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Tag Archives: human soul

When Love is a Measuring Stick

The English word “canon” comes from the Greek κανών, meaning “rule” or “measuring stick”.  While Christians were the first to refer to the Bible as the measuring stick for life, Eugene Ulrich regards this notion as Jewish. A typical measuring stick is a measuring instrument with a sequence of marks at regular intervals; used as a reference in making measurements. As an introduction to his chapter on love, the apostle Paul is eager to introduce Corinthian Christians to the most excellent way.

But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love], 1 Corinthians 12:31.

This transition uses spiritual gifts mentioned in chapter 12 as an illustration in verses 1-3. Although only a few gifts are selected, the point Paul is trying to make is clear. You can be one of the most blessed, gifted or talented individuals in your state, but if love isn’t the inspiration behind your actions, your spiritual gift is useless. According to Paul, love should be the wind beneath yours spiritual wings which motivates and prompts you act externally, out of the love of Jesus within your heart.

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail, 1 Corinthians 13:4-6.

The major section of this chapter, verses 4-7, defines what love is by comparing it with every day actions and responses. When love is the measuring stick, like a mirror reflecting what’s inside a human soul, wrong behaviors are exposed. In the heat of the moment, how do you respond? Is your life void of love or do emotions open the door for acts of the flesh to take over, Galatians 5:19-21? Paul concludes this chapter with a powerful analogy, verse 11-13. As children, we all throw tantrums. Yet, at some point, you have to grow up spiritually. When you chose love on a daily basis, maturity is obtained.

by Jay Mankus

Diagnosis Murder

The CBS television series Diagnosis Murder ran for eight seasons from October 1993 to May 2001.  Starring Dick Van Dyke, Scott Baio and Victoria Rowell to name of few, this drama examined the motive behind each act, crime and murder.  Little did creator Joyce Burditt realize that four months after this show’s conclusion a new diagnosis was necessary, to comprehend the heart and mind of a terrorist following 9/11.

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it,” Genesis 4:7.

After each mass shooting, politicians meet behind closed doors to determine their talking points.  Questions such as “Was this an act of terror, motivated by the religious right, Muslim extremists, work place violence, a loose canon or someone with a record of mental illness?”  Unfortunately, these acts in America have become so common expert panelists are probably on standby or speed dial, waiting to analyze the next act of terror.

“In your anger do not sin:” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold, Ephesians 4:26-27.

The Bible has its own theory on why murder and terrorism occur.  Some thoughts are conceived through jealousy like Cain.  Envy and jealousy eat away at the human soul, planting seeds of revenge inside the hearts and minds of those who feel threatened by another person or faith.  Meanwhile, Jesus links anger and hatred to murder within his sermon on the Mount.  Expanding upon this view, the apostle Paul refers to someone who gives the devil a foothold.  When evil comes crouching at the door of vulnerable hearts and minds, conditions are ripe for horrific acts.  May the truths of these biblical principles reach those on the verge of making a poor choice, preventing the need for another diagnosis murder.

by Jay Mankus

Inconsistency’s and Irregularities in Life

In life, every day is not consistent, filled with irregularities which overshadow normal conditions.  When individuals expect a certain behavior from a co-worker or friend, based upon previous interactions, the ebb and flow of emotions inside the human soul can result in disappointment.  Instead, life is filled with unpredictable moments, where hearts and minds are swayed by evil to participate in illogical acts, Galatians 5:16-21.  These conflicting actions often create friction, like a wall of separation, Ephesians 4:26-27, leaving a trail of broken relationships, hurt feelings and lost trust in its aftermath.

Meanwhile, periods of love, joy and peace can be turned upside down by breaches in conventional thinking.  Right is confused with wrong, absolutes have become gray areas and morals are now equivalent to opinions, with truth no where to be found.  As a result, citizens have wandered off the straight and narrow path, Matthew 7:13-14, opting for crooked, twisted and unethical practices.  Thus, a generation of amoral people have been formed, misled by the inconsistency’s and irregularities of life.  This group are merely victims of society, like the Cretans of the Bible who were never shown a clear distinction between moral and immoral ways, Titus 3:1-11.

 
The words of James, Jesus’ half brother, serve as spiritual medicine to cure a sick mind.  James 1:2-7 speaks to times when the inconsistency’s and irregularities occur in life.  Perspective is crucial to staying optimistic during unexpected trials.  People with changed attitudes, transformed by a faith rooted in prayer, can stay afloat, regardless of how strong the winds of change blow.  Therefore, if you can learn to embrace life’s inconsistency’s and irregularities, God will fill you with perseverance to ride out each storm you encounter.  May God provide you with the wisdom you need to endure the whitecaps of life.

by Jay Mankus

The Olive Grove

There was a time in America when Hide and Go Seek was for more popular than playing video games.  Although not everyone runs the same speed, creative minds often found the best hiding spots.  Depending upon the size of your neighborhood or the boundaries children set, some games might last hours, searching for the last person.  On several occasions, this hider would come out, saving their hiding place for another game.

In John 18:1-9, the disciple whom Jesus loved takes readers into the disciples secret place, where they often met.  Beyond the Kidron Valley, Jesus took his disciples to an olive grove, hidden from the large crowds which followed Jesus.  Thus, John reveals these details to explain how Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, knew where to find Jesus when other religious leaders could not.

Like the old commercial slogan, “Calgon take me away,” everyone from time to time needs a place to get away.  Whether its a place like Cheers, where people know you by name or a secret hide away, rest and relaxation is essential for the human soul.  Though Sunday is a day of worship, God also wants individuals to rest, unwind and relax.  Therefore, whether you select an olive grove like Jesus, a quiet place or an activity you enjoy, recharge your internal batteries soon or else you might run out of gas.

by Jay Mankus

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