Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: the United States of America

Praying for the President

Thursday was the National Day of Prayer.  On April 17th, 1952 Harry S. Truman signed a  bill into law declaring this day as the National Day of Prayer for the United States of America.  However, in 1988 President Ronald Reagan ammended this law.  Part of a simplification process, Reagan decreed the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way, 1 Timothy 2:1-2.

Anyone with a busy schedule may be caught off guard by this special day.  I didn’t realize this until late last night.  Thus, I was compelled to ascertain what could I do with the little time that was left.  In a letter to a young pastor, who happened to be a teenager, the apostle Paul encouraged his pupil to pray for everyone.  Since America does not have a king, the president and civil servants in high positions should be included within your daily prayers.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44.

However, skeptics may reply, “what if I don’t like the president?”  Political enemies may come to the conclusion, “surely I can’t pray for someone that I detest.”  Perhaps this explains Jesus’ words above, urging his followers during the Sermon on the Mount to love and pray for your enemies.  Granted, democrats, liberals and progressives will have a tougher time adhering to this call.  Nonetheless, if you want to be a doer of God’s Word, pray for president Trump no matter what your political leanings may be.  As you pray, the Holy Spirit will either change your heart or his.  Regardless, a simply prayer can make a difference.  May the National Day of Prayer become a 365 day practice.

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

The Value of a Statue

Ancient Greece memorialized their heroes by erecting statues of gods and goddesses throughout cities like Athens.  When visitors passed through the streets, these monuments served as a reminder of their importance within the Greek culture.  During a first century mission trip to this region, the apostle Paul took some time to explore before Silas and Timothy arrived.  While waiting for his friends, Paul became overwhelmed by the images he observed.  Despite being offended, Paul desperately sought to engage the citizens of Greece, searching for something, anything they shared in common.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols, Acts 17:16.

Although Paul does not give an actual number of statues that he witnessed, it appears to be in the hundreds.  As a former Pharisee, the zealot within him immediately thinks of these statues as idols, breaking the second commandment within the Torah, You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them,” Exodus 20:4.  However, the teaching of Jesus moved Paul to put a positive spin on what he saw, calling a crowd of Greeks religious.  This compliment opens the door to allow Paul to introduce philosophers to the unknown God based upon an altar erected by a former citizen.

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.  For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you,” Acts 17:22-23.

Sure, every culture possesses something that is offensive.  Whether this is a document, religious background or statue, history is meant to educate individuals, not divide citizens.  The United States of America was founded on the principle of free speech earning the nickname back in the 1970’s as the great American melting pot.  The first amendment of the Bill of Rights declares Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  This is what makes America great.  However, if the citizens of this country allow government officials to destroy or remove historic statues of the past, there were will nothing to warn us from making the same mistakes.  May the events of Charlottesville in August of 2017 help people see the real value of a statue.

by Jay Mankus

The God Hypocrisy

Earlier this week an elderly man destroyed a brand new statue of the ten commandments.  Initial media reports suggested that this might have been part of a car accident.  After further investigation it was uncovered that this destruction was posted on Facebook Live.  In fact this was the second religious statue this man had destroyed,  If this attack was aimed at any other politically correct religious symbol, the liberal media would have been outraged.  Unfortunately, the God hypocrisy caused this story to be buried or omitted completely.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! – Revelation 3:15

Prior to the attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. on September 11th, 2001, God was being pushed out of American culture.  The Bible, prayer and religious freedom were being kicked to the curb, discarded like old possessions at a garage sale.  Following 9/11, Major League Baseball decided to let God back in by singing God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch.  Meanwhile, more people attended worship centers on the Sunday after 9/11 than ever before or since.  Unfortunately, when good times return God is usually one of the first relationships to be placed on the back burner.

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth, Revelation 3:16.

If God would have a letter commissioned to the United States of America today it would be similar to the church in Laodicea.  At some point, individuals develop an on again off again relationship with God.  This unhealthy habit breeds a lukewarm spirit where people use God as a crutch leaning on Him in times of trouble.  Anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ yet exhibits an inconsistent faith results in another God hypocrisy.  Thus, unless individuals begin to live out the Christian faith, church attendance will continue to decline.  You shouldn’t have to wait until the next 9/11 like event to turn your life around.  May this blog or the Darryl Worley song Have You Forgotten inspire you to dial up your faith by trusting and obeying an invisible God.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Blessing of the Upright

Irving Berlin wrote God Bless America in 1918 near the end of World War I.  This song is essentially a prayer asking the Lord to bless the United States of America.  Twenty years later Berlin revised the initial version that Kate Smith later recorded, becoming her signature song.  As her popularity grew, former owner of the Philadelphia Flyers Ed Synder invited Kate to sing God Bless America live at the Spectrum prior to home NHL playoff games.

Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed, Proverbs 11:11.

While its unclear what specific passages of the Bible inspired the lyrics of God Bless America, the passage above appears to indirectly apply.  According to Solomon, cities, nations and towns receive blessings due to holy, righteous and upright residents.  Meanwhile, there is an opposing force at work, which can influence and or revoke blessings.  Subsequently, an invisible tug of war is taking place that will determine spiritual future of this country and others like it.

What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?  The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake,” Genesis 18:24, 26.

This blessing principle also applies to ungodly cities as well.  Upon hearing the news that God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham pleads with the Lord on 5 different occasions to save these places.  Despite whatever negative encounters occurred in the past, Abraham had a heart of compassion asking God to save righteous citizens.  In the same way, if a region near you is falling apart, don’t give into the usual negativity.  Rather, follow in the footsteps of Abraham by intervening on behalf of the righteous to save a land.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Change Your Name or Change Your Direction?

Alexander the third of Macedon reigned from 356 Before Christ to 323. Alexander spent most of his time as ruler sweeping through Asia and Northeast Africa on an unprecedented military campaign. One story I recently heard about Alexander makes him the great as history remembers him. During one battle, a fellow solider fled the scene, retreating from the action. Observing from a distance, the ruler couldn’t help himself, addressing this coward, quickly catching him on his horse. The Great confronts this man, “what’s your name Soldier,” Alexander he replied. Disturbed, Alexander looked this man straight in the eyes yelling, “change your name or change your direction?”

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ, Romans 10:17.

When the United States of America was founded in the late 17th century, pilgrims fled England for religious freedom. In the centuries that have followed, immigrants left their home country to discover and live the American dream. Unfortunately, groups like the ACLU have embraced spirits of disrespect, encouraging a new generation to burn and trample the flag which so many have died to protect. If Alexander the Great returned today to lead this country, I’m sure he’d lead a passionate plea to change your name or change your direction.

That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God, 1 Corinthians 2:5.

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the ice berg. As Christians go full steam ahead, the name doesn’t mean what it use to. A lack of biblical understanding, years of compromise and worldly influences have turned the faith of many in a different direction. Blending in like a chameleon, its hard to tell Christians from ordinary people. Perhaps the Amish are right, trying to hold on to biblical values without being corrupted by modern conveniences. Whatever the reason, I feel an urgent sense to profess the words of Alexander the Great to those floundering in their faith, “change your direction or change your religion.”

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: