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S.A.N.S. Episode 96: How You Live

Point of Grace started out as a female quartet in 1991. The current trio consists of Shelley Breen, Denise Jones, and Leigh Cappillino with Terry Jones leaving in 2003 to spend more time with her family. Point of Grace had a run of success as one of the top female Christian bands for a decade. While I don’t own many of their albums, Life, Love and Other Mysteries is by far my favorite.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [b]overflows), John 10:10.

Today’s featured song How You Live reminds me the words of Jesus in the passage above. When you’re feeling down and need a little something to boost your energy, many turn to music for inspiration. Like my ride home from work on a Friday afternoon, blasting the radio as high as possible is a great way to blow off steam. May the lyrics of How You Live encourage and motivate you to draw closer to Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

I’m Sick of It

Every once in a while a song will speak to me.  The timing is perfect, preparing you for the lyrics about to be sung.  Whether its a coincidence, divine intervention or fate, this message connects with your soul.  Such is the case of Skillet’s song Sick of It.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

The opening stanza speaks to people struggling with life.  This appeals to those who keep trying to make there life better without any signs of improvement on the horizon.  Like a boxer on the verge of giving up training for a big fight, progress will determine if you continue.  Anyone who is tired of losing often throws in the towel before letting things play out.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 2 Peter 1:3.
In the film Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne played by Tim Robbins has a I’m sick of it moment.  Frustrated by the injustice he has endured, Dufresne finds himself at a crossroads in life with one of two choices to make.  “Either get busy living or get busy dying.”  This same question must be addressed by anyone sick of their current situation.  May you choose life.

by Jay Mankus

Just Another Part of Life

Christopher Bullock was one of the first Americans to coin the phrase, “there are 2 certainties in life: death and taxes.”  In a letter written by Benjamin Franklin following the creation of the United States Constitution, Franklin relayed this painful reality in 1789.  Thus, every April Americans scramble to collect paperwork to meet the filing deadline.  Yes, taxes is just another part of life.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

Modern quotes have added one more element: life, death and taxes.  Unfortunately, death is one of those topics most people shy away from talking about.  The idea of never being able to see or talk to someone for the rest of your life is scary.  This fear places future conversations on hold until accidents, illness or old age arrives unexpectedly.  Funerals force the issue as human beings return to the same dust from which God created Adam.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also, John 14:3.

The older you get, it seems like weddings are replaced by funerals, bringing the reality of death to the forefront.  Yet, if you listen to the clergy who perform these ceremonies, there is an assumption that everyone goes to heaven.  I guess celebrating eternal damnation doesn’t draw a large crowd so the other choice is a better option.  While death is a certainty, heaven is not guaranteed.  Therefore, before you leave this earth, make sure your reservation is secured, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus


A Constitutional Crisis

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

The words above were crafted by the founding fathers of the United States of America.  Unfortunately, as times have changed worldviews have challenged citizens to reconsider their beliefs.  Subsequently, a constitutional crisis has arisen.  Do you hold to the originalists of the the past or view the constitution as a living document, open to interpretation?

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, John 16:13.

This current dilemma is creating a divide, splitting people into one of two categories.  Individuals either seek to uphold the law and do what’s right in their own mind.  This progressive mindset is causing some representatives within cities, counties and states to embrace illegal aliens, trying to establish sanctuary areas.  Although the motives may be pure, these leaders are actually aiding and abetting some criminals in the name of social justice.

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit, Judges 17:6.

Any time laws and regulations are seen as optional, chaos often ensues.  This sort of arbitrary enforcement can lead to confusion, favoritism and loopholes.  In some cases, police officers are viewed as the enemy, an obstruction to freedom.  If this social climate spreads, hope for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness fades.  As America struggles to get back on track, may God help us all before a constitution crisis destroys the future of this land of opportunity.

by Jay Mankus


Slowing Down to Serve

The concept “eye of the tiger” was introduced by the Rocky Series of movies.  Meredith Burgess plays Mick, Sylvester Stallone’s boxing trainer.  When Rocky becomes focused, he develops an eye like a tiger on the prowl.  Thus, in the 1982 film Rocky 3, the group Survivor creates a theme song that highlights this concept.  Unfortunately, I find myself way too often in the zone like this song’s lyrics.  Obsessed with a project or task at hand, this state prevents me from slowing down to serve others.

A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side, Luke 10:31-32.

One day some religious leaders had a busy schedule to keep.  There were places to go, people to meet and lives to touch.  During their travels, some bystanders were overlooked, passed by and skipped over.  Thus, the beggar on the street corner was neglected again, not willing to change their course.  While Jesus refers to a priest and a Levite in the passage above, I see myself as a weekly offender, too busy to recognize the Samaritan in need of help.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him, Luke 10:33-34.

The other night at work, I listened to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  In the hour that followed,  I was amazed at the opportunities that God brought my way.  Before I knew it, I helped an associate with a scanner problem; then another with a question about life, love and marriage.  On any other evening, I wouldn’t have noticed these people.  However, whenever you slow down enough, its much easier to see how God can use you to serve others.

by Jay Mankus

Something Made to Last

If you are a purest, its hard to find anything today that is built to last the test of time.  Somewhere over the last hundred years, a younger generation has chosen cheaper prices over reliability.  Subsequently, most of the items for sale are temporary, often breaking much sooner than promised or before their warranty is up.

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture, John 10:9.

In 1970, Coca-Cola began an advertising campaign claiming that their soft drink Coke was the real thing.  Essentially, executives were trying to convince consumers that Pepsi Cola and RC Cola were artificial, unlike their product.  Today, other manufacturers are making similar boasts.  Unfortunately, unless you are willing to pay a premium price, rarely will you find something made to last.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

Remedy Drive sings about this topic in their 2012 song Something Made to Last.  One of the issues they address are things in life that promise satisfaction, but end in disappointment.  Since every life has the same finale, death, its vital to find something that is eternal.  This is where Jesus enters the picture, promising an abundant life to those who chose to believe.  Therefore, don’t allow yourself to settle for a life void of meaning.  Rather, step out in faith by taking the hand of Jesus, who has left you the Holy Spirit which gives you something made to last.

by Jay Mankus


Beyond Redemption

Wherever you go in life, you will find signs.  Some contain mistakes, others confusing messages and a few will make you laugh.  Yet, there is one that is profound, Beyond Redemption.

God sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! – Psalm 111:9

If you have ever visited Niagara Falls, this sign serves as a final warning.  At the point of no return, where help can not arrive soon enough, the sign Beyond Redemption has been placed.  Just as the Niagara River plummets 325 feet before it flows north to Lake Ontario, this sign assumes death is inevitable.

In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:14

Today, individuals consume, drink and eat things which will harm their bodies.  Subsequently, nearly every package contains a warning label, usually describing a worst case scenario, especially if you suffer from this or that.  In view of the frailty in this life, please consider the redemption offered by life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ before you reach a point of no return.

by Jay Mankus


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

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


A Picture From God

The visual learner inside of human beings often struggle to believe in things that they can’t see.  Words are meaningless unless an image, thought or vision appears.  Sometimes a picture from God is what individuals are waiting for to breathe hope and life into their soul.

When the Lord slashed Gideon’s army from 22,000 to 300 men, he had his doubts about achieving victory.  To calm these fears, God provided a picture of success in Judges 7:9-15.  Peter had a similar experience in Luke 5:1-11.  As a professional fishermen, Peter wasn’t one to withhold his opinion.  However, after a humbling night on the water, a new kid on the block brought Peter to his knees, Luke 5:8.  These pictures from above empowered these followers to reach heights they never imagined.

Although its not mentioned, the men of Issachar likely received snapshots from the Holy Spirit.  While the world was distracted, these godly leaders stayed the course, keeping in step with the Lord, 1 Chronicles 12:32.  Today, this country and the world needs someone who understands the times.  May a picture from God engrave minds set on fulfilling Romans 12:2 so that the lost have someone to follow back home.

by Jay Mankus



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