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It’s Never Too Late to Call on the Name of the Lord

“Survival of the fittest” was once an important life lesson within public education. Darwin believed that the continued existence of organisms are best adapted to their environment as species evolve over time. From a human nature standpoint, individuals tend to be self-reliant until there’s a realization that certain things can’t be accomplished on your own. Subsequently, when people become desperate in life, God is usually a last resort after everything else you have tried fails.

So she called the name of the Lord Who spoke to her, You are a God of seeing, for she said, Have I [not] even here [in the wilderness] looked upon Him Who sees me [and lived]? Or have I here also seen [the future purposes or designs of] Him Who sees me? – Genesis 16:13

After running away from home, Hagar was alone in the wilderness and expecting a child. Perhaps, Hagar experienced her own version of a prodigal child, Luke 15:11-32, coming to her senses in the middle of a desert at night. Prior to calling upon the Lord, Hagar had an encounter with an angel of the Lord. While she may not have initially agreed with the advice provided by this angel, she calls upon the name of the Lord shortly after this angel departs.

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. It is right and appropriate for me to have this confidence and feel this way about you all, because [b]you have me in your heart and I hold you in my heart as partakers and sharers, one and all with me, of grace (God’s unmerited favor and spiritual blessing). [This is true] both when I am shut up in prison and when I am out in the defense and confirmation of the good news (the Gospel), Philippians 1:6-7.

Most human beings have not had the fortune of being visited by an angel, but modern-day Christians do have access to a copy of the Bible, either physically or a virtual copy online. When the apostle Paul wrote the comforting words to the Church at Philippi, this message still applies today. Whenever you do call upon the name of the Lord, pray with confidence about the plans God has for your future. As you follow the steps listed in Romans 12:1-2, you’ll be ready to meet God with a willing heart.

by Jay Mankus


Life Isn’t Meant to be Fair

Common Core Standards are based upon the premise that every child should have a common experience in life.  To distribute the wealth of knowledge across cultural, economic and social lines, education has been dumbed down in an attempt to create equality.  The fatal flaw within this K-12th curriculum is that life isn’t meant to be fair.  Subsequently, one person will be rich, another poor, some will be blessed while others are cursed and the disciplined will achieve great heights as the lazy fall short of the goals they set in life.

So the last will be first, and the first last, Matthew 20:16.

Somewhere along the way, public education has placed a priority on self-esteem instead of fulfilling Darwin’s teaching.  My best recollection of high school was survival of the fittest, a series of tests and trials to reveal the best  One of my greatest teachers, Mrs. Ehrig challenged me, pushing me to a place I never thought I could reach.  She didn’t care about how I felt, just ways to motivate me to unlock my potential.  The myriad of excuses must end, replaced by the core principles which once made America’s schools elite.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

Outside of the classroom, churches must communicate a biblical message explaining how and why life isn’t fair.  If sermons portray unrealistic teachings like a prosperity gospel, believers will be set up for disappointment.   Experiences shape beliefs so to prevent individuals from a disenfranchised faith, truth should rise above fiction.  While each person is dealt a different hand in life, you have to play with the cards, talents God gives you.  Although some days you may feel as if the deck is stacked against you, make the most of each day you are given as you endure the good, bad and ugly circumstances within this life.

by Jay Mankus

You’ve Got To Bring It!

Survival of the fittest was coined by British philosopher Hebert Spencer after reading On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.  In reality, this term is an alternative way of saying natural selection.  However, from a modern translation, in order to survive and rise above others to become the cream of the crop, you’ve got to bring it every day.  Whether you are an administrator, athlete, blue collar worker or a student with great expectations, you can’t take a class, day or play off.

As a former professional athlete and high school coach, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize if someone is dogging it.  Just take of peek to observe students walking down the hall to use the restroom.  Those walking slower than a senior citizen are stalling, wasting as much time as humanly possible.  On the other hand, the highly motivated are back in a flash, hoping they didn’t miss anything important.  If this pattern of complacency, laziness and minimal effort continues, these individuals will not succeed, put to shame and overshadowed by the overachievers in life.

The Bible was well ahead of its time, introducing a similar concept to the world by the end of the first century.  Jesus talked about striving for perfection during his sermon on the mount, encouraging the crowd to put their heart and soul into every aspect of life, even those people you despise or hate, Matthew 5:43-48.  As an avid sports fan of track and field, the apostle Paul addresses two sides to this topic.  From a mental approach, Paul focuses on the concentration necessary to acquire the proper attitude as you compete in life, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.  Then, from a moral stand point, Paul adds work ethic with a devotion for your creator in Colossians 3:17, 23.  When you put these three passages together, the message is quite clear, “you’ve got to bring it!”

by Jay Mankus

Flight School

Since the extinction of the dinosaurs, likely a result of the atmospheric changes following the flood, Genesis 2:5, the eagle has become king of the air.  With only one known predator, the condor, eagles reign in the sky above.  This explains why condors attempt to bring eagles to the ground, digging in their talons, using their superior weight to eliminate an eagles flight advantage.  However, unless a condor can get an eagle to the ground, this predator will go hungry until another carcass is located.

In this culture, predators lurk on every corner, looking to pounce on a smaller or weaker opponent.  One of the few defense mechanisms an eaglet has is their God given ability to fly.  Yet, until their father pushes each eaglet out of the comfort of home, their nest, this talent remains hidden.  Thus, the daddy eagle introduces his children to flight school, allowing each adolescent to fall before swooping in to catch a youngster before they hit the ground.  This process continues several times until each student takes flight, gliding on eagles wings, Isaiah 40:31.

In the same manner, Christ followers must learn to spiritually fly by fanning into flame the unique gift or gifts God has blessed each with, 2 Timothy 1:6.  Satan is the condor in our lives, using the world as a vehicle for destruction.  If you are not careful, specific sins will take hold of you, dragging you downward, often resulting in crash landings.  In this flight school, there is no commencement or graduation.  Rather, this teaching never ends, a life long pursuit, Colossians 4:2-3.  Using the Bible as its manual, this school’s final destination will take you where few have been, but many will be, John 14:2.

by Jay Mankus


The Village People created a classic song in 1978, worthy of almost any celebration.  Short for Young Men’s Christian’s Association, Y.M.C.A. sold over 10 million copies and remains a favorite at discos, school dances and weddings.  One of the core values the Y.M.C.A. still holds today is to develop the body, mind and spirit.  This is achieved through activities, education and physical fitness at local facilities scattered across America.

The latin root of education is educatus which means to lead forth from within.  If the origin suggests education shapes an individual, then a nation’s future depends upon the quality of schooling it provides.  According to 2009 scores from the Programme for International Student Assessment, the United States education system continues to decline when compared with the other global leaders.  Out of 34 industrialized nations, the U.S. ranks 14th in Reading, 17th in Science and 25th in Math, falling to the middle of the pack.

While the National Education Association blames a lack of funding to explain these results, the truth of the matter is when the Bible and prayer were expelled from public education in the 1960’s, standards have plummeted every decade since.  The founders of the YMCA knew something that experts are overlooking today, the body and spirit must not be forgotten.  If schools were held to the same standards as Survival of the Fittest or like businesses which are forced to close when they continue to lose money, education would be back on a track toward success.

Unfortunately, too much government red tape, influences of labor unions and political correctness is crippling education is America.  Instead, the United States is following the playbook of past leaders like Che, Mao and Stalin, creating a generation of students programmed to believe everything they hear and read.  As a result, bodies have become heavier, minds lighter and spirits on the verge of death.  At moments in time like this, it is important to look to history for guidance or in this case reflect upon the words of a classic song.

Young man, Are you listening to me
I said, young man, what do you want to be
I said, young man, you can make real your dreams,
but you’ve got to know this one thing.

No man, does it all by himself
I said, young man, put your pride on the shelf
And just go there, to the Y.M.C.A.
I’m sure they can help you today
(Lyrics from the 2nd stanza)

If you don’t have a local YMCA in your town, may you find help for your body, mind and spirit from a nearby  church.  The party is waiting for your arrival, Luke 15:7.

by Jay Mankus

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