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An Infusion of Worship

Following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, I’ve been consumed with depression.  Anyone trying to keep up with this story has been bombarded with a media frenzy.  Cable news stopped normal programming to air hourly updates, carry eyewitness reports and talk to panelists about their professional opinions.  The more I listened and watched, the worse I felt.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth, John 4:24.

After experiencing a few days of media silence this week, attempting to remove the negativity from my life, a thought came to my mind.  The Bible suggests that human beings were created to worship God.  When individuals drift off course away from this divine purpose, meaning and purpose for life fades.  Thus, those who reach this point like me need an infusion of worship to revive your soul.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship, Romans 12:1.

Yesterday, I replaced the radio with Christian music from my car stereo.  As soon as a few inspirational songs came on, my mood was transformed.  Instead of arguing with talk radio callers and the host, my mind was swayed by the lyrics I began singing along to.  This spiritual infusion gave me the boost I needed to make it through the day.  However, this shouldn’t be a once in a while practice.  Rather, if you want experience a permanent infusion of worship, set aside time daily for worship by offering your body up as a living sacrifice.

by Jay Mankus

How Did We Get Here?

I recently watched a film produced by Andy Garcia back in 1995.  Starring Andy Garcia, Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman, The Lost City takes place in Havana, Cuba in 1958.  This movie reflects the hardship Garcia endured while growing up in Cuba under a dictatorship.  After an interesting beginning, the mood changes as young relatives attempt to rebel against this communist regime.  Without spoiling the plot, the consequences are chilling.  During a live television interview with President Fulgencio Batista, giving the appearance of peace and tranquility, members of the resistance are eliminated.

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:16.

At some point over the last half century, liberals and progressives have become infatuated with modern socialist leaders.  This admiration may be based upon the absolute power many of these leaders possess.  Whether it’s controlling the press, rigging elections or ruling without any restrictions, this environment is tempting.  Yet, anyone who watches the Lost City from beginning to end, will realize this is not the way to treat a nation of people.  The scary part of this is as I watch cable news, listen to radio updates and read newspaper articles, America is approaching communist and socialist traits.

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! – Psalm 31:5

If the events of a news story does not fit a specific criteria, facts are altered, words taken out of context or the entire narrative is ignored.  Meanwhile, a camera can distort reality, making a crowd of protesters much larger than it is.  In addition, edited interviews can distort someone’s actual response to a question.  The end result is a plethora of fake news.  When there is no one to police the media, false narratives spread without challenge.  This is how America got here, to a daily media circus attempting to control what Americans think and believe.  Unless people take the time to check, research and test what is broadcasted, America will soon become the Lost Nation.

by Jay Mankus

Pressing On

Sometimes life can resemble a Little League Baseball game.  You get off to a great start, feed off of momentum and develop a big lead.  Just as you are about to taste victory, a bad break halts your progress.  One thing leads to another resulting in an avalanche of disappointment.  Before you know, the tables are turned as you find yourself on the losing side.  At some point, you have to pick your head up, shake it off and press on to see another day.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1.

If your life was transposed on to a graph chart, there would be a series of peaks and valleys.  As individuals experience various phases in life, beliefs, practices and values may change.  Such is the case of Rock star Bob Dylan who began to search for meaning in life during the late 1970’s.  This journey spawned the album Slow Train Coming, a reflection of his encounter with God.  One of the singles Dylan created was entitled Pressing On, a prayer for those struggling to press on in this life.

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path, Matthew 13:19.

Unfortunately, many who begin a relationship with God often end up falling away.  According to the passage above, Satan is the force that stops people from pressing on.  Centuries earlier, King Solomon urged the nation of Israel to guard their hearts, Proverbs 4:23.  The apostle Paul takes this concept one step further by taking your thoughts captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  If you truly want to persevere following setbacks in life, take this biblical advice so that you will press on.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Shifting of Moral Authority

In my early years, if I didn’t know a question, I would ask my mother.  If she wasn’t sure, I was directed to ask my father at the dinner table.  As a chemical engineer, my dad could answer most earthly related questions.  Yet, for any type of spiritual related question I was referred to my CCD teacher and then to one of the priests.  This was the line of moral authority I was accustom to as a child.  In the last quarter century, the shifting of morality reveals a new chain of command.

And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person,” Mark 7:20-23.

The spread of Progressivism has moved authority away from the church and toward elite members of the media.  This shift began by demonizing religion.  This daily attack attempted to convince Americans that Bible believing individuals are bigots, homophobes, sexists and racists.  Early on, people regarded this kind of speech as foolish and in-effective.  Yet, the chipping away of traditional values continued until these accusations began to stick.  Once ridiculous judgements are now embraced by many without much argument.  Anyone who does try to challenge this political agenda is regularly shut down, shamed or silenced by the mainstream media.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law, Romans 13:8-10.

Morality is concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.  Although the Bible clearly uses light and darkness to illustrate right from wrong, the concept of absolutes is fading away.  Thus, the ability to use biblical truths in a debate is weakened by a new belief system based upon political correctness.  These talking points are replacing the Bible as the source for moral clarity.  Unless a third Great Awakening occurs within America soon, the shifting of moral authority will remain controlled by a liberal media seeking to fundamentally transform this country.  May God help is all!

by Jay Mankus

Adding Love to the Law

From an early age, the idea of boundaries is a turn off.  At birth, human nature introduces a curiosity similar to that which led Eve to break God’s lone law, eating from the Tree of Knowledge.  As a parent, condemnation comes naturally, a common response to children who disobey you.  Yet, Jesus reminds a large crowd during the first century that love should be applied to Jewish law.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? – Matthew 5:46-47

Jesus uses common sense to drive home this point.  Pagans lived by a different set of standards.  Jews were expected by God to be set apart, striving to apply biblical principles.  Yet, if a Christian’s love is no different from a Pagan, what’s the point.  Therefore, individuals should make it their ambition to add love to the law.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

The only problem is this goal requires maturity as love doesn’t come naturally.  This fruit of the Spirit is an acquired trait nurtured by the Holy Spirit.  At some point people have to grow up by developing a will to love.  Hanging around like minded people, growing in your knowledge of the Bible and practicing prayer is a good place to start.  However, if you want to fulfill Jesus’ request, make sure your feelings are held in check, sanctified by love.

by Jay Mankus

A National Anthem in Crisis

Prior to the events in New York City and Washington D.C. on September 11th 2001, the relationship between sporting events and the playing of National Anthems had become a mundane ritual.  If you take away the Olympics, playoffs and the Super Bowl, anthems were rarely ever televised.  Some professional sports even played anthems while players were still in the locker room.  However, post 9/11 the singing of Francis Scott Key’s song united this nation for a minute or so daily.  I was in Philadelphia for the first National Football League Monday Night Football game following this terrorist attack.  When a flag the shape of the United States was displayed across the entire field, the crowd went crazy, setting the stage for an emotional national anthem.  Those professional athletes who have chosen to kneel or sit have forgotten what the national anthem represents.  As more begin similar displays as a protest, the future of America’s national anthem is in jeopardy.

Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! – Psalm 105:2

As a former teacher, I understand pressure to remove the national anthem at professional sporting events isn’t the end but the beginning of an attempt to erase any trace of God from American history.  During homeroom or over a loud speaker, public schools read a daily passage or verse from the Bible up to the early 1960’s.  The reading communicated a morale, trait or value teachers hoped to instill within their students.  When a few atheists were offended, a law suit followed that removed the Bible permanently from public education.  When schools obliged others were upset about students and teachers praying for each other.  This too was banned, stripping God’s influence from the classroom.  Looking back at history, schools have never been the same as God has removed his own blessing from those who have not made room for Him.  Then, there was the 10 commandments, “surely we can’t allow human beings to read and see these rigid rules.”  Today, religious leaders are arrested if 10 commandment statues aren’t removed from all court buildings.  Finally, there is the pledge of allegiance which has been made optional for children or simply discarded all together.  If the national anthem is silenced, there’s always something else atheists, leftists and progressives will deem offensive.

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted, Isaiah 49:13.

I hope the owners of professional sports teams don’t cave to public pressure like weak minded republicans more interested in gaining approval from the press rather than upholding American values.  During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to drain the swamp.  When this promise was made, I don’t think Trump realized how deep and dangerous this resistance would be.  While the media continues to label the Trump presidency as the worst ever, the horizon appears to be void of any leaders willing to stand up for the national anthem.  Sure, there may be some closet defenders, afraid to vocalize their opinions.  Yet, America appears to be on the verge of a social war between the past and the present.  As someone who grew up in a military family, respect was impressed upon me.  Unfortunately, some where along the way respect for God and country has slowly faded away.  In view of this decay, may God raise someone up to carry the torch for the National Anthem so that this treasured tradition does not disappear like those now forgotten.  Stand up and sing, thanking God for all the Lord has done for this land called America.

by Jay Mankus

 

Aliens, Demons and UFO’s

Depending upon your cable or satellite provider, if you channel surf long enough, you will probably find some sort of show dealing with alien’s, demons or UFO’s.  Destination America, History, Learning and Science channels regular air content related to these subjects.  I have spent months contemplating how to address this issue.  Based upon a chapter in Genesis, I believe there is a connection that might begin to illuminate this controversial topic.

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose, Genesis 6:1-2.

The passage above is one of the most debated in the Bible possessing three possible explanations.  The first hypothesis of the phrase sons of God refers to angels or minor deities.  When angelic beings left heaven to reproduce with earthly females, a civilization of giants was born inspiring the gods and goddess of Ancient Greece.  The second refers to an aristocratic class of rulers who married ordinary woman to create an elite society.  These men were inspired by the desire to make a name for themselves similar to those behind the building of the Tower of Babel.  Finally, the sons of God are aliens from another world who took earthly females as their wives.  This final view may explain advanced technology discovered by archeologists within the ruins of ancient civilizations.

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown, Genesis 6:4.

Since I am not a Bible scholar, I won’t declare which of these theories is correct, but I do know that this unusual breeding gave birth to giants on earth.  After this unnatural relationship began, God’s displeasure led to a global flood which served as a do over with Noah and his eight family members the sole survivors.  Unfortunately, there are some things in life that people can only speculate about until the answers are provided in heaven.  However, what act was so vile that God was willing to destroy the inhabitants of his prized creation?  This my friends is the ten million dollar question.

by Jay Mankus