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Tag Archives: paradise

More Than a Spelling Test

As a student, English was always one of my worst subjects.  During my college entrance exam at the University of Delaware, I scored higher on Spanish than I did English.  Beside Language Arts, spelling tests usually gave me trouble, especially on the words with exceptions to the rules.  Thus, I was forced to use dictionaries and a thesaurus to improve my vocabulary.  Despite my efforts to improve, I still have a hard time visualizing terms, relying on spell check when in doubt is a common practice.

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken, Matthew 12:36.

During a discussion with religious leaders, Jesus refers to a different kind of spelling test.  At the end of your life, everyone will face a day of judgment.  Those who have experienced near death experiences talk about being in a room with a large video screen.  The movie on this device is your life story, replaying every good and bad deed that you have ever committed on earth.  Depending upon the legacy you left behind, this could be very unnerving and uncomfortable.

For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned, Matthew 12:37.

According to Jesus, this event will be more than a spelling test.  Instead of receiving a percentage grade, heaven is based upon a pass/fail scale.  Like an individual on trial, a judge will made the final decision based upon actions, behavior and words spoken.  This course never ends until your life is over.  Therefore, your preparation must begin now with advice from Romans 10:9-10.  Going on from here, Colossians 2:6-7 is the next level of faith.  While you will endure ups and down, Hebrews 12:1-3 provides one last piece of advice to help you pass this course.  If you feel like you going to flunk, paradise is still possible for sinners who repent.  May this blog serve as a study guide to help you cross the finish line.

by Jay Mankus

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A Sinner’s Life

Since paradise was lost in the Garden of Eden, no one can escape the temptation to sin.  While some make better choices than others, a sinner’s life is like attending the school of hard knocks.  Living and learning from past mistakes has a learning curve with many struggling to avoid Satan’s snares.

All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one, Romans 3:12.

If you have the opportunity to travel the country or across the world, you begin to get a sense for what’s out there.  Along the way, you will rub shoulders with various groups of people, witnessing the good, the bad and the ugly.  During his missionary journey’s throughout the Middle East, the apostle Paul makes an interesting observation.  Similar to economic classes, Paul writes about the classification of sinners, separating typical offenders from those addicted.

The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them, 1 Timothy 5:24.

If actions speak louder than words, sins communicate the heart and the soul of individuals.  Although some may dabble in sin from time to time, others follow in the footsteps of the prodigal, continuing until they reach rock bottom.  When the sensations of temporary pleasures fade, sinners face an important decision, do I come to my senses or not?  How a sinner’s life ends is in your hands.  Therefore, may you heed the words of 1 John 1:6 so that darkness does not prematurely end your life and the reason why you were created.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Recipe for Disaster

Thomas Gray is the first to pen the phrase ignorance is bliss.  Ignorance refers to disregard, insensitivity or being obtuse.  Meanwhile, bliss is like experiencing euphoria, joy and paradise.  However, when you put the two together, it can be a recipe for disaster.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance, 1 Peter 1:14.

In today’s progressive culture, if you’ve not open to non biblical ideas, you are considered ignorant.  Yet, this same movement seeks heaven without following the guidelines left behind by Jesus.  Sure, children make mistakes; its all part of growing up, to live and learn.  However, at some point, you have to mature by taking responsibility for your actions.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

Despite being an adult, I suffer from days of ignorance.  These moments are marked by disobedience, not caring about this or that rule.  Unfortunately, these periods open the door for evil, forgetting right from wrong or simply rejecting that which you know to be true.  This recipe for disaster must be avoided at all cost before addiction poisons your soul.   Therefore, before its too late, ask the Lord to draw you back into obedience.

by Jay Mankus

A Bold Request

The recent commercials sponsored by Credit Karma suggest that getting a free credit score empowers individuals with boldness.  Thus, whether you are buying a car or house, you should always ask for more.  Perhaps the meek have a bargaining chip, yet reality is a far cry from Hollywood.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you, ” Matthew 7:7.

Boldness can be manifested within Type A personalities, conceived through desperation or develop overtime through confidence.  In the case of a criminal, hanging on a cross next to Jesus, it didn’t take long to realize He was different.  Whether it was listening to nearby conversations or something inside his heart, a sense of urgency grew.  When the time presented itself, this unworthy soul asked for forgiveness and a place in paradise.

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened, Matthew 7:8.

One of the areas where I am not bold enough is when I pray.  During a discussion with followers prior to his death, Jesus unveiled a secret about prayer.  “You don’t have because you haven’t asked!”  This dilemma applies to many who are currently experiencing a life without much joy.  Therefore, if you want to make a bold request, approach God’s throne of grace with an expecting heart, believing that you too will experience paradise.

by Jay Mankus

 

Last Rites

No one except God knows what will be your last day, meal or words.  In the case of Jesus, I guess you can say He was born to die, causing a wide range of emotions.  As the Passion Week approached, interactions with family, friends and disciples would be his last, causing the praises of Hosanna on Palm Sunday to be replaced with “Crucify Him.”

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

Today, when doctor’s sense the end is near, Catholics call a priest to perform last rites.  Otherwise known as the sacraments of anointing the sick, if death is expected, Penance and Communion is also offered to prepare one’s soul for the afterlife.  Once complete, family members gather around to savor the remaining moments of life together.  The closest thing that I’ve ever experienced was the day my grandfather died, holding his hand one last time before his last breath.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” John 11:25.

While hanging from a cross on Good Friday, there were only two more things left on God’s agenda.  First, Jesus gave hope to one of two criminals hanging from an adjacent cross, offering Him the promise of paradise for his repentant words.  Second, as the oldest son, Jesus wanted to make sure Mary was in good hands, commanding John of Zebedee to watch after his mother.  Though no last rites where necessary for Jesus, a perfect man, Hebrews 4:14-16, Jesus gave up His spirit with one final comment, “it is finished!”

by Jay Mankus

Last Call

Every classic movie or sitcom filmed in a bar has at least one scene based upon the notion, last call for one more round of drinks.  In the 1996 film Invincible, Mark Wahlberg plays Vince Papale, a bartender who fulfills a life long dream of trying out for Philadelphia Eagles, his local NFL team.  As the plot develops, several of the beginning scenes take place at the establishment where Vince hangs out and takes a part time job after losing his teaching position.  Like the closing bell on Wall Street, the last call serves as a two minute warning before closing up for the night.

In life, few people receive a clear indication that their time on earth is up.  Sure, those stricken by an incurable disease have an inclination that the end is near, yet countless are cut down, killed in accidents or murdered without any signs or notice.  These individuals don’t have any time to prepare for eternity.  Instead, their destination is determined by the life they have lived.  Unfortunately, no one is perfect, Romans 3:9-12, falling short of God’s expectations, Matthew 5:48.

In Luke 23:32-43, three man were sentenced to death.   As curious spectators got their kicks, watching 3 men die on a cross, one man took advantage of this last call on life.  Acknowledging his crime publicly and worried about his future, one criminal pleaded with Jesus, Luke 23:41-42.  As a result, this fortunate soul received something better than a last drink, the gift of eternal life, Luke 23:43.  May you seize the moments God gives you during the living years so that you will enter the place Jesus calls paradise, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

A Different Kind of Free

Paradise didn’t last long until temptation entered the conversation.  Since Adam and Eve were caught red handed with forbidden fruit in their possession, freedom has gone down hill.  Sure, freewill still exists, yet a different kind of free is necessary to escape guilt, shame and regret.

In their 2003 hit song Different Kind of Free, Zoe Girl raises this question.  Despite the pain of historic blunders, the future does hold the key to obtain a spiritual freedom.  While the world is busy keeping score, 1 Corinthians 13:4, God hits the reset button every morning, Lamentations 3:22-23.  The focus shouldn’t be on whether or not the Lord will forgive you for your transgressions in life.  Rather, will you let go of failure to forgive yourself or are you going to continue to beat yourself over previous mistakes?

The New Testament expresses a kinder and gentler God, full of grace and love, Romans 5:8.  Instead of shedding blood to atone for every time you mess up, the Lord has sent a different kind of high priest, Hebrews 4:15-16.  To replace this Jewish tradition, a human was led to the slaughter to die once and for all, 1 Peter 4:1.  Although no one deserves a second chance, a different kind of free is now available through Jesus, John 3:3-17.  Don’t wait to taste this everlasting fruit, Psalm 34:8.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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