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Tag Archives: Mount Nebo

A Week In Paradise


In this economy, its hard to imagine anyone having enough time or money to afford a week long trip to the West Coast during the school year.  With a summer vacation road trip traveling across the country to the Grand Canyon and back already etched in my families distant memory, I didn’t think anything could compare.  However, thanks to my extended family, most of our expenses were covered, opening the door for a memorable week in paradise.

This journey began in Ontario, not Canada, at the John Wayne International Airport in California.  After a night in Corona, not the beer, rather staying with a cousin playing pool and embracing palm trees surrounded by mountains, it was off to the Pacific Ocean.  Following my first In and Out Burger, without knowing about the secret menu, my feet first touched the chilly waters at New Port Beach before my daughter found a sand dollar adjacent to the Huntington Beach pier.  An amazing meal at Ruby’s Diner even made the pelican poses for pictures before another scenic drive through the mountains toward Palm Springs.

Even getting lost and paying the same toll twice on 2 different scenic toll roads couldn’t damper my spirits, uplifted by the view of the Pacific in the background and the pictures engraved in my mind of the Coachella Valley from my honeymoon 17 years ago.  A trip to Indian Canyons, the largest oasis in the world, was like going back in time to the days of Adam and Eve walking in the Garden of Eden.  Hiking on these trails and similar vistas on the Lykkan Trail above Palm Springs was like re-enacting Moses’ voyage up Mount Nebo to see the Promised Land before his death.

My first trip to the Salton Sea, playing disc golf in Palm Desert and experiencing Monterey Country Club from the fairway, yes I did hit it straight, was like the icing on top of a birthday cake.  However, like the classic line from Jerry Maguire, my vacation wasn’t complete until family arrived.  As nearly 100 relatives came to La Quinta to honor Uncle Tom’s 80th birthday, the conversations I had, interactions with others and time spent with my own family completed me.  Simply put, this trip was like a tiny glimpse of heaven, a week of paradise in sunny California.

by Jay Mankus

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So Close, But yet So Far

While I was tempted to name today’s blog, “So Close, but No Cigar,” common sense kept me from wavering off topic.  As I listened to Jentezen Franklin’s sermon on the Trinity Broadcast Network before attending church on Sunday, the Holy Spirit jogged my memory of the walls of resistance which deny believers from entering God’s promised land.  Moses dedicated his entire life to the nation of Israel, foregoing the riches of Egypt, Hebrews 11:24-27, yet the closest he came to a land flowing with milk and honey was a view from atop Mount Nebo.  Why did God deny him this privilege?  According to Numbers 20:6-13, Moses failed to carefully obey God’s command, striking a rock twice instead of just once.

Obedience is one wall to climb, but sometimes your own circumstances prove too much for a person to overcome.  Although hard to believe, my friend Harry endured a brutal set of events, triggering a back slide of historic proportions.  The person who led him to Christ committed suicide shortly after his conversion.  In the weeks that followed, one of his youth leaders who began to ease his pain, had an affair and abruptly abandoned the ministry, moving to California.  These poor witnesses kept Harry from entering a church for nearly 20 years.  My friend Eddy and I never thought Harry had been to church until a divine appointment at Cedar Point Amusement Park, reintroduced Harry to his former youth pastor.  In one moment, 20 years of severance was reunited, the first of many steps toward healing his bruised, confused and wounded heart.

Whether you feel like Moses today, with a mountain standing in between you and your dreams or as Harry did, coming to grips with a desolate soul, remember that sanctification is an on going process, not complete until the Lord takes you home.  Sure, you might have mountain top experiences, yet there is always a valley between mountains.  You may want answers, transformation and victory immediately, but sanctification occurs gradually, through a day by day process, Ephesians 2:3-7.  Therefore, live each moment on earth with a James 4:15 mindset, recognizing that you are close, but yet so far!

by Jay Mankus

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