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Tag Archives: Garden of Eden

Oops I Have Done It Again

In the earliest days on earth, God provided Adam and Eve with a vast amount of freedom. The passage below states Adam’s daily responsibility in the Garden of Eden. There wasn’t a long list of to do’s and dont’s. Rather, God limits the rules to one: do not eat from the tree of knowledge. With the boundary line between right and wrong clearly set, only one tree and it’s fruit was off limits. This couple didn’t have to guess what the right thing to do was nor could they claim to be amoral, not knowing right from wrong.

And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die, Genesis 2:15-17.

When Eve flirted with Lucifer, a serpent in disguise, a seed of doubt was conceived within her mind. The longer this conversation continued, enticement and lust for this forbidden fruit grew. Despite standing right there next to his wife, Adam was complicit, serving as a curious bystander. This joint act of disobedient forced God to introduce a new set of laws via the Torah to combat original sin. While God was willing to forgive this transgression, punishment is handed out for each guilty party in Genesis 3.

Now there was a day when the sons (the angels) of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (the adversary and accuser) also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, From where did you come? Then Satan answered the Lord, From going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down on it. And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who [reverently] fears God and abstains from and shuns evil [because it is wrong]?-Job 1:6-8

While Genesis is the first book of the Bible, Job is the oldest book. Comments made in chapters 40-41, suggest that Job was living in a land of dinosaurs. If this is true, that would mean Job lived prior to the flood detailed in Genesis 6:17. Job doesn’t refer to Satan as a snake. Rather, Lucifer is a fallen angel who has retained his supernatural powers. Like a spiritual lion seeking to pounce on weak minded individuals, this fact is not to be taken likely. If you disregard or ignore this information, you may find yourself ensnared by sin, stuck in pitiful addicted state. Instead of saying “oops I have done it again,” make sure repentance results in acts of contrition. May this blog inspire you to focus on spiritual transformation.

by Jay Mankus

Why Did You Do It?

A strange string of current events in my local newspaper has caused me to wonder, “why did you do it?” One couple turned their hotel room into a drug dealing center. Another adult male thought it was a good idea to fill his home with a number of bombs recently uncovered in connection with a local explosion. As I was writing this blog, I heard the news update that the latest school shooter just shot five classmates and himself on his birthday. If this teenage shooter dies, no one will know for sure, why did you do it?

Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, Genesis 3:1-4.

The only logical conclusion that makes sense to me is that all of these individuals were deceived by the Devil in some manner or form. While they didn’t have a face to face conversation like Eve in the Garden of Eden, some type of justification and rationalization process occurred within their minds before acting out. Whispers of evil and possibly a desire for 15 seconds of fame has overruled the human conscience. Thus, free will was exercised to do the opposite of what many were taught.

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit, Romans 8:5.

The Bible’s rationale to explain sinful acts is the mental war between the human flesh and Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul devotes an entire chapter of the Bible to his own struggle to do that which is right. This battle is detailed in Romans 7, followed by the spiritual connection in Romans 8 as sinful minds are hostile to God. Thus, as souls straddle the fence between right and wrong, the longer you allow enticement to reside in your mind, the easier it become to pull the trigger, indulging in wrongful acts. May this latest incident turn the attention toward mental health and not just guns.

by Jay Mankus

Replacing Chaos with Structure

The first class that I taught as a Middle School Bible teacher at Red Lion was entitled Wise Up: the Book of Proverbs. While the textbook was waterer down more than I cared for, the premise of this book was spot on. God established boundaries in the Bible to protect individuals from harm while keeping evil out. Those who know, learn and practice these principles replace chaos with structure.

So the Lord God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely (unconditionally) eat [the fruit] from every tree of the garden; Genesis 2:15-16.

In the days following Creation, the Garden of Eden served as an oasis in the desert. This hidden paradise was given to Adam with two simple expectations, cultivate and maintain this tropical paradise. The Lord gave Adam and Eve free reign of this garden, able to eat fruit from every tree except for one. God’s only restriction (rule), was do not eat of the tree of knowledge. Obeying this rule kept Eden free from chaos.

But [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly [h]die [because of your disobedience],” Genesis 2:17.

Moses does not detail how long it took for Lucifer to convince Eve to taste this forbidden fruit. However, ever since this decision known as Origin Sin persuaded this couple to disobey God, chaos has reigned on earth. Once Pandora’s Box has been opened, it’s impossible to alter the past. Yet, there is a way to restore order. The most logical step is to rplace chaos is by practicing godly principles from the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

Grace Holds Me Now

The byproduct of original sin, Adam and Eve’s decision to eat forbidden fruit, led to separation from God. When the only rule, do not eat of the tree of knowledge, in the Garden of Eden was broken, earth’s first family was banished, expelled from this tropical paradise. Subsequently, a works oriented system using a series of sacrifices was set up to atone for current and past sins. The Old Testament book of Leviticus introduces these offerings with detailed instructions on when and how this should be done.

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man [who places his faith in wealth and status] to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were completely astonished and bewildered, saying, “Then who can be saved [from the wrath of God]?” – Matthew 19:24-25

During the first century, a rich young ruler lived his life in according to the 10 commandments, Exodus 20:1-17. Despite his zealous application of these principles, something in this man’s heart didn’t seem right. Thus, this ruler seeks out godly counsel from Jesus, hoping to find comfort that he was on the right track. After a series of questions, Jesus asks this wealthy man to go and sell all of his possessions, then give the proceeds to the poor. While the rich young ruler lived a moral life, at some point he began to trust his own wealth instead of God. This request was just too hard to do, walking away from Jesus in tears.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” Matthew 19:26.

Jesus hints at the concept of grace in the passage above. Grace refers to God’s riches at Christ’s expense. This unmerited favor of God toward man is made possible through Jesus’ life as the perfect lamb of God. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection made what was formerly impossible possible. Thus, individuals no longer need to live by the standards of the Old Testament. Rather, anyone who publicly believes in their heart and professes with their mouth that Jesus is Lord will be saved, Romans 10:9-10. Therefore, you don’t have to walk away disappointed like the rich young ruler. Faith in Jesus provides assurance that grace holds you now.

by Jay Mankus

Time Flies When You Do What You Were Created to Do

It’s hard to believe that this blog began 5 years ago today.  When I started, I didn’t know how long this new project would last.  As a former high school teacher, I initially wanted to keep my writing skills fresh in case another opportunity presented itself.  Yet, it was the theologian Augustine who inspired me to continue this journey.

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it, Habakkuk 2:2.

The historian Jerome credits Augustine as the one who established anew the ancient faith.  Following his conversion to Christianity in 386, Augustine began to journal his thoughts.  While sitting on his back porch, Augustine began to relate the flowers he noticed to the Garden of Eden.  The more he learned, read and studied, the deeper Augustine’s thoughts became.  After reading the Confessions of Augustine, this book inspired me to detail my own thoughts within Express Yourself 4Him to record my own spiritual journey.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart, Hebrews 4:12.

Although I am not certain, I don’t think that any of the great theologians of the past thought they would so influential in the future.  My belief is that many of these writers just wanted to sort out who God was and what they really believed.  If you have ever attended seminary, some of these scholars wrote thousands of pages over the course of their lives.  Yet, time flies when you do what you were created to do.  Unless God tells me otherwise, I hope to continue to share with you the insights the Holy Spirit lays on my heart, mind and soul in this blog.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Sinner’s Life

Since paradise was lost in the Garden of Eden, no one can escape the temptation to sin.  While some make better choices than others, a sinner’s life is like attending the school of hard knocks.  Living and learning from past mistakes has a learning curve with many struggling to avoid Satan’s snares.

All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one, Romans 3:12.

If you have the opportunity to travel the country or across the world, you begin to get a sense for what’s out there.  Along the way, you will rub shoulders with various groups of people, witnessing the good, the bad and the ugly.  During his missionary journey’s throughout the Middle East, the apostle Paul makes an interesting observation.  Similar to economic classes, Paul writes about the classification of sinners, separating typical offenders from those addicted.

The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them, 1 Timothy 5:24.

If actions speak louder than words, sins communicate the heart and the soul of individuals.  Although some may dabble in sin from time to time, others follow in the footsteps of the prodigal, continuing until they reach rock bottom.  When the sensations of temporary pleasures fade, sinners face an important decision, do I come to my senses or not?  How a sinner’s life ends is in your hands.  Therefore, may you heed the words of 1 John 1:6 so that darkness does not prematurely end your life and the reason why you were created.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Origin of Blessings

The concept of blessings is a central focus of God’s covenant relationship beginning in the book of Genesis.  This term is mentioned over 600 times in the Old Testament.  Following the fall of human beings in the Garden of Eden, God countered the curse of Genesis 3:14-17 with a promise of blessings to Abraham and his descendents, Genesis 12:3.  However, this promise comes with a condition of obedience and if individuals stray from these commands this pattern can be reversed in the form of curses, Deuteronomy 27-28.

The Psalmist provides more concrete examples of blessings as well as how one arrives at becoming blessed.  The foundation of blessings derives from a blameless state, Psalm 119:1.  This process is achieved over time keeping the Bible’s statutes, seeking God with all your heart and walking in the ways of the Lord, Psalm 119:2.  To arrive at this desired goal, though perfection is unattainable, careful attention must be paid to decrees, avoiding short cuts and eliminating wrong from the equation, Psalm 119:3-4.  Passing the torch from one forefather, Moses, to another, advice has been passed on to maintain blessings, Joshua 1:8.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.Joshua 1:8

Today, there are various beliefs, opinions and views on why someone is successful or not.  Yet, history contains examples of people, families and nations that were blessed over time as well as countless who experienced one disappointment after another.  Although the thought of being blessed by God is exciting, the work that goes along with this commitment can be exhausting.  Human nature causes even the strong to get side tracked and wander away from the truth.  Therefore, if you want to find God’s favor in 2015, follow the steps mentioned in Deuteronomy 28:1-2, Matthew 6:33-34 and Galatians 5:25.  Go with God and the Lord will walk by your side.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

by Jay Mankus

 

The First Call

Before the days of Instant Messaging, Skype and Texting, there was something socially stimulating about phone calls.  Leanne, my wife and I, spent most of our first 6 months dating over the phone.  Living 8 hours apart, distance forced us to communicate indirectly, depending on a receiver to translate the emotions and words we felt for one another.  According to Genesis 4:26, there was another type of call which happened long ago.

Separated from God, kicked out of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:24, the intimacy Adam and Eve shared on walks with the Lord together ceased, Genesis 3:8.  Whether it was doubt, guilt or shame, more than a generation went by without clearly connecting with the Creator of life.  After the Tree of Knowledge debacle and subsequent murder of Abel, contact had come to a standstill.  Yet, the birth of Seth, meaning “God has granted another child in Abel’s place,” served as a sign of healing.  Although, no one directly is given credit for breaking this silence,  Seth and Enosh opened the door for Noah’s special relationship with God.

For Moses, it was a whisper from inside a burning bush, Exodus 3:2-3.  Samuel experienced his first call from a voice in a dream, 1 Samuel 3:4.  The apostle Paul saw a blinding light on the road to Damascus before hearing Jesus speak, Acts 9:4-6.  As for me, my first call came during a nervous breakdown in high school, with my heart, empty and hungry for something more in life.  If you’ve not yet experienced your first call with God, you’re not alone.  May the words of Romans 10:1-17 lead you to your first call on the name of the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

How Old Are You Now?

The aging process can be quite deceiving as physical appearances don’t always reveal a person’s true age.  Baldness, grey hair, stress or wrinkles can be false indicators, depending on someone’s occupation or their direct access to sunlight.  While theme parks attempt to coerce willing participants to have their ages guessed for a small fee, age can be a touchy subject, especially for women.  To be safe, its always better to under estimate an older person’s age and over estimate a younger person’s age, unless of course you work at a night club where ID’s are required.

From a biblical timeline, there are 2 different references to age: pre-flood and post flood.  According to Genesis 2:4-6, the earth’s original atmosphere following creation did not contain rain.  Instead, underground springs, water aquifers beneath the earth’s surface, sprung up to water the plants on the earth.  When you study the genealogy of Adam, you find the first 10 generations of inhabitant’s on earth had a life expectancy of 900 years.  This unique atmosphere often referred to as the Open Canopy Theory suggests the aging process was slowed down, limiting a human’s body from the sun’s radiation.

To simplify this in modern terms, 100 years of life in the original atmosphere is equivalent to 10 years under today’s conditions.  Thus, while Adam lived to be 930 years on earth, his body roughly reflected someone who is a 93 year old.  Recently, archeologists have discovered the remains of palms tree near the polar ice caps, supporting this theory.  In additional, scientists have concluded that prior to the world wide flood mentioned in Genesis 7:4-6, Pangea existed, a one land mass continent.  Following the first volcanic eruption detailed in Genesis 7:11, tectonic plates became active, forming what we now know as the 7 continents on earth.  While the flood may not have killed all the dinosaurs of the sea, the change in our atmosphere likely sealed the fate of this amazing creatures.

If you study the genealogy’s of the Bible, the post flood atmosphere began to accelerate the aging process.  However, as sin spread from the Garden of Eden throughout the world, Genesis 6:5, unexpected death became more common.  Wrongful deaths, murder and disease are normal today, a way of life, something everyone has to cope with and overcome.  Although some individuals survive to be 100 or more due to medical breakthroughs, everyone’s clock is ticking, Genesis 6:3.  Thus, as I reach half of Dale Earnhardt Junior’s Nascar Racing number in a month, I am doing my best to walk with the Lord, day by day, until He calls me home, Genesis 5:24.

by Jay Mankus

The Pain of Sin

Since the garden of Eden, the consequences of sin have left people in agony.  Guilt has become like a nightmare that won’t go away, often overwhelming your soul.  Meanwhile, shame isn’t far behind, leaving a trail of disappointment, embarrassment, and tattered reputations in its wake.  If this wasn’t enough, the fear of punishment and rejection bombard an individual’s mind, wishing they did not partaken in sin.

Regardless of how moral you claim to be, everyone has had a 2 Samuel 11 moment.  One second you are thinking about others, then boredom leads to idleness, from here aimless wandering leads your heart into the presence of sin.  These momentary lapses in judgments are common, except the time they last.  The sooner a person comes to their senses, the softer the blow you have to endure.  However, if you choose to go on a binge of rebellion like King David, adultery, lying and murder will flush your legacy right down the toilet.

When a man after God’s own heart sins, 1 Samuel 16:7, no one is exempt from the power of temptation.  Psalm 38:1-11 serves as a confessional for David, describing the pain sin has left behind within his soul.  This crippling state should inspire Christians to follow the words of 1 Peter 5:8-9, who also struggled with this pain, swallowing his pride after publicly denying Jesus 3 times.  Submit to God, resist the devil and the pain of sin can become a distant memory, James 4:7-8.

by Jay Mankus

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