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Tag Archives: trusting Jesus

The Blessing of a Busted Nest

A nest represents home to newly hatched baby birds. Within this enclosed area, mothers and fathers display  love, commitment, and effort to raise their young. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus points to how his heavenly Father provides for the birds of the air, Matthew 6:26. However, from time to time, gusts of wind will cause an egg to fall to the ground or relocate a nest from it’s original branch. These unforeseen events force adult birds to adjust, regroup, and start over.

Then I said, I shall die in or beside my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand. 19 My root is spread out and open to the waters, and the dew lies all night upon my branch, Job 29:18-19.

Job’s nest was busted up early in his book of the Bible. According to the first 2 chapters, Job’s life is plagued by a series of trials. Like a tsunami wave that continues to rise higher and higher, Job lost his possessions, children and his health. The passage above suggests that Job became complacent, ready to retire and play it safe the rest of his earthly life. God had different plans by busting up Job’s nest. The more you lose in life, the hopeless are drawn back to God, leaning on the Lord until the storms of life subside.

He found him in a desert land, in the howling void of the wilderness; He kept circling around him, He scanned him [penetratingly], He kept him as the pupil of His eye. 11 As an eagle that stirs up her nest, that flutters over her young, He spread abroad His wings and He took them, He bore them on His pinions. 12 So the Lord alone led him; there was no foreign god with Him, Deuteronomy 32:10-12.

During the initial stages of the Coronavirus, I was fortunate to have my position considered to be an essential job. With many of my co-workers afraid of contracting COVID-19, voluntary over time has been offered every week since March. These circumstances have led to ideal conditions for earning money. Just as I began to accumulate wealth, the Lord allowed a storm to bust up the front of my home, causing more than $3000 of damage. While paying for the repairs has been a hassle, this unexpected storm has put life into perspective. My faith and trust needs to be in Christ alone.

by Jay Mankus

The Wind Beneath my Spiritual Wings

In case you haven’t heard, I regret to inform you that my former coach, groomsmen and spiritual mentor Ken Horne passed away last Wednesday. While I am certain Ken is now celebrating with Jesus in heaven, I never got the chance to say goodbye. I first met Ken as my Earth Science as a 7th grader at Hanby Junior High School. Despite earning a D, C, B and A in each of the 4 marking periods, Ken gave me an A for the year. Thinking this was a mistake, I stopped by Ken’s classroom on my way home from school. Ken’s response to my concern was, “by the end of the year, you were an A student so I gave you an A.” These words left a lasting impression on me.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever, 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.

Two years later, Ken and I ended up at the same school once again, Concord High in Wilmington, Delaware. This time Ken was my Physical Science teacher. Between 7th and 9th grade, I was lost, often feeling depressed and suicidal. Looking back, God brought Ken into my life to be the wind beneath my spiritual wings, gently leading me closer and closer to Christ. After thinking I was too cool for the Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s huddle at Concord, I finally said yes to Ken’s persistent invitations as a sophomore. The greatest quality Ken possessed was the ability to recognize and see the potential in students. Despite my flaws, imperfections and stuttering, the Holy Spirit enabled Ken see what I could be if I trusted Jesus as my Savior.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

During my final three years at Concord, Ken invited me to numerous events, retreats and revivals. Before I ever knew what I mentor was, Ken showed me how to live the abundant life by demonstrating this as my swim coach, teacher and spiritual leader outside of school. Ken asked me to share my testimony for the first time at a retreat during my junior. What impressed Ken the most was this was the first time I didn’t stutter in public. A year later, Ken entrusted me as the Program Director for FCA, asking questions and leading spiritual discussions with my peers. These experiences prepared me to become a Summer Work Camp Coordinator, Youth Director and High School Bible teacher. Like anyone who met Ken, we will all miss him. Yet, for now, all I can do I flame into flame my spiritual gift so that I might become the wind beneath someone else’s spiritual wings. Rest in peace Ken.

by Jay Mankus

Not the Thanksgiving I Invisioned

A routine physical earlier this week has turned my life upside down.  Standing on a scale revealed my heaviest weight ever, not a good way to start this check up.  Before my primary care doctor entered the room, I took a brief depression survey, confident in my responses.  However, after my blood pressure was sky high, a series of comments from my doctor sucked the joy out of my soul, wanting to go back to change my previous answers.

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Ephesians 5:20.

Like a warning from God, I listened to all the possible conditions that might be wrong with me.  This internal alarm resulted in a series of tests on my heart, kidney and thyroid.  The past 48 hours has been like a whirlwind, hooked up to machines, placed on new medicine and forced to endure another series of examinations and tests next week.  This wasn’t the way I expected to spend the week of Thanksgiving.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

As I began to embrace self pity, a whisper from God via the Holy Spirit has put my circumstances into it’s proper perspective.  “At least you’re alive.  What about the residents of Paradise, California, losing their city, homes and loved ones?”  While I still don’t know what’s exactly wrong with me beside being overweight, Thanksgiving has a new meaning to me.  Although there will be aches and pains throughout life, staying positive, hopeful and thankful is what get’s you through the tough times.  God uses trials like mine to remind people to place their trust in Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

From One Shepherd to Another

The older you get in life, your chances increase that someone close to you will die.  Thus, most people will attend a funeral at sooner or later.  One of the most common passages read during funerals is Psalm 23, often quoting the entire chapter.  When my mom’s father passed away several years ago in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, my family was at his side as he breathed his last breath.  My sister Cindy, read to him Psalm 23:1-6 over and over again to ease his pain.

According to 1 Samuel 16:11, David was a shepherd boy, tending his father’s sheep.  In Psalm 23, David uses imagery, possibly recounting his own experience as God’s Spirit inspired him to write about a heavenly shepherd.  Knowing the daily requirements of a seasoned shepherd, David pours out his heart, placing his faith in God’s hand.  Meanwhile, John, the disciple whom Jesus loved shares a similar account in chapter 10 of his gospel.  John quotes Jesus in 17 of the first 18 verses, explaining there is only one way into heaven, through the gate of the Shepherd, who know and follow his voice.

In reality, human beings are dumb creatures like sheep, like the blind leading the blind.  When things are going well, its easy to navigate through life, whether you have a GPS or not.  However, as you encounter canyons, valleys or wastelands, relying on a shepherd may be the difference between life and death.  When push comes to shove or where faith meets fire, who will you call to come to your aide?  From One shepherd to another, come back to the pen before its too late, John 10:17.  The Great Shepherd is calling you home, retreat now to be by his side, Psalm 23:6.

by Jay Mankus

Spiritual Mulligans

According to the United States Golf Association Museum, the term mulligan originated from one of 3 potential sources.  David Mulligan, a regular at St. Lambert Country Club in Montreal, Quebec didn’t like his tee shot on the first hole one day so he re-teed trying to correct the mistake on his first swing.  While he called his second tee ball a correction, his playing partners dubbed this shot a “mulligan.”  Meanwhile, John “Buddy” Mulligan was a member of Essex Fells Country Club in New Jersey.  Developing a reputation for replaying poor shots, some claim this term was founded by Buddy himself.  Finally, since Mulligan was a common last name of Irish immigrants, others believe this term initiated from an Irish golfer playing somewhere in the Northeastern part of America in the early 1900’s.  Whoever coined this phrase, a mulligan is another name for a do-over, a second chance at redemption.

During his 2 terms as President from 1993-2001, Bill Clinton became an avid golfer.  This love for the game of golf has led Bill to Host the Humana Challenge, this week’s PGA tour stop beginning January 17th-20th in La Quinta, California, formerly known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic.  President Clinton is also passionate about mulligans, something he often abused during his rounds of golf as president.  In fact, some of his playing partners over the years of his presidency began to rename mulligans Clintons.  Today, golf fundraisers all across America use a scramble format, allowing participants a chance to purchase mulligans so that their team score might have a better chance of winning the grand prize.  Whatever the final result, mulligans make the game of golf much more enjoyable for the average amateur golfer.

The prophet Jeremiah eludes to mulligans in Lamentations 3:22-23.  However, in this context he is referring to a spiritual mulligan.  Although you may have a bad day, either failing and or sinning, God wipes your slate clean every morning.  Like resetting a video game after getting off to a poor start, God is able to erase any bad shot or sin from His memory, Psalm 103:11-12.  Hollywood’s version of mulligans is demonstrated by Bill Murray in Groundhog Day as he kept reliving the same day over and over until he got it right.  Unfortunately for human beings, the Bible tells us we will never get it right according to Romans 3:22-23.  Yet, like the words of Jeremiah, the apostle Paul reminds mankind that Jesus became our bad shots in life, our sin, so that we might have a chance at redemption, Romans 3;24-26.  Placing your faith in Jesus is the only way to obtain a spiritual mulligan, Matthew 16:25-27.

by Jay Mankus

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