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Tag Archives: theology

Don’t Let Feelings Control Your Theology

Theology is the science of God; the study of beliefs, doctrines and theories based upon the Bible. Meanwhile, feelings are a natural reaction to your emotional state. Under duress, hardship or trials, feelings will clash with your theology. Depending upon your state of mind, words may come out of your mouth that contradict what you actually believe. Thus, when push comes to shove, never let feelings control your theology.

But their report seemed to them like idle talk and nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Stooping [at the small entrance] and looking in, he saw only the linen wrappings; and he went away, wondering about what had happened, Luke 24:11-12.

Three days after Jesus’ death, a group of women are eager to tell the disciples about their encounter with two angels. One of these eye witnesses is Jesus’ mom, insisting that the Lord has risen from the dead. Instead of rejoicing, these men let their feelings control their theology. Subsequently, the disciples accused these women of gossip, hearsay and non-sense. Yet, Peter ran to the tomb hoping that these women were telling the truth.

When Mary came [to the place] where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who had come with her also sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit [to the point of anger at the sorrow caused by death] and was troubled, John 11:32-33.

About a year earlier, two sisters found themselves in a similar situation. Their brother had died, succumbing to a fatal illness. However, Martha, reached out to Jesus prior to his death, begging him to come heal Lazarus. When Jesus finally arrived, Mary, the youngest, accused Jesus of not caring and essentially blaming him for Lazarus’ death. While these women let their emotions control their comments, Jesus stayed focused. Jesus gave commands to roll back the tombstone, stood death in the face and brought Lazarus back to life. This is an example of what can happen when belief, conviction and faith never waver.

by Jay Mankus

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What a Waste of Time

During my time pursuing a master’s in theology, I came across an interesting concept.  The Triangle Theory is a Time Management exercise to help examine where your time on earth is spent.  If you draw an isosceles triangle on a blank page of paper, the bottom represents 24 hours in a day.  Depending upon your sleep schedule, 1/3 or 1/4 of your life is spent sleeping.  School or work will take over 8-10 hours per day, leaving a few precious hours to enjoy life, purse passions or relax.   If you want a true barometer of how your time is spent, keep track of 16-18 hours each weekend that most Americans have.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours! 25 Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a crown that withers, but we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither], 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.

Last year I took my family out to lunch, explaining the Triangle Theory as we waited for our food.  Without being too anal, I urged my children to begin to keep track of how they are currently investing their free time.  The purpose of this discussion was to encourage my daughter and youngest son to become vision oriented, focusing their attention and time on fulfilling dreams.  Not leaving myself exempt from this, I began to share the sacrifices that I need to make to write a 100 page movie script each winter, usually lasting until late spring.  Despite how diligent I try to be, I regularly waste an entire weekend to indulge my human nature rather than focus on becoming an accomplished screen writer.

Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing]. 27 But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service], 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.

One troubling question remains, if I truly want to pursue a career in writing, why do I waste so much time?  Perhaps, my former hobby as a long distance runner may help answer my own question.  The thought of running miles never made sense to most of my friends.  Running is a battle of the body and mind, causing most to quit before the love of running is conceived.  The apostle Paul uses a similar analogy, stressing the strict discipline to persist until your ultimate goal is achieved.  While its not easy and you will have more failures than success, may the Triangle Theory serve as a tool to enable you to seize the free time that you have each day.  May you run in such a way, suffering now, as to receive crowns in heaven God has set aside for you.

by Jay Mankus

Why is this Separation Necessary?

During my introduction to a variety of church denominations in high school, I was naïve to the drastic differences that existed.  Since I was taught to focus on religious traditions, I was accepting to other ones that I didn’t know about or understand.  Some of my closest friends were Mormons who didn’t drink or smoke, a positive influence for any parent worried about their children getting involved with the wrong crowd.  When I got to college, there was a greater emphasis on theology, specific beliefs, doctrines and interpretations of the Bible.  This biblical teaching that I absorbed confused me, forcing me to re-examine former beliefs that I held.  I guess you can say I was stuck somewhere between loving others for who they are and confronting ungodly practices that strayed from the Bible.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.   For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,” Matthew 10:34-35. 

Today, Universalism has been embraced to avoid offending other churches, denominations and religions.  The mindset behind this ideology uses love as justification and rationalization, claiming “surely a loving God would not condemn his own created children.  This worldview suggests there are many paths to heaven, even if it means accepting other religions that contradict or stray from biblical accounts.  During a blunt conversation with his disciples, Jesus reveals the division that will occur within families that hold different religious beliefs.  This isn’t a matter of if, but when this spiritual rift will arise.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,” Matthew 25:31-32.

In the Parable of the Sheep and Goats, Jesus unveils a glimpse of what to expect in the future.  At the end of time, God will separate sheep from the goats.  Based upon John 14:6 and Acts 4:12, Jesus is the only path, the sole way to heaven.  Thus, the sheep are symbolic of those who accept Jesus into their hearts, Romans 10:9-10, enduring persecution for the sake of Christ.  Meanwhile, the goats are individuals who try to find another way to heaven, straying from the instructions in the Bible.  Coming to grips with this separation is tough, especially if loved ones are stuck on the other side.  Yet, I’d rather someone tell me the truth now, while I am alive, than after it’s too late.  Hopefully, this explains why this separation is necessary.

by Jay Mankus

 

Brain Washed, Deceived or Set Free?

When I was in high school, theology was not something I addressed with people from different religious backgrounds.  Thus, I hung out in the Mormon Church playing volleyball, went to a Methodist youth group and was a member of a Roman Catholic church.  Unfortunately, this atmosphere changed as I entered college.  Religious leaders often went out of their way exposing the flaws and shortcomings of each faith.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15.

This climate leads to one of three responses.  Those who change their beliefs are either brain washed, deceived by false teachers or set free.  This commonly held mindset ended several relationships I had with individuals from different faiths.  On one occasion, I discovered I was placed on the do not talk to list by one cult, afraid I might convince members to leave this church.  In a quest to prove whose God is true, division often ruins friendships.

Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander, 1 Peter 3:16.

I’m assuming the context of the 2 passages above refer to a similar situation.  Peter understood that when you are debating or discussing differences in religions that you must be respectful.  Any type of arrogance, pride or smugness will offend those you are trying to convince to come over to your side of an issue.  Perhaps, individuals should follow in the footsteps of God who offers free will, not forcing anyone to believe.  Regardless of how passionate you may be, remember to talk to others who you disagree with gentleness and respect.  This honors the Lord and helps others keep an open mind in the future.

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

Life Without Sight?

When I first moved to Delaware, I worked 2 jobs and went back to school to try to finish my Masters in Theology.  After 2 successful years, I began to develop some eye issues.  Unfortunately, the strain on my eyes was too much as I was diagnosed with iritis 15 years ago.  While dropping out of school helped, its been a decade of ups and downs, unsure if my medication would improve my condition.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise, Jeremiah 17:4.

In the past 6 months, one of my eyes has been unresponsive for some reason.  Thus, I’m facing a dangerous scenario of either surgery or possible losing my sight in this eye.  For someone planning on writing a movie script per year in retirement, this is a major problem.  Thus, one has to wonder why this trial has knocked on my door.  This is where faith, science and the human body collide.

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven, James 5:15.

Despite the odds confronting me, I am still holding out hope for a miracle.  As I wait a month for my next check up, all I can do is be a good patient by following my doctor’s instructions.  Meanwhile, I will lift my situation up to the great healer in the sky.  The anticipation and waiting will be tough, yet I serve a living God who has a record of restoring sight to the blind.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Rules Without Reason

As a former high school teacher, I spent ten years hearing teenagers complain about rules without reason.  While students enjoy testing a teacher’s limits, pushing the envelope as far as possible, these complaints aren’t without merit.  Sometimes I established rules that didn’t make sense.  Following a methods course in Classroom Dynamics, I began to see the error of my way.  Thus, I started to alter, change and eliminate any rules without reason.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28

Unfortunately, the government not only thrives on creating rules without reason, new legislation often provides positions to enforce these new policies.   While cell phone and texting laws are practical, some states have made it illegal to eat and drive.  In fact if you want a big gulp from 7 Eleven, local officials are trying to prevent individuals from purchasing anything over 24 ounces.  It’s no wonder that Frank Baum wrote the Wizard of Oz to illustrate the empty promises made by the United States government.  Perhaps, a candidate in 2016 will run on the platform of ending rules without reason.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God, Romans 13:1.

The government is not the only culprit, as the church is not far behind, relying on theology written several hundred or in some cases thousands of years ago.  In an attempt to force a congregation to adhere to a denominations’ beliefs, teetotalism can surface.  This stringent enforcement contradicts free will, resulting in members feeling like they have the power to police others in the church.  Perhaps, its time to exchange religion for a personal relationship with God.  In doing so, the grace of God will flow as rules without reason are replaced with faith.

by Jay Mankus

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