RSS Feed

Tag Archives: martyr

Recognizing the Limits of Politics

Saul from Tarsus was a member of the Pharisees, a religious zealot, and a Roman citizen. However, even as a religious man, there are politics inside the house of God. Take for example a man named Nicodemus who approached Jesus under the cover of darkness, afraid of what his friends would think, John 3:1-5. Like a high school jock in the hallway, Nick is sarcastic with Jesus, making a joke while responding.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good, Proverbs 15:3.

When Saul changed his name to Paul following his conversion on the Road to Damascus, politics was used on a few occasions. As a Roman citizen, Paul played this card after being arrested in Philippi, Acts 16:35-39. Meanwhile, when the same Jewish leaders who crucified Jesus wanted to accuse Paul of a similar crime, he appealed to Caesar so he could share his testimony to the government in Rome.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and Yours it is to be exalted as Head over all, 1 Chronicles 29:11.

Paul’s arrest, trial and subsequent death as a martyr illustrates that politics has its limits. While modern day politicians in America are like exclusive members of a private country club, God is still in control whether they like it or not. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, and no one is exempt, even politicians from God’s judgement, Matthew 12:36. Therefore, lean on the Lord and not politics, Proverbs 3:5-6.

by Jay Mankus

The Other Side of the Universe

As an aspiring screen writer, I listen to a dozen podcasts each week. My goal is to extract golden nuggets of information so that I can implement these concepts into my own scripts. The more I listen, I find myself on the other side of the universe, possessing a completely different worldview. Instead of recognizing God, many of these experts use similar vocabulary. Rather than blame or credit God, the universe is in control of whatever happens in life from a Hollywood perspective.

It is God Who sits above the circle (the horizon) of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; it is He Who stretches out the heavens like [gauze] curtains and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in, Isaiah 40::22.

One Old Testament prophet disagrees. Isaiah died as a martyr, sawed in two rather than deny his faith. Despite this cruel ending, Isaiah recognized who was in control of the universe. In the passage above, Isaiah alludes to God’s omnipresence. Life isn’t simply a random set of events that plays out in the universe. Rather, Isaiah recognized the words of Jesus’ earthly brother before they were written, James 1:2-4. Trials occur on earth as a form of preparation, leading to maturity as time goes by.

By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible, Hebrews 11:3.

C.S. Lewis gives one of the best explanations of different worldviews in Mere Christianity. Lewis uses Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe. Human nature is a starting point where all human beings can relate to and understand. In the section entitled What Christians Believe, Lewis highlights virtues like prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude that everyone share. However, Theological virtues are limited to Christians via the Holy Spirit. Until someone enters into a relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-11, people will remain on the other side of the universe without knowing God.

by Jay Mankus

Reaching Your Desired Destination

Whether you’re a child busy day dreaming or an adult trying to crunch financial numbers, everyone has a desired destination.  Some dreams may appear lofty, others middle of the road with a few unrealistic.  Nonetheless, without vision, people perish, Hosea 4:6, dying inside without anything tangible to live for.

Israel longed for a promised land, African Americans envisioned a nation free from slavery and the poor seek a life without hunger.  On the road to success, doubt, a lack of resources and time stand in the way.  Depending upon the voices you hear, the people you surround yourself with and what you choose to believe, your destination may be altered, seeing but never reaching the Land of Oz.

The apostle Paul understood this concept, writing to the church in Philippi, Philippians 3:12-14.  Pride didn’t get in the way of his goal.  Despite his past ideology, Paul set his mind on heaven.  While his life was cut short on earth, martyred for his belief in Christ, faith allowed this servant of God to reach his desired destination.  May promises like Philippians 1:6 encourage you to never waiver until you arrive where you belong.

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: