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A Secret Truth

Mysteries tend to involve something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain. Most children begin their lives stress free, trusting in their parents to provide for their needs. Depending upon their degree of maturity, parents tend to shield their young ones from the dangers of this world. Yet, according to the apostle Paul, human beings can not become partakers of eternal salvation based upon their own merit.

But I tell you this, brethren, flesh and blood cannot [become partakers of eternal salvation and] inherit or share in the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (that which is decaying) inherit or share in the imperishable (the immortal), 1 Corinthians 15:50.

Following this warning to members at the Church of Corinth, Paul transitions toward a special mystery. Apparently, this secret truth was decreed by the counsel of God. This event is linked to the crucifixion of Jesus, allowed to continue despite Jesus’ innocence for a hidden purpose. This secret truth in unveiled at the end of chapter 15 of Paul’s letter. The sting of death was removed through resurrection of Jesus on Easter.

Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God). We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (transformed), 1 Corinthians 15:51.

Jesus spoke of this mystery during a late night conversation with a Pharisee, John 3:1-5. The concept of being born again didn’t make sense to Nicodemus despite his vast religious knowledge. After making a sarcastic comment, Nicodemus shuts up, intrigued by the words of John 3:16-17. Based upon the actions and words within John 7:50-52 and John 19:38-42, Nicodemus put his faith and trust in Jesus. To those of you who are still left in the dark, Romans 10:8-11 unlocks this secret truth.

by Jay Mankus

Trampled

Every year panic triggers some sort of horrific event.  Whether its at a concert, escaping a fire or fleeing a terrorist attack, fear often leads to individuals to trample upon anyone who gets in the way.  In 2008, a Walmart employee from Long Island, New York died after wild shoppers on Black Friday began running to claim limited specials once the doors were opened.

But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd, Acts 17:5.

Unfortunately, there is more than one way to be trampled.  Anyone who uses social media can be verbally run over following a post that offends and upsets followers.  Several teenagers have committed suicide in the past 5 years shortly after being bullied, embarrassed or harassed by their peers.  While some of the content posted was self-inflicted, a spirit of gossip is encouraging many to pile on with one sarcastic comment after the other.

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends, Proverbs 16:28.

I hope that some day soon the citizens of America will come to their senses.  Sure, I like a good laugh, but it appears the line between right and wrong has shrunk.  Subsequently, innocent people are being trampled and discarded without any remorse or sorrow.  Trashing anyone who disagrees with your worldview is not the answer.  Instead, may God have mercy on us, extend grace to the hurting and save this divided nation from further trampling.

by Jay Mankus

 

Applying Your Heart

One of the ways my former high school teachers attempted to motivate students was through the phrase, “you have to apply yourself.”  Somewhat sarcastic at the time, wondering to myself, “so do you want me to apply for a job?”  Based upon the definition, I guess these individuals wanted me to engage and utilize what I was learning at the time.

Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, Proverbs 22:17.

Fortunately, King Solomon explains this concept within 2 chapters of Proverbs.  Like a child being raised by godly parents, the Lord wants his followers to become more than listeners.  Rather than giving mere lips service, “I get it!”  God longs for his children to put God’s Word, the Bible into practice.  This is what it means to apply your heart.

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge, Proverbs 23:12.

Unfortunately, many people are jaded by disappointment, failure and trials in life.  Like the Aerosmith song Jaded, lead singer Steven Tyler wrote this song after feeling like he neglected his youngest daughter, missing most of her childhood while touring.  Those who reach this unwelcomed state often feel trapped, paralyzed and unable to change.  Therefore, if you sense things are beginning to slip slide away, may the Holy Spirit empower you to apply your heart.

by Jay Mankus

 

Now I’ve Seen Everything

During the Clinton Administration, 1993-2001, America citizens were less intrusive.  When rumors of affairs, murmurs of  sexual misconduct and witnesses of past improprieties began to come forward, many people protested, claiming the president has a right to his own privacy.  The talking points in the media were clear, “as long as you work hard, give your all each day, everyone, including the president of the United States has the freedom to do what they want on their own time.”  As Dorothy proclaimed to her dog Toto upon landing in Oz, “we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore!”

This is how I felt last night while driving home from work when I heard the news Adrian Peterson, star running back for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings was arrested for spanking his child.  After one of his children pushed another out of the way while playing on a swing seat, Peterson choose to discipline his son, following in the footsteps of his parents.  Maybe he got carried away, but Adrian was simply trying to practice a biblical principle, Proverbs 22:6.  Surely, the state of Texas would understand this?  At least in the past they did, yet not now and not today in this culture of chaos.

If Adrian is guilty, then maybe the authorities need to go after the founders of Scared Straight and Beyond Scared Straight?  I’m kidding!  Remember when you could tell a joke, say something funny or sarcastic and not have to worry about the social police from shutting you down.  Anyway, my point is that spanking is a form of scared straight, associating pain with punishment.  My father used a paddle with a steel insert from his college fraternity.  As a former college football player, sure my butt was paddled a few times, yet I was a quick learner, acknowledging the importance of honoring your father and mother.  I’m not sure what’s next nor can I recommend a clear cut solution.  Nonetheless, now that I’ve seen everything, I sense Jesus’ return is closer than its ever been before.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Infusion Called Grace

Like fine wine, you grow better with years doesn’t apply in the spiritual realm.  Although I wish this old saying was true, Romans 7:7-25 tells a different story.  Instead of improving in taste, the smell of sin causes believers to pray for an infusion of grace.

Birthdays are nice to celebrate, yet God’s main concern focuses on John 3:3-5, have you been reborn spiritually?   The sarcastic often respond like Nicodemus, “how can someone already born, fit back into their mother’s womb?”  While clever, God is not amused.  Jesus’ perspective of an infusion of grace can be found in John 3:16-17, illustrating a loving and patient God.

The reason why rebirth is essential according to the apostle Paul, Romans 5:1-2, faith is the key to gain access into the Lord’s infusion of grace.  Though undeserving, Jesus died, offering his life as an atoning sacrifice while we were still sinners, Romans 5:8.  In view of this goods news, tidings of great joy, lean on Jesus, Romans 10:9-10 to experience this infusion of grace.

by Jay Mankus

 

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