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Tag Archives: Jesus

The Hidden Years of Jesus

In the life of a Jew, adulthood begins at age twelve.  A ceremony known as a Bar-mitzvah for boys and Bat-mitzvah for girls commences this stage in life.  Luke 2 provides the only glimpse of Jesus’ life as a boy during his Bar-mitzvah.  Following this event, there are 18 years of silence known as the hidden years of Jesus.

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart, Luke 2:51.

Despite this gap of missing time, there are a few things we know about Jesus.  First, Jesus continued in the ways of his earthly father Joseph as a carpenter.  According to Luke, Jesus remained an obedient son, providing for his mother Mary after Joseph’s death.  The next time Jesus appears in the Bible is in the day of John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus’ earthly ministry.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man, Luke 2:52.

There are 3 qualities that highlight the missing years of Jesus,  First, Jesus grew in wisdom by daily taking time alone to pray with his heavenly father.  Second, Jesus’ actions, constant care and nurturing words magnified his stature as a godly man.  Finally, as Jesus keep in step with the Holy Spirit, God favor remained on Jesus in the form of daily blessings.  All these things prepared Jesus for the accounts portrayed in the four gospels which transformed the lives of 11 disciples.

by Jay Mankus

A Remedy For Rushing to Judgment

Before his fall from grace, Bill Crosby was a talented comedian for decades.  One of my favorite stand up acts was his line about having babies.  This particular act was based upon the lack of smell from a newborn’s poo.  His facial expressions change as soon as odor begins to develop over time.  Unfortunately, there are many adults who still don’t believe that their poo stinks.

Does he not see my ways and count my every step? – Job 31:4

During a time of reflection, Job came to a painful reality in life, God sees all of our mistakes.  Nothing is hidden from his sight according to the author of Hebrews 4:13.  Even on a good day, missteps add up, accumulating daily.  This realization should make the most outspoken humbled, dropping the stones about to cast judgment on others, John 8:7.

If I have walked with falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit—Job 31:5

One of the remedies to avoid rushing to judgment was revealed by Jesus to first century followers during his famous Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7.  During a section on judgment, Jesus urges listeners to take the plank out of your own eyes first.  This analogy is symbolic of things which block or cloud your perspective of a situation.  Therefore, the next time you have an urge to rush to judgment, get this area in your own right first before you add your own two cents.

by Jay Mankus

Removing the Stench

As heat and humidity replaces the cold rainy days of Spring, you won’t be able to escape sweating.  This drastic change can leave a toxic odor in the air.  Whether its deodorant or laundry detergent, it might take some time to remove the stench brought on by summer conditions.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

Beyond smell, individuals can stink internally.  According to the apostle Paul, this occurs by abusing your body.  Instead of participating in wholesome activities, there is a temptation to turn to the dark side.  Like the curiosity which possessed Adam and Eve in the Garden, tasting evil is a sure way to become filled with a stench.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God, Ephesians 5:2.

The apostle Paul provides a solution to remove this stench.  While we were still sinners, God sent his son to be a fragrant offering.  Like stains on a carpet, Jesus lived, died and rose again to blot out our imperfections.  The Prophet Isaiah uses the symbolism of snow to cover our sin to make us whole again.  Walk in love and you too will remove the stench of sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Are You Smarter Than a Pharisee?

Producer Mark Burnett teamed up with host Jeff Foxworthy in 2007 for the game show which challenged adults through the knowledge of kids.  Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader began on Fox and is now in syndication.  Like the classic Jeopardy, this entertaining show allowed viewers to see if they are dumber or smarter than the average 5th grade student.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.  “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” – John 3:3-4

If television existed at the turn of the first century, perhaps Are You Smarter Than a Pharisee would have a caught on.  The first contestant approached Jesus at night, afraid of what his friends might think if seen interacting with Jesus.  Thus, in the cover of darkness, Jesus introduces Nicodemus to the concept of becoming born again.  Similar to the early rounds in Foxworthy’s show, the first few questions are suppose to be softballs.  Unfortunately, Nicodemus over thought this one, responding like a pre-schooler.

No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions, Matthew 22:46.

Shortly before Good Friday, religious leaders attempted to trick Jesus, hoping to catch him contradicting one of God’s laws.  Thus, one by one, shrewd individuals threw out brain teasers for Jesus to answer.  To their surprise, Jesus made quick work of various theoretical situations.  Finally, his opponents gave up, walking away in disappointment.  Unfortunately, few people understand the concept of wise, 1 Corinthians 2:5.  If this blog finds you like Nicodemus over analyzing life, may faith in Christ put you over the top so you will become smarter than a Pharisee.

by Jay Mankus

It’s a Yes or No Question

In an ever expanding politically correct world, expressing your true feelings can be dangerous.  If honest, heart felt opinions are shared which don’t fit into the socially accepted ideology, expect Twitter to light up.  When human beings are verbally assaulted, its natural to become coy, hiding what you really believe.  This sets the stage for responses to be on the fence, often giving maybes to a yes or no questions.

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one, Matthew 5:37.

In his sermon on the Mount, Jesus verbalizes his concern over people falling into the temptation to give lukewarm replies.  When asked a question, you shouldn’t confuse or lead people on.  Rather, just come out and keep the vows you make.  Anything that you can’t commit to, just say no.  Any other choice or option is inspired by the Devil.

Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that,” James 4:15.

The earthly brother of Jesus adds to this concept.  However, James encourages individuals to take life one day at a time.  Trying to please people can lead to disappointment or cause someone to be over extended.  Therefore, keep your life in the context of the Lord’s will.  Life is too short to promise this or that.  Rather, live each day as if the Lord is returning today.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

What’s Your Mission or Are You Missing Inaction?

In the 2005 film Pacifier, Vin Diesel plays disgraced Navy Seal Shane Wolfe.  Upon the failure of his previous mission, Shane is reassigned to protect a family whose dead father created a secret weapon known as Ghost.  While government officials seek to locate this device, Shane’s new mission is to protect this family at all cost while examining the home for any clues.  Despite a series of set backs, Shane risks his life to complete this mission.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” Matthew 28:18-20.

Prior to his ascension into heaven, Jesus gave his disciples what is now known as the great commission.  This mission was laid out in three stages.  First, begin in Jerusalem, explaining what has happened to the Jews.  When phase one is complete, move on to Judea and Samaria, spreading the good news to surrounding towns and villages.  Finally, go into all the world to share the hope of salvation found in the words of John 3:16-17.

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,” Acts 1:7-8.

Nearly two thousand years later, God is waiting for you to fulfill a new mission.  Depending upon your personality, talents and spiritual gifts, instructions will vary.  Yet, unless you enlist by beginning your own spiritual journey, Romans 10:9-10, your mission will be unknown.  Lack of clarity helps explain why many are unproductive in this life.  However, as the Holy Spirit begins to reveal to you God’s plan, Galatians 5:25, success is possible.  May the season of Lent awaken souls to see the reality of the mission the Lord wants you to complete while on earth.

by Jay Mankus

My Daily Bread

The concept of daily bread was introduced to Israel following the exodus out of Egypt.  What was meant to be a short journey into the promised land, became a 40 year journey in the wilderness.  To survive the extreme conditions of the desert, God sent manna 6 days a week, daily bread for hungry souls.  When some began to grumble, the Lord sent quail to satisfy starving stomachs.  When people become helpless, God provides daily bread for life.

I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food, Job 23:12.

During his preparation prior to beginning his earthly ministry, Jesus withdrew into a desert.  Although, this region may have differed from the trek the Israelites took, fasting and prayer fueled Jesus.  Thus, as the devil approached with his twisting of the truth, Jesus was aimed with the right attitude.  Subsequently, when hunger pains began to surface, Jesus understood bread only takes you so far.  Rather, God’s Word is daily bread which makes you whole.

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,’ Matthew 4:3-4.

One of the reasons this world appears to be upside down is that many are looking for love in all the wrong places.  Hunger is being satisfied by earthly pleasures.  Yet, this choice is similar to eating sugar instead of a healthy meal.  Subsequently, many lack the spiritual protein found in studying the Word of God.  If individuals would only turn to trusting in the Lord, feasting on daily bread could turn your life around.  Choose the true breakfast of champions, meditating of the Bible daily.

by Jay Mankus