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I spent the last 25 years of my life, residing 2 hours north of Rehobeth, Delaware. While Rehobeth means place of rest in the Bible, this once quaint ocean community is far from a restful place due to an influx of urban sprawl. As I read Moses’ account of the life of Isaac, I came across Rehoboth, a similar name with a completely different meaning. Following a series of disputes with desert herdsmen, the well at Rehoboth served as a steady source of water for Isaac’s family without any drama.

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 26:18-19.

In this age of social media where individuals think out loud with the click of a mouse or pounding on a keyboard, most posts are negative. These come in the form of insults, put downs and slander to trash anyone these critics don’t like. A recent commercial has linked social media to eating disorders as women try to live up to other people’s expectations. Perhaps, it’s time for godly leaders to respond with biblical principles, 1 Peter 3:9, repaying evil with a blessing.

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]. 22 And he moved away from there and dug another well, and for that one they did not quarrel. He named it Rehoboth [room], saying, For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land, Genesis 26:20-22.

The term Rehoboth symbolizes that the Lord made room for Isaac, giving them a place to live in the desert that was not reliant on someone else’s water. If the Lord made room for Isaac’s family, Christians should make room in their busy schedules to minister to angry, bitter, and hurting souls. Although Jesus’ concept of turning the other cheek may be difficult to grasp, Matthew 5:38-39, Peter’s call to replace evil with a blessing is a way to apply this biblical principle in a proactive manner. Don’t get distracted; make room for others like Rehoboth.

by Jay Mankus


When God Can’t Do Anything Until You Arrive

As an aspiring screen writer, I understand the agony of writers block. This is a form of procrastination, but it’s more of a distraction, afraid, lost and stuck, unsure of the direction you want your story to proceed. If any writer is hoping and praying for a breakthrough, to finally become discovered, you have to finish what you started writing before God can do anything.

See now yonder city; it is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Oh, let me escape to it! Is it not a little one? And my life will be saved! 21 And [the angel] said to him, See, I have yielded to your entreaty concerning this thing also; I will not destroy this city of which you have spoken, Genesis 19:20-21.

Abraham’s nephew finds himself in a similar predicament. Since I moved from Delaware last summer, I understand how hard it is to say goodbye to a placed you called home fore 25 years. However, Lot is not selling his home. Everything he worked so long to build was about to be destroyed. Subsequently, as Lot is about to leave all of his possessions behind, he hesitant to say goodbye.

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.

As Lot is delaying the inevitable, an angel of the Lord returns. The purpose of this visit is to speed up Lot’s dillydallying. The point this angel is communicating is that God can’t do anything until you reach Zoar, the city that you yourself have chosen. From time to time, we all hesitate, putzing around, waiting for some sort of sign from God. Yet, all God requires is for us to act, to dlo what we promised. May this Old Testament lesson help fill you with a sense of urgency so that God can continue His plan for your life after you arrive, Philippians 1:6.

by Jay Mankus

It’s About that Time for Another Spiritual Alignment

My wife Leanne spent the last four years working at the front desk of an auto repair shop in Delaware. While Leanne’s knowledge about cars started with basic details, every year she has picked up a keen sense to notice subtle sounds. These noises that don’t mean anything to me, serve as warning signals that a part is about to break, needs to be replaced or is wearing down. Just as my wife weekly points out these signs for me in my car, it’s about time for another spiritual alignment.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, I am the Almighty God; walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect (blameless, wholehearted, complete), Genesis 17:1.

From a vehicle point of view, whenever a bus, car or truck is out of alignment, this unequally wears out the tread of your tires. If you don’t notice this sound or vibrations, you’re putting your vehicle at risk as well as increasing the cost of your next alignment. Based upon the passage above, the Lord provides instructions to Abraham for a spiritual alignment. God’s call is to walk with God habitually, day after day, with your whole heart, soul and mind.

You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; 44 But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 [aj]To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike]. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? – Matthew 5:43-46

In the first portion of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus offers a similar call to those in attendance. Recognizing man’s fallen state in Romans 3:9-12, Jesus isn’t demanding perfection; He is asking Christians to strive for perfection. Jesus expects Christians to go above and beyond how the world lives. Thus, the call is to pray for and forgive those who hate you. Spiritual alignments help you love God and love your neighbors as yourself, Matthew 22:37-40. This spiritual exercise allows believers to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, awake and alert for God’s next warning sounds in life.

by Jay Mankus

Playing the What if Game with God

My oldest sister Kathie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in October. I don’t remember the exact stage of this cancer, but the cells were so numerous that her chances for survival didn’t look good. As a former resident of Delaware, the cancer rate of this state is one of the highest in the nation. Despite the odds, I started playing the what if game with God in prayer.

Suppose there are in the city fifty righteous; will You destroy the place and not spare it for [the sake of] the fifty righteous in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing—to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as do the wicked! Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth execute judgment and do righteously? 26 And the Lord said, If I find in the city of Sodom fifty righteous (upright and in right standing with God), I will spare the whole place for their sake, Genesis 18:24-26.

This concept in introduced by Moses in Genesis 18. Leading up to Abraham’s prayer listed above, God appears to be talking out loud to Himself, wondering if He should let Abraham know about his plans to judge the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. After a brief time of consideration, God clues Abraham in on His plan. Since Abraham’s nephew Lot is a resident of Sodom, Abraham begins playing the what if game with God in his own prayer.

Abraham answered, Behold now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. 28 If five of the fifty righteous should be lacking—will You destroy the whole city for lack of five? He said, If I find forty-five, I will not destroy it, Genesis 18:28-29.

The more Abraham prays, it comes to his attention that they may not be that many righteous people in right standing with God. Subsequently, Abraham emulates the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8, wrestling with God in prayer. Although Lot escapes God’s wrath, his wife and the remaining residents aren’t as fortunate. Following Kathie’s five-hour surgery on Monday, only three more precautionary chemotherapy sessions remain. While only God knows the ultimate outcome, wrestling with God in prayer was worth every minute.

by Jay Mankus

Living in a State of Confusion

Prior to entering high school, my junior high guidance counselor told me if I wanted to attend college, I needed to take as many foreign language classes as possible. After four years of French and two years of Spanish in an honors class, mission accomplished. However, what if you went on a trip overseas during Spring Break and everything you learned in class was meaningless as every foreigner spoke too fast? I wouldn’t know as I never went, but this is likely what the residents of Babel experienced in the passage below.

Therefore the name of it was called Babel—because there the Lord confounded the language of all the earth; and from that place the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of the whole earth, Genesis 11:9.

My first full-time job after graduating from the University of Delaware was as a social worker. My official title was Workcamp Coordinator for the Methodist Action Program. One of my responsibilities was to help renovate the Spanish community center in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. I could pick up verbs like Mirar, “watch me; look what I’m doing.” Unfortunately, everything else was confusing, as I was unable to understand complete sentences.

Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy ([a]interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching). For one who speaks in an [unknown] tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning, because in the [Holy] Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things [not obvious to the understanding]. But [on the other hand], the one who prophesies [who [b]interprets the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching] speaks to men for their upbuilding and constructive spiritual progress and encouragement and consolation, 1 Corinthians 14:1-3.

Imagine if you were a skilled construction worker, building the tallest skyscraper in the world. After returning to work Monday morning, the people you spoke with daily at work were suddenly fluent in a completely different language. This Spirit of Confusion was like Hooked on Phonics on steroids. Despite this setback in the Old Testament, the Day of Pentecost mentioned in Acts 2:1-6 repaired this communication barrier. As the apostle Paul describes in the passage above, this unique gift does present itself to some in the form of spiritual gifts to overcome living in a state of confusion.

by Jay Mankus


The first mention of beer in the Bible has nothing to do with alcohol. Rather, beer is the name of a special well where one depressed woman was touched by God. Beer-lahai-roi is the name of a well located between Kadesh and Bered. Hagar was Sarai’s maidservant who ran away from home after being mistreated. Jealousy of the baby in her womb, Sarai mentally and verbally harassed Hagar to the point of tears. Unable to take these emotional scars, Hagar left thinking it was for the best.

Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [A well to the Living One Who sees me]; it is [c]between Kadesh and Bered, Genesis 16:14.

Whenever you’re alone, crying out to an invisible God seems to be a logical thing to do. While Moses doesn’t specify how many months Hagar had been pregnant, it’s enough to see an expanded belly. Depressed, lonely and in the middle of the wilderness, Hagar cries out to God for help. Based upon the words in the passage above, Hagar was blown away by how the Lord was able to hear and see the pain she felt inside her heart.

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. 12 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you, Jeremiah 29:11-12.

I have days just like Hagar, feeling lonely and helpless, unsure of my future. While I know the Lord can see my pain, I’m still waiting for a response. Perhaps, I’m like the person one Old Testament Prophet writes about in Isaiah 1. Clarity doesn’t come until confession is followed by a contrite heart. While living in Delaware, one of the Bible Studies I attended talked about spiritual blockage, which prevents clarity. Whatever the reason for my current spiritual condition, I pray that one day soon I’ll have a similar experience as Hagar at the well of Beer-lahai-roi.

by Jay Mankus

Trust God to Figure Out the Details

Whenever God calls you to do something, following this by faith will often require details beyond your comprehension. When I was single, I didn’t have to consider how obeying God’s call was going to impact my wife. Subsequently, I lived in six states in the first six months of 1993, following God’s prompting to leave Delaware to attend a youth ministry trade school, moving back to Ohio before teaching a semester at a boarding school in West Virginia. When a position in South Dakota fell through, another door opened at a church in Columbus, Indiana to finish this spiritual journey.

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others]. And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and [a]curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves], Genesis 12:2-3.

This wasn’t the case for Abram who just moved to Haran with his wife Sarai. Just when they were about to settle down, God interrupts their plans. As I recently read the passage above, one thing must have perplexed Abram as God promised that he would become the father of a great nation. The one little detail that Moses doesn’t mention in God’s call is that Sarai is barren and has been unable to have any children. While the Bible is silent on this obvious barrier, at some point in his life, Abraham began to trust God to figure out the details.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

King Solomon writes about a similar concept, trying to teach his children about faith. Faith is something that Abraham didn’t pick up until God tested his allegiance in Genesis 22. After decades of waiting for a son who would start the family tree of Israel, God threw Abraham a curve ball. “You want me to sacrifice the child Sarah and I have been waiting to arrive for decades?” Some scholars believe that Abraham thought that God would raise Isacc from the dead which persuaded him to finally go through with it. This ia a perfect example of how trusting God with all your heart is believing God will figure out all of the details.

by Jay Mankus

When Your Dream Gets Shattered

When my family moved to Delaware in the summer of 1977, I was welcomed into a neighborhood with several kids my age. On rainy days or summer nights, a couple of my new friends invited me over to play Monopoly. Some of these games lasted hours until everyone went bankrupt. except for the winner who had bragging rights until our next marathon session. Losing often as a child helped prepare me for real life when my dreams did get shattered.

 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar [in Babylonia], Genesis 10:10.

Moses introduces readers of the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, to Nimrod, the son of Cush. When Nimrod laid eyes on the land of Shinar, modern day Babylonia, he thought this would be a great place for a city to be erected. Nimrod was a visionary who may have been the mastermind behind the Tower at Babel. While Moses does not mention Nimrod by name during the construction of this elaborate city, this was likely a major dream and goal of his.

Come, let Us go down and there confound (mix up, confuse) their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of the whole earth, and they gave up building the city. Therefore the name of it was called Babel—because there the Lord confounded the language of all the earth; and from that place the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of the whole earth, Genesis 11:7-9.

While there are always construction delays in every project, the passage above details something out of this world. Moses’ use of “Let us” refers to God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Moses paints the picture of a spirit of confusion likely in the form of new languages each worker began to think about. Whatever happened on this day, Nimrod’s dream of a great tower was never completed. Like Nimrod, we all have at least one thing we want to accomplish before we die. Therefore, as you endure disappointment, failures, and setbacks in life, don’t give up on your dreams; don’t ever give up, Galatians 6:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 357: Hittin’ Curves

If you’ve had your driver’s license long enough, you’ll probably hit a curb or tow. This usually occurs to me when I’m pulling out of a restaurant in a hurry, trying to avoid getting hit by oncoming traffic. Or you may have to back up to park on your street. While Delaware had curved curbs in my old neighborhood, South Carolina has square curbs so when you hit them, you definitely feel it.

Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you. 26 Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright. 27 Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil, Proverbs 4:25-27.

King Solomon writes about where your eyes are located will determine the path that you take in life. The Christian rap group Grits sings about this in their song Hittin’ Curves. If you’re gazing straight ahead, the probability of you striking a curve goes down. However, if you’ve distracted by a phone or something else while driving, you can hit almost anything. When you remove these distractions while driving, you’ll avoid any curbs or curves that you’ll encounter.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 347: Friend Like That

As someone who has moved multiple times in life, true friends are hard to find. Whether it was moving from New Jersey to Delaware in Elementary School or from Delaware to Ohio in college, when you do finally relocate, you will find out who your real friends truly are. When none of them reach out to you after your departure, your friendship was more of an acquaintance than anything else. Perhaps, this is the inspiration behind Hawk Nelson’s song Friend Like That.

The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Proverbs 18:24.

King Solomon wrote about what a true friend meant to him in the passage above. Through the years, Christian artists have reflected upon this topic with songs by Geoff Moore, Michael W. Smith, and Steven Curtis Chapman. When a friend does stick closer than a brother, this kind of relationship becomes a spiritual treasure. As a new year begins, may the Holy Spirit inspire you to find a friend like that in 2023.

by Jay Mankus

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