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Tag Archives: Texas

Moving from Have to Toward Thank You

The Emancipation Proclamation was announced by president Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862.  This document which freed slaves and criminalized future slave owners became law on January 1st, 1863.  Unfortunately, the news of this decree did not reach Texas for another year, keeping many African Americans enslaved well beyond this date.  When freedom finally arrived, individuals were able to move from have to toward thank you.

No longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord, Philemon 1:16.

During the first century, a man named Onesimus was a slave owner, overseeing a young man named Philemon.  Serving as a slave prepared Philemon to be a faithful servant of Paul.  Based upon the passage above, Paul came to see Philemon as a brother in Christ, not a slave.  Thus, Paul’s recognized his devotion behind to scenes to ensure the success of Paul’s missionary journeys.  Philemon moved beyond having to do something because he was forced to by Onesimus.  Rather, Philemon’s work was inspired by a spirit of thanksgiving.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

When anyone decides to leave their former way of life to follow Jesus, this transition doesn’t always mesh well.  Attitudes, behavior and habits are hard to break, especially for those who become addicted to harmful things.  Understanding grace, mercy and forgiveness seem easy, but where a have to desire enters this equation, joy can be lost.  Christians shouldn’t go the church, pray and read the Bible because they think they have to.  Rather, these spiritual disciplines should be done out of a spirit of gratitude, remembering that you have been saved by grace through faith.  May this blog convince you to move from a have to mentality toward a thankful heart.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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Unlikely Heroes

Hollywood has a way of portraying films that appear to be genuine, but add an unlikely hero to appeal to the masses.  Although this may draw tears from some viewers, others may think quietly to themselves, “yeah right.”  Teenagers tend to be truth detectors, not afraid to be blunt by cutting through the crap in life that exists.  Despite this painful truth, every once in a while unlikely heroes do come forth.

By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given friendly welcome to the spies, Hebrews 11:31.

One of these which pops up in history is a prostitute from Jericho named Rahab.  I guess you can say she was the Dolly Parton or her day except her whore house wasn’t in Texas.  Nonetheless, God needed someone on the inside.  While her occupation doesn’t fit the typical servant of God, this testimony reveals that the Lord can use anyone to fulfill His will.

And Salmon the father of Bo’az by Rahab, and Bo’az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, Matthew 1:5.

Rahab may not have done much to receive the honor of being selected as a member of the Hall of Faith.  Yet, she kept her word and held up her end of the bargain.  This simple act of faith saved her families life and opened the door for becoming a distant relative of Jesus.  Therefore, if you want to be an unlikely hero in the future, let faith guide you to the place where God can use you the most.

by Jay Mankus

Singing the Detroit Blues

In an article by , she uses an old Bill Gates quote for her title, “life isn’t fair, get used to it!”  While most parents have passed on this message to their children, amidst life’s storms its hard to accept this reality.  During a scene from Remember the Titans, the fix was in as officials threw a penalty on almost every play earlier in the first quarter against the Titans.  Unwilling to see his team go down in defeat, defensive coordinator Bill Yoast, played by Will Patton, threatens to go to the local News Papers if the game isn’t called fair during a timeout.

Unfortunately, Detroit Lions fans didn’t have Coach Yoast on their sidelines as a 5 minute portion of the 4th Quarter in Sunday’s NFL game at Dallas verse the Cowboys had a similar feel.  On a 3rd down and 1 on the Cowboys side of the field, officials called a pass interference on the defense, giving the ball in field goal range at worse for Detroit.  Without any warning, the call was reversed after it was announced leaving Detroit Lions players scratching their heads.  Beside this non call, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant ran halfway on to the field, without a helmet, yelling at the official who threw the flag.  According to the rules, this too should have been a penalty, making it first down for the Lions inside the Cowboys 20 yard line.  However, officials succumb peer pressure, causing citizens of Detroit to start singing the blues.

 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. – Isaiah 40:8

Although the world is inconsistent, especially in regards to sports officiating, the Bible remains firm.  Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18 continues to warn its readers, past and present, about adding and subtracting from this Holy Book.  I’m not sure what the future holds, but justice was not carried out today on a gridiron in Texas.  In the end, God is the ultimate judge who will hold individuals accountable for their actions, Matthew 12:36.  As for Lions fans, may God provide some type of comfort in the near future so today’s bitter taste of defeat will be removed.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

From the Penthouse to the Manager

Money has  a way of influencing how people behave.  The term affluenza is a socially transmitted condition of overload, causing individuals to always want more without experiencing any sort of satisfaction.  After a teenage driver killed 4 people while driving drunk in Texas, psychologist Dick Miller appeared as an expert eye witness, claiming affluenza kept this boy from comprehending the full consequence of his actions.  When money is unable to purchase the life or in this case the verdict you desire, people go from the penthouse to the manager overnight.

The manger in the Bible is similar to a feeding trough, made out of wood.  As the census draw near, the only housing Joseph could afford was a barn, filled with animals.  Despite this lowly scene, visitors would soon arrive to see the One was left the Penthouses of heaven for a manger.  While 3 magi, experts in the star continued their journey, shepherds of the fields greeted a new born babe.  This experience strengthened their faith as God’s 400 years of silence finally ended.

Before I found my way in life, I lived in the cellar of my sister’s inner city home, sleeping on a couch.  Working 6 months to make what I do now in one pay check, I was forced to develop a keen faith.  With money and power absent from this equation, I started a journey similar to that of the Magi.  However, I wasn’t following a star that I could see.  Rather, I began to rely on an unseen Spirit, Galatians 5:25, leading me one step closer to where I am today.  Nonetheless, I long for the day when this trek will be made complete, John 14:2-4, going in reverse from the manger to a penthouse in heaven.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

U-Turn or Bust

Since reading one of his chapters in Steeling the Mind of America, David Barton has become one of my favorite authors.  In his most recent work, U-Turn: Restoring America to the Strength of its Roots, I was shocked by what his research uncovered.  According to Barton, only 34 % of Americans believe in absolute truth.  If these numbers are true, this explains a culture who allows lies to be told, opinions to be elevated to fact status and morality based upon doing what’s right in your own eyes.

To add insult to injury, public schools in Texas are now teaching children the Pilgrims were America’s first terrorists.  Instead of reminding youth of Islamic militants who held American ships captive like pirates, the history of events like the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli are vanishing.  As parents struggle to provide for their families, the state and federal government are brain washing children with liberal, new age and progressive worldviews.  Unless the United States get’s back to its founding principles, it’s U-turn or bust.

When things began to change for Christians as Nero rose to power over Rome in the first century, the apostle Paul left a good piece of advice, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.  Whether you’re a child, adolescent or adult, don’t take my or David Barton’s words as gospel.  Rather, test everything you hear, read and see.  Do your own thorough research; then once complete, you can cling to that which you have found to be true.  The sooner you turn around toward the truth, the less likely you will be busted by lies of the devil.

by Jay Mankus


Thrills That Kill

One of my favorite summer pastimes is visiting amusement parks across the country.  Whether its  Cedar Point, Kings Island or one of the 6 Flags venues, there is nothing like the thrill of riding on a roller coaster.  This rush of adrenaline creates a sensation that makes you feel like you’re flying through the air.  However, for the paranoid, history serves as a notice that some rides can kill.

According to an NBC News report from July of 2014, most amusement accidents occur to children, roughly 4,400 per year or 20 per week during the peak season.  The most recent investigation on amusement park death found 52 individuals died over a 15 year people, with the latest victim a woman from Texas who fell out of a 14 story wooden coaster.  Despite strict safety regulations, there is no guarantee when the next malfunction will end in disaster.

From a spiritual perspective, there is a reason why God includes guidelines for life in the Bible.  If ignored, its easy to wander into trouble, just ask Eve.  Meanwhile, the acts of the sinful nature have been added for New Testament readers, warning people of the dangers of indulging in Turkish delights, Galatians 5:19-21.  Just as Peter explored Narnia, attractive to the promises of the White Witch, most human beings can’t resist the pleasures of earth.  Thus, if you’re not careful, you might develop a taste for thrills that can kill.

by Jay Mankus

Now I’ve Seen Everything

During the Clinton Administration, 1993-2001, America citizens were less intrusive.  When rumors of affairs, murmurs of  sexual misconduct and witnesses of past improprieties began to come forward, many people protested, claiming the president has a right to his own privacy.  The talking points in the media were clear, “as long as you work hard, give your all each day, everyone, including the president of the United States has the freedom to do what they want on their own time.”  As Dorothy proclaimed to her dog Toto upon landing in Oz, “we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore!”

This is how I felt last night while driving home from work when I heard the news Adrian Peterson, star running back for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings was arrested for spanking his child.  After one of his children pushed another out of the way while playing on a swing seat, Peterson choose to discipline his son, following in the footsteps of his parents.  Maybe he got carried away, but Adrian was simply trying to practice a biblical principle, Proverbs 22:6.  Surely, the state of Texas would understand this?  At least in the past they did, yet not now and not today in this culture of chaos.

If Adrian is guilty, then maybe the authorities need to go after the founders of Scared Straight and Beyond Scared Straight?  I’m kidding!  Remember when you could tell a joke, say something funny or sarcastic and not have to worry about the social police from shutting you down.  Anyway, my point is that spanking is a form of scared straight, associating pain with punishment.  My father used a paddle with a steel insert from his college fraternity.  As a former college football player, sure my butt was paddled a few times, yet I was a quick learner, acknowledging the importance of honoring your father and mother.  I’m not sure what’s next nor can I recommend a clear cut solution.  Nonetheless, now that I’ve seen everything, I sense Jesus’ return is closer than its ever been before.

by Jay Mankus

 

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