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Tag Archives: the book of life

Living Forever Take 3

Part of any Hollywood blockbuster movie are dramatic shifts in the storyline, like a roller coaster with unexpected twists and turns. Viewers are immediately grabbed, their attention is gained and locked in until this two-hour ride ends. Due to original sin, the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, breaking God’s only rule, the Lord’s initial plan of living forever on earth is derailed. The apostle Paul writes about God’s backup plan in Romans 5:12-21, sending a second Adam to restore that which was lost.

And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die, Genesis 2:15-17.

Life expectancy went from 800-900 years all the way down to 120 following the flood. Christian Scientists point to the Open Canopy Theory, an atmosphere without rain which sheltered human beings from direct sunlight thereby slowing down the aging process. This is the most practical way to explain the steep decline in life expectancy. Meanwhile, the curse bestowed by God upon future men and women in Genesis 3:16-24 also points to the gradual decay of the earth as well.

When men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair, and they took wives of all they desired and chose. Then the Lord said, My Spirit shall not forever dwell and strive with man, for he also is flesh; but his days shall yet be 120 years, Genesis 6:1-3.

According to the Old Testament, Enoch was the only believer to not experience death on earth, Hebrews 11:5. The key to Enoch’s success and ascension into heaven was due to a consistent relationship with God, Genesis 5:22. From time to time, God will extend someone’s life like Hezekiah. This form of a blessing is addressed by Moses in Deuteronomy 28:1-14, with a simple equation: obedience to God results in blessings.

 I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Omnipotent [Himself] and the Lamb [Himself] are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to give light to it, for the splendor and radiance (glory) of God illuminate it, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations shall walk by its light and the rulers and leaders of the earth shall bring into it their glory. 25 And its gates shall never be closed by day, and there shall be no night there, Revelation 21:22-25.

When you read the final chapter of the Bible, living forever takes on a new shape and form. Take 1 caused life to end before 1000 years. Take 2 allowed Jesus to restore that which was lost, Luke 19:10, to redeem all who have sinned and fallen short of God’s given. Take 3 begins with the creation of a new Jerusalem. When this city of gold is placed upon the new earth, heaven will be limited to this holy city. All of those in the Book of Life will live forever on earth residing in the New Jerusalem.

by Jay Mankus

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Speaking Good

It doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to identify the difference between a good and poor working environment. Depending upon your field of work, I’m sure you can identify at least one disgruntled co-worker. This individual doesn’t need much to incite their latest rant. A few weeks ago, I had an interaction with a woman who went off the rails over something minuscule. The words she spoke was like venom from a poisonous snake, sucking out the joy of everyone in her presence.

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.And God blessed (spoke good of) the seventh day, set it apart as His own, and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work which He had created and done, Genesis 2:2-3.

As I start to study the Bible from the beginning of the Old Testament, several words have stood out to me. The Creator of the heavens and the earth didn’t just work hard to complete this project. Rather, God spoke life into the creation of our planet. Following each sunset, signaling the end of each day, God reflected upon what was specifically fashioned and formed. Rather than the perfectionist who mutters, “I could have done better,” God spoke good of each created being and thing.

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of [e]untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you, Philippians 4:8-9.

The apostle Paul builds upon this concept in a letter to the Church at Philippi. The context of Paul’s words come shortly after mentioning Christian helpers whose names are in the Book of Life. Paul suggests that the greatest accomplishment on earth is living a life that honors God so that your eternal destination is secured, 1 John 5:12-13. One of the ways this is accomplished is through speaking good. May today’s passages inspire you to become a positive voice in your spheres of influence.

by Jay Mankus

The Second Death

After moving back to Delaware in the late 1990’s, I worked for one of my college roommates. John has just started a new Christian wholesale business and needed someone to help out with the Warehouse. As John and his wife Stacy focused on Retail Sales in their showroom, I spent two years as a production manager, overseeing the Inbound and Outbound shipping operations.

Blessed (happy, [a]to be envied) and holy (spiritually whole, of unimpaired innocence and proved virtue) is the person who takes part (shares) in the first resurrection! Over them the second death exerts no power or authority, but they shall be ministers of God and of Christ (the Messiah), and they shall rule along with Him a thousand years, Revelation 20:6.

Like any job that I’ve ever done, music or the radio is needed to keep me focused. When I wasn’t blasting Christian music, I listened to books on tape and famous Bible teachers. The one cassette tape that got the most replays was a series of sermons on Great Awakenings. Former church historian Leonard Ravenhill is who introduced me to the concept of the second death.

Then death and Hades ([d]the state of death or disembodied existence) were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire, Revelation 20:14.

Ravenhill looked at the past to make sure modern Christians didn’t fall prey to the mistakes of previous generations. Leonard specialty was as educating churches on prayer and revival. Ravenhill had a way of bringing alive the past as if you were part of some sort of a time capsule. While everyone goes through a physical death on earth, the second death only occurs to those not listed in the Book of Life. To avoid this eternal destination, make sure your make your reservations before it’s too late, 1 John 5:12-13.

by Jay Mankus

Guaranteeing Your Place in the Book of Life

There is a reason that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time. Perhaps, reading pages that are described as living and active can be engaging and life changing, Hebrews 4:12. Yet, the one question I always wanted to know about as a child was what happens to human beings after you die? My question went unanswered for me until college.

I entreat and advise Euodia and I entreat and advise Syntyche to agree and to work in harmony in the Lord. And I exhort you too, [my] genuine yokefellow, help these [two women to keep on cooperating], for they have toiled along with me in [the spreading of] the good news (the Gospel), as have Clement and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the Book of Life. Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! – Philippians 4:2-4.

Attending any funeral is depressing and sad. Yet, when you don’t know if the person who passed away is with Jesus in heaven can be crushing and gut wrenching. I remember attending a funeral at a strange church in high school after my friend committed suicide. The pastor kept saying “if there is God and if there is a heaven, we hope that Kevin is there.” This experience wanted me to know more about the Bible’s teaching on the Book of Life.

And if anyone’s [name] was not found recorded in the Book of Life, he was hurled into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:15.

The apostle Paul mentions the Book of Life in today’s first passage. The context of this letter highlights why you should rejoice in the Lord. Perhaps, this is the same reason why angels rejoice in heaven whenever a lost sheep is found by the Shepherd, Luke 15:7. While 99 percent of funerals claim that the person who died is now in heaven, this isn’t consistent with Jesus’ teaching in Mattew 7:13-14. According to one disciple, you can know for sure, guaranteeing your place in the Book of Life, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

A Thought That Moved Jesus

The gospel according Luke was written by a first century doctor.  In the book of Acts, also penned by Luke, he becomes a close friend to the apostle Paul.  This relationship gives Luke more credibility as if a physician really needed anymore.  Nonetheless, Luke is the only author who refers to an unnamed group of 72 disciples.  Either Luke was one of these selected servants or he observed their ministry, feeling compelled to detail the role these men played in relation to Jesus’ earthly ministry.  Like the 12 disciples, Jesus divided each into teams of two, preparing cities, towns and villages for future visits by him.  This strategy was adopted by Billy Graham, working with local churches nearby upcoming crusades so that new converts would have a place to develop, grow and mature as Christians.

Nevertheless do not rejoice at this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven,” Luke 10:20.

After delegating special authority to these 72 disciples, Jesus shares one final thought in the passage above.  To a certain extent, Jesus was concerned that some of these men might begin to think quietly, “look what I did.”  This reminder is spoken to help these individuals see the big picture in life.  It’s not about casting out demons or healing the sick.  The most important thing is whether your names are written in the book of life.  As Jesus verbalizes this message, this thought moved him as the words below suggest that Jesus becomes emotional and exuberant.  Perhaps, Jesus  is reminded that one of this own disciples, Judas Iscariot, is not a member of this book.  When something like this hits home, souls discard the meaningless aspects in life and develop a spiritual hunger to wins souls for eternity.

In that very hour He was overjoyed and rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and He said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things [relating to salvation] from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to infants [the childlike and untaught]. Yes, Father, for this way was [Your gracious will and choice, and was] well-pleasing in Your sight, Luke 10:21.

According to Luke’s words, the Holy Spirit spoke through Jesus.  In the passage above, Jesus eludes to a child like faith, the importance of maintaining your innocence.  Young children rely on their parents for their basic needs in life.  However, when kids grow up, some pursue education and wisdom rather than God.  Just as liberal college professors can challenge and overturn the values you were raised with, the Holy Spirit is the only source you need to alter your course.  This invisible counselor enables faith driven souls to understand the real meaning and purpose for being born.  During this interaction with 72 disciples, the thought of eternity moved Jesus to open up about this spiritual matter.

by Jay Mankus

The Great Fortune Teller

crystal ball photo: Crystal Ball Crystal_ball.jpg

Modern fortune tellers rely on crystal balls, horoscopes, psychics and tarot cards to predict information about a person’s life.  At the turn of the first century, there was a girl from Philippi, a city on the north shores of the Aegean Sea, who possessed a powerful spirit.  According to Acts 16:16, she was purchased by a group of businessmen who greatly profited from her ability to predict the future.  While unknown, apparently this young girl was tired of being enslaved, reaching out to the apostle Paul by interrupting his ministry, Acts 16:17.  Thus, Paul was left with no choice, casting out the demon within her along with this special ability, Acts 16:18-19.  Although this girl was delivered from her bondage, Paul and Silas received a night in the slammer for their efforts, putting the slave owners out of the fortune telling business, Acts 16:19.

Today, fortune telling is considered taboo for many Christians to discuss, especially within evangelical circles.  By squashing debate on this topic within churches, people are overlooking the greatest fortune teller of all time.  In the gospel of Mark alone, Jesus is a perfect 21 for 21 without counting the same category twice.  The Holy Spirit, poured out upon Jesus during his baptism in Mark 1:12 enabled God’s son to read hearts, minds, motives and thoughts.  In addition, Jesus predicted betrayals, conversations, foresaw shortcomings, future events and reactions of his disciples and religious leaders.  A prophet may be perceived as getting lucky if they go lets say 3 for 3 on predictions.  Yet, once you foretell 21 future events exactly as they occur, luck is taken out of the equation.

I think one of the main reasons the Bible is under attack by college professors, scrutinized by the media and considered obsolete by Naturalistic Scholars is due to fear from within that Scripture does foretell the future.  Based upon Revelation 20:7-15, in the end, Satan loses, the Book of life will be opened, each person will be judged according to what they have done on earth and God’s sheep will be separated from the goats who will spend eternity in hell.  Though only the Father knows the date, year and time of day, Mark 13:32, the future is pretty obvious.  Use your talents that the Master has given you on this earth while you still have time, Matthew 25:14-30, before Jesus’ eminent return.

by Jay Mankus

Fortune Telling References:

Mark 2:8-11, 18-20, Mark 4:37-40, Mark 5:36-41, Mark 6:4-6, 38-44, 48-52, Mark 7:6-13, Mark 8:16-21, 31-32, Mark 9:17-29, 31-32, Mark 10:22, 32-35, 41, Mark 11:1-7, 17, Mark 12:38-40, Mark 13:32, Mark 14:6-9, 12-16, 18-21, 24-25, Mark 14:30-31, 42, 62, 66-72.  All verses are from the New International Version of the Bible.

Upside Down

Imagery is used in books, movies and real life to communicate a deeper or hidden meaning. In the Bible, light and darkness is used as a metaphor to illustrate right from wrong. When the circumstances of life comes crashing down upon you, turning everything you thought you knew upside down, it’s time to return to the book of life for answers, Revelation 13:8.

Matthew 16:24-28 is a passage difficult to comprehend from a worldly point of view. The moment a child enters this world, they cry out for to their mother and then to whoever will change or feed them. This urging or desire is what the Bible calls our sinful nature, passed on from Adam, down to each and every generation, Romans 5:12. Nonetheless, Jesus turns everything you have learned about life around in Matthew 16:25. Life is not about taking control, holding onto it for dear life; real life is found by giving it away.

I guess you can say people are in desperate need of a mind transplant, transforming their thoughts from their self to others, Romans 12:1-2. Like the old Michael W. Smith song proclaims in its lyrics, “love isn’t love until you give it away!”. Therefore, as shoopers try to recover from the carnage that is Black Friday, let these words of Jesus soak in to help you catch the Christmas spirit; not for a season, for the rest of your earthly life. If you want to turn the world upside down, it’s begins deep inside your heart, John 3:5-8.

by Jay Mankus

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