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Tag Archives: God’s expectations

The Day of Danger

Next to experience, repetition is one of the best modes of teaching. Perhaps, Moses was painfully aware of the human condition, so focused on the present that lessons of the past are forgotten. The Book of Deuteronomy simply means second law, serving as a constant reminder of God’s expectations. From the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-26 to the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12, if important principles aren’t brushed up on, you won’t be prepared for the day of danger that will rock your world.

For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place], Ephesians 6:12-13.

The context of this expression is found in what Bible scholars refers to the armor of God. As tension within the spiritual dimension builds, powers of darkness are lurking, waiting and eager to pounce upon weakened and lonely Christians, 1 Peter 5:8. This invisible danger seeks to steal spiritual truths within young and vulnerable hearts. Meanwhile, trials and tragedy are just a few of the weapons used to steal dreams and poison souls. If you think you’re exempt from the day of danger, just listen to the words of King Solomon below.

A prudent man sees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished [with suffering], Proverbs 22:3.

What’s odd about this passage is that five chapters later in Proverbs 27:12, Solomon chooses the exact same words. As one of the wisest human beings to walk the face of the earth, there must be a specific reason. Perhaps, one of his son’s was forgetful or had a short attention span. As Jesus often said, “you have ears, but do not hear.” When the timing isn’t right, crucial lessons fly by, out of sight, out of mind. Yet, when the timing is right and hearts embraces these spiritual morsels like a sponge, Christians are prepared when your day of danger arrives.

by Jay Mankus

Be Ready to Punish Wayward Thoughts

Punishment is designed to inflict a penalty on someone or something. This form of a sanction serves as retribution for an offense, especially a transgression of a legal or moral code. If boundaries aren’t defined and standards not upheld, lawlessness will begin to run rampant. Thus, in the passage below the apostle Paul urges first century Christians to be ready to punish wayward thoughts.

[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 2 Corinthians 10:5.

This mentality is taking into account the spiritual dimension. While Solomon urged his sons to sharpen one another via accountability, Proverbs 27:17, spiritual discipline requires special weapons, 2 Corinthians 10:4. Instead of choosing a paddle that was once common to spank a child, spiritual weapons are meant to overthrow and destroy strongholds. Similar to the ancient practice of purging, taking thoughts captives takes effort.

Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete, 2 Corinthians 10:6.

Just as teetotalers use abstinence to halt wayward thoughts, obedience to Christ is the force that keep weak bodies in check. Realizing that many Israelites were vulnerable to conforming to other beliefs and cultures, Joshua urges those ready to enter God’s Promised Land to meditate on the Torah day and night. These first five books of the Bible clearly define God’s expectations. Therefore, the best way to punish wayward thoughts is through the practice of Bible memorization to recall right from wrong.

by Jay Mankus

Neglecting the More Important Matters of the Law

There was a time within history where both parents played an vital role in raising children.  Before the establishment of formal education, the local church or temple instilled godly principles from the Old Testament to help shape character.  One of these passages serves as a check list of God’s expectations: seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly.  To avoid overwhelming young people, Micah’s brief summary highlights the more important aspects of God’s law.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

During an encounter with religious leaders, Jesus points out their hypocrisy.  At this point in the first century, Pharisees flaunted their faith, making sure people in their community heard about or witnessed their tithing to God.  Jesus was trying to tell these individuals in the verse below, “you’re missing the point.”  Giving back to God through a weekly or monthly offering is honorable.  Yet, faith is suppose to be a life style, not something you turn on and off.  Anyone who allows faith to become inactive neglects the more important matters of the law.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former,” Matthew 23:23.

When the concept of justice is applied to politics, there seems to be unequal justice under the law.  If you are liberal, progressive or possess a secular worldview, some offenses are overlooked.  Meanwhile, Christians, Jews and other religious leaders are held to a higher standard.  While everyone should attempt to be the best person you can, no one is able to escape sin.  Those who break man’s law face fines or even prison.  Others who trespass against you make justice more personal.  Perhaps, this may explain the inclusion of love kindness after justice.  Most people seek justice for the wrongs that you have endured in this life.  However, anytime love and forgiveness is not demonstrated to those who sin against you, the more important matters of God’s law is neglected.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Great Escape

Time after time, the gospel of John records Jesus escaping from danger, often using the phrase, “the time had not yet come.”  Disappointed by the spiritual blindness of religious leaders, Jesus lays into them starting in John 9:40, continuing through John 10:38.  Since God expects more from leaders, Jesus didn’t sugarcoat his words, being painfully honest.

Instead of adhering to Jesus’ warning, these Jews wanted to stone him according to John 10:31.  Unfortunately, their minds and hearts were steeped in tradition and religion, not a personal relationship with God.  Thus, with each word, the anger of the Pharisees in attendance stirred, reaching a melting point.  Out of frustration, this crowd of Jews tried to seize Jesus, John 10:39, but were unsuccessful.

In life, each individual faces their own dilemmas.  The poor seek to escape debt, the rich struggle to overcome the grasp of greed and the lonely attempt to outrun depression.  Jesus’ teaching was not easy, like the disciples’ own words in Matthew 19:25.  Yet, with God, Matthew 19:26 and through Christ, Philippians 4:13, all things are possible.  To endure the great escape from sin alone would be foolish.  Therefore, to insure your success, place your trust in Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, Hebrews 12:2.

by Jay Mankus

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