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Tag Archives: promises

Last Rites

No one except God knows what will be your last day, meal or words.  In the case of Jesus, I guess you can say He was born to die, causing a wide range of emotions.  As the Passion Week approached, interactions with family, friends and disciples would be his last, causing the praises of Hosanna on Palm Sunday to be replaced with “Crucify Him.”

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Today, when doctor’s sense the end is near, Catholics call a priest to perform last rites.  Otherwise known as the sacraments of anointing the sick, if death is expected, Penance and Communion is also offered to prepare one’s soul for the afterlife.  Once complete, family members gather around to savor the remaining moments of life together.  The closest thing that I’ve ever experienced was the day my grandfather died, holding his hand one last time before his last breath.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” John 11:25.

While hanging from a cross on Good Friday, there were only two more things left on God’s agenda.  First, Jesus gave hope to one of two criminals hanging from an adjacent cross, offering Him the promise of paradise for his repentant words.  Second, as the oldest son, Jesus wanted to make sure Mary was in good hands, commanding John of Zebedee to watch after his mother.  Though no last rites where necessary for Jesus, a perfect man, Hebrews 4:14-16, Jesus gave up His spirit with one final comment, “it is finished!”

by Jay Mankus

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A Hostage of Peace

Words like captive, pawn and victim are often associated with a hostage.  Despite this negative connotation, hostages can find a state of mind where peace is achieved.  Such is the case for a pastor arrested in communist China, sentenced to a prison camp for proselytizing where a cess pool became his home.  Days led to weeks, weeks to months and months to years, forced to dwell in a place which most gagged on the stench.  Yet, in this living hell, this man of God imagined the words of the Bible he read throughout his years of ministry.  Overtime, a transformation conceived a hostage of peace.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you, Isaiah 26:3.

In August of 2012, Tenth Avenue North released The Struggle, an album that featured several songs with powerful lyrics.  One of my favorites is Hostage of Peace, commences with the idea earthly battles begin in the heart.

Feel the silence
There’s a war beneath our skin
Let it begin
It’s hard to fight
It’s hard to lead resistance
It’s our hearts we’re up against

Although the world around human beings may fall apart, Ten Avenue North encourages individuals to cling to the promises in the Bible.  When danger approaches, the author of this song suggests to cry out to in prayer to find the loving arms of our heavenly Father.  This is where an individual can become a hostage of peace.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord, Hebrews 12:14.

Decades following this pastor’s travails, would modern Christians be able to survive if stripped away from their spiritual foundation?  With temptations lurking around every corner, waiting to pounce on unprepared souls, could a strong faith endure without access to the Bible?  God willing, American believers won’t have to experience the trials of nations in spiritual bondage.  However, if the culture continues to embrace and lean toward leftist beliefs, church leaders will need to prepare their congregations to obtain a hostage of peace.

by Jay Mankus

The Great Vindication

Absolve, exonerate and uphold are terms associated with vindication.  Unfortunately, print media and cable television often run stories with gossip, innuendos and rumors without complete assurance of the facts.  Thus, when uncovered evidence disproves false accusations, the damage has already been done.  By the time an apology is made, reputations are usually ruined, tattered by the piling on of public opinion.

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord. – Isaiah 54:17

In the spiritual realm, nothing is hidden from God, Hebrews 4:13.  Any flaw, mistake or trespass is exposed, revealing the imperfections of human beings like jars of clay, 2 Corinthians 4:7.  There is no one who is righteous, for all have fallen short of the glory of God, Romans 3:9-12.  Despite this lowly state, sinners have an advocate in their corner, gaining access to the great vindication through grace, Ephesians 2:8.

For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. – Psalm 135:14

Although critics, enemies and naysayers will always exist, the Lord promises that a day will come when his people will be vindicated.  While scoffers may hurt your feelings, God’s compassion and forgiveness will wipe away your tears.  In the end, you will get the last laugh for trusting in an invisible God.  Therefore, put aside your fears and reservations by approaching the throne of grace with a humble heart.  This will lead you to the great vindication.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Pinocchio Politicians

Every so often a commercial portrays a message that is sad but true.  Such is the case of the satire Geico ad when a dad tells his son, “did you know Pinocchio was a bad motivational speaker?”  If an individual’s nose grew each time something was embellished, exaggerated or lied about, people would be held accountable for their loose lips,  Unfortunately, most of the media is asleep at the wheel, allowing liberals, progressives and radicals to proceed as Pinocchio politicians.

A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. – Proverbs 26:28

The Bible uses a different strategy to insure honesty is upheld.  Rather than using the term reputation, authors of Scripture refer to keeping a good name.  Back in biblical times, promises, words and vows meant something.  Thus, the degree upon which you fulfilled what was spoken attributed to your name, either good or bad.  Perhaps, this measuring stick needs to be reintroduced today to prevent another generation of Pinocchio politicians.

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? – Numbers 23:19

In the film A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise as Lt. Daniel Kaffee is interviewing witnesses after a marine is apparently murderer by two soldiers in his room.  Upon questioning Keifer Sutherland’s character Lt. Jonathan Kendrick, Kaffee is surprised by the logic from this squadron leader, “Private William Santiago had no code and God was watching!”  While Hollywood will continue to serve as a land of make believe, God is real and will hold souls accountable for their actions on earth.  Although many escape initial consequences today, Pinocchio politicians will be exposed on the day of judgment.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

When Your Cries Reach Heaven’s Ears

Sometimes the Lord saves the best for last.  In the longest chapter of the Bible, God unveils a secret about prayer in the final stanza of Psalm 119.  According to this passage, whenever human beings experience disappointment without any logical explanation, people tend to stray from God and His commands.  Before giving up all hope, many pour out their hearts to God, praying that their cries for answers will reach heaven’s ears.

May my cry come before you, LORD; give me understanding according to your word. – Psalm 119:169

One of the reasons I pray is to seek understanding for the trials I have endured.  Although James 1:2-4 warns individuals to expect difficulty in life, the Bible also promises to hear our cries, Psalm 4:1.  Thus, whenever anyone spreads out their hands toward heaven and does not receive any tangible signs of improvement, resentment is a typical reply.  If these days of darkness persist, the disenfranchised will continue to grow, often going beyond the church doors to find answers to life.

May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. – Psalm 119:170

However, for those who follow in the footsteps of the persistent widow, Luke 18:1-8, one day you will see the hand of God at work.  Upon receiving a response from heaven, a sensation of praise will overwhelm your lips.  Perhaps this feeling led David to develop a heart of prayer while tending sheep in the fields, 1 Samuel 16:7.  Although days of answered prayers may be few and far between, promises to bless, heal and protect keep me going, thirsting for more.  May you resolve to keep on praying until your cries reach heaven’s ears, Psalm 119:169-176.

by Jay Mankus

 

Delight or Affliction?

Tired of negativity and pessimism within society?  Ready for the tide to turn in your direction this year?  Well, the answer can be found in the center of the Bible.

If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. – Psalm 119:92

The various distractions you encounter can easily shift one’s attention away from the positive aspects in life.  Thus, the saying misery loves company becomes a self-fulfilled prophecy.  If minds continue to dwell on afflictions, the desire to live will fade, resulting in a state of pity heading toward the road to destruction, Matthew 7:13.

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. – Psalm 37:4

However, if you begin to cling to the promises of the Bible, drawing near to the Lord, affliction will be replaced with peace, Job 22:21.  While you can’t control the hand you are dealt in life, you are responsible for your attitude.  Therefore, you can choose to embrace God’s laws or endure affliction.  May your feet find the path that leads to delight.

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. – Psalm 119:35

by Jay Mankus

Reaching Your Desired Destination

Whether you’re a child busy day dreaming or an adult trying to crunch financial numbers, everyone has a desired destination.  Some dreams may appear lofty, others middle of the road with a few unrealistic.  Nonetheless, without vision, people perish, Hosea 4:6, dying inside without anything tangible to live for.

Israel longed for a promised land, African Americans envisioned a nation free from slavery and the poor seek a life without hunger.  On the road to success, doubt, a lack of resources and time stand in the way.  Depending upon the voices you hear, the people you surround yourself with and what you choose to believe, your destination may be altered, seeing but never reaching the Land of Oz.

The apostle Paul understood this concept, writing to the church in Philippi, Philippians 3:12-14.  Pride didn’t get in the way of his goal.  Despite his past ideology, Paul set his mind on heaven.  While his life was cut short on earth, martyred for his belief in Christ, faith allowed this servant of God to reach his desired destination.  May promises like Philippians 1:6 encourage you to never waiver until you arrive where you belong.

by Jay Mankus