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Στόχο: Finding a New Target in 2020

Στόχο is the Greek word for target. When translated into English, this term could apply to aim, destination, goal or landing place. As individuals celebrate New Year’s Eve, minds and thoughts will begin to turn their attention toward a new year. Once all of the celebrations have ended, determined souls will search for a new target in 2020.

And they said to me, The remnant there in the province who escaped exile are in great trouble and reproach; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its [fortified] gates are destroyed by fire. When I heard this, I sat down and wept and mourned for days and fasted and prayed [constantly] before the God of heaven, Nehemiah 1:3-4.

Unfortunately, sometimes your future may be blurred, clouded or uncertain due to unforeseen events. Accidents, failing health or trials can prove to be too much for one person to bear. Whenever you experience a devastating, horrific or troubling circumstance, follow in the footsteps of Nehemiah. After receiving news of Jerusalem vulnerability, this man fell to his knees, fasting and praying for a plan to rebuild this wall.

Let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to listen to the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You day and night for the Israelites, Your servants, confessing the sins of the Israelites which we have sinned against You. Yes, I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, statutes, and ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses, Nehemiah 1:6-7.

Before focusing on a solution, Nehemiah acknowledges the sins of Israel which brought this fate upon Jerusalem. Before any new target can be discovered in 2020, everyone needs to get right with God. As prayers are lifted up, hearts unload their pain and minds begin to think clear again, conditions will improve for a new vision to be seen. May the beginning of this year inspire you to pave the way for a new target to be located.

by Jay Mankus

A Lesson about the Human Mind

The word mind appears 95 times in the original King James Bible translation.  Many of these references appear in the New Testament.  The Greek word noús is the God-given capacity of each person to think.  This is where the concept of reason is derived, the mental capacity to exercise reflective thinking.  Thus, as an individual reads the Bible for the first time, the idea of an invisible supernatural force may be difficult to grasp.

But the natural [unbelieving] man does not accept the things [the teachings and revelations] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness [absurd and illogical] to him; and he is incapable of understanding them, because they are spiritually discerned and appreciated, [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters], 1 Corinthians 2:14.

The apostle Paul addresses this struggle in the passage above.  Today, agnostics, atheists and scientists  reject initial thoughts of the Spirit of God.  To intellects, taught to expand their mind with natural and worldly ideology, biblical teachings seem absurd, foolish and illogical.  While debating, discussing and sharing the good news about Jesus to educated men, Paul came to the conclusion that many were incapable of understanding spiritual truths.  These stubborn souls are blinded by minds steeped in age old traditions.

But the spiritual man [the spiritually mature Christian] judges all things [questions, examines and applies what the Holy Spirit reveals], yet is himself judged by no one [the unbeliever cannot judge and understand the believer’s spiritual nature]. 16 For who has known the mind and purposes of the Lord, so as to instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ [to be guided by His thoughts and purposes], 1 Corinthians 2:15-16.

In May of 2008, Hollywood released Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Crystal Skull.  This film is based upon gnosis, the knowledge of spiritual mysteries.  After a pursuit for an ancient crystal skull, the climax reveals that knowledge belongs to aliens, higher beings beyond earth.  You don’t have to see this movie to be informed.  Rather, the passage above unlocks the secret to this life.  The Holy Ghost, an invisible counselor guides those who place their faith and trust in Jesus, Romans 10:9-10.  When you let God in, the Holy Spirit opens your mind to spiritual truths once hidden by a sinful nature.  May this blog inspire you to develop a Christ like mind.

by Jay Mankus

Just Give Me a Crumb

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is an opinioned woman, regularly sharing her beliefs with reporters.  During one press conference, Pelosi gave her initially thoughts on the 2017 Tax Reform Bill passed by Republicans in Congress.  Referring to the middle class, Pelosi compared $1000 bonuses given to blue collar workers as merely crumbs.  Since no democrat in the Senate voted for tax reform, Pelosi tried to discredit this impact on the growing American economy.

Now the woman was a Gentile (Greek), a Syrophoenician by nationality. And she kept pleading with Him to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27 He was saying to her, “First let the children [of Israel] be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the pet dogs (non-Jews),” Mark 7:26-27.

The Bible has its own story about crumbs.  Whenever Jesus entered a city or town, he usually went to synagogues to teach Jews about the kingdom of God.  Based upon the Great Commission detailed in Acts 1:8, Jesus began his earthly ministry reaching out to God’s chosen people of the Old Testament first.  On some occasions, God fearing Gentiles, non-Jews, displayed more faith and zeal than everyone else.  The woman introduced in the passage above refused to take no for an answer, desperate to see her daughter healed.

But she replied, “Yes, Lord, but even the pet dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer [reflecting your humility and faith], go [knowing that your request is granted]; the demon has left your daughter [permanently].” 30 And returning to her home, she found the child lying on the couch [relaxed and resting], the demon having gone, Mark 7:28-30.

The average person would have walked away unfulfilled after Jesus’ initial rejection.  Filled with persistence, this Syrophoenician woman was shrewd, giving a quick reply that even astonished Jesus.  Essentially, this Greek begged Jesus, pleading with him to just give her a crumb.  Recognizing the power of Jesus, even a crumb was enough to heal her demon possessed daughter.  May we all strive to follow in this godly woman’s footsteps, wrestling with God in prayer until the answer you are waiting on arrives.

by Jay Mankus

The Power of Thanksgiving

The Hebrew word for thanksgiving is ydh, referring to a public acknowledgement.  Greek uses the term efcharisto meaning the sense of appreciation, inspiring an expression of gratitude.  When a spirit of thanksgiving is verbalized to the down trodden, hurting and needy, affirmations can uplift anyone feeling down in the dumps.

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! – Psalm 106:1

Unfortunately, there is a negative force at work in the world, breeding critics, complaining and condemnation.  Whenever human beings give into the sinful nature, acts of the flesh come forth, usually in a cruel and harsh manner.  This mental barrier prevents individuals from doing the right thing as the apostle Paul describes in Romans 7.  The only way to break free from this addictive habit is through Jesus Christ.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

As a former professional golfer, my mind always got in the way, preventing me from reaching my full potential on the golf course.  Yet, the mind also hampers those off the course, in real life, whispering doubts, failure and ungodly beliefs into your head.  Unless you confront this battle with spiritual weapons, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, victories will be few and far between.  Despite this troubling reality, with God all things are possible.  Therefore, if you want to make a difference this holiday season, unleash the power of Thanksgiving by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

Where Did Ethos Go?

While I never finished completing seminary due to my iritis, the classes I completed have provided a plethora of knowledge.  One of my favorite terms is the Greek word ethos.  Philosophers like Aristotle used ethos in the context of a person’s character.  Yet, ethos means so much more, its the expression of love, allowing others to see that you genuinely care about their lives.  Those individuals who demonstrate ethos on a daily basis earn the right to be heard.

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, Matthew 9:12.

Unfortunately, as I interact with people, listen to what others believe and watch how different worldviews treat one another, the concept of ethos is vanishing.  Narcissism, pride and stubborn hearts are leaving a trail of hate, attacking anyone who opposing their beliefs.  C.S. Lewis eludes to this oblivious trait as diabolical pride in Mere Christianity.  If this flaw continues, the concept of ethos may disappear.

But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners,” Matthew 9:13.

There are certain areas, subjects or topics where people claim to be experts, knowing much more than most others.  Yet, it would help if individuals would learn to become humble and more teachable.  While you may think you know more than a boss, manager or teacher, showing respect breeds ethos.  If the phrase sharing is caring is employed, a generation will begin to witness the powerful effects of ethos on society.

by Jay Mankus

Searching for a Sense of Worth or Sheer Fantasy?

In this day and age, people will do almost anything to receive recognition.  This pursuit often causes individuals to cross the line between right and wrong.  In an attempt to please their bosses, employees at Wells Fargo opened 2 million fake bank accounts over a five year span.  It’s one thing to develop a sense of worth through working, but sometimes chasing fantasies perverts reality.  These acts are lost in translation, hidden by pressure to excel.

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense, Proverbs 12:11 – NIV.

The Bible was written in 3 languages: Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.  Since the entire Old Testament is Hebrew, there are words or verses that don’t translate well.  Subsequently, the verse above is confusing until you examine a more accurate version below.  The Hebrew language similar to Greek is a much more descriptive.  At first glance above, it appears Solomon is against chasing after fantasies, a waste of time and effort.  Unfortunately, the context refers to people attempting to cut corners and expecting the same productivity.

He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread; but he that followeth the worthless is void of understanding, Proverbs 12:11 – Darby Translation.

If you have ever attended a Christmas or company party, it can be a great time or an awkward experience.  This is where men tend to gather, tell others their occupation and brag about their sense of worth.  The most successful typically dominant the conversation while the humble and less important see their self-esteem slowly disappear when compared to everyone else.  When this evening is over, you have 3 logical choices.  First, stop wasting time and start doing what you love.  Second, become defensive and begin to gossip or re-evaluate where you are, set some goals and begin to incrementally chase after these fantasies.  May these words inspire you to press on, reach high and fulfill God’s plan in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Intoxicating

The term intoxicating often elicits a negative connotation.  This state is achieved by allowing a foreign substance to enter your body.  Alcohol is the most common drug used which tends to excite, stimulate or stupefy individuals.  King Solomon provides a positive and negative example of intoxicating in the book of Proverbs.

A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love, Proverbs 5:19.

According to Solomon, love can be intoxicating.  While the verse above may be graphic, sex in the context of marriage is suppose to bring pleasure to you and your soul mate.  Unfortunately, some drift apart from their first love.  When this occurs, lust can lead unsatisfied partners to become intoxicated with another person’s spouse.  For those who wonder toward this dangerous place, intoxication can blind people from common sense.

Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? – Proverbs 5:20

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul chooses the Greek work pharmakia in Galatians 5:20.  This is where the English language gets the word Pharmacy.  Whenever anyone allows a drug to enter their body, you become under the influence, like someone under a spell of witchcraft.   Thus, be careful of becoming intoxicated or else you might lose your mind or something worse.

by Jay Mankus

 

Prosthesis

The Greek language has a special way of revealing God’s promises for the future.  The term prosthesis comes from the Greek word prothesis meaning purpose.  In English, a prosthesis is an artificial body part intended to restore lost usefulness.  In life, whether you lose a limb, friend or talent, behind the scenes God is at work to replace that which was lost.

For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19:10.

The apostle Paul refers to the Lord as the poiema.  Although the English translation is workmanship, the Greek actually means end product.  While individuals endure, face and suffer many loses in life, this is not the end of the story.  God is not done with you yet, using these setbacks as an opportunity to display His power in times of weakness.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them, Ephesians 2:10.

Essentially, God is the author of life, we are the characters used in this play.  The word poet is derived from poiema.  Thus, God is the poet and we are the poems that are being written.  Unfortunately, Satan plays the part of critics, trying to convince individuals that they are worthless, no good and should not waste their time waiting for God to complete his work in you.  Therefore, many go through life, falling apart physically, mentality or spiritually.  In these days of despair, may we lean on the great prosthesis to hold us together until the end.

by Jay Mankus

The Declaration of Rhemas

The word graffiti is derived from the Greek word grafe which means writings.  In the biblical context, grafe refers to the written word of God.  As you read words of the Bible, the Logos is the message within these writings.  Finally, the revelation of the Logos is called a rhema, when a believer makes a public declaration of a written truth.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, Hebrews 4:12.

When you add these  3 concepts to the only offensive piece of the armor of God, the Sword of the Spirit comes alive.  The Bible serves as a two way player, defending lies made by enemies of the faith and piercing the hearts of those living in denial.  As individuals listen to solid teaching, the words of the Bible come to life, serving as a spiritual weapon.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, Ephesians 6:17.

In the first century, Jewish leaders and Roman officials attempted to silence first century Christians.  Peter and John were taken into custody, warned to stop talking about Jesus.  However, the bolder these apostles became, Acts 4:29, the greater the church grew.  Therefore, let the declaration of the rhemas commence so that the sword of the spirit will transform the souls of mankind.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

Banned from the Bible?

The origin of the term history derives from the Greek word ἱστορία.  Translated into English, ἱστορία refers to an inquiry where an individual acquires knowledge through an investigation.  According to the writers of the History Channel’s latest project, Banned from the Bible, content was excluded from the original 66 books known as the Holy Bible.  However, when I read their argument online, I realized this network is trying to reinvent history rather than genuinely research it.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 2 Timothy 3:16.

At the end of the first century AD, Anno Domini, Latin for in the year of our Lord, a controversial mentality began.  A predecessor to humanism, Gnosticism sought to pursue a hidden or secret knowledge which spread to church leaders.  From the third to the fifth century, Gnostic thinking influenced works such as The Life of Adam and Eve, The Book of Enoch, The Book of Jubilees, The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Mary and The Apocalypse of Peter.  In response to this threat, rabbinic Jewish leaders meet at the Council of Jamnia in 93 followed by bishops and Roman Empire Constantine at the Council of Nicea in 325 to form a consensus on the God inspired books of the Bible.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law, Deuteronomy 29:29.

Like any professional editing process, high standards must be kept and maintained to prevent any heresy from becoming published.  Thus, liberals will cry foul whenever pieces that discredit Jesus aren’t accepted or embraced.  In their minds, if Jesus isn’t God, they can act, do or say whatever they want.  Banned from the Bible?  Yes, not for the reasons mentioned in progressive publications.  Rather, history confirms from the Easter letter of Athanasius in 367 that only 66 books made the final cut, 39 from Old Testament and 27 New Testament books.  These are the facts, not opinion, why the Gnostic letters mentioned above have been omitted from the inherent Word of God.

by Jay Mankus

 

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