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Who is this Man?

Whenever you meet someone for the first time, initial impressions play a part in whether or not you will call this individual a friend or foe. The context of the passage below begins as Isaac goes out to a well to pray. This isn’t just a community well, this is Beer-lahai-roi . This name was given to this place by Abraham who had a divine moment here, referring to this place as the well to the Living One Who sees me.

And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel. 65 For she [had] said to the servant, Who is that man walking across the field to meet us? And the servant [had] said, He is my master. So she took a veil and concealed herself with it, Genesis 24:64-65.

Since the introduction of the Lone Ranger in 1938 and television show a decade later, Hollywood has used anticipation as a vital tool to grab the attention of viewers. Once the Lone Ranger was portrayed as a hero, people wanted to know “who is this masked man?” From Rebekah’s perspective, she wanted to know who is this man approaching their caravan?

Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again. 14 But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life. 15 The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, so that I may never get thirsty nor have to come [continually all the way] here to draw. 16 At this, Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband and come back here. 17 The woman answered, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have spoken truly in saying, I have no husband. 18 For you have had five husbands, and the man you are now living with is not your husband. In this you have spoken truly. 19 The woman said to Him, Sir, I see and understand that You are a prophet. John 4:13-19.

Rebekah’s eagerness is similar to another woman in the Bible. Just as Rebekah met Eliezer at a well in the desert, a Samaritan woman has a similar experience with Jesus. Jesus uses thirst for water to turn their conversation into a meaningful talk that elicits spiritual hunger within this woman’s heart. As she turns toward home, she begins to ponder, “who is this man who knows so much about my life?” This type of hunger leads to salvation, Acts 4:12, securing their eternal destination in heaven, 1 John 5:12-13.

by Jay Mankus


The Sound of Freedom

It’s not often that one and only one cable news channel covers a world-wide epidemic. While the initial headlines of another major child sex trafficking ring is touched upon by all networks, this story disappears overnight. Replaced by stories of high-profile trials, protests, violence, and war, according to the upcoming film the Sound of Freedom, two million children across the globe remain enslaved by this booming industry.

Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and carry on our business and make money. 14 Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air], James 4:13-14.

During a recent interview with Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in the Passion of the Christ, many in Hollywood don’t want his latest film project to be released. Every time the Sound of Freedom has gotten close to final production, film companies like Disney backed out at the last second. Is this due to political pressure or fear that this film must actually expose what’s really going on to countless children in the United States?

You ought instead to say, If the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that [thing]. 16 But as it is, you boast [falsely] in your presumption and your self-conceit. All such boasting is wrong. 17 So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin, James 4:15-17.

Currently, Jim is working with other Christiam film makers, including the group behind the popular series the Chosen. Jim’s goal is to pre-order 2 million tickets for the Sound of Freedom so that cinemas across the country will open their doors for this passion project this summer. Caviezel’s vision is for the total viewers in theaters will match or succeed the number of children enslaved by the sex trafficking industry. Please pray for the Sound of Freedom so that this project becomes a reality.

by Jay Mankus

Lent or Bent?

As someone who was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, Lent was one of those seasons in life where I was asked to give up some sort of bad habit for 40 days. As a former athlete, setting goals was a weekly occurrence, driven to reach new heights. However, depending upon what I gave up for Lent, an internal wrestling match began inside of me, Galatians 5:16-18. This spiritual test revealed if my faith way bent or broken.

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and [d]pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and [e]seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that [f]comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot, Romans 8:5-7.

In the middle of a letter to the Church in The Rome, the apostle Paul opens up about a similar struggle going on inside of him, Romans 7. While Paul was a former religious zealot who fought against the formation of Jesus’ first century church, knowing right from wrong and doing the right thing is hard. Although Paul had good intentions, he reached a point in his life where temptation was winning.

So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him. But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God], Romans 8:8-9.

Subsequently Paul sets out in chapter 8 to highlight why this is going on inside of him. Whenever anyone attempts to change their life for the better, the sinful nature seeks to regain control. This is why changing your eating and exercise habits is so difficult. If this is your current reality this season of Lent, pray that the Holy Spirit enables you bend your faith back into shape.

By Jay Mankus

It’s About that Time for Another Spiritual Alignment

My wife Leanne spent the last four years working at the front desk of an auto repair shop in Delaware. While Leanne’s knowledge about cars started with basic details, every year she has picked up a keen sense to notice subtle sounds. These noises that don’t mean anything to me, serve as warning signals that a part is about to break, needs to be replaced or is wearing down. Just as my wife weekly points out these signs for me in my car, it’s about time for another spiritual alignment.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, I am the Almighty God; walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect (blameless, wholehearted, complete), Genesis 17:1.

From a vehicle point of view, whenever a bus, car or truck is out of alignment, this unequally wears out the tread of your tires. If you don’t notice this sound or vibrations, you’re putting your vehicle at risk as well as increasing the cost of your next alignment. Based upon the passage above, the Lord provides instructions to Abraham for a spiritual alignment. God’s call is to walk with God habitually, day after day, with your whole heart, soul and mind.

You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; 44 But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 [aj]To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike]. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? – Matthew 5:43-46

In the first portion of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus offers a similar call to those in attendance. Recognizing man’s fallen state in Romans 3:9-12, Jesus isn’t demanding perfection; He is asking Christians to strive for perfection. Jesus expects Christians to go above and beyond how the world lives. Thus, the call is to pray for and forgive those who hate you. Spiritual alignments help you love God and love your neighbors as yourself, Matthew 22:37-40. This spiritual exercise allows believers to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, awake and alert for God’s next warning sounds in life.

by Jay Mankus


The first mention of beer in the Bible has nothing to do with alcohol. Rather, beer is the name of a special well where one depressed woman was touched by God. Beer-lahai-roi is the name of a well located between Kadesh and Bered. Hagar was Sarai’s maidservant who ran away from home after being mistreated. Jealousy of the baby in her womb, Sarai mentally and verbally harassed Hagar to the point of tears. Unable to take these emotional scars, Hagar left thinking it was for the best.

Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [A well to the Living One Who sees me]; it is [c]between Kadesh and Bered, Genesis 16:14.

Whenever you’re alone, crying out to an invisible God seems to be a logical thing to do. While Moses doesn’t specify how many months Hagar had been pregnant, it’s enough to see an expanded belly. Depressed, lonely and in the middle of the wilderness, Hagar cries out to God for help. Based upon the words in the passage above, Hagar was blown away by how the Lord was able to hear and see the pain she felt inside her heart.

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. 12 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you, Jeremiah 29:11-12.

I have days just like Hagar, feeling lonely and helpless, unsure of my future. While I know the Lord can see my pain, I’m still waiting for a response. Perhaps, I’m like the person one Old Testament Prophet writes about in Isaiah 1. Clarity doesn’t come until confession is followed by a contrite heart. While living in Delaware, one of the Bible Studies I attended talked about spiritual blockage, which prevents clarity. Whatever the reason for my current spiritual condition, I pray that one day soon I’ll have a similar experience as Hagar at the well of Beer-lahai-roi.

by Jay Mankus

When Grace Extends Beyond Human Blunders

You don’t have to be a Christian to question God’s abounding grace upon those who don’t deserve it, Romans 5:8. The apostle Paul points this fact out in a letter to the Church at Rome. While human blunders continue to occur naturally, Romans 3:9-12, God offers up a free gift, Romans 6:23. Although the wages of sin is death, the reward for accepting God’s gift of Jesus into your heart is eternal life, 1 John 5:12-13.

So Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the South [country of Judah, the Negeb]. Now Abram was extremely rich in livestock and in silver and in gold. And he journeyed on from the South [country of Judah, the Negeb] as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, Genesis 13:1-3.

Following his lie to Pharoah, claiming that Sarai was his sister to save his own life, God used Abram’s visit to Egypt to amass his wealth. Despite Abram’s decision to trust in himself rather than God, he left Egypt with vast livestock, gold, and silver. When it comes to grace, God will deal with Abram’s lying at a later date, Genesis 22. The purpose of this initial trip was to clearly show Abram that God will go above and beyond his expectations when it comes to providing daily bread.

And Abimelech said, What is this you have done to us? One of the men might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt and sin upon us. 11 Then Abimelech charged all his people, He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death. 12 Then Isaac sowed seed in that land and received in the same year a hundred times as much as he had planted, and the Lord favored him with blessings. 13 And the man became great and gained more and more until he became very wealthy and distinguished; Genesis 26:10-13.

When you apply this lesson to your own life, there are probably numerous mistakes that you and I make daily. None of us have arrived spiritually by living the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10:10. Yet, faith is a process, starting with baby steps, Galatians 5:25. You can’t run until you first learn how to walk with God, 1 John 1:6-9. As God continues to extend His grace each morning Lamentations 3:19-24, pray that you will draw closer to Jesus in 2023 by overcoming human blunders.

by Jay Mankus

Making God Your Top Priority in 2023

A top priority refers to something of greatest importance. While attending Seminary, one of my professors introduced me to the Triangle Theory. Based upon time management, a triangle diagram is used as an aide to analyze how you spend your time outside of sleeping. When you do an honest assessment of your day-to-day activities, the average hours you invest in this or that will highlight what your top priority is at this moment in time.

And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up and went out to a [u]deserted place, and there He prayed. 36 And Simon [Peter] and those who were with him followed Him [[v]pursuing Him eagerly and hunting Him out], 37 And they found Him and said to Him, Everybody is looking for You. 38 And He said to them, Let us be going on into the neighboring country towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out, Mark 1:35-38.

One of Paul’s missionary helpers, John Mark, recalls a story told to him by one of Jesus’ disciples. While the disciples slept in, Jesus got up early in the morning to go walking in the wilderness. After finding a quiet place, Jesus prays to his heavenly Father. Based upon the words above, Jesus top priority to begin each day was seeking guidance from God to determine where He wanted Jesus to go and what God wanted Him to do.

But seek ([z]aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ([aa]His way of doing and being right), and then all these things [ab]taken together will be given you besides. 34 So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble, Matthew 6:33-34.

Perhaps, the Sermon on the Mount provides an introduction to Jesus’ prayer life. This insight begins with the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:1-15. After fasting is touched upon, Jesus concludes this section of his message on what Christians should strive for: hunger and thirst for righteousness. When God becomes your top priority, your mindset changes from earth toward heaven. The apostle Paul lays this out in Colossians 3:1-17. May these passages of the Bible inspire you to make Jesus Lord of all in 2023.

by Jay Mankus

Be a Positive Trend Setter in 2023

One of the major choices you will have to make in life is if you want to go with the flow or become a trend setter? Jesus touches on this subject near the end of his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:13-14. The analogy Jesus uses is based upon who you walk with in life. Are you following the masses on the highway to hell? Or as Robert Frost once penned are you taking, “the Road Less Traveled?” Jesus appears to be referring to Psalm 1:1-3 as who you surround yourself will dictate the choices you make in life.

When Enoch was 65 years old, Methuselah was born. 22 Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God after the birth of Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him], Genesis 5:21-24.

After the earth’s first family got off to a rough start with one scandal after another, the first trend setter came 7 generations after Adam. According to the passage above, Enoch wasn’t like most of the men on earth. While others were trying to please their peers, Enoch had his heart on habitually walking with God. Rather than a casual relationship, Enoch daily prayed and drew closer to the Lord. This example set by Enoch appears to have inspired Noah to become a positive trend setter in an evil society.

But Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord. This is the history of the generations of Noah. Noah was a just and righteous man, blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked [in habitual fellowship] with God, Genesis 6:8-9.

Apparently, everyone but Noah was heading down the highway toward hell. The life and example set by Enoch had been forgotten by followers of God. Rather than take the less traveled path, everyone but Noah went with the flow in a society becoming morally bankrupt with each passing day. Sound familiar? As bad as the media and news makes America and the world sound today, it only takes one trend setter in 2023 to alter the course of history. May the lives of Enoch and Noah inspire you to make a difference in 2023.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 285: Friend

Today’s featured song comes from a musician that began as a worship director. Joel Vaughn went on to release three albums: Don’t Give Up in 2010, In the Waiting in2014, and Kinetic in 2016. After listening to one of his newest songs Friends, Joel uses Psalm 23 to highlight the friend that God is to all Christians. Despite being invisible, God’s presence can be sensed for those who have gone through difficult and trying times.

The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me, Psalm 23:1-4.

While this Psalm is often reserved for funerals, David shares the impacts that God has made on his life. During David’s years as a shepherd, he began to see how God provides for him as he protects and watches over his families’ own sheep. Anyone who enters into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-11, you become a friend with God. As you read the Bible and pray, this relationship develops as Joel sings about in Friend. Enjoy this song.

by Jay Mankus

Finding Help in God’s Promises

Samuel Smiles published the first self-help book in 1859. The goal of Smiles book was to promote self-development in individuals who were struggling with confidence. In recent years, self-help books have increased in popularity. Yet, no book compares to the best seller of all time. The Bible is full of answers to life’s question as Christians weekly find help and hope in God’s promises within this book.

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you, Philippians 1:6.

Unfortunately, as human beings we all have experienced the pain of broken and unfulfilled promises. If you have been burned multiple times by someone you care about or look up to, you may reach a point in life when you stop trusting people. Perhaps, this is why many Christians fail to take God and Jesus up on their promises. Ungodly beliefs like “this sounds too good to be true” or “the Bible isn’t completely true” conceive doubt and years of unbelief.

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.

Yet, anyone who has ever read Restoring the Foundations by Chester and Betsy Kylstra or attended one of their workshops, you will find help and power in the promises of the Bible. In a letter to the Church of Philippi, Paul encourages Christians not to give up hope as what God has started in your life will be brought to completion. Meanwhile, as believers begins to offer their bodies as living sacrifices, the spiritual climate is ripe to begin to grasp God’s will for your life. These two promises serve as steppingstones to dig deeper into God’s Word so you can begin to accept, believe in and claim these promises in a prayer daily.

by Jay Mankus

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