Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: New Testament

Spoiler Alert

As society evolves, new words arrive on the scene to define what’s really happening.  Such is the case of a spoiler alert, derived from someone watching a repeat of an episode, film or show.  Individuals sometimes memorize lines or think out loud, ruining a punch line before a first time listener can enjoy it.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel,” Genesis 3:15.

While clergy, pastors and theologians may use lofty words, the Bible is full of spoiler alerts.  These clues are known as prophecy, a foreshadowing of what God is planning to do in the future.  Following the fall of mankind, also known as original sin, the author places a subtle hint in between the punishment of Adam and Eve.  The passage above promises to send someone a second Adam to restore that which was lost.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost,” Luke 19:10.

A well known doctor echoes this point in the New Testament.  Luke issues this spoiler alert to his readers, highlighting purpose for Jesus’ life on earth.  Meanwhile, the disciple John shares another spoiler alert at the end of the book of Revelation.  The plot for life has been exposed, but the hardest part is the waiting for God’s prophecies to be fulfilled.  May faith carry you to the finish line or as show biz states, “the grand finale.”

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

A Year Without Church

Before his tragic death in a plane crash, Keith Green created the song Asleep in the Night.  Although the original context refers to someone sleeping in, missing church on Easter Sunday, this song applies to my current dilemma.  Due to my grave yard work schedule, I can’t seem to get my lazy butt out of bed on Sunday morning.  Subsequently, 2016 can be described as a year without church, the fewest weeks I’ve ever attended.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living, Luke 15:13”

I wish I had a decent excuse, but what good would that do.  Like any other sin, missing church involves a lack of discipline, choosing laziness over obedience.  Instead of receiving God’s blessings of fellowship, praise and words of inspiration, I have become like the prodigal who continues to move in the wrong decision.  Hopefully, I will come to my senses soon so that I can spent 2017 in the house of God.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you,” Luke 15:17-18.

When you miss a day praying or reading the Bible, you can’t get it back.  Sure, you might try to do twice the praying or reading the next day to make yourself feel better, but the truth is something else was more important to you on the days you tuned out God.  Part of me still sees the Lord from an Old Testament perspective, one of judgement and wrath.  Yet, the New Testament opens the door on a loving God, desperately waiting for his children to give Him the attention He is worthy of.  May you learn from the errors of my way by visiting a local church regularly and invest time at home daily with the living God of the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Law vs. the Law

In the case Abington verse Schempp, the United States Supreme Court deemed the public reading of the Bible to be illegal.  Since this decision over fifty years ago, religious freedoms continues to be attacked, leaving new legislation which often contradicts New Testament teachings.  Subsequently, Christians are confronted with the dilemma, do I follow the law or the Law?

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching, 1 Timothy 4:13.

The 19th century is known as the era of the evangelist according to church history.  As revival spread throughout the east coast of the United States in the early 1800’s, churches began to hold services outside, often using tents.  Evangelist George Whitfield traveled to places like Pike Creek, Delaware and a town divided by the C & D Canal, now bearing his name, Saint Georges.  Whitfield was effective because he emulated 1 Timothy 4:13, using the Bible to convict, inspire and revive souls.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer, Acts 2:42.

The foundation which caused the first century church to explode in growth fueled the first and second great awakening.  Unfortunately, when a government creates laws which deny a believer from publicly displaying their faith, confusion and compromise often ensue.  Thus, a generation of politically Christians have veered from biblical teaching to please mankind.  This movement has watered down the gospel of Jesus Christ, leaving seekers dumbfounded.  This is the end result when man’s laws contradict God’s laws.  Perhaps this situation will turn around soon, but for now choose wisely.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Call to Serve

If you still have a land line and cable, every in coming call shows up on your television.  Anyone without caller ID has another benefit of technology, a new way to screen your calls.  Thus, if you don’t want to talk to a telemarketer or don’t have time to chat with a friend who tends to be long winded, you have the option to let phone ring until the answering machine picks up.

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come, Matthew 22:2-3.

Those who practice this form of call screening may miss someone from their past, present or someone God wants you to meet.  Meanwhile, God’s calling can be obscure, occurring at the least likely time or place.  Therefore, if you are unable to discern, hear or sense the whisper of God, you will be replaced by a more willing participant.

But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business, Matthew 22:5.

Whether you read the Old or New Testament, two common themes exist.  First, human beings were created to praise God.  Second, each person was designed to serve the Lord with their God given gifts.  Sure, everyone goes through periods of disobedience, rebellion and vacation, taking a break from God.  The call is waiting for you daily and the message is clear, to serve.  Don’t be like those in the parable of the wedding banquet who came up with lame excuses.  Rather, make the most of the time that you have, by applying the talents within you.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Waiting for the Harvest

At the end of the growing season, the harvest is the day of reckoning, the process of collecting mature crops from fields.  Once complete, farmers will be able to calculate their bounty and compare it with previous seasons.  The harvest festival, the celebration of the end of the growing season, has evolved into a national holiday Americans call Thanksgiving.  Like a child waiting to unwrap their first present on Christmas morning, the harvest is an adult version of collecting the fruits of hard labor throughout the Spring and Summer.  However, the toughest part remains the waiting.

The Bible speaks to farmers throughout the New Testament, relaying analogies of farming to illustrate biblical truth.  Matthew 9:37-38 refers to the struggles of finding good help.  Either people are too busy or lazy to lend a helping hand, forcing more responsibility upon a few dedicated individuals.  Jesus relied on parables like Matthew 20:1-16 to urge citizens to get involved before the day of harvest is over.  While some can take more credit than others, the pay is the same for everyone.  As farming communities continue to search for reliable workers, Jesus is waiting on his followers to become participants in a spiritual harvest.

Yet, it took a music director from the Old Testament to reveal the secret to experiencing this type of harvest.  According to Psalm 67:3-5, spiritual harvests are conceived through the praise of mankind.  As individuals, families and nations begin to shout for joy, a foundation is established.  This sets the stage for Psalm 67:6, yielding a spiritual harvest like Moses’ promise to Israel in Deuteronomy 28:2.  Therefore, if you find yourself waiting for the harvest, let the praise of the Lord commence.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Fool Yourself

Hebrews 4:12 refers to the Bible as containing living and active words.  This unique characteristic sets the Bible apart from all other books ever written.  Ranked as one of the top selling books annually, the Bible has become the greatest seller of all time.  However, when you open this book to read it, don’t fool yourself like a narcissist by thinking you are better than you actually are.

When I opened Proverbs 26 today, God gave me a revelation, new insight to what King Solomon is trying to communicate to readers.  Solomon devotes this particular chapter to qualities of a fool.  Like a Litness Test to assess your degree of foolishness, chapter 26 contains over 20 traits of a fool.  Though you may rate yourself low, similar to a golfer who is under par, Romans 3:23 suggest everyone possesses at least one of these foolish attributes.

The apostle Paul gives new meaning to the term fool in the New Testament.  In his epistle to the educated citizens of Corinth, Paul makes being a fool not so bad.  According to 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16, wisdom does not come from schooling, which encourages students to trust in themselves.  Rather, wisdom is obtained through the power of the Holy Spirit, leading one to put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus.  While the world will continue to emphasize intelligence, becoming a fool for Christ will have the last laugh.  Therefore, don’t be a fool by following Jesus, – 1 Corinthians 1:27-31.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: