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The Many Sided Wisdom of God

Where does wisdom come from is an age old question. Thus, it’s not surprising that one of the wisest rulers to ever walk the face of the earth immediately addresses this issue in the first chapter of Proverbs. According to King Solomon, the source of wisdom begins with a reverent fear of God, Proverbs 1:7. This is the starting point for wisdom, providing an open door for the ability to discern further knowledge in the future.

[The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere, Ephesians 3:10.

The apostle Paul builds upon this principle during the first century. In a letter to the Church at Ephesus, Paul discloses that congregations are the main vessel through which the many sided wisdom of God is displayed. Perhaps, Paul is referencing previous letters in Romans 12:4-11 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-12 where the church is compared to one body with many parts. The words in Matthew 16:18 confirm that churches are meant to carry on that which Jesus began with his disciples.

But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. 15 But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him], 1 Corinthians 2:14-15.

In a letter sent to members of a church in Ancient Greece, Paul discusses the obstacles that wisdom presents. When the spiritual is absent, logic, philosophy, and science is used as a substitute for wisdom. When individuals refuse to submit to the beginning of wisdom, fearing God, earthly knowledge serves as a stumbling block. Instead of gaining access to the many sided wisdom of God, this knowledge is hidden from the nonspiritual. Until you open your mind to the spiritual realm, you’ll never recognize or understand how the Holy Spirit unveils the many sided wisdom of God.

by Jay Mankus

Ripe in Understanding

To a trained eye, farmers can recognize the difference between a developing crop to the point of readiness for harvesting and eating. Whether you’re talking about a field of corn, soybeans or an orchard, there are certain signs that distinguish full grown fruits from those not yet mature. To become ripe in understanding takes experience, training and years of working out in various fields. This process isn’t as clear or as easy when it comes to acquiring spiritual knowledge.

So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God, 1 Corinthians 2:5.

The apostle Paul writes about how philosophers placed their faith in the wisdom of men. While elements of philosophy may be beneficial, trusting in logic, science and the wisdom of the world became a spiritual stumbling block in the first century. Instead of being ripe in understanding, these individuals were denied access to divine knowledge and wisdom. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis refers to this as theological virtues. Only accessible through the power of the Holy Spirit, charity, hope and faith is limited to Christians who enter into a personal relationship with Jesus.

Yet when we are among the full-grown (spiritually mature Christians who are ripe in understanding), we do impart a [higher] wisdom (the knowledge of the divine plan previously hidden); but it is indeed not a wisdom of this present age or of this world nor of the leaders and rulers of this age, who are being brought to nothing and are doomed to pass away, 1 Corinthians 2:6.

Nearly two thousand years later, finding someone ripe in spiritual understanding is rare. Instead, many people accept, believe and cling to the ideals of this progressive age. The byproduct of this reality has insured that Common Core, Global Warming and other secular views have been interwoven into public education. Anyone ripe in spiritual understanding who attacks, challenges or exposes the flaws of these worldviews is demonized. Instead of allowing a healthy public debate, deniers are quickly shut down. The only way to break through to others is by fasting and prayer. As for the meantime, the ripe in understanding should concentrate on sowing spiritual seeds as COVID-19 continues to impact communities.

by Jay Mankus

Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

The term vibe can be best described as ambiance, aura, character and spirit that oozes out of your soul.  Others refer to this quality as charisma, a trait that a pied piper demonstrates.  People who exhibit a strong personality tend to develop a following.  Whether this occurs within your community, on social media or at your place of employment, these groups may resemble a tribe as in the days of the Old Testament.

So Moses and Aaron took these men who were designated by name, 18 and assembled all the congregation on the first day of the second month, and they registered by ancestry in their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names from twenty years old and upward, head by head, 19 just as the Lord had commanded Moses. So he numbered them in the Wilderness of Sinai, Numbers 1:17-19.

During the Exodus out of Egypt, the Israelites traveled in 12 groups.  These groups were named after the 12 sons of Israel.  Moses refers to these descendants as Tribes.  In the early days on earth, the order of your birth often dictated your ability to be successful in life.  Unfortunately, during the days of Judges, individuals began to do what was right in their own eyes.  Instead of keeping the ten commandments, worldly judges gave off bad vibes.  Thus, many tribes gradually became spiritually bankrupt.

What good has it done me if, [merely] from a human point of view, I fought with wild animals at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised [at all], let us eat and drink [enjoying ourselves now], for tomorrow we die. 33 Do not be deceived:“Bad company corrupts good morals,” 1 Corinthians 15:32-33.

In a letter to the church of Corinth, the apostle Paul warns Christians about negative influences in life.  Within a culture steered by philosophy, it wasn’t hard to justify and rationalize certain types of behavior.  In the passage above, Paul is blunt, warning people about getting close to those who demonstrate sketchy character.  Like the sowing principle, the vibe you give off to certain groups of people.  Therefore, don’t be mislead by bad company.  Rather, let your light shine throughout your community, Matthew 5:16, so that others will be drawn to Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Anonymity: Show Me, Don’t Tell Me

 

When you look up the term anonymity, you don’t get much, just a reference to remaining anonymous.  Depending upon the situation, there are various reasons why individuals decide to go unnamed.  Whether its an eyewitness to a crime, source used by a reporter or whistle blower, those who open up are afraid of a black lash by those involved.  In the past, writers afraid of what other people thought would sign their poem anonymous.

Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it, Mark 7:36.

Jesus used anonymity for another reason.  After healing, performing a miracle or restoring someone’s life, Jesus gave a simple command prior to departing, “don’t tell anyone.”  On the surface this doesn’t make sense.  Yet, in same cases, Jesus gave strict instructions for individuals to go show themselves to a priest.  By doing this, Jews would be restored back into society, given a clean bill of health by religious leaders to resume a normal life within the Jewish culture.

She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more,” John 8:11.

If you read in between the lines, Jesus was saying, “don’t tell others God healed you, show your appreciation by transforming for life.  In the passage above, Jesus explains his philosophy on anonymity.  If Jesus healed people and they returned to their prior sinful life, this initial miracle would have been wasted.  Sure, telling other people the good things God has done in your life is noteworthy.  However, living out your faith after any miraculous event is more powerful.  Therefore, show the world your faith as actions speak louder than words.

by Jay Mankus

Mental Health: Exploring What Well-Being Means

According to preliminary reports, Nikolas Cruz was suffering from mental health issues before entering a Parkland Florida high school with a gun on Valentine’s Day.  Some people close to the family believe the death of his adopted mother last year only worsened his condition.  Perhaps, this might explain behavioral problems that resulted in the expulsion from two private schools.  Yet, if mental health refers to a level of psychological well-being, what does this really mean?

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace, Romans 8:5-6.

Who determines what level of behavior or emotion is satisfactory and what is unsatisfactory?  Depending upon the measurement or standard applied, experts might come to different conclusions.  Another factor relates to the role that faith and religion should play in this discussion.  On a recent episode of the View, Joy Behar mocked vice-president’s Mike Pence’s Christian faith.  Behar believes that anyone who hears God speak to them either through Bible Study or prayer is a sign of mental illness.  This comment received laughter and applause from the audience.  Sadly, no one is laughing days after 17 people were killed with more in critical condition in south Florida hospitals.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ, Colossians 2:8.

The Bible uses a two part process to decipher mental health from mental illness.  According to the apostle Paul, those who dwell and focus on spiritual things experience peace of mind.  Meanwhile, those who reflect upon earthly cravings lead to unfulfilled lives, void of purpose and meaning.  Anyone who falls into this second catalog is vulnerable to human traditions and philosophies of the world.  In a recent confession, Nikolas Cruz said he acted upon the demons in his mind, a byproduct of his obsession with guns and violent video games.  Therefore, if you want to alter your current state, set your heart and mind on things above.  This is accomplished through daily Bible study, fellowship with other believers and prayer.  May a desire to exercise this practice elevate the well-being of your mental health.

by Jay Mankus

A Congested Mind

At this time of the year 2 types of congestion appear, one that attacks our body and another which tries our patience.  The text book definition refers to being blocked up or too full of something.  As winter colds begin to develop within heads and sinuses, holiday traffic can elicit fits of anger or road rage.  Either one of these symptoms can result in a congested mind.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ, Colossians 2:8.

In the other 3 seasons of the year, the mind is under assault by opposing world views seeking to convert you to their ideology.  College professors do this through philosophy, challenging freshman to question their religious beliefs.  Unfortunately, a growing numbers of Christians abandon their faith before graduating, undoing the family values instilled by parents in less than 4 years.  Instead of dealing with this congestion, minds often cave into peer pressure.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

Today, if you’re healthy, just driving to and from work can give you a headache.  Whether its people with cell phones in their lap talking or texting, its miracle that more people don’t get into accidents.   Anyway, the apostle Paul urges believers to be sober-minded, aware of the schemes of the devil.  If not you will suffer from a congested mind, likely falling prey to an enemy seeking to devour lost and lonely souls.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Why Blogging Should Be A Lifelong Pursuit

In the second Ultimate Gift movie the narrative shifts toward the life of Red Stevens, a billionaire in the oil business.  After Jason Stevens’ girl friend abruptly leaves, Red’s grandson seeks the council of Mr. Hamilton played by Bill Hobbs, the firm’s attorney.  During this conversation Hamilton loans Jason Red’s diary, an account of his rise to the top.  Along the way, Red journals each life lesson beginning as a young teenager.  This daily exercise gave birth to the ten gifts Jason faces in the first film.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him,” 2 Samuel 12:4.

Another illustration of writing can be found in Fireproof starring Kirk Cameron.  When his marriage hits the skids, Caleb Holt, Kirk’s character, considers divorce until a near death encounter changes his heart.  Desperate to salvage his marriage, Caleb turns to his father for advice, who suggests following a forty day Love Dare Challenge.  Early on, Caleb goes through the motions until God transforms his heart.  Fighting a losing battle with pornography, these recorded words provide a blueprint to overcome a life void of purpose.

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! – 2 Samuel 12:5

When individuals take the time to contemplate, reflect upon life and question their beliefs, pioneers of literature are born.  During my years of taking seminary classes, I found myself drawn to Augustine of Hippo.  Augustine regularly spent time in his backyard, relaxing his mind by observing his garden.  In this quiet place, a theologian was spawn connecting the dots between life, philosophy and biblical principles.  According to Jerome, Augustine’s practice of documenting his beliefs established anew the ancient faith.

He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity, 2 Samuel 12:6.

Today, the closest thing to a diary is blogging.  Although motives for writing are different, words serve as a map of where you are, where you’re going and show where you have been.  After beginning a pursuit to become a screen writer in my free time, I thought about ending this blog, blazing a trail in a different direction.  However, during a car ride on Thanksgiving Eve, I now feel called to continue this for life.  Though my topics may be sporadic, this daily habit helps me keep in touch with my soul as I express myself for Him.

by Jay Mankus

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” – 2 Samuel 12:7a

The Way Verses Today

I tend to be directionally challenged.  However, I’m also careful not to trust the opinion of another man at a gas station who seems uncertain.  While GPS is a nice modern device to rely on, when it starts to recalculate, the question is which way should I go?

And asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem, Acts 9:2.

Philosophically speaking, should you follow your heart, mind or the newest teaching?  Worldviews like Humanism, New Age and Post-Modernism have convinced many former believers to leave the Way for religions of today.  Concerned leaders of the church are wondering, what can be done to reverse this trend?

No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people, Acts 5:13.

One of the reasons for this mass exodus is a lack of genuine Christians within America.  I know I’m just as guilty as the next person, leaving a trail of hypocrisy behind.  As people are rubbed the wrong way, parents are staying home on Sunday.  Subsequently, a generation of children are growing up without a faith experience.  Thus, the Way of the Bible is fighting a losing battle.  May the Holy Spirit spark young people today to leave an imprint of love on a culture desperately waiting for the Real Thing.

by Jay Mankus

When God Seems Dead…

In the upcoming movie  God’s Not Dead, based upon a true story, a college philosophy professor presupposes God is dead.  Not surprising by today’s standards, one student who refuses to sign a paper agreeing with his assumption, faces an uphill battle which may cost him more than just a good grade.  As a result, God is put on trial in Philosophy 150, with one defendant testifying to his existence.  The outcome will be determined this spring for those who are interested.

For the rest of us, life tends to bring periods when God seems distant, far removed from our situation, acting as if He doesn’t care or doesn’t exist.  Yet, this thought is nothing new, questioned by countless of individuals throughout history, even a famous king.  According to David, godly people had vanished from his kingdom, with no one in his sight, Psalm 12:1.  Instead, liars using flattery to get ahead in life had taken over society, frustrated David as the wicked prospered and the righteous were disappearing, Psalm 12:2-4.

Since God’s ways are not man’s ways, Proverbs 19:21, the Lord will arise from his apparent slumber.  When God does return, He and only He will judge mankind according to what they have said and done, Matthew 12:36.  For now, you have a life to live, “like sand through an hour glass, so are the Days of our Lives,” one of the few soap operas I watched.  Anyway, the closer individuals begin to experience John 10:10, the more people will realize God’s not dead, he’s alive in those who shine the love of Jesus, Matthew 5:13-14.

by Jay Mankus

Three is All I Can Handle

While this blog could refer to the exact amount of children my wife and I decided to have, its not.  This is a quote from one of my students, complaining about writing a 5 paragraph composition for homework.  As a zealous teacher, searching for perfection, I was quickly disappointed when I discovered only 30% of my class regularly turned in their essays.  Grasping at straws, I turned to teenagers to see where I verged off course.  To my surprise, their response was almost unanimous, “three paragraphs is all I can handle.”

Prior to this decision, I spent a week working with Dr. Vito, who held a PhD in Curriculum from Penn State University.  His knowledge of rubrics transformed each of my assignments, concept of ungraded work altered my philosophy of teaching and explanation of scope and sequence led me to delete any units that didn’t fit into my courses.  Once I added “the Voice,” an individual within each of my classes who served as the pulse of their student body, I received instant feedback.  This leadership position became the eyes, ears and heart of classmates, providing an honest, yet realistic view inside the minds of students,  Their input revolutionized my communication with young people, making my last 2 years a success.

Before exiting teaching, conversations with English teachers convinced me to limit 9th grade assignments to 3 paragraphs, 11th grade to 5 and Honors to 6 total.   These experiences helped me recognize that long winded writers can quickly lose their audience.  Thus, I try to compress my thoughts to a 3 paragraphs.  On occasion, 4 or 5 paragraphs may be necessary for complex issues, but for now I will continue to practice KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.  I want to thank everyone who has shared, visited or commented on my blog.  Since I am more than half way to a thousand, I will continue to write until the Lord moves me in a different direction.

by Jay Mankus

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