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Tag Archives: ten commandments

A Passport to Heaven

Credentials are defined as evidence of authority, status, and rights. Anyone who possesses the proper credentials in life are given access to or are entitled to special privileges that exist depending upon your position, rank or title. At some point in his life, Jesus was recognized as a magician, rabbi and teacher despite not having an earthly degree in any of these areas. This reputation enabled Jesus to converse, discuss and meet with a wide range of individuals. During the first century, a rich young ruler approached Jesus searching for a passport to heaven.

A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially and morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially and morally] good except God alone, Luke 18:18-19.

A first century doctor recounts the dialogue between these two men in the passage above and below.  Based upon what was written, it appears that this ruler believed that heaven was something that could be earned.  Jesus nips this mindset in the butt, informing any who could hear that only God is good.  Jesus transitions into a different direction, taking a spiritual inventory of this young man’s past.  This discussion led to knowing and practicing the ten commandments.  Like a counselor listening to their patient, Jesus noticed one thing lacking within this ruler.  Financial success led this man to rely on money rather than fully trust the Lord to provide.  At the end of their conversation, this rich young ruler walks away disappointed, unable to meet the credentials necessary for a passport to heaven.

When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk],” Luke 18:22-23.

In a previous conversation with his own disciples, Jesus provides further insight into the credentials necessary to receive a passport to heaven.  Jesus gives those who seek to become a modern day disciple three ultimatums.  First, deny yourself by setting aside selfish ambitions.  Second, take up your cross through a willingness to endure whatever may come in the form of persecution.  Third, follow Jesus, by believing, conforming and emulating the life of Christ.  If you have to summarize these requirements to receive a passport to heaven, you must be willing to lose your life, surrendering it completely, to find eternal life.

by Jay Mankus

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You’re Fired

In view of the increasing violence across the country and throughout the world, this old punch line by Donald Trump at the end of each Apprentice episode is no longer something to laugh at.  While hard working men and women have likely experienced the pain of losing a job, life is too fragile to be ended by a bullet,  Yet, as music videos, television dramas and violent video games desensitize life through countless depictions of murder, the value of human life is eroding.

But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up,” Daniel 3:12.

One of the byproducts of today’s warped mentality on life involves a lack of conviction and principles to life by.  While most civilizations experience cycles where morals rise and fall, few people demonstrate the commitment to put their faith on the line.  During the Jewish captivity by the Babylonians in the Old Testament, three men refused to worship a foreign god.  Drawing a line in  the sand, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were willing to die rather than break one of the ten commandments.  The penalty for such an offense was fire.

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up,” Daniel 3:17-18.

These three men weren’t fired by the king.  They were all on fire for God, willing to put their faith on the line, risking death over compromise.  Not many people would do the same today.  Recently, armed men with machine guns stormed a church in a country where Christianity is illegal.  Raising his voice, the leader demanded all the true believers to walk up to the altar.  Only a few rose to their feet,  “Is that it, anyone else?”  No one else stood.  “Okay everyone else can leave,” as the timid ran out of this place of worship.  Moments later instead of gun shots, the leader proclaimed, “now that all the true believers are here, let’s worship the Lord!”  May this experience inspire others to become fired up for Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Respect This

It’s been fifty years since Aretha Franklin introduced her version of Respect.  This hit song has been part of advertisements, commercials and movies.  One of my favorite synonyms for respect is reverence.  This is one of these terms which been forgotten, rarely practiced anymore.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor, Romans 12:10.

Unfortunately, the popularity of social media has gradually flushed respect down the toilet.  Every day Twitter wars disregard decency to bully, defame and lash out at those with whom you disagree.  While the Bible encourages individuals to outdo others in a positive manner, this message is either ignored or simply scoffed at.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you,” Exodus 20:12.

The reason why respect is vanishing can be found in one of the ten commandments.  When individuals begin to dishonor fathers and mothers, this decision opens the door to every area of life.  No one is immune resulting in a culture that trashes everyone or everything in sight.  Atheists helped kick God out of American public schools in the 1960’s.  Fifty years later respect is one of the casualties of this war on religion.  If you want to keep respect alive, start honoring fathers and mothers and maybe, just maybe respect will survive.

by Jay Mankus

 

When the Truth is Silenced

If you have ever traveled to a foreign country, not every place you visit is safe.  Depending upon freedom of the press that exists, certain key elements, information or issues may be withheld, sugarcoating the truth.  Thus, whether you are a citizen, resident or just passing by, the message communicated in newspapers or portrayed on television may not be true.  As political correctness redefines daily coverage of the news, the truth of specific matters is often silenced.

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction, 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

The Bible is no longer a moral compass to reference in America.  Nor is the Ten Commandments a measuring stick since its offensive to those who hold other worldviews.  Rather, a New Age is being introduced to public education through Common Core, where there is more than one answer to a question.  Subsequently, truth is now relative, silencing ethical and moral truths of the past.

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way, 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

This topic reminds me of a classic Memorex commercial.  Sometimes technology can be used to deceive individuals from reality.  Films like Enemy of the State, The Net and Live Free or Die Hard illustrate how breeches in security can collapse an entire nation.  In addition, laws like Net Neutrality do the opposite of what they claim, actually silencing the truth rather than defending it.  In view of these signs of the end of days, may the Holy Spirit protect you from lies by clinging to God’s truth.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

One Thing People Lack

If you’re not careful, people can get snippy when you point out one of their weaknesses.  Whether its a defense mechanism or a way in which individuals bend the truth, few want to hear about their imperfections.  However, there is a famous conversation where Jesus reveals one thing people lack.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” – Mark 10:17

One day, a rich young ruler humbly falls at the feet of Jesus.  Desperately wanting reassurance of his spiritual quest to reach heaven, this ruler asks, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  While most teachers would seize this teachable moment, Jesus pauses to redirect the topic.  Despite being the son of God Jesus responds with the words, “why do you call me good?”  Essentially, the Lord proclaims that no one is good but God.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Mark 10:21

Using the ten commandments as a measuring stick, this benchmark serves as a guide as you interact with members of society.  In a sense, this is expected, what any follower of God should do.  Thus, when Jesus adds one final requirement, this ruler leaves Jesus’ presence heart broken.  Though other gospel writers vary their details of this encounter, it appears that this ruler trusted in his money rather than placing his sole faith in God to provide.  This same expectation applies today.  Do you lack complete trust in the Lord or fervently rest in Jehovah-Jireh?  May your reply to this question motivate you to draw closer to Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

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