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S.A.N.S. Episode 200: Broken Heart

Today’s song comes from an American Christian rock band that formed in Albany, Oregon. Falling Up signed to BEC Recordings in 2003 after a recommendation from friends in the band Kutless. Followers of Falling Up believe their 2008 singles collection Discover the Trees Again was simultaneously the end of an era and the start of an incredibly exciting new chapter for this band.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise, Jeremiah 17:14.

Every adult is familiar with broken hearts. Whether this is due to a failed friendship or marriage, all human beings are in need of healing. Subsequently, Falling Up’s lyrics of Broken Heart serve as a cry for help like a prayer where you pour out your heart to God. My today’s song encourage you to never be afraid or ashamed to ask God for healing.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 199: State of Emergency

College roommates have plenty of time to dream, but few actually fulfill what they talk about. Back in 1998, Brad Noone and Rob Beckley got together with friends Travis Jenkins, Dustin Adams, and Michael Wittig to form Pillar. This all happened while attending Fort Hays State University in Kansas. One year later Pillar released their first album, Metamorphosis.

If you have sinned, how does that affect God? And if your transgressions are multiplied, what have you done to Him? If you are righteous, what do you [by that] give God? Or what does He receive from your hand? – Job 35:6-7

My favorite Pillar song is State of Emergency. The lyrics and title are designed to elicit a sense of urgency. As one man in the Old Testament seeks the counsel of three friends in the passage above, Job is called to immediately repent. Like the words of David is Psalm 32 and 51, the quicker you are to be honest and forthright with God, the sooner you will experience healing. May today’s song awaken your soul.

by Jay Mankus

A Prayer When Your World’s Turned Upside Down

One accident, error in judgment, mistake or phone call can radically change your life. For me, I decided to run a mile with a sprained ankle. This stubborn decision tore all of my tendons and twisted my ankle ninety degrees in the wrong direction. After examining my latest x-rays, the surgeon told me that I would never run again. This was devasting news to a 16-year-old, turning to prayer to alter my destiny.

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance, Romans 5:3.

Despite the reality of what science told me, I chose to believe in the God of miracles. The apostle Paul warned Christians in the Church at Rome to expect peer pressure to conform, hardships in life, and suffering due to the decision to make Jesus Lord of all, Romans 10:9-11. Although I would become familiar with this passage later in life, all I wanted was to prevent my life from going dark forever.

And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of [c]character (approved faith and [d]tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] [e]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us, Romans 5:4-5.

The emotions racing deep inside of me are expressed in a song by Philips, Craig, and Dean. The lyrics of I Choose to Believe begins by addressing a series of worst-case scenarios that often turns an individual’s life upside down. I couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life without the ability to run or compete in athletics. Like the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8, God answered my prayer to for healing. If you chose to believe in the power of a resurrected Savior, you will overcome future obstacles that you’ll face.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 131: Back to the Innocence

You don’t find many musicians with electrical and computer engineering degrees. Yet, this is Brian Becker’s education credentials as a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Perhaps this thirst for knowledge led Brian to compose some of the greatest Christian ballads of the 1990’s. Besides Back to the Innocence, Child of the Image highlights Brian’s gift for writing amazing lyrics based upon the Bible.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise, Jeremiah 17:14.

No Longer a Wayward Son contains today’s featured song Back to the Innocence. While today’s culture is extremely woke, Brian writes about a time in American history when things were hidden and swept under the rug. I’m not sure if Brian was abused as a child, but this song is for anyone who was forced to endure extreme circumstances as a child. May you pass this on to anyone who is haunted by the secrets of their past. May Back to the Innocence bring healing to those still struggling with their past.

by Jay Mankus

The Sacred Appointment

There are certain appointments in life that children learn to hate early in life. The trip to the dentist office when the doctor discovers your first cavity. The visit to an Emergency Room late at night which results in several follow up appointments. A routine checkup that seems annoying at the time but uncovers a terminal or rare condition. Yet not every appointment brings bad news.

But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [[o]permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being [p]rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do], 1 John 2:27.

In the passage above, one of Jesus’ former disciples refers to a sacred appointment. This unction as John calls it is when an elder or priest anoints someone with oil. Apostles in the book of Acts had a tendency to anoint missionaries or spiritual leaders prior to a special trip. While modern anointings are often associated with healing services, this is something special about this sacred appointment.

And when they had appointed and ordained elders for them in each church with prayer and fasting, they committed them to the Lord in Whom they had come to believe [being full of joyful trust that He is the Christ, the Messiah], Acts 14:23.

The passage above highlights one of these anointings. According to Luke, prayer and fasting were always part of this sacred appointment. In other similar passages, the laying on of hands was done by church leaders as a form of spiritual protection. One of the secrets to Job’s spiritual strength was the hedge of protection placed around him by the Lord, Job 1:10. If you are fortunate enough to ever be part of one of these ceremonies, may you embrace this spiritual anointing.

by Jay Mankus

From Shallow to Saved

Shallow people often exhibit a superficial nature due to emptiness, ignorance, and or a tendency to be self-absorbed. Looking back at my adolescence, my bout with stuttering and stammering severely stunted my ability to communicate with my peers. Subsequently, I withdrew from society and hid my pain, so I didn’t embarrass myself in public. Meanwhile, I suppressed my feelings by focusing solely on sports which I began to excel at as I entered high school.

And as He was going into one village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance. 13 And they raised up their voices and called, Jesus, Master, take pity and have mercy on us! – Luke 17:12-13

Following the decree in Leviticus 13:43-46, the ten lepers in today’s passage were forced into quarantine, banned from entering their village until their leprosy was healed. Whenever a healthy person approached, the Jewish law called for each man to proclaim, “I am unclean.” Jesus didn’t come to judge these lepers, but to free them from their contagious disease. Upon hearing the good news of being healed, perhaps the other 9 lepers were too shallow to thank Jesus for this new lease on life.

Then Jesus asked, Were not [all] ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was there no one found to return and to [d]recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien? 19 And He said to him, Get up and go on your way. Your faith (your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God) has restored you to health, Luke 17:17-19

When I was in high school, I acted like the 9 lepers who failed to give thanks and praise to God. I was so consumed by what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go that I neglected the Lord. Rather than open my eyes to all the blessings in my life, my shallow nature prevented me from appreciating the obvious. Yet, when I made the decision to make Jesus my Lord and Savior in college, Romans 10:9-11, I was transformed from shallow to saved. A few years later, God completely healed me of my stuttering like the ten lepers who experienced their own miraculous healing.

by Jay Mankus

A Gratitude Adjustment

In this age of the Coronavirus, inflation and war with Russia invading Ukraine, gratitude has been pushed to the back of the line. When the world you are living in is literally falling apart, it’s hard to acknowledge the positive aspects of life. Watching breaking news stories on cable only makes me even more depressed. Before any sense of appreciation disappears completely in 2022, a gratitude adjustment is essential to keep hope alive.

Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, [c]recognizing and thanking and praising God with a loud voice; 16 And he fell prostrate at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. And he was a Samaritan, Luke 17:15-16.

Today’s passage comes from a first century physician. Instead of giving medical details of how these ten lepers were healed, Luke appears to be baffled. Based upon the end of verse 14, “as they went, they were cured and made clean,” the anticipation in the minds of these ten men played a crucial role. While nine walked faster and faster as if racing to see who could get to the priest first, one leper stopped, looked down and realized that he was miraculously healed.

Then Jesus asked, Were not [all] ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was there no one found to return and to [d]recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien? – Luke 17:17-18

Perhaps the other nine men were so eager to resume a normal life that they forgot to thank Jesus. Meanwhile, the Samaritan leper, who already understood what it felt like to be under appreciated in life was moved by God. Jesus was sent to call the Jews back to repentance, not the Samaritans. However, like the Samaritan woman at a well in John 4, a spirit of gratitude filled each of their hearts. When you slow down enough in life to see where you’ve been and what God has done, gratitude is the first step toward healing and happiness.

by Jay Mankus

As You Draw Near to God

Drawing near to God is one of those topics where you will find numerous how to books. Based upon personal experiences, some authors have broken down drawing near to God with 7 specific steps. Other Christian writers have used the Bible to create a formula for drawing near to God. If these individuals haven’t had success in their attempts to draw near to God, these books wouldn’t exist.

[As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins]. 10 Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant], James 4:9-10.

The best way I know to figure out how to draw near to God is by examining what Jesus did. According to Mark 1:35, Jesus was an early riser who went for a walk first thing in the morning. Apparently, Jesus was searching for a quiet place without any distractions. Once the ideal spot was found, Jesus fell to his knees and began to pray. Based upon Mark 1:36-39, drawing near to God brought Jesus clarity, focus and, vision about where to go and what to do daily.

Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by [b]that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water. 23 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the [c]hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word, Hebrews 10:22-23.

In the passage above, one New Testament author reveals the mindset you should have as you begin to draw near to God. One of Jesus disciples compares God to the Father of light who knows everything that you’ve ever done, 1 John 1:6-8. Therefore, if you want to draw near to God like you never have before, start by confessing and verbalizing your shortcomings and failures. Once you unload all of these burdens like Matthew 11:28-30, healing will come to those who draw near to God, James 5:16.

by Jay Mankus

Carrying the Burdens of Others this Year

One of Daniel’s friends from college received an urgent call from his mother a few weeks ago. Cristian’s father was taken to the hospital, battling for his life. Carrying the burden of his friend, Daniel jumped in his car and drove Cristian to Connecticut, only stopping for gas and food. While they were able to make it in time, the Coronavirus claimed another victim. This is one burden that other believers should carry.

Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and [a]troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete [b]what is lacking [in your obedience to it], Galatians 6:1-2.

I was introduced to concept of carrying the burdens of others while on a mission trip in college. One evening I took a walk with two friends. After a brief moment of small talk, a spirit of confession fell upon all three of us. Before the night was over, each of us shared secrets sins that we had kept buried deep inside of our hearts. This special conversation helped me realized the importance of laying our burdens at the feet of the cross, Matthew 11:28-30.

Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. 13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive], Colossians 3:12-13.

Most people don’t bare their soul the first time you meet. Rather, healing takes time by becoming a consistent source of compassion. Instead of telling others that you know how they feel, the best thing you can do is listen attentively. As you develop and demonstrate the biblical qualities listed in the passage above, hurting people will open up when the timing is right. Until this day arrive, continue to carry the burdens of others this year.

by Jay Mankus

How Can You Love Your Neighbor When You Hate The Person You’ve Become?

Clive Staples Lewis was an atheist and British writer before becoming a lay theologian. C.S. Lewis once contemplated the concept of loving your neighbor. The following quote reveals his thoughts. You are told to love your neighbor as yourself. How do you love yourself? When I look into my own mind, I find that I do not love myself by thinking myself a dear old chap or having affectionate feelings.” This same dilemma exists today as how can you love your neighbor when many people don’t like the person they’ve become.

Teacher, which [e]kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?] 37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect), Matthew 22:36-37.

Following a series of parables, Jesus is asked by a religious leader a spiritual question. “What’s the most important commandment?” Instead of de-emphasizing the other 9 from the most essential, Jesus divides the commandments into two parts. The first 4 commandments are based upon loving God with the final 6 focused on loving your neighbor. When Christians began to love God with all their hearts, soul and mind, the practice of religion turns into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. 40 These two commandments [f]sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 22:38-40.

When hearts grow cold, love stops naturally flowing out of human beings. If faith is not revived or resuscitated, this lack of love can slowly turn into self hatred for oneself. When sources for love dry up, there is no positivity that bubbles over on to the people you interact with daily. The longer this subtle decay continues, there is no inspiration to love friends and family. The key to loving your neighbor is to tap into the love of God, John 3:16-17. As individuals begin to feel and sense God’s love, desires to pass this on to others is restored. Unfortunately, healing take time. Just hang in there long enough for restoration to ignite your heart with the love of God.

by Jay Mankus

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