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The Cost of Life

Twenty years ago, the best man in my wedding convinced me that it was a good idea to purchase my first life insurance plan.  With my wife’s blessing, I agreed as this friend was also an insurance agent, excited to have me as one of his first clients.  Well, I made it to age 48, causing my policy to come up for renewal in January.  As a reward for out living this, I received a letter in the mail.  To my surprise, the cost of my next plan has tripled, suggesting that keeping me as a customer may be too risky.  This shocking reality has opened my eyes to the cost of life.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28

If you have a calculator with you or is easily available, jot down a couple of numbers before you start adding up everything.  What do you annually pay for auto insurance, cable, electric, food, gas, health insurance, internet, phone and water?  Before you get any more depressed, starting estimating the price of life for just one year on earth.  Perhaps, this may explain why adults are leaving civilization to begin living off the grid.  Those addicted to modern inventions are stuck flipping the bill to the cost of this life.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith, Hebrews 13:7.

Growing up as a teenager, the Price is Right was my favorite game show, watching this on sick days or reruns after school.  While I understand the concept of this popular show, somewhere along the way the price of life has gotten out of control, no longer right.  The thought of waiting for a bus, living without a cell phone or foregoing internet access seems unbearable.  Yet, if you want to reclaim your freedom from the almighty dollar, you might want to begin making plans to purge yourself from unneeded distractions that inflate the cost of life.

by Jay Mankus

Connect to Disconnect

To connect refers to bringing into contact so that a real link or relationship is established.  Unfortunately, this definition did not foresee how electronics and technology would pervert this term.  Subsequently, when individuals pick up their phones in public this act is essentially connecting to the internet to disconnect.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh, Genesis 2:24.

According to the Bible, God’s original intent of creating human beings is to become married, have children and spend the rest of their lives together.  While some still abide and strive to live this out, many have developed counter views.  This disagreement has divided churches, families and nations.  Yet, as consumers observe and notice how people tune out others due to cell phones perhaps a movement will begin to end this poor societal habit.

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. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:1-2.

The apostle Paul provides a solution for this dilemma.  To avoid connecting to disconnect requires a spiritual act of worship.  Instead of taking a self-indulgence approach, God wants individuals to dedicate their gifts and talents to the Lord.  As people begin to read, study and meditate on the Bible, minds will become transformed from their previous way of thinking.  If you continue on this track, God promises to reveal His ultimate will for your life.  Put your phone down today or else you might fall prey to connecting to disconnect.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Be Hoodwinked Before Election Day

In the Middle Ages, a strange practice began as hoods were placed over the heads of falcons.  This is where the term hoodwink derives from according to the Urban Dictionary.  When translated into English, this word refers to being duped, fooled or tricked into being something that is true.  Today, consumers of the internet, radio and television are bombarded by negative ads where the context is usually altered to make opponents appear unfit for public service.

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them, Proverbs 11:3.

Instead of taking the bait cast out their by shrewd campaigns, the best barometer can be found in the history of every politician.  Usually, an informed voter can examine previous voting records, contributions to local, state and national programs as well as the impact people have made on others throughout their lives.  Unfortunately, the hardest part of this step lies in a media who embraces those who share a secular worldview.  Meanwhile, anyone holding a conservative, limited government or traditional values tends to be attacked, criticized and demonized for holding non progressive positions.

Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool, Proverbs 19:1.

While most voters have already made up their minds, here’s a few things to consider for those still on the fence.  First, any hope of remaining a country based upon the constitution lies in a president who will appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court.  Second, anyone wanting to live the American Dream as a small business owner, requires a president who understands and supports current and future entrepreneurs.  Finally, if you want to avoid becoming the United Social States of America, you need to get behind the candidate who isn’t afraid to confront and expose corruption.  Whatever you decide, don’t get hoodwinked before Election Day.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Convenient Absence of the Truth

During a recent sleepless night, I stumbled upon a rerun of a 30 for 30 on ESPN.  Trying to find something to fall asleep to, an episode on the Hillsborough soccer stadium tragedy did just the opposite.  This riveting documentary made me begin to wonder what other events from history have been sanitized by a convenient absence of the truth.

When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, Matthew 28:12.

On April 15th, 1989, soccer fans began to flood a standing room only section of the Hillsborough stadium.  As space to stand started to disappear, a mass panic ensued causing people to press toward a fence shielding fans from players on the field.  This chaos was complicated by a lack of reaction by stadium officials leading to the deaths of 96 people.

Telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep,’ Matthew 28:13.

In the hours and days that followed, authorities using the media as a pawn began to assign blame.  Like modern day talking points, alcohol, drunk fans and crude behavior served as window dressing to hide the actual facts of this disaster.  Justice took over 20 years to arrive when original police statements and those altered by government officials were posted side by side on the internet.  This is just another example of corruption inspired by a convenient absence of the truth.

If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble,” Matthew 28:14.

This strategy is nothing new as even Jesus dealt with a similar scheme to redefine his own resurrection.  As Jewish and Roman officials tried to squash Jesus’ growing popularity and message, a plan was devised to change public opinion.  There was only one problem with this decision, Jesus spent 40 days in public after rising from the dead.  According to Luke, Jesus was seen by over 500 eyewitnesses serving as a first century Drudge Report.

So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day, Matthew 28:15.

Today, if you click on the internet, turn on the television or tune into talk radio, don’t blindly believe the first thing that you hear or see.  Rather, remember that a few elite media members control the daily narrative presented to the airways in America.  Essentially, what you see isn’t always what is actually happening.  Therefore, as a new election season approaches full of ads steeped in embellishment, do your own homework before you reach a final conclusion.  If you don’t, you might be the next victim, deceived by a convenient absence of the truth.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Proclamation to Imprisoned Spirits

A modern use for the term proclamation is a broadcast, manifesto or public notice.  Depending upon the messenger of a proclamation, commercials, infomercials or public service announcements may be used to get the word out to the masses.  However, for those without televisions or access to the internet, its vital for someone to go door to door if a message is life changing.

After being made alive, Jesus went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits, 1 Peter 3:19.

Following Jesus’ resurrection, one of his disciples recounts an important mission not mentioned by other writers of the Bible.  While no specific names are mentioned, Jesus visits individuals who were held captive by imprisoned souls.  Although the gospels recall 500 eyewitnesses who encountered Jesus after resurrection Sunday and before his ascension, its unclear whether Jesus visits men or women.  Thus, I’m assuming Jesus spent time with those addicted to certain types of sin.

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

The purpose of these house calls is made known by an earthly doctor unable to heal certain individuals.  Thus, Jesus provided a spiritual cure to save imprisoned souls.  With the scars stills visible in Jesus hands and feet, those doubting God’s power were likely shown and proclaimed, “by these wounds, you have been healed.”  This is the proclamation to imprisoned spirit, still available for you and me today.

by Jay Mankus

Living Off the Grid, Unplugged for a Week

Prior to the advent of cell phones and internet, conversational skills were an important part of life.  While technological advances often enhance society, these two inventions are killing intimate relationships.  These modern devices are distracting individuals from bonding with other human beings whom they share a lot in common with, but haven’t taken the time to find out.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

During a vacation over Spring Break, I spent a week without wi-fi.  Thus, posting my blogs was a difficult challenge as even some of the restaurants I ate at did not offer free access to the internet.  Despite this challenge, I survived, spending more time with my family and children than normal.  Swimming in the day and playing pool at night provided a healthy climate for communication.

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

Although you probably won’t find me on a reality show like Survivor, living off the grid and unplugged for a week was a blessing.  Since I’ve always been a doer, with a drive to experience the outdoors, visiting new places this past week has given me a new appreciation for life.  Sure, you do need money to travel, but if you limit your access to the social media, you will discipline yourself to make the effort to go and do things you have always talked about, but never done.  Seize each new day while it lasts!

by Jay Mankus

Going Back in Time to Move Forward

Disney’s animation movie Cars premiered at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 26th of 2006.  Lightning McQueen, the star and voice of Owen Wilson, illustrates what happens when an individual seeks to do whatever it takes to reach the top of their profession, the Piston Cup for McQueen, whatever the cost.  Just before reaching his goal, Lightning accidentally stumbles upon Radiator Springs, a once booming town on Route 66.  Forced to fix a portion of the road he destroyed, McQueen is taught a series of life lessons before moving on to his final race of the season.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Over the weekend, I spent a portion of 4th of July weekend in Amish country.  Spending the night at a bed and breakfast, I felt like I was transported back in time to life without technology.  There was no television, internet or bars to make a call.  Instead, there were books, nature and others to converse with.  Spoiled by distractions in life, it became painfully clear during my visit that my communication skills have deteriorated.  Tuning out others with technology had become a way of life for me, a misguided attempt to hide my inadequacies.  Thus, going back in time has created a thirst for conversations in the future.

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone, 1 Thessalonians 5:14.

Today, emails, Facebook and Twitter are flawed forms of communication.  While you may be able to express what you feel or think, often this form of expression is self-centered, void of any genuine face to face interaction.  Although emails may be convenient, they are superficial, not offering time for questions and answers like good old fashion meetings.  Perhaps, this generation has become too dependent on technology.  Sure, any information you desire is only a click away, but people are what makes the world go round.  Therefore, everyone needs time to get away, slow down and cruise the streets of a real life Radiator Springs.  Only when you go back in time for some rest and relaxation will you be ready to move forward.

by Jay Mankus

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