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When Right is Wrong and Wrong is Right

In any social setting, there are preconceived thoughts based upon appearance, attire, background, education, intellect and wealth.  If character is excluded from this set of standards, people can be misled, confusing right from wrong and vice versa.  Like Samuel waiting to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king of Israel, the heart is often overlooked.  While David’s brothers fit the physical features of a leader, David’s heart set him apart from his siblings.  Thus, Samuel told Jesse to call his youngest son from the fields, led by the Holy Spirit to anoint David.

Now there was a woman in the city who was [known as] a sinner; and when she found out that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume; 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began wetting His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and [respectfully] kissed His feet [as an act signifying both affection and submission] and anointed them with the perfume, Luke 7:37-38.

Several hundred years later, another famous anointing took place.  Unfortunately, the disciples were fooled by the tarnished reputation of an unwelcomed guest.  To make matters worse, this woman broke and wasted a valuable vial of perfume.  The actual worth of this bottle was equivalent to nearly a years pay for a first century laborer.  This display blinded religious leaders from the true intentions of this woman.  Staring at the spilled perfume as if it was a load of cash blowing in the wind, the man who invited Jesus over to his house is offended by Jesus’ interaction with this prostitute.  Subsequently, in Simon’s eyes right is wrong and wrong is right.

Now when [Simon] the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him, that she is a [notorious] sinner [an outcast, devoted to sin],” Luke 7:39

Over reactions like Simon are carried out within homes every night in the 21st century.  Instead of seeing things for what they are, preconceived notions blind decent human beings from the truth.  Thus, knee jerk reactions lead to conflict, division and tension within Christian homes.  Perhaps, everyone needs to become more like Jesus, expecting the best in others regardless of past or present reputations.  May this passage of the Bible speak to your soul, opening your heart to forgive, forget and extend God’s grace and mercy to others.  If you don’t, you too may confuse right from wrong and wrong with right.

by Jay Mankus

Forged by Fire

In an age of reality television, few careers, fields and occupations are left out of Hollywood.  This inclusive environment has given bladesmiths a voice in the show Forged in Fire.  Beginning in 2015, the History Channel has featured competitions to see who is the best according to panel of three judges.  Four seasons later, it appears that this series hosted by Wil Willis has found it’s niche, likely to continue a fifth season in 2018.

John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire,” Luke 3:16.

During the first century, Jesus eludes to a different kind of fire.  Instead of a typical black smith forging metal with fire, Jesus introduces a spiritual fire.  Referred to as the Holy Spirit, a local doctor is intrigued by Jesus’ use of vocabulary in the passage above.  This symbolism suggests God will anoint those who are baptized with an invisible force.  This power will replace the natural with a capacity to do supernatural things.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed, 1 Peter 1:6-7.

One of Jesus’ disciples expands upon Jesus’ words.  According to Peter, trials in life are used by God as opportunities for growth.  Like pottery being placed into a kiln, faith is refined by extreme conditions.  As the heat intensifies, imperfections are slowly glazed over as souls are forged by fire.  While Jesus is no longer present, the Holy Spirit was sent following his ascension into heaven to continue this process today.  Although it’s never pleasant to endure difficult and hard times in this life, this process is necessary so that faith may be refined, forged by an invisible fire.

by Jay Mankus

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