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Tag Archives: authority

Is This Really Happening?

In 1997, Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts starred in Conspiracy Theory.  Gibson plays Jerry Fletcher, an outspoken critic of the government who is obsessed by numerous theories that he believes to be true.  Paranoid by the thoughts in his mind, Gibson’s character is portrayed as crazy, a lunatic that needs to be locked up in a mental hospital.  Meanwhile, Roberts plays Alice Sutton, a sympathetic lawyer from the Justice Department who humors Fletcher until some of his theories turn out to be true.

At that time many will be offended and repelled [by their association with Me] and will fall away [from the One whom they should trust] and will betray one another [handing over believers to their persecutors] and will hate one another, Matthew 24:10.

Early in the first century, a man from Nazareth developed a large following.  Without any formal education or schooling, this preacher puzzled religious leaders.  Experts of the law, Pharisees and Sadducees were amazed by his authority, communicating the Old Testament like a biblical scholar.  However, when Jesus prophesized about the end of days, public officials began to label Jesus as a lunatic and liar.  Following his death on a cross and resurrection, those who once mocked Jesus began to say, “is this really happening?”

But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 2 Timothy 3:1-4.

I watched the History Channels version of Revelation: the End of Days the other night.  As a former seminary student, it wasn’t hard to recognize the various theological errors, stretching the truth to appeal to an American audience.  Nonetheless, when you read the Bible, listen to conspiracy theories espoused daily and watch reports of great stress and trouble on cable news, the end of days may be closer than I once thought.  When I reflect upon Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 and the apostle Paul’s comments about societal trends in 2 Timothy 3, to a certain extent these events have arrived.  According to the Bible, no one will know the time of Jesus’ second coming, but if I were you, I’d make my reservations for heaven immediately, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

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The Coup d’état

The pronouncement of a coup d’état derives from the Spanish expression golpe de estado. Commonly used in Spain and South America, this refers to a formal explanation for the deposing of a regnant government.  Ousting, overthrowing and seizing power is justified with an installation of a new government, considered in the best interest for the future of a country.  Whether this is true or not does not matter as long as any opposition forces are eliminated.

17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like [a flash of] lightning, Luke 10:17-18.

Coup d’etat’s are not limited to the political realm.  Rather, one spiritual elite conceived a plan to alter God’s grand design for planet earth.  Instead of allowing mankind to rule, a fallen archangel conspired with his cohorts, a third of heavens angels to regain control.  Thus, this sly creature entered a snake to commence operation sin.  Sure, the thought of a woman talking to a snake doesn’t make much sense, but prior to the confusion of speech within Babel, Genesis 11:1-9, some scholars believe animals were initially able to talk with human beings.

Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”- Genesis 3:1

The Coup of all coups began with one subtle question, “did God really say?”  After a persuasive conversation, it didn’t take long before minds were teased with the possibility of becoming like God.  This thought was too tempting to let go of, day dreaming of what this might be like.  Without much resistance, Adam and Eve handed over their authority of earth over to Lucifer who remains in power today as ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2.  What a waste, foregoing the future of a perfect life on earth to indulge in an instant of gratification that quickly fades.

13 For such men are counterfeit apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, since Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:13-14.

Unfortunately, the Coup of all coups continues today in relative obscurity.  The worse part is that Satan has deceived some church leaders to twist and alter truth of the Bible.  This has led certain Christian denominations to not believe in the Devil.  The watering down of God’s Word is enabling individuals to be deceived daily while Satan continues to masquerade as an angel of light.  May this blog awaken hearts and alert minds to this spiritual danger.  May the Holy Spirit give you eyes to see through this darkness so that Satan’s coup d’état doesn’t destroy another life.

by Jay Mankus

Jesus’ Bucket List

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play two terminally ill men seeking to fulfill a list of wishes before each pass away in the 2007 film Bucket List.  This movie has spawned a worldwide movement, awakening souls to make the most of their time on earth.  Books, social media and you tube videos have helped spread this grassroots movement to live out your childhood dreams.

Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year for the Passover Feast. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, according to the custom of the Feast; 43 and as they were returning [to [j]Nazareth], after spending the required number of days [at the Feast], the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. Now His parents did not know this, 44 but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and traveled a day’s journey; and [then] they began searching [anxiously] for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for Him [everywhere]. 46 Three days later they found Him in the [court of the] temple, sitting among the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions, Luke 2:41-46.

As I read through the New Testament, it appears Jesus had his own bucket list consisting of three goals.  The first occurs immediately following his bar mitzvah, the Jewish ceremony where a twelve year old boy becomes a man.  Similar to Confirmation for Christians, this tradition allowed Jesus to officially join the temple and begin to teach.  Jesus was so excited by this opportunity that he spent three days inside the Nazareth temple listening to and debating adults.  According to Luke, Jesus spoke with authority without having any former education.

When the wine was all gone, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no more wine.” Jesus said to her, “[Dear] woman, what is that to you and to Me? My time [to act and to be revealed] has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it,” John 2:3-5.

While waiting 12 years to finally teach, Jesus spent the next 18 living in obscurity as a carpenter.  After John the Baptist was imprisoned, this set the stage for next phase of Jesus’ life, to become a fisher of men.  However, Jesus needed to call twelve men to become his disciples, only half way there at the time of the wedding above.  Jesus’ second item on his bucket list was performing miracles, waiting for his ministry team to be complete.  Yet, Jesus promised to obey his parents at the end of Luke 2, choosing to honor his mother’s request anyway.

There are also many other signs (attesting miracles) that Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe [with a deep, abiding trust] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God; and that by believing [and trusting in and relying on Him] you may have life in His name, John 20:30-31.

This initial miracle pails in comparison to the last item on Jesus’ bucket list.  Jesus refers to preparing a place for his disciples in heaven, John 14:1-4.  However, completing his mission on earth involved suffering and dying.  This final goal took 3 years of planning, a selfless heart and the will to finish what God began.  Thus, while hanging on a cross, Jesus signals the accomplishment of this final item in John 19:30.  When Jesus says, “it is finished,” this means that Jesus completed the will of God on earth.  While checking off items from a bucket list is an honorable pursuit, the greatest thing you can do in life is identifying, obeying and completing God’s will for your life on earth.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t You Have a Better Excuse Than That

Getting caught in a lie can be embarrassing.  Thus, as the truth draws near, human nature influences individuals to begin using excuses to justify inappropriate actions.  During a recent interview with the FBI, Reality Winner blamed Fox News for why see smuggled a classified report from a NSA government facility.  Upon hearing this my initial thought was, “don’t you have a better excuse than that?”

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? – Exodus 4:10-11

Reality is not the only have to come up with a lame excuse.  When asked to become the voice for Israel to confront Pharaoh, Moses becomes afraid.  Instead of recalling God speaking to him through a burning bush moments earlier, Moses uses stuttering as a crutch to avoid God’s request.  In the exchange above, God appears to become upset, pointing to his power as creator.

But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come,’ Luke 14:18-20.

While there will always be excuses in life, but at some point people need to grow up.  When you are given authority at church, school or work, responsibilities should not be taken lightly.  Rather, when asked, encouraged or offered an opportunity to serve, rely on the Lord’s strength for these endeavors.  If you don’t, you will be tempted to come up with a reason why you didn’t instead of sticking things out until God’s calling has been completed.

by Jay Mankus

Just Say the Word

Anyone familiar with life in the military knows that talking back to a higher ranking officer isn’t an option.  The chain of command plays a vital role in the day to day operations of any unit.  When given a direct command by one of your superiors, you do it.  There isn’t a choice of deciding which ones to follow and which to ignore.  The goal of any recruit is to do your job.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it,” Matthew 8:8-9.

One day a centurion approached Jesus, referencing his military background.  After listening to this Roman leader, Jesus simply responds, “what do you want me to do.”  Understanding the importance of Jesus’ time, all this centurion wanted was a word of assurance.  You don’t have to come physically to lay hands on my servant, rather “just say the word” and it will be done.

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith, Matthew 8:10.

Every once in a while, individuals receive recognition from someone famous.  This may be in the form of a compliment or recommendation.  In some circumstances this may not mean much, but when Jesus, the Son of God tells a crowd “I have not found anyone in Israel with faith like this,” this is a big deal.  This passage reminds anyone who reads it if you want to demonstrate faith, you must reach a point in your life where you completely trust God.  When you arrive, just say the word and healing will follow.

by Jay Mankus

I’m Fine… Not!

As a former counselor and teacher at a boarding school, there are certain red flags which students indirectly raise in a given week.  If you are not paying attention, these obvious signs can be ignored.  While body language often reveals someone’s mood, subtle responses like “I’m fine” sugar coat the truth.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” John 8:32.

On one occasion near the end of the school year, one of my students threatened to kill another.  During a heart to heart, I threw his bunk bed across the room.  This act of frustration served as a break through causing him to reveal the reason behind his threat.  Breaking down in tears, I learned his parents were alcoholics and he’d rather go to jail than endure another night in that environment.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, John 16:13.

At this moment in time, I sensed the Holy Spirit beginning to speak through me.  Yet, today there are countless adults, neighbors and students who continue to reply to daily conversation with the words I’m fine or okay.  Unless you take the time to reach out to needy souls, healing will never come.  Therefore, don’t be afraid to reach out, lend a helping hand or break through the superficial to enable hearts to heal.

by Jay Mankus

Not Just Words…A Lifestyle

Whether you are an athlete, co-worker or student, no one likes to be lectured by someone who does not practice what they preach.  While admonishing, correcting or rebuking an individual may have good intentions, when this act is carried out by a hypocrite, this conversation loses its meaning.  Subsequently, the purpose of any effort to illustrate what is right is lost by mere words.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever, 1 Timothy 5:8.

As a teenager pastor, Timothy struggled to earn the respect of older members of his congregation.  Understanding his frustration, the apostle Paul wrote Timothy a few letters to convince others of the correct course of action.  The verse above is meant to keep in line anyone who thinks they are above God’s law.  Thus, Timothy was encouraged to stress the importance of developing a godly lifestyle, not empty words.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Over time, Timothy came to realize that the standard for life is the Bible.  This collection of books provides the confused, those stuck and uncertain with the answers necessary to move forward.  While there will always be those who challenge authority, the Word of God is the guiding light to lead the lost.  Wherever you are at this stage in life, may the Holy Spirit inspire you to become fixated on a Christ-like life style, not just words.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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