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Running Away from the Hand of God

After the death of Joseph, who God used to save Egypt from a historic famine, future leaders forgot his impact on their country.  When Pharaoh Rameses II rose to power, the once favored Jews became enslaved for 400 years.  Four centuries leader, God chose a man named Moses to lead Israel to a promised land, free from slavery.  Despite this hardship, the Lord was afraid that Israel might change their mind by returning to Egypt and accept a state of misery.

So it happened, when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearer; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war [that is, that there will be war], and return to Egypt,” Exodus 13:17. 

Upon the banks of the Red Sea, the Egyptian army was on the verge of surrounding Israel when the hand of God intervened.  Like a scene out of a tsunami movie, one million Jews walked to the other side before a wall of water returned to swallow up chariots and soldiers.  For the eyewitnesses, this event should have transformed their faith forever.  Yet, based upon the words of Moses in Exodus, some began to convince others to return to Egypt rather than trust in God to provide manna from heaven.

Further, he shall not acquire many [war] horses for himself, nor make the people return to Egypt in order to acquire horses [to expand his military power], since the Lord said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again, Deuteronomy 17:16.

As crazy as this may seem, modern believers continue to run away from the hand of God.  Despite countless miracles, signs and wonders, the faith of some have become weak.  The Lord doesn’t want his people to go back to being enslaved, yet weak minds can cause faith to crumble.  Jonah ran away from God in the opposite direction rather than following his call to go to Nineveh.  Unfortunately, my own actions reflect a similar pattern, doing what I want to do.  If only I would let go and trust God, I will see the hand of God at work rather than running away due to fear.

by Jay Mankus

Confessions from a Complainaholic

I must admit that it doesn’t take much to set me off.  The sad part is that I don’t even need to be around other people to express my frustrations.  Whenever I am driving to work, I become enraged, pointing out every little imperfection made by other drivers.  While sitting in a pew at church last Sunday, I came to a realization.  My name is Jay and I am a complainaholic.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Perhaps, I have become a product of the environment in which I live.  Residing within an hour of Philadelphia. aka Negadelphia, I vocalize what I hear, negative comments.  On the eve of Thanksgiving, my human nature is at war with how God wants me to behave.  Thus, I am stuck in the mud, trying alter my current state of disappointment toward a Christ like attitude.  This transformation requires divine intervention.

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Ephesians 5:20.

After reading a series a verses in the Bible, I have discovered the power of Thanksgiving.  On my first day back to work, I began to sing songs of praise, repeating the chorus from worship songs earlier in the day.  This simple adjustment enabled me to become more like a servant than a constant complainer.  I still have a long road of recovery ahead, but for now I plan at taking things one day at a time, praying that a spirit of Thanksgiving will replace my complainaholic nature.

by Jay Mankus




When You Will See How Great is God

Life is like riding a new roller coaster for the first time, filled with ups and downs, twists and turns with unexpected corkscrews around blind corners.  Subsequently, individuals change, evolve or are transformed by the ebb and flow of trials.  Nonetheless, unless a caterpillar enters the chrysalis, it will never be able to fly.

When hard times arrive. (and they will find you) there is a tendency to cry out to God, complain and wrestle with reality, Psalm 77:1-4.  Whether its coping with death, illness or unemployment, there is no easy way out.  However, on the day of when storms arise, Asaph provides a blueprint in Psalm 77:5-13 to help struggling souls see how great God is.

The moment you begin to remember recent miracles, times when God carried you or meditate on the works of the Lord, perspectives change.  Yet, this is easier said than done.  In the midst of pain, find rest in God’s chrysalis until your transformation is complete.  After the hurricanes of life, keep your head up so that you will begin to see how great is our God.

by Jay Mankus

Slip Proof

Whether you’re driving a car in wintry weather, trying to walk on a slippery surface or seek to keep a conversation clean with children ease dropping, its impossible to guarantee a slip proof day.  You may have good intentions, yet how can you be so sure that you won’t misstep, stumble and fall?  Daily obstacles await individuals, like potholes that can lead to blunders, errors or gaffes if you’re not paying careful attention.

Despite these odds, there was a king who suggested another way.  Psalm 37:31 contains a plan that is slip proof, demonstrated by a man after God’s own heart.  The key is to hide the words of the Bible in your heart, meditating on God’s laws as an honor student hungers for straight A’s, Psalm 119:7-9.  Once the mind is transformed, Romans 12:2, a slip proof day isn’t out of the equation.  This is the goal set out for people to strive for, Matthew 5:48.

Slipping often occurs in 3 ways: physically, mentally and spiritually.  Physically slipping could be an accident or a byproduct of poor judgment.  Perhaps, this may explain the apostle Paul’s warning to believers in Corinth, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Compromise is conceived in minds, trying to convince souls to alter their values.  If an Eve like moment occurs, a mental weakness produces a spiritual slip known as sin.  Whenever you reach this point, go back to the drawing board, remember David’s words in Psalm 37:31 to regain a slip proof footing.

Do you have a stategy for avoiding “slips”? If so, please share.


by Jay Mankus


The Secret Behind Volunteerism

Whether you are involved in a local church, little league or school, most volunteers often get used and abused.  Subsequently, burnout occurs within  the first few weeks, month or year, leaving organizations scrambling to find a reliable helpers every season.  Depending upon what study you quote, on average 10 percent of a groups’ volunteers does 90 percent of the work.  This raises the question, “what’s the secret behind volunteerism?”

As a former coach and teacher, I struggled to find more than three willing families to assist me annually.  If I could spread their commitment and passion to others, I might be a famous motivational speaker by now.  However, recently I have stumbled upon a few crucial ingredients that transformed the nation of Israel from self centered individuals into servants willing to pitch in.

Beginning in Exodus 35:4-19, Moses makes his plea to the people, similar to a PTA meeting as a vision is cast for what needs to be done in the forseeable future.  Once information has been conveyed, its up to the people involved to rise to the occasion.  Although not as sexy as modern speeches, Moses addresses each need one by one, asking for supplies and workers.  After  listening, each family withdrew to contemplate their role in the big picture of God’s plan, unveiling the secret behind volunteerism in Exodus 35:20-29.

1) Consider the cost before you agree to say yes.

2) Commit to only what you can, without feeling guilty or regret.

3) Come with a willingness to complete the role you have signed up for.

4) Only give based upon the moving of your heart since God loves a cheerful giver.

5) Donate anything you don’t need, use or plan on doing anything with in the future.

6) Find the place or role where you can be an asset for your community.

7) Put the needs of others in front of yourself as giving results in priceless moments.

by Jay Mankus

Transforming Your Perspective

The 1989 classic Field of Dreams illustrates that perspective is everything as Ray Kinsella played by Kevin Cosner risks his reputation, finances and home to follow an irrational vision of building a baseball field in the middle of his Iowa cornfield.  Throughout this film, Ray acts on faith, traveling throughout the country, listening to a voice, periodic whispers which serve as clues to accomplish his dream.  When only Terence Mann, played by James Earl Jones, is allowed to experience what goes on beyond center, where baseball greats from the past disappear, Ray’s perspective changes.  This selfishness brings out a “what’s in it for me mentally,” the same message God has been teaching me about this week.

Over this past weekend, I began 2 new jobs, a part time position as a consultant trying to help people save money and the other, a full time position to help pay monthly bills.  My motivation for serving as a consultant is based upon a vision of reducing an organization’s bottom line, providing a free service with the hopes of obtaining refunds to these same business’ and help a dear friend, Joe Feeley Sr., raise enough money to create a foundation to minister and provide for families who have a child battling cancer.  This vision, like Ray’s Kinsella’s baseball field, is easy to do since I am motivated to make this dream a reality.

On the other hand, the first day at my full time job, working the graveyard shift didn’t go as I expected.  The expectations I had going in were drastically different from what I initially experienced.  Thus, like ray Kinsella, I asked the question, “what’s in it for me Lord, why do you want me here?”  Last night, through a series of events, God spoke directly to me through books, people and circumstances, illuminating the reason why the Lord has placed me in this company, to impact others.  All the disappointment and humility from my first night was replaced by meaningful conversations, a clear vision and a transformed perspective.  As soon as you can remove a what’s in it for me attitude, God can show you through the power of the Holy Spirit his good, pleasing and perfect will, Romans 12:1-2.

by Jay Mankus

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