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Tag Archives: founding fathers

More Than a Bell

Nearly twenty years ago I worked directly across the street from the Liberty Bell, driving by it six days a week.  To a certain extent, I took this local landmark for granted, just another piece of scenery on my ninety minute commute home.  Two years after leaving this position, National Treasure debuted in theaters.  Nicolas Cage and Justin Bartha play treasurer hunters, Benjamin Gates and Riley Poole, searching for a treasure left behind by several founding fathers who were Free Masons.  In this film, the Liberty Bell holds a clue, the next piece to a puzzle that ultimately leads to a hidden vault underneath a church in New York City.  Yet, this two thousand pound structure made out of copper and tin is much more than just a bell.

And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan, Leviticus 25:10.

In 1751, the Pennsylvania assembly ordered a bell for its State House, today’s Independence Hall.  The assembly chose a biblical inscription from the Bible that proclaims “liberty throughout the land,” Leviticus 25:10.  This bell would become an emblem of American independence.  One century later this bell also served as a symbol of the anti-slavery movement during the Civil War.  Initially, the Liberty Bell summoned Philadelphia lawmakers to their assemblies and local citizens to public announcements.  Today, over five million visitors travel to Independence National Historical Park to see this national treasure.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; Isaiah 61:1.

The context of the phrase “liberty throughout the land” comes from an Old Testament practice known as the Year of Jubilee.  The symbolism of this celebration is based upon freedom, setting anyone living in bondage or enslaved free.  Every fifty years on the Jewish calendar, the Jubilee cancelled any outstanding debts.  Thus, slaves were allowed to return to their homeland without being forced to return.  When you add the year of Jubilee to the end of slavery in America, the Liberty Bell has duel meanings.  If you ever have a chance to visit Independence National Park in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, remember that this monument is much more than a bell.

by Jay Mankus

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The Fundamental Basis for Law

Prominent founding fathers argued that the United States Constitution should not be ratified as it failed to protect the basic principles of human liberty.  This led James Madison to propose amendments to the constitution.  These amendments known as the Bill of Rights were inspired by George Mason’s 1776 Virginia Declarations of Rights, the 1689 English Bill of Rights, works during the Age of Enlightenment pertaining to natural rights and the Magna Carta, 1215.  Ironically, the Magna Carta would inspire American colonists a few hundred years later to declare independence from Great Britain.  Roughly one-third of the provisions in the United States’ Bill of Rights draw from the Magna Carta, particularly from its 39th clause.

“The fundamental basis of this Nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings that we get from Exodus and St, Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul, ” President Harry S. Truman, 1950.

The 33rd president of the United States goes one step further, claiming that the foundation upon which the United States has based its laws comes directly out of the Bible.  As a World War I veteran and the Vice President to FDR, Truman who took office following Roosevelt’s death.  Under Truman’s leadership, World War II ended following the use of two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Less than a month after dropping these bombs, Japan surrendered.  Sometimes you have to use drastic measures to end worldly conflicts.  While Truman is still criticized today for this controversial decision, few will remember this president for his quote listed above.  Although modern historians glance over, ignore and suppress biblical influences on the founding of America, the Bill of Rights borrows from civil law within the ten commandments.

“Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you.13 “You shall not commit murder (unjustified, deliberate homicide).14 “You shall not commit adultery.15 “You shall not steal [secretly, openly, fraudulently, or through carelessness].16 “You shall not testify falsely [that is, lie, withhold, or manipulate the truth] against your neighbor (any person).17 “You shall not covet [that is, selfishly desire and attempt to acquire] your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor,” Exodus 20:12-17.

The ten commandments contain two separate categories, loving God and loving your neighbor, Matthew 22:36-39.  The first four provide instructions on how individuals can honor and please the Lord.  The final six focus on civil laws or as Jesus details in Matthew 22, loving your neighbor as yourself.  This is the foundation of the Golden Rule, “treating other people as you want to be treated.”  In this day and age, educators, lawyers and politicians often try to make the simple complex.  Yet, Jesus simplifies the fundamental basis for law so that even a young child can understand.  Every day God offers free will, giving people the option to love or hate, forgive or hold grudges, overlook offenses or magnify sin.  The choice is yours, but I pray that the Holy Spirit inspires you during this Christmas season to develop an overwhelming desire to love God and those you come in contact with daily.

by Jay Mankus

Within the Grasp of the Human Mind

Modern scientists tend to gravitate toward atheism, trusting only that which they can prove via science.  Others follow a similar path to C.S. Lewis, abandoning a childhood faith, encouraged by higher education professors who do not believe that God exists.  A more recent example is Lee Strobel, a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald, eager to prove that Christianity is a fraud.  Strobel’s testimony can be found in the book and now movie The Case for Christ.  Regardless of what so called experts, the media and scholars proclaim, the answer to the meaning of life is within the grasp of the human mind.

“Those laws (of nature) are within the grasp of the human mind; God wanted us to recognize them by creating us after his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts,” Johannes Kepler in 1599.

During a trip to the new Museum of the Bible in Washington DC, I found this to be true.  On the second floor, Level 2, this exhibit is entitled the Impact of the Bible.  Like a living history book, there are hundreds of quotes from Colonists, Pilgrims, founding fathers, former presidents and past leaders of the United States.  Yet, other displays extend beyond our borders, documenting famous individuals in their fields throughout the world.  Two of the most intriguing comments come from a former astronomer and mathematician listed above and below.  Without mentioning scripture, each man appears to be referencing the invisible qualities of God, Romans 1:20.

“If the sacred scribes had had any intention of teaching people certain arrangements and motions of the heavenly bodies… then in my opinion they would not have spoken of these matters so sparingly, Galileo Galilei in a 1615 letter to the Grand Duchess of Christiana.

During his own letter to the church of Rome, the apostle Paul suggests that no should claim, “I didn’t know?”  Rather, the creation of the world reveals God’s invisible attributes.  A sunrise, the sun setting over an ocean and a rainbow following a storm are clear signs of a mastermind.  C.S. Lewis devotes the first section of Mere Christianity eluding to the Law of Human Nature.  While Lewis does highlight objections to this law, his words support what Galileo and Kepler have written.  If only human beings slowed down this Christmas season and stopped what they are doing for a moment, Psalm 46:10, the answers to the meaning of life are within the grasp of the human mind.  This revelation is just a prayer away.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Ill Gotten Gain

For years I’ve heard preachers and pundits warn Christians against buying lottery tickets, gambling or participating in activities that offer big payouts.  I’ve gone back and forth pondering biblical principles and comparing them with logic.  One of the opposing views I have adopted is comparing the lottery to a contest, if you don’t enter you won’t have the chance to win.  However, after reading a verse from Solomon, I may have changed my mind.

Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death, Proverbs 10:2.

The verse above appears to apply to contests, lotteries or payouts where little or no work is involved.  I would not include investing in this category as this involves researching trends and studying the market that takes years to fully grasp and understand.  If you examine the term ill-gotten, Solomon is referring to methods that involve cheating, dirty or shady.  Then again, this may exclude the lottery from this argument.  Nonetheless, I get the sense that God wants people to work for you make, not handed money you don’t deserve.

Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it, Proverbs 1:19.

Sometimes before you reach a conclusion you have to let new concepts settle.  Instead of making a knee jerk reaction, its probably better to take some time to reflect upon what you really believe.  One of Israel’s founding fathers, Joshua refers to a cow chewing its cud in Joshua 1:8, emphasizing the importance of meditating upon biblical teachings.  Therefore, I won’t make a definitive statement on what you should or should not do.  Rather, I want everyone who reads this to contemplate what it means to receive ill-gotten gain.

by Jay Mankus

Y2 Decay

It’s hard to believe that its now been 15 years since the Y2K scare.  Due to the coding of DOS based programs, there were growing concerns that software would default from 1999 to 1900 resulting in the loss of sensitive information including bank accounts on January 1, 2000.  Thus, businesses, programmers and IT support spent over a year along with millions of dollars to update technology with modern solutions.  Although there were some minor glitches, the world survived.

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds. Proverbs 27:23

While advances in modern living have improved annually, the same can’t be said about the faith of Americans.  Except for a period of time following the aftermath of 9/11/01, church attendance has been on a downward spiral for the last 15 years.  According to a Fuller Institute Study, 2.7 million church members will become inactive sometime throughout this year.  Several of whom will leave their church home feeling hurt, neglected or wounded.

I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. – Ezekiel 22:30

The byproduct of this decay has resulted in a society vulnerable to half-truths and misleading documentaries, void of absolute truth.  Recent attempts by atheists in Hollywood to portray a biblical Noah and Moses failed miserably.  If this trend continues, a nation of faith established by our founding fathers will be forgotten.  May those called by God, like the prophet in Isaiah 6:8, step forward to lead the lost out of darkness into the light.  During times of despair, fight off spiritual decay by placing your feet on the solid rock of Christ, Psalm 40:1-3.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Sermons of John Wise

John Wise is one of those individuals who has been forgotten by history.  A reverend at the Congregational Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Wise blazed a trial which the founding fathers of America emulated.  Until yesterday, I never realized that the Declaration of Independence was based upon by a sermon series John Wise preached in 1687.  These messages were inspired by a tax levied by royal Governor Andros without the representation of a legislative body.  Wise was one of the first civil rights leader, going to jail for his opposition, a pioneer who used his pulpit to preach liberty and justice for all.

John Wise devoted his entire life to the ministry, serving from the time of his ordination to his death in 1725.  Prior to his passing, Wise completed his most famous work,   A Vindication of the Government of New England Churches in 1717.  This compilation became a blue print that was adopted in 1776 during the Continental Congress, known as the Declaration of Independence.  When reverend Wise spoke to his community, he didn’t see black, red or white skin.  Rather, Wise developed an expression saying, “there are only 2 kinds of races, those who believe in God and those who don’t!”  This is just a glimpse of the sermons of John Wise.  These inspired words are simply Supernatural as DC Talk once sang.

There is much to learn from this second generation Pilgrim leader.  First, a preacher should not be muzzled by the government.  Church should be a place of refuge where worshipers can experience heaven on earth before going back into the world like disciples for the next 6 days.  Second, the Bible is a blue print for life, liberty and the American way.   Allowing atheists to silence the spiritual foundation of this country is like spitting the reverend Wise in the face.  Finally, history is like a true National Treasure, full of mentors, stars and visionaries who have made America a great nation.  Go to a local library today to examine diamonds in the rough, lost over the course of time, by a media ashamed of God.  If you want to know more about John Wise, David Barton has written books about his impact on American History.

by Jay Mankus

 

Finding Your Why

Author Simon Sinek wrote the book Start with Why, uncovering how great leaders inspire others to take action.  While many modern businesses have a high school mentality, punishing everyone for a few workers transgressions, Sinek highlights what separates great companies and leaders from the rest.  While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Steve Jobs and the Wright Brothers didn’t have much in common, they all started with why.

While listening to an interview yesterday on the Blaze Radio Network, I began to wonder, why do I do what I do?  Subsequently, its important to find your why.  During the exile of Israel in the Old Testament, a prophet unveiled some chilling news.  “People are destroyed from a lack of knowledge,” Hosea 4:6.  This passage suggests if you don’t find your why in life, you will likely come to ruin before you fulfill God’s will on earth, Philippians 1:6.

One of Israel’s founding fathers advised God’s people to read, ponder and meditate on the Torah, Joshua 1:8.  The son of God called His followers to action, putting into practice the words He, Jesus shared, Matthew 7:24.  Meanwhile, the apostle Paul encouraged seekers to devote their lives to holiness, worship and renewing minds to conform with Scripture, Romans 12:1-2.

As you set out to find your own why for what you do, let us know how your journey is going.

by Jay Mankus

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