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Tag Archives: travel

A Sinner’s Life

Since paradise was lost in the Garden of Eden, no one can escape the temptation to sin.  While some make better choices than others, a sinner’s life is like attending the school of hard knocks.  Living and learning from past mistakes has a learning curve with many struggling to avoid Satan’s snares.

All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one, Romans 3:12.

If you have the opportunity to travel the country or across the world, you begin to get a sense for what’s out there.  Along the way, you will rub shoulders with various groups of people, witnessing the good, the bad and the ugly.  During his missionary journey’s throughout the Middle East, the apostle Paul makes an interesting observation.  Similar to economic classes, Paul writes about the classification of sinners, separating typical offenders from those addicted.

The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them, 1 Timothy 5:24.

If actions speak louder than words, sins communicate the heart and the soul of individuals.  Although some may dabble in sin from time to time, others follow in the footsteps of the prodigal, continuing until they reach rock bottom.  When the sensations of temporary pleasures fade, sinners face an important decision, do I come to my senses or not?  How a sinner’s life ends is in your hands.  Therefore, may you heed the words of 1 John 1:6 so that darkness does not prematurely end your life and the reason why you were created.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Living Off the Grid, Unplugged for a Week

Prior to the advent of cell phones and internet, conversational skills were an important part of life.  While technological advances often enhance society, these two inventions are killing intimate relationships.  These modern devices are distracting individuals from bonding with other human beings whom they share a lot in common with, but haven’t taken the time to find out.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

During a vacation over Spring Break, I spent a week without wi-fi.  Thus, posting my blogs was a difficult challenge as even some of the restaurants I ate at did not offer free access to the internet.  Despite this challenge, I survived, spending more time with my family and children than normal.  Swimming in the day and playing pool at night provided a healthy climate for communication.

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:16.

Although you probably won’t find me on a reality show like Survivor, living off the grid and unplugged for a week was a blessing.  Since I’ve always been a doer, with a drive to experience the outdoors, visiting new places this past week has given me a new appreciation for life.  Sure, you do need money to travel, but if you limit your access to the social media, you will discipline yourself to make the effort to go and do things you have always talked about, but never done.  Seize each new day while it lasts!

by Jay Mankus

When the Truth is Silenced

If you have ever traveled to a foreign country, not every place you visit is safe.  Depending upon freedom of the press that exists, certain key elements, information or issues may be withheld, sugarcoating the truth.  Thus, whether you are a citizen, resident or just passing by, the message communicated in newspapers or portrayed on television may not be true.  As political correctness redefines daily coverage of the news, the truth of specific matters is often silenced.

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction, 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

The Bible is no longer a moral compass to reference in America.  Nor is the Ten Commandments a measuring stick since its offensive to those who hold other worldviews.  Rather, a New Age is being introduced to public education through Common Core, where there is more than one answer to a question.  Subsequently, truth is now relative, silencing ethical and moral truths of the past.

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way, 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

This topic reminds me of a classic Memorex commercial.  Sometimes technology can be used to deceive individuals from reality.  Films like Enemy of the State, The Net and Live Free or Die Hard illustrate how breeches in security can collapse an entire nation.  In addition, laws like Net Neutrality do the opposite of what they claim, actually silencing the truth rather than defending it.  In view of these signs of the end of days, may the Holy Spirit protect you from lies by clinging to God’s truth.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

I Thought They Had It All Together

Whether its in church, your own community or traveling on vacation, you’re bound to come into contact with an exceptional individual.  On the surface, this person possesses character, personality and wisdom.  Adorned by everyone, they seem too good to be true.

While on a week long mission trip in Jackson, Tennessee, I was introduced to one of the largest youth groups in the country.  Based out of Rochester, Michigan, this church took several buses across the country each summer to serve needy communities.  The president of this youth group appeared like he had it all together.  As I began to develop friendships in the area, only one person saw through his phony witness.  One year after losing touch, I  heard through the grapevine that this saint fell from grace, arrested for running an under age gambling ring.

Call it jaded or desensitized, but I am usually not surprised by people who live double lives.  Whenever you put others up on a pedestal, disappointment is a likely outcome.  Therefore, if you think someone has it all together,don’t worship one of God’s creations.  Rather, say a prayer for these individuals, hope for the best and trust in the Lord for a bright future.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Jukebox of Memories

Before the days of cell phones and personal computers, a jukebox connected individuals at local restaurants.  Portrayed in sitcoms like Happy Days, placing a coin in the jukebox and selecting a hip song  often inspired young people to join the dance floor.  Thus, music enhanced the life of teens creating jukebox memories.

As technology advanced, diners began to install miniature jukeboxes in each booth, enabling guests to interact while listening to their favorite songs.  Over time, music became associated, linked and tied to special moments in time.  Whether you were traveling somewhere on vacation, going out on a date or enjoying your prom, music etches memories within our minds.

Today, I can be shopping in a local grocery store, driving in my car or walking down Main Street when I hear a song from my past.  Within seconds, my mind takes me back in time, reminiscing about where I was, who I was with and the friends I made along the way.  Through the good and bad, music is like a recipe to cure the blues in life.  Regardless of what you use to access modern music, may these devices provide soothing jukebox memories.

by Jay Mankus

Rocky Road

On the way to see the wizard, Dorothy, Toto and the cast of misfits she picked up on the way to Oz didn’t always have a smooth journey.  The scarecrow, tinman and lion all had major flaws, but the company they provided on the yellow brick road was worth the risk.  Alone, Dorothy would have not been able to overcome the rocky road that the wicked witch brought forth.  Together, working as a team this motley crew, defeated the enemy, setting the witches servants free.

In life, I wish you could travel from point A to point B without any obstacles.  However, each day has its own set of detours, pot holes and road blocks.  One day you have a teaching job, the next day you don’t.  Others have seen marriage vanish before their eyes.  Meanwhile,  accidents, tragedy and illness ends the life of some way too soon.  Essentially, life is a rocky road with twists and turns that no one other than God can foresee.

Subsequently, the Bible warns its readers of the nightmares that greet individuals, James 1:2-4.  Although some suffer more than others, trials come in various shape and sizes.  Perhaps, as unfortunate events enter one’s life, faith and trust increases, forcing believers to climb, crawl or walk along a narrowing path, Matthew 7:14.  Looking back over the past 5 years, I thank God for the rocky road that I’ve endured.  As a disciple once said, “sometimes you have to go through fire to be refined for future endeavors,” 1 Peter 1:6-7.  May the rocky roads that you’ve encountered prepare you for future blessings in God’s time, Ecclesiastes 3:11

by Jay Mankus

A Place That Will Change Your Life Forever

On earth, travel agencies will try to convince clients of a sweet deal, hidden gem or destination that will change your life.  As spring approaches, television commercials will display eye popping images as states hope your summer plans include a family vacation to one their resorts.  While memories can be forever etched into your mind, the thought of work quickly snaps individuals back to reality, ending any memorable getaway.

From a spiritual perspective, people may recall the place they got baptized, the church they were married in or a retreat center where they met God for the first time.  Inside a sanctuary, family’s tend to gravitate toward their favorite pew, stare at magnificent stain glass windows or recall taking their first communion.  According to Exodus 29:37, the altar made for the Tent of Meeting possessed supernatural powers, making those priests who touched it holy.  While not the Tent of Meeting, the altar at a church in Friendship, Maryland changed my life forever.

During my senior year of college, I was asked to serve on a Lay Witness Mission team for a church seeking to revive its congregation.  My role was to be a small group leader for the youth group and its college students, sharing how God had made a difference in my life.  Usually, one of the leaders was asked to share part of their faith journey, a snapshot of their life.  On Saturday night, our leader Ken told me that I would be speaking to the entire congregation Sunday morning.  Caught off guard, my initial instinct was fear, pondering, “how can someone who stutters speak for 15 minutes?”

Subsequently, I was led to pray, asking the Holy Spirit and my roommate to clue me in on what God wanted me to say to several hundred strangers.  Tossing and turning, I was reminded of a song that I brought, called The Altar.  Studying the lyrics in my mind, a vision for my first sermon was conceived, drifting me off into a peaceful sleep.  As I made my closing remarks, I gave an altar call, inviting anyone who was touched by the Holy Spirit to come to the altar while I played Ray Boltz’s song.

To my amazement, one college student literally ran to the altar as soon as the song began.  Others quickly, followed, filling up the semi-circle shaped altar in front of the pulpit.  When the music ended, people were standing in line, waiting to kneel at the altar.  Elders and leaders of the church began to lay hands on those crying, quietly whispering words up to heaven on their behalf.  As I joined the congregation following my message, the senior pastor shared a few words, summarizing these amazing events of this 3 day event, encouraging people to continue lay their burdens up to Jesus at the altar, Matthew 11:28.  On earth, there are countless wonders of the world, but for me, I will never forget this day when lives were changed forever at the altar.

by Jay Mankus

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