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I’ll Be Back… Again

Terminator Dark Fate premiered on November 1st, 2019, thirty years after the first Terminator film debuted in theaters. When a cyborg is sent on a mission from the future, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the terminator sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate Sarah Conner. Actress Linda Hamilton plays Conner, a mother whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the sentient machines. The creation of Dark Fate gives Arnold Schwarzenegger’s catchphrase “I’ll Be Back” a new meaning, I’ll be back again.

Blessed be the Lord, my Rock and my keen and firm Strength, Who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight—Psalm 144:1.

History is filled with examples of famous comebacks. Former heavy weight boxing champion George Foreman came out of retirement to fight at age 50. Michael Jordan retired from the NBA in 1993 following his father’s death to pursue at a professional baseball career. Two years later Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls, winning another 3 National Basketball League titles. Sometimes when famous athletes retire, the desire to compete doesn’t disappear or fade away. These aspirations elicit and ignite a desire to try one more time before bodies can no longer compete at the highest level.

For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity, Proverbs 24:16.

Exposure to failure often reveals the character of a person. The earthly brother of Jesus writes about how hardships are designed to produce endurance, faith and a steadfast nature, James 1:2-4. While everyone wants to stay on top, eventually you will fall, humbled by your own limitations. How you respond to defeat will ultimately dictate your future. According to Solomon, the righteous rise up again and again. Therefore, you don’t have to be a famous movie star to proclaim “I’ll be back again!”

by Jay Mankus

Upset: Dejection or Motivation?

When individuals do not experience a desired outcome, a wave of emotions come forth. As reality sets in, the finality of failure can be unsettling. In the context of sports, when the better team on paper with more talent loses, this is considered an upset. When players walk off a court or field staring defeat in the face, there are two logical options: dejection or motivation.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

Like any grieving process, souls initially become dejected. Depression, despair and unhappiness are like bumps in the road toward healing. However, if you don’t experience a moral victory or taste success soon, hearts can become heavy. Glimmers of hope are like rays of sunshine to help people realize that they are going to make it through another storm.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” Matthew 19:26.

Anyone who hates to lose will find some sort of motivation to avoid a similar fate. After getting cut from his high school basketball team, Michael Jordan went on to earn a college scholarship, make the NBA and become one of the greatest players of all time. Instead of dwelling on self pity fueled by dejection, motivation can bring you out of desolation. Like Jesus said while talking to his disciples, “anything is possible with God.”

by Jay Mankus

Haunted by What Could Have Been

When the outcome what you were expecting does not become reality, hearts and minds tend to explore why.  There may be an obvious explanation like a more deserving person who received that which you desired.  However, there will be many outcomes that leave you scratching your head, dumbfounded by fate.  The persistent will not give up, working harder each day to alter their current course.  Others may press on a little longer just in case God changes his mind like Abraham’s prayer below.  Unfortunately, the deflated, tired and weak give up hope, haunted by what could have been.

Abraham approached [the Lord] and said, “Will You really sweep away the righteous (those who do right) with the wicked (those who do evil)? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous [people] within the city; will You really sweep it away and not spare it for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing—to strike the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right [by executing just and righteous judgment]?” 26 So the Lord said, “If I find within the city of Sodom fifty righteous [people], then I will spare the entire place for their sake,” Genesis 18:23-26.

Judas Iscariot was a fortunate individual, chosen by the son of God to be one of 12 disciples.  Based upon a few details in each of the four gospels, this Judas was the treasurer of Jesus’ earthly ministry for 3 years.  Some translations refers to Judas overseeing the money bag, containing the collection of tithes by individuals blessed, healed and saved by Jesus.  According to the passage below, when a woman wasted an expensive bottle of perfume on Jesus, this set Judas off.  Perhaps, this was the last straw, convincing Judas to betray Jesus.  As religious leaders celebrated Jesus’ capture, Judas withdrew to the desert to hang himself.  Guilt, remorse and shame influenced Judas to commit suicide, missing out on starting the first century church.

Then Mary took a pound of very expensive perfume of pure nard, and she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, the one who was going to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and [the money] given to the poor?” Now he said this, not because he cared about the poor [for he had never cared about them], but because he was a thief; and since he had the money box [serving as treasurer for the twelve disciples], he used to pilfer what was put into it, John 12:3-6.

Last week a New Jersey woman went to complain at school after her daughter was cut from the cheerleading squad.  Instead of using this rejection as inspiration to work harder to make it next year, this defiant mother convinced the board of education to force the team to accept everyone who tries out.  What would have happened if Michael Jordan’s dad or mom forced his high school coach to not cut him?  America may not have been able to watch one of the greatest NBA players of all time.  Thus, instead of being haunted by what could have been.  Dig down deep into your soul, ask the Lord for resolve and give everything that you have so that God’s destiny for you will prevail.

by Jay Mankus

Fallen Stars

The fifty stars on the American flag represent the 50 states meant to unite this country.  Meanwhile, the red and white stripes, thirteen in all, symbolize the 13 British colonies that declared their independence from Great Britain.  Based upon recent events in North Carolina and Wisconsin, it appears that some states are like fallen stars, a glimpse of what they once were.  So how did America get where it is currently, filled with civil unrest?

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 2 Peter 2:4.

Well, perhaps failing schools, a rejection of moral absolutes and the silence of religious leaders is a good place to start.  On the other hand, Common Core Curriculum, revisionist history adopted by modern SAT’s and the radicalization of college campuses is producing a generation of progressives, abandoning the spiritual principles this country was founded upon.  When you add cell phone cameras, a liberal media and a lack of personal responsibility to this equation, its always someone’s fault, not yours.

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day, Jude 1:6.

Last night, I listened to an interview of 2 NFL players from the Carolina Panthers.  One described the last 24 hours in Charlotte as living in a war zone.  Oddly enough, after former NBA star Michael Jordan gave one million dollars to support Black Lives Matters, protesters involved with this group looted and ransacked his Charlotte Hornets down town store.  I understand the concept of protests, but stealing, shutting down local businesses and verbally assaulting police officers isn’t solving the problem.  Either this event is drawing the world closer to Jesus’ return or God is in the process of removing his blessing from a once great country.  If the latter is true, may God have mercy on us all, especially upon the fallen stars.

by Jay Mankus

After a Loss

Whether situations in this life or the actual grieving process following the loss of a life, neither is a pleasant experience.  In the moments afterward, raw emotions are stirred causing an individual to teeter between depression and frustration.  How you handle disappointment will influence the person you will become.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, 1 Corinthians 13:5.

Last night I was a substitute baseball coach during the final scrimmage of the preseason.  Over matched by better athletes, competitors and talent, I think the final score was 24-0.  The game was called in the bottom of the third after the opposition stole home on 3 consecutive wild pitches.  Its bad enough to get beaten, but when you have to wave the white flag to surrender, its a hard pill to swallow.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, James 1:2.

During my final year in Chicago, I spent most of that time working for Michael Jordan Golf, serving as a sales associate before being promoted to Assistant Manager and Store Manager.  This allowed me to rub shoulders with people close to Michael.  While I never met him directly, no one hated to lose more than Michael.  Thus, he was relentless, coming back more determined than ever.  Although this has nothing to do with the Bible in particular, this is the mentality you should possess after a loss.

by Jay Mankus


Waiting in a Holding Pattern

Before I moved to Delaware, I was a store manager at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.  Running the Michael Jordan Golf Shop across from gate B4, weather delays meant big business.  Whenever planes were in a holding pattern, people waiting for their fight to arrive or family members picking up loved ones often passed time in my store.

However, in life waiting isn’t nearly as fun as shopping.  Yet, if you are forced to enter a holding pattern, following the example of Moses in Leviticus 24:12 is a great place to start.  Sometimes when you are angry, individuals can make rash decisions or be quick to jump to a conclusion.  Therefore, make sure the will of the Lord is clear before you finalize your decision on what to do next.

Whether you’re deliberating on a punishment like Moses, contemplating something like marriage or living in a constant state of uncertainty, time can be a friend or foe.  Perhaps, this is why God reminded prophets and psalmists to wait on the Lord.  I know waiting isn’t enjoyable, but it gives you an opportunity to surrender to Christ so that Jesus can take the wheel, driving you out of the storms in life.  Like the late Rich Mullins once sang, Hold me Jesus as you wait in a holding pattern.

by Jay Mankus



Prepared by the Past… One Dot at A Time

Life is like a dot to dot picture given to children at many sit down restaurants in America, part of the kid’s meal, keeping young people occupied until the meal is served.  However, instead of having 10 numbers, your life puzzle have thousands, too many to keep on one page without any numbers to follow.  Thus, when you try to comprehend God’s logic of why this or that happened, you can’t make any sense of the dots, unable to get a clear picture of how your past fits into the present and future.  Nonetheless, some people throughout history have experienced moments in time when God revealed how their dots fit together.

Genesis 41:9-40 is one of these occasions where faithfulness, patience and prayer met.  The second youngest of 12 brothers, God gave Joseph the gift of dream interpretation.  Humbled by his previous days of bragging to his brothers, Joseph gives God the sole credit in Genesis 41:15-16.  Before the days of resumes and cover letters, the positive words of Pharaoh’s chief cup bearer served as a reference, giving Joseph a face to face meeting with the leader of Egypt.  Beginning in Genesis 41:28-36, Joseph turns this opportunity into an interview, sharing his previous work experience along with what he would do if in charge.  Impressed by Joseph’s presentation, Joseph goes from the dungeon to the penthouse, second in command to Pharaoh.  Joseph’s dot to dot puzzle is completed in Genesis 45:5-8, using words to explain the picture, God’s plan for his life.

Tomorrow, I start my first day as an ambassador with Amazon.  Receiving this promotion last Saturday, I haven’t been this excited since managing a store for Michael Jordan Golf back in 1997.  As the dots in my life begin to take shape, I am beginning to see how God has prepared me by previous positions.  Teaching for a decade will help me train new hires in my department, insuring their success God willing.  While I am far from completing my own dot to dot, I am confident that one day, God will make everything clear, Ecclesiastes 3:11.  If you are struggling with your own puzzle, frustrated by a lack of progress, do not fret.  May you find comfort and rest from in the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:12-14.

by Jay Mankus

Personal Responsibility

Last night, I watched a re-airing of ESPN’s 30 for 30 special entitled Benji, the life and tragic death of Ben Wilson.  Since I got married in Cook County, lived in Chicago for 2 years, worked for Michael Jordan as the manager of his Michael Jordan Golf Shop at O’Hare International Airport and had a co-worker whose son was offered a full ride to play college ball at Illinois, I was intrigued by the previews of Benji.  Although I watched the premiere showing on Tuesday night, I was distracted by the Celtics/Heat game, flipping back and forth between each.  Thus, as I examined the whole episode, I discovered the moral of this biography was personal responsibility.

Similar to Michael Jordan’s growth spurt in high school, Ben Wilson grew several inches between his freshman and sophomore year at Simeon High, located on the south side of Chicago, reaching 6 feet 5 inches by the start of the basketball season.  After teammates convinced their coach to allow Benji to try out for the varsity squad, it wasn’t long before Ben Wilson became a fixture in the starting line-up.  As a junior, Benji led his team to the Chicago City Championship and eventually to the Illinois AA State Title.  Invited to the top summer basketball camp, full of the nation’s top senior prospects, Benji out shined every player, receiving the #1 rating as America’s number one college prospect.  Unfortunately, one day before the first game of Benji’s senior season, he was shot twice while taking a walk during lunch, dying 24 hours later.

Underneath all the glamour, glitter and future stardom, there was a dark cloud hanging over Benji’s life.  His father only attend 5 or 6 of Benji’s basketball games to his recollection, too distracted by crack cocaine, addicted to the highs he received.  Meanwhile, Benji was once suspended from school a week for striking a teacher in the hall, got his high school sweetheart pregnant and became overly possessive of her, which led to his death.  This cloud grew in size like Hurricane Sandy when William Moore and Omar Dixon decided to skip school one day.  With his uncle’s gun in his coat pocket, William Moore disregarded his uncle’s warning after Benji accidently bumped him.  Encouraged by Omar and fearful of Ben’s size, William choose to shoot Ben twice, fleeing the scene until the police knocked on his parents door later that evening.

Anyone can play Monday morning quarterback, yet if personal responsibility was taken by the party’s involved, Benji might be still playing in the National Basketball Association or finished a hall of fame career by now.  First, William Moore joined a local gang after his father died of cancer.  If William would have sought professional help or the advice of a local pastor, he might have turned to someone else and likely would not have skipped school on the day of the shooting.  On the other hand, if Benji would have demonstrated anger management, respect and self-control, this bumping incident would not have escalated into his murder.  Guns don’t kill people, people pull the trigger as their lives begin to fall apart.  A lack of leadership at home often pushes young people to their peers or even worse, to gangs where family values turn into self destructive habits.  These attitudes taught on the street shape a teenagers’ worldview, influences their behavior’s and leads to a life style which led to Ben Wilson’s murder.  May this story prevent future violence, discouraging today’s students from pulling the trigger.  Remember Benji!

by Jay Mankus

Playing Hurt


By this time in the NFL season, no player is feeling 100 percent.  Every one is banged up, bruised or nicked on some part of their body.  Or maybe you feel like Michael Jordan during the NBA finals against the Utah Jazz, despite having the flu, he suited up and eventually hit the game winning shot.  If you are not an athlete, sometimes when you are under the weather, you have to play hurt, going to work anyway.

I have spent the last 3 hours laying in bed with a high fever.  Part of me wanted to bag today’s blog, yet the athletic in me wouldn’t let me.  According to Colossians 3:23, whatever you do, you should work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord.  Although illnesses come and go, sometimes in life you have to will yourself through a day, project or a difficult trial.  With the Lord’s help, all things are possible, Philippians 4:13.

As I was finishing up my last project today at work, I nearly passed out.  While the weather was a little warmer than usual, my body was telling me that I had nothing left to give.  There weren’t any cameras around nor did to I have Scottie Pippen to hold me up.  Rather, the Lord raised me up on wings like eagles, Isaiah 40:31, helping to me finish a day playing hurt.

by Jay Mankus

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