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Category Archives: Truth

Powerful in Deed and Word

The reality show Undercover Boss premiered in February of 2010. Business owners, CEO’s and presidents go undercover to interact with employees. While disguises vary, the employee’s impression will prove to the boss how important their job is to them. During a seven mile trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus, Jesus performs a similar act on a couple of his disciples. Jesus plays coy, pretending not to know what happened three days earlier. According to Luke 24:16, no one recognized Jesus, playing the part of an undercover boss.

He asked, “What things?” And they replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, Luke 24:19.

Near the end of this discussion, one disciple makes an interesting observation. While reflecting upon his life, this man compares Jesus to a prophet whose deeds and words are powerful. Jesus wasn’t all talk, no action. Rather, compassion led to miracles, day after day, helping those who came to Jesus as a last resort. Despite the compliments given to Jesus, these men lacked hope, faith and joy, acting like modern defeated Christians.

For indeed you already do practice it toward all the believers throughout Macedonia [by actively displaying your love and concern for them]. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, that you excel [in this matter] more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully, and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands, just as we directed you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders [exhibiting good character, personal integrity, and moral courage worthy of the respect of the outside world], and be dependent on no one and in need of nothing [be self-supporting], 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12.

The apostle Paul encourages the congregation of Thessalonica to practice displaying the love of God. Instead of speaking too much, Paul urges believers to live out their faith quietly. Unless you earn the respect of outsiders, you won’t be able to expand the gospel. Thus, while some people find it easy to talk to strangers, living out your faith is more important. When the timing is right, doors will open to further God’s kingdom. Until then, may your deeds be just as powerful as your words.

by Jay Mankus

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Alive But Not Liberated

Hogtied refers to having your hands and feet secured together. While this technique is often limited to rodeo competitions, many people go through life with certain restrictions. Some may end up gagged, stuck or tied up in a no win situation. Spiritual barriers may not be visible, but their affects are felt leaving countless individuals alive, but not liberated.

Out came the man who had been dead, his hands and feet tightly wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] cloth wrapped around his face. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and release him,” John 11:44.

Prior to modern funeral homes, the dead were wrapped like a mummy to preserve bodies from accelerating the decay process. Bodies were often placed in caves, sealed by a large boulder. In the passage above, Jesus cancels Lazarus’ funeral. However, following this resurrection, Lazarus was alive, but not liberated. Lazarus’ grave clothes restricted his ability to move, talk and walk. Thus, Jesus invites pall bearers to unwrap Lazarus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1.

Following the chapter of the Bible known as the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11, the author introduces a similar concept. Life on earth is compared to a marathon with the dead serving as witnesses, a large crowd cheering you on toward finish line in the race called life. Just as family and friends liberated Lazarus from his grave clothes, God wants believers to dispose of, get rid of and throw off anything that is weighing you down. As you pray to unload these burdens, you become one step closer to being alive and liberated.

by Jay Mankus

Perplexed and Wondering

A week doesn’t go by without experiencing, hearing or witnessing something that baffles my mind. Certain events are puzzling, hard to grasp the meaning, purpose or reason for God allowing these things to occur. Without counsel, a friend or insight from a mentor, you might be left in the dark. Days may turn into weeks, months and years before clarity arrives.

While they were perplexed and wondering about this, suddenly, two men in dazzling clothing stood near them; Luke 24:4.

A group of woman were on their way to finish preparing Jesus’ body for his permanent resting place. Upon arriving, the door to his grave, a boulder protecting a cave entrance was rolled away. After going inside, Jesus’ body was gone, missing. Perplexed and wondering, these women were visited by two angels who appeared in dazzling clothes from heaven. At their greatest need for understanding, the Lord provided a message of hope.

Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant and boundless mercy has caused us to be born again [that is, to be reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose] to an ever-living hope and confident assurance through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3.

The resurrection gave first century individuals who let Jesus down prior to his death a second chance. This included Peter who denied knowing Jesus during his arrest and trial. While Jesus’ acts, miracles and words perplexed and caused his own disciples to wonder why, dying and rising from the dead fulfilled biblical prophecy. Thus, even though you may still have numerous questions you want to be answered, the resurrection of Jesus provides eternal security for those who believe this event occurred.

by Jay Mankus

Stop Blocking Miracles

As a novice student, when high school teachers and college professors started to repeat something, my classmates began to write this information down in their notebooks. Others instructors would be more obvious, coughing in jest or implying, “hum… this sounds like a good test question.” However, when the son of God, Jesus, repeats the same message three chapters later, you might want to take this to heart. In the verses below, Jesus takes two different scenarios that illustrate how and why individuals can block miracles from occurring.

“Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them,” Matthew 18:19-20.

This first passage is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible. A month doesn’t go by without someone in church, a person praying or a pastor on television who names and claims this promise. However, Jesus places two escape clauses in verse 19. The first refers to harmony within the body of Christ. God wants members of a congregation to be on the same page, united in the decisions that are made. The second clause mentions the will of God. Prayers that exclude, ignore or go outside the will of God will be rejected. Thus, whenever discord or selfishness exists, potential miracles will be blocked and nullified.

Jesus replied to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have faith [personal trust and confidence in Me] and do not doubt or allow yourself to be drawn in two directions, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen [if God wills it]. 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive,” Matthew 21:21-22.

The second disclaimer is based upon faith. Despite witnessing miracle after miracle, the disciples struggled to place their complete confidence and trust in Jesus. When a fig tree isn’t bearing fruit in season, Jesus curses it, withering this tree immediately. Using this as a teachable moment, Jesus refers to a mountain blocking your view from God’s full potential. Thus, the key element is a persistent faith that believes you will receive what you ask for in prayer. When this is missing, a lack of faith blocks potential miracles from occurring. Therefore, if you want to determine what’s keeping you from ascending to your full potential, you may be out of alignment with God’s will. Or traces of doubt are holding back future miracles. May this blog help you gain understanding into what God truly desires.

by Jay Mankus

Guarding Against Spiritual Concussions

Prior to modern CT scans, little was known about concussions. A computed tomography scan, formerly known as a computerized axial tomography scan or CAT scan, makes use of computer-processed combinations. This technology enables many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional images of specific areas of a scanned object, allowing the user to see inside an object without cutting. This procedure helps connect the dots between blows to the head and their impact on the human brain. Any type of force, impact or jolting to the head can result in
temporary unconsciousness.

Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, Ephesians 6:16-17.

Just as safety concerns has improved modern sports equipment, the apostle Paul introduces a spiritual armor designed to combat spiritual concussions. Faith serves as a protective shield to deflect and extinguish Satanic attacks. As a fallen angel, Ephesians 2:2 refers to this spiritual entity as the ruler of the air. Other passages in the Bible suggest that certain areas, cities and regions are under demonic control, oppressing any unwelcomed visitor. Thus, unless you are fully armed with the helmet of salvation to protect your mind, violent invisible blasts will result in spiritual concussions. Victims will experience confusion, doubt and temporary unconsciousness.

For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [bsword, penetrating as far as the division of the [c]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account, Hebrews 4:12-13.

Beside prayer, the only offensive weapon included in this armor is the sword of the spirit. The double edged portion is symbolic of having the ability to transition from a defensive position to offense in one move. The best example is found in Matthew 4:1-11 where Jesus corrects the Devil during his temptation in the wilderness. Jesus quotes Scripture in each of his three responses. However, the Devil takes the Bible out of its intended context to trick Jesus. While Jesus was able to fight back, if you don’t know the Bible well enough you are vulnerable to spiritual concussions. Eve was the first person to receive this type of concussion when Satan planted an ungodly thought within her mind. Unfortunately, it’s been downhill ever since, lulled into carnal and sensual desires. May this blog serve as a warning to inspire you to put on the whole armor of God daily to avoid a similar fate.

by Jay Mankus

A Common Song that Unites

In this day and age of politics, negative stories seem to get the most attention. Clips, sound bytes and videos go viral daily, played over and over again on cable news and social media. Like a well funded smear campaign, lives, relationships and reputations can be permanently ruined, with some people never able to recover. Perhaps, it’s time to turn the page by finding a common song that unites rather than divides and destroy.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has ost its taste (purpose), how can it be made salty? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and walked on by people [when the walkways are wet and slippery], Matthew 5:13.

Back in 1984, Bruce Springsteen’s album Born in the USA inspired a spirit of patriotism. Upon hearing this single, Born in the USA seemed to galvanize individuals born in the United States of America. This song became more than just a series of concerts. Rather, the lyrics and chorus instilled a sense of pride among natural born citizens. Thirty five years later, modern progressives deem the message within Born in the USA as bigoted, racist and unfair. Thus, Born in the USA is now disqualified from the category of a common song that unites Americans based upon progressive logic.

“You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven, Matthew 5:14-16.

After listening to a series of songs on You Tube last night, I think I have found one worthy which meets this criteria. In 2011, Casting Crowns released A City on the Hill on their Come to the Well album. The lyrics refer to several different classes within society. Dancers, elders, rich, poor, poets, soldiers and the young are referenced. Initially, each are disconnected, going their own way due to numerous differences. However, the song ends with a positive transition, focusing on how segments of the population feed off of one another. When residents of a city on a hill emulate the teachings of Jesus, faith becomes the rhythm that unites neighborhoods.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Let Feelings Control Your Theology

Theology is the science of God; the study of beliefs, doctrines and theories based upon the Bible. Meanwhile, feelings are a natural reaction to your emotional state. Under duress, hardship or trials, feelings will clash with your theology. Depending upon your state of mind, words may come out of your mouth that contradict what you actually believe. Thus, when push comes to shove, never let feelings control your theology.

But their report seemed to them like idle talk and nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Stooping [at the small entrance] and looking in, he saw only the linen wrappings; and he went away, wondering about what had happened, Luke 24:11-12.

Three days after Jesus’ death, a group of women are eager to tell the disciples about their encounter with two angels. One of these eye witnesses is Jesus’ mom, insisting that the Lord has risen from the dead. Instead of rejoicing, these men let their feelings control their theology. Subsequently, the disciples accused these women of gossip, hearsay and non-sense. Yet, Peter ran to the tomb hoping that these women were telling the truth.

When Mary came [to the place] where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who had come with her also sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit [to the point of anger at the sorrow caused by death] and was troubled, John 11:32-33.

About a year earlier, two sisters found themselves in a similar situation. Their brother had died, succumbing to a fatal illness. However, Martha, reached out to Jesus prior to his death, begging him to come heal Lazarus. When Jesus finally arrived, Mary, the youngest, accused Jesus of not caring and essentially blaming him for Lazarus’ death. While these women let their emotions control their comments, Jesus stayed focused. Jesus gave commands to roll back the tombstone, stood death in the face and brought Lazarus back to life. This is an example of what can happen when belief, conviction and faith never waver.

by Jay Mankus

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