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Faith vs. Science

When my son was admitted to A.I. Dupont Children’s Hospital in early August, my faith was put to the test.  After Daniel’s diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes, there is a set of requirements made by doctors and staff for parents which must be met prior to releasing your child.  Beside viewing a series of videos, parents must meet with a nutritionist, psychologist and social worker.  During my final conversation, I was asked about how I was doing.  My response,”it is what it is.”

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

What I meant is that my heart is holding out hope that Daniel’s pancreas will be supernaturally restored to its previous working condition.  Yet, statistics suggest there is only a three percent chance of this miracle occurring.  Subsequently, I am wrestling with what could be through the power of prayer and what is based upon science.  As a believer I don’t want to ignore past answered prayers, but I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment with the odds of healing stacked against me.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1.

One of Hollywood’s best examples of this dilemma can be found in an episode from Lost entitled Man of Science, Man of Faith.  In the season 2 debut, Dr. Jack Shepherd has a flash back of a previous surgery.  A woman named Claire is being prepped for major back surgery following a car accident.  Talking with her fiancee, Jack is bluntly honest suggesting there is little hope of ever being able to walk again, likely paralyzed for the rest of her life.  However, upon examination of Claire after the surgery, Jack realizes that science lost and faith won.  Whatever trial stands in your way, may the power of the Holy Spirit lift you up as you await answers to your concerns and troubles in life.

by Jay Mankus



Healing or Forgiveness?

Whenever a trend setter comes along in a generation, there is always resistance to change.  People are creatures of habit so when someone breaks from the norm, audiences don’t always join in initially.  However, if a genuine individual arrives on the scene with an entirely new mindset with actions that back up one’s beliefs, hearts will begin to embrace their message.

Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? – Mark 2:9

In the season premiere of Lost, Season 2 begins with an episode entitled Man of Science, Man of Faith.  Matthew Fox plays a doctor named Jack, the main character who has two encounters with a stranger.  The doctor in Jack struggles to accept the concept of miracles, impossible to comprehend through his scientific mind.  However, when these two are reunited lost on an island, they switch roles as the seed of faith is implanted within Jack.

But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” – Mark 2:10-11

Nearly two thousand years ago, doctor’s didn’t appreciate the message Jesus brought to the sick and sinners.  This new teaching suggested physical healing could be dependent upon forgiveness not science, Matthew 6:14-15.  Using logic, Jesus confronts their skepticism.  Although most denominations reject Jesus’ words today, the sick, sinners and needy are left to wonder, “does permanent healing come from science or forgiveness?”  While the gift of healing is an abused and dying spiritual gift, the Lord’s prayer does suggest that a lack of forgiveness can prevent healing.  As this debate continues today, perhaps the only thing keeping you from experiencing complete healing is unconfessed sin? – James 5:16

by Jay Mankus

Overwhelmed by Priorities

Every day when I arise from sleep, my mind is overwhelmed by the choices at hand.  Do I read?  Should I write?  Perhaps I need to work out?  Maybe hitting the snooze button and rolling over is my best option.  Either way, the choices you make will dictate the path your life takes.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Luke 12:34

Like most years, my New Years Resolutions are being modified as desires to lose weight, eat healthy and draw closer to God have fallen short.  Sometimes I feel as if I am in a tug of war, pulled in a direction I don’t want to go, yet over time I submit, dragged to a new low.  By enduring these trials, I am beginning to comprehend the words of the apostle Paul as he explains how the sinful nature can influence one’s priorities.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. – Romans 7:15

When Jeremiah opened his mouth to Israel, negative messages usually came forth.  Thus, this servant of God was nicknamed the weeping prophet.  If you too feel depressed, frustrated or lost, there are some promises in the Bible to cling to.  Lamentations 3:20-24 suggests God’s forgiveness is new every morning.  Therefore, if you fail to keep the priorities that you hold dear, may God’s grace lift you up each time you fall.

by Jay Mankus



The Lost Days

For the last 6 months, I made a sacrifice, working nights to provide for my family.  Subsequently, I adapted my schedule to begin sleeping during the day so I could stay awake at night.  Looking back now, this decision has led to several lost days.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15-16

In an attempt to gain wealth, I’ve neglected my role as a father.  Sure, I’ve tried my best on my days off, yet the wear and tear of the night shift has stripped me of energy.  Thus, I’ve come to a cross road, hoping to seize the days of my life which remain.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17

With 2015 still relatively young, there is time to change course.  Although my work out and dietary plans have already fallen short of my goals for this year, God’s forgiveness is new every day, Lamentations 3:22-23.  Leaving my failures in the past, its time to arise and move forward to seize the days before they are lost again.

by Jay Mankus

What the Hell is Going On Out There?

Legendary coach Hank Stram roamed the sidelines for nearly 2 decades in the American Football League, most notably for the Kansas City Chiefs.  Thanks to Steve Sabol of NFL Films, Stram was regularly microphoned, giving the public access to Hank’s commentary on the game he coached.  Subsequently, archives exist of  in game reactions to his teams play on the gridiron.  One of Stram’s famous sayings was “what the hell is going on out there?”

After this past week of events in the world, perhaps you are like me thinking, “what the hell is going on?”  Tension on the Gaza strip, terrorists shooting down a passenger airline and countries falling apart at the seams.  Like a perfect storm brewing in the tropics, hurricane force winds are starting to impact society.  Have these signs always been there or has the world lost touch with their Creator?

Unfortunately, the only person you can control is yourself.  Despite this truth, failure is inevitable, Romans 3:23.  Thus, you have a world full of imperfect people, tempted by evil, power and selfish desires.  These elements create conditions where hell meets earth.  To answer the question what the hell is going on out there is simple using biblical terms.  Innocent children, Luke 15:11-13, are swayed by curiosity, seeking to find pleasure in life.  Void of meaning, prodigals wander around longing for a father’s love and forgiveness.  This vicious cycle continues til someone displays the love of Jesus.  Until the lost experience agape love, hell on earth will linger.  May God’s grace and mercy come quickly.

by Jay Mankus


Bitter Troubles

In 2010, more than 5 million car accidents took place in the United States.  Subsequently, 32,885 motorists lost their lives with an additional 2.2 million suffered injuries.  Whether these crashes were induced by alcohol, bad weather or cell phone related, bitter troubles visited individuals without warning.

Meanwhile, teenagers are facing an internal battle with depression.  According to Psychology Today, a teen takes his or her own life every 100 minutes.  Among 15-24 year olds, suicide in the 3rd leading cause of death for young people.  Their absence leaves a different kind of bitter trouble for parents, replaying history in their minds to see if they could have done anything differently to save their child’s life.

According to Psalm 71:20, people aren’t immune to bitter troubles.  Like Jesus’ brother once said, everyone should expect trials to come, James 1:2-4.  However, when these unfortunate events do arrive, God does offer a promise.  Therefore, the next time you experience one of those Murphy Law type of days, ask God to restore you from your bitter trouble.

by Jay Mankus

A Picture From God

The visual learner inside of human beings often struggle to believe in things that they can’t see.  Words are meaningless unless an image, thought or vision appears.  Sometimes a picture from God is what individuals are waiting for to breathe hope and life into their soul.

When the Lord slashed Gideon’s army from 22,000 to 300 men, he had his doubts about achieving victory.  To calm these fears, God provided a picture of success in Judges 7:9-15.  Peter had a similar experience in Luke 5:1-11.  As a professional fishermen, Peter wasn’t one to withhold his opinion.  However, after a humbling night on the water, a new kid on the block brought Peter to his knees, Luke 5:8.  These pictures from above empowered these followers to reach heights they never imagined.

Although its not mentioned, the men of Issachar likely received snapshots from the Holy Spirit.  While the world was distracted, these godly leaders stayed the course, keeping in step with the Lord, 1 Chronicles 12:32.  Today, this country and the world needs someone who understands the times.  May a picture from God engrave minds set on fulfilling Romans 12:2 so that the lost have someone to follow back home.

by Jay Mankus



Stuck on the Sidelines

When I competed in sports, I never realized what a parent goes through until I became one.  Sure, I remember having butterflies on the first tee, throwing the first pitch or standing on the starting block, but after a while these nervous feelings become part of the game.  From the sidelines, I’m helpless, just a voice of encouragement, biting my nails, pacing around and hoping my child doesn’t embarrass themselves.

As my oldest son James sets out to play in his second consecutive state golf tournament, there isn’t anyone else to blame.  There are no umpires who can miss a call.  No referees to influence the outcome of the game.  In golf, you are the team and when you mess up its obvious.  Well, let’s see…  You can hit a house, a spectator, visit the beach or take a dive in an adjacent waterway.  When you’re stuck on the sidelines as a golf parent, every shot is a gut wrenching adventure.

During the game of life, the Lord doesn’t abandon you.  According to Hebrews 12:1, a great crowd of witnesses is sitting in the grandstands called heaven.  Saints, past and present are sending out prayers to help each participant to cross the finish line.  Although you may be lost in the woods or stuck in a hazard, God sends angels to set you free from these precarious situations, Psalm 30:1-3.  If you’re stuck on the sidelines like me, remember the promise of Philippians 4:6-7 to get you through each day.

by Jay Mankus

The Sheep Without A Shepherd

If you’ve ever gone to a mall to people watch, it doesn’t take long to see who knows where they are going and who is lost, trying to find their way.  Whether you’re driving a car, searching for something you’ve misplaced or walking on a unmarked trail, everyone from time to time experiences the pain of loss.  In the midst of this crisis, a sense of helplessness paralyzes souls, making it obvious that no matter hard one tries, you can’t save yourself.

While traveling throughout towns and villages, Jesus observed the crowd of individuals following him.  Watching intently, tears began to swell up in his eyes, as Jesus saw this group as sheep without a shepherd, Matthew 9:35-36.  They were looking for something more in life, hoping that Jesus had the answer.  Like sheep aimlessly roaming the countryside, hungry hearts longed for meaning to life.

Today, the silent majority wonders when their Shepherd will return.  As chaos abounds, modern sheep have been led astray by false prophets, hypocritical leaders and the twisting of the Bible.  Exiting the church after high school or during college, pessimistic sheep are searching for alternative means to enter heaven’s gate.  Although some turn back, coming to their senses like the prodigal in Luke 15, a growing number remain sheep without a shepherd.

by Jay Mankus


An Oracle Concerning the Fallen

The term oracle has 2 distinct meanings.  The first refers to a priest or spiritual leader who provides advice to those seeking direction or guidance from God.  Meanwhile, oracle also eludes to an ambiguous or obscure message given by a person speaking on behalf of God.  In Psalm 36, King David provides insight on those in his kingdom who had fallen from God’s grace.

Based upon the words David received, the Holy Spirit blames a lack of fear of God as the root cause.  This created a spiritual blind spot as self conceit eliminated God from the radar screen.  Like a disease slowing attacking the central nervous system, poison filled their mouths, disguised by deceit.  Subsequently, wisdom vanished from the lips of the fallen.  Idleness led to new hobbies of plotting evil as scheming became a favorite pastime.  In the end, the fallen followed a similar course, embracing wrong behavior each and every day.

Beginning in Psalm 36:5, David provides a spiritual prescription for anyone considering a change of heart.  This portion of the chapter serves as a precursor to God’s promise in Psalm 103:11-12, a picture of forgiveness, love and mercy.  Although Ponce de Leon claimed to discover a fountain of youth in Florida, David introduces the lost to the fountain of spiritual life, Psalm 36:9.  Dangling this carrot in front of the fallen, the choice is yours.  May these words of David, inspired by God, provide hope to those of you feel lost, fallen or ready for a change.

by Jay Mankus

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