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Tag Archives: Jerusalem

Powerful in Deed and Word

The reality show Undercover Boss premiered in February of 2010. Business owners, CEO’s and presidents go undercover to interact with employees. While disguises vary, the employee’s impression will prove to the boss how important their job is to them. During a seven mile trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus, Jesus performs a similar act on a couple of his disciples. Jesus plays coy, pretending not to know what happened three days earlier. According to Luke 24:16, no one recognized Jesus, playing the part of an undercover boss.

He asked, “What things?” And they replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, Luke 24:19.

Near the end of this discussion, one disciple makes an interesting observation. While reflecting upon his life, this man compares Jesus to a prophet whose deeds and words are powerful. Jesus wasn’t all talk, no action. Rather, compassion led to miracles, day after day, helping those who came to Jesus as a last resort. Despite the compliments given to Jesus, these men lacked hope, faith and joy, acting like modern defeated Christians.

For indeed you already do practice it toward all the believers throughout Macedonia [by actively displaying your love and concern for them]. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, that you excel [in this matter] more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully, and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands, just as we directed you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders [exhibiting good character, personal integrity, and moral courage worthy of the respect of the outside world], and be dependent on no one and in need of nothing [be self-supporting], 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12.

The apostle Paul encourages the congregation of Thessalonica to practice displaying the love of God. Instead of speaking too much, Paul urges believers to live out their faith quietly. Unless you earn the respect of outsiders, you won’t be able to expand the gospel. Thus, while some people find it easy to talk to strangers, living out your faith is more important. When the timing is right, doors will open to further God’s kingdom. Until then, may your deeds be just as powerful as your words.

by Jay Mankus

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When Conviction Overrides the Pressure to Conform

When a conscience is functioning properly, this human sense analyzes and evaluates whether or not your current actions are appropriate.  If you cross the line between right and wrong, a declaration of guilt is sent throughout your body.  This signal is felt by hearts and souls that are open to change.  Unfortunately, when opinions are elevated to truth status,  conviction is weakened, opening the door for peer pressure to take precedent.

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: John 16:8.

At the end of his three year ministry on earth, Jesus begins to prepare his disciples for the future.  Unaware of his impending death, Jesus refers to a counselor that will be sent after he is gone.  This spiritual presence will enhance the conviction process, unveiling past and current transgressions.  Referring to the Holy Spirit, this invisible force will expose darkness by illuminating righteousness.  This spiritual aide is designed to use conviction as a tool to override pressure to conform to the ways of this world.

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” – Acts 2:37

After Jesus ascended into heaven, residents of Jerusalem began to experience the initial presence of the Holy Spirit.  Luke describes this sensation as a heavy heart, struck with an overwhelming degree of anxiety and remorse.  Upon hearing this response, Peter guides these convicted hearts to take the next step, repent and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  While not everyone goes through with Peter’s advice, this decision lays a foundation for conviction to override peer pressure to confirm.  May these words inspire you to act upon the conviction of the Holy Spirit so that you draw closer to God.

by Jay Mankus

What’s Your Mission or Are You Missing Inaction?

In the 2005 film Pacifier, Vin Diesel plays disgraced Navy Seal Shane Wolfe.  Upon the failure of his previous mission, Shane is reassigned to protect a family whose dead father created a secret weapon known as Ghost.  While government officials seek to locate this device, Shane’s new mission is to protect this family at all cost while examining the home for any clues.  Despite a series of set backs, Shane risks his life to complete this mission.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” Matthew 28:18-20.

Prior to his ascension into heaven, Jesus gave his disciples what is now known as the great commission.  This mission was laid out in three stages.  First, begin in Jerusalem, explaining what has happened to the Jews.  When phase one is complete, move on to Judea and Samaria, spreading the good news to surrounding towns and villages.  Finally, go into all the world to share the hope of salvation found in the words of John 3:16-17.

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,” Acts 1:7-8.

Nearly two thousand years later, God is waiting for you to fulfill a new mission.  Depending upon your personality, talents and spiritual gifts, instructions will vary.  Yet, unless you enlist by beginning your own spiritual journey, Romans 10:9-10, your mission will be unknown.  Lack of clarity helps explain why many are unproductive in this life.  However, as the Holy Spirit begins to reveal to you God’s plan, Galatians 5:25, success is possible.  May the season of Lent awaken souls to see the reality of the mission the Lord wants you to complete while on earth.

by Jay Mankus

The Daughters of Prophecy

A forecast, prediction or prognostication are words synonymous with prophecy.  In this age of cynicism the majority of people I know have their doubts.  In fact, some may place these individuals in the same category as mediums, palm readers or psychics.  However, the apostle Paul refers to four woman in Ephesus as daughters of prophecy.

He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied, Acts 21:9.

This concept is foreign territory for most people.  During a few stints of unemployment four years ago, I met a stranger in a Christian bookstore.  This man came up to me at the counter and began to claim I would soon be blessed with a high paying job, beyond my wildest dreams.  When you’re desperate, sometimes you cling to any positive news, no matter how outlandish it appears.  Unfortunately, I got sucked in, was set up for failure and as time flew by without an answer to my prayers, I lost hope in the idea of prophecy.

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy, Acts 2:17-18.

Nonetheless, I can’t overlook Paul’s claims.  Based upon the context, these girls did not make up prophecies or try to impress Paul.  Rather, they only shared what God revealed to them.  While not a woman, Agabus accurately recounts Paul’s persecution in Jerusalem before it happens.  Luke was so impressed that he makes sure this prophet is mentioned in Acts.  I  can’t explain this rare spiritual talent, yet the Bible is clear, four daughters living in Ephesus possessed the gift of prophecy.

by Jay Mankus

When God Can’t Be Stopped

History can be like a treasure chest, full of valuable life lessons.  Despite these riches, pride will cause many to ignore this information.  Thus, if you don’t learn from the past, you will repeat the same failures of those who have gone before you.  From a spiritual perspective, you may have the fight of a bull dog, but sometimes God can’t be stopped.

Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail, Acts 5:38.

During a closed door meeting, religious officials in Jerusalem were flustered by a new movement.  Gamaliel, a shrewd Pharisee, adds his own two cents, reflecting upon previous events.  Recounting two similar uprisings, Gamaliel makes a valid point.  If the inspiration by the movement of these apostles of Jesus is natural, it will eventually die out.  However, if this origin is supernatural, it can’t be stopped.

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God, Acts 5:39.

Students of John Calvin believe God predestines the choices individuals make in this life.  The opposing view suggests free will is an expression of the human soul, giving each the ability to accept or reject faith in God.  Depending upon where you find yourself on this position, your mindset will be slanted in one direction or the other.  Beyond theology, the Lord has omnipotent power on the earth.  Therefore, don’t be fooled by man’s wisdom.  Rather, be open to movements of God inspired by the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

 

What Tables Would Jesus Turn Over Today?

The final 7 days of Jesus’ earthly life is often referred to as Passion Week.  Beginning on Monday, Jesus experienced several different emotions.  While approaching Jerusalem, Jewish broken down in tears, having compassion on lost people, unable to discern what was about to happen.  A few hours later, Jesus is enraged by a temple corrupted by the world, becoming more like a flea market than a house of worship.  The Bible claims Jesus turned over tables, trying to eliminate impure motives from this holy place.

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ ”                  Luke 19:45-46

According to the Bible, God sees all things.  If today was the beginning of his final week on earth, I wonder if Jesus would respond in a similar manner.  How much compassion would be displayed?  What anger would be demonstrated and where else beside the temple would Jesus target?  Although its just a hunch, I believe Jesus would go into the house of saints, throwing idols off their shelves, trying to purge believers from their worldly ways.  After this visit, Christians must decide for themselves, relying on freewill to determine, “who will I follow?”

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. – Hebrews 4:13

One of the greatest misconceptions about Christianity is that God forces individuals to do this or do that.  Essentially, the Lord gives freedom, like Adam and Eve in the Garden with just one rule to follow.  Although the fall of mankind has complicated life, each day involves choices, Deuteronomy 30:15-16.  According to Moses, good choices lead to life and bad ones to death.  Therefore, if you want to honor God and avoid from having the tables turned over in your own temple, the body, choose the narrow path today, Matthew 7:13-14.

by Jay Mankus

 

Digging Up End Time Theology

USA Television’s drama Dig is another show in a long lists of programming trying to tap into the fascination with End Time Theology.  Filmed in the Middle East, the main character is an FBI agent based in Jerusalem.  While investigating the murder of an archeologist, he uncovers a 2000 year old conspiracy primed to change the course of history.

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, – 2 Timothy 3:2

Unfortunately, this flawed view is nothing more than revisionist history, following in the footsteps of the Da Vinci Code, Jesus Seminars and Gnosticism who seek to create doubt in the minds of Bible believing Christians.  Like shrewd politicians, Hollywood thinks if you bombard society enough, repeating the same lie over and over again, sooner or later individuals will embrace these opinions as fact.

without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. – 2 Timothy 3:3-4

Yet, the educated, informed and students of biblical history have to look no further than 2 Timothy 3:1-9 to see what is happening.  The world is transforming in front of us daily, fulfilling the words of the apostle Paul.  Whenever you tune into cable news or listen to a update on the radio, breaking news reveals an act, crime or tragedy motivated by one of the selfish characteristics within 2 Timothy 3:1-9.  If anyone wants to dig up end time theology, the Old Testament contains several prophecies that have come true with more still waiting before Jesus returns to earth.  Thus, may the warnings of the Bible create a sense of urgency in souls to get their lives in order before the Second Coming catches you by surprise.

by Jay Mankus

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