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Tag Archives: God’s laws

The Oracles of God

From a biblical perspective, an oracle refers to a priest or priestess acting as a medium through whom advice or prophecy was sought from God. Whenever a forefather, judge or king was about to make an important decision in the Old Testament, prophets and seers were requested. Depending upon the oracle received, these leaders would base their ultimate decision upon these words of wisdom.

Then what advantage remains to the Jew? [How is he favored?] Or what is the value or benefit of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, to the Jews were entrusted the oracles (the brief communications, the intentions, the utterances) of God, Romans 3:1-2.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul uses logic and reason to justify the Jewish practice of circumcision. As individuals follow the Torah, Old Testament laws relayed to Israel from Moses, spiritual insight is gained. However, this process is exercised by talking steps of faith, not by sight. As the faithful follow their spiritual convictions, brief communication, intentions and utterances from God are received.

And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice, 1 Kings 19:11-12.

It’s not uncommon to feel like the prophet Elijah in the passage above. There are moments, periods and time when God is silent and believers feel all alone, desperate for comfort and direction. During this ordeal, Elijah withdrew to a cave to contemplate his next step, In the minutes that followed, a series of weather related events got Elijah’s attention. Despite the wonder and awe of these natural disasters, God was not behind these events. As Elijah’s spirit grew impatient, an oracle of God appeared in the form of a whisper. May this story encourage you to be ready for the next oracle to be spoken via the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Are You Smarter Than a Pharisee?

Producer Mark Burnett teamed up with host Jeff Foxworthy in 2007 for the game show which challenged adults through the knowledge of kids.  Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader began on Fox and is now in syndication.  Like the classic Jeopardy, this entertaining show allowed viewers to see if they are dumber or smarter than the average 5th grade student.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.  “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” – John 3:3-4

If television existed at the turn of the first century, perhaps Are You Smarter Than a Pharisee would have a caught on.  The first contestant approached Jesus at night, afraid of what his friends might think if seen interacting with Jesus.  Thus, in the cover of darkness, Jesus introduces Nicodemus to the concept of becoming born again.  Similar to the early rounds in Foxworthy’s show, the first few questions are suppose to be softballs.  Unfortunately, Nicodemus over thought this one, responding like a pre-schooler.

No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions, Matthew 22:46.

Shortly before Good Friday, religious leaders attempted to trick Jesus, hoping to catch him contradicting one of God’s laws.  Thus, one by one, shrewd individuals threw out brain teasers for Jesus to answer.  To their surprise, Jesus made quick work of various theoretical situations.  Finally, his opponents gave up, walking away in disappointment.  Unfortunately, few people understand the concept of wise, 1 Corinthians 2:5.  If this blog finds you like Nicodemus over analyzing life, may faith in Christ put you over the top so you will become smarter than a Pharisee.

by Jay Mankus

Delight or Affliction?

Tired of negativity and pessimism within society?  Ready for the tide to turn in your direction this year?  Well, the answer can be found in the center of the Bible.

If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. – Psalm 119:92

The various distractions you encounter can easily shift one’s attention away from the positive aspects in life.  Thus, the saying misery loves company becomes a self-fulfilled prophecy.  If minds continue to dwell on afflictions, the desire to live will fade, resulting in a state of pity heading toward the road to destruction, Matthew 7:13.

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. – Psalm 37:4

However, if you begin to cling to the promises of the Bible, drawing near to the Lord, affliction will be replaced with peace, Job 22:21.  While you can’t control the hand you are dealt in life, you are responsible for your attitude.  Therefore, you can choose to embrace God’s laws or endure affliction.  May your feet find the path that leads to delight.

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. – Psalm 119:35

by Jay Mankus

Lost Lips

“I can’t believe I just said that,” occurs more and more in today’s society.  While working in Philadelphia nearly 15 years ago, I became a regular in an establishment in Bensalem, 30 minutes north of downtown, passing time during my hour long lunch break.  An older couple sat in their usual perch, spewing venom, cursing like sailors day in and day out.  Four letter words echoed throughout this restaurant, regardless if innocent ears were present or not.

In most cases, individuals are shaped by their parents or guardians, with the good, bad and ugly sprinkled in together.  Right and wrong is determined over time as one’s worldview draws the lines in the sand.  Those positive traits passed on to children, inspire kids to cling to and acquire these attributes.  Meanwhile, the bad habits demonstrated by misguided souls are left behind, at least as much as one can flee before their natures became ingrained within you.  Lost lips just don’t appear out of the blue, its a lifelong journey of picking up unwholesome slang deemed acceptable by peers.

The Psalmist provides a cure for this disease, a prescription to heal this ailment.  Psalm 119:13 suggest a spiritual washing your mouth out with soap.  Instead of regurgitating poisonous words, replace lost lips with the Words of the Bible.  As you recount God’s laws, blessings will replace any curses that you once verbalized.  Though your current state of affairs might be summed up as lost lips, there is a God in heaven who wants to transform your vocabulary, Ephesians 5:4.  Therefore, be wise, making the most of every conversation you partake in, Ephesians 5:15-16.

by Jay Mankus

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