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The Healing of the Mind

The expression “I’m my worst own enemy” is supported by biblical truth.  The apostle Paul, one of the godliest men to walk the face of the earth, referred to himself as the greatest sinner of all, losing control of his body due to a sinful nature, Romans 7:15.  Thousands of people who saw the son of God heal and speak possessed blind eyes, numb hearts and deaf ears.  Somewhere inside their heads, a previous disappointment, failure or set back has convinced these individuals that healing and victory over their flesh will never come.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst, 1 Timothy 1:15.

This is the state of mind which confronted a woman within Mark 5:25-34.  After 12 years of doctor’s bills left her condition unchanged, doubt, hopelessness and self-pity likely filled her thoughts.  Broke and suffering, a light went on inside of her head, “if only I could touch Jesus’ cloak, then will I find healing.”  Battling the crowds, this woman fought until Jesus’ rabbinical robe was within her reach.  Like a dream come true, one touch released a powerful surge of energy throughout her body to cure her medical condition.

Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.  He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” – Mark 5:33-34

Today, countless depressed souls are wondering, “are there any miracles leftover for me to experience?”  Downcast, pessimistic and skeptical, good things will not come until minds are transformed.  Sure, belief begins with the heart and mouth, Romans 10:9-10, yet victory is obtained by the renewing of the mind, Romans 12:1-12.  May the words of Colossians 3:1-4 serve as rehab until the healing of the mind is complete.

by Jay Mankus



NBC in affiliation with the Golf Channel debuted their 1 hour special Payne Sunday June 8th, 2014 and reaired this on Monday to commemorate Payne Stewart’s last major golf championship, the 1999 United States Open Championship at Pine Hurst #2.  With Phil Mickelson seeking to win the career grand slam this year at the place where Payne outdeuled him by 1 shot, the timing makes perfect sense.  However, on October 25th, 1999, the world had a different kind of chase, watching cable news networks all day to locate a Leer jet which lost cable pressure shortly after take off, drifting way off course as fighter jets began to follow it.  Winning the P.G.A. Championship on my birthday while in college, I remember this fateful day like it was yesterday as sports lost one of its greatest characters.

Clips  from Payne’s funeral was aired and replayed by the Golf Channel, with many of golf’s greatest players in the attendance, most notably a young Tiger Woods.  Speeches by Paul Azinger and Tracy Stewart his wife, inspired a 2 hour special in 1999, moving most who saw it to tears.  Like a classic movie, I think I watched this original tribute to Payne a half dozen times, eventually leading me to name my second son, Daniel Payne.  In my humble opinion, this second attempt to portray the real Payne Stewart cut and edited out whom became in his final years on earth.

Sure, to captivate an audience, its important to share Payne’s initial years as a brash individual who was immature and at times a jerk.  Clearly explaining Payne’s father influence on his attire, knickers and flare for the game was also beneficial.  Nonetheless, the editors purged Payne’s faith from this film, replacing in with religion.  This sort of revisionist history is disingenuous to those whose closely followed Payne’s transformation from a sinner to a saint.  The NEA may be able to get away with changing history to coincide with its own worldview in modern text books, but the spiritual legacy Payne Stewart has left behind is inspiring me to seek out and attain the abundant life Payne found, John 10:10.  May all who search, find, peace, joy and love before breathing their last breathe, 1 Corinthians 13:13.

by Jay Mankus


One Shining Moment

As the 2014 Winter Olympics begin Friday, February 7th in Sochi, Russia, I am reminded of the drama previous events have delivered.  Whether it’s a human interest story, someone rising to the challenge of stiff competition or the 1980 United States Hockey Team who came out of no where to defeat the U.S.S.R. and earn a gold medal one game later.  Thus, as viewers tune in from all over the world to watch next weekend, who will be the next star, who shocks their fellow competitors with one shining moment of gold.

Looking back on my not so allustrious athletic career, most of the sports I played in high school were held off sight in a relatively obscure locations like local golf courses and State Parks.  The only sport I participated in with bleachers was swimming, my weakest talent by far.  Yes, my 200 Individual Medal Relay did earn a bronze medal at the 1986 State Meet held at the University of Delaware’s pool, but my lack of speed cost us the gold.  Yet, in one of my last high school races as a senior, God moved me to swim faster than I ever had before.  Despite dabbling in butterfly, back and free style, the 100 yard breast was my strongest stroke and race.

Leading our arch rival Brandywine by a point heading into the final 2 events, I was facing a cross town swimmer who was 1 second faster on average throughout the season.  Typically, the number 1 swimmer swam the inside lanes, a little faster than the 2 outside lanes due to the wake splashing back into swimmers.  However, just before stepping on the starting block, their top breast stroker switched lanes to shadow me in lane 1.  After 25 yards I was slightly behind, pulling even by the halfway mark.  Since the bleachers were right on top of lane 1, I began to hear a roar from lane 2 as I approached the final turn.  The noise of the crowd, filled me adrenaline, causing me to go faster and faster as I touched the final wall, finish line.  As I looked up, the noise was deafening as members of the final relay applauded my victory by 4 seconds, shattering my PR by 3 seconds.  In addition, our other swimmer passed both of Brandywine’s breast strokers in the final 5 yards to earn second and mathematically clinch the win.

As great as this experience felt, there is only one other shining moment that compares.  While in college I was asked to help out at a lock-in by my high school swim coach who had become a youth pastor.  During the festivities, I was drawn to a kid who was called Satan by his peers.  Yeah, he had a mean streak inside of him that was pure evil, but the Holy Spirit moved me to minister to him.  Layer by layer, like peeling an onion, God began to show me the defense mechanism that he had created to prevent his heart from being broken again.  During an altar call late in the night, I led this young man to invite Jesus into his heart, Romans 10:9-10.  Able to fulfill the words of James 5:19-20, I sensed another round of applause, this time from heaven.  “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine righteous persons who do not repent,” Luke 15:7.  May you experience multiple spiritual shining moments in not just during the Olympics, but throughout life.

by Jay Mankus

Lost and Found

When I was in junior high, I lost my retainer walking home from a friends.  Although I should have had it in my mouth, I was a teenage boy who just happened to put this retainer in a pocket with a hole.  To make matters worse, it was late fall with large leaves everywhere on the ground.  As I retraced my steps, I had to get a rake, spending hours until dark searching and praying.  Unsuccessful, I went back early the next morning on Saturday, desperately hoping I didn’t have to tell my parents I lost a $300 dental piece.  On a whim and many prayers, I tripped over my retainer, uncovered all the debris and went home rejoicing.

In the gospel of Luke, a doctor devotes an entire chapter to the theme of lost and found.  Whether its a sheep that wandered off from its owner, a woman misplacing a valuable coin or a rebellious son who lost his moral compass, each parable illustrates the love of God the Father.  According to Luke 15:7, any time a sinner who has lost their way finds their way back to Jesus, angels celebrate in heaven rejoicing over a repentant soul.  Whenever the lost are found, fairy tale endings occur.

However, today there are more distractions to cause the curious to stray off course.  In fact, one may say the severity of temptations in this age may be greater than ever.  Nonetheless, you should not use disclaimers or create a built in excuse for sin.  Moreover, 1 Peter 2:11-12 is pertinent advice, warning the unprepared by the invisible war just in case anyone get’s too comfortable.  As for now, make sure pride doesn’t convince you to believe that you can be your own shepherd.  Follow the principles of Proverbs 3:5-6 and you will stay in communion with God.

by Jay Mankus

Writing in the Sand

The idiom “caught with your hand in the cookie jar” is used when a person is caught doing something wrong.  Meanwhile, the phrase “caught red-handed” refers to being caught in the act of committing a misdemeanor, with the evidence there for all to see.  Either way you want to express or slice it, sooner or later everyone will be exposed as a sinner.  This is the situation you will find a woman, caught in the act of adultery in John 8:3.  Eager to follow the Law Moses commanded, the religious leaders are waiting on Jesus for final approval, to commence the stoning.

Seeing right through them, Jesus turns to an unusual but effective strategy, writing in the sand, John 8:6, 8.  Up to this point, Jesus had always followed a question with a question, not responding directly to the Pharisees and teachers of the law.  However, readers are left wondering, “what in the world did Jesus write in the ground with his finger?”  This debate continues today with suggestions of biblical laws, jotting down the thoughts of these leaders, secret sins each accuser had done or was in the process of committing.  Unfortunately, no one will know for sure until heaven, left to ponder what written words could have caused each Jew to drop their stone and leave the temple courts.

As Easter Sunday, 2013 draws near, you must remember Jesus’ spoken words to this woman, “Go now and leave your life of sin,” John 8:11.  Even if you have been caught with your hand in a cookie jar, there is redemption available to those humbled and sorry for their sin, John 3:16-17.  However, if you fail to leave your sin at the altar, relapse is almost assured, ruining Jesus’ sacrifice, Hebrews 10:26-27.  Thus, embrace Jesus’ writing in the sand, receive God’s faithfulness, 1 John 1:8 and flee from darkness by walking in the light, 1 John 2:6.

by Jay Mankus

An Altar of Tears

The Psalmist was one of the first to address God’s view on the broken hearted.  According to Psalm 34:18, God promises to draw near the hurting and save those devastated by life’s trials.  Jesus furthers God’s position within Matthew 11:28-30.  A woman in Mark 14:3-5, takes Jesus’ words literally, bowing down before him, anointing his head.  John’s version includes other details, as this same woman pours the remaining perfume on his feet, using her wash to thoroughly wash Jesus’ feet, John 12:3.  Like a child who cries before being punished by their parents, desperate moments often resemble an altar of tears.

However, the prophet Malachi gives a different perspective of this picture.  From God’s side of the altar, He does see the flood of tears, as people cry out for help, Malachi 2:13.  On the other hand, God also sees disobedience, impure motives and half-hearted offerings.  If the Lord is jealous, Exodus 20:5, anyone or anything which comes between you and God, creates a role reversal.  Our Heavenly Father is the one who longs to spend time with you, knocking on the door or your heart, waiting to have fellowship with you, Revelation 3:20.  Like a shepherd, searching for a lost sheep, God’s heart won’t be satisfied until you are found, Luke 15:6-7.

One of the greatest spectacles on earth occurs when a sinner repents, Luke 15:10.  As a person attempts to make it in life on their own, breaking points vary.  The independent  tend to last the longest, content longer than most.  The insecure often become co-dependent, on someone or something.  However, when you reach that moment in time, where the void in the heart brings you to an altar of tears, Jesus is waiting with out-stretched arms, Matthew 11:28-30.   Freedom is available for you right now, John 8:34-36, accessible by God’s grace, through a prayer and an alter of tears.

by Jay Mankus

Thy Way; not My Ways

Lately, I feel like a white rat being used for a psychology experiment.  Lab Technicians are observing my progress as I work my way through a labyrinth.  As I attempt to get from point A, unemployment, to point B, a full time position which utilizes my God given talents, I keep running into dead ends.  The moment I think I have arrived, God puts up another road block similar to Acts 16:6-7, whispering, “this is not the path I have chosen for you.”

Befuddled, clueless and dumbfounded, I am running out of options.  Though I am becoming an expert in writing cover letters, my percentages of interest these emails have generated makes me feel like an amateur fisherman who is being toyed with by smarter fish.  Since my ways are failing daily, Proverbs 19:21, I hope the growing pains I am encountering end soon as I move aside toward Yahweh’s way.

As my trial nears a full calendar year tomorrow, the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 2:12-13 have a deeper meaning for me.  Trying to work out your salvation is a grueling process, a clear indication that sanctification is a long way from completion.  Despite my best efforts, I am still a sinner in desperate need of a Savoir, Romans 6:23.  Therefore, while I currently attend the school of hard knocks, I long to graduate soon, seeking to become a Rhode scholar on Thy Way!

by Jay Mankus

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