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Tag Archives: fellowship with God

The Opening Pitch

As baseball’s Spring Training season is winding down this year, opening day is quickly approaching.  The 2018 Major League Baseball Season will open in a more traditional manner.  On Thursday, March 29th, all 30 teams will begin play on the same day.  This is the first time this has occurred since 1968.  One of the pre game festivities for baseball is the ceremonial first pitch.  Teams will invite celebrities, former players or popular people from the area to throw out the opening pitch as cameras recount this special moment.

Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make in it rooms (stalls, pens, coops, nests, cages, compartments) and coat it inside and out with pitch (bitumen), Genesis 6:14.

The Bible refers to a different kind of pitch.  Hebrew uses 3 variations of this term. Viz refers to a mineral pitch, similar to modern day asphalt.  The King James Version of the Bible chooses figo: to fix and unite planks.  The final description of pitch in the context of the Bible refers to sealing.  After using gopher wood to built an ark, Noah used pitch as a coating to waterproof the exterior so that this boat would not leak once fully occupied by the animals and his family.  Without this opening pitch, the ark would have sunk.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed, 1 Peter 2:24.

Sometimes Greek and Hebrew words don’t always translate grammatically into English.  Thus, when you break down the structure of this term in a literal sense, pitch is symbolic of atonement.  After original sin separated Adam and Eve from God, the Lord devised a way for mankind to restored, reunited into fellowship with God.  In the passage above, Peter points to Jesus as the atoning sacrifice.  After denying Jesus publically, guilt haunted Peter, struggling to forgive himself for what he had done.  Yet, when Jesus suffered, died and rose again, this opening pitch by God started a whole new ball game, offering human beings a second chance, by grace through faith.  In view of this, make the most of the bats that the Lord provides for you in this life.

by Jay Mankus

 

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The Gravational Pull Between Good and Evil

The invisible force that causes massive objects to pull other objects toward them is known as a gravitational pull.  When a professional athlete jumps into the air, the earth’s gravitational pull forces them back to the ground.  Early theologians developed the concept of dualism to help explain a similar pull between good and evil.  Dualism believes there are two independent powers behind everything that happens, one good and the other bad.  In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis states that the universe is the battlefield in which this endless war is fought.

But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the [sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts], Galatians 5:16.

Prior to introducing the concept of the armor of God to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes the gravitational pull between good and evil.  Unlike dualism, these invisible forces are clearly defined.  In the right corner, the Holy Spirit is a guiding light, directing, prompting and urging souls to choose obedience in accordance with biblical law.  Meanwhile, the sinful nature opposes God’s Spirit, using impulses, lust and temporary pleasures to entice individuals to break God’s law.  Angels and demons fight for souls in the spiritual realm, pulling hearts and minds in different directions.

For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do, Galatians 5:17.

One of the weapons the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, uses is misinformation.  Going back to the Garden of Eden, Lucifer planted doubt within the mind of Eve by suggesting, “did God really say that?”  Replacing truth with justification and rationalization, the gravitational pull of sin is hard to resist, James 1:13-15.  Meanwhile, the Lord uses confession, James 5:16, pouring out grace and mercy upon willing participants to pull people back into fellowship with God.  In view of this wrestling match between good and evil, keep in step with the Holy Spirit so that your eternal destination will be secured, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

Finding A Place Beyond the Rainbow

As a child, watching the Wizard of Oz was an annual event, terrifying at times, haunted by the wicked witch.  Yet, I always hung in there for the finish, expecting the fairy tale ending.  However, I wonder if any other grown ups still think there a better place some where over the rainbow.

According to King David, this place does exist, like heaven on earth, Psalm 23:6.  Once an individual is able to place their sole trust in the divine shepherd, access to a life beyond the rainbow is attainable.  Though gold is not mentioned, happy days are here again and again, staying in daily fellowship with God.  This spiritual anointing is symbolic of rebirth, living life to its fullest, John 10:10.

Unfortunately, life deals out more nightmares than fairy tales.  Sure, from time to time, miracles do happen, but its hard to have faith in a world full of people falling apart at the seams, oozing a trail of sin in their rear view mirror.  This negativity serves like a bad after taste you can’t get rid of with gum or mints.  Rather, hope lies in the beholder, seeing beyond the current shower into what is ahead, the rainbow.  May you experience this joy before you die, Luke 23:43.

by Jay Mankus

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