RSS Feed

Author Archives: expressyourself4him

Coming to a Place Where You Let the Lord Lead

I’ve become pretty good at playing the What if Game over the past few years. If you’re not careful, the what ifs in life can become an excuse for you not to move on following an unexpected disappointment, failure or setback. Rather than asking God for a Do-over, maybe everything has happened up to this point to persuade you to finally come to a place in your life where you’re ready to yield total control over to the Lord?

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the [w]span of his life? 28 And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and [x]learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. 29 Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his [y]magnificence (excellence, dignity, and grace) was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith? – Matthew 6:26-30

On one of my most recent visits to Liberty University, I attended my daughter Lydia’s church Breakthrough. This church meets in a coffee shop called La Vida which is near the campus of Lynchburg University where my oldest son James is in the process of completing his doctorate in Physical Therapy. As for the church service, following a moving time of worship, the sermon was about reaching a place in your life where you’re willing to let the Lord lead you. Romans 10:9-11.

Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear? 32 For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. 33 But seek ([z]aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ([aa]His way of doing and being right), and then all these things [ab]taken together will be given you besides. 34 So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble, Matthew 6:31-34.

In the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains what it means to let God lead your life. The first step concerns overcoming anxiety and worry. When faith takes the place of these two stressful conditions, attaining peace becomes possible. Hpwever, the key ingredient to coming to a place where the Lord will lead you involves seeking after God’s kingdom and righteousness. Just as the beatitudes set the tone for the beginning of this famous speech, when you let go and let God lead, everything else is provided by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus


The Crossover Connection Week 18: The Spiritual Evolution of Kansas

Dust in the Wind is commonplace in the state of Kansas as farmlands are tilled each spring. However, Dust in the Wind is one of the most iconic songs from the Rock band simply known as Kansas. When I recently listened to the lyrics of this song, I am reminded of the passage below. Every band goes through phases that are highlighted by each album. After lead singer Kerry Livgren left Kansas, he completed the spiritual journey that began with the simple idea of dust in the wind.

In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you shall return, Genesis 3:19.

One thing that I noticed about Livgren is that he was way ahead of his time. Livgren’s Phd in music is on full display in the Decade Album. While he doesn’t use a hammer dulcimer like Rich Mullins, each song contains a distinct sound with a vast collection of instruments and synthesizers. Although I understand lifelong fans of Kansas may not appreciate Kerry’s solo career, the lyrics do reveal Livgren’s spiritual evolution as an artist and Christian. I hope you enjoy the attached You Tube this week.

by Jay Mankus

An Adult Who Actually Takes Responsibility for Their Actions?

As I have traveled up and down the east coast of the United States, I see a common trend within adult leaders. Whether this is inside a church, local government or workplace, “do as I say, not as I do,” is demonstrated by daily actions. Subsequently, it’s rare when an adult actually takes responsibility for their own actions. While studying the life of Isaac, I was surprised by Rebekah’s actions in the passage below.

But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Listen, Esau my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth man. 12 Suppose my father feels me; I will seem to him to be a cheat and an imposter, and I will bring [his] curse on me and not [his] blessing. 13 But his mother said to him, On me be your curse, my son; only obey my word and go, fetch them to me, Genesis 27:11-13.

In this age of wokeness, discipline is now considered racist according to CRT. Subsequently, if rules are no longer able to be enforced, chaos ensues as crime rises. If America could return to their Judeo-Christian heritage, personal responsibility would one day become the norm again. As for now, there are hints of adults who actually take responsibility for their actions in the Bible like Rebekah.

Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked [g]by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.) [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows, that and [h]that only is what he will reap. For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life, Galatians 6:7-8.

While Rebekah tells her son Jacob, let any curse fall upon me, there’s another principle in play. The apostle Paul writes about the Sowing Principle in the passage above. You reap what you sow which also may explain the passing on of the sins of the father upon their children. Although Rebekah’s plan does accomplish her goal, Jacob’s life is filled with other people like Laban who deceives him as he deceived his father. While taking responsibility for any wrong action is important, don’t forget the consequences that will follow.

by Jay Mankus

The Well of Enmity

King Solomon is considered one of the wisest person to walk the face of the earth. People would travel throughout the Mediterranean just to hear him speak and teach. One of his statements appears multiple times in one of his books, “there is nothing new under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 1:9-18. The below passage speaks to this topic as Isaac had water disputes with his neighbors on more than one occasion.

Now Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of living [spring] water. 20 And the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, The water is ours. And he named the well Esek [contention] because they quarreled with him. 21 Then [his servants] dug another well, and they quarreled over that also; so he named it Sitnah [enmity], Genesis 26:19-21.

Due to the reality of Ephesians 6:12, this is a battle taking place every day in the spiritual realm. Enmity is the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something. Just tune into social media or the television and you’ll find words full of poison and venom. Like a debate that leads to a disagreement, tensions mount the longer this discussion continues, we all have our own well of enmity.

In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere, Ephesians 6:10-12.

If you’re not covered with a hedge of protection via prayer, you become vulnerable to master spirits and spiritual forces of evil that exist today. You may not notice this enmity right away until an unexpected stranger says something or does something that gets under your skin. As you cope with your own wells of enmity, consider the words of 1 Peter 3:9 so that you’re open and willing to repay any evil thrown at you with a blessing.

by Jay Mankus

Are You Sure that You Want to Be Like Everyone Else?

For most of my teenage years, I was an emotional wreck. I could go from the life of the party in one minute to wanting everyone in the room to feel as miserable as me in an instant. This brought me to contemplate if the grass was truly greener on the other side of the fence or I simply needed time to reflect? During a moment of spiritual weakness, the elders of Israel wanted to become like all the other nations. Before accepting this idea, the prophet Samuel explains what this decision will mean for the rest of their lives.

When Samuel was old, he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second, Abijah. They were judges in Beersheba. His sons did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. All the elders of Israel assembled and came to Samuel at Ramah And said to him, Behold, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint us a king to rule over us like all the other nations, 1 Samuel 8:1-5.

This Old Testament paints a vivid picture of all the freedoms that Israel would lose if they decided to replace the Lord with a leader that they can see. Based upon the words of Hebrews 11:1-6, the decision to rely on a king was essentially a slap in the face, turning their back on the Lord. While Samuel tried to talk some sense into the elders of Israel, God convinces him to allow this to happen. From a modern perspective, Samuel was essentially saying, “are you sure that you want to be like everyone else?”

But it displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to govern us. And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken to the voice of the people in all they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not be King over them. According to all the works which they have done since I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they also do to you. So listen now to their voice; only solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them. 10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked of him a king, 1 Samuel 8:6-10.

Just as history repeats itself in a series of cycles, human beings tend to go through phases in life where they question if they’re on the right track. Since my move to South Carolina last July, I guess you can I’m still trying to find where I belong. If you’ve ever joined a new church in a new area, this is a similar process. Regardless of where I end up, the important part is maintaining faith throughout trials. While you may have a desire to put God on hold from time to time, keep the faith during the hard times in life, Jude 1:20-21.

by Jay Mankus

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses…

Lying appears to come natural to certain people. Perhaps, known liars are simply story tellers in the making or future writers. Nonetheless, when it comes to telling the truth or making up an excuse, human nature has a way of choosing the latter. After promising to obey God and His commands in Genesis 26:4-5, Isaac reverts back to trusting in himself in the passage below, using fear as an excuse to lie.

And the men of the place asked him about his wife, and he said, She is my sister; for he was afraid to say, She is my wife—[thinking], Lest the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah, because she is attractive and is beautiful to look upon. When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac caressing Rebekah his wife. And Abimelech called Isaac and said, See here, she is certainly your wife! How did you [dare] say to me, She is my sister? And Isaac said to him, Because I thought, Lest I die on account of her, Genesis 26:7-9.

Perhaps, a modern example would be a Catholic participating in the Confirmation Process who goes to confession. Whatever the issue is or was, this teenager pours out his heart to the priest on the other side of a glass window. Following this refreshing experience, this boy quickly returns to this same sinful act. Rather than exhibiting acts on contrition, excuses are made to justify the choices and decisions that he makes in life.

But the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you? 10 He said, I heard the sound of You [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And He said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me—she gave me [fruit] from the tree, and I ate. 13 And the Lord God said to the woman, What is this you have done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled (cheated, outwitted, and deceived) me, and I ate, Genesis 3:9-13.

One of the most famous Bible verses dealing with excuses occurs in the passage above. When confronted about breaking the only rule in the Garden of Eden, Adam blames the woman that God created. As God turns His attention toward Eve, she blames the Serpent for deceiving her. No one takes responsibility for their action, placing the blame on others with excuse after excuse. If you’re wise, let the words of 2 Corinthians 5:10 sink in so you’ll be ready to face the wrath of God on Judgment Day, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

The Dew of the Heavens

When my father’s company transferred him to their Delaware office, one of the perks included membership to a local golf club to entertain his clients. Subsequently, I was introduced to golf the following summer and began participating in the Penn Oakes Country Club Junior Golf program. Every Monday morning when my mom dropped me off, the grass will filled with dew. Putting and chipping was difficult until the summer sun evaporated all the dew from the greens. This is how I learned about the dew from the heavens.

Then his father Isaac said, Come near and kiss me, my son. 27 So he came near and kissed him; and [Isaac] smelled his clothing and blessed him and said, The scent of my son is as the odor of a field which the Lord has blessed, Genesis 27:26-27.

As Moses provides a brief history of how Israel came to be a nation, his words point to his leadership during the Exodus out of Egypt. The oral tradition of Isaac’s blessing to Jacob refers to the Dew of the heavens. From Moses’ perspective, this could be a reference to manna from heaven which appeared initially like a morning dew, Exodus 16:21. On the flip side, morning dew forming in a desert can also be refreshing in an arid climate. Whatever the meaning of this passage, Isaac points to how God supernaturally provides each day.

And may God give you of the dew of the heavens and of the fatness of the earth and abundance of grain and [new] wine; 29 Let peoples serve you and nations bow down to you; be master over your brothers, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Let everyone be cursed who curses you and favored with blessings who blesses you, Genesis 27:28-29.

Following this heavenly provision, Isaac turns his blessing toward food, wealth and an abundance of natural resources. Isaac doesn’t settle for average as his blessing goes over the top, beyond what most people dream. As Jacob listens to these words, I can imagine goosebumps appearing up and down his arms. Just as Moses witnessed the Red Sea departing and swallowing up the Egyptian Army, the Dew of the Heavens is like the icing on a cake of God’s ability to provide, Matthew 6:33-34.

by Jay Mankus

Who is this Man?

Whenever you meet someone for the first time, initial impressions play a part in whether or not you will call this individual a friend or foe. The context of the passage below begins as Isaac goes out to a well to pray. This isn’t just a community well, this is Beer-lahai-roi . This name was given to this place by Abraham who had a divine moment here, referring to this place as the well to the Living One Who sees me.

And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel. 65 For she [had] said to the servant, Who is that man walking across the field to meet us? And the servant [had] said, He is my master. So she took a veil and concealed herself with it, Genesis 24:64-65.

Since the introduction of the Lone Ranger in 1938 and television show a decade later, Hollywood has used anticipation as a vital tool to grab the attention of viewers. Once the Lone Ranger was portrayed as a hero, people wanted to know “who is this masked man?” From Rebekah’s perspective, she wanted to know who is this man approaching their caravan?

Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again. 14 But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life. 15 The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, so that I may never get thirsty nor have to come [continually all the way] here to draw. 16 At this, Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband and come back here. 17 The woman answered, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have spoken truly in saying, I have no husband. 18 For you have had five husbands, and the man you are now living with is not your husband. In this you have spoken truly. 19 The woman said to Him, Sir, I see and understand that You are a prophet. John 4:13-19.

Rebekah’s eagerness is similar to another woman in the Bible. Just as Rebekah met Eliezer at a well in the desert, a Samaritan woman has a similar experience with Jesus. Jesus uses thirst for water to turn their conversation into a meaningful talk that elicits spiritual hunger within this woman’s heart. As she turns toward home, she begins to ponder, “who is this man who knows so much about my life?” This type of hunger leads to salvation, Acts 4:12, securing their eternal destination in heaven, 1 John 5:12-13.

by Jay Mankus

A Place Where Giving and Love Co-exist

From Mark 1:35-38 to the passage below, Jesus led my example. As the Son of God gathered 12 men to begin his earthly ministry, he immediately introduces them to what a daily quiet time with God resembles. Meanwhile, Jesus doesn’t just invest 3 years of his life into these men, Jesus loved each of them as a humble servant of God. Despite knowing his future destination on a cross, Jesus created a place where giving and love co-exist.

[Now] before the Passover Feast began, Jesus knew (was fully aware) that the time had come for Him to leave this world and return to the Father. And as He had loved those who were His own in the world, He loved them to the last and [a]to the highest degree. So [it was] during supper, Satan having already put the thought of betraying Jesus in the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, [That] Jesus, knowing (fully aware) that the Father had put everything into His hands, and that He had come from God and was [now] returning to God, John 13:1-3.

Most college students spend 4 years to complete their undergraduate degree. Yet, there are some like me who needed 5 years to complete this process. Jesus wasn’t just a ministry leader, He served as a leader, teacher, and spiritual guide for 3 years. John’s gospel spends chapter 12-21 on Passion Week, Jesus’ final week leading up to his death on a cross. This book ends with the restoration of Peter, giving him a second chance, based upon God’s love.

Got up from supper, took off His garments, and taking a [servant’s] towel, He fastened it around His waist. Then He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the [servant’s] towel with which He was girded. When He came to Simon Peter, [Peter] said to Him, Lord, are my feet to be washed by You? [Is it for You to wash my feet?] Jesus said to him, You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later on, John 13:4-7.

While all human beings fall short of God’s glory, Romans 3:23, there is a place where giving and love co-exist. You won’t find this in every church, but where believers are united on fulfilling the great commission, Acts 1:8, giving and love can be found. Humble servants won’t advertise or boast about this spiritual climate. Rather, givers focus on love in action that conceives a place where giving and love co-exist.

by Jay Mankus

The Crossover Connection Week 17: Electronic Praise

During the Coronavirus pandemic, I was fortunate to remain working, regularly putting in 50-60 hours a week to keep up with the rigorous demands of the supply chain crisis in America. While I didn’t have the luxury of binge-watching television series, I began searching You Tube for new music every night. This is how I discovered Capital Kings thanks to a couple of mixes by MJ Deech. I wasn’t sure what Electronic Praise was, but I was open to the idea as this sound brought me back to my college days going to night clubs like Pulsations.

Is anyone among you afflicted (ill-treated, suffering evil)? He should pray. Is anyone glad at heart? He should sing praise [to God], James 5:13.

This new era of disco combines hip-hop and rap to form a contemporary version of music. Over the course of their 8-year ministry career, Capital Kings worked with artists like Hollyn and Reconcile to create hit songs. While my favorite song Paradigm isn’t on the attached You Tube, MJ Deech created a music video featuring platform jumping to tie into the lyrics. I’m not sure how long the fad of electronic disco and praise will stick around, but I hope you enjoy the music of Capital Kings this week.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: