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Tag Archives: Hebrew

Death Knows Where to Find You

The older you get, the presence of death becomes more of a reality.  In the past year, I have lost a cousin, aunt and father in law.  At the last funeral I attended, I received news that my wife’s aunt Rose was recently diagnosed with cancer.  Last week, Rose went home to be with the Lord.  A homecoming in heaven, but a painful reminder of our temporary status on earth.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

According to Solomon, our bodies are on loan from God.  The Hebrew word for Adam is Adamah, symbolic of God forming Adam’s body out of the earth.  The moment death strikes human beings, souls return back to God.  While your body is left to decay beneath the ground, your spirit awaits judgment before spending eternity in heaven or hell.

Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]. And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served]. And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7.

The apostle Paul referred to human bodies as a temple.  When the Holy of holies was torn in two during the earthquake immediately following Jesus’ death on a cross, this event set the stage God’s presence to no longer be limited to a physical building.  Rather, Jesus’ resurrection and the Day of Pentecost opened the door for the Holy Spirit to enter your life.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” Revelation 21:4.

In the last chapter of the Bible, John has a vision of Jesus in heaven.  Seeing the toll death takes on friends, family and relatives, Jesus promises to provide an eternally environment where they will be no more tears.  Heaven is the final destination where God will make you whole.  Since death knows where to find you, make sure your plans are secured before your time is up, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

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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

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

 

 

Losing the Battle of Forgiveness

Salah, kapar and nasa are the three most common Hebrew words which express the English expression to forgive.  In the New Testament, aphiemi describes the act of forgiving, to separate blame from the guilty party inspired by sin.  Biblical forgiveness is achieved when an individual acquits, exonerates or pardons someone from an act which cause harm to one or more parties.  Unfortunately, for most churches, forgiving without truly forgetting results in a losing spiritual battle.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you, Colossians 3:13.

This reality hit home as a drove to the first church I served in as a youth pastor.  Every Sunday I passed by a former congregation, a beautiful brick building which had become a liquor store.  Ironic that a building once known as the Lord’s house was now a center for wines and spirits in my community.  Perhaps, a spirit of bitterness, jealousy or resentment is at fault.  A couple may not like the music, others profess their disdain for the preaching and some complain about the lame programing that exists.  Before long, seeds of discord, dissension and factions cause membership to dwindle.  In the end, churches die as the lukewarm hop over to another destination, going along for the ride until their own passion fades away.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, 2 Timothy 4:7.

As a former elder of a now disbanded church, I hate to see the finality of it all.  Shattered dreams, broken homes and fragile souls try to move on, placing their pain on hold until the healing begins.  While fighting for a lost cause may seem futile, churches can be turned around when forgiveness arrives on the scene.  If only egos could be put on the sidelines, then the love of Jesus can permeate into the lives of churches.  Casting Crowns was right, “If we are the body, what aren’t our hands reaching out in love?”  May this blog create a spark, ignite forgiveness and rejuvenate churches on the verge of division or splitting.  Fight the good fight of faith!

by Jay Mankus

Pumping Iron: A Spiritual Guide to Working Out

The addition of Hans and Franz to State Farm’s Discount Double Check slogan has infused life into this ad campaign.  Known for their saying on SNL, “I want to pump you up,” Hans and Franz played by Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealson have become icons in today’s pop culture.  However, long before these two were ever born, another writer crafted a spiritual blueprint for pumping iron.

Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. – Psalm 119:98

The warm up to working out spiritually begins with the commands inside of the Bible.  When you read, reflect and mediate on God’s principles, you are exercising your mind.  Subsequently, over time, through a daily workout routine, you can become wiser than your enemies if you commit to spending time in God’s gym, the Word.

I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. – Psalm 119:99

Following this warm up, an extensive study using commentaries, historical references and examining the meaning of Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic phrases is like pumping iron.  Not like something that happens overnight, this discipline takes time to develop.  However, if you are faithful, spiritual muscles will blossom in the form of insight, becoming equal to and perhaps surpassing your teachers in life.

I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. – Psalm 119:100.

Finally, the cool down requires practicing what you learn daily, Matthew 7:24.  Unless you apply God’s Word, spiritual muscles will disappear into a fat and lazy soul.  Therefore, if you want to become the Hans and Franz of the Bible, obey the Lord’s precepts and in God’s timing, you will have more understanding than the elders.  God is waiting to pump you up; the only question is, are you willing to make the Lord a priority to see the results you desire, Matthew 6:33-34?

by Jay Mankus

Mind Stripping

Strip mining involves excavating the surface of earth, rock and other material to uncover mineral reserves.  Although most commonly used to extract coal, some of the miners on the Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush reality show use strip mining to remove overburden.  Also known as open-cut mining, this process relies on explosives and heavy machinery to reach key pockets of minerals.

A wise king once developed a different kind of mining.  One of the secrets to Babylon’s successful empire in 600 BC was the introduction of mind stripping.  Instead of killing the citizens of newly conquered nations, King Nebuchadnezzar recruited members of royal families as well as the best and brightest young people, Daniel 1:3-5.  Like going back to school, these individuals were programmed to eat, think and embrace the Babylonian worldview.

For example, Daniel was given a new name to strip his mind from his Hebrew roots, Belteshazzer.  This name originated from Mesopotamian mythology, based upon Bel, a title applied to various gods in Babylon.  Essentially, King Nebuchadnezzar attempted to convince Daniel that Bel, his god would take care of him from here on out.  Tempted by knowledge, power and wealth, Daniel refused to allow his mind to be corrupted, Daniel 1:8-14.

Today, mind stripping continues, kept alive by the devil, 2 Corinthians 4:4.  However, this process is invisible, induced by subtle thoughts, whispers and images of greatness.  No one is immune to this internal battle, Galatians 5:16-18.  Regardless of the state this blog finds you in, may the power of the Holy Spirit come to your aid, Galatians 5:25, leading you like Daniel to say no to mind stripping.

by Jay Mankus

 

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