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Unsung Heroes

A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities is considered a hero. During the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, first responders, doctors, and nurses were labeled heroes. Willing to put their own lives in danger to save the lives of others earned these brave individuals this badge of honor. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi capitalized on this term by naming the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act of 2020 the Heroes Act. However, a common criticism of the HEROES Act by Republicans was that many of its items in the bill were not directly related to the Coronavirus.

We who are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves, Romans 15:1.

In today’s politically charged climate, when a news story doesn’t fit into the mainstream’s narrative, heroic acts go unrecognized. Such is the case for members of the National Guard in California. State officials called off their search for 200 campers trapped at Shaver Lake in the Sierra National Forest. The conditions were deemed too dangerous with zero visible due to huge plumes of smoke. Despite the odds, over 200 people were rescued by National Guard helicopters. A Blackhawk helicopter, emergency response team, fire and medical elements from the 144th Fighter Wing swooped into action, placing their lives at risk to rescue trapped campers.

Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually], Romans 15:2.

The word hero does not appear in the Bible. However, when you do a search for hero in OpenBible.info, positive actions are provided. According to the apostle Paul, biblical heroes bear with neighbors to uplift their souls. Other qualities including laying your life down for a friend, staying positive despite the circumstances, and choosing love over hate. While the self absorbed seek to draw attention to themselves, unsung heroes do what’s right when nobody is looking. Heroes don’t wait for others to comes to the rescue. Rather, heroes follow their conscience and convictions to help whoever is in need. While rewards may not come on earth, unsung heroes will be commended in heaven.

by Jay Mankus

Unwrapping Christmas

It’s only fitting for a first century doctor to write about a foreign concept, the virgin birth. From a biological stand point, this doesn’t make any sense. Yet, Luke devotes an entire chapter, one of the longest in the New Testament, to lay out how this unique event took place. Luke sets the stage for a miracle to occur within a teenage girl named Mary.

Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 To a girl never having been married and a [v]virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women! – Luke 1:26-28

Modern scientists refers to a virgin birth in terms of parthenogenesis. This process is defined as reproduction from an ovum without fertilization, especially as a normal process in some invertebrates and lower plants. Human beings first attempted to duplicate this process in the form of test tube babies in 1948. Nearly 2000 years after Jesus was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit, fertilization of an embryo was successful using genetics.

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, Luke 1:34-35.

When Mary receives word of her pregnancy, she is confused just like anyone else with a basic understanding of biology. Yet, an angel of the Lord unwraps the miracle of Christmas in the passage above. These events all needed to take place in order for Emmanuel to be born, God with us. If human beings can duplicate a virgin birth using modern science, why is it so far fetched to believe the creator of the universe did this first? As I unwrap Christmas in the weeks to come, may these blogs bring joy to your heart.

by Jay Mankus

Forgetting to Thank the One Providing the Blessings

The expression “you don’t know what you had until its gone” often hits home over the holidays.  Each year death takes away someone or something special from our lives.  Unfortunately, when life is going well, people forget to be grateful.  Take for example the Israelites, freed from 400 years of oppression and slavery.  Yet, this wasn’t enough as hungry stomachs led to complaining and grumbling.  When God answered their prayers in the form of manna, bread from heaven, the magic of this miracle soon wore off, craving more.  As quail arrived, sent by the Lord, the Israelites forgot to thank the One providing the blessings.

The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD‘s hand in Egypt!  There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death,” Exodus 16:3.

Doctors tend to notice certain details that most individuals miss.  In the case of Luke, a first century physician, his version of the Healing of 10 Lepers mentions an unique observation.  Leprosy attacks the vocal cords, limiting one’s ability to project their voices.  One of the ten healed by Jesus was overcome by emotion, crying out at the top of his lungs for the first time in years.  While Jesus is disappointed that only one person came back to thank him, Luke highlights the immediate healing experienced by this man.  The other nine took their speech for granted, yet one man did not miss the opportunity to thank the One who performed this blessing.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.  Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?  Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” – Luke 17:15-18

On Thanksgiving Day, hearts and minds tend to be fixed on cooking, football or shopping.  Instead of slowing down to enjoy life, the pursuit of happiness causes souls to search for self-gratification.  This exercise usually leads to disappointment or emptiness.  Therefore, this year on this sacred day, make sure you take the time to thank the good Lord above for all the blessings in this life.  If you don’t, you will miss a golden opportunity to prepare your heart to catch the spirit of Christmas, with good tidings and great joy to all!

by Jay Mankus

Christmas from a Doctor’s Perspective

Before the days of computers, data bases and technology, doctors relied on medical journals, other opinions and personal experiences to grow in their knowledge of the human body.  Prior to hospitals, children were born at home, accompanied by family members and the town physician.  As I read through Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth, 2 things stand out.

1) This doctor recognizes Mary’s conception to be supernatural, Luke 1:35.

2) There are things in life that occur which can’t be explain by science; made possible by God, Luke 1:37.

Unfortunately, Christmas from a modern day doctor’s perspective skews the miracle of Jesus’ birth.  Scientists would likely suggest Mary’s child was the result of a test tube baby, conceived from the sperm of another man.  Skeptics in the media might go further, creating fictional stories of a secret lover.  As faith has gradually become replaced by science, many of today’s doctors would rather develop outrageous theories than give God the credit He is due.

As Hollywood attempts to portray their own interpretation of Christmas, an old episode of the Bob Newhart Show is as close as anyone has come to capturing the events leading up to this miraculous day.  During a doctor’s convention, Bob’s inn has no vacancy when 3 wise men and a pregnant couple come looking for a place to stay.  Unsure what to do, Newhart decides not to turn this couple away to avoid future Inn Keepers from developing a bad reputation.  In the end, the doctor revel in the opportunity to help usher another human being into this world.

May this blog prepare your hearts to worship Jesus on Christmas Day.

by Jay Mankus

 

R and R

From 1972 to 1983, the CBS television series MASH, short for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, brought the concept of R & R to prime time.  The phrase R & R is an abbreviation for Rest and Relaxation.  In MASH, doctors and nurses alike went to Tokyo to unwind from the stress of hour upon hour in an operating room.  Although Hollywood’s portrayal often included drunkenness and debauchery, everyone needs a little R & R monthly to recharge their internal batteries.

A season 1 episode of Joan of Arcadia entitled Recreation illustrates a similar point when God calls Joan played by Amber Tamblyn to through a party when her parents go away to celebrate their anniversary.  Initially skeptical, gossip spreads like wild fire at Arcadia High, causing a motley crew of students to show up.  Instead of closing in on a known drug operation, the police are called to Joan’s house to check on complaints called in by neighbors.  Subsequently, Joan’s party saves her father’s partner from an explosion at the stake out location.

The term recreation means to recreate.  After a 10 day vacation for the first time in 2 years, I feel like a new person, with a fresh mind set on making a difference in life again.  Part of me was caught in the grind of life, losing focus and desire.  However, as I start a new week, I am prepared to rise above the challenges I face.  Despite the hardships on the horizon, rest and relaxation has provided a rejuvenated soul.  When your own life becomes boring, stale or unfulfilled, make sure you seek a little R & R to break through the monotony in life.

Please share how R & R has helped you in the past.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Entering the Great Unknown

When the truth of God’s Word or a blunt reply from an honest friend, cuts to the heart, I find it difficult to initially accept their message.  A primal spirit joined by stubbornness make it hard for me to embrace the error of my way.  As a result, I am entering the great unknown in obscurity, far removed from friendships of the past.

The transition from adolescence into adulthood can be hindered or eased depending upon your status.  Dinner parties, gatherings and social events give individuals an opportunity to boast of their recent accomplishments or hide behind the great unknown.  Doctors, engineers and managers tend to flaunt their confidence unwittingly.  Meanwhile, the silence of the other guests speak volumes, embarrassed by their resumes, salaries or a combination of both.  Thus, these humble souls are eager to venture into the great unknown, hoping the future is better than their past and present circumstances.

While online fortune tellers claim they can reveal your future for a mere $20 bill, only God the Father knows what the great unknown holds.  Fortune cookies may give you a laugh or a series of so called lucky numbers, yet inside these treats are hollow, empty of any significant substance.  Therefore, as you start tomorrow, walking through an open door or driving toward a clear passage, take Jesus with you on this journey, serving as your mediator, 1 Timothy 2:5, as you enter into the great unknown!

by Jay Mankus

The Doctor has become the Patient

Luke was known as the beloved physician in Colossians 4:14.  In his book of Acts, Luke uses the pronoun we beginning in Acts 16, suggesting he was a traveling companion and close friend of the apostle Paul.  In fact, scholars have suggested Luke’s gospel is different than the other 2 synoptic gospels, Matthew and Mark, because Luke was influenced by Paul’s teaching.

However, as I was meditating on the book of Acts, a thought came to my mind.  Was Luke able to successfully heal each of his patients?  If not, did Luke hear or see Jesus personally heal someone that medicine and science of his day failed him?  John 21:25 tells us that the Bible limits Jesus’ miracles to only the gospels.  If every detail was expounded upon, we might likely discover that doctor Luke had become one of Jesus’ patients.

The passage which suggests my theory is found in Luke 5:27-32.  The context is the calling of Matthew, a descendant of the tribe of Levi, to become one of Jesus’ disciples.  Up until now, the disciples had been blue collar workers, common people, fishermen.  Here, Jesus adds a tax collector to his group of 12, completed in Luke 6:12-16.  This appears to fascinate Luke, yet Jesus’ words in Luke 5:31-32 likely perked his interest further.  According to Jesus, the righteous don’t need a doctor.  The righteous are expected to be able to take care of themselves.  Jesus’ main concern here are the sick and sinners.  Upon hearing Jesus’ words, Luke was likely transformed, leading him to become a patient and follower of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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