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What Do You Value…Show Me Your Money

Rod Tidwell is a fictional character played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire.  Tidwell is a veteran wide receiver in the National Football League who is about to become a free agent, looking for one final contract to secure his families financial security.  Tom Cruise plays a hot shot sports agent who is fired from the firm he helped built.  Thus, Cruise is left with one client, Tidwell, whose main request is “show me the money.”

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for [the hands of] the righteous, Proverbs 13.22.

As part of a small group Bible Study, my wife and I have to create a detailed budget to track where our money is being spent.  Upon completion, this spreadsheet will reveal what each of us value in life.  While the majority of our paychecks are spent on a mortgage, food and utilities, other interests will be unveiled by previous expenses.  I am not sure what the final results will uncover, but I am sure there are areas like fast food and golf that need to be reduced in the future.

Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.  The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender, Proverbs 22:6-7.

According to the Bible, King Solomon is one of the richest and wisest to walk the face of the earth.  Thus, as this man shares some advice about financial matters in the passages above, its important to reflect upon this information.  Solomon places an emphasis on leaving a financial legacy for your children and grandchildren.  As this process is ongoing, Solomon urges individuals to educate your children about money.  Whether this is through allowances, chores or saving money, these practices help shape what your offspring value in life.  In other words, Solomon is asking what do you value?   If you want to know, show your spouse where your money is being spent.

by Jay Mankus

Jumper Cables

According to Mark Twain, age is an issue of mind over matter.  This concept has led some to believe age is just a number.  Nonetheless, individuals either young or old will experience days when you can’t or don’t want to get out of bed.  Subsequently, every now and then you might need to have your internal batteries jumped.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you, John 14:26.

Whenever a car, truck or vehicle door is left slightly open, the battery slowly loses its energy.  If you have driven long enough, you will encounter the inconvenience of a car that does not start.  Depending upon who is available, you will need a boost to get back on your way.  This is where jumper cables and a good Samaritan can come to your rescue.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26.

In the spiritual realm, everyone reaches a point where you can’t go any further on your own.  When counsel is not available or accessible, God does provide a spark like jumper cables.  However, in this case this source is invisible.  Thus, if this blog finds you down in the dumps or void of passion, call out to Holy Spirit to rejuvenate your soul.

by Jay Mankus



Waiting in a Holding Pattern

Before I moved to Delaware, I was a store manager at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.  Running the Michael Jordan Golf Shop across from gate B4, weather delays meant big business.  Whenever planes were in a holding pattern, people waiting for their fight to arrive or family members picking up loved ones often passed time in my store.

However, in life waiting isn’t nearly as fun as shopping.  Yet, if you are forced to enter a holding pattern, following the example of Moses in Leviticus 24:12 is a great place to start.  Sometimes when you are angry, individuals can make rash decisions or be quick to jump to a conclusion.  Therefore, make sure the will of the Lord is clear before you finalize your decision on what to do next.

Whether you’re deliberating on a punishment like Moses, contemplating something like marriage or living in a constant state of uncertainty, time can be a friend or foe.  Perhaps, this is why God reminded prophets and psalmists to wait on the Lord.  I know waiting isn’t enjoyable, but it gives you an opportunity to surrender to Christ so that Jesus can take the wheel, driving you out of the storms in life.  Like the late Rich Mullins once sang, Hold me Jesus as you wait in a holding pattern.

by Jay Mankus



Receiving Your Father’s Blessing

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In the past week, I have had several requests to write more about yearning for the favor of God.  I’ve had a few ideas, yet each stalled quickly, causing me to go back to the drawing board.  Then I read Genesis 49 yesterday, inspiring today’s title and prayer, that each of my readers may receive their father’s blessing.

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Not long after moving to Egypt, Jacob, the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, gathered his sons to be in his presence prior to his death.  Beginning in Genesis 49:2, Jacob gives a verbal last will and testament in the form of blessings and curses.  Ending 26 verses later in Genesis 49:27, this is one of the most fascinating passages in the Bible, a foreshadowing of the good, bad and ugly future Israelites will experience.

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After the dust settled, there was probably several heart broken men.  Reuben was cursed, Simeon and Levi criticized for their tempers, Issachar had slavery to look forward to and Benjamin is projected to be a wolf.  Meanwhile, 5 others were given compliments per say as Zebulun’s descendants were promised the seaside, Dan people of justice, Gad a resilient fighter, Asher food fit for a king and Naphalti good looking children.  Judah and Joseph are the only 2 boys who received what I call a full blessing, each detailed in several verses compared to 1 or 2.

Unfortunately, the negativity of this current generation can be attributed somewhat due to a lack of father figures and or not hearing compliments from their father.  Anger, frustration and a spirit of perfectionism often keeps me and many other dads from taking time to praise their children.  Yes, kids do let parent’s down, but young people do need to be lifted up to restore what little confidence they possess.  As the apostle Paul urges believers in Galatians 6:9-10, share a word of encouragement while there is still time.  By doing this, may you receive your heavenly Father’s blessings.

by Jay Mankus

A Reasonable God

Behind the blunders, lies and mistakes, Abraham was an amazing leader based upon the account of Genesis 14:13-17.  This God given talent enabled Abraham to approach God with boldness.  As he interrupts the Lord several times in Genesis 18:20-33 as God’s plan is unveiled, this passage from the Bible proves that our heavenly father is a reasonable God.

Responding to Abraham’s pleas immediately, the Lord sends out 2 angels to spend the night in the town square of Sodom and Gomorrah.  All these 2 servants needed to find were 10 righteous, God fearing individuals, to cancel the threat of looming destruction of these 2 cities.  However, Lot persuades the angels to alter their plans, offering his home as shelter, Genesis 19:2-3.  One can only imagine Lot’s motives for this move, yet Genesis 19:4-5 clearly illustrates “Lust Gone Wild.”  With Lot, his wife and 2 daughters found, Abraham’s prayer came up 6 people short.

When you or I pray to God, we don’t have the luxury to see what is taking place in heaven.  Behind the scenes, God is commanding angels, sending guardian angels to our side and waiting for a spirit of obedience to fill the hearts of his children.  Nonetheless, when these conditions are not met, God will only act according to the Bible.  Isaiah 1:15-20 proves God will not hear our prayers until our hearts, motives and will changes.  Therefore, the next time you get angry at God or question His lack of concern toward your situation, ask yourself, “have I’ve meet the conditions necessary for blessings?”  When your daily life resembles Deuteronomy 28:1-2 and Malachi 3:10, you will find a reasonable God.

by Jay Mankus

Inside This Hurricane

In August of 1991, Hurricane Bob slammed the East Coast for 3 days bringing more than a foot of rainfall to several seaboard cities.  Inland at the time of landfall, I was hiking along the Appalachian Trail with a close friend and mentor.  While the mountains served as some protection, Ken and I were side swiped, cutting our trip short by a day.  Upon returning to Delaware, we became like storm chasers following the aftermath.  When we approached the city of Wilmington, low lying areas were indistinguishable, unaware of where the Christiana Marsh began or ended, filled with floating vehicles and trains.

Like the James Taylor classic, “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain,” nothing could prepare me for the devastation I witnessed.  Bridges swept away, pavement sunk into creeks and debris scattered in and along every waterway.  Though I had endured an earthquake and waterspout earlier in my life, I had a front row seat, inside the ropes of this hurricane.  While the 2013 Hurricane Season begins June 1st and ends November 30th, spiritual hurricanes can form at a moment’s notice.

In the early stages of storms, people are often uprooted from their comfort zones, blown into awkward situations.  With a rising storm surge and no end in sight, panic can set in.  When the eye passes overhead, false hope causes people to let their guards down.  As this facade fades into the heart of the storm, the bottom right quadrant unloads its fiery on innocent bystanders.  This final punch can knock someone out, surprised by power of a mere trial.

When my own hurricane subsides, I will be much wiser, able to see the signs of approaching storms in the future.  Yet, for now I am holding on for dear life, waiting for the winds of change to die down.  Like Job in the Old Testament, I am at a loss for words, experiencing a battle of the will.  As soon as I see a rainbow, there will rejoicing.  However, inside this hurricane, I have been blown to my knees, looking up and clinging to God’s promise in Psalm 4:1.

by Jay Mankus

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