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Get Behind Me

The term band-wagon first appeared in 1849. This initial meaning referred to a large wagon used to carry the band in a circus procession. Theodore Roosevelt used bandwagon in his writings in the context of politics, “attaching oneself to anything that looks likely to succeed.” Modern day sports talk hosts have adopted bandwagon as a label to highlight fair weather fans. When a local team over achieves, the bandwagon becomes full. However, when a successful team gets off to a slow start, many quickly jump off the bandwagon.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. 25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting], Matthew 16:24-25.

A Jewish disciple explores what it means to truly get behind Jesus. This chapter provides examples of what to do and what not to do. One individual becomes a hero and a goat in a matter of seconds. However, this is what happens when you are not slow to speak, blurting out whatever enters your mind. The context of the passage begins with an open ended question as Jesus asks, “who do people say that I am?” After receiving a few replies, Jesus changes the question to “what do you think?” After Peter correctly identifies Jesus as the promised Messiah, he then proceeds to attempt to stop Jesus from fulfilling God’s will.

Then Peter took Him aside to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You! 23 But Jesus turned away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way [an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me]; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men, Matthew 16:22-23.

When God or life doesn’t make sense, this is when human beings tend to improvise. Since Peter thought Jesus would become an earthly king, he refused to believe that his mentor was born to become a living sacrifice. When justice doesn’t prevail and evil triumphs, your allegiance is tested. Just to qualify to become one of Jesus’ disciples involves taking extreme measures. While everyone will wobble from time to time due to uncertainty, your actions will determine who’s side you are on. May the Holy Spirit bring clarity to any confusion so you get behind the right side.

by Jay Mankus

Jumping to Conclusions

Gossip can be a compulsive hobby for those who indulge in the grapevine.  When you add an inquisitive mind to this equation, information can be misinterpreted.  Subsequently, individuals often jump to conclusions based upon their desired outcome.

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” – Mark 3:22

Shortly after he began his earthly ministry, Jesus gave the religious leaders plenty to talk about.  Healings and miracles created a huge following.  However, once Jesus began to perform exorcisms, that was taking this faith thing too far.  Unable to comprehend Jesus’ power, teachers of the law started a rumor, assuming Jesus was the prince of demons in disguise.

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. – Mark 3:25-26

If you have ever lived in a small town, drifted off the beaten path or don’t correct misleading reputations, you too will find yourself part of an exaggerated story.  A month before leaving my youth pastor position in Columbus, Indiana, people claimed that I said the world was coming to an end.  While studying the Book of Revelation, certain individuals began to improvise causing some of my friends to buy into these lies.  In view of this, the next time you feel an urge to jump to a conclusion, make sure you test everything you hear, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, before you pass on information.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Powerless

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Last night, my favorite lamp (if there is such a thing) and the only light source in our family room went out just before Bible Study.  After investigating for a few minutes, I discovered the main plug had begun to tear away from the cord creating a fire hazard.  Thus, I was forced to improvise, bringing a lamp from upstairs as a temporary solution.  Without an electrician at my immediate disposal, I was powerless, left in the dark contemplating another annoying hassle thrown into the equation called life.

On August 14th, 2003, 50 million residents of the Northeastern portion of the United States were powerless, forced to resume life without power during the largest power outage in U.S. history.  An aging electrical grid left residents from Ohio,  across to New York City and up as far as Ontario, Canada without power.  Like a bad practical joke, America didn’t have a choice except slow down, go back in time and make the best of life for 24 hours.  Fortunately, I had moved to southern Indiana in June or I would have spent my birthday in the dark.

Enslaved by technology 10 years later, this generation might have a hissy fit if a similar outage occurs, crying out for 4G, their favorite game systems and high definition television.  Blinded by the delicacies of life, many adults still act like spoiled children, complaining until they get their way.  Romans 8:3 refers to a spiritual blackout, where people are powerless, unable to save themselves from sin and its powerful grip.  In a pit of despair, Psalm 30:1-3, helpless to turn life around, God sent his son Jesus to be a sin offering, cancelling the debts we have accrued .  Therefore, the next time the lights go out for an extended time, grab a flashlight and find a Bible.  While you may be powerless, God provides the juice in Romans 5:8 to flip your life around for good.

by Jay Mankus

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