you up after a fall.  Sometimes falling refers to a physical act, but others struggle with a lack of confidence, depression or insecurity.  Based upon the context of Genesis 2, Adam spent a portion of his life searching for a suitable helper.  Initially, Adam looked for companionship among animals, likely taking some home as pets.  Yet, at some point these relationships didn’t suffice, eventually resulting in God creating Eve.  The Lord in his infinite wisdom understood the power of one person helping another in need.  Like the pay it forward movement, as one person demonstrates random acts of kindness, other good Samaritans are motivated to join in.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him, Luke 10:33.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus uses an analogy to illustrate what happens every day.  Sometimes people get into an accident, need help or are stranded along side of the road.  The people that should come to the rescue like priests and religious people use a busy schedule as an excuse to continue on their way.  The social outcast like the Samaritan ends up saving the day.  One of the points Jesus is trying to make is which one are you?  Are you going to remain on the sideline, failing to lend a helping hand to the countless who lost a home or family member?  Or will the selfless response by J.J. Watt inspire you to abandon your own worries to reach out to someone less fortunate?  Many the power of the Holy Spirit fall upon the volunteers in Florida and Texas to rediscover the American Spirit.  Although there will be other natural disasters in the future, I pray that this kindred spirit of giving continues to impact the lives of individuals forced to start over from scratch.  When communities love their neighbors as themselves, this world becomes a better place to live.

by Jay Mankus