RSS Feed

S.A.N.S. Episode 305: Peace in the Storm

One of the first Christian songs I heard on the topic of enduring storms and trials in life is The Anchor Holds by Ray Boltz. A more recent song by Casting Crowns, Praise You in the Storm contains a similar message. Your mindset and perspective on spiritual storms in life will dictate how you react. If you’re not thinking of these unforeseen events as a spiritual refining process, you’ll overreact and won’t experience peace in this storm.

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you, John 16:33.

Today’s featured song by Ore Clarke is based upon the ideal response to spiritual storms in life. The lyrics of Ore’s song point to a spiritual mindset of mature Christians. As you lean on Jesus for strength in difficult and emotionally draining situations, you will find peace in the storm you are currently going through. My prayer for you toward is that by listening to the message of today’s song, anxiety and worry will be replaced by the peace of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

The First Medical Miracle

Daniel Hale Williams performed the first documented successful pericardium surgery in 1893. Over the past 129 years, countless miracles have occurred with many procedures now considered routine outpatient surgeries. One thing that you may not know about my family is that my Uncle Tony is the longest living recipient of an open-heart transplant in the Unted States. Still alive today, Tony Mankus is a living example of a medical miracle.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. 22 And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man, Genesis 2:21-23.

Moses writes about the first medical miracle ever recorded in the Bible. Rather than place Adam under general anesthesia like a common procedure in American hospitals, God wanted until Adam was sound asleep. Likely following a full day of work in the Garden of Eden as a ground’s keeper and farmer. As Adam was unconscious, God operates as a surgeon who removes a rib and part of his side to form the first medical miracle, in the Bible forming the first woman on earth.

And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband? 35 Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God. 36 And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment, Luke 1:34-37.

Thousands of years later, Mary had her own doubts about an encounter with an angel. Scientifically, to conceive a child without having sex is impossible unless it’s done via a test-tube with donated sperm. Yet, the angel reassured Mary that this would be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. After dealing with the fact that God could have chosen anyone, Mary came to realize that anything is possible with God, especially, medical miracles.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 304: He Understands

If you’re like me, you probably wrestle with the whys in life. Whenever circumstances, hardship and trials surface in your life, it’s natura; to wonder why God is allowing you or your family to endure this or that. Perhaps, this was the inspiration behind Chandler Moore’s song He Understands. While God understands the pain you may be currently enduring, daily events serve as a proving ground to test your faith.

And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:38.

According to one of Jesus’ former disciples, repentance plays a crucial role. As human beings see the error of their thinking, confessing this to God in prayer plays a valuable role in spiritual maturity. Like an addict who recognizes that they have a problem, repentance is the first step to accepting God’s will for your life. However, you must yield control over to God by making Jesus the Lord of your life, Romans 10:9-11. As you listen to today’s song, may the Holy Spirit begin to guide and direct you.

by Jay Mankus

Pleasant to the Sight

The King James Version uses the word pleasant 57 times in the Bible. The context of this usage ranges from pleasant to the sight to delightful places on earth. Human nature tends to focus on the physical aspect of pleasant. According to Jesus’ earthly brother, anyone who fixates on physical features with a second glance opens the door for lust to enter your life, James 1:13-15. This is what happened to Eve in Genesis 3:6, turning what God meant for good into the rebellious act of sin.

And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight or to be desired—good (suitable, pleasant) for food; the tree of life also in the center of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of [the difference between] good and evil and blessing and calamity, Genesis 2:9.

Like any famous garden, there are certain centerpieces that attract visitors from across the country annually. According to Moses, the focal point of the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. Based upon the passage above, both were located in the center of Eden. The beauty of this garden inspired the name for this special place as the word Eden means delight when translated into English.

The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup; You hold and maintain my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage, Psalm 16:5-6.

The apostle Paul explains the internal struggle that takes place within every human being, Galatians 5:16-18. While certain individuals and places have been blessed with attractive physical features, you have to make sure appreciation doesn’t turn into enticement. Jesus compares eyes to the lamp of human bodies, Matthew 6:22-23. If a lack of discipline causes your eyes to turn toward darkness, you’ll likely experience unwholesome lust, 1 John 2:16. May this blog urge you to center your attention on appreciation rather than lust.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 303: The Thrill of Hope

The origin of Advent comes from the Latin term adventus. Advent is a season of the liturgical year observed in Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the Second Coming. Over the years, advent has evolved into a four-week family celebration. Yet, the earliest observances of Advent consisted of 40 days of repentance, fasting and prayer leading up to baptism for new believers in Jesus.

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope, Romans 15:13.

Christy Nockels adds a new twist to Advent with her song The Thrill of Hope. Unfortunately, the commercialism of Christmas has altered the spiritual celebration of Advent. The watering down of Advent has pushed prayer and fasting ahead to the New Year. Yet, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas should be spent making room in your heart and life for Jesus. May the lyrics of The Thrill of Hope prepare you for the season of Advent.

by Jay Mankus

It’s Not Good to Be Alone

Depending upon your personality, silence can be a harsh punishment or needed break from the chaos of life. As the youngest child with two older sisters, I barely saw Kathie and Cindy once my family moved to Delaware from New Jersey. When my sisters became teenagers, they did their own thing, so I just hung out with neighborhood kids. Since I struggled with severe stuttering as a child, I didn’t mind passing time in solitary play in my backyard pretending to be one of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. 19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every [wild] beast and living creature of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its name. 20 And Adam gave names to all the livestock and to the birds of the air and to every [wild] beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him, Genesis 2:18-20.

When I recently read the passage above, it’s clear that God designed human being to be relational creatures. Any time God looks down from heaven and see lonely people on earth, His heart breaks. Based upon Moses’ words, God was sad when Adam wasn’t able to find a suitable helper among the animals. While animal lovers believe that dogs are a man’s best friend, God demands and wants more in a relationship on earth.

Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor; 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie down together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

King Solomon highlights the benefits of having a suitable helper and or a soulmate. The helper will make a day at work more bearable, cheer you up or make you laugh. Meanwhile, the soulmate will keep you warm on a cold night, listen to your struggles from the day and encourage you when you’re feeling down. Last week, Leanne and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. I’m amazed at how quick life flies by, but we still have the rest of our lives to be together, not alone.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 302: Glory (Let There Be Peace)

While I don’t agree with most of the political stances that You Tube takes in the United States, this internet platform has become beneficials for songwriters and worship leaders across this country and throughout the world. Today’s song comes from Matt Maher who is from Newfoundland, Canada. A few years ago, Matt’s song Glory (Let There Be Peace) was selected as one of the top hundred Christmas worship songs.

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you,] John 16:33.

The context of the passage above is shared by Jesus with the disciples in private during Passion Week. As Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for his ultimate sacrifice, the purpose of this act was to bring peace to the earth. Not peace in a political sense between nation. Rather the peace Jesus introduces is a spiritual peace brought forth by fulfilling God’s will for His life. May the words of Glory (Let There Be Peace) help you make room in your heart for Jesus this Christmas Season.

by Jay Mankus

Let Us

One of my greatest regrets in life was taking for granted my education as a child. Despite having several amazing teachers, I was never really impressed by the topic of English. If I had only paid attention in class to grammar back then, my career as an aspiring writer probably would have taken off by now. Nonetheless, the trinity within the Bible is revealed early in the Bible by Moses through the words “let us.”

God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them, Genesis 1:26-27.

As the Classic Amplified Version of the Bible reveals in the passage above, Let Us refers to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Holy Ghost is used in the King James version to highlight this powerful invisible force. One of the ways I came to grasp the trinity was one person with three distinct personality traits. God the Father is the spiritual adult in the room, the disciplinarian who reminds you whenever you stray off course. Jesus the Son is the youthful version of God with the Spirit who serves as our spiritual guide.

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word ([a]Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [b]Himself. He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men, John 1:1-4.

One of Jesus’ disciples refers to Him as homoousias. This theological term was first used at the Council of Nicaea which was presided over by the emperor Constantine. The Nicene Creed was conceived at this council which agreed that Jesus is the same in being and the same in essence with God the Father. Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit of a counselor in John 14:14-16. Therefore, when you see the expression “Let Us” in the Bible, this united agreement was the force behind the Creation of the World.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 301: What a Beautiful Name/Agnus Dei

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone in 2022, it’s officially time for Christmas music. While stores in Aiken have been playing Christmas music since the days following Halloween, Christmas season is now here. As you listen to the Cottrell’s version of What a Beautiful Name / Agnus Dei worship montage, may the words help you overcome the commercialism of Christmas. The lyrics should help you make Jesus the reason for this special season.

And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth, John 1:14.

A first century physician serves as a church historian. Luke is the author of Acts who writes about several of the apostle Paul’s missionary trips in accordance with the Great Commission left behind by Jesus, Acts 1:8. At some point during this spiritual journey, even this doctor was moved by what he saw and witnessed. Luke came to the conclusion that there is no other name on earth that compares with Jesus, Acts 4:12. May today’s song bring you closer to the One who saves.

by Jay Mankus

The Bible’s Version of Weird Science

Weird Science provides a snapshot of life in the 1980’s. Two teenage nerds attempt to create the perfect woman on a computer program. Rather than pretend, these two push the limits of their minds, breaking the law to achieve their ultimate goal. After a chain reaction similar to a scene from Ghost Busters out pops a real-life Playboy Bunny wearing low cut underwear and shirt. After recently reading the Creation Story in Genesis, God provides the Bible’s version of Weird Science in the verses below.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. 22 And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man, Genesis 2:21-22.

Teenagers aren’t the only ones who push the limits of science. The world’s first “test tube” baby was born on July 25, in 1978, The child’s name of this artificial birth was Louise Joy Brown. This scientific feat was the Jurassic Park for creating human life. While this was impressive, creating a woman out of one of Adam’s rib and part of his flesh is a miracle. If Hollywood tried to capture this event on film, it would be unbelievable.

Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man, Genesis 2:23.

Rather than use anesthesia, God places Adam into a deep sleep. According to oral tradition, Adam had a similar reaction to the two boys in Weird Science. While the Bible doesn’t mention that Adam reached for his side, as someone who has broken a couple of ribs the words above suggest Adam placed his hand over the incision as he spoke. If you haven’t seen Weird Science, the attached trailer might enhance your ability to imagine Adam’s reaction to the world’s first full-grown woman.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: