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Tag Archives: God’s commands

Making a Copy for Yourself

Before the days of printing presses, tape recorders and photo copiers, God called Moses to begin writing down what we now know as the Torah: first 5 books of the Bible. The first book Moses completed was passed down from generation to generation orally. These stories were shared and told in Jewish homes to train up children to avoid making the same past mistakes made by God’s followers, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. When Moses reached his final book of Deuteronomy, God impressed upon him the need for visual reminders.

And when he sits on his royal throne, he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, out of what is before the Levitical priests, Deuteronomy 17:18.

Instead of just listening to stories passed down to you, God felt a need for individuals to have their own copy of these historical accounts. As spiritual leaders of Israel, this process began with the priests. These elders didn’t have the internet to connect to in order to read all of God’s commands in Leviticus to follow. The best way to avoid making a mistake or missing a step along the was making these principles widely known.

And he shall keep it with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn [reverently] to fear the Lord his God, by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes and doing them, 20 That his [mind and] heart may not be lifted up above his brethren and that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left; so that he may continue long, he and his sons, in his kingdom in Israel, Deuteronomy 17:19-20.

God understood the principle “out of sight out of mind.” The solution to this dilemma was to take Moses’ scroll and tablet so that Israel didn’t forget God’s decrees, instructions and precepts. From a modern perspective, there are countless versions of the Bible and resources like Bible Gateway available to help people see what the Bible says. However, if you’re like me, if I don’t write down what I read, I’ll quickly forget these biblical lessons. Therefore, if it’s on a note card or sticky pad, make a copy for yourself to keep God’s Word close to your mind and heart.

by Jay Mankus

Teetotalism in Religion

As dictionaries are updated annually, important words from history are fading from the forefront.  Instead, slang, tech terms and pop culture is redefining societies vocabulary.  One of these obsolete words is teetotalism, a stringent form of following the rules.  Islam or Muslims  is one of the few faiths which practice teetotalism in adherence to the 5 pillars.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28.

In his classic book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis addresses teetotalism in a chapter called The Cardinal Virtues, values that anyone can possess.  Lewis suggests that initially, teetotalism was a form of temperance, going the right distance and no further.  Like anything in life, context, time and understanding alter the meaning of words.  Thus, teetotalism in the context of religion is merely knowing the boundaries between the right and wrong and failing to cross over this line.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, Matthew 11:29.

However, when faith is limited to an adherence to rules, meaning can be lost like Pharisees who strayed from God’s commands.  Rather, Jesus doesn’t care what you wear to church on Sunday; only that you come as you are, ditching the facade the fake put on.  Once souls reach the understanding that you can’t do it on your own, Romans 6:23, spiritual hunger is conceived.  Free will enables hearts to wait until they are ready.  When this day arrives, believers won’t have to rely on teetotalism anymore.  Instead, a desire for biblical truth will prompt individuals to pray, read the Bible and worship the Lord 7 days a week.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Devilution of a Nation

Signs of evolution develop when someone or something experience subtle changes over time.  Certain species of animals may go through genetic alterations as its ecosystem is impacted by disease, over population or the weather.  Meanwhile, societies undergo spiritual transformations from generation to generation, either drawing near to God through revival or backsliding due to what I call the deviluation of a nation.

For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. – Genesis 3:5

Devilution is spawned by adding and or subtracting to God’s commands.  Challenging, questioning and reinventing the rules attempts to create doubt within the minds of citizens.  This atmosphere has inspired past writers like Saul Alinsky to promote curriculum in the form of Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.  If these teachings are embraced by enough leaders, a culture shift will begin amending beliefs, values and worldviews of a nation.

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. – Deuteronomy 4:2

When minds are persuaded to taste what was once forbidden fruit, justification and rationalization is conceived.  Subsequently, right and wrong is turned to gray, genetically altering truth.  A byproduct of this switch elevates opinions to fact status; thereby causing absolutes to disappear little by little.  According to the Bible, these conditions breed demonic strongholds, Ephesians 6:12, enabling dark powers to deceive an entire region.  If unstopped, the next generation will learn to do what’s right in their own eyes.

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit. – Judges 21:25

May God help us all to do an about face so that the devilution of America will be replaced by a spirit of prayer and fasting.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

I Think I Got Away With It… Or Did I?

Maybe you faked being sick so you didn’t have to go to school and or work?  Perhaps you exaggerated slightly to avoid being blamed for a mistake or oversight?  Or did you flat out lie to your parents, creating a fictional story which rescued you from being grounded?  If you are like me, there were times in my past when I thought I got away with a lie.  However, future consequences, events and trials suggest that God was watching and I did not escape His punishment.

Genesis 27 provides a perfect case study for someone who thinks they got away with a lie.  Rebekah is the mastermind of this initial lie, trying to steal Isaac’s blessing from Esau.  While ease dropping, she overhears Isaac’s request for his favorite meal.  Once Esau leaves his father’s presence, Rebekah lays out her plan to deceive the blind, but not deaf Isaac.  With meal in hand, fake hair and one of Esau’s favorite outfits which he wasn’t wearing, Jacob tricks his curious father into the blessing he longed to receive.  The plan was executed with perfection or was it?

Upon hearing he had been duped by his twin brother, Esau sobs, begging Isaac for another blessing, yet he is denied.  Genesis 27:41 reveals Esau’s ploy for revenge, murder.  When she heard this through the grapevine, Rebekah ushers Jacob quickly out of their house to stay with her brother Laban until Esau’s anger cools off.  However, Uncle Laban teaches Jacob a few lessons about lying, Genesis 29:15-30, possibly in response to his sister’s foolish actions.

The answer to the question, did I get away with it or not is found in Deuteronomy 30:17-18.  Whenever you add or subtract from God’s commands, Deuteronomy 12:32, you forfeit God’s favor.  While forgiveness will be received after confession, God’s formula for blessings in life is simple, fully obey God’s commands, decrees and laws, Deuteronomy 28:1-2.  When you rely on your own strength, this is impossible, Romans 3:23.  Yet, in Christ, Philippians 4:13, with sole dependence on Him, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, God’s power is unleashed.  Therefore, the next time you are tempted to exaggerate, falsify or lie, remember to place your faith in God, Proverbs 3:5-6, so that He alone will make your paths straight.

by Jay Mankus

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