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Tag Archives: 10 Commandments

How Bad Do You Want It?

To excel at a high level, many athletes join travel teams at an early age to maximize their full potential. Depending upon an individual’s commitment, desire and overall talent, coaches will push these rising stars to new heights. Parents will continue to fork over thousands of dollars each year with the goal of eventually earning a full college scholarship. The end result often relies on how bad do these student athletes want to compete at the next level.

Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?] 37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect), Matthew 22:36-37.

From a spiritual perspective, God uses free will to reveal who wants it more. Instead of forcing the earth to comply, God introduced the Ten Commandments to the nation of Israel in Exodus 20. The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ opened the door for Gentiles to be welcomed into God’s family. For anyone who wants to excel spiritually, Jesus summarizes a primary goal: love God with all your heart, soul and mind.

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, 20 You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

In a letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul adds another element to how bad do you want to draw near to God. Paul suggests that human bodies are on loan from God. Thus, if you want to reach your full potential as a believer, treating your body as a living temple of God is essential. Those who want it more spiritually will separate themselves via fruits of the spirit. Since talk is cheap, time will tell how bad you want to please God?

by Jay Mankus

Revisiting the Pinocchio Meter

Geico’s advertisement campaigns have been masterful using a gecko lizard, cave man and most recently Pinocchio to illustrate a felt need for insurance. While the cave man and gecko have received the most notoriety, the addition of Pinocchio adds an interesting element. This wooden puppet created by Geppetto is synonymous with lying. Whenever Pinocchio failed to tell the truth, his nose immediately grew to expose his latest lie.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight, Proverbs 12:22.

Pinocchio was first interjected by Geico as a flawed motivational speaker. The latest commercials include a blind date and parking ticket. The sight of Pinocchio’s nose growing with each fib still makes me laugh. However, when cable news pundits, newspapers and reporters alter the context of a statement, exaggerate or stretch the truth daily, it’s not funny at all. Yet, this is the state of America’s politics in 2020 with the nastiest likely yet to come.

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish, Proverbs 19:9.

It’s a shame that the Ten Commandments are broken daily without much outrage. Whether a member of the media bears false witness, dishonors parents and takes the Lord’s name in vain, the foundation for ethics in America is crumbling. Instead justification and rationalization allow lies to be told if it’s against a certain party or hated individual. Until modern day Pinocchio’s are exposed for their dishonesty, lying ways will continue. If only a Pinocchio Meter was available for all to see, ethics and morality would change. Yet, for now it’s in God’s hand, waiting for Judgment Day for the liars to be revealed.

by Jay Mankus

The Defaming of Faith

Defame refers to cast asperations on, malign or slander the reputation of someone. In this age of social media, it only takes one post, tweet or video to ruin years of faith, respect and trust. As individuals battle for control, power and supremacy, distortions, embellishment and lies will be made to elevate one’s status while tearing down others.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test you [that is, to test the quality of your faith], as though something strange or unusual were happening to you, 1 Peter 4:12.

From a spiritual perspective, there is a rise in naturalistic scholars, revisionist historians and secularism within America. When history does not enhance a particular worldview, events, facts and founding fathers are being defamed to delegitimize past accomplishments. Meanwhile, K-12 education is omitting significant influences such as the Magna Carta, the Pilgrim’s religion and role the ten commandments has played in establishing our justice system.

But insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, keep on rejoicing, so that when His glory [filled with His radiance and splendor] is revealed, you may rejoice with great joy. 14 If you are insulted and reviled for [bearing] the name of Christ, you are blessed [happy, with life-joy and comfort in God’s salvation regardless of your circumstances], because the Spirit of glory and of God is resting on you [and indwelling you—He whom they curse, you glorify], 1 Peter 4:13-14.

Whether you want to call this watering down or defaming, America has a rich Christian Heritage. Yet, due to political correctness traces of Christianity has vanished from public education. Meanwhile, other believers are afraid that if they speak up at work, their jobs or potential advancements will be terminated. However, Peter states that you shouldn’t be surprised by the defaming of faith. First century Christians embraced this as a badge of honor, a sign that their faith was alive and well. While nobody wants to endure hardship, trials in life are meant to strengthen and refine your faith.

by Jay Mankus

Grace Holds Me Now

The byproduct of original sin, Adam and Eve’s decision to eat forbidden fruit, led to separation from God. When the only rule, do not eat of the tree of knowledge, in the Garden of Eden was broken, earth’s first family was banished, expelled from this tropical paradise. Subsequently, a works oriented system using a series of sacrifices was set up to atone for current and past sins. The Old Testament book of Leviticus introduces these offerings with detailed instructions on when and how this should be done.

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man [who places his faith in wealth and status] to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were completely astonished and bewildered, saying, “Then who can be saved [from the wrath of God]?” – Matthew 19:24-25

During the first century, a rich young ruler lived his life in according to the 10 commandments, Exodus 20:1-17. Despite his zealous application of these principles, something in this man’s heart didn’t seem right. Thus, this ruler seeks out godly counsel from Jesus, hoping to find comfort that he was on the right track. After a series of questions, Jesus asks this wealthy man to go and sell all of his possessions, then give the proceeds to the poor. While the rich young ruler lived a moral life, at some point he began to trust his own wealth instead of God. This request was just too hard to do, walking away from Jesus in tears.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” Matthew 19:26.

Jesus hints at the concept of grace in the passage above. Grace refers to God’s riches at Christ’s expense. This unmerited favor of God toward man is made possible through Jesus’ life as the perfect lamb of God. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection made what was formerly impossible possible. Thus, individuals no longer need to live by the standards of the Old Testament. Rather, anyone who publicly believes in their heart and professes with their mouth that Jesus is Lord will be saved, Romans 10:9-10. Therefore, you don’t have to walk away disappointed like the rich young ruler. Faith in Jesus provides assurance that grace holds you now.

by Jay Mankus

Forgotten Commandments

History has a habit of uncovering relics from the past.  Caves hid the Dead Sea Scrolls until 1946 when 981 texts written in Aramaic, Greek and Hebrews were discovered over a 10 year period.  However, there are always things in plain sight which get overlooked, neglected by those too busy to slow down.

As I opened Leviticus 19 today, I stumbled upon an expanded version of the 10 commandments.  Although some of the passages are subtle reminders, God conveys to Moses the whys to keeping decrees and laws.  These biblical nuggets offer common sense, direction and a foundation for faith.  Nonetheless, unless you accept and practice these precepts, you will be vulnerable to straying off course.

There are several reasons why commandments are forgotten.  First, the Bible offends those comfortable with how they are living, reluctant to change.  Second, people don’t like to be told that they are wrong, especially if there are eternal consequences.  Third, since truth has become relative, everyone has their own take on right and wrong.  In the end, Leviticus 19 serves as a wake up call, to alert those sleep walking through life.  May the words of Scripture breathe life into sleepy, tired and weary souls.

by Jay Mankus

The Real Smooth Operator

During the summer of 1984, the English group Sade released the song Smooth Operator, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for 2 weeks.  The distinct voice of Sade Adu has etched a place in history for this song, a classic which highlights the unique sounds of the 1980’s.  While modern commercial studs, movie stars and players try to claim this crown, there is only one Smooth Operator, Jesus of Nazareth.

According to Mark 12:13-15, the religious police came after Jesus, pulling out all their stunts to find a way to arrest him.  In Act I, found in Mark 12:15-17, Jesus faces off with the Pharisees and Herodians, thirsty for blood ever since Mark 3:6.  These two religious groups attempt to force Jesus into a corner where he either breaks Roman law, not paying taxes to Caesar or refuses to respect the proper temple tax.  Celebrating too earlier, Jesus asks for a coin, answers both questions, leaving a jaw dropping response in Mark 12:17.

Act II begins in Mark 12:18-27 with a group known as the Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead.  Thus, one of their zealots poses a hypothetical question, hoping to stump and or trick Jesus into giving an unbiblical reply.  Likely yawning, thinking, “is that the best you’ve got,” Jesus quickly disposes these morons.  Toying with their minds, Jesus clarifies their flawed logic by explaining there is no marriage in heaven and Oh by the way, Moses served the God of the living, not the dead.

On fire now, burning through his competition, Act III rolls out one final expert to duel Jesus, a teacher of the law, Mark 12:28-39.  Playing pin the tail on the donkey, this teacher thinks he can get Jesus to de-emphasize one of the 10 commandments, Exodus 20:1-17.  Instead, Jesus divides the commandments God gave to Moses in 2 classifications: 1-4 focus on loving God, 6-10 require loving your neighbor as yourself.  By loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and following the golden rule, individuals can insure that they will keep all 10 commandments.  Astonished by his wisdom, this teacher of the law is nearly converted by Jesus in Mark 12:34.  After this, no one else dared to ask Jesus another question, proving once and for all, He is the real smooth operator!

by Jay Mankus

What Causes Someone to Pull the Trigger?

In light of the recent murder of Kasandra M. Perkins and subsequent suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, its important to learn from this tragedy.  If our culture continues to make the same mishaps without gathering information from history, we won’t survive.  Thus, it is vital to begin to grasp what causes someone who appears normal to pull the trigger.

To uncover this mystery, we must go back 8,000 years to study the first murder ever recorded.  Cain was a farmer, like his father Adam, a difficult occupation due to the curse placed on the ground by God in Genesis 3:17-19.  Taking this into account, Abel, Cain’s younger brother, decides he doesn’t want to stay in the family business, opting to pursue a career as a shepherd.  Not dependent on the soil, Abel thrives, moving his sheep from field to field once the are grasslands depleted.  This success leads Abel to easily give his first fruits back to God while older brother Cain struggles to make ends meat.  These events create a spirit of jealousy within Cain’s heart, frustrated by blessings Abel receives, Genesis 4:4-7.

Now that we have a motive for murder, one must delve into the words of Jesus, investigating the Sermon on the Mount to probe for more clues why someone might pull the trigger.  In Matthew 5, Jesus is trying to put Old Testament laws, mainly the 10 Commandments into modern terms.  Jesus isn’t attempting to change these commands.  Rather, He is putting them into laymen terms so that everyone in attendance understands.

According to Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus equates hatred with murder.  A normal person is not going to pull the trigger, killing someone.  However, when a person allows hatred to enter their heart and dwell there, murder is conceived.  Like the conservation with Cain in Genesis 4:6-7, God was trying to talk him out of acting upon his hatred of Abel.  The expression “sin is crouching at your door” is a Babylonian term used to refer to an evil demon trying to enter a building, threatening to harm those inside.  In other words, the second stage to pulling the triggers involves demonic influences which sows seeds of murder within someone’s mind.

Yet, Jesus does not stop here; there is one more step which pushes people over the cliff of normalcy to insanity.  Although the context of Matthew 5:27-30 is adultery, Jesus is addressing the Old Testament practice of purging.  If an alcoholic wants to quit drinking, but lives next door to a liquor store, he must move to purge his desire to drink.  Likewise, if someone embraces unwholesome lusts, you have to take drastic steps to regain control of your body, Matthew 5:29-30.  People who commit suicide and or murder are enslaved by these desires, crossing the point of no return like Cain, James 1:13-15.

I don’t claim to be an expert on murder or suicide, but I do believe all the answers to life can be found in the Bible.  You may not have all your questions answered in this life, yet you can make reservations for the next life, John 3:16-17.  In fact, John, the one whom Jesus loved, who knew Jesus better than anyone else on earth, leaves everyone an amazing promise in 1 John 5:13.  Make a date with God today, Romans 10:9-10, before its too late to act!

by Jay Mankus

A Study of the Word

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