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Tag Archives: eternal life

Distracted During the Season of Giving

The commercialization of Christmas has influenced how this religious holiday is now celebrated.  Advertisements appeal to humanistic tendencies, often suggesting that bigger is better.  Unfortunately, rarely do commercials address the price of these exotic gifts that few can afford.  Subsequently, in an attempt to impress those whom you love, it’s easy to become distracted during the season of giving.  Instead of getting excited, I dread all I need to do.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn, Luke 2:7.

In modern terms, Jesus was born in a cheap bed and breakfast without a bed, room or special meal for Mary and Joseph.  This humble beginning would make most people ashamed, afraid to talk about the poverty Jesus was born into.  Nonetheless, this child of God altered the Jewish faith and gave hope to Gentiles, those born outside of God’s chosen people.  This child showed adults how to live, how to lead and ultimately, to lay down his life for mankind.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16.

One of the Bible’s most famous verses also details God the Father’s selfless act, sending his son to earth, to live, die and rise again to so others may have eternal life.  While it’s hard to ignore the never ending ads, don’t allow the pressure to out spend others this season ruin your Christmas spirit.  Rather, start each day in prayer, seeking God’s discernment for opportunities to help, serve and reach out to others in need this Christmas season.

by Jay Mankus

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A Not So Trademark Move

During a Major League Baseball game, players get to select the song played each time that they walk from the on desk circle to home plate.  This blurb is usually the chorus or the most popular part of the song, playing for five to ten seconds.  While you won’t see this on television, a similar process occurs when relievers enter the game.  In the classic 1989 film, Major League, Charlie Sheen played Ricky Vaughn, a hard throwing closer.  Upon entering the game in relief from the outfield bullpen, the song Wild Thing blared until Ricky made it to the mound.  Music has a way of inspiring trademark moves.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin, James 4:17.

A trademark refers to a brand, logo or sign that is legally registered as a symbol that represents a company or product.  In the entertainment business, music and videos featuring an artists’ new song features choreography.  This dance, move or step often becomes a known as a trademark move.  For Michael Jackson, it was the moon walk.  The pioneers of hip hop and rap developed break dancing, becoming a cultural phenomena.  Marcia Griffiths and Bunny Wailer’s 1976 song “Electric Boogie,” inspired what is known today of the Electric Slide, a memorable dance at any party or wedding.

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

The group Reliant K gives a different interpretation of trademark moves.  The lyrics of their song entitled Trademark focuses on human nature.  While everyone wants to paint a rosy picture on life, Reliant K sings about falling apart and running away from God.  The prophet Jonah once took a boat in the opposite direction of where God called them to go, ending up in the belly of a whale due to disobedience, this was his trademark move.  The apostle Paul reminds all human beings that no one is innocent, but all are guilty of sin.  This painful reality was the trademark move of Adam and Eve, hiding from God in the Garden of Eden.  Anyone who follows in these footsteps, emulates a not so trademark move.  In view of this fallen state, make sure the legacy you leave behind results in positive impressions.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

When You Can’t Put It Back in the Box

Pandora’s box is an artifact from Greek mythology.  However, this box was actually a jar that belonged to Pandora.  Upon opening the lid, all the evils of the world escaped.  When she placed the lid back on, the only thing remaining inside of Pandora’s box was hope.  This story illustrates certain things in life like innocence.  When individuals entertain temptation, purity will eventually be lost.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves, Genesis 3:7.

Ancient writings and the Bible share similar stories passed on from one generation to the next.  The story of original sin starring Adam and Eve parallels Pandora’s Box.  Despite given only one rule to obey, the image of the tree of life planted a seed of lust within human hearts.  The more Eve stared at the fruit hanging from the limbs, enticement clouded her judgment.  As soon as she took a bite and gave one to her husband to try as well, Eve quickly realized that you can’t put it back in the box.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden, Genesis 3:8.

Just as Pandora was filled with remorse for allowing evil to enter the world, guilt caused Adam and Eve to hide from God.  Today, many people do not enter churches due to scars from their past.  Wounds to the soul cause individuals to withdraw, ashamed of who they are or what they have done.  Satan has convinced many broken souls that God can not forgive them for their sins of the past.  This mindset serves as an obstacle to healing.  Although you can’t put evil back into Pandora’s Box, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection occurred to cancel your sins, Colossians 2:13-15.  Despite your current spiritual condition, may the promise of eternal life in 1 John 5:13 give you hope to overcome the spiritual forces of evil in this world.

by Jay Mankus

Remember Where You Came From

Whether your life has turned out to be a success, disappointment or some where in between, its always important to remember where you came from.  Depending upon how you were raised, you’ve likely developed stereotypes about certain occupations, places or people.  Over time these views will either be reinforced or shattered.  Whatever happens make sure you remain humble so you don’t miss out on meeting special people.

For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; Galatians 1:13.

Paul was a religious zealot who initially persecuted and gave the order to kill the apostle Stephen.  Thus, after his conversion to Christ many were hesitant to believe his faith was real.  This backlash inspired Galatians 1, a summary of his testimony.  It wasn’t until Paul began his missionary journeys when fellow Christians began to accept and embrace him as a genuine believer.

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, Galatians 1:15.

While my past isn’t as radical as Paul, I still have issues to overcome.  Years of stuttering stunted my communication skills and ability to draw close to others.  Periods of depression still cause me to withdraw at times, wandering away from the people I love.  Yet, because of God’s grace, I have hope for the future.  Despite my own imperfections, God sent His one and only Son to die for my sins.  Therefore, don’t let the sun go down without accepting God’s free gift of eternal life.  When you remember where you came from, you will likely find a sinner saved by God’s grace.

by Jay Mankus

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

 

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

 

The Price of Life

Whenever you have an accident, are diagnosed with a disease or face a long rehab, its hard to put a price on life.  After breaking two ribs and collapsing a lung, two ambulance rides cost nearly one thousand dollars each.  Treatments for cancer can accumulate into the tens of thousands.  Meanwhile, braces, surgeries and wheel chairs aren’t too far behind, cutting into the life savings of those face with life altering conditions.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

On the road to recovery, individuals have to consider the cost.  Do you I want to extend my life?  Or do I want to end my suffering?  Sure, parents and loved ones will often do whatever necessary to keep the hope of healing alive.  Yet, as time goes by, its up to the injured party to possess the desire and will to carry on.  So what is the price of a life?  Should you place a limit or should you adopt the Master Card slogan that life is priceless?

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it, Matthew 16:25.

According to Jesus, there is something else more important than saving your life.  The human soul is more valuable as it controls your eternal destiny.  Thus, before you extend all your time and energy on trying to survive, don’t forget about eternal life.  One of Jesus’ disciples claims that you can know for sure before you die, 1 John 5:13.  Therefore, make your reservation today as a soul destined for is a horrible fate to face.  The price of life is worth it all as long as a decision has been made, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus