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When the Perishable Puts on the Imperishable

The expression “Living on Borrowed Time” originated in England during the 17th century. The Old Style Calendar the English followed belonged to April. Thus, it was common for individuals to describe the first eleven days of May as borrowed days. Depending upon your age, you may be living on borrowed time now, but what Jesus did on a cross at Golgotha can alter your future.

And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory, 1 Corinthians 15:54.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul describes the spiritual significance of Jesus’ death on the cross. Prior to His crucifixion, Jews were forced to follow Old Testament law and practices to be forgiven. However, Hebrews 4:14-15 describe Jesus as the Great High Priest who became a living sacrifice. After Jesus conquered death by rising 3 days later, the perishable, human bodies, are now able to put on the imperishable, Jesus Christ.

[Thus you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead. 13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross, Colossians 2:12-14.

In a separate letter to the Church at Colosse, the apostle Paul explains in detail how Jesus’ death and resurrection disarmed Jewish law. The passage above highlights Jesus’ spiritual accomplishment. Instead of being forced to live according to the motto, “living on borrowed time,” Jesus opened the door to eternal life. In a private conversation with disciples, Jesus reveals that He is going away to prepare a place for you in heaven, John 14:2-4. When this was completed, the perishable can now put on the imperishable.

by Jay Mankus

When the Spirit of the Anti-Christ Comes

During the Passion Week, Jesus’ last week on earth prior to his crucifixion, a series of clues are left behind in Matthew 24. The context of this conversation begins on the steps of the temple. Jesus uses this structure to foretell future events beginning with the great earthquake immediately following his death on a cross. After taking a seat on the Mount of Olives, Jesus privately meets with his disciples, revealing the signs of End Times.

Not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here. Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition), 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3.

The content of this information was so powerful that Matthew devotes an entire chapter of his gospel to these words. According to Jesus, a series of events will result in the love of many Christians growing cold, Matthew 24:12. If you place this passage in the context of 2020 with church services shut down during the Coronavirus pandemic in many states, the Spirit of the Anti-Christ is getting closer. The apostle Paul takes at closer look by examining what these days will resemble on earth.

Who opposes and exalts himself so proudly and insolently against and over all that is called God or that is worshiped, [even to his actually] taking his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming that he himself is God. Do you not recollect that when I was still with you, I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining him [from being revealed at this time]; it is so that he may be manifested (revealed) in his own [appointed] time. For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way, 2 Thessalonians 2:4-7.

In his second letter to the Church at Thessalonica, Paul shares his own revelations about the second coming of Jesus. This includes an interesting statement that presupposes that the Holy Spirit keeps Satan on a leash until Christ returns. However, after the Rapture, Satan will turn the earth into a concentration camp, Revelation 13:17. Only those who receive the mark of the beast will be able to buy or sell. Thus, as Spirit of the Anti-Christ draws near, prepare your heart and mind now so that you won’t be deceived.

by Jay Mankus

Memory Loss

There are 10 common symptoms of memory loss.  Whether it’s confabulation, confusion, forgetting names, getting lost, irritability, language difficulties, depression, struggling with day to day affairs, following directions or neurological issues, any of these are signs of old age.  Anyone who exhibits these traits are often diagnosed with dementia or in severe cases, Alzheimer’s disease.  As medical and science advancements enable human beings to extend life expectancy, memory loss will likely affect you at some point in the future.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing, James 1:23-25.

In the first century, some of the disciples developed memory loss between Maundy Thursday and Resurrection Sunday.  Despite being warned on several occasions, eluding to this event in the future, Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion a day later led to a spiritual meltdown.  One of Jesus’ vocalist followers, Peter, denied knowing Jesus three times in public within 24 hours.  Others went into in hiding, afraid they too many be arrested or sentenced to death like their leader.  After 3 years together, a few days of trials resulted in spiritual memory loss.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, Philippians 3:13-14.

The latest democratic talking point is accusing President Donald Trump of memory loss day after day, claiming to be signs of dementia.  Unfortunately, these accusers are suffering from the same thing, unable to come to grips with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss.  Instead of wasting their breaths on endless excuses, it’s time to follow the advice of the apostle Paul in the passage above.  Sure, memory loss is a reality in most individuals, especially when it comes to names of people you just met.  Nonetheless, worrying about the past is a lost cause.  Rather, press on toward the future, focusing on that which God has called you to do.  Those who heed this call will begin to feel much better while you invest your time on heavenly causes.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Christmas for Dummies

Every year pastors, preachers and teachers are expected to come up with a fresh and new perspective of Christmas for their congregations.  On some occasions this goal is achieved.  Yet, many sermons crash and burn, wasting weeks of preparation making the simple complex.  In reality, Christmas is the mass of Christ, a day of remembrance, thanksgiving and worship.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost,” Luke 19:10. 

In a summary of a conversation with a tax collector, Jesus provides a Christmas for Dummies answer.  The context of the passage above refers to the fall of mankind, also known as original sin.  God gave Adam and Eve just one rule in the Garden of Eden, You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die,” Genesis 3:2.  When lust entered into Eve’s heart, she influenced her husband Adam to ignore God’s law, taking and eating fruit.  This act of disobedience enabled sin to enter the world, resulted in expulsion from the garden, severed an intimate relationship with God and gave Satan authority and dominion over the earth.  Jesus’ birth came to seek and save what was lost back here.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel,” Genesis 3:15.

During an exchange with one of his fallen angels, God prophecies for the first time about the need to send his one and only son, John 3:16.  If you have seen the Passion of the Christ, this symbolism is played out while Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, stomping on the head of a serpent at the end of his prayer.  While Satan convinces first century religious leaders to execute Jesus’ crucifixion, the resurrection served as a check mate moment, foiling forever any demonic attempts to change the spiritual course of history.  However, this is one catch.

In which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, Ephesians 2:2.

God allows the Devil, aka Satan to retain his former angelic powers that he possessed while serving as the archangel Lucifer.  When you add this fact to a confession by one of Jesus’ disciples, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour-1 Peter 5:8, this threat is real.  This why evil continues to exist on earth.  Therefore, while Jesus has his own birthday on our calendar, the ongoing spiritual war does not stop.  The fight for the eternal destiny of souls is a fierce battle, taking many innocent individuals to their graves.  While singing Christmas carols today in church may inspire or move you, make sure you guard your heart and mind, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, so that the hope of Christmas will not be lost again.

by Jay Mankus

Your Best… Your Very Best

In the film Facing the Giants, coach Grant Taylor played by Alex Kendrick, is stuck in a rut.  Staring at another mediocre season and concerned about getting fired, Grant turns to the Lord, praying for a possible solution.  After a sleepless night, this coach receives a revelation from God.  This answer reveals a new team motto, giving God your very best.

They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?- Mark 12:14

Prior to his crucifixion, Jesus faced an onslaught of questions from religious leaders.  Their goal was to trick Jesus with a series of hypothetical scenarios to publicly stump him.  This leads me to Jesus’ response to whether or not Jews should pay taxes.  The answer is priceless; not a Master Card commercial.  Rather, these words of wisdom speak to a greater truth.  Dedicating your life to the One who has instilled within you special gifts and talents.

They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied.  Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him, Mark 12:16-17.

In a society that loves to keep score, sometimes your best is overshadowed by the winner or winners.  In fact, some may get discouraged, starting to think that you’re efforts are worthless or a failure.  Despite what others may do or say, Coach Taylor’s message to his team applies today to everyone.  Don’t let a lack of recognition stop your quest of discovering God’s will.  Instead, be still, mediate on the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to spur you on to give God your best, your very best.

by Jay Mankus

Should the Cross Be Vacated or Kept as a Reminder?

The author of the Old Rugged Cross went through his own trying experience prior to completing this classic hymn.  In the midst of despair, George Bernard reflected on the pain Jesus endured while on a cross that initial Good Friday.  Nearing the end of the second great awakening in America, Bernard devoted himself to Bible reading, prayer and revival services.  This journey led him to the conclusion, “the cross is the heart of the gospel message.”

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts, Deuteronomy 6:6.

One hundred and two years later, the cross has taken on many shapes and forms.  Hollywood has their Cross of Gold which inspired Michael W. Smith’s 1993 song.  Churches have stations of the cross, often highlighted by magnificent stain glass windows around the entire sanctuary.  Theologians have their own views about an empty cross, Jesus on the cross and whether or not the cross is an idol placed at the center of most altars.  All this debate makes me wonder, should the cross be vacated or kept as a reminder?

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.   Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates, Deuteronomy 6:7-9.

When teaching the Israelites about God’s commandments, Moses recognized the need to create symbols so that people don’t forget about God.  These practices should involve things which invoke conversation, especially in the main meeting room within Christian homes.  Thus, whether you are entering, exiting or simply taking a look around, individuals should be challenged to discuss spiritual matters.  In view of this, I must admit the answer is clear regardless of what the world may think.  Despite the offensive nature of the cross and any controversy it may bring up, the Old Rugged Cross should continue to be a beacon of light and source of hope for the lost, dying and those seeking salvation.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Thorns of the Flesh

And twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” – Matthew 27:29

In the passage above, Jesus’ head endured excruciating pain when Roman soldiers forced a crown of thorns into his head.  This particular species of thorn is only found in Israel.  The tips of each extend beyond two inches in length.  Similar crowns can be purchased online as even an inch of cardboard padding can not keep the longest thorns from breaking through their box.  If the slightest contact can draw blood from a finger, imagine the flow that poured forth fooling this cruel act thousands of years ago.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. –        2 Corinthians 12:7

Although recent persecution of Christians in the Middle East has brought back crucifixion, most face a new type of danger.  According to the apostle Paul, some face spiritual anguish in the form of illness, physical limitations or oppression from demons.  While you won’t draw blood, these moments, periods or trials can be extremely draining, sucking the lives out of souls.  In your weakness, you must lean on Christ to keep you strong.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. – Proverbs 18:21

Meanwhile, some may be wounded by words, cut to the heart and pierced by those whom you love.  When you reach this point or experience the pain of disappointment, remember the message of Hebrews 4:14-16.  Jesus has been tempted in every way just as we are, but did not sin.  In view of this truth, when the thorns of the flesh are pressed against your mind, cry out to Jesus for help.  Pray the prayer in 2 Corinthians 12:9-12 so that in your weak moments Christ will be strong!

by Jay Mankus

 

Walking in Freedom

Whether you prefer the day or at night, taking a walk with a friend or friends often yields fond memories.  Beside the exercise, special bonds can develop as one opens their heart to another soul.  Looking back in time, some of the best conversations I have ever had on earth occurred while taking a walk.

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. – Psalm 119:45

One of the most famous walks in the Bible occurred over a 7 mile stretch, from Jerusalem to Emmaus, Luke 24:13-35.  Following the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were trying to make sense of the events that had just taken place.  This hour long conversation involved a mystery guest, listening to the voices of these men.  Distracted by an eagerness to speak, Jesus’ presence was overlooked.  Playing coy, Jesus pretends to know nothing, asking question after question along the way.  Based upon the topic in Luke 24:25-30, unbelief was keeping these individuals from walking in freedom.

As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. – Luke 24:14

Psalm 119:43-48 provides instructions on how to reach this spiritual state.

1) Preserve your lips with God’s truth, verse 43.

2) Resolve to obey God’s laws, verse 44.

3) Seek God’s precepts on a daily basis, verse 45.

4) Boldly proclaim God’s ways to the leaders on earth, verse 46.

5) Delight in and embrace God’s commands, verse 47.

As soon as believers pray for and mediate on God’s Word, little by little, you will begin to walk in freedom.

by Jay Mankus

40 Days of Proof

Deep inside the heart of a child, there lies a doubting Thomas, a desire which leads you to see or touch something before you believe.  This curious nature varies within each soul, with some demanding more proof while others are able to trust once an initial experience calms their fears.  Skeptics tend to need more evidence, questioning if their encounter was real or a mirage.

In the matter of Jesus of Nazareth, there were 40 days of proof following his crucifixion which transformed 11 men from wimps into martyrs.  According to Acts 1:1-3, Jesus met privately with his disciples, spent time in public and visited woman of faith.  However, if you listen to the media, read their books or attend seminars sponsored by cohorts, these 40 days are a fairy tale.  Like the Romans guards of Jesus’ day, people continue to do everything in their power to cover up Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, Matthew 28:11-15.

Atheists and agnostics do make a few valid arguments, like why did the gospels take over 20 years to be written if Jesus did rise from the dead?  To answer this, you need to understand the background of the gospel of Mark.  When the eyewitnesses were alive, people who saw Jesus die and rise from the dead, there wasn’t a sense of urgency to record this information.  When many of these witnesses began to grow old and die, Christians in Rome were fearful people might forget all that had happened.  Thus, John Mark, a disciple of Paul, was hired to write down key events, a reference point for those who did not hear, see or touch Jesus.  May this blog eliminate any doubt Thomas spirit, serving as proof that Jesus truly was as Pilate wrote in John 19:19, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews!”

by Jay Mankus

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