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Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

No Good Thing Ever Dies

A first century Jew from the tribe of Levi devotes an entire chapter to some of Jesus’ parables.  A parable is typically a fictitious story that a broad audience can relate to and understand.  Jesus uses a hypothetical character who is confronted with a specific dilemma, issue or problem.  These analogies are designed to illustrate a biblical principle or moral attitude.  The passage below refers to weeds that are planted in between a field of wheat.

Jesus gave them another parable [to consider], saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds [resembling wheat] among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants sprouted and formed grain, the weeds appeared also, Matthew 13:24-26.

When human beings sleep, the enemy known as the Devil is planting counterfeit, fake and phony mirages that attempt to imitate the Christian faith.  Unless you receive training at an early age, it’s easy to be confused, deceived or tricked into believing a lie.  King Solomon wrote about teaching a child in the way that they should go at a young age so they do not depart from this, Proverbs 22:6.  When this behavior and discipline has been instilled by faith, good will remain look after a father has passed away.

He replied to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Then do you want us to go and pull them out?’ 29 But he said, ‘No; because as you pull out the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First gather the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; but gather the wheat into my barn,”’” Matthew 13:28-30.

In this story, the owner of the wheat field does not overreact to the evil one’s infiltration.  Instead of removing adjacent weeds immediately which might weaken the root system of nearby wheat plants, patience pays off by waiting until the harvest to separate the good from the bad.  From a practical stand point, we can’t control the trials and tribulations thrown our way in life.  Some of you may have to endure Job like heartaches that seem to never end.  Yet, when souls place their feet upon the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, no good thing ever dies.

by Jay Mankus

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When People Are Divided

Disagreeing over religious beliefs is nothing new.  During a trip to the region known as Galatia, comprised of four cities, Paul and Barnabas swayed half of their audience.  Unfortunately, those who opposed the gospel consisted of Gentiles, Jews and political rulers in the town of Iconium.  Instead of asking Paul and Barnabas to politely leave their town, a plot was devised to have them stoned to death.  Apparently, one of their advocates overheard this plan and helped Paul and Barnabas escape.

So Paul and Barnabas stayed for a long time, speaking boldly and confidently for the Lord, who continued to testify to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders (attesting miracles) be done by them. But the people of the city were divided; some were siding with the Jews, and some with the apostles, Acts 14:3-4.

This wasn’t Paul and Barnabas’ only brush with death.  Devout Jews often responded to the good news about Jesus Christ with anger, fear and resentment.  The thought that the Jewish faith was no longer solely God’s chosen people was too difficult to accept.  Thus, Jewish religious leaders regularly turned to violence to stop the Jesus movement from spreading.  The book of Acts is filled with attacks upon apostles who boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah.

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, Jude 1:3.

The only thing that has changed in the past 2000 years when it comes to religious divisions are the responses by those who have rejected the gospel.  You see if the gospel is true, people have to change their lifestyle to conform with biblical teaching.  However, if you reject the Bible you can continue on your current path.  Instead of publicly beatings or stoning, social media have come up with creative ways to punish those who don’t share a secular worldview.  Today, Christians are banned, censored and demonetized for sharing biblical beliefs.  Despite these unpleasant experiences, believers must dust themselves off, get back up and keep sharing the good news about Jesus Christ like Paul and Barnabas.

by Jay Mankus

Learning to Let Go of Those Things You Can’t Control

I spent a couple of hours in and out of waiting rooms on Friday, waiting to hear what the tests on my eyes revealed.  Like a prophet, I overheard a Christian woman provide some profound advice.  Chatting with a woman next to her, she replied, “I’ve learned you have to let go of those things you can’t control.”

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? – Psalm 56:3-4

Almost an hour later, I was prepared for the bad news that I received.  While various medical terms spoken were foreign to me, I was told eye surgery was imminent.  The doctors advice was the sooner was better, causing my mind to race about how this will change my life.  Yet, as the woman in the waiting room professed, you can’t worry about things beyond your control.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love, 1 John 4:18.

One of Jesus’ disciples shines some light on this topic.  Whenever faced with something beyond your control, fear is a common response.  However, the cure to overcoming this is the perfect love found in Jesus Christ.  As I cope with what awaits me in the next few weeks, I can’t say I am confident.  Nonetheless, my hope lies in Christ alone as I trust God’s providence to oversee that which I can’t control.

by Jay Mankus

 

Clinging to the Vine

If you have ever tried to climb a tree, it doesn’t take make to lose your grip.  Any type of misstep, re-positioning or weak branch can start an unexpected descent.  During a recent adventure of trying to dislodge an arrant Frisbee from a tree, I found myself in a free fall reaching out for anything that would break my fall.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” John 15:5.

In the spiritual realm, I’ve faced myself in similar downward spirals where in moments of weakness I have tried to cling to the Vine.  According to one of his disciples, Jesus is compared to a vine, the life source to which branches are attached.  However, once broken or cut off, these limbs are worthless, unable to protect you from spiritual harm.

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned, John 15:6.

Subtle signs, also known as acts of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-21 often rear their ugly heads when individuals try to live apart from the Vine.  Acts, behavior and character gradually declines, transforming decent human being into completely different people.  Before this sinister force takes roots, its essential to become reconnected to Jesus.  Bible Study, prayer and worship are daily avenues to reunite you with the Lord.  If you feel like your faith is wavering, don’t let it continue.  Rather, cling to the Vine and connect with like minded followers who seek to fulfill the great commission, Mark 16:15.

by Jay Mankus

AP

On Tuesday of this past week, a king was laid to rest.  Yet, this wasn’t your typical cast of assembled dignitaries.  Rather, this man never forgot where he came from, always remembering his humble beginnings.  Subsequently, as crowds gathered for the memorial service, those in attendance reflected upon how this individual made anyone he met feel like a special friend on each and every occasion.

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel, Proverbs 27:9.

While this may be a stretch, what Arnold Palmer meant to golf is similar to Mother Teresa’s impact on the Catholic church.  Mother Teresa taught the world what is means to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ by serving the poor and less fortunate.  Meanwhile, Arnold Palmer showed professional athletes what a role model resembles by using his fame, fortune and success to make this world a better place.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 1 Peter 4:8-10.

Beside all the hospital’s Arnold and his first wife Winnie founded in Orlando, Florida, he was a visionary.  Palmer was the architect of a 24 hour golf channel, founder of the Bay Hill Classic tournament on the PGA tour and the figure which helped make the Senior PGA tour what it is today.  Despite all these great accomplishments, Arnold was a man of character, honor and integrity.  Arnie as coined by the army who followed him in droves, signed every autograph, made spectators feel a part of his round and replied to each letter with a hand written note.  May the the memory of AP inspire you to impact the lives of this generation.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Breaking it Down

If you are an avid sports fan like me, you probably enjoy watching post game shows following a favorite teams game.  After a win, you revel in watching the highlights that led to victory.  However, in defeat you want to know what happened; searching for the reason why your team lost as analysts break down the film.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do, Romans 7:15.

Unfortunately, the older I get, the more analytical I become.  Subsequently, I do the same thing with my own life, trying to point a finger on why I’m not getting the results I expect.  While some may consider this a waste of time, this is merely a way that I discern what I need to do different in the future.

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin, Romans 7:25.

The breakdown to life on earth is pretty simple.  Mankind was on a path toward destruction, destined for hell.  Yet, this is where Jesus stepped in, taking the fall for every sin ever committed.  Thus, despite my own failed attempts to step out of trouble, the grace of God is available to those who believe.  May the Lord open your eyes as the Bible breaks down God’s plan for eternity.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Good Things of Christ

There are four books of the Bible known as the gospels according to Jesus Christ.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John give an account of the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus.  However, gospel originates from the Old English term godspel.  This word has two meanings, referring to good tidings or good news.  Thus, inside these four New Testament books contain the good things of Christ.

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation, Hebrews 9:11.

According to Hebrews, Jesus came down to earth to be a physical great high priest.  Within the four gospels you will find verses that highlight this great news.  The inspiration behind this selfish act was love.  Trying to restore that which was lost, Jesus resists temptation to become the perfect lamb of God.  Following the disappointment of Jesus’ death on the cross, Sunday’s resurrection rejuvenated those who had lost hope.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him, John 3:16-17.

Today, some members of the media are trying to rewrite history, suggesting the resurrection was a hoax.  Using the conspiracy theory first conceived in Matthew 28:12-15, film makers have created moderns movies to deceive Christians.  Yet, like anything else in life, you have to surround yourself with positive people, fleeing from negative influences.  As another Resurrection Sunday approaches, may the good things about Christ lift you up and draw you closer to a risen Savior during this season of miracles.

by Jay Mankus

 

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