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S.A.N.S. Episode 293: I Delight

Despite my passion for Christian rock music, I find myself more and more attractive by spontaneous worship mixes. While my favorite is a 19-minute montage of three songs by Kari Jobe, there are several other artists who have recently gotten my attention. David and Nicole Binion are a couple who I stumbled upon with the attached song I Delight. Yet, this couple has several others moving worship songs on You Tube as well.

But the meek [in the end] shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace, Psalm 37:11.

As a recovering perfectionist, allowing myself to find something to delight in is difficult. Rather than take time to reflect upon what the Lord has allowed me to accomplish, I often move on to my next goal and project. After listening to I Delight, I feel prompted to slow down and begin to appreciate the little things in life. As you listen to the lyrics of David and Nicole’ song, may you be moved to delight in the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

The Line Between Seizing the Day and Being a Workaholic

As an aspiring screen writer, I spend as much of my free time away from work writing. Unfortunately, my productivity is often inconsistent. Every once in a while, I will seize every spare moment that I have. Meanwhile, the majority of my days are a struggle as exhaustion keeps me from fulfilling my weekly writing goals. Yet, when I pursue my writing schedule with a passion, I find myself crossing the line from productive toward a workaholic.

Now while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching, Luke 10:38-39.

The Line between seizing the day and being a workaholic is indirectly touched on by Jesus during an encounter with two sisters. Martha is the doer of the family, always working hard to make sure every meal is prepared for the family. After cooking is complete, Martha races to straighten up the house and vacuum before anyone arrives. Meanwhile, Mary is a people person, eager to get caught up on how everything is going in your life. Before Jesus arrives, Martha is upset by the lack of help she receives.

But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]! 41 But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; 42 There is need of only one or but [i]a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [[j]that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her, Luke 10:40-42.

In the passage above, Jesus draws the line between working hard and missing out on why we are here on earth. God created human beings to be in relationships with one another. When individuals become so busy and consumed by work that they ignore the people right in front of you, you are a workaholic. Like AA, the first step to recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem. Therefore, my name is Jay Mankus and I am a workaholic. I spent most of my days like Martha rather than enjoying relationships like Mary. May we all strive to seize each day centered around relationships and not just work.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 264: Every Step of the Way

Cade Thompson has used his passion for music to reach a broad audience. This energetic and soulful Contemporary Christian music artist not only appeals to believers but has a mainstream pop following as well. I was introduced to Cade Thompson through his song Every Step of the Way while listening to K-Love Radio.

Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, Psalm 119:104-105.

The lyrics of Every Step of the Way remind me of the words of the Psalmist in the passage above. The Bible isn’t just a book to learn more about Jesus. Rather, this book contains words that are living and active, Hebrews 4:12. Subsequently, as you study the Bible, the wisdom inside can serve as a lamp to your feet and light to guide your way in the future.

by Jay Mankus

Intoxicated Eyes

I was first introduced to the concept of the second glance by the Casting Crowns song Slow Fade. Eve was the first human being to experience this in Genesis 3:4-6. Jesus’ earthly brother compares this lustful look to a fish sizing up the perfectly set bait in James 1:13-15. However, the disciple whom Jesus loved takes this one step further as eyes become intoxicated by specific temporary pleasures on earth.

Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. 17 And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever, 1 John 2:15-17.

If you want a more recent example of intoxicated eyes, check out the attached clip from the Chronicles of Narnia. Unaware of the apostle Paul’s warning in 2 Corinthians 11:14, the White Witch appears as an angel in disguise to Edmund. Yet, when you have gone an extended period without indulging your fleshly desires, passion takes over as you do the completely opposite of what you know to be right, Romans 7:15.

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls then came and spoke to me, saying, Come with me! I will show you the doom (sentence, judgment) of the great harlot (idolatress) who is seated on many waters, [She] with whom the rulers of the earth have joined in prostitution (idolatry) and with the wine of whose immorality (idolatry) the inhabitants of the earth have become intoxicated, Revelation 17:1-2.

The last mention of intoxicated eyes occurs in the Book of Revelation. Building upon the acts of the sinful nature in Galatians 5:18-21, John has a vision of inhabitants of the earth drunk on sexual immorality. John appears to be referring to a demon who he compares to the great harlot. Whatever this being or individual represents, when you let yourself go, drifting away from God, you become vulnerable to intoxicated eyes. May this blog serve as a warning to put to death these desires, Colossians 3:5, before enticement and lust drag you down all over again.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 197: Shake the Dust Off

Today’s artist began his music career as a founding member of Florida Christian rock group Bellarive. Yet, when Sean Curran joined Passion as a featured artist in 2017, he received national recognition. While scanning the internet, I found Shake the Dust Off as part of a worship music collection. This title reminds me as Jesus’ words shared to disciples who are sent out two to two to share the Good News about Jesus.

Then if indeed that house is deserving, let come upon it your peace [that is, [b]freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin]. But if it is not deserving, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive and accept and welcome you nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or town, shake the dust [of it] from your feet, Matthew 10:13-14.

Yet, Shake Off the Dust could refer to individuals who have fallen, trip or were knocked down by someone or something. If you land in grass, anyone who is O.C.D. will immediately brush off their clothes to remove any dirt or grass clippings. Depending upon how you view this expression, you could have a positive or negative impression. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy listening to Shake the Dust Off.

by Jay Mankus

The Ground to Play

If it wasn’t for recess, I wouldn’t have survived my twelve years in public education. The playground was a place of refuge for me. This was the only place in school where talking wasn’t necessary. Despite being short for my age until high school, my passion for sports quickly shined through. I may not have been strong, but I was fast and obsessed with winning. Meanwhile, this ground to play hid my severe stuttering from my peers. The more I competed at recess opened my eyes to the kind of athlete I could become.

Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: 19 [h]While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside. 20 As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy; 21 Yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, [i]lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and [j]begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away, Matthew 13:18-21.

At a recent LIV Golf clinic for kids in New Jersey, Commissioner Greg Norman shared a power message about competing in sports. Norman encouraged these youngsters to play as more sports as possible as these avenues provide a ground to play. Sports helps you see your strengths while revealing weaknesses as well. Meanwhile, if you want to get better, sports teach the competitive discipline to reach your full potential in life. Yet, for now sports provide the ground to compete and play for kids.

As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred times as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty, Matthew 13:22-23.

Jesus shared a first century parable based upon the different environment’s children are born into and are forced to confront in life. After speaking to a crowd, the disciples wanted to know further details about Jesus’ parable. Uses farming an analogy, there are 4 different types of soils farmers face. The first three all have limitations that stunts growth. The ultimate goal is to manage farms so that after years of discipline and hard work, fertile soil yields a great harvest. In the meantime, find ground to play with.

by Jay Mankus

Detesting the Right Things

Detest is a common inspiration for daily tweets on social media. When you hear or see something that offends you, human nature has a way of expressing what you feel. According to King Solomon, it is good to detest those things that God despises. The Ephesians understood this biblical principle by hating the ungodly teaching of the Nicolaitans in the first century.

Yet you have this [in your favor and to your credit]: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans [what they are doing as corrupters of the people], which I Myself also detest, Revelation 2:6.

Unfortunately, modern day virtue signaling is like playing a child’s game of pretend. Subsequently, social media posts, tweets, and videos pile on daily to join Cancel Culture and the Woke Community. While these actions might be construed as disingenuous, these individuals are bowing down to the mob to avoid criticism. This is not the kind of detest that the Bible is referring to in today’s passages.

 It is an abomination [to God and men] for kings to commit wickedness, for a throne is established and made secure by righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation). 13 Right and just lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right, Proverbs 16:12-13.

Detest should flow out of a passion for upholding biblical principles. When someone or something is directly opposed to the Bible, Christians should fervently defend and protect Judeo-Christian values. In this age of political shaming, people of integrity are often shunned by society. Words like controversial and radical are used to label those who detest the right things. May the words of 1 Peter 3:15-18 inspire Christians to be willing to suffer by standing up for biblical truth, justice, and the American Way.

by Jay Mankus

Intense and Unfailing Love

My parents took me to see Rocky I in the theaters in 1976. When Rocky III debuted 6 years later, this coincided with an inner desire to become a great athlete. The theme song Eye of the Tiger was a daily goal, striving to possess the same intensity of a prized fighter in each of my sports competitions. Two years later, I became a running machine while training for cross country just like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV. Unfortunately, my high school years were full of intensity but lacked love and understanding.

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and [e]disregards the offenses of others], 1 Peter 4:8.

Intense refers to an extreme degree, force, or strength in which you pursue something. While intense is often associated with competitions, Peter urges first century Christians to pursue their spiritual lives with the same passion. In the passage above, Peter appears to reference Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:14-15. At the end of the Lord’s Prayer, forgiving and loving others is essential for being forgiven by God. This is the purpose and reason for pursuing intense and unfailing love.

You have granted me life and favor, and Your providence has preserved my spirit. 13 Yet these [the present evils] have You hid in Your heart [for me since my creation]; I know that this was with You [in Your purpose and thought], Job 10:12-13.

Whether I like it or not, I have become more like my father as I grow older. My passion for sports has faded, put on hold to become a better father and spiritual life coach for my children. While I am far from the earthly father that God wants me to be, the missing ingredient is an unfailing love like Jesus. Regardless of what has happened in life, all bitterness, grudges, and pain must be released and let go of for good. If I can exchange my intensity for sports and replace it with God’s unfailing love, forgiveness and reconciliation will become a reality on earth.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 30: My Deliverer

Today’s artist is best known for being a founding member of Rich Mullins’ A Ragamuffin Band. Since their final tour back in 2000, Rick Elias has released a number of solo albums, appeared as a guest bass player and served as a backup singer on several songs with friends. What I admire most about Rick is his passion to continue sharing his music at churches across the country.

And so all Israel will be saved. As it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob. 27 And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins, Romans 11:26-27.

I could have chosen a dozen songs from Elias’ vast collection. Yet, for today, I wanted to share the song that I first heard at the last Christian concert I attended. The lyrics of My Deliverer come right out of the Bible, following Joseph’s departure to Africa with his wife and child. Despite all of his travails, Joseph trusted that somehow and some way, the Lord would deliver him. This prayer still holds true today.

by Jay Mankus

Sing to the Lord a New Song

Ten years ago, Express Yourself 4 Him was conceived. Thanks to the guidance of Pastor Bruce and Linda from Bible Study, I chose Word Press to share the messages that God has put on my heart. I didn’t really know what I was doing early on. Nor did I think this blog would last a decade. To celebrate my 10th year, I will be adding a second post per day entitled Sing A New Song. This combines my favorite two passions Christian music and writing.

Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully [on the strings] with a loud and joyful sound, Psalm 33:3.

My goal for S.A.N.S. is to share how music has influenced my life. This journey began at the Sonshine House in Bear, Delaware. Located just down the street from my church, I made this Christian Bookstore like a second home. After hearing an inspiration song on the radio, I had to stop by to ask Jackie, the owner, if she had this song. I regularly sang tunes out loud in the store if I didn’t catch the title. Jackie became my Christian music guru throughout college as this collection continued to expand.

And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many shall see and fear (revere and worship) and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord, Psalm 40:3.

Since most of my friends didn’t share my passion, I began to make cassette mixes of my favorite songs. I made about 30 different best of tapes before finally stopping with each one based on a specific genre. My very first mix received the most compliments which led me to make multiple copies for high school students who went on Chrysalis weekends. One of the two sides was entitled A Father’s Love based upon the Billy Crockett song which happens to be today’s song. S.A.N.S. Volume 1 is A Father’s Love.

by Jay Mankus

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