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Tag Archives: The kingdom of heaven

$Free Speech?

Twitter made it official today: banning the phrase “illegal aliens.”  Twitter officials believe this expression is a form of hate speech.  This social media giant announced on Thursday, September 13th before noon that anyone who tries to use this language in a tweet will be blocked, shadowed banned or have their account deleted.  After hearing this news update, one has to wonder who is deciding what is acceptable and unacceptable?  What criteria, measuring stick or standard is being applied to determine free speech?

And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, Acts 4:29.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution may have something to say against Twitter’s decision.  This document prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or to petition for a governmental redress of grievances.  While Twitter is a private company, future lawsuits by anyone discriminated against could open the door for government regulation of social media sites like a public utility.  Perhaps, this reality caused Twitter to reconsider, reversing their decision Thursday night.

Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance, Acts 28:31.

During the first century, the Roman Emperor Nero began to attack, imprison and persecute Christians.  In the beginning of the book of Acts, a Jewish zealot named Saul oversaw the execution of the apostle Stephen.  Despite the fear of death, the Holy Spirit emboldened these followers of Christ to fulfill the great commission, Matthew 28:16-20.  These saints didn’t have the luxury of freedom of speech.  Rather, early Christians boldly proclaimed the kingdom of heaven, trusting God to protect them from their enemies.  May modern believers learn from their example, having the conviction to share what is on your heart.

by Jay Mankus

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Shutting the Door in People’s Faces

In the days of my youth, I can recall several emotional outbursts I displayed at home.  Whether I was throwing a tantrum or simply in a bad mood, anger influenced me to occasionally slam my bedroom door.  Without saying a word, this action was symbolic of telling whoever I was upset with to shut up.  Once inside, I cried my eyes out, stewed or played music to calm me down.  One thing I quickly learned as I child is that shutting the door doesn’t make your problems go away.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to,” Matthew 23:13.

The expression shutting the door has various meanings.  One prelude to this refers to showing someone the door.  In other words, you are no longer welcome.  Prior to the internet, door to door salesmen were a weekly occurrence.  Anyone without a peek hole on the front door would open their door, make a quick assessment and when annoyed, shut the door in these people’s faces.  Today, telemarketers don’t literally have the door shut in their faces.  Rather, a click abruptly ends any chance for making a sale.

“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name, ” Revelation 3:8.

On one occasion, Jesus rebuked spiritual leaders of his day for caring more about being religious than introducing the lost to the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus didn’t hold back his feelings, accusing the Pharisees of shutting the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.  Sometimes the elite develop a perfectionist mindset.  If this attitude goes unchecked, people can lose sight of what’s important in life.  Therefore, as Christmas approaches, make sure you don’t shut the door in the face of people in need.

by Jay Mankus

It’s How Well Your Faith Lasts

John Deere came up with a catchy slogan a few years ago to increase sales of their newest riding mower.  “It’s not how fast you mow; it’s how well you mow fast” commercials took on a life of their own, evolving over time.  This branding of a product has led to name recognition, accomplishing the goal of John Deere’s advertising campaign.

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field, Matthew 13:31.

In the first century, there was another individual who was well ahead of his time.  Speaking to crowds using parables, Jesus painted such a vivid picture with his stories that his words left a lasting impression.  Instead of using a used car salesman approach, Jesus related everything to heaven in plain and simple terms.  In the parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus wanted everyone in the crowd to realize, “it’s not how big you are; it’s how well your faith lasts.”

Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches,” Matthew 13:32.

Back in the days of the prophet Samuel, human nature compelled the nation of Israel to seek a leader who was handsome, strong and wise.  Thus, the Jews rejected God as their king, turning to man in the form of Saul.  Not much has changed several thousand years later as appearance, stature and size trumps what is in your heart.  To avoid repeating the past mistakes of history, make sure your main priority in life is that your faith lasts.

by Jay Mankus

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