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Tag Archives: World War II

Fleeing Communism Only to See it Come to America

While Germany sought to seize control of Europe during World War II, the Soviet Union used this distraction to expand their own borders. Known as the Invasion and Annexation of the Baltic States, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia were invaded in 1940. Living in Lithuania at this time, my father’s family barely escaped as Communism overran his native country.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God, Romans 13:1.

After a couple from America agreed to sponsor the Mankus family, my dad became a proud immigrant along with his two brothers. As a growing number of Lithuanians entered this country, many relocated to Binghamton, New York where my father spent the rest of his childhood. Working hard to learn English and excel in school, my family made the most of this opportunity, a prime example of living the American dream.

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men,” Acts 5:29.

Sixty years later my father is retired, enjoying the fruits of his labor. Yet, as he enjoys fishing, golfing and reading, the same ideology which caused him to flee Lithuania has found a home in the United States of America. If you use a search engine to find modern examples of Communism you will see China, Cuba, North Korea and Russia. However, if you watch cable news, read national publications or scan social media, you will find communist propaganda. Except for a few outlets like OAN news, the media is united so that progressivism will prevail. Unless God intervenes, I’m afraid this country is on the verge of becoming the United Socialist States of America.

by Jay Mankus

The Fundamental Basis for Law

Prominent founding fathers argued that the United States Constitution should not be ratified as it failed to protect the basic principles of human liberty.  This led James Madison to propose amendments to the constitution.  These amendments known as the Bill of Rights were inspired by George Mason’s 1776 Virginia Declarations of Rights, the 1689 English Bill of Rights, works during the Age of Enlightenment pertaining to natural rights and the Magna Carta, 1215.  Ironically, the Magna Carta would inspire American colonists a few hundred years later to declare independence from Great Britain.  Roughly one-third of the provisions in the United States’ Bill of Rights draw from the Magna Carta, particularly from its 39th clause.

“The fundamental basis of this Nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings that we get from Exodus and St, Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul, ” President Harry S. Truman, 1950.

The 33rd president of the United States goes one step further, claiming that the foundation upon which the United States has based its laws comes directly out of the Bible.  As a World War I veteran and the Vice President to FDR, Truman who took office following Roosevelt’s death.  Under Truman’s leadership, World War II ended following the use of two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Less than a month after dropping these bombs, Japan surrendered.  Sometimes you have to use drastic measures to end worldly conflicts.  While Truman is still criticized today for this controversial decision, few will remember this president for his quote listed above.  Although modern historians glance over, ignore and suppress biblical influences on the founding of America, the Bill of Rights borrows from civil law within the ten commandments.

“Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you.13 “You shall not commit murder (unjustified, deliberate homicide).14 “You shall not commit adultery.15 “You shall not steal [secretly, openly, fraudulently, or through carelessness].16 “You shall not testify falsely [that is, lie, withhold, or manipulate the truth] against your neighbor (any person).17 “You shall not covet [that is, selfishly desire and attempt to acquire] your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor,” Exodus 20:12-17.

The ten commandments contain two separate categories, loving God and loving your neighbor, Matthew 22:36-39.  The first four provide instructions on how individuals can honor and please the Lord.  The final six focus on civil laws or as Jesus details in Matthew 22, loving your neighbor as yourself.  This is the foundation of the Golden Rule, “treating other people as you want to be treated.”  In this day and age, educators, lawyers and politicians often try to make the simple complex.  Yet, Jesus simplifies the fundamental basis for law so that even a young child can understand.  Every day God offers free will, giving people the option to love or hate, forgive or hold grudges, overlook offenses or magnify sin.  The choice is yours, but I pray that the Holy Spirit inspires you during this Christmas season to develop an overwhelming desire to love God and those you come in contact with daily.

by Jay Mankus

It’s Not About Deserve…It’s About What You Believe

From 1973 to 1986, the Super Friends was a popular television show on ABC geared for kids.  Based upon characters from DC Comics, this series used the Justice League as the home for super heroes who took turns each episode fighting evil in the world.  Over time, antagonists joined forces to create chaos in what became known as the Legion of Doom.  Every day, good and evil collided with battles won and lost, encouraging viewers to root for their favorite hero or foe.

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe,” Mark 5:36.

Thirty one year later, DC Comics has introduced a modern film placing Wonder Woman on the front lines during World War II.  Gal Gadot plays Diana who saves a British spy, Chris Pine, from drowning.  After being interrogated by Amazonian leaders, Diana uncovers some of her special super hero powers.  This revelation prompts Diana to leave her home with special agent Trevor.  Diana believes that if only she could kill the source of evil, the German leader, the war would come to an end.  When this doesn’t happen, Diana has a crisis of faith, doubting if the human race is worth saving.  Steve quickly intervenes, teaching Diana a valuable lesson, “It’s not about deserve, it’s about what you believe!”

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.

Normally when I watch a movie, I am disappointed by the lack of depth.  Yet, the line above in this film spoke to me.  No one is perfect, as flaws exist within every living being.  These imperfections may be mild or blatantly obvious.  Nonetheless, Jesus believed everyone is worth saving.  Humanly speaking, you can’t change what the world thinks or believes, but you can change yourself.  As this subtle transformation begins, glimpses of Christ’s light appears, illuminated by the power of the Holy Spirit.  You may not possess superhuman strength like a superhero, but faith can make a difference in your life and those around you.  Thus, the next time you begin to lose hope in people, remember the words from Steve’s character, “It’s not about deserve, it’s about what you believe!”

by Jay Mankus

Battle Scars

In 1998, a film brought the battlefields of war into movie theaters across the country.  Using the invasion on the beaches of Normandy during World War II as a backdrop, Saving Private Ryan graphically depicts the brutal nature of war during an extended battle scene.  Those who survived were haunted by images of splattered blood, cries for help and the silence of death.  Some of these individuals returned home with visible signs of this violent venture.  Others possessed emotional and mental scars, like a part of their soul was ripped out and left behind.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28.

More than eighty years later, descendants have their own battle scars.  Survivors of the Holocaust have to live with the knowledge of what happened to innocent Jews.  Immigrants have the memories of the hell they went through just to make it to America.  Meanwhile, those living in crime infested areas stay awake at night wondering, who is going to be next?  There are many that express how unfair life is or could be.  Yet, blaming, complaining and denigrating others didn’t save the world from Nazi Germany.  Rather, victory is achieved by forgetting your own battle scars by coming together for a greater purpose and cause.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, Matthew 11:29.

Instead of making situations better, divisiveness by modern politicians is only adding scars, one soul at a time.  Words are cheap, a campaign slogan to help get elected.  Yet, what this world needs are leaders who inspire others to rise above their own battle scars to make the most of life.  My largest scar is three inches long, what’s left of an ankle surgery from high school.  Prior to this procedure, I was told by doctors that I would never run again.  My Christian friends refused to believe this fate, offering up prayers to the Most High.  In the end, these prayers of intervention proved science wrong, healing me to be able to compete in athletic competitions throughout my life.  While not every story has a happen ending, come to Jesus with the battle scars from your past so that you will find rest for your soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

Inside the Ark

Modern fascination with the Ark of the Covenant began in 1981 when Raiders of the Lost Ark was released.  In case you’ve forgotten, Harrison Ford plays Dr. Indiana Jones, an archeologist and expert in the occult who is hired by the United States to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Germans during World War II.  Although this film displays a somewhat realistic nature of the Ark’s power, what lies inside is just as important.

Which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant, Hebrews 9:4.

God told Moses to place three significant pieces of Israel’s history inside the ark as a reminder of God’s providence over the Jews.  The first is a jar of manna, bread from heaven sent to keep those wandering in the desert from starving to death.  The next piece is Aaron’s staff which was turned into a snake, ate up all the staff snakes made by Egyptian magicians before turning back into a staff.  This staff symbolizes God’s power during the ten plagues.  Finally, the ten commandments, written on stone tablets is the last piece, serving as a blue print for how to live and love God and man.

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name, John 20:30-31.

In recent years, the concept of time capsules have been used, burying things of the present so that those in the future may be reminded of the past.  Essentially, the Ark of the Covenant is God’s time capsule.  Whether this has already been found and hidden away in some government storage center or not, history is waiting to be uncovered.  Therefore, may those who are seeking answers to life’s questions find meaning in what lies inside the ark.

by Jay Mankus

Speechless

The 2010 film the King’s Speech is based upon a true story.  As Hitler’s popularity grew during World War II, King George VI struggled to find his voice.  Battling with stuttering throughout his life, this movie details the king’s progress with a speech therapist.  When England needed a voice, this once speechless king overcame his fears to lead a nation.

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone, Acts 9:7.

Individuals blessed with the gift of conversation probably can’t relate to those inflicted with speech impediments.   On the other hand, people who tend to be shy do not possess the desire and energy to speak for an extended period of time.  Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, there will be moments of silence.  Times when even the most outgoing individuals become speechless.

For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything, Acts 9:9.

Looking back at my own life, I find that trials usually shut me down for a while.   Whether its confusion, shock or uncertainty, it may take some time to sort things out.  The sooner I can make sense of turmoil, the quicker my life returns to normal.  Yet, life isn’t always fair, presenting difficulties that may push you beyond reason.  Thus, as you battle periods of depression in life, hold on to a God who has a track record of transforming lives.

by Jay Mankus

 

How Do You Make Money Last?

One of the most famous passages in the Bible pertaining to money is found in 2 Kings.  An apprentice of Elisha dies, leaving behind a widow and two sons in debt.  As creditors are eager to collect the overdue interest, this woman seeks out wisdom from the prophets.  Probably feeling foolish initially, she follows their directions, filling up jars of oil one at a time.  In fact based upon Elisha’s words, this oil would flow until she ran out of jars.  Although not money, the Lord supernaturally provided oil until her debts were paid off in full.

When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing, 2 Kings 4:6.

My grandmother possessed similar wisdom as an immigrant to this country.  A survivor of World War II, she displayed frugality to her children despite how strange it may appear to today.  First, she placed plastic over every couch, sofa and mattress to ensure it would last.  Second, each spring she planted a large garden on the side of the house to lessen the cost of groceries.  Finally, to avoid going into debt, she opted to walk to work rather than drive a car, finding a nursing position at a hospital in town.  Looking back, my grandmother was the queen of stretching money as far as it could go.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it, Malachi 3:10.

Today, the times may not be as bleak, yet expenses continue to mount.  Added necessities such as cell phone bills, cable, the internet and insurances tend to suck up monthly pay checks before you or a savings account has a chance to enjoy it.  Subsequently, budgets are created to promote discipline and good spending habits.  Yet, even this can’t make money last.  Beside finding the dream job or a position with ample pay, the answer lies in the principle of tithing.  Somehow and someway, as individuals begin to give back to God the first fruits He deserves, an unexplainable miracle occurs, God provides.  Whatever your financial situation may be, may God reveal to you storehouses in heaven as you fully tithe.

by Jay Mankus

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