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My Ultimate Appeal

The 2006 film Amazing Grace details the life of William Wilberforce.  Wilberforce was an English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to stop the Atlantic slave trade.  Despite battling health issues, Wilberforce persisted through initial failed attempts to persuade fellow politicians.  Before his death in 1833, Wilberforce was responsible for steering anti-slave trade legislation through the British parliament.

“The Bible is my ultimate appeal… slavery is contrary to the example and precepts of our body and merciful Redeemer, and of his apostles… Slavery then is a national sin,” Angelina Grimke.

Fourteen years before the Civil War began, a woman from the south felt compelled to make an appeal to Christian women who also lived in the south.  Using the Bible as her main point of reference, Angelina Grimke wrote letters to persuade other believers.  One of these letters is on display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.  Excerpts from the quote above can be found within a display on the Bible’s impact on ending slavery.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery, Galatians 5:1.

The apostle Paul makes a similar appeal during the first century.  However, the context of the passage above refers to spiritual slavery.  Some churches, denominations and leaders used fear, legalism and peer pressure to make followers conform to their demands.  A group known as the Judaizers began to infiltrate the church at Galatia.  This sect held on to Jewish rituals, adding circumcision to salvation by forcing members to comply.  This practice goes against free will as God doesn’t force individuals to do anything.  Rather, God gives people the choice to accept or reject Jesus.  Any teaching that strays from this is a form of slavery according to Paul.  Just as Angelina Grimke makes her ultimate appeal, God longs for souls who hunger and thirst for the Bible to avoid falling prey to ungodly beliefs.

by Jay Mankus

Words Written in the Sand

The Sunday Morning Television talk shows are notorious for setting up conservative minded individuals.  Prior to an invite, politicians are hopeful for a good showing, looking to get their name out on a national stage.  Yet, when the questions begin, many feel like they are on trial, attacked and bombarded for possessing Bible based beliefs.

They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger, John 8:6.

This atmosphere was normal for Jesus during the first century.  Whenever He interacted with Pharisees, religious leaders and teachers of the Torah, Jesus often endured a game of gotcha, waiting for Him to stumble and fall.  On one occasion Jewish officials attempted to use a woman caught in adultery as a trap.  Unlike most debates, Jesus uses a different strategy, ignoring their questions by choosing to write words in the sand.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” John 8:7.

The word chosen to describe writing by John, a disciple of Jesus, is not your typical verb.  The context in this passage refers to “writing down the record.”  Thus, scholars assume that Jesus begins to write down the secret sins of these religious leaders in the sand.  Upon hearing Jesus’ request in verse 7, one by one the crowd of accusers quietly goes back to their homes.  When Jesus finished writing, he appears surprised by the honesty of these Jews.  However, his last words to this woman are poignant, “go now and leave your life of sin.”  These words are just as relative today, a call to heed and obey.  Go and do likewise.

by Jay Mankus

 

Beware of Public Opinion

While there is usually a hint of truth in every opinion, perspectives can change in an instant.  Professional athletes can be a hero one day and a goat the next.  Politicians can be on the verge of becoming the next president one week and the next treated like road kill, kicked to the curb and buried by the media.  If this isn’t disturbing enough, just post or tweet something politically incorrect and your reputation will be ruined or severely tarnished.

When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live,” Acts 28:4.

Despite the century, jumping to conclusions and first impressions are a part of history.  Just ask the apostle Paul who endured a shipwreck only to become bit by a viper while starting a fire to keep warm.  This led the citizens of Malta to assume Paul was cursed by God, not able to escape justice.  After surviving this poisonous snake’s venom without any ill effects, the tide of public opinion changed.  Days later Paul’s legend grew, like a god.

The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god, Acts 28:6.

I guess the moral of this story is to keep a level head.  Don’t allow the gossip, opinions or rumors which spread daily to influence how you feel.  Rather, mind your own business and try to live a quiet life, pursuing what’s right.  In the end, people will know you by your actions, love and words.  Let God be in the final judge, until that day, press on to do the work that the Lord has created and called you to do on this earth.

by Jay Mankus

Diagnosis Murder

The CBS television series Diagnosis Murder ran for eight seasons from October 1993 to May 2001.  Starring Dick Van Dyke, Scott Baio and Victoria Rowell to name of few, this drama examined the motive behind each act, crime and murder.  Little did creator Joyce Burditt realize that four months after this show’s conclusion a new diagnosis was necessary, to comprehend the heart and mind of a terrorist following 9/11.

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it,” Genesis 4:7.

After each mass shooting, politicians meet behind closed doors to determine their talking points.  Questions such as “Was this an act of terror, motivated by the religious right, Muslim extremists, work place violence, a loose canon or someone with a record of mental illness?”  Unfortunately, these acts in America have become so common expert panelists are probably on standby or speed dial, waiting to analyze the next act of terror.

“In your anger do not sin:” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold, Ephesians 4:26-27.

The Bible has its own theory on why murder and terrorism occur.  Some thoughts are conceived through jealousy like Cain.  Envy and jealousy eat away at the human soul, planting seeds of revenge inside the hearts and minds of those who feel threatened by another person or faith.  Meanwhile, Jesus links anger and hatred to murder within his sermon on the Mount.  Expanding upon this view, the apostle Paul refers to someone who gives the devil a foothold.  When evil comes crouching at the door of vulnerable hearts and minds, conditions are ripe for horrific acts.  May the truths of these biblical principles reach those on the verge of making a poor choice, preventing the need for another diagnosis murder.

by Jay Mankus

Helpless… Except for Prayer

After last week’s election, most voters were optimistic that their newly elected leaders would cease this opportunity to make a difference.  Several days later, it appears that many career politicians have reverted to their former ways.  Add in a rogue president who disregards the constitution and citizens become helpless.

In a whirlwind of disappointment, I was reminded of a simple solution, prayer.  Scouring over the Psalms of David, there is nearly a prayer for each emotion you encounter.  Whether you feel betrayed, running for your life or in need of divine intervention, help is just a prayer away.

For those of us who struggle to let go, yearning to take control of daily situations, there is one truth you can’t ignore: the Lord reigns over heaven and earth.  Although you may not like the path America is going down or the road God has chosen for you, there is still time to act.  If you’re feeling  helpless like me, don’t let the sun go down without crying out to the Lord.  In the end, warriors of prayer will usher God’s ultimate will into existence.

by Jay Mankus

 

Pump Up The Volume

For the meek, shy and soft spoken, its easy to allow others to walk all over you.  Although, the silent majority once ruled the roost, the brash, power hungry and rude have shouted down Americans toward their ideology and worldview.  Subsequently, atheists,  lawyers and politicians have redefined the rules, pumping up the volume of their talking points.

In the aftermath of this stampede, foundations have been cracked and principles weakened, leaving historians scratching their heads.  When England began to limit their citizens to worship God in one church, the Magna Carta was conceived, leading the way for colonists to set sail for a new land.  This excitement stoked a passion in the founders, pumping out the volume to remind people of the reason each crossed the Atlantic.

When Patrick Henry stood up to naysayers at the Virginia Convention in 1775, he spoke out of the overflow of his heart, crying out for freedom.  “Give me liberty or give me death,” swayed those who were on the fence, paving the way for  the Revolutionary War.  If the United States of America has any hopes of surviving, there needs to be a spiritual revival so that God’s blessing will not removed permanently.  As you cope with today’s grim reality, may the Holy Spirit inspire you to pump up the volume, Acts 4:29, to ignite a movement to win back our moral compass.

by Jay Mankus

 

Contagious

Over the last month, scenes from the 1985 film Outbreak have come to life.  Dustin Hoffman,Morgan Freeman and Rene Russo  portray the spread of an Ebola like disease imported to America by an infective monkey.  Panic spreads throughout a town which becomes ground zero when the virus goes air born after a victim starts coughing at the local movie theater.    Isolation is the only hope to contain this deadly disease.

Another invisible wave poises a similar threat if not stopped.  According to 2 Timothy 2:16-17, godless chatter can spread like gangrene.  Unless its momentum is cut off, negativity can multiple like wild fires, overflowing from city to city. Fueled by politicians and talk shows, minds are easily infected, piling on, losing control of their emotions with each demoralizing comment.

In life, there aren’t many safe havens remaining.  On every corner, temptation lurks waiting to wrap its claws around you.  Once contaminated, there is only one doctor who possesses the anti-venom, Luke 19:10, to cure the human heart of its condition, Jeremiah 17:9-10.  Nonetheless, everyone is spreading something, either good or bad.  Therefore, the next time you open your mouth, try to cut corners or lead someone astray, think about James 5:19-20 so that the mark you leave will turn others in the right direction.

by Jay Mankus

 

Progressive or Indigestion?

The progressive movement in America was spawned after the Industrial Revolution near the end of the 19th century.  Politicians sought to level the playing field to allow the middle and lower class to compete by sharing the wealth.  Sound familiar?  Today, redistribution of wealth is punishing the richest citizens, trying to convince low information voters that the wealthiest Americans are not paying their fair share.  In reality, these hard working individuals are paying more than enough.   Demonized by the media, this lie has been bought, hook, line and sinker, causing successful businesses to think about leaving this once great country.

Meanwhile, the progressive movement has infringed upon freedom of speech.  A week ago, Tony Dungy was considered the moral authority in the National Football League, a commentator for Football Night in America on NBC.  Former Super Bowl winning coach and author of Uncommon, Dungy has been under attack the last 7 days for giving an honest opinion about Michael Sam, the 7th round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams who came out of the classic prior to the 2014 NFL Draft.  According to the liberal media, you can’t be a Bible believing Christian and objective.  If you read between the lines, the Bible is out of date and being progressive is the dawn of this New Age so if you want to keep your job, shut up.

In the 1970’s, the United States of America was known as the great melting pot, blending nationalities into one nation under God.  Unfortunately, political correctness and the progressive movement is destroying the foundation upon which this country was established.  Why can’t we debate ideas and let the people decide?  May the Holy Spirit fill Tony Dungy with the boldness of the apostles in Acts 4:29.  Pray for him and others who are fighting for the pursuit of life, liberty and the American way.  At the conclusion of this battle, either the progressives will win or indigestion will inspire a nation to rise up and vote progressives out of office.

by Jay Mankus

Let’s Plow the Road

In the final fight scene within Independence Day over the skies of a California desert, Bill Pullman plays president Thomas Whitmore.  America’s last hope, this former fighter pilot leads a cast of misfits to plow the road for the last jet with a missile hoping to bring down an alien ship about to destroy their underground hide out.  Without this cover, defeat was inevitable.  Who will risk their life today to plow the road for future generations?

Looking to politicians won’t find you much inspiration.  Nor do most professional athletics provide the type of consistent leadership the youth of this country need.  Unfortunately, the frozen chosen, church going believers often behave more like Pharisees than the body of Christ.  As a result, people of faith are putting up road blocks to God instead of demonstrating the love of Jesus.

In Luke 9:57-63, Jesus is trying to separate the lukewarm from truly devoted followers.  Setting the bar high, one by one, the wishy washy walk away, unable to met the standards set by God, disqualifying themselves.  Not much has changed today as individuals still struggle to live in the world without losing faith, Matthew 19:16-24.  Instead of plowing the road, storms have blocked the path Jesus blazed. 1 John 2:6.  Despite this reality, its never too late to change.  Therefore, one light at a time, Matthew 5:13-16, let’s plow the road for others to follow.

by Jay Mankus

 

Why the World is Falling Apart

Gone are the days of Wilbur Wilberforce, when politicians did the right thing without taking a poll, trying to get re-elected or win public approval.  In an attempt to get ahead, integrity has been swept under the rug, trampled by greed, power and souls seeking victory whatever the cost.  Lurking in the darkness, the reason for this decline lies in John 8:34.

Slavery, a grave reminder of the past, is alive and well inside the heart’s of human beings.  Although mankind think they are in control, sin is large and in charge, holding individuals captive, Romans 7:14-20.  Perhaps this truth led the apostle Paul, one of the godliest men to ever live to claim he was one of the greatest sinners ever, 1 Timothy 1:15.  If you had to diagnosis why the world is falling apart, sin is a prime suspect.

Discipline, good intentions and self-control may appear to be full proof, but in the end its like fool’s gold.  Subsequently, the grasp of sin prevents countless from doing the right thing, Romans 8:5-8, something Paul knew from personal experience.  Until people acknowledge the reality of their soul, a sinner in desperate need of a Savior, John 3:3-5, the world will continue its downward spiral.  May the Lord help put people back together, one soul at a time, Luke 15:7.

by Jay Mankus

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