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When Everyone Else Has Given Up on You

White Cross released In the Kingdom in 1991. One of the singles from this album is No Second Chances. The context of these lyrics refer to when you die, there isn’t a second chance to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, Romans 10:9-10. However, the Bible does suggest that some Christians will just barely get into heaven, Hebrews 10:26-27. If this is true, what does the Bible say when everyone else on earth has given up on you?

You are to deliver this man over to Satan for physical discipline [to destroy carnal lusts which prompted him to incest], that [his] spirit may [yet] be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, 1 Corinthians 5:5.

In the city of Corinth, a member of the church who is either a teenager or young adult has taken his father’s wife for himself. This act of incest angered Paul and inspired the words above. Just as Jesus handed over Judas Iscariot over to Satan, Paul does the same for this man. Despite the tone of Paul’s letter, there is a sliver of hope that severe church discipline will somehow save this lost soul.

For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit, And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come, If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance—[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace, Hebrews 6:4-6.

Meanwhile, the author of Hebrews points to a Christian struggling with addiction. While there is no description of this bad habit or habitual sin, there isn’t any sign of contrition or a willingness to change. Coaches, parents, or teachers encounter individuals like Hebrews 6:6 every year. Unfortunately, these prodigals haven’t reach rock bottom or come to their senses. My prayer to anyone who thinks they are too far gone, remember the words of Luke 15:18 because God never gives up on lost sheep.

by Jay Mankus

When God is No Where to be Found

At the beginning of chapter 23, Job is in a desperate search to find God. Despite crying out to God in prayer, the Lord was silent. When Job’s own friends began to assume that his current hardship was part of a curse, payback for some hidden or un-confessed sin, panic set in. When no one believed that Job was innocent, demons of doubt, frustration and uncertainty wore on Job’s soul.

If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling!
I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments, Job 23:3-4.

Perhaps, 2020 has brought some unpleasant experiences so far. Maybe, one of you has endured a Murphy’s Law kind of week, “if anything can go wrong, it does.” Just as military leaders prepare soldiers and troops for worse case scenarios, the Bible seeks to prepare Christians for the “what ifs” in life. Yet, tragic news like the sudden death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter have left many running to God for answers.

I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say to me. Would he vigorously oppose me? No, he would not press charges against me, Job 23:5-6.

Fortunately, Job understood the nature of God, that it’s okay to vent the burdens on your heart. When God is no where to be found, Jesus encourages believers to ask, seek and keep knocking until you receive a reply, Matthew 7:7-8. While many quit before finally sensing the presence of God, the parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8 serves a blue print to get God’s attention. Although you may experience days, weeks, months and years where God is silent, sometimes you simply need to come to your senses like the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-31. Whatever your current circumstances, may this blog provide some peace of mind to weary souls.

by Jay Mankus

Breaking Up With God

Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield co-wrote the song Breaking Up is Hard to Do.  Sedaka recorded two different versions of Breaking Up is Hard to Do with the first released in 1962.  Thirteen years later the arrangement and style changed with the times.  This theme came full circle in 2011 with the jukebox musical Breaking Up is Hard to Do.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living,” Luke 15:13.

While most people think of breaking up in reference to boy and girl friends, this can also relate to families.  The prodigal son couldn’t wait to leave home.  Unfortunately, he rushed off without any foresight, squandering his inheritance.  Immaturity, selfishness and pride severed the prodigal son’s relationship with his father.  This break up left this young man homeless, starving and spiritually dead.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants,’ Luke 15:17-19.

The parable of the prodigal son illustrates what happens when people break up with God.  Initially, instant gratification provides moments of pleasure.  However, when your expectations are not meet or fulfilled, a sense of emptiness enters the human soul.  Subsequently, purpose or meaning for life is lost, replaced by a void within hearts that only Jesus can fill.  May those who have wandered away from God come to their senses by repenting and drawing near the Lord.  Don’t let guilt or resentment delay your return.

by Jay Mankus

A Year Without Church

Before his tragic death in a plane crash, Keith Green created the song Asleep in the Night.  Although the original context refers to someone sleeping in, missing church on Easter Sunday, this song applies to my current dilemma.  Due to my grave yard work schedule, I can’t seem to get my lazy butt out of bed on Sunday morning.  Subsequently, 2016 can be described as a year without church, the fewest weeks I’ve ever attended.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living, Luke 15:13”

I wish I had a decent excuse, but what good would that do.  Like any other sin, missing church involves a lack of discipline, choosing laziness over obedience.  Instead of receiving God’s blessings of fellowship, praise and words of inspiration, I have become like the prodigal who continues to move in the wrong decision.  Hopefully, I will come to my senses soon so that I can spent 2017 in the house of God.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you,” Luke 15:17-18.

When you miss a day praying or reading the Bible, you can’t get it back.  Sure, you might try to do twice the praying or reading the next day to make yourself feel better, but the truth is something else was more important to you on the days you tuned out God.  Part of me still sees the Lord from an Old Testament perspective, one of judgement and wrath.  Yet, the New Testament opens the door on a loving God, desperately waiting for his children to give Him the attention He is worthy of.  May you learn from the errors of my way by visiting a local church regularly and invest time at home daily with the living God of the Bible.

by Jay Mankus



The Devil’s Triangle

Across the surface of the earth, there are small sections which produce anomalies.  For one reason or another, abnormal, odd or strange events seem to happen within defined areas.  One of the most famous occurs over water, others take place in the mountains and some form a triangle between three specific geographical points.  Whether you are referring to the Devil’s Triangle at sea or a 44 mile highway loop in Oliver Springs, Tennessee, some places appear to be cursed, filled with a history of accidents, disaster or tragedy.

And that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will, 2 Timothy 2:26.

Although I don’t want to jump to conclusions, these places produce acts and occurrences that defy science.  While several of these unusual accounts can be explained due to rare barometric conditions, others seem to be linked to the supernatural.  According to the apostle Paul, people will experience traps set by the devil, demonic influences or powers of darkness.  Thus, when you find yourself within the snares of the Devil’s Triangle, you need to know what you’re up against.

In which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient, Ephesians 2:2.

As a fallen angel, Satan controls the airspace, sending minions to create havoc throughout the face of the earth.  These invisible attacks plants seeds of doubt, urges hearts to indulge in worldly pleasures and promotes a New Age mindset.  Sometimes this involves sending people into our lives that lead to subtle changes in the form of compromise.  While people may visit places on earth known as the Devil’s Triangle, you don’t have to leave your home to experience a spiritual war upon your soul.  Prepare yourself with prayer!

by Jay Mankus

To Roam or Rule

The great thing about free will is that individuals are not coerced into doing something they don’t want to do.  Rather, each day you have the option to roam or rule.  The first is accomplished by sight, allowing wandering eyes to guide you, often in a self-seeking manner.  The second is exercised by faith, becoming a kingdom man or woman, by finishing the work God has called you to do.

Christ made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, Ephesians 1:9.

Depending upon your degree or level of faith, its not uncommon for someone to go back and forth between roaming and ruling.  As darkness approaches, hope can be lost causing many to take the reigns.  Yet, as people come to their senses, the Holy Spirit awakens souls to rule and reign in the authority delegated to Christ like believers.  For the average person, this roller coaster ride lasts a lifetime, full of twists, turns and strange occurrences.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus, Philippians 1:6.

In my moments of greatest uncertainty, I cling to promise above.  I don’t always know what God wants me to do, but I do know there is still work to accomplish.  Thus, with all my heart, soul and mind, I press on hoping I am on the right track.  Although, I still may roam from time to time, I pray that the Lord will guide me to rule, keeping in step with the next assignment God wants me to complete.

by Jay Mankus

The Lord’s Patience

If you have children, coach or teach, then you understand willful disobedience.  Unfortunately, human nature tends to cause adults to become angry, frustrated or resentful.  In the heat of the moment, its not uncommon to say or do something you regret.  If only individuals possessed the Lord’s patience.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9.

One of the more awkward conversations in the Bible occurs in John 21.  Peter meets face to face with a resurrected Jesus.  Without bringing up Peter’s public denial, Jesus asks him if he the loves the Lord three times.  These words cut to the heart, a painful reminder of Peter’s past transgression the week prior.  Before the day was over, Peter received a glimpse of the Lord’s patience.

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go,” John 21:18.

In this age of instant gratification, its hard to allow time to take its course on life.  Instead of pressing others to comply with your rules and regulation, sometimes you have to let those whom you love to wander off.  Only when people come to their senses will the day of repentance arrive.  Therefore, as a friend, mentor or parent don’t force the issue.  Rather, pray that the Lord’s patience will awaken souls and lead to salvation.

by Jay Mankus

Dropping off the Map

In a typically week, I scan through 4,000 emails at work.  This daily grind has caused me to neglect my own personal email account.  Subsequently, in the last couple of years, I’ve dropped of the map so to speak, forgetting to connect with people I care about.

Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living, Luke 15:13.

While watching an episode of A Football Life on the NFL Network, I was struck by the words of former Chicago Bear and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Mike Singletary.  In his pursuit to become a great linebacker, he neglected other areas of his life, most notably his family.  Like Mike, I suffer from tunnel vision, so focused on the task at hand that I can shut out the people that I care about most.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” – Luke 15:17

From a biblical perspective, everyone has their prodigal moment, period or phase in life.  Human nature causes curious individuals to drift off course, replacing God or family with the pleasures of the world.  Depending upon the length of this detour, its not uncommon for someone to drop off the map, leaving church, fellowship or the faith for a while.  Whether this blog finds you in a good place, sliding away or somewhere in between, may we all come to our senses soon so we can be reunited with those whom we love.

by Jay Mankus


Before I Sink Any Further

One of my favorite shows on the Discovery Channel was called Swamp Loggers.  From June 2009-December 2012, Bobby Goodson was the star of a family run business, illustrating how technology could be used to log once unreachable forests.  Through success and failure, this program was as close to real life as a reality show has come.

However, in real life, there aren’t any machines who can save us from sinking.  King David often used the analogy of a swamp, which bogs human beings down, sucking each in like a suction cup, Psalm 69:14-15.  Whenever you get stuck, there is only One who can save you, Acts 4:12.  This life guard can walk on water, silence storms and stretch out His hand to lift you up.

Before you sink any further, take David’s advice in Psalm 30:1-3.  Sure, you might be able to get yourself out of a few jams from time to time, but the open arms of the Great I Am is waiting.  Come to your senses now, Luke 15:17, swallow your pride and ask God to relieve you from distress, Psalm 4:1.  Before I sink any further, I surrender all, all to you O Lord.

I encourage everyone to share a time you’ve been saved from the muck and mire in life.

by Jay Mankus

Finally Home

Movies with a happy ending often bring a tear to my eyes.  However, in life, sometimes people give up hope of living happily ever after.  As individuals struggle to keep a good paying job, marriages are suffering, on the verge of fading.  The matrimony vows of for better or for worse are usually forgotten, erased from memories when things don’t turn out for the good.

Until yesterday, I was worried about myself, my home and where my family and I would live in the future.  With bleak, broken dreams and disappointment on the horizon, my life was on the verge of collapse.  Crying out to the Lord day after day, God finally answered my prayers yesterday.  Lost, displaced and unsure if I would ever find a new occupational home, I now have a sense I am finally home with Amazon.

Like the peace of Christ mentioned in Philippians 4:6-7, God has released all my burdens, concerns and worries about finances.  Psalm 130:3-4 expresses the joy one receives when forgiven, staked to a new homestead and leash on life.  Nothing in the Bible illustrates this point more than Luke 15:17-24, the conclusion of the prodigal son.  Like this immature child, everyone makes mistakes, poor decisions and acts selfishly.  However, there is a God in heaven, waiting on the front porch for your return.  Come to your senses now so that you will experience the pleasure of finally being home!

by Jay Mankus

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