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Searching for a Daily Source of Water

Modern technology bypasses most of the steps early settlements had to consider before setting up camp in a particular area. Unless you watch shows like Homestead Rescue, most people don’t understand that you can’t survive unless you have access to a daily source of water. When Isaac was told by King Abimelech that he needed to find a new place to live, Isaac’s first concern was finding a well with clean water.

Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had closed and filled with earth. 16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we are. 17 So Isaac went away from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the names by which his father had called them. 19 Now Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of living [spring] water, Genesis 26:15-19.

Isaac didn’t have access to the local Sam’s Club or Walmart. Rather, Isaac commissioned his servants to locate water through a series of wells. Once this discovery and construction process was completed, Isaac was able to set up his new camp, home, centered around these wells. Just as springs in the California desert gave birth to the city of Palm Springs, a well of living water made it possible for Isaac’s family to survive in the wilderness.

Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity], Psalm 1:1-3.

One of the Psalmists writes about the blessings of water. From a spiritual perspective, water is like the Word of God, serving as a source of hope and faith, Romans 10:17. The apostle Paul uses a similar analogy in Colossians 2:6-7, rooted and built up in Christ. Since tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, James 4:13-15, search for a daily source of living water, John 4:14, like a curious Samaritan woman who’s entire family entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

by Jay Mankus


Why Blessings are Bestowed by God

I grew up confusing blessings with luck. When one of your best friends in high school is an Irish Catholic and was one of the luckiest people I ever met, I had a good reason to be misled. However, as my knowledge of the Bible has increased, I now understand why blessings are bestowed upon human beings by God. Moses points this out in Deuteronomy 28:1-3 as blessings are a direct byproduct of obedience to God.

But the [d]Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham! He answered, Here I am. 12 And He said, Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear and revere God, since you have not held back from Me or begrudged giving Me your son, your only son, Genesis 22:11-12.

Depending upon where you are spiritually when you read this blog, levels of faith tend to fluctuate. No matter how disciplined you may be, internal feelings play a factor in your degree of faith. Sometimes a bad stretch of circumstances, called tough luck, puts your back to the wall as faith is challenged unlike anything before in your life. In the case of Abraham, this propelled him to fear God, resulting in extreme obedience and blessings.

The Angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 And said, I have sworn by Myself, says the Lord, that since you have done this and have not withheld [from Me] or begrudged [giving Me] your son, your only son, 17 In blessing I will bless you and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore. And your Seed (Heir) will possess the gate of His enemies, Genesis 22:15-17.

Jesus references this in the Lord’s Prayer, also known as the Our Father, Matthew 6:5-15. Jesus places a similar condition on forgiveness. As long as you forgive the trespasses and transgressions of others, God will forgive you. Meanwhile, the apostle Paul compares this to the Sowing Principle in Galatians 6:5-8. Subsequently, as individuals adhere, listen and apply God’s Word, blessings will be bestowed by God. Become a doer of God’s Word and you’ll be surprised by the final outcome.

by Jay Mankus

Trusting in God…Not Government

The past half decade has seen a drastic change in mentality from the days of John F. Kennedy. The Democratic Party has evolved from “what can you do for the government to becoming dependent upon the government to meet your daily needs. Rather than follow in the footsteps of rugged individualism, modern political leaders have convinced many Americans that the government will provide for your daily needs.

Make haste and take refuge there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar [little]. 23 The sun had risen over the earth when Lot entered Zoar, Genesis 19:22-23.

The context of the passage above occurs after God reveals to Lot that Sodom and Gomorrah will be destroyed. Since God promised Abraham his nephew Lot would be spared, there’s only one thing left to do. One of two angels tries to urge Lot to develop a sense of urgency. Until Lot reaches the agreed upon location, the city of Zoar, God can’t do anything.

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 6:33-34.

Jesus provides insight into trusting God in the passage above. While many children are taught you have to make things happen in life, Jesus points to the spiritual solution. Blessings come in the form of daily bread: meeting all your spoken and unspoken needs in life. While it’s tempting to receive free money in the form of government handouts, pursue God and His righteousness so you’ll learn to trust Jesus, not government.

by Jay Mankus

Not the Answer You Wanted to Hear

As someone who grew up in a military family, discipline was always part of my childhood. Whenever I was unruly to my mother, I became fearful as soon as I heard, “wait until your father gets home.” Despite attending a public high school and state-run university, discipline played an important role. My senior year of high school I got an afterschool detention for taking during the morning announcements. As King Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs, rules are designed for your own spiritual protection.

But [a]the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness on the road to Shur. And He said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where did you come from, and where are you intending to go? And she said, I am running away from my mistress Sarai, Genesis 16:7-8.

Running away from home is one of those things that I thought about, but never did. Sometimes adults run away, sometimes in the form of divorce to try to start over from scratch. Following Hagar’s decision to run away from her jealous owner Sarai, Hagar believed that running away for good was the best decision she could make. However, the wilderness is not a safe place to live, let alone have a child all by yourself. Subsequently, this angel gives Hagar an answer that she didn’t want to hear.

The Angel of the Lord said to her, Go back to your mistress and [humbly] submit to her control. 10 Also the Angel of the Lord said to her, I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be numbered for multitude, Genesis 16:9-10.

This same concept also applies to prayer. Some prayers result in clear answers in the form of blessings. Other times in life you will receive a clear no, often in the form of a closed door, denying you the career, job or position that you really wanted. The final way that God answers prayers is by subtle, “not now or not yet.” This response could be a way to test your patience or a way to prepare you for what God has in store for you in the future. If you’re presently like me, disappointed by the answers God has for you, read Luke 18:1-8 so you can discern and learn from a persistent widow who wrestled with God in prayer.

by Jay Mankus

The Crossover Connection Week 6: A Touch of Britney Spears, Madonna and Taylor Swift

This is high praise when you think of the amazing accomplishments of these 3 female artists. I was initially hesitant to make such a comparison, but God has blessed Brit Nicole with a vast range of musical talents. When I reflect upon Brit’s collection of inspiration ballads, countryish tunes from time to time, the rhythm to dance, finger snapping pop songs with an uncanny ability to crossover into hip-hop, she’s approaching Amy Grant status.

Let them praise His name in chorus and choir and with the [single or group] dance; let them sing praises to Him with the tambourine and lyre! – Psalm 149:3

One of my former students at Red Lion introduced me to Brit Nicole while I was teaching high school Bible. Songs like Seeing for the First Time, The Sun is Rising and The Lost Get Found have moved and touched me over the years. While driving my kids to school for a decade, more modern songs like Vacation led my children toward Christian music. While no female artists can replace Britney Spears, Madonna or Taylor Swift, I pray that after listening to Brit Nicole for a week you’ll adopt several new favorites to your music collection.

by Jay Mankus

When the Word of the Lord Arrives

When it comes to planning, some like to wing it, others procrastinate until a deadline arrives while the organized are precise; knowing exactly what they want to do and when. To those who attend church regularly, most people just show up, some have their quiet time before and others wait in eager expectation for what God is going to do at some point during the service. To those paying attention, you’ll know when the Word of the Lord arrives.

After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am your [a]Shield, your abundant compensation, and your reward shall be exceedingly great, Genesis 15:1.

The context of the passage above occurs immediately after the events of Genesis 14. Highlights of this chapter contain Lot being taken as a prisoner of war, Abram forming an army and the successful defeat of the contries which captured Lot, Abram’s brother’s son. During his triumphant return, the King of Sodom offers Abram a generous reward, plunder from this battle. Rather than accept this gift, Abram tells this king to divide this among the allied forces that fought with Abram’s men.

And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [[a]loaves of] bread. But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God, Matthew 4:3-4.

The Word of the Lord arrives in the form of a vision for Abram. God compares Himself to a shield of protection and an abundant compensation in the form of blessings. Receiving this gift from the King of Sodom would have comprised Abram’s faith and made this king feel like he added to Abram’s wealth. Just like the Devil who tried to tempt Jesus with food at the end of his 40 day fast, the King of Sodom was just as persuasive. Yet, when Christians look for the way out of temptation, 1 Corinthians 10:13, the Word of the Lord keeps you in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. Go and do likewise.

by Jay Mankus

The Tithing Trend Setter

Trend setters lead the way in actions, fashion or ideas. This individual may be laughed at, mocked or teased initially, but if this movement catches on, a trend setter is born. While visiting Egypt in the middle of a severe famine, God moved Pharaoh to bless Abram with many servants. Although Moses doesn’t provide a timeline of specific dates, these men would become the core of Abram’s Army who rescued Lot and other prisoners of war taken from Sodom.

Melchizedek king of Salem [later called Jerusalem] brought out bread and wine [for their nourishment]; he was the priest of God Most High, 19 And he blessed him and said, Blessed (favored with blessings, made blissful, joyful) be Abram by God Most High, Possessor and Maker of heaven and earth, 20 And blessed, praised, and glorified be God Most High, Who has given your foes into your hand! And [Abram] gave him a tenth of all [he had taken], Genesis 14:18-20.

In the back of Abram’s mind, he put two and two together, giving God the credit for these 318 men and the Lord’s favor. Subsequently, as the King of Salem Melchizedek greeted Abram following his victory, this priest of the God Most High prompted Abram to give something back. This is the context which conceived the biblical principle of tithing. This makes Abram a true trend setter and the godfather of tithing to the Lord.

Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? [You have withheld your] tithes and offerings. You are cursed with the curse, for you are robbing Me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it, Malachi 3:8-10.

One of the most famous passages on tithing comes from an Old Testament prophet. Malachi peels back the storehouses in heaven to reveal a powerful reality for those who faithfully give back to God. This life lesson is simple: you can’t out give God. Unfortunately, when Christians fail to tithe, this reveals a lack of trust in God, Proverbs 3:5-6. If the words of James 1:17-18, all God things in life come from heaven above. Therefore, don’t be afraid to follow Abram’s lead, by giving 1/10 of what you receive back to the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

To Your Posterity

Posterity refers to all future generations of people based upon their descendants. This is much different than posture which is the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting. Yet, the Psalmist blends these two terms in Psalm 1:1-3. Human nature influences individuals to copy unwholesome behavior. The friends you chose and make in life will often pressure you to conform to their ways. If you join in and sit down with these individuals, your posterity will change for the worse.

Abram passed through the land to the locality of Shechem, to the oak or terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, I will give this land to your posterity. So Abram built an altar there to the Lord, Who had appeared to him, Genesis 12:6-7.

However, if you chose that which brings life, your posterity will result in future blessings like God’s promise to Abram, Deuteronomy 30:15-17. As God continues to reveal himself to Abram in the book of Genesis, Abram is introduced to a vision of a spiritual legacy. To a man married to a woman who is unable to have children, this seems preposterous when God paints a picture of Abraham’s descendants being like countless stars in the sky, Genesis 22:17.

Also I [the angel], in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood up to confirm and to strengthen him [Michael, the angelic prince]. And now I will show you the truth. Behold, there shall arise three more kings in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than they all. And when he has become strong through his riches he shall stir up and stake all against the realm of Greece. Then a [a]mighty [warlike, threatening] king shall arise who shall rule with great dominion and do according to his [own] will, Daniel 11:1-3.

Human beings can only do so much to alter their posterity. While talking to a group of relatives last summer on my wife’s side of the family, I was praised for how well the lives of my three children have turned out. Instead of taking credit, I immediately quoted a spiritual mentor from Delaware who encouraged me to daily pray for each of my children. The hours that parents pray for their children annually can alter their path and lead to a successful posterity in the future.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 349: Blessed

One of the best ways to seize 2023 as your year to live the abundant life on earth, John 10:10, is to begin January by reading the Beatitudes. The portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount sets the tone for those in attendance. Just like the words shared by Moses in Deuteronomy 28:1-3 to the nation of Israel, blessings follow anyone who is obedient to God’s command, decrees, and precepts. As you listen to Jospeh O’Brien’s song Blessed, may this promise in the Bible come to fruition in 2023.

Blessed (happy, [a]to be envied, and [b]spiritually prosperous—[c]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Blessed and enviably happy [with a [d]happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted! Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, [e]spiritually prosperous—[f]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth! Blessed and fortunate and happy and [g]spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God [h]enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be [i]completely satisfied! Blessed (happy, [j]to be envied, and [k]spiritually prosperous—[l]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy! Blessed (happy, [m]enviably fortunate, and [n]spiritually prosperous—possessing the [o]happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God! – Matthew 5:3-8

When you come to the conclusion that the people you interact with daily need to change, perhaps it’s you who needs an attitude adjustment? Just as cars receive oil changes every three to five thousand miles, Christian’s need a spiritual alignment on a weekly and monthly basis. While this painful truth may not be obvious to you, it’s glaring to those whom you live with. May the lyrics of Blessed be a starting point for you in 2023 so that the power of the Holy Spirit transforms you to become like Jesus this year.

by Jay Mankus

The Third Child is a Charm

The origin of the expression the“ third times a charm ” dates back to the 17th century in Great Britain. Likely based upon their spiritual heritage and knowledge of the Bible, the English believed the number “3” was lucky, bestowing fortune on a person when they encountered it in their life. This couldn’t be more evident when you consider the third boy mentioned in the Bible. While Jude mentions that Enoch was seven generations from Adam, the rest of Adam’s descendants are skipped by Moses, Jude 1:14.

And Adam knew Eve as his wife, and she became pregnant and bore Cain; and she said, I have gotten and gained a man with the help of the Lord. And [next] she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground, Genesis 4:1-2.

The first child born to Adam and Eve was Cain which means “I have gotten and gained a man with the help of the Lord.” This help was followed by Abel who went on to become a successful shepherd before his life was cut short, murdered by Cain. Despite receiving harsh punishment from the Lord, Moses does mention his family lineage beginning in Genesis 4:17. Cain was allowed to have a wife who gave birth to Enoch. While Jared was the father of the second Enoch, but Cain was so proud of his son that he built a city and named it after Enoch. Perhaps Jared named his son after the first Enoch.

 [Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking. Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God, Hebrews 11:4-5.

One of the first three boys mentioned in the Bible end up in the Hall of Faith. While Hebrews 11:1 and 11:6 receive most of the headlines in sermons, the passage above highlights the faithful nature within Abel and Jared’s Enoch. As a parent who understands the power of prayer, I’m sure Cain’s daily prayer for Enoch and his other children was to avoid the same errors, mistakes, and sins he committed. Rather than write a book like Proverbs, Cain invested his remaining days on earth to become a godly father. May the story of Cain and Enoch inspire you to not give up on your own children, intervening daily like the persistent widow in Luke 18.

by Jay Mankus

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