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Tag Archives: Easter Sunday

The Day God Sent Confusion Throughout the Land

The origins of April Fool’s Day is a mystery. Some historians point to Geoffrey Chaucer’s the Canterbury Tales. This theory is based upon Chaucer’s comments on the time between April 1st and foolishness. Meanwhile, others refer to the 16th century religious figure who refused to celebrate the re-established New Year on January first. This stoic held to the belief that the new year began in April following holy week and Easter Sunday. Whatever the inspiration for April Fool’s Day, someone is always seeking to send confusion throughout the land with a practical joke.

Come, let Us go down and there confound (mix up, confuse) their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of the whole earth, and they gave up building the city, Genesis 11:7-8.

However, sometimes the joke is on you. Imagine you’re Baalaam and your donkey starts speaking to you. This may be a sign to others that you’re either drunk, stoned or out of your mind. Then again, maybe God is trying to get your attention, but you don’t like what you’re hearing like Jonah’s initial call to go to Nineveh. When God sent a spirit of confusion upon the land of Babel, this was no joke. Your friend the day before suddenly was a stranger, unable to communicate with you. When the construction workers realized that this was reality, everyone picked up and left, never to return to this job site.

When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them. And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages (tongues), as the Spirit [a]kept giving them clear and loud expression [in each tongue in appropriate words]. Now there were then residing in Jerusalem Jews, devout and God-fearing men from every country under heaven, Acts 2:2-5.

When I read articles online or watch the news, I feel like it’s April Fool’s every night of the year. You’ve got to be kidding right? While it’s been thousands of years since God sent a Spirit of Confusion throughout the earth, progressive politicians, Cancel Culture and the Woke Community are ushering in man-made confusion. Rather than state the obvious based upon biological and biblical truths, right and wrong have been turned upside down. May the power of the Holy Spirit restore common sense and sanity to new leaders so that this modern spirit of confusion ceases.

by Jay Mankus

You Make the Darkness Tremble

Two Old Testament prophets write about Lucifer’s fall from heaven in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:14-15. According to the Bible, 1/3 of all angels were expelled from heaven along with the arch angel Lucifer, a.k.a. the Devil. The apostle Paul explains Satan’s new role on earth as the ruler of the air in Ephesians 2:2. Despite these supernatural powers, Jude 1:6-7 reveals how Jesus makes the darkness tremble.

You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe and shudder [in terror and horror such as [a]make a man’s hair stand on end and contract the surface of his skin]! 20 Are you willing to be shown [proof], you foolish (unproductive, spiritually deficient) fellow, that faith apart from [good] works is inactive and ineffective and worthless? – James 2:19-20

As someone who grew up in a military family, the Army drilled into my father a spirit of discipline along with a clear right and wrong. Whenever I wasn’t acting properly, my mother responded with the words, “wait until your father gets home.” Since the demons know they are on the wrong side of history, they tremble in fear of their future judgment just as I was frightened to receive the consequences for my actions.

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 [h]forever) in and unto victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? 56 Now sin is the sting of death, and sin exercises its power [i][upon the soul] through [j][the abuse of] the Law. 57 But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57.

The real game changer occurred on Easter Sunday. Like Super Bowl 51, Satan thought he was victorious like the Falcons who were up 28-3 at halftime. Yet, when Jesus rose from the grave, the sting and power of death was conquered. The apostle Paul writes about this in Colossians 3:1-14. When a Christian’s mind dwells and focuses on God’s Word, this mindset also makes the darkness tremble.

by Jay Mankus

On the Third Day

The phrase ‘three days’ occurs 75 times in the bible. When the number three is used in the Bible, this is symbolic of completeness. However, three can also be used as an emphatic Semitic triplet to describe the intensity of something. The verse below is from an Old Testament prophet who points to Jesus’ death and resurrection on the third day.

Come and let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us; He has stricken so that He may bind us up. After two days He will revive us (quicken us, give us life); on the third day He will raise us up that we may live before Him, Hosea 6:1-2.

Meanwhile, the apostle Paul explains the spiritual impact of Jesus’ resurrection on that first Easter Sunday. Like taunting death, Paul does some spiritual trash talking in the passage below. The sting of physical death was swallowed up by the supernatural resurrection by Jesus. To avoid critics saying Jesus’ wasn’t really dead, three days was plenty of time to guarantee this wasn’t a hoax, Matthew 28:11-15.

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 [h]forever) in and unto victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? 56 Now sin is the sting of death, and sin exercises its power [i][upon the soul] through [j][the abuse of] the Law. 57 But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57.

The apostle Paul builds upon this concept in his letter to the Church at Colosse. Colossians 3:1-4 explains how the resurrection of Jesus can transform Christians from within. Unfortunate, putting to death the addictions, bad habits and cravings of your past takes more than three days. Rather, this process takes a lifetime, a spiritual marathon where you throw off what’s dragging you down in prayer, Hebrews 12:1-2.

by Jay Mankus

When Your Mind Wanders…Worry Can Take Over

As someone who is dabbled in meteorology, I’ve always been fascinated by brewing storms in the distance. Sometimes these systems are unstable, breaking up before they reach your town. Yet, other storms intensify, catching residents off guard by its severity. When I take my eyes off of Jesus, my mind wanders and if I’m not careful, worry can and will take over quickly as another storm in life approaches.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do, James 1:6-8.

Since four of Jesus’ disciples were fisherman, the New Testament contains several references to water and waves. The passage above is from Jesus’ earthly brother. Perhaps this disbelief is a public confession as first century historians suggest that James didn’t believe that his brother was the promised Messiah until after Jesus’ resurrection on the first Easter Sunday. James’ words serve as a warning that when your mind wanders, worry can take over.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:6-7.

Up until recently, my motto was “control what you can control and let God take care of the rest.” Yet, as my confidence reaches an all-time low, I’m worrying about things that I rarely thought of in the past. As my confidence slides, my mind wonders “what’s going on and when will this bad streak end?” The apostle Paul gave advice to an anxious church in the passage above. The moment your thoughts wander out of control, pray immediately and spend time giving thanks to God for what you currently have.

by Jay Mankus

The Testimony of God

If you’re ever had some sort of supernatural experience, you may find it hard to tell a friend that you’ve just seen a ghost, caught a glimpse of a UFO or entertained an angel who suddenly disappears. This is the premise of Joan of Arcadia which ran for two full seasons from 2003-2005. Amber Tamblyn plays Joan Girardi who continues to have daily encounters with God. To avoid being labeled as crazy, Joan keeps this relationship secret, waiting for the right time and person to disclose her testimony of God.

So there are three witnesses [b]in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are One; and there are three witnesses on the earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree [are in unison; their testimony coincides], 1 John 5:7-8.

The disciple whom Jesus loved builds upon the concept of the Trinity that he introduced in John 1:1-6. John refers to witnesses in heaven and witnesses on earth. In the spiritual natural realm, God the Father, the Word which came to life, and the Holy Spirit continue to share their testimony in heaven. Meanwhile, God’s Spirit, living water, and the blood shed by Jesus serve as witnesses on earth today. While this concept is hard to grasp, stories of eyewitnesses during Easter Sunday have passed on their testimony.

If we accept [as we do] the testimony of men [if we are willing to take human authority], the testimony of God is greater (of stronger authority), for this is the testimony of God, even the witness which He has borne regarding His Son, 1 John 5:9.

The apostle Paul provides a blue print for modern day testimonies in Galatians 1:11-24. When I became a Christian in high school, I had no idea of what a testimony was and why it is necessary. Yet, as I attended various conferences, retreats and summer camps, the stories that guest speakers shared were testimonies. Like the old hymn, “Blessed Assurance,” as you evolve spiritually and draw closer to God, lessons are learned that might help others. These testimonies of God are crucial for helping struggling Christians find their way back to Jesus. May this blog inspire you to share your own testimony this Memorial Day.

by Jay Mankus

The Roman Rumor

Fake News isn’t something that former President Donald Trump invented. Rather, there have always been rumors that have evolved over time like children playing the telephone game. Each listener passes on this information with a new twist that deviates from the original message. The plot to cover up Jesus’ resurrection began with a Roman rumor that continues today by revisionist historians.

While they were on their way, behold, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had occurred. 12 And when they [the chief priests] had gathered with the elders and had consulted together, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers, Matthew 28:11-12.

The apostle Paul writes about a time when people will reach a point where they will believe what their itching ears want to hear, 1 Timothy 4:1-2. This passage reminds me of a group of teenage girls sitting at lunch, gossiping about the latest rumor in school. Unfortunately, gossip can become like a drug to some, getting cared away by words like “did you hear about what so and so did?”

And said, Tell people, His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we were sleeping. 14 And if the governor hears of it, we will appease him and make you safe and free from trouble and care. 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this story has been current among the Jews to the present day, Matthew 28:13-15.

While many Christians around world will gather together to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection this Easter Sunday, the Roman rumor spread 2,000 years ago is still passed on today. As a former Bible teacher, I was forced to address this lie with facts and biblical truths. Perhaps the same demons and deceiving spirits that Paul wrote about still exist today. Whatever the reason for rumors, may resurrection Sunday inspire you to confront the father of lies with the light of truth found in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

The Sum Total of the Divine Perfection

Sum total refers to comprising the amount of a whole number. Based upon the expression coined by the apostle Paul, the Bible is a collection of God’s divine perfection. Within the vast historical accounts from Creation to the first century church, apostles, disciples, and eye witnesses testify to numerous miracles that defy logic, John 21:24-25. The final piece of this perfection was completed on Easter Sunday as Jesus conquered death by rising from the dead.

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart, Hebrews 4:12.

Modern Christians have access to this divine perfection in the form of a Bible. The author of Hebrews describe this collection of 66 books as a living document. Since each author was inspired by the Holy Spirit to record the events of their day, spiritual truths have a way of stirring souls. This spiritual penetration has the ability to transform hearts and renew minds. As individuals hide God’s Word in their hearts, the sum total of divine perfection comes into focus.

For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in Him permanently, Colossians 1:19.

Paul compares God the Father’s divine fullness to the sum total of divine perfection. While agnostics, atheists, and liberals deny the Bible’s infallibility and the resurrection of Jesus, over 500 eyewitnesses saw Jesus before He ascended into heaven. Despite these accounts, Roman soldiers were bribed in Matthew 28:11-15 to prevent the spread of Christianity. While this rumor deceived many, the sum total of God’s divine perfection can’t be denied.

by Jay Mankus

The Service and Intervention of Jesus

When most Americans hear the term service, entering the military after high school is a practical way to serve your country. In recent years, public schools have used MLK Day as a way to give back to their local community. If you attend a church or belong to a group, service projects are a popular way of serving the less fortunate and those in need after a major storm or natural disaster.

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! – Philippians 2:5-8

While service tends to be an isolated activity for a day, weekend or entire week, an intervention is an immediate act taken to improve a dire situation. The apostle Paul does a great job of explaining mankind’s problem in Romans 5:8. Like a virus that doesn’t go away, sin slowly decays human beings via addictions, bad habits, and poor choices. Despite being undeserving, Jesus spent 3 years on earth serving God so that this spiritual intervention could be completed.

And God purposed that through (by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross, Colossians 1:20.

The entire book of Colossians is dedicated to the service and intervention of Jesus. This restoration project began in Genesis 3:14-15. In desperate need of a second Adam, Romans 5:12-21 explains how this plan was fulfilled through Jesus. Serving as a perfect Lamb of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Jesus became a sin offering for all who believe. When Jesus became obedient to death on a cross, the service and intervention of Jesus was completed on Easter Sunday. This is why the gospel refers to the good news about Jesus Christ, a servant who intervened on our behalf.

by Jay Mankus

The Burning within Us

On the original Easter Sunday, a group of individuals traveled from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a 7 mile walk. Without any electronic devices to pass the time, this group reflected upon all that had happened during Passion Week. Going along on this walk was Jesus, disguised and playing coy. Jesus asks a series of questions, setting the tone for this afternoon stroll. Upon arriving, Jesus is asked to stick around for dinner. This is when an internal burning sensation began deep inside the hearts of these men..

Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered Him, Do you alone dwell as a stranger in Jerusalem and not know the things that have occurred there in these days? 19 And He said to them, What [kind of] things? And they said to Him, About Jesus of Nazareth, Who was a Prophet mighty in work and word before God and all the people— 20 And how our chief priests and rulers gave Him up to be sentenced to death, and crucified Him, Luke 24:18-20.

Based upon the knowledge of a first century doctor, Cleopas appears to have been one of 72 additional disciples chosen by Jesus in Luke 10:1. Since no one else is mentioned directly by name, Cleopas seems to be the leader of this caravan. Jesus continues to asks Cleopas questions as if a stranger, unaware of the previous events that took place from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. Cleopas responds to Jesus with a befuddled expression as if to suggest, “where have you been man?”

But they urged and insisted, saying to Him, Remain with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent. So He went in to stay with them. 30 And it occurred that as He reclined at table with them, He took [a loaf of] bread and praised [God] and gave thanks and asked a blessing, and then broke it and was giving it to them 31 When their eyes were [instantly] opened and they [clearly] recognized Him, and He vanished (departed invisibly). 32 And they said to one another, Were not our hearts greatly moved and burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and as He opened and explained to us [the sense of] the Scriptures? – Luke 24:29-32.

The mood of this group changed during a meal. Reclining at a table, Jesus let his guard down as the conversation ignited a spiritual fire within those who attended. It’s unclear what triggered their minds to finally recognize Jesus, but this communion like atmosphere opened their eyes. As soon as Jesus vanished like a ghost, this encounter struck a nerve in their consciences. Perhaps, there was a sense of regret, “I can’t believe Jesus was with us the whole time.” Inspired by this special moment, Cleopas’s group turned around, walking 7 miles back to Jerusalem as the fire inside their hearts continue to smolder.

by Jay Mankus

From Community to Chaos and Back

The final event of Jesus’ earthly ministry is the Last Supper. This meal celebrating the Jewish Passover was the last event with all 12 of his disciples present. What began as the very first communion service, ended in speculation as Jesus revealed that one of his disciples would soon betray Jesus. This pivotal gathering started with a spirit of community, but ended in chaos.

And as My Father has appointed a kingdom and conferred it on Me, so do I confer on you [the privilege and decree], 30 That you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 31 Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain, 32 But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren, Luke 22:29-32.

The first person to crack was Judas Iscariot, the treasurer of Jesus’ ministry. Poisoned by betrayal and greed, Judas agreed to hand Jesus over to Jewish religious leaders. While this was going on, Peter was confronted by 3 different individuals about his connection with Jesus. Each time, Peter vehemently denied his association with Jesus. As the cock cried three times, a spirit of conviction and remorse sent Judas into the desert to take his own life.

And He said to them, When I sent you out with no purse or [provision] bag or sandals, did you lack anything? They answered, Nothing! 36 Then He said to them, But now let him who has a purse take it, and also [his provision] bag; and let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy a sword. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must yet be fulfilled in Me: And He was counted and classed among the wicked (the outlaws, the criminals); for what is written about Me has its fulfillment [has reached its end and is finally settled], Luke 22:35-37.

Chaos is a state of confusion, disarray, havoc, mayhem, tumult, and upheaval. As Jesus was arrested, beaten and crucified on a cross, the Savior of the world was lost. Or was he as the day turned to night, a great earthquake tore the temple curtain into two, and the dead began to walk through the streets of Jerusalem like a scene from the Walking Dead. Out of this chaos, God raised Jesus from the dead three days later. This is the reason why Christians celebrate Easter Sunday as God restored order by uniting a community of believers through faith.

by Jay Mankus

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