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Three Years and Counting

This blog marks the end of 3 years of writing, ignited by a Discernment Conference I attended on February 1st and 2nd, 2012.  Since this day, each of the past 3 years represent different phases that I have undergone, summarized by 3 words: disappointment, transition and recovery.  Becoming unemployed is one thing, but losing a position that you were born to do was a tough pill to swallow in 2012.  Meanwhile, re-defining my career path in 2013 was a longer journey than I expected, often spent in the wilderness, trying to find my way home.  Finally, 2014 provided clarity, stability and a clear passion, to one day write full time, averaging one screen play per year, God willing of course.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, John 16:13.

In the meantime, its important to ask for and receive feedback from my readers.  Depending upon current and world events, I want to continue to provide a biblical response or perspective on these topics.  However, without having a pulse of my readers, its impossible to meet their needs as well as grow this site.  Therefore, I am urging you to participate in the first poll that I have created below.  This will give me instant feedback that will shape this blog throughout 2015.

To complete my final blog of year 3, I want to offer you essential steps to walking with God.

1) You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.              Deuteronomy 5:33

2) Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.           Psalm 119:133

3) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.                                     James 4:7

May the Lord mightily bless you as you talk one step at a time, obeying His decrees along the way.

by Jay Mankus


Those Were the Days

Over the weekend, I got off the Exit called Reflection.  Trying to avoid an eat, sleep, work and repeat the same cycle over again mentality, I pulled off to take a breather, camping in the mountains with my daughter.  Subsequently, I was able to slow down enough to take my spiritual pulse.  Laying back in the wilderness, thoughts began to flood my mind.

Healed from most of the scars from losing my teaching position to a new management group, God allowed me to see positive images from my past.  Similar to the theme song from All in the Family, the Lord brought to recall memories that made me think, those were the days.  Skipping my planning period to partake in a gym class with juniors and seniors, participating in school fundraisers like Donkey Basketball, Dodgeball, Golf Megaathon & Volleyball and developing an Ultimate Frisbee class will always hold a special place in my heart.

Although, you and I may not be exactly where we want to be currently, there’s still time to change course.  Perhaps you need to pull over, take a break or spend time reflecting.  You can start by reading Philippians 4:8; then apply this principle like a scene from Polyanna, playing the good game.  If this exercise can become a habit or daily routine, you may reach a point in time when you can honesty say, “those were the days!”

by Jay Mankus

Sunup to Sundown

Beginning December 1st, I will only witness the sun on Sunday’s over the next 3 weeks leading up to Christmas.  As the peak shopping season has commenced, I am planning to spend 18 of the next 21 days at work, from sunup to sundown.  Since my shift starts at 7am and goes until 5:30 pm, the sun doesn’t rise before I arrive and has set well before my ride home.  While there are plenty of lights inside, for now making enough money to survive is of vital importance.

At least for one month, I can relate to the schedule Moses kept during Israel’s 40 year trek in the wilderness, prior to experiencing the promised land, Exodus 18:13-14.  That is until Jethro, a concerned father in law, intervened, providing Moses with a plan to elevate his stress level.  Although I will miss several opportunities for fun in the sun, the bigger picture is etched in my mind.  Despite the exhaustion and pain my body will endure, a large paycheck will make Christmas that much more merrier, knowing I will have the funds to pay off most of our bills.

As a child, I went to sleep every night listening to Here Comes the Sun by the Beattles off their Abbey Road album.  Before the days of itunes, mp3 players, CD’s and cassettes, all I had was a hand me down record player with an 8 track deck.  It wasn’t much, but I treasured this possession, taking good care of it for nearly 20 years until I could afford to buy a new stereo.  Thus, I had a tradition, when the sun set and my lights went out, I maneuvered the needle just in the right place, listened to the dust, occasionally making a skipping sound and feel asleep dreaming of another day of the sun rising over the ocean.  In this Christmas season, may the sun shine bright on your life and family.

by Jay Mankus

The Great Mirage

Based upon my recent studies, it appears that several leaders went through desert periods in their lives.  Moses wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, teased by a promise he never experienced, Deuteronomy 34:1-4.  After being anointed by Samuel as the next king of Israel, David was forced to flee to the Cave of Adullam in 1 Samuel 22:1-2, running for his life from king Saul. Prophets weren’t even immune as Elijah hid from Jezebel once news spread of her death threat on his life, 1 Kings 19:1-2.

The great mirage in life is that other people have it better than you.  Your mind convinces you that no one understands, no one knows the pain you bear and the suffering you have endured.  While undergoing a desolate time, in an arid and barren wasteland, Satan deceives us into believing this lie.  Meanwhile, false hope serves as an hallucination, an optical illusion that leaves you in worst shape, doubting God’s presence and power.  When your expectations are shattered, a delusional spirit toys with you until you become numb, dis-heartened and pessimistic.

The only way to escape this mirage is by reflecting upon the reason you have entered this place.  John the Baptist went into a desert region to fulfill God’s will, Mark 1:4.  Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to fast and pray for his 3 year ministry on earth, Mark 1:12-13.  Once your mind shifts from why me God to what are you preparing for me next, this great mirage can transform into a promised land.  May God unveil the truth of the Bible, 2 Corinthians 4:4, so that you can be set free from the disappointment of the great mirage.

by Jay Mankus

Walking in the Wilderness

After crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites were eyewitness to one of the most amazing yet horrifying events in all of history.  As the Egyptian army was engulfed by the sea in Exodus 14, one might think Israel’s faith would never waver for the rest of their earthly lives.  However, a trip to the promised land which should have taken a few weeks on foot, ended up lasting 40 years.

At the beginning of 2012, I felt like the Israelites, being an eyewitness to several miracles in my 10 years of Christian Education as an Upper School Bible teacher.  While not perfect, I believed God was using my gifts and talents in the ideal place, according to His will.  One and a half days into this new year, waves of change engulfed me, flipping my world upside down.  Although, I survived this tidal wave of being let go, I have been dazed, mangled and left gasping for air.

For those who know me, I hate getting lost, especially when I receive bad directions from someone who doesn’t have a clue to where I need to go.  In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus uses the imagery of 2 roads, one which is clear, paved and heavily traveled whereas the other is barren, not always marked and hard to follow at times.  Its hard to argue with the crowd walking on the road to self gratification, but I can’t forget what I have seen on this less traveled road.

As I have spent nearly one month now unemployed, I am entering new ground, a territory I am not familiar with nor do I long to remain.  Walking in the Wilderness without a map isn’t fun.  Nonetheless, somewhere along this road, you have to put aside what you think you know by putting your trust in the only One who knows your future.  Jesus went into the wilderness to prepare Himself for God’s earthly ministry.  My prayer is that I experience this wilderness period, I will walk into my next job as a changed man.

by Jay Mankus

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