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Tag Archives: out of sight out of mind

Making a Copy for Yourself

Before the days of printing presses, tape recorders and photo copiers, God called Moses to begin writing down what we now know as the Torah: first 5 books of the Bible. The first book Moses completed was passed down from generation to generation orally. These stories were shared and told in Jewish homes to train up children to avoid making the same past mistakes made by God’s followers, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. When Moses reached his final book of Deuteronomy, God impressed upon him the need for visual reminders.

And when he sits on his royal throne, he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, out of what is before the Levitical priests, Deuteronomy 17:18.

Instead of just listening to stories passed down to you, God felt a need for individuals to have their own copy of these historical accounts. As spiritual leaders of Israel, this process began with the priests. These elders didn’t have the internet to connect to in order to read all of God’s commands in Leviticus to follow. The best way to avoid making a mistake or missing a step along the was making these principles widely known.

And he shall keep it with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn [reverently] to fear the Lord his God, by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes and doing them, 20 That his [mind and] heart may not be lifted up above his brethren and that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left; so that he may continue long, he and his sons, in his kingdom in Israel, Deuteronomy 17:19-20.

God understood the principle “out of sight out of mind.” The solution to this dilemma was to take Moses’ scroll and tablet so that Israel didn’t forget God’s decrees, instructions and precepts. From a modern perspective, there are countless versions of the Bible and resources like Bible Gateway available to help people see what the Bible says. However, if you’re like me, if I don’t write down what I read, I’ll quickly forget these biblical lessons. Therefore, if it’s on a note card or sticky pad, make a copy for yourself to keep God’s Word close to your mind and heart.

by Jay Mankus

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

Leaving God at Home While on Vacation

Children often come up with creative means to make the complex simplistic.  Over the years some of these ideas have become popular trinkets.  Whether you are talking about W.W.J.D. bracelets, (what would Jesus do), various crosses or prayer stones, these products serve as reminders of God.  However, when you leave home to go on vacation, it’s not that difficult to forget about God completely.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:1-2.

A medieval proverb speaks to this truth.  Out of sight out of mind was first published by John Heywood in the middle of the 16th century.  Since Heywood was an avid collector of proverbs, this phrase is thought to have originated during medieval times.  While not a biblical passage, this concept does apply to godly principles.  The mind is like a regulator for human thoughts.  When your mind wonders, it becomes susceptible to demonic influences.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.

Although you might have good intentions and motives when you go on vacation, it doesn’t take much to leave God at home.  Finding time alone to pray, read or go to church takes energy, planning and time.  When family time consumes people, distractions can lead driven individuals to make compromises.  Unless you are extremely disciplined, trips can be over before you know it with a Bible unopened, prayers silenced and God ignored.  May my recent experience motivate others to remember to bring God with you the next time you go away on vacation.

by Jay Mankus

 

Balancing Faith With Reality

My weekly routine includes time with a former co-worker reflecting on our years in Christian education.  While each discussion varies, one topic usually comes to the forefront, what impact did we have on our former students?  Did the lessons taught inspire faith or has the reality of a lost world caused souls to back slide?  Unfortunately, news of partying in college, suicides and students having kids out of wedlock has taken the wind out of our sails.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us, Romans 5:5.

Out of sight out of mind is a common occurrence for Christians who leave the friendly confines of biblical education for a secular environment.  Perhaps, the foundations I once thought were firm was merely a mirage.  Then again, maybe I was naive, trying to make everyone feel good about life instead of challenging individuals to take a stand.  Time will sift the wheat from the chaff, yet as a teacher turned writer, I still struggle with balancing faith with reality.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly, Romans 5:6.

Since I joined Facebook 3 years ago, I’ve had former students and youth de-friend me based upon words in this blog.  At times, I may be perceived as over the top, out there or out of touch with reality.  Nonetheless, as I study the book of Acts, I am reminded of the only force on this planet which can still transform souls.  Sure, there are many things in the Bible that don’t make sense, but without the power of the Holy Spirit Peter, James and John would have returned to their fishing boats and the message of Jesus would have disappeared.  Therefore, as I continue to learn how to balance faith with reality, I cling to the promises in the Bible of an abundant life, where victory is not smothered by defeat.

by Jay Mankus

 

When Holiness Faded into Sin

jesus christ on the cross photo: cross jesus_cross.jpg

According to Genesis 10:21, the Hebrews were descendents of Eber whose grandfather was Shem, son of Noah, whom the Lord found favor on, Genesis 6:8-9.  The father of this nation was called out of Ur, as God promised Abraham a great land with countless offspring, Genesis 12:1-3.  The formation of Israel neared completion through Jacob, Genesis 32:22-30, whose 12 sons formed the 12 tribes mentioned in Numbers 1.  Despite God’s attempts, introducing the 10 commandments as a guide for life in Exodus 20:1-17, holiness faded into sin 12 chapters later.

 In the absence of Moses’ leadership, Aaron wilted under peer pressure like Eve in the garden, giving the Israelites just what they wanted, Exodus 32:1-4.  With the words of God out of sight, the hearts and minds of the Jews quickly broke the second commandment, Exodus 32:5-6.  This sinful act enraged the Lord so much that He contemplated wiping out everyone, Exodus 32:9-10.  Just as Abraham had fought for the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah hundreds of years earlier, Genesis 18:16-33, Moses intervened seeking God’s favor in prayer, Exodus  32:11-14.

Not much has changed today as God is watching daily from the sidelines in heaven, scratching his head at similar selfish acts.  God’s efforts to set Israel apart from the rest of the world through the covenant of  circumcision failed.  Thus, plan 2 was necessary, sending His one and only son to earth, to be sin for mankind so that righteousness could be restored, 2 Corinthians 5:21.  When holiness faded, Jesus stood up, hitting a spiritual home run by offering his life as a living sacrifice for sin, Hebrews 9:26-28.

by Jay Mankus

A Forgiving God

Words like “I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget” tend to permeate throughout modern Hollywood productions.  This mindset has led many to adopt similar attitudes, especially toward those who have broken or crushed their heart.  When forgiveness is absent, nastiness within the human soul rears its ugly head.  As a result, bitterness, divorce and hatred have taken center stage in America.

Unless you hear or read it for yourself, Romans 10:17, memories quickly forget the presence of a forgiving God.  Although sin does not go unpunished, Psalm 99:8 provides water for a thirsty soul seeking to shed spirits of guilt, remorse and shame.  Tattered and weary individuals are crying out for a fresh start, hoping for a clean slate, erasing the pain of the past, Psalm 103:11-12.

Often, the only person standing in the way of forgiveness is yourself.  Speaking from experience, beating yourself up internally only benefits the devil who wants to keep you distracted, Matthew 6:15.  Therefore, remember the compassion of the Lord, spreading the great news of a forgiving God, Lamentations 3:17-23.  Once you accept this truth, hope will plant a seed of  belief which can provide a spiritual root system to carry you through the storms of life!

by Jay Mankus

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