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Tag Archives: KIng Solomon

Lying is Like a Boomerang

The oldest boomerang discovered dates back to the Stone Age. Modern designs are constructed with aerofoil sections which enables boomerangs to spin about an axis perpendicular to the direction of its flight. Prior to throwing my first boomerang, I dabbled with an aerobie frisbee which is designed for distance, not meant to return back to you. While studying the life of Abram, I realized that lying is like a boomerang as sooner or later your careless words will come back to hit and haunt you.

And when he was about to enter into Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, I know that you are beautiful to behold. 12 So when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say, I beg of you, that you are [c]my sister, so that it may go well with me for your sake and my life will be spared because of you. 14 And when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into Pharaoh’s house [harem], Genesis 12:11-15.

If integrity is doing what’s right when no one is looking, Abram didn’t begin his journey with God on a good note. According to Moses, Abram was more concerned with saving his own life during a trip to Egypt rather than telling the truth. Rather than adhere to the words of King Solomon in Proverbs 3:5-6, Abram trusted in his own understanding. Meanwhile, Abram encourages his wife Sarai to play along, “you’re my sister,” wink wink. Based upon the passage below, this wasn’t Abram’s only lie.

So Isaac stayed in Gerar. And the men of the place asked him about his wife, and he said, She is my sister; for he was afraid to say, She is my wife—[thinking], Lest the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah, because she is attractive and is beautiful to look upon. When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac caressing Rebekah his wife. And Abimelech called Isaac and said, See here, she is certainly your wife! How did you [dare] say to me, She is my sister? And Isaac said to him, Because I thought, Lest I die on account of her, Genesis 26:6-9.

Like father, like son as Isaac appears to have adopted Abram’s bad habit of lying. Moses refers to this as generational sins passed down by a father to his children, Exodus 20:4-5. Abram’s sinful tendency led to a life of exaggeration and half-truths. When placed into an identical situation as his father, Isaac tells the Philistine king that Rebekah was his sister. Before Abimelech took Rebekah to be his wife, Isaac’s caressing of Rebekah gave their little secret away. The next time you think about stretching the truth, remember that lying is like a boomerang which will eventually harm you in the future.

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

Waiting on Clarity

Clarity has many meanings depending upon the context it is used in. The one definition I found which applies to spiritual clarity is the quality of being easy to see or hear; as in sharpness of image or sound. Unfortunately, I’ve found the beginning of 2023 to be similar to how I ended 2022, cloudy, foggy with low visibility. Like a physical famine sweeping through a third world country, sometimes you have to wait on clarity until the storms of life subside.

Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come. 21 Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand, Proverbs 19:20-21.

King Solomon adds a solid piece of advice in the passage above. Many are the plans in a man’s or woman’s heart, but the Lord’s purpose prevails in the end. Upon my move to South Carolina, I had an idea of how things were eventually going to play out. Every time I thought God was about to open a new chapter in my life, this door slammed shut in my face. After a series of humiliating circumstances, I find myself once again waiting on clarity for my next phase in life to be revealed.

He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; 31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired, Isaiah 40:29-31.

After complaining and moaning internally, I was reminded of the words from an Old Testament prophet. Isaiah uses a baby eagle learning to fly, leaving its nest for the first time. Like Tom Cruise’s classic line in Top Gun, “sometimes you crash and burn.” While I wait on clarity, I have to get up off the mat of disappointment to rise above how I feel. This is where faith is designed to take over, letting go of your life by letting Jesus take the reins, Romans 10:9-11. In God’s time, clarity will come.

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

The First Polygamist

Polygamy is the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. According to Moses, Lamech, son of Methusael, decided to take two wives rather than one. While kings often took more than one wife to insure one of their living sons would hold on to the throne, Lamech made this decision on his own. Although Moses is silent on why Lamech made this decision, he will go down as the first polygamist on earth.

To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methusael, and Methusael the father of Lamech. 19 And Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah and of the other was Zillah, Genesis 4:18-19.

When I was in high school, my best friend Carl was a devout Mormon. One of the guys I ran cross country against, Dean, was the son of the pastor of Carl’s church. Prior to meeting Carl, Mormonism was known for its belief and practice of polygamy. My non-Mormon friends would often joke, “I’d convert if I could have two wives.” Like any book, you may have preconceived judgments before reading it, but until you open it up to experience what’s inside, you’ll never know what you’ll find to be true.

Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle and purchase possessions. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all [cutting] instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah, Genesis 4:20-22.

Moses introduces the first polygamist of the Bible in the passage above. There is no logical explanation provided, but maybe Lamech was torn between two amazing women? Whatever the reason, Lamech is a trend setter for future leaders and kings. King Solomon took this to the extremes with 700 wives and 300 concubines, but this is what happens when you allow human nature to control your thought process, Genesis 4:6-7. May the missteps in life by Cain and Lamech serve as a warning to stay committed to one spouse and one God.

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

What Grieves the Heart of God?

As the son of a former member of the military, my father pushed me as a child. When my dad felt like I wasn’t giving my best effort, he went into his Army Drill Sergeant mode. As an extremely emotional and unconfident individual, this wasn’t an effective strategy to inspire me to reach my full potential in life. Despite my father’s imperfections as a parent, he instilled within me a work ethic that few people my age still possess. Arriving early and giving it my all remains part of my DNA today.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart. So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground—not only man, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air—for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them, Genesis 6:5-7.

Unfortunately, there were a few times in college where I greatly grieved my mother by not calling her in the middle of the night to inform her, I was staying over a friend’s house before I went to work. On one occasion she thought I had died like a similar student my age. The parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 provides a glimpse of what God the Father does when we decide to live on our own for a while. Luke compares this to a human father sitting on his front porch, patiently waiting for our return.

These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren. 20 My son, keep your father’s [God-given] commandment and forsake not the law of [God] your mother [taught you], Proverbs 6:16-20.

While the Lord is a patient, King Solomon does write about what God detests. These behaviors listed in the passage above are prevalent on the nightly news. Whenever a saint begins to stumble by turning their attention toward the sinful nature God’s heart grieves. According to Jesus, this is expected by non-Christians, but God calls believers to higher standards in Matthew 5:43-48. Rather than follow in the footsteps of Demas who abandoned God in the first century, mend your relationship with God before you become too far gone, James 5:16.

by Jay Mankus

How to Keep in Step with the Holy Spirit in 2023

As I continue my study of the Old Testament in 2023, I have noticed a correlation between keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, and habitually walking with God. Moses describes the spiritual life of Enoch and Noah to habitually walking with God. Rather than being consumed with unwholesome addictions, bad habits, and lustful cravings, these two godly men kept in step with God’s Spirit. Inquiring minds want to know, how is this possible to accomplish while living in 2023?

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.

One of the wisest human beings to ever walk the face of the earth chimes in on this topic in the passage above. King Solomon claims that being task and goal oriented isn’t enough to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Rather, you need to be vision oriented, living with your eyes daily fixated on Jesus, Hebrews 12:1-2. When considering where to go and what to do like Jesus in Mark 1:35, ask yourself does this activity align with God’s will? Whatever you decide, following the advice in Proverbs 4:27 will guide you in the right direction to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God, Hebrews 12:1-2.

The context of the passage above occurs immediately following the Bible’s Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11. The individuals recognized for this lifetime achievement award each demonstrated the ability to keep in step with God’s Holy Spirit. Subsequently, when the author starts with therefore to begin a new chapter, this a call to follow in their spiritual footsteps of faith. You can’t clearly keep in step with the Holy Spirit until you strip away and throw off any addicts, bad habits and unwholesome cravings from your life. As you mature spiritually by daily confessing your sins to God, fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. While this process will take weeks, months and years to complete, somewhere along the way you will keep in step with the Holy Spirt, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 314: Whatever Your Plan Is

Christmas is sometimes referred to the season of miracles. The Make a Wish Foundation often makes this happen for children battling a crippling disease between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As a former high school Bible teacher, there is no greater miracle than a Christian reaching a point in their lives where you are actually living out and fulfilling God’s will for your life. Josie Buchanan sings about this process in her song Whatever Your Plan Is.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

King Solomon reflects upon this in Proverbs 19:21. Everyone has aspirations, dreams, and goals in life that you want to achieve. Sometimes this may coincide with a calling from God, but it is the Lord’s purpose that ultimately prevails. If you ever find yourself restless this Christian season, unfulfilled by your current career path, follow the advice of the apostle Paul in the passage above so the Whatever God’s Plan is for you will be revealed sometime in the near future.

by Jay Mankus

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

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