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Category Archives: Truth

The Finality of Hell

Prior to sharing the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus is having a heated discussion with religious leaders about the Law. According to Luke, Jesus goes from a debate over wealth to what defines adultery. When you put two and two together, Jesus tells this story to convict the hearts of any Pharisee who was willing to listen. The purpose of this parable is meant to serve as a warning to the spiritually proud about the finality of hell.

And in Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received [what is due you in] comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish, Luke 16:23-25.

Jesus clearly states that there will be no second chances following death. I guess the only exception would be those individuals who have testified about having a near death experience. The medical world refers to these miracles as the Lazarus Syndrome, pronounced dead only to come back to life. Jesus includes the request from the rich man while in hell to clarify that the Torah and Prophets already serve as a warning to steer souls toward heaven and away from hell.

And [the man] said, Then, father, I beseech you to send him to my father’s house—28 For I have five brothers—so that he may give [solemn] testimony and warn them, lest they too come into this place of torment. 29 But Abraham said, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear and listen to them. 30 But he answered, No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent (change their minds for the better and heartily amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins). 31 He said to him, If they do not hear and listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded and convinced and believe [even] if someone should rise from the dead, Luke 16:27-31.

To the uncertain, wanting to make sure that they are on the right path, Jesus leaves behind another clue in Matthew 7:12-14. This is a good way to assess your motives. Do I go with the flow or am I more concerned with pleasing God? Am I seeking temporary pleasures or storing up eternal treasures? Are you bearing spiritual fruit or indulging your sinful nature? These are just a few questions that you must consider. Since there are no second chances after death, may this blog inspire you to choose Christ over self.

by Jay Mankus

Unaware Addictions

What if your cell phone was lost and you didn’t have enough money to purchase a replacement? What would happen if a major blackout prevented you from streaming or watching your favorite shows for an entire weekend? If all of your internet passwords were changed without your knowledge, how would you survive without being able to access the worldwide net? How you answer these questions might reveal unaware addictions, formerly oblivious to you.

Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions. 13 Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness, Romans 6:12-13.

The 6th chapter of Romans serves as spiritual assessment to expose the degree to which you indulge your flesh. The apostle Paul asks members of the church at Rome, “how are you currently offering your body?” Paul insinuates that human being are yielding to their flesh instead of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. If this assessment reveals an addiction, bad habit or weaknesses, what are you going to do to address this concern?

For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy]. 15 What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we live not under Law but under God’s favor and mercy? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? – Romans 6:14-15

In the passage above, Paul suggests that you are a slave to that which you obey. Perhaps, this explains why so many Americans are enslaved by fleshly cravings. Listening to your body to drink, eat or exercise seems so natural. Yet, what if you are so use to the norm that you have missed out on spiritually blessings? Jesus confesses that the spirit is willing, but the body is weak, Matthew 26:41. May this blog and the passages above inspire you to keep in step with the Holy Spirit rather than indulge your sinful nature.

by Jay Mankus

Drop It!

Everyone has at least one member of their family who feels like they always have to get in the last word. Instead of letting a comment go without a response, the temptation to reply is indulged. This character flaw often leads to arguments, heated debates and never ending disputes. Thus, before tempers flare, someone must intervene with a simple message, “drop it!”

So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God). It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will), Among whom you also once walked, when you were living in and addicted to [such practices], Colossians 3:5-7.

The apostle Paul refers to this expression in the passage above. Instead of focusing on the negative, Paul begins chapter 3 with the ideal, “setting your hearts and minds on things above, Colossians 3:1-4. After setting the bar for Christians to reach for, Paul does a reality check by referencing acts of the sinful nature. These desires are natural until individuals make a decision to follow Jesus. This is when believers must drop their former practices.

Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. 13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony], Colossians 3:12-14.

Paul recognizes that certain things will be hard to drop, especially forgiving those who have severely hurt you in the past. Thus, Paul urges individuals to forgive others just as Christ has forgiven you. Perhaps, Paul is referencing the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:14-15, where Jesus introduces the forgiveness clause. Therefore, if you want to receive God’s forgiveness, drop any bitterness in your heart now to ensure your own forgiveness.

by Jay Mankus

Going Through Hell

From time to time, I will receive heart breaking news. A car accident ends the life of a teenager, cancer takes another victim or an unforeseen illness takes away a loved one before you have a chance to say goodbye. Anyone who experiences these trials might compare their pain to “going through hell” on earth. Yet, is this an accurate comparison based upon the description of hell in the Bible?

For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward], Hebrews 10:26.

The word hell is used 54 times in the original King James Bible. If you dig deeper, there are 4 distinct words in the Bible used to describe aspects of hell: Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, and Tartaroo. Sheol has two different meanings depending on the context, the grave or pit. Hades refers to the physical location of hell, the abode of the spirits of the dead or the underworld. The final two terms focus on the eternal consequences of hell.

[There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God], Hebrews 10:27.

Gehenna is a small valley in Jerusalem where some of the kings of Judah in the Old Testament sacrificed their children by fire. A first century doctor uses Gehenna in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus to describe hell as a place of burning, torment, and misery. Meanwhile, Tartaroo refers to the deepest abyss in hell where the wicked suffer eternal punishment for their wicked deeds committed on earth. Upon further review, may the anguish that you suffer on earth draw you into a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-11, so that you current pain is only temporary and not eternal.

by Jay Mankus

The Parable of the Unknown

A young native American was tracking prey at the base of a mountain when he came across an undamaged egg which fell out of a nearby eagles’ nest. After trying to place this egg back where it belonged, the ledge was too steep to climb while holding this egg. Instead of abandoning this egg, this boy found a similar vacant nest closer to camp. Approaching quietly, this boy carefully placed this egg next to three addition eggs.

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot, Proverbs 14:30.

Several weeks later, all four eggs hatched. Instead of being the ugly duckling, the eaglet stood out among the other three flightless cormorants. As his adopted mother taught him to swim, another bird caught his eye, flying and soaring high above this lake. As the eagle above gracefully glided in the air, the swimming eagle became jealous, wishing he could fly instead of just swimming. While the others were natural swimmers, this eaglet struggled to find his way through life.

I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life, Psalm 119:93.

This parable that I recently heard struck a nerve. Sometimes I am so focused on how gifted other people are that I forget my own blessings, gifts and talents. Meanwhile, when I spend too much time focusing on what I want or need, I neglect God’s expectations for me as a Christian. When there is no one else around to point you in the right direction like the adopted eaglet, the Bible is available to show you the way. May you follow in the footsteps of Joshua 1:8, meditating on God’s Word day and night.

by Jay Mankus

The Power of the WORD

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus first used the term Logos 600 years before Jesus’ birth. Heraclitus was searching for a term to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe. As written in the Greek Lexicon, λογόs refers to a word uttered by a living voice that embodies a concept or idea. This is the term that the disciple whom Jesus loved uses in the opening chapter of his gospel.

So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it, Isaiah 55:11.

John gets right to his point in the opening verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” Unlike any other human being, Jesus resided in heaven prior to being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. Subsequently, John introduces the concept of the trinity, three personalities within one supreme God. Thus, the creator of the universe came down to earth to bring light to an ever darkening world as a living WORD.

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

In his second letter to a teenage pastor, the apostle Paul explains how the Bible was God inspired over several thousand years. The author of Hebrews refers to this book as living and active, like a double edged sword which allows a soldier to move from a defensive to offensive position in one motion. Isaiah, who was sawed in two for his faith, understood the power of God’s Word as described in the passage above. However, the greatest aspect of the Bible is that each time you open these living pages a new message is received, a fresh perspective on life. As you study the Bible in 2020, may you feel and sense the presence of the power of the WORD.

by Jay Mankus

The Way Maker

The 1920’s has been described as the Jazz Age or roaring twenties. This decade of prosperity was marred by the Great Depression which began in August of 1929. Nineteen hundred years earlier, Jesus brought an era of spiritual enlightenment. This was accomplished by turning people’s attention away from following a set of rules, the Torah, to entering into a personal relationship with God. However, even his twelve disciples were often left in the dark, unclear of what Jesus meant by following the way.

And when (if) I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way, John 14:3-4.

The disciple whom Jesus loved reflects upon these words after Jesus’ crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. John had plenty of time for reflection while living in exile on the Island of Patmos. Jesus spent the last three years of his life on earth pouring his heart and soul into twelve men. Little by little, Jesus showed this motley crew how to live, pray and serve mankind. Despite witnessing numerous miracles daily, a couple of disciples still doubted Jesus and couldn’t fully comprehend the way.

Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. If you had known Me [had learned to recognize Me], you would also have known My Father. From now on, you know Him and have seen Him. Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father [cause us to see the Father—that is all we ask]; then we shall be satisfied, John 14:5-8.

Thomas and Philip are identified in the passage above, living by sight, not by faith. During a Sermon of the Mount of Olives, Jesus compares the way to two roads, a super highway and a narrow path. Prior to his arrest, Jesus often ruffled the feathers of religious leaders, referring to an inner temple, not the place of worship in Jerusalem. The Bible, especially the four gospels, provides clues for modern believers who seek a similar path, the Way. May this blog conceive a burning desire for you to follow the Way Maker, also a song by Mandisa.

by Jay Mankus

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