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Awaken Your Soul

The average person needs caffeine each morning before they begin to feel normal.  Whether its coffee, tea or soda, many rely on substitutes to awaken their soul.  Meanwhile, the morning person has way too much energy for sleepy heads like me, needing to put on a lid of their joy until co-workers regain their consciousness.  Yet, there is another anecdote mentioned in the Bible which awakens souls daily.

According to Psalm 57:7-8, music is great way to awaken your soul.  Depending upon your instrument of choice or the genre you prefer, King David used the sound of music to awaken his soul.  Whether you find yourself rising to music on your alarm, singing in the shower or preparing yourself with your favorite artist on your way to work, God designed music to make individuals feel better, 1 Samuel 16:22-23.

From an early age, David found contentment playing his harp, making a joyful noise to the Lord, Psalm 150:3.  Although he likely didn’t take this to work in the fields as a shepherd, David’s soul was lifted up by the sound of music.  Today, music is only a click away on your computer, itunes or satellite radio.  You can build your own radio station on Pandora, create your own playlist on an mp3 player or access your favorite station at home.  Regardless of the time, morning, day or night, awaken your soul this day with the soothing sound of music.

by Jay Mankus

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The Soothing Sound of Music

Record players, eight tracks and cassette tapes were just the beginning to the revolution called music.  Today, MP3 players, iTunes and computers able to download thousands of song, enable the soothing sound of music to be just one click away.  Life without cell phones, electronic devices and voice activated technology is now unthinkable as silence has been replaced by your favorite play list.

Yoga and meditation rely on music as an alternative to healing and relaxation.  Serving as a substitute for God, retreat centers, seminars and private classes are exploding in popularity, ushering in a New Age.  The angel of song, Lucifer, uses all kinds of music to entice individuals like Eve in the garden, replacing an apple with a catchy beat, void of any true meaning.  Meanwhile, whispers penetrate your soul, “I don’t listen to the lyrics,” planting seeds for compromise to commence.

To battle this movement, churches are introducing Soaking in the Spirit, turning prayer rooms into a comfortable place to relax while listening to worship music.  Based upon the principles within Romans 12:1-2, minds are being transformed by words inspired by the Bible, Romans 10:17.  Considered a skilled musician, 1 Samuel 16:14-23, David understood the gladness, joy and peace one experiences while listening to music, Psalm 45:8.

For me, the choice of my music often dictates my mood and or behavior.  Whether you prefer hip hop, rap or classic rock and roll, pieces of the songs you listen to stay with you for hours, days or weeks.  If you’re skeptical, take the Music Challenge.

Spend one day listening to secular music, journal at the end of the day how this music influenced you.  Then, take a day listening to Christian/Gospel/Worship music, using Pandora if you don’t have a large selection.  Compare your language, thoughts and overall mindset.  If you don’t see a definite difference, consider a longer time span, like the challenge found in Daniel 1:8-16.

Feel free to share any findings you discover or interesting insights on the soothing sound of music.

by Jay Mankus

Sunup to Sundown

Beginning December 1st, I will only witness the sun on Sunday’s over the next 3 weeks leading up to Christmas.  As the peak shopping season has commenced, I am planning to spend 18 of the next 21 days at work, from sunup to sundown.  Since my shift starts at 7am and goes until 5:30 pm, the sun doesn’t rise before I arrive and has set well before my ride home.  While there are plenty of lights inside, for now making enough money to survive is of vital importance.

At least for one month, I can relate to the schedule Moses kept during Israel’s 40 year trek in the wilderness, prior to experiencing the promised land, Exodus 18:13-14.  That is until Jethro, a concerned father in law, intervened, providing Moses with a plan to elevate his stress level.  Although I will miss several opportunities for fun in the sun, the bigger picture is etched in my mind.  Despite the exhaustion and pain my body will endure, a large paycheck will make Christmas that much more merrier, knowing I will have the funds to pay off most of our bills.

As a child, I went to sleep every night listening to Here Comes the Sun by the Beattles off their Abbey Road album.  Before the days of itunes, mp3 players, CD’s and cassettes, all I had was a hand me down record player with an 8 track deck.  It wasn’t much, but I treasured this possession, taking good care of it for nearly 20 years until I could afford to buy a new stereo.  Thus, I had a tradition, when the sun set and my lights went out, I maneuvered the needle just in the right place, listened to the dust, occasionally making a skipping sound and feel asleep dreaming of another day of the sun rising over the ocean.  In this Christmas season, may the sun shine bright on your life and family.

by Jay Mankus

Sit Down and Shut Up or Get Up and Speak Out?

1 day ago
While 71,024 spectators were eyewitnesses of Sunday Night’s Super Bowl 47, won by the Ravens 34-31, at the Superdome in New Orleans, another event was overshadowed.  The Waste Management Open at the T.P.C. of Scottsdale held a crowd that would make a We Are The World Concert jealous.  More than 550,000 fans came out over 4 days to support the PGA of America and local Arizona charities.  This crowd had front row seats to Phil Mickelson’s 28 under par score, 2 shots shy of the PGA Tour record held by Tommy Armour III.

Although golfers are often teased by other professional athletes, this PGA event features stadium golf and the infamous 16th hole, a short par 3 surrounded by 177 sky boxes and 15,000 seats.  This arena creates a non-typical golf setting.  Instead of being told by marshals to sit down and shut up, spectators are encouraged to get up and let golfers know how you really feel.  Between the cheers and boos for shots either making or missing the green, caddies race to the green with 75 pound golf bags over their shoulders, winning by being the first to step foot on the green.  For one week each year, a circus like atmosphere comes to Scottsdale, hosted by the Thunderbirds, a local group of volunteers which is responsible for growing this tournament into what it has become, a 4 day pre-Superbowl party.

2 days ago

Though the world of golf is changing for the better, the arena of ideas has been muffled for Christians, stifled by political correctness.  When it comes to the Bible, Christian symbols, prayer and religious freedoms, the government is regularly telling Christians to sit down and shut up with your Jesus talk.  Facing a similar threat in Acts 5:12-42, the apostles took a different route.  Risking jail, flogging to a point near death and hatred from religious leaders, led my Peter, these 12 men, got up, went to the temple and meeting places to boldly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Despite daily persecution, God blessed the faithfulness of these leaders.  When you get your opportunity, my only question is, will you sit down and shut up or get up and speak out for Jesus?

by Jay Mankus

For a better understanding of the 16th hole, check out Peter Jacobson’s new song on itunes.  Jake & the Ball Washers song debuted Saturday, February 2nd on NBC during the live PGA telecast.  NBC Sports also owns the Golf Channel.

The Days That Music Died

In his prime, Buddy Holly produced some of the most distinctive and influential rock music of the 1950’s.  Inspired by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly went from playing at a local roller skating rink in Lubbock, Texas to the top of the billboard charts.  Songs like Peggy Sue and That’ll Be The Day led to his stardom until a 1959 plane crash ended his life before reaching his 23rd birthday.  American folk star Don McLean was so touched by this tragedy he wrote the song American Pie in 1971 recounting the day music died in this disaster.

Music was reborn 10 years later on August 1st, 1981 as Music Television first aired in New York City.  As cable television went national in the early 1980’s, the art of music was brought back to life through on stage interviews, behind the scenes programs on upcoming album releases and the creation of music videos.  During my junior high days, I went to a friends every day after school until 5pm so I could be informed on my favorite groups and their new songs.  This was musics second hey day, spawning an entire generation, yet this too would come to pass.

While artists come and go, dying of natural and unnatural causes, the second death of music is more subtle.  Some where in the past 30 years, music has been corrupted by sex appeal.  In an attempt to hold an audiences’ attention, music videos continue to push the envelope, developing more into a 3-4 minute adult film than a music video.  Although must consumers download songs from places like itunes, album covers still exist.  Instead of a pissing contest, female musicians appear to be competing in a beauty pageant, seeing who can reveal more of their body without being accused of pornography.

Yes, music in America is on life support, waiting for the next Buddy Holly to rescue it.  While Super Bowl half time shows will continue, we need a true leader to arise, saying enough is enough with these wardrobe malfunctions.  Doesn’t any artist have some integrity or guts to save lyrics from sexual immorality?  God is waiting, like in the days of Ezekiel, for someone to stand in the gap of morality, Ezekiel 22:30.  In the words of M.C. Hammer, Pray!

by Jay Mankus

song writer of A Simple Confession, 1994

Beneath The Scars

While most people have kept up with technology, downloading songs from I Tunes, I still believe in purchasing CD’s.  Yes, those round things that you put in that device you have to plug in and turn on before you can actually hear music.  Any way, as I was listening to 12 Stones, one of the new albums I bought for my birthday, I was led into a spirit of worship.

Their album Beneath The Scars touched my heart, sending me into an amazing state of praise.  The song That Changes Everything highlights the meaning behind the name of this 12 Stones album.  When you consider the suffering Christ endured, Hebrews 12:4, for you and for me, its a game changer!  Beneath the scars mentioned in Matthew 27:27-40, we have a Savior who conquered sin and death, 1 Corinthians 15:52-57.

If you dig deeper, shifting from Christ to your own life, we all have scars.  Some from surgery’s, others from birth defects as well as those emotional scars undetected by the human eye.  Yet, they are there, in everyone whether you like it or not.  In a way, we are all like jars of clay, 2 Corinthians 4:1-12.  Despite our imperfections, our weaknesses and any pain we are still holding on to, there is healing Beneath The Scars, 2 Corinthians 4:13-15!

by Jay Mankus

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