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Tag Archives: synagogues

Expecting to Find a Place of Prayer

In recent years, cynicism, doubt and hypocrisy have hardened many hearts.  Trying to find real genuine people who aren’t hiding behind a series of lies is tough.  Perhaps this explains why Bible believing churches are vanishing, pressured to confirm by a liberal culture.  Jesus predicted this in the last days where a decaying spiritual climate would develop.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, Matthew 24:12.

At one time in America, churches were the center of cities, towns and rural communities.  If you needed assistance in form of advice, food or shelter, there was usually some place you could go for help.  In the first century, if there weren’t enough men to start synagogues, worship took place outside of towns, usually at the nearest body of water.  Thus, when the apostle Paul traveled to Philippi he expected to find a place of prayer.

On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there, Acts 16:13.

One of the cornerstones of the first and second great awakenings were nightly prayer meetings.  Although initial events only brought out a few participants, concerts of prayer spread as a spirit of conviction led people to confess their sins.  Unfortunately, in this day and age, a sin isn’t what it use to be.  Compromise, justifying actions and the elimination of absolutes have breed lukewarm spirits.  Thus, there isn’t a sense of urgency to get right with God.  As a new year begins, may be people will change for the better, developing hearts that expect to find places of prayer.

by Jay Mankus

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Back to the Way Things Were

The Wizard of Oz is an American classic, airing annually on several networks.  While the characters on screen became bigger than life, the symbolism behind this film still exists.  The Wizard of Oz is compared to the United States government, promising the world, but rarely upholding their end of the bargain.  Thus, whether its health care, jobs or social security, many individuals are being let down, disappointed by politician after politician.

But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers, Acts 14:2.

Today, the media is trying to protect the great wizard of Oz, poisoning the minds of Americans who dare to question those in power.  Like the character on film hiding behind the veiled curtain, cameras are trying to convey a different picture than reality.  Assaulting the character of individuals, demonizing their beliefs and portraying an exaggerated point of view is all part of the daily charade known of liberal talking points.  However, America is still waiting for the next Dorothy to expose those hiding behind this facade.

Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them, Acts 14:15.

During the first century, Paul and Barnabas tried to enlighten the Jews about God.  Fearful of these men, religious leaders began to spread lies, hoping to keep members of their synagogues from converting to Christianity.  Unfortunately, these practices still exist as jealousy is causing modern leaders to confuse those on the verge of conversion.  Perhaps, this is why Paul encouraged his followers to test everything, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 so that minds don’t become poisoned by false and inaccurate teaching.  Now that Christmas is over don’t go back to way things were.  Rather, embrace the promise of Emmanuel, God with us, so that the circumstances of life doesn’t bring you down.

by Jay Mankus

Does it Really Matter Who the Greatest of All Time Is?

Debates are nothing new except perhaps the venue in which they take place.  Philosophers gathered in Athens to discuss and exchange their worldviews.  Jews went to the synagogues to hear rabbis share their interpretations of the Torah.  Today, opinions are posted, tweeted and vocalized on talk radio, with sports fans often adding their own two cents on who is the greatest of all time.

But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest, Mark 9:34.

This temptation is not limited to sports as even followers of Jesus wanted to know who was the best disciple.  I can imagine Peter saying, “I walked on water” before John chimes in “well, I’m the beloved one.”  Back and forth, each of the twelve probably revelled in their moment of glory before another voice drowns out the one before.  Sensing their discussion was getting out of hand, Jesus intervenes by defining the perimeters for the greatest of all time.

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all,” Mark 9:35.

In eternal terms, the individual with the largest mansion in heaven will be the one who is the greatest servant of all.  In my mind, Mother Teresa is one of the front runners, but history provides ample choices to be number one.  Nonetheless, modern Christians must adhere to these standards or risk the chance of being rejected by Christ.  Therefore, don’t waste your breath on arguing who is the GOAT.  Rather, commit yourself to taking on the nature of a servant, Philippians 2:6-7.

by Jay Mankus

 

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