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Tag Archives: Washington DC

Inside the Ropes

My wife spent several years working for a company which received VIP passes to sporting events. During a four year span, my family and I got infield passes to the Nascar Race at Dover Downs, a.k.a. the Monster Mile. These tickets gave me access to see victory lane, the pit crew area and a meet and greet with a driver, Ryan Newman. Two years later, my wife received Club House passes to Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour event in Washington D.C. During a rain delay, I talked with a caddie who was eating lunch on the patio, waiting for his player to hole a short putt for par on the 18th green. These experiences brought me inside the ropes, getting up close and personal with professional athletes and their inner circle.

When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in [to the city] from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. 27 Following Him was a large crowd of the people, including women who were mourning and wailing for Him. 28 But Jesus, turning toward them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not given birth, and the breasts that have never nursed,’ Luke 23:26-29.

The Bible has several examples of individuals gaining access inside the ropes. The passage above details a man who didn’t volunteer. Rather, Simon became a part of Jesus’ crucifixion story, sent in to carry the cross for Jesus when his strength faltered. Due to Jewish ceremonial rules, crucifixions took place outside the city gates on a hill called Golgotha. The passage above doesn’t detail how long Simon carried Jesus’ cross, but based upon the topography of Jerusalem this likely occurred while going up a steep hill. This is the first and last reference of Simon of Cyrene in the Bible, yet its a subtle way of how the Lord could use individuals who make themselves available to serve God.

I assure you and most solemnly say to you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and arms, and someone else will dress you, and carry you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now He said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after saying this, He said to him, “Follow Me [walk the same path of life that I have walked]!” – John 21:18-19

While Simon of Cyrene was inside the ropes, another Simon, a member of Jesus’ inner circle was hiding. Fearful that they might face the same fate as Jesus, all the disciples except John watched from a distance. Prior to news of Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples were hiding in a room, wondering what they were going to do now that Jesus was dead. According to John 21, Peter went back to his former trade, staying up all night fishing. A man on shore gave Peter insight about where the fish were. Initially skeptical, Peter begrudgingly agrees to follow his advice culminating in a record catch. Immediately following this, Jesus forgives Peter for his public denial. In the passage above, Jesus prophesies about Peter’s death, crucified upside down. As the Holy Spirit provides believers to access inside the ropes, God expects great things to those who follow the same path as Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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My Ultimate Appeal

The 2006 film Amazing Grace details the life of William Wilberforce.  Wilberforce was an English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to stop the Atlantic slave trade.  Despite battling health issues, Wilberforce persisted through initial failed attempts to persuade fellow politicians.  Before his death in 1833, Wilberforce was responsible for steering anti-slave trade legislation through the British parliament.

“The Bible is my ultimate appeal… slavery is contrary to the example and precepts of our body and merciful Redeemer, and of his apostles… Slavery then is a national sin,” Angelina Grimke.

Fourteen years before the Civil War began, a woman from the south felt compelled to make an appeal to Christian women who also lived in the south.  Using the Bible as her main point of reference, Angelina Grimke wrote letters to persuade other believers.  One of these letters is on display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.  Excerpts from the quote above can be found within a display on the Bible’s impact on ending slavery.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery, Galatians 5:1.

The apostle Paul makes a similar appeal during the first century.  However, the context of the passage above refers to spiritual slavery.  Some churches, denominations and leaders used fear, legalism and peer pressure to make followers conform to their demands.  A group known as the Judaizers began to infiltrate the church at Galatia.  This sect held on to Jewish rituals, adding circumcision to salvation by forcing members to comply.  This practice goes against free will as God doesn’t force individuals to do anything.  Rather, God gives people the choice to accept or reject Jesus.  Any teaching that strays from this is a form of slavery according to Paul.  Just as Angelina Grimke makes her ultimate appeal, God longs for souls who hunger and thirst for the Bible to avoid falling prey to ungodly beliefs.

by Jay Mankus

Release Me

After Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles are destroyed by alien space craft in the 1996 movie Independence Day, the president, a few close advisers and another family escape on Air Force One.  Like president Bush on 9/11/01, this president, played by Bill Pullman, search for a safe destination to land.  When Judd Hirsch inadvertently interrupts a staff meeting, his beliefs uncover the truth about Area 51, resulting in a visit to this previously unknown bunker under the desert.  Once Will Smith arrives with an alien whose plane crash landed, the president has his first close encounter shown in the clip above.

The term release means to allow or enable someone to escape.  When an individual or something is imprisoned like this alien, their end goal is to be set free from confinement.  However, when you reason with an alien, demon or evil person, you are unleashing supernatural powers.  Whenever a nation makes a peace treaty with a terrorist or the justice system lets a serial criminal out on parole, the same sinful pattern often continues, returning to the scene of the crime.  This is why Jesus modeled praying to his disciples during his 3 year ministry, displaying how prayer can release souls from the schemes of the devil, Matthew 21:21-22.

Time is an enemy for most citizens of the earth.  Sometimes I feel as if I am always behind, trying to catch up on life, leaving little or no time for prayer.  Instead of concentrating on God the Father like Jesus does in the youtube above, I am distracted by my surroundings.  Thus, I spend more time worrying than I do asking God to release me from the burdens on my heart, Matthew 11:28-30.  Its no wonder than many Christian and seekers of God spend so much of their lives in bondage, addicted and paralyzed by sinful habits.  If you tried everything else without any progress, cry out to God today, relying on His power to release you from the temptations holding you down.

by Jay Mankus

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