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Tag Archives: Charity

Starting a New Life

Perspective gives parents the right impression of what to expect in the future.  Unfortunately, the early years of any marriage is filled with trial and error.  As I look back on the first few years of raising my oldest son James, I was out of my element.  I don’t do well around crying babies.  After screaming for an hour or so in his crib, Leanne or I would drive around the block a few times until James fell back to sleep.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed or embarrassed, Genesis 2:24-25.

As the years passed, sports filled up much of out time, going to baseball games, cross country races, golf matches and track meets.  Through the years, I learned that James was motivated by awards, food and money.  After achieving an agreed upon goal, the entire family went out to dinner to celebrate this accomplishment.  This tradition continues today, often going to Buffalo Wild Wings and our favorite Chinese restaurant.  However, after tonight, James will start a new life with his wife to be Emma.

Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God], 27 so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless. 28 Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself, Ephesians 5:25-28.

The covenant of marriage was first introduced to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  The apostle Paul builds upon this concept in a letter to the church at Ephesus.  Men are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church.  In a letter to Corinth, Paul uses the term charity.  The only way human beings can love one another is through the Holy Spirit.  This spiritual presence is only available to those who enter into a personal relationship with God.  Thus, if any of you are considering starting a new life, don’t forget to invite Jesus along the way.

by Jay Mankus

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Beyond the Golden Rule

Traces of a golden rule can be found in the early 17th century. The first usage of this term in the context of the Bible appears to occur in 1604.
Anglican preachers and theologians from Great Britain are credited for coining this expression. Charles Gibbon and Thomas Jackson are the first to paraphrase the words of Jesus with a succinct command: treat others the way you would want them to treat you.

Then one of the scribes [an expert in Mosaic Law] came up and listened to them arguing [with one another], and noticing that Jesus answered them well, asked Him, “Which commandment is first and most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first and most important one is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul (life), and with all your mind (thought, understanding), and with all your strength,’ Mark 12:28-30.

After listening to a sermon last weekend on this topic, there is a flaw to the golden rule. It’s impossible to love others unless you first possess the love of God within your heart. C.S. Lewis refers to this concept as Theological Virtues in his book Mere Christianity. Anyone has access to Cardinal Virtues like prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude. However, theological virtues such as hope, faith and charity are only accessible via the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the only way to successfully live out the golden rule involves entering a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 5:1-5.

This is the second: ‘You shall [unselfishly] love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 The scribe said to Him, “Admirably answered, Teacher; You truthfully stated that He is One, and there is no other but Him; 33 and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to [unselfishly] love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices,” Mark 12:31-33.

The apostle Paul provides a few verses that support this theory. Philippians 2:4 encourages individuals to look to the interests of others. However, unless you take care of your own needs first, you won’t be able to help and love others if your own spiritual house isn’t in order. Meanwhile, Paul also explains how to go beyond the golden rule in Romans 15:2. Pleasing your neighbor is expected through random acts of kindness. However, if you want to go the extra mile, build up your neighbor spiritually. Therefore, if you want to go beyond the golden rule, make it your ambition to plant spiritual seeds daily.

by Jay Mankus

The Jesus Check List

For the past 25 years, Thanksgiving serves as a dual purpose for my family.  The first is obvious, to reconnect, reflect and share how the past year has gone, either good, bad or indifferent.  The second is a precursor to Christmas, exchanging gift wish lists.  Thanks to Amazon, most of this is done online to avoiding writing down the same list several times on a piece of paper.  Nonetheless, as Christmas Day approaches, there is an internal list with decorations, gift wrapping and preparations that need to completed before you can actually enjoy Jesus’ birthday.

For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations],” Romans 10:10-11.

A 2007 film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman introduced another kind of list.  The Bucket List involves two men who have been each diagnosed with terminal cancer.  After meeting in the hospital for the first time, the billionaire hospital magnate Edward Cole played by Nicholson finances a series of trips before each man dies.  In a race against the clock, these men invest their energy doing the things in life they always wanted to do, but never took the time.  Since the initial release of the Bucket List, several # movements have transformed others on the verge of death to pursue their own check list of dreams and goals to accomplish.

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you], Romans 12:1-2.

My favorite list is one that gets little attention, but results in eternal rewards, the Jesus Check List.  Instead of going through life focusing on the things you want to experience, the Jesus Check List is based upon fulfilling God’s will for your life.  Before you can start this list, you need to join Jesus’ team as described by the apostle Paul in Romans 10:10-11.  The moment you enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you gain access to the Holy Spirit.  C.S. Lewis refers to this as theological virtues in Mere Christianity, enabling new converts to obtain charity, faith and hope as you progress down Jesus’ Check List.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God [which represents all that Jesus Christ is and does], so that you will know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have eternal life. 14 This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us, 1 John 5:13-14.

As individuals begin to daily prayer, read the Bible and begin to worship God throughout the week, not just on Sunday’s, lives can be radically changed if you stick with the Jesus Check List.  The apostle Paul refers to this as a process, offering up your life each day as a living sacrifice to God.  This involves asking God a series of questions in the form of a prayer.  What do you want me to do today?  Where do you need me to go to help others?  Who needs to be encouraged, give me eyes to see?  How can I reach the lost; using the God given talents you have blessed me with?  If you take this blog to heart, you will be well on your way, certain of the eternal rewards awaiting you in heaven with each day you commit to serving Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

A Message from Charity

The original Twilight Zone ran from 1959 to 1964.  The second coming of this series only lasted two seasons in 2002 and 2003.  Trying to feed off of the success of the X Files, this science fiction television show attempted to illustrate what if scenarios that defy logic.  Despite asking Bruce Willis to star in the revived pilot episode,, this type of show ran its course in time.  My favorite episode of the latter version is entitled A Message from Charity.

“For inquire, please, of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out. For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding? – Job 8:8-10

Two teenagers born 300 years apart contract the same virus which killed others their age.  A parasite from stagnant well water brings a boy from the present named Peter and a girl from Colonial times, Charity together.  Like a time warp, each is able to see into the other’s world.  While hallucinating with high fevers, these two teens begin to hear voices on the other side.  Initially in denial, Charity and Peter begin to communicate.  Unfortunately, when Charity reveals this secret to a friend, she is put on trial for being a witch.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, Romans 15:4.

Using a public library to help Charity, Peter combs through history books to prepare Charity for her public hearing.  Meanwhile, each time Peter curses or takes the Lord’s name in vain, Charity’s faith naturally flows, quickly reminding Peter about what is right, noble and true.  If Charity was alive today, she would remind current leaders and politicians about the need for civility.  This is one message that everyone needs to hear.  Instead of complaining, condemning and yelling at those you disagree with, its time to take a lesson from the past by demonstrating courtesy, kindness and respect.

by Jay Mankus

Spiritual Kisses

Steven Curtis Chapman once jokingly sang about being in love or having the flu bug during his Great Adventure Concert Tour.  Likewise, Psalm 85:10 describes 4 attributes, which when joined together develop chemistry.  When love and faithfulness connect, its as if righteousness and peace kiss.

Daily emotions rise and fall, leaving behind periods of ecstasy and agony.  While God’s love never fails, 1 Corinthians 13:8, human love is similar to Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus by a kiss. Matthew 26:48-49.  The side effects of Genesis 3:17-19 has turned the love of many ice cold like Demas in 2 Timothy 4:10.  On the outside there are signs of warmth, but internally the heart has been corrupted, Jeremiah 17:9.

Beside the fallen nature of mankind, Romans 3:23, there are traces of this spiritual element.  Honest and truthful words are like a kiss on the lips, Proverbs 24:26.  Fellowship with other believers brings out a kindred spirit, Acts 4:32-35.  The theological virtues of charity, faith and hope, 1 Corinthians 13:13, make love possible.  Finally, the cherry on the top is Colossians 3:13-14, making spiritual kisses a reality through the power of the Holy Spirit!  On this Mother’s Day, be a vehicle of adoration, passing on the love of Jesus to all you encounter!

by Jay Mankus

Missing Ingredients in Modern Marriages

Back in the 1970’s, divorce was rare, something that happened only as a result of extreme circumstances.  In fact, to the best of my recollection, the Roman Catholic Church threatened couples with excommunication if this option ever crossed their mind.  The King James Version of the Bible does not use the term reputation as our culture does today.  Instead, King Solomon encouraged people make a good name for themselves, Proverbs 22:1, to develop a good repute in their community.

In a typical wedding ceremony, there is a portion devoted to vows.  Some creative couples write their own, others follow the traditions of their denomination and most simply repeat vows first spoken by a pastor or priest.  Ecclesiastes 5:4-7 warn individuals to take their vows serious, especially ones which include “for better or for worse.”  Yet, mere words don’t hold a marriage together.  Rather, one of the missing ingredients in modern marriages is a will to love once feelings fade.

With this in mind, one of the commands Solomon gave his son is detailed in Proverbs 3:3.  Let love and faithfulness never leave you is a joint command, not to be separated.  In the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 13 is one of most popular passages read out loud during marriage ceremonies.  The original translation uses the term charity in place of love.  Thus, Solomon is introducing a concept to demonstrate charity faithfully.

The last portion of Proverbs 3:3 explains how one must carry out this command.  The term bind means to knit together, joining two pieces into one.  When a person fastens love and faithfulness to their neck, its always in their peripheral vision.  However, this still isn’t enough to save marriage.  Therefore, Solomon adds one further instruction to insure love and faithfulness endures.  If you enter, engrave or mark something mentally to remain in your heart, a will to love is born.  Follow the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 to complete these essential ingredients for a life long relationship.

by Jay Mankus

The Mystery of Fear

As a child, nightmares blanketed my thoughts as I tried to outrun Bigfoot throughout my neighborhood, escape the Boogie Man who was underneath my bed or reenact a scene from a Creature Double Feature that I had watched earlier in the day.  While awake, I became afraid of heights after visiting the Empire State Building and snakes during a few close calls where snakes slithered between my legs while cutting the grass in my backyard.  Adolescence brought with it a fear of rejection, especially by girls that added to my already fragile psyche.  Never did I once challenge fear; instead I ran away like a little girl, awestruck by this mystery.

Catholic hymns like Be Not Afraid conveyed a little hope to my soul, exposing this unnatural emotion.  In addition, hearing priests read from Proverbs and Psalms from the Bible produced a sense of peace to ease any remaining anxieties of fear.  Yet, in high school I wasn’t mature enough to ask intelligent theological questions.  On the other hand, the busyness of college prevented me from contemplating the unsolved mystery of fear.  The timing was not right for me to tackle this subject, put on hold for another time down the road toward Elm Street.

Like a scene from Back to the Future, God revealed the answer I was searching for as I opened up Proverbs 1.  According to Solomon, unlocking wisdom in life starts with a reverent fear of God.  The spirit of fear on earth uses apprehension, panic and trepidation to form a constant state of worry.  Biblical fear is the key for attaining the cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude, Proverbs 1:1-7.  These qualities are available to anyone according to C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.  However, this is only half the mystery.

The missing link and final piece of the puzzle is found in 1 John 4:18.  According to John, the disciple whom Jesus loved as a son, proclaims “perfect love drives out fear.”  The only obstacle to obtaining perfect love is sin.  C.S. Lewis states in his chapter entitled Theological Virtues, access is limited to just Christians.  This love comes from the power of the Holy Spirit mentioned in 2 Peter 1:3-4.  Therefore, if anyone seeks charity, hope and faith, you must come to Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5.  The apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:4-7 gives a glimpse of what one can expect when the Holy Spirit helps you conquer the mystery of fear.  “Be Not Afraid!”

by Jay Mankus

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