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It’s Time to Tune Out the News

Whenever I pick up my phone or turn on my computer, current event stories appear. Some messages stream across my screen with a red headline, breaking news. Meanwhile, when I go to check my emails, I am bombarded by advertisements, headlines and news stories. While driving to work, every half hour, whether I like it on not, I’ll receive the latest on COVID-19 cases in Delaware on the radio. I don’t have to be a prophet to accurately speculate about what I will hear or see. The updated numbers of Coronavirus deaths in my state and the nation. This is followed by what President Trump did wrong today or some new offensive tweet.

Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country, Proverbs 25:25.

I just returned from my first of two planned summer vacations with family. This time my wife and her sister rented a house in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. While I am more of a beach person, there is something special about an unobstructed mountain view. Both floors of this RB&B Rental was designed to hang out, enjoy the view and play games. After taking a series of pictures, I barely picked up my phone. Despite having a new 4K television, the only thing watched were a couple of movies. Most of our time was spent eating, hanging out and playing cards. Whenever I go a few days without listening to or watching the news, I have a much more positive aspect on life.

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord, Psalm 112:7.

Prior to cell phones and computers, a nightly news cast was necessary. However, with the advancements in technology, these days are coming to an end. As of today, there are more than 300 streaming services in the United States. The average American family subscribes to 3-4 streaming providers. If this trend continues, cable and it’s many news networks will become extinct. Sure, some news outlets will be forced to alter their approach or be limited to a headline news format. Nonetheless, if you tune out the news now, you’ll probably be a happier person. As news stories become more and more politically motivated, getting caught up in destruction, gossip and slander of people you probably don’t know personally is a waste of time. The choice is yours but as for me, I’m ready to tune out the news. When I do, my phone will give me the updates I need.

by Jay Mankus

A Person of Evidence

Prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, several members of the media labeled president Donald Trump a science denier. The context of this accusation dates back to Trump’s skepticism of global warming. Whenever a researcher, study or well known scientist develops a theory that supports global warming, this becomes national news. However, the president states that you can’t cherry pick the data that supports your beliefs while rejecting evidence that doesn’t.

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses], Hebrews 11:1.

While spending a decade as a high school, each class consisted of at least one individual who questioned what I was teaching. Some would challenge my sources, others doubted what I was saying and a few refused to believe parts of my lesson. In this age of instant information, students daily use their phones to double check the content they are being taught. If there is a discrepancy, the vocal will raise their concerns, causing others to doubt. Unless you become a personal of evidence, your message will fall upon deaf ears.

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.

While conversing with his disciples, Jesus unveils a secret weapon for Christians. Although invisible, the Holy Ghost serves as a guide to reveal spiritual truth on earth. If you want to become a man or woman of evidence, it’s essential that you learn to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. The apostle Paul uses the expression “walking in line,” a necessary practice to become a living vessel of God. If you want to become a spiritual person of evidence, the Spirit is a guiding light in an ever increasing dark world.

by Jay Mankus

A Tribute to Rush Limbaugh

There is a tendency to wait for someone’s death until you honor individuals for what they have accomplished on earth. At the end of his talk radio show on Monday afternoon, Rush Limbaugh shocked listeners with his diagnosis of stage four lung cancer. Perhaps, this explains President Donald Trump’s slight pause in his State of the Union speech to honor Rush with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest civilian award that an United States citizen can receive. Since introducing the Stand Up for Betsy Ross clothing line, Limbaugh has donated more than five million dollars to the Tunnel for Towers Foundation. This organization pays off the mortgages of families who have lost a fallen hero, dying in the line of duty.

And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will, Romans 8:27.

One of the details that Rush Limbaugh revealed following his cancer disclosure was a personal relationship with God. Rush confessed that this spiritual relationship has been concealed, not wanting to use his EIB network, Excellence in Broadcasting, to proselytize. Since Limbaugh’s show is based upon satire, using current events to illustrate the difference between conservatism and liberalism, Rush’s decision to keep his faith private makes sense. This has been his philosophy since The Rush Limbaugh Show became nationally syndicated on August 1st, 1988 airing from New York City via ABC Radio. Prior to this, Limbaugh began his broadcasting career on the radio in Sacramento, California.

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose, Romans 8:28.

My brother in law Bob first introduced me to Rush in 1989 as a non-political college student. At this time in history, Rush was explaining that the national government should never create and establish laws based upon common sense. Rush was referring to proposals of a national seat belt law. This discussion won me over and made me a fan for life. However, just as I cringe when I hear certain comments and tweets by president Trump, I have had a similar reaction to some of Limbaugh’s statements throughout the years. Nonetheless, about a year ago, Rush had a caller on Open Line Friday who spoke about putting what he has learned from Rush into action. When I heard this conversation, I immediately received a rhema, a word from the Holy Spirit, “this is what I want you to do with your blog.” Thus, I have to thank Rush Limbaugh for helping me remember the words of Jesus, Matthew 7:24, “put my words into practice.”

by Jay Mankus

Shame on You

The origin of the expression shame on you comes from The Court and Character of King James. This book written by Anthony Weldon in 1651 refers to an Italian proverb which helped shape the saying “shame on you.” Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation. As I child, whenever I got caught by my parents doing something that I knew was wrong, shame on you was expressed to expose my sinful act.

But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt (tunic), let him have your coat also, Matthew 5:39-40.

As a former member of the print media, spending two and a half years with Travel Golf Media, I understand the power of words. On December 19, Mark Galli, the editor in chief of Christianity Today made a conscience decision to write on article expressing his opinion on Donald Trump. This piece entitled Trump Should Be Removed from Office slams president Trump’s character, immoral acts and previous relationships with woman. Meanwhile, Galli quotes the founder of the magazine, Billy Graham, to give him cover to write this scathing opinion editorial.

And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two [miles], Matthew 5:41.

If this piece made the argument that President Trump doesn’t Turn the Other Cheek, I would agree. As a former builder, Donald Trump is a fighter who has developed the mentality “if you attack me, I will strike back even harder.” President Trump’s responses in the form of comments, tweets or words can and have been offensive to others. Sure, this is one of many character flaws that every individual possesses. However, when you speak at press conferences daily or counter negative media reports weekly, turning the other cheek is not in Donald Trump’s DNA. Despite these weaknesses, president Trump goes the extra mile every daily to achieve his goal, Making America Great Again.

This they said to try (test) Him, hoping they might find a charge on which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her, John 8:6-7.

Since this article was published last weekend, Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son has appeared on Fox News several times to defend president Trump. Franklin Graham commented on how Christianity Today has strayed from his father’s original intent. Meanwhile, liberal seminaries have fed this article’s anti-Trump narrative to curry favor with the mainstream media. I don’t know Mark Galli nor do I follow Christianity Today. However, whenever a believer casts a stone at another sinner without first looking at their own life, this doesn’t look good. Thus, I am compelled to remember the words of my mother, “shame on you” Mr. Galli for not going to President Trump privately, following the Matthew 18 priniciple, with your concerns before writing this hit piece.

by Jay Mankus

The Words You Speak

After experiencing another disappointing month, I find myself in the middle of a moral dilemma. Since the fall began, I have told family and friends of my aspirations to get back into shape, start eating healthier and lose weight. The climax of this preparation was a 5K that I ran last weekend. Well, after spewing endless words of my desire to change and improve my life, the only thing I accomplished was completing this race without walking.

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth, Ecclesiastes 7:1.

While driving home from work yesterday, I received a rhema from God in the form of a question. Are the words that you speak making you more or less credible? The Old Testament doesn’t use modern terms such as character, integrity or reputation. Rather, authors use the expression earning “a good name” instead. King Solomon compares a good name with a precious ointment. After accumulating wealth as Israel’s leader, Solomon claims that when you receive favor from your peers due to a good man, it’s more valuable than silver or gold.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold, Proverbs 22:1.

If you want to develop and keep a good name, the words you say play a big role. For example, many Americans don’t like president Trump’s blunt nature, boldly speaking and tweeting brash comments daily. Yet, anyone who examines the promises Donald Trump made during the 2016 presidential campaign, his actions have fulfilled what he said and vowed to do. Unfortunately, I find myself telling my wife and kids that I am going to do this and that without following through. Just as faith without deeds is dead, James 2:26, words without action are meaningless. May God use my own conviction to inspire you to ensure that the words you speak coincide with your actions.

by Jay Mankus

When Liars Deceive the Masses

The definition of corruption is dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery. Other signs that something fishy is going on includes deceit, lawbreaking and misconduct. Another identifying indicator involves bending the rules or stretching the truth in one’s favor. This is accomplished by deemphasizing the context of a regulation while overemphasizing a key component of this same statute.

While they were on their way, some of the [Roman] guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 And when the chief priests had gathered with the elders and had consulted together [to develop a plan of deception], they gave a sufficient sum of money [as a bribe] to the soldiers, Matthew 28:11-12.

When Jesus rose from the dead in Jerusalem, sometime between year 28-33, the Roman guards in charge of overseeing his tomb faced the punishment of death. Fearful of losing their lives when the truth about Jesus’ resurrection got out, these guards made a pack with local religious leaders. This plan of deception was so successful that following Jesus’ ascension into heaven 40 days later, these liars deceived the masses. Today, agnostics, atheists and scientists all accept this rumor as fact.

And said, “You say this, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him while we were sleeping.’ 14 And if the governor (Pilate) hears about it, we will calm him down and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money [they were paid for lying] and did as they were instructed; and this [fabricated] story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to the present day, Matthew 28:13-15.

Unfortunately, this war against Christianity continues today. As secular humanism prospers in this progressive age, science has replaced faith as a guide through life. This climate has allowed the power of the press to attack America’s spiritual heritage daily. As revisit historians have taken control of public education and higher institutions of learning, the cards have been stacked for liars to deceive the masses. If lies continue to spread throughout social media without being exposed, truth will be replaced by deception.

by Jay Mankus

The Sound of War

The sound of war was brought to life in a film written by Robert Rodat and directed by Steven Spielberg.  Saving Private Ryan received notoriety for it’s opening 27 minutes, a reenactment of the Invasion of Normandy during World War II.  At the time of it’s release, Saving Private Ryan portrayed the graphic nature of war and the harsh reality for a soldier storming Omaha Beach.  This production helped those not alive during this time in history to experience and understand the violent nature and sound of war.

In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 He wrote in the letter, “Put Uriah in the front line of the heaviest fighting and leave him, so that he may be struck down and die,” 2 Samuel 11:14-15.

The Bible portrays the politics of war.  The prophet Samuel provides a glimpse of ancient conquests when kings went to war each Spring to spread and strengthen their kingdoms.  One solider is highlighted, Uriah the Hittite, who camped in an open field with his men.  While away at war, King David has an affair with his lonely wife, leaving Bathsheba pregnant.  To cover up this sin, Uriah was escorted back to his home to sleep with Bathsheba.  When Uriah refused to celebrate his time away from battle, a plot was devised to make Uriah a casualty of war.

16 So it happened that as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew the [enemy’s] valiant men were positioned. 17 And the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among the servants of David fell; Uriah the Hittite also died, 2 Samuel 11:16-17.

Over the weekend, deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio brought the sound of war to local communities.  Sadly, a local nightclub in Ohio and Walmart in Texas were turned into a battlefield.  When the SOUND of gunshots began, innocent souls ran for their lives.  According to the most recent update on the death toll, 31 individuals did not survive.  The only thing worse than the sound of war are ambulance chasing politicians who are using this crisis to fund raise for their campaigns, demonize President Trump and blame guns instead of mental health.  Until the heart of this matter is addressed, the sound of war will likely continue.

by Jay Mankus

 

Bowing Down to Spiritual Bullies

Joel Kaplan has been a lifelong friend of Brett Kavanaugh.  This relationship compelled Kaplan to attend Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court hearing as a sign of support.  This is what friends do, to be there in times of need for those they care about.  The only problem for Kaplan is that he is the Vice President of Facebook.  As employees of Facebook saw Joel on television sitting behind Kavanaugh, staff became outraged, demanding an explanation.  When Kaplan returned to work, he was pressured, bullied into apologizing for being a friend of Kavanaugh.

Then the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord and worshiped and served the Baals, Judges 2:11.

Whenever there is an absence of spiritual leadership, individuals begin to follow human nature.  After the death of Joshua, who was used to lead Israel into God’s promised land, there was a spiritual void.  When no one volunteered to stand up to show others the way, Jews began to do what was right in their own eyes.  Throughout the course of history, this cycle repeats itself until convicted hearts repent, confessing the error of their ways by turning back to follow God.  Based upon recent current events, progressive leaders are stepping up to redefine right from wrong.

And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed other gods from the gods of the peoples who were around them, and they bowed down to them, and offended and provoked the Lord to anger. 13 So they abandoned the Lord and served Baal [the pagan god of the Canaanites] and the Ashtaroth, Judges 2:12-13.

Apparently, there is some new Bible, source of truth, that I am not aware of.  This new standard evidently claims that president Trump is evil and anyone who follows or supports him is a bad person.  These beliefs are being enforced by protestors, hoping to scare others from publicly supporting likeminded candidates, leaders and politicians.  While president Trump has his flaws, allowing loose lips and undisciplined tweets to express unnecessary comments, no one should bow down to bullies.  As worldly influences continues to challenge what you think and believe, may the power of the Holy Spirit give you the courage to stand up and reinforce the values you hold dear.

by Jay Mankus

 

Maintaining Dignity

William Payne Stewart was a three time major champion on the Professional Golf Association tour.  Stewart’s life was cut short at the age of 42, dying in a plane crash after the crew succumb to hypoxia.  Early on in his golfing career, Stewart developed a reputation for being arrogant, brash and cocky.  Following the death of his father, Stewart began to contemplate the meaning of life.  According to his widow Tracey, Payne began to ponder his impact beyond golf.  This journey led Stewart to commit his life to Christ in his final years on earth.  During a conversation with his son, Payne inquired about the bracelet Aaron was wearing.  WWJD is an acronym for what would Jesus do?  This simple question helped Payne maintain dignity for the remainder of his life on earth.

Whoever strikes you on the cheek, offer him the other one also [simply ignore insignificant insults or losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity]. Whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either, Luke 6:29.

Unfortunately, dignity in the realm of politics is a dying breed.  In an attempt to win at all costs, allegations, campaign ads and debate clashes has turned political mud slinging into scenes from a Jerry Springer Show brawl.  Daily tweets from President Trump slamming one of his enemies only adds fuel to this fiery climate.  While independent studies have regularly found that ninety percent of articles, media coverage and news stories are negative, leaders must set the tone.  Participating in these endless back and forth disputes only distract from the president’s agenda.  Thus, at some point government officials must bite their tongues, practice self-control and walk away from the temptation to retaliate.

Give to everyone who asks of you.  Whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you, Luke 6:30-31.

During his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus introduces a concept to help individuals maintain dignity.  Following the golden rule, “doing to others as you want other to do unto you,” urges people to reflect upon each situation, putting yourself into their shows.  As you begin to think before you act, you will hopefully start treating others the way you expect and want to be treated.  My prayer is that president Trump will be open to following this biblical concept.  Although this may be foreign to his career as a builder and entrepreneur, displaying the golden rule could put out many of the political fires presently blazing out of control.  I’m not sure what the future holds, but if you want to maintain dignity, following the golden rule will turn enemies into friends.

by Jay Mankus

 

Try, Try Again

Since the election of Donald Trump in November of 2016, a resistance movement conceived within the United States.  Those who have joined this political wave are refusing to accept the outcome of this election.  Instead activists are urging supporters to battle, defy, fight and oppose the policies of president Trump.  After nearly two years, members of the House, Senate and mainstream media are putting on a full court press to override the will of the people.  Despite numerous failures to achieve their goal to impeach Donald Trump, the leaders of this movement continue to try and try again.

“And I will put enmity (open hostility) Between you and the woman, And between your seed (offspring) and her Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, And you shall [only] bruise His heel,” Genesis 3:15.

There is another adversary who has a long history of perseverance.  When the archangel Lucifer exercised free will to seek praise for his own beauty as the angel of song, Ezekiel 28:12-15, he was kicked out of heaven.  Apparently, one third of all angels from heaven backed Lucifer, expelled from heaven along with their leader.  Hungry for power, Lucifer successfully deceived the first human family on earth as Adam and Eve’s blunder netted Satan authority over plant earth.  Although limited based upon encounters with God in Job 1-2, Satan continues his reign today as ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2.  In an eternal game of chess, God quickly regained control by sending a second Adam to restore that which was lost, Luke 19:10.  When news of this plan reached Satan, demons were assigned to cut off this seed.  Planting evil thoughts within the mind of King Herod, Matthew 2:13-23, all male infants two years and younger were slaughtered to abort God’s plan for redemption.  Yet, an angel of the Lord awoke Joseph just in time, escaping to Egypt for a few years until King Herod’s death.  According to the book of Revelation, all of Satan’s efforts are all for not for in the end God is victorious.

Yet death ruled [over mankind] from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who had not sinned as Adam did. Adam is a type of Him (Christ) who was to come [but in reverse—Adam brought destruction, Christ brought salvation], Romans 5:14.

If your life is like mine, every day can be a grind; leaving me exhausted.  Having the desire and energy to try, try again doesn’t come naturally for me.  Thus, in my weakness, I am compelled to cry out to Jesus like 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, praying that the power of the Holy Spirit will make me strong.  One of the hardest aspects of life is dealing with failure, especially for perfectionists.  Coping with and getting over the thought of embarrassment and losing is a tough pill to swallow.  For some, they have a hard time forgiving themselves, especially if you blow it big time.  Thus, most people need a friend, mentor or motivation to live and learn from past mistakes.  Recently, I came across the song Overcomer by Mandisa.  The point of the chorus within the lyrics is to get back on your feet after falling.  If you ask God to give you the resolve and will to press on, then you too can try, try again until success is achieved.

by Jay Mankus

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