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A Complementary Helper

Greek Mythology refers to soulmates as two halves of the same person who were separated by the Greek god Zeus due to jealousy and fear. While the Bible never directly mentions the term soulmates in the Bible, Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:4-6 suggests that the person you decide to marry should be a complementary helper. Based upon the passage below, God thought Adam might find a best friend like a dog from one of God’s created animals placed in the garden. Yet, no helper was found.

Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him, Genesis 2:18.

King Solomon devotes a portion of the Book of Ecclesiastes to highlight why two people are better than one. Solomon provides a couple of examples in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. This complementary helper may serve as a listener one day, a source of encouragement as well as challenge you so that you might reach your full potential. While some individuals search for a soulmate who may be identical, others pray for someone who complements their weak areas in life.

Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man. 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh, Genesis 2:23-24.

Adam’s personality is not detailed by Moses in Genesis. However, in the passage above Adam gets emotional as he is overwhelmed by God’s creation of Eve. After feeling his side, the place where God removed his rib and some flesh, a complementary helper of the opposite sex stood right in front of him. While Adam and Eve’s family got off to a rough start following Abel’s murder by their oldest child, this couple spent 900 years together on earth. Although it’s not mentioned in the Bible, I’m sure Adam and Eve learned how to become to complementary helpers through the years. A goal worth shooting for.

by Jay Mankus

It’s Not Good to Be Alone

Depending upon your personality, silence can be a harsh punishment or needed break from the chaos of life. As the youngest child with two older sisters, I barely saw Kathie and Cindy once my family moved to Delaware from New Jersey. When my sisters became teenagers, they did their own thing, so I just hung out with neighborhood kids. Since I struggled with severe stuttering as a child, I didn’t mind passing time in solitary play in my backyard pretending to be one of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. 19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every [wild] beast and living creature of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its name. 20 And Adam gave names to all the livestock and to the birds of the air and to every [wild] beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him, Genesis 2:18-20.

When I recently read the passage above, it’s clear that God designed human being to be relational creatures. Any time God looks down from heaven and see lonely people on earth, His heart breaks. Based upon Moses’ words, God was sad when Adam wasn’t able to find a suitable helper among the animals. While animal lovers believe that dogs are a man’s best friend, God demands and wants more in a relationship on earth.

Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor; 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie down together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

King Solomon highlights the benefits of having a suitable helper and or a soulmate. The helper will make a day at work more bearable, cheer you up or make you laugh. Meanwhile, the soulmate will keep you warm on a cold night, listen to your struggles from the day and encourage you when you’re feeling down. Last week, Leanne and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. I’m amazed at how quick life flies by, but we still have the rest of our lives to be together, not alone.

by Jay Mankus

The Breath of Life

Breathing is one of those basic elements in life that most people take for granted. When I was six, I had the wind knocked out of me while playing football. My initially reaction was pain until my inability to breathe led to panic. My sister Cindy grabbed my arm and pushed me over onto my stomach. Forty years later following this experience, a sledding accident placed me into a more dire situation. Two cracked ribs and a collapsed lung made it nearly impossible for me to breathe.

And to all the animals on the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the ground—to everything in which there is the breath of life—I have given every green plant for food. And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day, Genesis 1:30-31.

According to oral tradition passed down to Moses, God gave the breath of life into every living creature on earth. Unfortunately, the teaching of Charles Darwin on evolution is still influencing minds today. While the second and third law of thermodynamics proves that you can’t create something out of nothing, the idea of a Big Bang still exists. As an elder from one of my former churches once told me, God spoke and BANG the universe was created via the breath of life.

Then shall the dust [out of which God made man’s body] return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God Who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

King Solomon was considered one of the wisest people to walk the face of the earth. In the last chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon refers to the creation story. Reflecting upon what happens at the end of human life, Solomon points to the cycle of life, ending up just like Adam prior to God breathing life into him. Job uses a similar confession in Job 42:5-6, which is the inspiration for modern day Ash Wednesday services. May today’s blog help you to appreciate and be thankful for the breath of life.

by Jay Mankus

The Day Earth’s Calendar Was Set in Motion

Most archeologists agree that the Egyptians appear to have developed the first practical calendar. During the height of the Roman Empire, this calendar was appropriated and further refined into the Julian calendar. From a modern-day perspective, the Gregorian calendar is almost universally used today which was based upon the Julian calendar. After reading the creation story recently, God set in motion the earth’s calendar on the fourth day.

And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs and tokens [of God’s provident care], and [to mark] seasons, days, and years, Genesis 1:14.

The Mayans, Babylonians, Egyptians, Iranians, and Greeks were the first societies to study the solar system. Meanwhile, places like Stonehedge are believed to be built to model the solar system. Outside of Scotland, there are other similar structures that follow the stars like Easter Island in Chile. Just as Tom Hanks was trying to count the days while stuck on an uncharted island in Castaway, civilizations have been fascinated for thousands of years with stars in the sky that serve as markers for time.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, Ecclesiastes 3:1-4.

King Solomon devotes nearly an entire chapter to time. However, Solomon uses the four traditional seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall to highlight the human emotions that each season brings. While you are able to stare at your computer, phone or watch to know the exact time and seconds left in your day at work, only God knows what will happen to you today. Jesus’ earthly brother writes about this in James 1:2-4. Subsequently, whatever the calendar brings you, God makes everything beautiful in His time.

by Jay Mankus

Tears of Joy and Pain

King Solomon writes about the emotional twists and turns that life brings you. Some of these unexpected events result in tears of joy while other moments bring pain to your heart. To keep circumstances in their proper perspective, Solomon encourages individuals to take everything in stride within chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes. Solomon ends his teaching on joy and pain with “God makes everything beautiful in His time,” verse 11.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, Ecclesiastes 3:1-4.

As an emotional individual, I find it hard to stay even keel. While I no longer experience the emotional roller coaster of my immature high school days, tears of joy and pain are a weekly occurrence. Subsequently, I tend to read too much into daily events. Sometimes bad days are merely the ebb and flow of life, part of the refining process as one of Jesus’ disciples writes about in 1 Peter 1:6-7. Despite this spiritual reality, certain songs and shows still elicit tears of joy and pain.

Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away, Revelation 21:3-4.

I don’t mind tears of overwhelming gladness, but painful sorrow is an emotion that I’d rather not face. After reading the final chapter in the Bible, John reminds readers of one of the final promises of God. According to Jesus, tears will cease in heaven. All kinds of earthly anguish, mourning, and sorrow will be wiped away like erasing a new white board. Although there may be slight indications of what was once sadness, this human condition will pass away in heaven. May this day come soon.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 258: Devil

Anne Wilson made her debut as a Christian artist in 2021. Wilson’s version of “My Jesus” reached number one on Billboard ‘s Hot Christian Songs chart. Perhaps Anne’s timing was ideal like the words of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:4. Regardless of the reason for Anne’s success, I was impressed my Wilson’s most recent single Devil.

Then Jesus was led (guided) by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness (desert) to be tempted (tested and tried) by the devil. And He went without food for forty days and forty nights, and later He was hungry. 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 4:1-4.

When I heard this song on K-Love Radio a few weeks, I was immediately reminded of the passage above. After fasting for 40 days to prepare Jesus for his earthly ministry, the Devil tried to catch Him off guard. Jesus was tempted physically, mentally, and spiritually before telling the Devil to get lost. The lyrics of Devil reference the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:54-58. May Anne’s song bring you comfort the next time you are tempted.

by Jay Mankus

The Cure for a Troubled Mind

A troubled mind is like being a parent at a little league game. One error leads to another as a ground ball in the infield ends up becoming an inside the park homeroom. Great for the hitter who never stops running and gut-wrenching for the fielding team. As a former coach, I once watched my catcher not know the rule for a dropped third strike with the bases loaded. Electing to throw the ball to first rather than step on home plate, he airmailed first by 10 feet. As my right fielder loafed to the ball, all 4 runners scored.

Remember [earnestly] also your Creator [that you are not your own, but His property now] in the days of your youth, before the evil days come or the years draw near when you will say [of physical pleasures], I have no enjoyment in them—Ecclesiastes 12:1.

King Solomon suggests that troubled minds are a byproduct of forgetting God. I find this to be true in my own life when a go a few days without reading the Bible or praying. Rather than keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, I begin to feed my earthly desires, Romans 8:5-8. The apostle Paul goes on to explain in chapter 8 that a carnal mind can’t not please God. This points to the spiritual frustration within Cain in Genesis 4:5-8. Cain’s troubled mind made him to act out rather than submit to fruits of the Spirit.

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with the great majority of them, for they were overthrown and strewn down along [the ground] in the wilderness. Now these things are examples (warnings and admonitions) for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they did, 1 Corinthians 10:5-6.

The apostle Paul uses history as a way to prevent yourself from making the same mistakes over and over again in life. Providing a brief summary of Israel’s past failures, Paul claims that these serve as warnings to not crave, covet or indulge your sinful nature. Denzel Washington uses a nearby field in Gettysburg in the film Remember the Titans to communicate to his players, “if we don’t learn from this battle, we too will be destroyed.” Thus, the cure for a troubled mind is seeking daily reminders from the Bible on how to live.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 220: Sweet Dreams

Today’s song comes from a duo with special voices and a talented pianist. I stumbled upon Andra and Mara while searching for new artists on You Tube. The lyrics of Sweet Dreams aren’t focused on fantasy. Rather, upon experiencing a special dream, Andra and Mara are eager to act upon the message they received. Perhaps. the dream that inspired this song was similar to what happened to Mary and Joseph.

For in a multitude of dreams there is futility and worthlessness, and ruin in a flood of words. But [reverently] fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is], Ecclesiastes 5:7.

King Solomon looked down upon dreamers who spent most of their time thinking rather than acting. Subsequently, if Solomon heard this modern song, he would applaud this like the apostle Paul’s words to a teenage pastor in 2 Timothy 1:6-7. The phrase fan into flame compliments the lyrics “I’ve gotta go now” suggesting the need to take action. May this song speak to your heart.

by Jay Mankus

Resonate

The textbook definition of resonate is to produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound. This may be in the form of a blare, chime or ding that reverberates like a local church bell that you may have in your community. Growing up in a friendly Delaware neighborhood, Mrs. Kerth rang her cowbell every summer night to let us know it was time for dinner. Even when we were playing hide and go seek in nearby woods, the sound of this bell would resonate to get our attention.

My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart, Proverbs 4:20-21.

King Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs to help his children grow up to pursue God’s wisdom. One specific passage resonates with “wisdom from God’s mouth to gain knowledge and understanding.” Solomon relays the connection between your heart and the wellspring to life in today’s passage. After writing about health and healing, Solomon’s command is to guard your heart.

For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life, Proverbs 4:22-23.

Jesus speaks of this fact in Luke 6:45 as the mouth speaks out of the overflow of your heart. If loose lips sink ships, a heart dwelling on the wrong things will begin to spew venom. Subsequently, as a new generation grows up without any regards to curse words that flow out of potty mouths, four letter words are resonating. May the words of Jesus and Solomon strike a cord with your soul so that wholesome language returns to America.

by Jay Mankus

Placing Your Trust in the Divine

Following my first observation as a teacher, I was told that I didn’t have enough posters in my room. I thought this was a strange critic, but I took this to heart. While on vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia, I visited one of the numerous outlets at this tourist destination. I don’t remember how many Bible posters I bought that day, but one of those was Proverbs 3:5-6.

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help, Psalm 146:3.

When I attended a youth ministry trade school, this verse was one of 26 that I memorized over the course of 7 weeks. The final week of my training was spent at a Wilderness Camp with 24 hours spent in silence. The purpose of this time was to reflect on my past, enjoy the moment and dream about the future. What I learned was to place my trust in the divine.

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.

Unfortunately, human nature has a way of convincing individuals to trust in yourself. Perhaps this is the reason why King Solomon shares the message above to one of his sons. Despite his vast wealth and wisdom, Solomon realized that it was the Lord who was the source behind his blessed life. I pray that this blog will convince someone today to place their sole trust in Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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