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Tag Archives: meditating on God’s Word

Out of Faith… Out of Mind

The phrase out of sight out of mind appears to have originated during the 13th century. The first literary appearance of this idiom can be traced to Woorkes in 1562.  Out of sight out of mind refers to the reduced importance and emergence of something that is not within eyesight. When something is not immediately visible, actions, beliefs and choices fluctuate.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1.

This saying also applies to faith.  For example, when children are taught to say grace before eating a meal, prayer becomes an active part of someone’s life.  However, whenever individuals slowly drift apart from God, forgetting prayer will occur.  As an adult, I find myself constantly stuck in some sort of spiritual rut.  Since praying doesn’t come naturally to me, losing touch with faith causes my mind to forget to pray, especially saying grace before I eat a meal.  Subsequently, out of faith becomes out of mind.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

According to the author of Hebrews, faith requires belief.  Genuine faith includes a belief in an invisible God who rewards those who earnest seek his will.  The apostle Paul highlights this process in Romans 12:1-2.  Faith is meant to be active, devoting one’s life as a living sacrifice.  However, when faith slips, minds tend to wander, drifting apart from God’s will,  Therefore, if you want to remain spiritually sharp, treasure and store up God’s Word within your heart, Psalm 119:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

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Opening Your Mind to Understanding the Bible

The element of a person that enables them to become aware of the world and their experiences is the mind. According to a recent study, the average person only uses 10 % of their brain at a time. Thus, human beings are only operating at a tenth of their full potential. In the 2014 film, Scarlett Johansson plays Lucy, a woman who becomes part of a secret case study. After a special drug is created by scientists, this pill enables Lucy’s mind to reach maximum capacity. This movie illustrates what it would be like if human beings could tap into the other 90% of their mind.

Then He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you, everything which has been written about Me in the Law of Moses and the [writings of the] Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled,” Luke 24:44.

During a seven mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus, Jesus participates in a conversation that transforms the lives of a couple of his disciples. Based upon the context of the passage above, Jesus’ true identity is hidden until reaching Emmaus. Although the time is not mentioned, this discussion likely occurs over several hours, reflecting upon the events of the Passion Week, the final days of Jesus’ earthly life prior to his resurrection. Apparently, Jesus makes these men think, quoting Moses, Old Testament prophets and the book of Psalms. By the time this conversation concludes, minds are opened to fully understanding the Bible.

Then He opened their minds to [help them] understand the Scriptures, Luke 24:45.

The apostle Paul builds upon this concept in several of his letters to first century Christians. Paul encourages the church at Rome to renew their minds by meditating upon the Scriptures, Romans 12:1-2. To those in Colosse, Paul focuses on setting minds on things above. The context refers to putting to death your sinful nature by setting your mind on eternal causes, Colossians 3:1-17. Perhaps, Paul borrowed this from Joshua who urged the nation of Israel to mediate on God’s Word day and night. As modern individuals emulate this ancient practice, you too can have your mind opened up to the full meaning of the Holy Bible. May this blog inspire you to begin your own journey into examining and studying the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

Guilt by Association

Television is filled with shows based upon the concept guilt by association.  Whether you prefer dramas like Bones, Castle, CSI or NCIS, each follow a similar format.  A death, murder or victim is found in the opening scene.  Crime scene investigators collect evidence, put together a list of suspects and use modern technology to solve each case.  Initially, the obvious culprits are interviewed leading the audience in one direction before a twist or turn take authorities to a previously unknown person of interest.  Although some episodes are based upon true stories, viewers of these programs should be weary of their own friends with troubled pasts.

Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers), Psalm 1:1.

The first chapter of the longest book in the Bible addresses guilt by association.  The passage above provides a short list of what to do and what not to do.  The author uses walking to illustrate how you can begin hanging out the wrong people.  Though walking is an innocent act, its like an open door into another world.  The further you walk with someone, the more you begin to accept, embrace and stand for ungodly beliefs.  However, the moment you sit down with this crowd, joining and participating in similar acts commences.  This passage serves as a warning, encouraging souls to avoid guilt by association through seeking God’s blessings.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.  And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season; Its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity], Psalm 1:2-3.

The passage above provides a blueprint for those who desire to please God.  Meditating on God’s Word, the Bible helps prevent individuals from walking, standing and joining inappropriate acts, behavior and deeds.  Meanwhile, spiritual disciplines like Bible Study, prayer and worship rejuvenate souls daily as if drinking from the living water mentioned in John 4:14.  If you clearly want to avoid guilt by association in the future, live out the apostle Paul’s advice in Colossians 2:6-7 to become deeply rooted in Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

Visual Sewage

The human mind often acts as a sponge, absorbing information that you hear, learn and understand.  Meanwhile, Jesus refers to eyes as the lamp of your body.  These head lights serve as a guide through life; a vehicle that when functioning properly enables individuals to dodge the visual sewage that exists in this world.  One of the greatest dangers to your soul is pornography, tempting your eyes to embrace the human flesh by gratifying your sinful nature.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,” Matthew 6:22.

There is a ministry that exists to combat the urge to lust.  Covenant Eyes provides resources for internet accountability and filtering to protect the innocent, pure and young.  Yet, the internet isn’t the only place where visual sewage resides.  Pornography lurks in your mailbox with questionable catalog images.  On Halloween night modesty will be pushed aside for more sexy costumes.  Demonic forces, oppression and powers of darkness seek to destroy souls through visual sewage present on any cell phone.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols, Acts 17:16.

The Greek word κατέιδωλον appears only once in the Bible within the passage above.  This term is translated into English meaning full of idols.  The residents of Athens embraced gods and goddesses, erecting altars throughout this ancient city.  Some of these places of worship were dedicated the goddesses of love, encouraging the practice of prostitution and sexual orgies in the name of love.  Essentially, Paul was greatly distressed by this visual sewage.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

In his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul provides advice to combat this dangerous addiction.  Corinth is located in Greece, likely placing members of this congregation into this cesspool of sin.  Ignoring this negative environment wasn’t an option.  Thus, Paul steers believers toward using spiritual weapons, relying on God’s power to demolish demonic strongholds.  Victory is achieved through taking your thoughts captive.  This process begins by meditating on God’s Word so that when evil arises, you are able to take captive every thought.  If a current environment of visual sewage is overwhelming you, flee by purging yourself from any reminder of pornography so that your thought life will become obedient to Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Overcoming the Transitional Zone

Each Spring lawn care companies give grandiose images of the perfect yard.  If you just buy this product, follow their three step process and properly maintain your grass, this could be your house?  Unfortunately, these commercials do not take into consideration the transitional zone, the area where Bermuda Grass in the south meets Tall Fescue from the north.  Following an internship in Golf Course Design and Maintenance, I asked a mentor what I should do with my lawn in Delaware.  His advice, “blow it up and start from scratch with fresh top soil and sod.”

I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”- Genesis 12:3

Recently, president Obama has declared that America is no longer a Christian nation.  Meanwhile, liberal politicians have distanced the United States from our former ally Israel.  On the surface this may not seem like a big deal.  However, inside the Bible tells a different story.  The Old Testament is filled with verses the claim God blesses those nations which protect and support Israel.  On the other hand, those whom dishonor Israel will be cursed.  If this trend in America continues, the United States will find itself in God’s transitional zone, blessed since 1948 for helping Israel become a nation to on the verge of being cursed due to our lack of understanding of this biblical principle.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

Beneath the surface, there are spiritual weeds, demons and evil spirits, seeking to cause havoc in the lives of individuals.  Since these forces are invisible, you can’t use Round Up to kill these entities.  Rather, prayer walks, fasting, worship and meditating on God’s Word will help those souls stuck in this transitional zone.  Although I can’t promise you that you’ll have a perfect life void of pests, I can assure you of the promises of God.  While you battle the visible tasks in this life, don’t forget to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, so that you can overcome life’s spiritual transitional zone.

by Jay Mankus

 

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