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Tag Archives: law and order

The Tent of the Testimony

If you asked me what a testimony was in high school, I would point to the court room. Likely quoting a scene from Law and Order which was popular back in the day. Yet, as I began to attend spiritual events like camps, conferences and retreats, my ears were introduced to the biblical meaning of a testimony. The classic hymn In the Garden compares a testimony to your own personal story like taking a walk back through time.

After this I looked and the sanctuary of the tent of the testimony in heaven was thrown open, Revelation 15:5.

During one of his many visions that comprise the Book of Revelation, John sees a sanctuary. However, this place is a tent, perhaps something like the tent of meeting detailed by Moses in Leviticus 1:1-17. Yet, John doesn’t focus on the physical dimensions. Rather, John’s attention is focused on what’s going on inside this tent, testimonies of believers up in heaven. This is the Tent of the Testimony.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[b] how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed, Mark 5:18-20.

The Christian artist who simply goes by the name Carmen attempts to describe this heavenly place in his song Lazarus Come Forth. The context of Carmen’s song is based upon the shortest verse in the battle, Jesus wept, John 11:35. Carmen compares the Tent of the Testimony to a Tent Revival from Great Awakenings of the past as believers take turns sharing stories of how each entered into a personal relationship with God. May today’s blog inspire you to share your own testimony with a friend today.

by Jay Mankus

Plea Bargain

I have always been fascinated by America’s justice system. Growing up on shows like the People’s Court, Law and Order and the Practice, I developed a certain set of expectations based upon what I saw on television. While comedies like Night Court sensualized life inside of a courtroom, certain episodes illustrate the plea bargain process. A plea bargain occurs when the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence or an agreement to drop other charges.

“Do not judge and criticize and condemn [others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge], so that you will not be judged [unfairly]. For just as you [hypocritically] judge others [when you are sinful and unrepentant], so will you be judged; and in accordance with your standard of measure [used to pass out judgment], judgment will be measured to you, Matthew 7:1-2.

Modern shows like the Good Wife have scenes from a board room as attorneys go back and forth searching for some sort of settlement out of court. While certain cases were based upon real life situations, my recent experience at traffic court provided a more realistic view of plea bargains. Two prosecutors split over 50 cases, with one overseeing the DUI’s and the other taking care of accident and traffic violations. What I witnessed was more like the game show Let’s Make a Deal with wheeling and dealing.

But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you again, why do you look down on your [believing] brother or regard him with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God [who alone is judge]. 11 For it is written [in Scripture], “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God, Romans 14:10-12.

From a biblical perspective, Jesus represents human beings as an attorney of spiritual law. According to the apostle Paul, Colossians 2:13-15, Jesus has already paid your fine for sinning, Romans 3:23, falling short of God’s glory. As the perfect lamb of God, Jesus took our place on the cross, paying the penalty for sin. Thus, there is only one plea bargain necessary to avoid the gates of hell. Acts 4:12 sums this up well, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” My prayer is that Jesus becomes your plea for help in this life.

by Jay Mankus

The Elusive Search for Authority

Cowboys and Indians are symbols of western exploration in America.  In 1997, Paula Cole asks the question in her song, “Where have all the Cowboys gone?”  Although the sing refers to a woman looking for a story book ending, to live happily ever after, cowboys are symbolic of hard work, self-reliance and in a sense, law and order maintained by sheriffs who rode on horse back.  Like the famous quote from Curly in the 1991 film City Slickers, “cowboys are a dying breed.”

Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits, Mark 6:7.

The same can be said about authority today.  Between the hip hop and rap culture disrespecting police officers with their lyrics, political correctness redefining ethics and the assault on the authenticity of the Bible, authority is disappearing.  By smearing individuals with integrity as well as failing to hold others accountable to high standards, the ability to confront, rebuke and correct flawed worldviews is diminishing.  All that remains is a blue print laid out by Jesus to his disciples.

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give, Matthew 10:8.

Jesus sent out 12 ordinary men with one extraordinary message, “repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  Jesus wasn’t trying to be like an overbearing coach, parent or teacher trying to tell you everything that you are doing wrong.  Rather, Jesus wanted human beings to reflect upon their lives and allow the Holy Spirit to convict souls.  When sins are expressed in a public settings, others feel compelled to come clean.  This atmospheres lays a foundation for revival.  When the words of the Bible are used properly, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, God’s authority can be restored to on earth as it is in heaven.

by Jay Mankus

 

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