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Supreme Insight

The United States Supreme Court was established on September 17, 1789. The concept of a Supreme Court dates back to the Old Testament. Prior to a visit from Jethro, Moses worked sunup to sundown serving as the only judge in all of Israel. Thanks to the wisdom of his father-in-law, Moses delegated all minor cases to other judges. Meanwhile, all of the major disputes came to the top court in Israel.

When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, What is this that you do for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening? 15 Moses said to his father-in-law, Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a dispute they come to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God and His laws. 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, The thing that you are doing is not good, Exodus 18:14-17.

Last week the Supreme Court made national news on their ruling on an oppressive gun law in the State of New York and the reversal of Roe verses Wade. These two rulings overshadowed the January 6th Committee hearings which claim that former President Donald Trump was responsible for inciting an insurrection. Yet, if you have listened to the responses of democrats, liberals and progressive politicians, the words that have been spoken in response to Roe verse Wade are inciting another insurrection.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the [consistently] righteous man [upright and in right standing with God] runs into it and is safe, high [above evil] and strong, Proverbs 18:10.

When my family moved to Delaware in the Summer of 1976, this new neighborhood was extremely competitive. When someone wasn’t allowed to bend or change the rules, every so often one of the kids took their basketball, baseball, or football and went home. You don’t have to be a lawyer to possess supreme insight. Rather, when adversity enters your life, who do you turn to or run towards? Immature politicians run toward a camera to complain. Mature Christians run toward God’s safe and strong tower.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 9: Your’s and Mine

Today’s artist got me through some tough times in college. I was first introduced to Linda Elias through her husband Rick who was a member of A Ragmuffin Band. When Rick started a solo career, Linda would also serve as a background vocalist on a number of his songs. The best way to describe Linda’s music is that she if the Belinda Carlisle of Christian music. Today’s song comes from the Meaning of Life album.

Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [[e]and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, Ephesians 5:19.

When I first bought the Meaning of Life album, I shared it with as many college friends as possible. The person who appreciated Linda’s music the most was my friend Pam from Poughkeepsie, New York. The soothing sound of Linda’s voice and the powerful Bible based lyrics made me want to shout the chorus of Your’s and Mine every time I heard it. May this eternal message lift your spirits as you listen.

by Jay Mankus

Under the Influence of a Sinful Nature

New York was the first state to create a law for individuals driving under the influence of alcohol. The first reported DUI arrest was in 1910. Modern laws use a person’s blood alcohol level to determine if someone is driving while intoxicated or over the legal limit, .1 percent which may vary from state to state. While the Bible warns about getting drunk, there are is another force that deserves careful attention.

Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze! And the tongue is a fire. [The tongue is a] world of wickedness set among our members, contaminating and depraving the whole body and setting on fire the wheel of birth (the cycle of man’s nature), being itself ignited by hell (Gehenna), James 3:5-6.

The section of the Bible known as the Catholic Letters begins with a warning about words. James 1:19 introduces the influence of anger on your speech. James 2:17 suggests that if the words you use don’t reflect your personal relationship with God that your faith is either dead or dying. In the passage above, the earthly brother of Jesus illustrates what happens to your language under the influence of a sinful nature.

But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment [to express itself], got a hold on me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires (lust, covetousness). For without the Law sin is dead [the sense of it is inactive and a lifeless thing]. Once I was alive, but quite apart from and unconscious of the Law. But when the commandment came, sin lived again and I died (was sentenced by the Law to death).10 And the very legal ordinance which was designed and intended to bring life actually proved [to mean to me] death, Romans 7:8-10.

Since not everyone is outgoing, the apostle Paul provides an internal analysis above of how sinful desires can hold you back spiritually. While the human mind is a beautiful thing to waste, Eve was the first victim when she allowed lies about God to be planted within her thoughts, Genesis 3:4-6. Any foreign influence starts off subtle with a compromise. Yet, once your judgment becomes clouded, enticement and lust open your mind to that which once was forbidden. The only way to break free from the influence of the sinful nature is by embracing the harvest of righteousness, James 3:17-18.

by Jay Mankus

Lone Survivor

Bruce Willis played David Dunn in the 2000 film Unbreakable. As the film begins, Dunn’s marriage is falling apart, taking the train to New York for an interview. Upon his return, the train derails and Dunn is the lone survivor. Little did David know that this was no accident, a plot by Elijah Price played by Samuel L. Jackson to see if his polar opposite existed.

And the Sabeans swooped down upon them and took away [the animals]. Indeed, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you, Job 1:15.

In the passage above and below, Job suggests that no matter how great an accident or natural disaster, there is usually at least one survivor. This individual often served as a reporter, recounting exactly what happened and when. After God allowed Satan to inflict Job’s family with a series of tribulations, a lone survivor brings back the bad news to Job.

While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, The fire of God (lightning) has fallen from the heavens and has burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you, Job 1:16.

If there are no positive signs of surviving a trial, hope can be lost. Unless you begin to experience a victory or victories, confidence disappears. As doubt enters your mind, thoughts can wander from fear to panic and even suicide. Thus, if you want to overcome your current crisis, remember the hidden remnant that the Lord sustains, 1 Kings 19:18. This knowledge serves as a promise to help the hopeless survive and see another day.

by Jay Mankus

I Could Use a Little Help Down Here

Newscaster Evan Baxter played by comedian Steve Carell leaves Buffalo, New York behind when he wins a seat in Congress. Yet, as Evan moves to Washington D.C. with his family, no one could imagine God’s request, played by Morgan Freeman, for this rising star. This is the background for the 2007 film Evan Almighty where a series of God instances leaves this amateur to commit political suicide, confessing God’s calling to build an ark. My favorite scene occurs when Baxter initially struggles to get his new project going, crying out to God, ” I could use a little help down here.”

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple, Luke 14:25-27.

I usually don’t agree with Hollywood’s portrayal of a biblical truths, especially after their epic flop of Noah in 2014. However, the Almighty films beginning with Bruce Almighty starring Jim Carrey in 2003 and the most recent Evan Almighty, provide a more accurate view of God’s character. After God purchases additional lots and provides all of the supplies to build an ark, Evan agrees to complete this task, unaware of why or when this boat will be needed. This is where many Americans find themselves, unsure if what they are currently doing is worth completing. “Should I move on or keep my word by finishing what I started?”

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples, Luke 14:28-33.

The gospel of Luke refers to 72 other disciples, servants of God, but not part of Jesus’ inner circle. At some point, Jesus challenged those who were eager to become followers. Combining common sense, tough love and wisdom from heaven, Jesus doesn’t want people to regret making a decision. Luke 9:57-62 highlights three different conversations that Jesus had with individuals who weren’t fully committed. Thus, each turned back, going on with the rest of their life. As 2020 quickly heads toward February, maybe it’s time for you take a moment to reflect. Are you doing God’s will? Are you uncertain about your career, college or future plans? Before you feel overwhelmed by life, don’t forget to ask God daily like Evan, ” I could use a little help down here.”

by Jay Mankus

Fleeing Communism Only to See it Come to America

While Germany sought to seize control of Europe during World War II, the Soviet Union used this distraction to expand their own borders. Known as the Invasion and Annexation of the Baltic States, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia were invaded in 1940. Living in Lithuania at this time, my father’s family barely escaped as Communism overran his native country.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God, Romans 13:1.

After a couple from America agreed to sponsor the Mankus family, my dad became a proud immigrant along with his two brothers. As a growing number of Lithuanians entered this country, many relocated to Binghamton, New York where my father spent the rest of his childhood. Working hard to learn English and excel in school, my family made the most of this opportunity, a prime example of living the American dream.

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men,” Acts 5:29.

Sixty years later my father is retired, enjoying the fruits of his labor. Yet, as he enjoys fishing, golfing and reading, the same ideology which caused him to flee Lithuania has found a home in the United States of America. If you use a search engine to find modern examples of Communism you will see China, Cuba, North Korea and Russia. However, if you watch cable news, read national publications or scan social media, you will find communist propaganda. Except for a few outlets like OAN news, the media is united so that progressivism will prevail. Unless God intervenes, I’m afraid this country is on the verge of becoming the United Socialist States of America.

by Jay Mankus

Awakenings

The summer of 1969 is filled with a rich resource of history.  Beside the Bryan Adams song which debuted in June of 1985, one of the most famous musical festivals of all time took place in upstate New York.  Woodstock began August 15th, 1969 and concluded four days later in Bethel, New York near White Lake.  While legendary artists, famous bands and iconic performers took turns on stage, a major medical breakthrough in the Bronx, New York was overshadowed.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation], Matthew 11:28.

Based on a true story, neurologist Oliver Sacks attempts to recount a series of awakenings within a mental hospital that took place during the summer of 1969.  The 1990 film Awakenings starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams highlights the doctor patient relationship of the first to awaken from over two decades in a catatonic state.  After convincing a Bronx administer to use an expensive experimental drug therapy on one patient with family consent, a little boy breaks 18 years of silence, coming to life as an adult.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light,” Matthew 11:29-30.

The older I become, the more I observe individuals who enter a trance life state, hiding disappointment, frustrations and pain within their heart.  The past can hold a series of burdens which can suck the joy out of any life.  Even those who possess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are at risk.  The only way for a true awakening to occur begins by placing your burdens at the foot of the cross.  As you pray for healing, hope and peace, may the Holy Spirit awaken your soul like those revived in the summer of 69.

by Jay Mankus

 

Whose Life is Worth Saving?

If you live along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, your life is interrupted for eight months every year.  Any condo, house or trailer within walking distance of a beach lives under a strict ordinance.  Florida’s state Game and Wild Life Department restricts outdoor landscaping lights of any kind.  If you are wondering why, this law has been enacted to save the lives of future sea turtles.  During the hatching process, lights draw the attention of newly born turtles.  To ensure baby sea turtles make it back to the ocean, local authorities constantly warn residence about outdoor lighting.  While hatchings usually don’t occur until May, the state of Florida has taken extreme measures for eight months to save the lives of baby sea turtles.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations,” Jeremiah 1:5.

Meanwhile, the states of New York and Virginia have made national headlines for a different reason this week.  A 2019 New York abortion bill has extended a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy from the third trimester all the way leading up to giving birth.  A similar abortion bill in Virginia was tabled after losing five to three during a committee meeting vote.  The Virginia legislation is said to be more humane, allowing woman to give birth, resuscitate the child if necessary, keep this newborn warm before ending it’s life.  Each of these bills give doctor’s, medical staff and women giving birth the authority to abort whenever deemed necessary.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them, Psalm 139:13-16.

These contrasting stories lead me to one question, whose life is worth saving?  Do Americans care more about pets and turtles than newborn babies?  Furthermore, how did this country reach this point?  How can we devalue the miracle of giving birth while giving more rights to animals without a soul?  Maybe it’s too late for this discussion, but I care too much about this country to see it wander into an immoral abyss.  I’m not sure what the answer is, but prayer is definitely one of the solutions.  May the Lord have mercy on the United States as future voters contemplate which leaders will have the boldness, courage and fortitude to steer this nation back where God desires.

by Jay Mankus

What It Means to be One Nation Under God

Since October media reports has followed caravans of people from Latin America, hoping for a better life.  Depending upon your choice of cable news networks, reporters covering this story have attempted to define who these people really are.  As the masses have reached the border seeking asylum, politics have divided Americans.  Those who don’t want borders have invoked religion, accusing opponents of being anti-Christian, failing to love these individuals like Jesus.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world, James 1:27.

Anyone who picks and choses what they want to believe from the Bible while disregarding other parts is known as syncretism.  This practice blends cultures, religions and schools of thought to appease, relate to and unite a large diverse audience.  Unfortunately, when politicians use syncretism it’s often masked with Saul Alinsky tactics from Rules for Radicals.  Instead of using the Bible in its proper context, political talking points often seize opportunities like the caravan to condemn and criticize anyone who dares to disagree.  If you watch any nightly news, politics is a vessel of division.  What America needs is to go back to its roots.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? – 1 John 3:17

The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States was composed by Captain George Thatcher Balch. Balch was a Union Army Officer during the Civil War and later became a teacher of patriotism in New York City schools.  The most recent alteration of its wording came on Flag Day in 1954, when the words “under God” were added.  When my father’s family fled Lithuania during the Soviet Union’s invasion of the Baltic States, he came to America to start over living with a host family.  While a large number of Lithuanians migrated to Binghamton, New York, these immigrants eventually became citizens.  The goal wasn’t to make America Lithuanian.  Rather, it was to become one nation, united by a common faith in God, to carry on their former nation’s heritage united under one flag.  This is what it means to live as one nation under God.

by Jay Mankus

Cash or Credit?

The concept of using a credit card began in the United States during the booming 1920’s.  John Bigging of the Flatbush National Bank of Brooklyn in New York invented the first bank associated credit card in 1946.  A few years later Frank McNamara introduced the first nationally used credit card.  The Diner’s Card was created to help families pay restaurant bills as a recent study has suggested individuals paying by credit will spend 47% more than those paying cash.  Thus, over the past 70 years shoppers continue to hear cashiers say “cash or credit?”

A man lacking common sense gives a pledge and becomes guarantor [for the debt of another] in the presence of his neighbor, Proverbs 17:18.

This consumer shift from cash to credit has altered business and marketing practices.  For example, a brief comment in the 1910 Sears Catalog stated “using credit to purchase merchandise is folly.”  This is a complete paradigm shift from modern advertisements.  American Express used Roger Daltrey in 1985 to convince future shoppers, “don’t leave home with out it.”  Other credit card companies offer cash back bonuses for spending X amount of dollars per year.  The only problem is that over 100 million Americans do not pay back their monthly balances leading to a debt epidemic enslaving families with bills they aren’t able to pay back.

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender, Proverbs 22:7.

When my wife and I take our family on vacation, we usually withdraw cash, two to three hundreds each.  The only time we use credit cards is for gas and restaurants.  A few years ago, we spent a week down in Clearwater, Florida.  With the Phillies in town for Spring Training, my wife wanted to get nice seats.  After $5 for parking, $27 per seat and a couple of snacks, it was painful to blow almost $200 cash in one day.  As Dave Ramsey says is his financial peace university classes, when you use cash instead of credit cards, you can feel the pain of wasting hard spent money.  May this blog challenge you to rethink your spending habits so that you don’t become of slave to debt.

by Jay Mankus

 

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