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Tag Archives: reading and studying the Bible

Getting Dialed In

The origins of the expression “dialed in” is unclear.  The only agreement on this saying is that it pre dates cell phones.  There is a thought that dialed in refers back to the Vietnam War.  Whenever a soldier couldn’t do his or her assigned task within the required time or kept screwing up one of the crucial steps, getting dialed in was necessary to overcome their deficiencies.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established, Proverbs 16:3.

If you enjoy watching sporting events, whether its college, professional or the Olympics, most athletes are shown listening to wireless headphones prior to their competition.  Like any profession, there is a set schedule leading up to competitions, games and meets.  Certain styles of music have a way of preparing minds to focus.  While some may be more superstitious than others, listening to your favorite songs prior to competing is a common form of getting dialed in today.

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 12:2.

Within a letter to the Church at Rome, the apostle Paul informs Christians on how to get dialed in spiritually.  Understanding the power of the sinful nature, Galatians 5:16-18, Paul warns believers that your mind must be renewed by the words of the Bible.  Unless a spiritual discipline of reading and studying the Bible is implemented, individuals are at risk of conforming to the world.  Therefore, if you want to get dialed in spiritually, follow the directions in Joshua 1:8 so that God’s voice and will become clear.

by Jay Mankus

Baby Steps

Baby steps are subtle advances in progress.  In the early months following birth, babies don’t possess the agility and strength to stand on their own.  However, as soon as infants begin to figure out how to crawl, many become like run away trains, difficult to catch.  From a spiritual point of view, the first baby step requires gaining access to God.  This occurs when individuals place their faith in Christ, Romans 10:9-10.

Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power], Romans 5:1-2.

According to the apostle Paul, the next step you should take is listening to and reading the Bible, Romans 10:17.  Paul felt so strongly about this baby step that he wrote a letter to one of his young pupils, a teenager named Timothy.  Like a stern teacher, Paul stresses the importance of studying to prove yourself as a workman for God.  Although the Bible is no longer a class or subject in public education, you must become a diligent student of the Word to handle it correctly.

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth, 2 Timothy 2:15.

At some point along the way, everyone needs a mentor to guide you throughout life.  In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis warns individuals against getting ahead of yourself.  As you set out to accomplish a goal, success is not defined by reaching the summit.  Rather, success is the process of arriving, one step at a time.  Therefore, if you fall away from God for a period of time, don’t try make amends all it once.  Rather, like an adult forced to learn how to walk all over again, take life one step at a time.

by Jay Mankus

Focusing on the Darkness Within

According to a 2015 article in Time Magazine, the top ten television shows of all time include Friends, Breaking Bad, the X-Files, Game of Thrones, Seinfeld, the Sopranos, Saturday Night Live, I Love Lucy, Mad Men and the Simpsons.  While five of these programs were comedies, the others contain adult content, graphic images and violence.  Based upon the series chosen on this list, American audiences are searching for something to laugh at and tune into nteresting dramas.  In order to grab someone’s attention, producers focus on the darkness within souls to spice up weekly episodes.

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. 23 But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness! – Matthew 6:22-23

When tragedy strikes in the form of mass shootings, blame immediately goes to guns and gun owners.  After the facts reveal the true motives of any massacre, some of these events may be blamed on terrorism, others on bullying and some remain unexplained.  Whatever the inspiration may have been, rarely do experts, media panels or psychologists point the finger in the direction of Hollywood.  From time to time, mature video games that desensitize the frailty of life receive a portion of the blame.  Yet, unless a shooter survives their day of reckoning, no one will ever know for certain why school shootings happen.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin, 1 John 1:5-7.

The word light appears 272 times in the Bible.  Meanwhile, darkness is mentioned 162 times.  Two of Jesus’ disciples highlight the positive aspects and negative concerns of these terms.  According to Matthew, darkness is like a poison that corrupts hearts internally before external actions magnify evil from within.  John takes a different approach, comparing light to a truth detector.  Anyone who pretends to be a Christian while maintaining a relationship with darkness is a fool.  The ultimate goal is to expose any darkness within you by daily reading and studying the Bible.  Although Christians can’t control what Hollywood or others do, the decisions that you make will determine your destiny.  May the light of Christ guide you through the darkness.

by Jay Mankus

Learn from History or Relive Past Mistakes

If each life were made into a book, biographies would possess a section where readers scratch their heads.  The audience may think, “I can’t believe they are making the same mistake over and over again.”  Backsliding, downward spirals and periods of neglect cause the average person to repeat the sins of their past.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did, 1 Corinthians 10:6.

During a visit to the city of Corinth, the apostle Paul witnessed a cycle church members were stuck in.  Wondering if these people knew the history of Israel, he begins to share life lessons from past failures.  Since Corinth was a port city, an influx of outsiders were leaving a negative impact on the culture, causing many to relive past mistakes of previous civilizations.  The point of Paul’s message was to learn from history or relive the past.

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come, 1 Corinthians 10:11.

No matter how hard I try to follow my New Year’s resolutions, its not long before I fall back into bad habits.  When I go a day or days without reading and studying the Bible, I’m one step closer away from embracing sins of the past or welcoming temptations of the present.  The disciple whom Jesus loved was right, “you can’t remain within Christ if you become unattached.”  In view of this, may those hungry for change turn back to the ultimate power source, Jesus Christ to get plugged in so that you learn from the history by avoiding past mistakes.

by Jay Mankus

 

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