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Payments in Life

In 1983, Donna Summer released the song “She Works Hard for the Money.”  While this song appeared on Summer’s eleventh album, its become one of her most popular singles through the years.  Co-written by Michael Omartian, the context of the chorus refers to Onetta Johnson, a rest room attendant at Los Angeles’ Chasen’s Restaurant.  After meeting this exhausted woman during a brief conversation, the idea for this song was conceived.

The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death, Proverbs 10:16.

The Bible refers to two different types of payments in life, one from the Old Testament and the other from the New Testament.  The context of king Solomon’s version is based upon the sowing and reaping principle mentioned in Galatians 6:8.  However, this also can be understood as you receive wages based upon the attention to detail, effort and your overall focus.  Subsequently, anyone who chooses righteous over temporary pleasures and treasures will have their life extended.  Meanwhile, those who break the law, cut corners or swindle others out of their money will earn sin and death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 6:23.

Nonetheless, the apostle Paul brings good news for those who need a second or third chance in life.  Examining the symbolism of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, Paul uses the concept of payments to prove his point.  The wages for sin, which encompasses all of mankind is eternal separation from God.  However, there is hope for the world, a new lease on life for anyone looking to change their life around.  This good news comes in the form of God’s free gift, grace through faith that leads to eternal life.  2 payments, 1 life; the choice is yours as eternity awaits.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Different Kind of Outrage

Barbarism, desecration enormity, inhumanity and violence are all associated with outrage.  Death is one of the most common events which triggers this raw emotion.  While seventy percent of the protesters in North Carolina were bused in from out of state, this doesn’t mean that the parents and family who lost their son have released all of their frustrations.  Tragic events take time to cope with, heal and recovered from, yet there is another kind of outrage which often gets overlooked.

The people went to Bethel, where they sat before God until evening, raising their voices and weeping bitterly, Judges 21:2.

The grieving process affects individuals in varies ways.  Some mourn in silence while others heal quicker the more they can share the burden upon their hearts.  Yet, there are millions who have perish without the shedding of a tear.  According to the CDC, over 50 million babies have been aborted in America since 1973.  Although some woman who have shared their regrets during television interviews, there are no tombstones to remember those whose life never began, cut short by due to medical reasons or inconvenience.

“LORD, God of Israel,” they cried, “why has this happened to Israel? Why should one tribe be missing from Israel today?” – Judges 21:3

Whenever people are confused, God is either the first to blame or place to find refuge from their pain.  After the murder by an enemy of Israel, people of faith displayed a different kind of outrage.  Those who endured injustice in the Old Testament didn’t waver in seeking answers to their problems in life.  Rather, people of faith raised their voice in prayer, demanding and expecting answers.  This is a different kind of outrage which still has a place in understanding God’s plan and purpose for your life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Trying to Find a New Normal

Every day that you wake up brings its own blessings and curses.  You never know what to expect as uncertainty lurks around each corner.  Subsequently, one day Job lost his farm animals in a series of unexplainable events.  Before this day ended, his children were all killed by a tornado.  In response to this tragic news, Job makes a statement which still applies today, “the Lord gives and takes away.”

And said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.   The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised,” Job 1:21.

When the grieving process comes to an end, individuals need to find a new normal.  Prior to August of this year, life was a lot less complicated.  However, now that my youngest son has been diagnosed with type one diabetes, every meal is like taking a math quiz to determine the total number of carbs.  Despite this recent trial, I can’t overlook all the blessings God has provided.  So when the Lord does begin to take some things away, don’t forget to praise and thank Him for the blessings in disguise.

His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”  He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said, Job 2:9-10.

When illness attacked Job’s body, his faith was once again put to the test.  At some point in his health scare, Job’s wife lost it, becoming angry and bitter at God.  Despite her advice, Job stood strong, accepting the trial God allowed to occur.  To make matters worse, 3 friends suggested some sort of hidden sin had brought God’s wrath upon Job and his family.  Nonetheless, over time Job found a new normal, remained faithful to the Lord and was rewarded with new children and possessions to replace that which was lost.

by Jay Mankus

The Point of the Cross

In the Old Testament, initial commandments, laws and principles were passed down through word of mouth from one generation to the next.  Until Moses arrived upon the scene, there was no written word of God.  As one of the forefathers of Israel, God spoke directly to Moses, usually in the mountains on either Mount Horeb and or Sinai.  One of the messages delivered to Moses is that there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life, Leviticus 17:11.

In the early first century, Jesus built an earthly ministry using disciples.  Prior to his death of the cross, Jesus revealed the purpose for his human sacrifice.  Befuddled by Jesus words, many of his followers thought he would become an earthly king.  Thus, it wasn’t until resurrection Sunday when the disciples began to connect the dots.  The apostle Paul writes several of his epistles about the point of the cross.  Jesus who had no sin became sin for us so that in Christ, we might become the righteous of God.

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world, 1 John 2:2.

An entire chapter of 1 Corinthians is devoted to Jesus’ relationship to the cross.   According to 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus conquered sin and death with his resurrection.  In a letter to the church at Colosse, Paul talks about how Christians are buried with Christ in their baptism and raised with Him through the resurrection.  So what is the point of the cross?   Life begins at the cross, Matthew 16:24-26, as you deny yourself, take up the cross and follow Jesus as a servant and vessel of love.

by Jay Mankus

Far From the Truth

Whether you are examining biblical principles, the constitution or terrorism, answers will vary depending upon the world view you can eventually adopt.  When America was founded, Christian theism was the most dominant worldview.  Yet,  post-modernism has now surpassed theism, redefining that which was once true.  What makes post-modernism attractive to millennials is that this worldview believes human beings only have a limited knowledge.  Thus, man cannot know anything absolutely, a view far from the truth Americans once held as a nation.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me, John 14:6.

As the media now airs, presents and reports current events, every story is filtered through worldviews.  While post-modernism is predominant, journalists may also adhere to Existentialism, Nihilism and Pantheism.  Existentialism believes each individual creates who they are by the choices they make in life.  Nihilism states that laws and values the government tries to indoctrinate or force upon a person can justifiably be resisted which explains the recent violence within protests.  Finally, New Age Pantheism believes that you can become a god by raising your consciousness.  So the next time you hear, see or read about current events, the context of what actually happened may be far from the truth.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth, Psalm 145:18.

One of the reasons why sites like the Drudge Report have become so popular is that the news is presented unfiltered.  Meanwhile, the motto of Fox News, “We Report and You Decide” is also appealing to those who feel like the press isn’t being fully honest and open.  As the Lord continues to change, other new worldviews will arise and take shape.  Thus, unless you stay updated on the latest trends, your understanding of current events will be far from the truth.  Therefore, be diligent in, educated and seek the Lord to obtain understanding.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Bidding Time, Waiting for an Opportunity or a Wasted Effort?

Whenever you have to stick around to see the final results of a close race, tension arises.  Uncertainty can be heavy, causing participants to second guess themselves,”what if I only did this or that, handled a situation better or recovered quicker from a mistake.  Unfortunately, life is full of periods where you have to sweat it out, wondering if you are good enough or have the right stuff to make your dreams a reality.

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “ ’No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves,’ Matthew 25:8-9.

While you experience delays like an airplane stuck in a holding pattern, sometimes you have to wait your turn in line.  If something is worth it, you may have to lie in wait until an open door comes or an opportunity arises.  This scenario is what faced ten virgins in Matthew 25, shared by Jesus in a parable.  This story illustrates that individuals must earnestly wait for the Lord’s return in eager expectation.  As you carry on with your daily life, don’t lose sight of the end goal, eternal life in heaven.  If you’re careless, you just might find yourself on the outside looking in.

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them, Matthew 25:29.

If you’ve done everything in your power to keep your dreams alive yet still fail, many will come away with resentment, questioning all the hours spent without success.  Others will proclaim in haste, “what a waste!”  Nonetheless, the parable of the talents provides an important life lesson.  The Lord has given every soul a gift, talent or special ability.  God holds us responsibility for that which has been given.  Therefore, do not bury, hide or neglect the special gifts God has given you.  Rather, make the most of what you have been given by being a good and faithful steward of your talents on loan from God.

by Jay Mankus

 

Fallen Stars

The fifty stars on the American flag represent the 50 states meant to unite this country.  Meanwhile, the red and white stripes, thirteen in all, symbolize the 13 British colonies that declared their independence from Great Britain.  Based upon recent events in North Carolina and Wisconsin, it appears that some states are like fallen stars, a glimpse of what they once were.  So how did America get where it is currently, filled with civil unrest?

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 2 Peter 2:4.

Well, perhaps failing schools, a rejection of moral absolutes and the silence of religious leaders is a good place to start.  On the other hand, Common Core Curriculum, revisionist history adopted by modern SAT’s and the radicalization of college campuses is producing a generation of progressives, abandoning the spiritual principles this country was founded upon.  When you add cell phone cameras, a liberal media and a lack of personal responsibility to this equation, its always someone’s fault, not yours.

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day, Jude 1:6.

Last night, I listened to an interview of 2 NFL players from the Carolina Panthers.  One described the last 24 hours in Charlotte as living in a war zone.  Oddly enough, after former NBA star Michael Jordan gave one million dollars to support Black Lives Matters, protesters involved with this group looted and ransacked his Charlotte Hornets down town store.  I understand the concept of protests, but stealing, shutting down local businesses and verbally assaulting police officers isn’t solving the problem.  Either this event is drawing the world closer to Jesus’ return or God is in the process of removing his blessing from a once great country.  If the latter is true, may God have mercy on us all, especially upon the fallen stars.

by Jay Mankus