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Oops I Have Done It Again

In the earliest days on earth, God provided Adam and Eve with a vast amount of freedom. The passage below states Adam’s daily responsibility in the Garden of Eden. There wasn’t a long list of to do’s and dont’s. Rather, God limits the rules to one: do not eat from the tree of knowledge. With the boundary line between right and wrong clearly set, only one tree and it’s fruit was off limits. This couple didn’t have to guess what the right thing to do was nor could they claim to be amoral, not knowing right from wrong.

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.

When Eve flirted with Lucifer, a serpent in disguise, a seed of doubt was conceived within her mind. The longer this conversation continued, enticement and lust for this forbidden fruit grew. Despite standing right there next to his wife, Adam was complicit, serving as a curious bystander. This joint act of disobedient forced God to introduce a new set of laws via the Torah to combat original sin. While God was willing to forgive this transgression, punishment is handed out for each guilty party in Genesis 3.

Now there was a day when the sons (the angels) of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (the adversary and accuser) also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, From where did you come? Then Satan answered the Lord, From going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down on it. And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who [reverently] fears God and abstains from and shuns evil [because it is wrong]?-Job 1:6-8

While Genesis is the first book of the Bible, Job is the oldest book. Comments made in chapters 40-41, suggest that Job was living in a land of dinosaurs. If this is true, that would mean Job lived prior to the flood detailed in Genesis 6:17. Job doesn’t refer to Satan as a snake. Rather, Lucifer is a fallen angel who has retained his supernatural powers. Like a spiritual lion seeking to pounce on weak minded individuals, this fact is not to be taken likely. If you disregard or ignore this information, you may find yourself ensnared by sin, stuck in pitiful addicted state. Instead of saying “oops I have done it again,” make sure repentance results in acts of contrition. May this blog inspire you to focus on spiritual transformation.

by Jay Mankus

The Un-Creation

Any book, drama or story has it’s own twists and turns. The Bible is no exception as Genesis describes a moment in history when God second guesses the creation of mankind. The author claims that the Lord regretted his decision to make human beings, disappointed by their actions on earth. The flood served as a do over, a way to re-shape the earth with descendants of Noah.

And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart. So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground—not only man, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air—for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them. But Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord, Genesis 6:6-8.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for members of Noah’s family to let God down as well. Shortly after the flood waters receded, Noah built a vineyard. According to Genesis 9:21, Noah got so drunk one night that he passed out naked on the floor, unable to make it to his bed. Apparently, the sinful nature conceived in the Garden of Eden had corrupted Noah as well. Instead of covering up his father’s indiscretion, Canaan joked about this, bringing it to his brothers attention.

And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end. 15 So when you see the appalling sacrilege [the abomination that astonishes and makes desolate], spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place—let the reader take notice and] ponder and consider and heed [this]—Matthew 24:14-15.

Just prior to his betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus speaks of another disaster. Many scholars refer to this as the un-creation. According to Jesus, when the Great Commission has been fulfilled, the gospel preached to every tribe and nation on earth, earth as we know it will come to an end. To prepare and warn those who are willing to listen, Jesus leaves behind a series of signs to observe. The final indicator refers to an abomination that will stand in the Holy Place. Old Testament prophets also refer to this event as well.

The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up, 2 Peter 3:9-10.

One of Jesus’ disciples has a vision of this un-creation in the passage above. Immediately following the second coming of Jesus, also known as the rapture, a series a tribulations will systematically destroy the earth. While cable television shows concoct far fetched theories about the destruction of earth, the book of Revelation unveils how the un-creation will play out. The point of this future event is to get your life right with God through confession, James 5:16, so that you and your family don’t get left behind.

by Jay Mankus

Angels with Error

The book of Job, the person not what Trump wants to create, is the oldest book in the Old Testament.  What this means is that Job was finished prior to Genesis.  Why its not clear if Job lived before the flood, he does talk about walking with dinosaurs.  Due to the atmospheric changes in the weather following the flood and lack of dinosaurs mentioned on Noah’s ark, Job could have died prior to Genesis 7.  Another clue is found in the first few chapters of Job’s book, referring to Satan by name twice and angels with error.  All of this leads me to believe Job experienced a moment in time when 1/3 of the angels were kicked out of heaven, falling to earth in the form of demons.

If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error, Job 4:18.

Theology introduces many terms which were created and developed to help common church going individuals to understand the complex.  One of these biblical ideas is the concept of free will.  The definition eludes to freedom given by God to make choices without coercion or force.  This element also applies to angels, also known as cherubs, seraphim and archangels.  The context of Job 4 is Eliphaz, a close friend of Job addresses and begins to contemplate why Job has endured several trials.  While the initial statement refers to trust, one possible explanation is that angels with error, now demons, have unleashed their wrath.

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day, Jude 1:6.

According to Jesus, everyone will face a day of judgment.  While the facts of life will be presented in the form of video clips that include highlights and low lights, this will be a scary day for all.  Nothing that you do now can save you.  What I mean by this is that in the end, there is no one righteous.  All have exercised free will, falling short of God’s glory.  Yet, Romans 5:8 gives the hopeless hope through God’s demonstration of love.  While I deserve hell and damnation, God sent His one and only Son to restore that which was lost, Luke 19:10.  Despite angels with error, eternal life is in reach of the humble by grace through faith.  Reach out today by accepting God’s free gift, Romans 6:23.

by Jay Mankus

Untouched

When my wife and I bought our home, we decided to forego cable initially.  On a good day for reception, 7 channels were available, with 4-5 normally visible.  Our favorite channel was Pax, tuning in weekly to catch Hope Island, a show about a pastor’s life outside of church and It’s a Miracle.  While each series had their moments, the testimonies shared on It’s a Miracle revealed a hidden truth.  Sometimes angels, divine intervention and prayer leave individuals untouched by trouble.

The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble, Proverbs 19:23.

In the Old Testament, it was common for Jewish families to recount previous miracles experienced by Israel to their children.  The Flood, Passover and possessing the Promised Land were popular stories to reflect upon.  These encounters instilled the power of God to the next generation.  Yet, King Solomon puts these accounts into their proper perspective by stressing that the fear of the Lord is the driving force behind protecting souls from trouble.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 40:10.

Whether you are a person of faith or not, its easy for some to read too much into every day events.  This sort of daily and or weekly analysis often results in a false sense of security.  Self-reliance can make an individual believe that human effort, knowledge and strength is the source of their protection.  Unfortunately, this way of thinking discounts the invisible actions of angelic beings.  Although human beings should take some credit, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and the force behind protecting souls from danger.

by Jay Mankus

 

Family, Strangers and the Needy

The Bible kindly suggests that retirement is not an option, with always another calling to consider.  As life expectancy was altered following the introduction of sin by Adam and Eve, things changed.  Thus, as earth’s atmosphere shifted from an Open Canopy to what it is today after the flood, people needed to rely on families as age took its toll on human bodies.  Those without a family were at the mercy of strangers and the needy to survive.

When Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there, Ruth 1:6.

In the Old Testament, it was custom for harvesters to leave some of their crops for the poor.  Typically, the area along the edges of property lines was not picked clean, giving the less fortunate a place to pick up something to eat.  Thus, if you were desperate enough, this is where you would go if you wanted food.  Although times have changed, today individuals in need try to find a busy intersection where the wealthy may pass by in a nice vehicle.

And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter,” Ruth 2:2.

A modern parable of the Good Samaritan is written daily as those moved or touched stop to offer a couple of dollars here or there.  Yet, is this the right decision or should God’s people take a more proactive role?  Perhaps, taking this person to lunch like the Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is a better alternative.  While this act of love is difficult for me, its what any loving family member would do for a relative.  Therefore, don’t just limit your kindness to those you know.  Rather, extend Christ’s love to strangers and the needy.

by Jay Mankus

The Hands of God

Stephen King has written a plethora of books, several of which have become classic films.  Taking horror in a new direction, King’s 1994 mini-series entitled the Stand portrays an end of days film in America.  Following a biological outbreak, only 10 percent of the population survive with the righteous calling the heartland home.  Meanwhile, those tempted by evil make their way to Las Vegas.  In the end, the Hand of God comes down to rescue the saints from a nuclear bomb.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them, Acts 13:2.”

Throughout history, God’s hands have been invisible, mysteriously protecting faithful Israelites.  Accounts abound within the Old Testament.  Noah and his family escaped the flood.  Abraham and Lot fled Sodom and Gomorrah before its demise.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived a fiery furnace and Daniel spent a night in a lion’s den, without harm.  Are these merely coincidences or the hands of God?

So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off, Acts 13:3.

According to the New Testament, God’s hands are extended from heaven through his followers.  When the elders laid hands on people, discernment, gifts and wisdom are imparted.  Similar to a prayer circle, believers expect God to do great things.  Without faith, even Jesus could not perform miracles in his home town.  Yet, when a concert of prayer is formed around a person in need, the hands of God are more than a legend; His power become a reality to those who receive this blessing.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Yes…They are Real!

If you want to be honest, modern television is merely a rerun of a rerun from the 1960’s or 70’s with a modern twist.  Despite this fact, the boob tube lures people to their couch or recliners nightly, searching for something new.  To unwind after a long or tough day, entertainment helps individuals ease or forget the pain of life until tomorrow when the same vicious cycle continues.

As for me, I’m a sucker for anything with Big Foot, Loch Ness Monster or unknown species people have had encounter with or seen.  If a show is popular, several others will pop up with different titles, but are nearly identical.  Whether you prefer Monsters in America, Mountain Monsters or Monster Quest, each contain one fatal flaw.  None of them use the Bible as a source of reference to prove monsters are real, created by God.

According to Psalm 74:13-14, evidence was found at the bottom of the Red Sea.  When the Lord allowed Moses to part the sea in half, Leviathan’s became beached, eventually dying for beasts of the desert to feast upon.  Most experts agree that the term Leviathan is what modern Cryptozoologists refer to as the Kraken, a real life sea monster, giant squid.  If some of these creatures survived the flood and ice age, I can go out on a limb and boldly proclaim, “yes… they are real!”

by Jay Mankus

Feeling Better Now?

Misery loves company is a timeless expression which applies to nearly every generation.  Beside the Great Depression, a period forcing individuals to buckle up and bear down,  there is something comforting about discovering your life isn’t as bad as you first thought.  After complaining, moping and venting to others, sometimes this is all you need to do to feel better.

Such is the case in Psalm 88, where one of the sons of Korah airs his frustrations.  Sounding like an individual wrestling with depression, the gloom and doom, woe is me attitude can be felt by his troubling words.  Thus, as I read this chapter today, God gave me a new perspective on my own life.  Sure, I may not be where I want to be as an individual, professional and servant of Christ, but God has rescued me from the bitter pill of despair.

Like the double rainbow that appeared over the skies of Newark, Delaware last night, the flood has ceased and the sun is about to shine!  Don’t allow your own circumstances to block you from seeing the light, the positive.  Rather, claim the words of Psalm 88:13, believing that God will come to your side.  May God ease your pain, providing joy and peace to help you feel better now!

by Jay Mankus

If God Used Logic…We’d All Be Dead!

Throughout the course of history, a series of cycles retrieve, add to and reinvent old theories about the Bible.  Gnostics build upon the teachings of Simon Magus in Acts 8:9-19 with modern theories like the Jesus Seminars and Da Vinci Code.  Meanwhile, books like the Secret take biblical principles out of their proper context by blending these truths with metaphysics and self-help methodology.  Despite what so called experts may claim, the Bible continues to be an annual best selling book about the creation of earth, the fall of man and restoration of life through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  If you read and study this book you will soon discover, if God used logic, we’d all be dead!

If you were God, how would you respond when your only rule, Genesis 2:16-17,  is quickly broken by your second created being, the first child born on this planet becomes a murderer, Genesis 4, and a few generations later, the only person worth saving is Noah.  Meanwhile, the flood is immediately forgotten by the people of Babel in Genesis 11, your only leader, Abraham, is a habitual liar, Genesis 20:1-2, and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were given over to shameful lusts, Romans 1:26-27.  Like a frustrated parent whose children never listen to them, if God used logic, the earth would have been destroyed once and for all in Genesis 19:29.

Fortunately, for all of mankind, God is love, 1 Corinthians 13.  Logically, God should have given up on us years ago, but He loved us so much that God gave us His one and only son, John 3:16-17.  Despite the wages of sin, Jesus paved a new way toward heaven in Romans 6:23.  Jesus left a final reminder of God’s love with his best friend on earth, John.  According to 1 John 3:16-20′ true love today is found today by living out the love of Jesus.  Like the classic country song by Crossway, “Thank God I’m not Jesus!”  Come alive by following the apostle Paul advice in Galatians 2:20.

by Jay Mankus

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