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Tag Archives: South Carolina

A Prayer to Carry On

As I was driving from Delaware to South Carolina last Friday, I was listening to my favorite soft rock mix. As I was reminiscing about my past 25 years living in Delaware, the sound Breathe You In by Thousand Foot Krutch began playing. When I got stuck in D.C. traffic, I had time to replay this song several times to study the lyrics. During this time of reflection, I realized that Breathing God In is a prayer to carry on.

For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint, Galatians 6:8-9.

One of the most moving portions of Breathe You In occurs during the liine “I’ve tried so hard to not walk away when things don’t go my way.” When adversity strikes, human nature has a way of doubting God. Therefore, whenever negative thoughts begin to fill your mind, it’s essential to cry out to Jesus when you’re weak to give you the strength to carry on, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [[i]morally] to all people [not only [j]being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers], Galatians 6:10.

At the conclusion of his letter to the Church at Galatia, the apostle Paul encourages Christians to not give up hope. Regardless of how tired and weary you may become, don’t waste all the time and effort that you’ve put into life. While meditation isn’t often associated with Christianity, when you visualize Breathing in the Holy Spirit, God will give you the will to carry on.

by Jay Mankus

Trying God’s Patience

Patience is one of those areas in life where I continue to struggle. Whether I’m driving in a car, waiting in a line or pleading with God in prayer for a specific request, I want things to happen on my time. History is filled with individuals who forced the issue, trying to make something happen without God. According to Moses, when human beings start to blame God for things not going as expected, we try the Lord’s patience.

Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at [Mount] Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah [proof] and Meribah [contention] because of the faultfinding of the Israelites and because they tempted and tried the patience of the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not? – Exodus 17:6-7

For the last 6 months, I’ve had my own wilderness experience. Rather than travel to a promised land, I’ve done everything in my power to find a job in South Carolina. My initial plan was to submit paperwork for an internal transfer within Amazon to a facility close to where my mother in law resides who is currently in hospice care. While I’m aware of some of my shortcomings as an individual and worker, I’m either testing God’s patience or the Lord has a completely different plan for my life.

Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. 12 Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer, Romans 12:11-12.

Failure and rejection are becoming a weekly occurrence to me, The last time I’ve seen this much resistance to a specific career is when I tried to pass the Players Ability Test as an assistance golf professional. Despite hitting 26 of 36 greens in regulation, I had 40 putts in round one, including a 4 putt. I missed by 2 strokes with 7 putts on the easiest hole over 2 rounds. Since my journey to South Carolina begins this weekend, I’m either going to try God’s patience by not knowing God’s will or receive a job in the final hour. Only time will tell.

by Jay Mankus

When You’re Too Tired to Love

As the summer months begin, it’s only a matter of time before triple digit temperatures become part of weekly forecasts. As I begin a new life living in South Carolina, the heat and humidity quickly drains me of energy. In the last book of the Bible, John writes to the Church in Ephesus. Despite severe persecution in the first century, their faith did not waver. Yet, it appears that at some point exhaustion took its toll as their love for God grew cold.

I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary, Revelation 2:3.

Before getting married, Leanne and I attended a conference in Cleveland for young couples. One of the speakers used the analogy of leftovers. This illustration warned against giving God and your future spouse the leftovers of your time. The context of this expression was at the end of a busy day when you barely have energy for anything. This appears to be what happened to the Ephesians as the only time they made for God was at the end of their days, exhausted and worn out.

But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love], Revelation 2:4.

According to marriage statistics from 2020, nearly 2,400 divorces occur every single day in the United States. At this pace, by the end of just one week, 16,800 divorces and or separations commence. Sadly, if this trend continues, 875,000 couple will break their marriage vows annually in America. When you’re too tired to love, relationships with God and spouses start to fall apart. In view of these dire statistics, may Jesus give you to strength to be reunited with God and your spouse.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 126: On My Knees

As I was packing up my belongings to prepare for a move from Delaware to South Carolina, I stumbled upon an old compilation CD of up-and-coming female Christian artists. Jaci Velasquez was one of the musicians whose career was enhanced by this promotional album placed at the counters of Christian Bookstores throughout the nation. One of my favorite songs of Jaci is On My Knees.

Then I fell prostrate at his feet to worship (to pay divine honors) to him, but he [restrained me] and said, Refrain! [You must not do that!] I am [only] another servant with you and your brethren who have [accepted and hold] the testimony borne by Jesus. Worship God! For the substance (essence) of the truth revealed by Jesus is the spirit of all prophecy [the vital breath, the inspiration of all inspired preaching and interpretation of the divine will and purpose, including both mine and yours], Revelation 19:10.

The lyrics of On My Knees is based upon the emotional highs and lows that people experience daily. At some point in her life, Jaci realized that best way to endure trials and unexpected situations is to find a quiet place to pray. Rather than risk falling asleep in bed, Jaci found that humbling herself by falling to her knees produced the most refreshing times of prayer. May you learn from Jaci by drawing close to God as you daily pray.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 122: How Could I Ask for More?

When I was working full time in youth ministry, Cindy Morgan was one of my favorite female Christian artists. While working in Columbus, Indiana at a Methodist Church, Cindy was one of the featured artists at an outdoor concert at Mill Race Park. The album that touched my heart the most was Real Life. At this time, there wasn’t many artists who addressed real life issues like How Could I Ask for More?

For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([c]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself,] Ephesians 2:8-9.

As a child, the alure with being rich and famous is common. Yet, when my parents moved to a wealthy area of Ohio and my girlfriend Leanne lived in an affluent suburb in Chicago, the emptiness of wealth was revealed to me. I didn’t see what I expected except for a desire to keep up with the Joneses. Looking back, the lyrics of How Could I Ask For Me reminds me that happiness comes the love of Jesus. So as my future job in South Carolina is still unknown, all I can do is thank God for the little things as I wait.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 109: Walking on Water

Today’s featured song comes from a group that began in South Carolina. Need to Breathe decided to broaden their audience by crossing over to reach a secular audience. Although I never found one of NeedtoBreathe’s albums to be incredibly amazing, they have been consistent over the past two decades. The longer this group sticks around, the bigger their following has become.

And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, It is a ghost! And they screamed out with fright. 27 But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I Am! Stop being afraid! 28 And Peter answered Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. 29 He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus, Matthew 14:26-29.

As for Walking on Water, the passage above contains one of the most fascinating stories in the Bible. Who needs a boat when you can walk on water. Yet, for Peter, he went from thinking Jesus was a ghost to getting out of his boat to imitate Jesus’ miraculous act. However, the moment Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. If you want to do the unthinkable today, keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Embrace Contentment or Revel in Bitterness

I’ve had my most trying week of 2022. While I try not to read too much into daily events, failure and rejection have been a common theme in the past 72 hours. On one side of this internal wresting match, human nature lurks, tempting me to revel in bitterness, gossip and pity. On the other, a still small voice is whispering “embrace contentment.” If you’re wondering, I still haven’t made a decision.

Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand, Proverbs 19:21.

One of the messages that I keep trying to tell myself comes from King Solomon. “Many are the plans in a man’s mind, but God’s purpose will prevail.” However, when you’re about to move and my request for a lateral hardship transfer to South Carolina has been denied, the uncertainty of my future is eating at me. Perhaps, I’ve been too comfortable in my current position, and this is God’s way of rocking my boat.

Then Satan answered the Lord, Does Job [reverently] fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face. 12 And the Lord said to Satan (the adversary and the accuser), Behold, all that he has is in your power, only upon the man himself put not forth your hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord, Job 1:9-12.

Like the words of Moses’ farewell address to Israel, I can either choose life or death, contentment or bitterness. Although my trial of having two different cars not start for me and break down, this is nothing compared to what one man faced in Job 1-2. Maybe I need to take a deep breath, go to sleep and hope this week was just a bad dream. That didn’t work! The next time you encounter one of those Murphy Law days, weeks, months or year, embrace contentment or revel in bitterness. The choice is yours.

by Jay Mankus

Planting for the Future

A recent Progressive Insurance Ad Campaign uses Dr. Rick to help customers attempt to un-become like their parents. Somewhere in all of our childhoods, parents and or guardians have ingrained within you certain habits. Subsequently, the things your parents did with you like fishing and gardening are passed on to share with your own children. For me, it’s planting my own garden.

He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favorable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you know not what is the way of the wind, or how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a pregnant woman, even so you know not the work of God, Who does all, Ecclesiastes 11:4-5.

Since I don’t like as many fruits and vegetables as my parents, I usually limit my garden to basil, peas, peppers, and tomatoes. One year I pre-planted several seeds in a greenhouse kit that I received for Christmas. Unfortunately, one cold spring wind damaged and destroyed everything that I worked on for months. I learned a valuable lesson this night about planting for the future.

In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hands, for you know not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether both alike will be good, Ecclesiastes 11:6.

Based upon today’s passage, King Solomon understood the highs and lows of gardening. Some years certain plants keep giving over and over again. Yet, when the soil, timing and temperature is off, the time you invested yields absolutely nothing. This spring will be my last garden in Delaware before I move to South Carolina in the summer of 2022. When that day arrives, it will be another learning process as I plant for the future in a warmer climate.

by Jay Mankus

Make Yourself at Home

When I first moved to Delaware back in the late 1970’s, most of my neighbors displayed southern hospitality. As the shy new kid on the block with a severe stuttering problem, this was the best scenario I could ask for. A girl across the street named Jeanette was the vocal leader of Tonbridge Drive, sharing her house with everyone her age. Mrs. Kerth brought her loving personality from Louisiana often saying, “make yourself at home.”

Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], And by knowledge shall its chambers [of every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches, Proverbs 24:3-4.

Over the next decade, my parents became close friends with the Kerth’s, often eating together in the summer months. While Jeanette’s mom was busy cooking inside or her father was grilling out back, I was engaged in or playing a competitive game with other teenagers. Looking back, I didn’t realize how special this neighborhood would become and shape me as a human being. Yet, when Mrs. Kerth rang the dinner bell, everyone dropped what they were doing to run toward the hose to wash up for dinner.

A wise man is strong and [a]is better than a strong man, and a man of knowledge increases and strengthens his power; Proverbs 24:5.

As my wife and I prepare to become empty nesters in the summer of 2022, we have decided to downsize. Subsequently, sometime after June we will be making South Carolina our new home. Fortunately, we have made a few visits to our new neighborhood and look forward to developing relationships with the people we’ve already met. Perhaps, sometime in the near future we can both pay it forward by encouraging neighbors to make themselves at home like the example Mrs. Kerth set decades ago.

by Jay Mankus

Whenever You Move… Don’t Trouble Your Mind with the Unknown

Moving is one of those events in life that provides a chance for a fresh start. Yet, when a move is beyond your control, saying goodbye to close friends and neighbors can be extremely difficult. I moved a few times as a child with the second from New Jersey to Delaware. While it was hard to leave my baseball friends, the neighborhood in Wilmington my parents moved into became like a second family to me.

[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go, Hebrews 11:8.

While reading the Bible earlier in the week, I was reminded of Abram’s move from Haran. Genesis 12:1-3 details God’s conversation with Abram, similar to a calling from God or tugging on your heart that you might experience today. Abram was 75 years old when he left everything that he knew to start a new life with his nephew Lot. Faith enabled Abram to enter the unknown of a foreign land.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([b]definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that [c]tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall [d]garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:6-7.

Sometime in the summer of 2022 I’ll be moving to South Carolina. This will be my first move in nearly 25 years. Yet, if I listen to the advice found in the Bible, I shouldn’t trouble my mind about the unknown. Nor should I allow anxieties of making new friends concern me. The best thing I can do is lift up all my worries to God in prayer. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am seeking a peace that transcends all understanding as I wait for this day to come.

by Jay Mankus

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