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Tag Archives: weddings

The Giving and Taking of Life

Twenty four hours ago, I was celebrating my oldest son’s wedding.  As I witnessed James and Emma’s love for one another, an overwhelming sense of joy touched my heart.  This event highlights a blessing from God as the giver of life in the form of gifts from above, James 1:17.  Unfortunately, I received a text a few hours ago informing me that my uncle John, my dad’s oldest brother, passed away this afternoon.  This wave of emotions has reminded me of the giving and taking of life.

So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome boils and agonizingly painful sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And Job took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself, and he sat [down] among the ashes (rubbish heaps), Job 2:7-8.

Every month or so I stumble upon a television evangelist who paints the Christian life through rose colored glasses.  These messages follow the same script, promising that the moment you enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, all of your troubles will disappear.  While new believers will possess a new found hope, this depiction of life is not realistic.  With every blessing, individuals will also endure hardship, pain and suffering.  According to Job, you have to accept the good with any bad that comes your way.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still cling to your integrity [and your faith and trust in God, without blaming Him]? Curse God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the [spiritually] foolish women speaks [ignorant and oblivious to God’s will]. Shall we indeed accept [only] good from God and not [also] accept adversity and disaster?” In [spite of] all this Job did not sin with [words from] his lips, Job 2:9-10.

In the passage above, Job’s wife speaks as if thinking out loud.  As she witnessed the boils covering her husband, anguish, grief and frustration motivated her response to “curse God and die.”  In the heat of the moment, knee jerk reactions are a common occurrence.  Nonetheless, if you are looking for answers to why God allows bad things to happen to good people, Job nails it!  You must accept the good with the bad.  According to one of Jesus’ disciples, going through trials are designed to build character, 1 Peter 1:6-7.  Therefore, If you want to possess a realistic approach to life, roll with the punches as you experience the giving and taking of life.

by Jay Mankus

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The Circle of Life

Twenty two years ago, my wife Leanne received confirmation that she was pregnant with our first child.  While I was able to share this good news in person with my mom, my father was away on a business trip.  This good news was replaced by sorrow as my grandmother passed away on this same day.  Following the funeral of my dad’s mother, new parenting classes attempted to prepare us for raising a child.  Twenty one years ago over Memorial Day Weekend, Leanne endured 29 hours of labor to give birth to James.

I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone [just one grain, never more]. But if it dies, it produces much grain and yields a harvest, John 12:24.

Fast forwarding 19 years, another tragedy illustrates the circle of life.  Leanne’s father was in a bad car accident, battling to stay a live for a couple of weeks.  Away at college, James wasn’t able to be there as his grandfather passed away.  However, James did call the hospital, breaking the news over the phone of a new girl friend.  Jim’s funeral introduced Emma to our family, fitting in naturally.  One year later, James shared he proposed to Emma, setting the date of his own wedding this Memorial Day Weekend.  As death takes one soul away, the birth of a new relationship sets the stage for the circle of life to be completed.

The one who loves his life [eventually] loses it [through death], but the one who hates his life in this world [and is concerned with pleasing God] will keep it for life eternal, John 12:25.

As I experience hosting my first rehearsal dinner tonight, I am passing the torch to my oldest son.  After tonight, James is on his own, starting a new journey with his soul mate Emma.  I’m not sure exactly what to say, but all I know is to pass on words of wisdom from the Bible.  As I think of the perfect thing to say, I am reminded of Jesus’ comments in the passage above.  In the context of marriage, two will become one.  Just as individuals must die to self so that Christ might live, couples must yield to God to take the wheel, direction in life.  As my wife and I complete one task, raising James, we look forward to becoming supportive parents in Emma and James’ future endeavors.

by Jay Mankus

The Cost of Life

Twenty years ago, the best man in my wedding convinced me that it was a good idea to purchase my first life insurance plan.  With my wife’s blessing, I agreed as this friend was also an insurance agent, excited to have me as one of his first clients.  Well, I made it to age 48, causing my policy to come up for renewal in January.  As a reward for out living this, I received a letter in the mail.  To my surprise, the cost of my next plan has tripled, suggesting that keeping me as a customer may be too risky.  This shocking reality has opened my eyes to the cost of life.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28

If you have a calculator with you or is easily available, jot down a couple of numbers before you start adding up everything.  What do you annually pay for auto insurance, cable, electric, food, gas, health insurance, internet, phone and water?  Before you get any more depressed, starting estimating the price of life for just one year on earth.  Perhaps, this may explain why adults are leaving civilization to begin living off the grid.  Those addicted to modern inventions are stuck flipping the bill to the cost of this life.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith, Hebrews 13:7.

Growing up as a teenager, the Price is Right was my favorite game show, watching this on sick days or reruns after school.  While I understand the concept of this popular show, somewhere along the way the price of life has gotten out of control, no longer right.  The thought of waiting for a bus, living without a cell phone or foregoing internet access seems unbearable.  Yet, if you want to reclaim your freedom from the almighty dollar, you might want to begin making plans to purge yourself from unneeded distractions that inflate the cost of life.

by Jay Mankus

Friends Along the Way

As a child, there was nothing like a sleep over, especially if it meant going away with a friend or neighbor’s family.  High school brought class trips, spending a day or weekend on a field trip.  College introduced the concept of road trips, going some where at the spur of a moment, chilling and hanging with buddies.  For those who marry, weddings result in Honeymoons and if kids arrive, family vacations in the future.  Ultimately, as you go through life alone or with a significant other, each day serves as an opportunity to become friends along the way.

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, Luke 8:1.

If you use the Bible as a source, Jesus lived in relative obscurity, serving as a carpenter in Nazareth.  Single and living with his mother, Jesus wasn’t searching for a woman or seeking to build his business.  Rather, Jesus was waiting until the Holy Spirit revealed the ideal time to begin his earthly ministry.  When this moment arrived, Jesus spent a majority of his time on the road, traveling from town to town with his twelve disciples.  As people began to receive healing, experience miracles and transform their lives, a bond developed between Jesus and his followers.  I guess you can say Jesus was a model for finding friends along the way in life.

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told the parable of the Sower, Luke 8:4.

As I look back on the past 6 years of my writing, there is only one earthly person I can credit for my progress.  Spencer Saints who has his own travel blog entitled Friends Along the Way, Friendsalongtheway.org, is the person who encouraged me to pursue a writing career.  Through the years, Spencer introduced me to a writer’s group, started his own and steered me in the right direction as I began to write movie scripts.  We all meet friends along the way in life, but few express how they feel before they are gone.  May this blog inspire you to reach out to those who have helped you along the way, especially during the bleak moments in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Thank You For the Journey

Following birthdays, graduations and weddings, individuals often feel compelled to send thank you cards.  While certain presents are more impressive than others, it’s the thought that counts.  Although this process may be time consuming, it’s the appropriate response.

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

Unfortunately, most people don’t do the same with the Lord.  After a remarkable day, month or phase in life, it’s time to give the Lord the credit for victories in life.  Sure, you might have put in the effort and time to succeed.  Yet, it never hurts to thank God for the journey of life.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change, James 1:17.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul took missionary journeys to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.  Some trips were extended while others were cut short.  Other plans were thwarted due to demonic forces.  Like making a wedding vow, in the good or bad, make sure you take a moment daily to pause by thanking God for the journey.

by Mankus

 

 

Just Another Part of Life

Christopher Bullock was one of the first Americans to coin the phrase, “there are 2 certainties in life: death and taxes.”  In a letter written by Benjamin Franklin following the creation of the United States Constitution, Franklin relayed this painful reality in 1789.  Thus, every April Americans scramble to collect paperwork to meet the filing deadline.  Yes, taxes is just another part of life.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

Modern quotes have added one more element: life, death and taxes.  Unfortunately, death is one of those topics most people shy away from talking about.  The idea of never being able to see or talk to someone for the rest of your life is scary.  This fear places future conversations on hold until accidents, illness or old age arrives unexpectedly.  Funerals force the issue as human beings return to the same dust from which God created Adam.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also, John 14:3.

The older you get, it seems like weddings are replaced by funerals, bringing the reality of death to the forefront.  Yet, if you listen to the clergy who perform these ceremonies, there is an assumption that everyone goes to heaven.  I guess celebrating eternal damnation doesn’t draw a large crowd so the other choice is a better option.  While death is a certainty, heaven is not guaranteed.  Therefore, before you leave this earth, make sure your reservation is secured, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

 

No One is Safe From the Grave

Youth tend to feel invincible, confident and strong with little or no experience to the frailty of life.  Instead of attending funerals, time is spent celebrating birthdays, weddings and graduation.  However, as age begins to affect one’s body, traces of death introduce the fact that no one is safe from the grave.

According to Psalm 89:48, the Psalmist understood this truth.  Unless your name is Enoch or Elijah, no one knows what its like not to die.  For the rest of us, accidents, disease and failure is a reality in life.  Although, extended life is a sign of God’s blessings, breathing will stop sooner or later.  While some may be resuscitated, a day will come when the grave will be ready to receive your body.

In view of this, its essential to get busy living by making a difference in your spheres of influence.  Whether this is accomplished through donating your money, services or time, how you live will impact others more than what you place on your tombstone.  Since no one knows when the sands of time will run out, finish strong, 1 Timothy 6:11-16, so that the light that you reflect will lead some to a place called eternity, 2 Peter 3:8.

by Jay Mankus

 

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