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Tag Archives: prophets

The Final Reveal

Reality Television shows often share a similar format.  Shows like Bar Rescue, Garage Restoration and Home Makeover attempt to give someone a better life.  Candidates are chosen based upon human interest stories, tragic events or unfortunate circumstances.  Producers reveal the past, present and the potential future if given a chance to succeed.  The climax occurs at the final reveal with some sharing an update of life since the show was filmed.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children, Matthew 11:25.

The Bible refers to another reveal.  In the Old Testament, prophets spoke of a coming Messiah, one who would save people from their sins.  After John the Baptist arrived early in the first century, Jews began to wonder, is this the One?  When John heard of these rumors, he quickly silenced them.  John refers to himself as a messenger, preparing the way for the one to come.

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” – Matthew 11:2-3

While in prison, John sent his disciples to receive assurance on his hunch about Jesus.  The verse above highlights the initial question.  Likely frustrated, Jesus replies with a question of his own.  You see, Jesus’ teaching style forced followers to figure things out on their own.  Thus, instead of dumbing things down, Jesus put the onus back on John’s disciples.  What do all these miracles mean?  What do you think?  At the end of chapter 11, Jesus confirms what some suspected, He is the Son of God.  This is the final reveal, the exclamation point of the gospel, “Jesus came to restore that which was lost,” Luke 19:10.

by Jay Mankus

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From That Time On

There were a series of events which took placed before Jesus began his earthly ministry.  Since the prophets of the Old Testament wrote about these specific details, Jesus waited patiently until this day arrived.  Following his baptism, John’s imprisonment and move to the Land of Zebulun and Naphtali, everything was set for Jesus to put God’s plan into action.

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near,” Matthew 4:17.

According to the verse above, Jesus’ message was clear, repent for the kingdom of God is near.  To avoid over kill, Matthew writes this statement once as a simple reminder, from that time on.  Whether Jesus was addressing a large crowd, a small group or speaking one on one, repentance played a crucial role.  This term refers to turning 180 degrees away from addiction, bad habits and unwholesome desires toward the grace and mercy of God.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost, Luke 19:10

During a public conversation heard by several eyewitnesses, Jesus makes a remarkable admission.  Prior to meeting with a repentant tax collector, Jesus reveals his purpose for coming down to earth.  The statement above refers to seeking and saving that which Adam lost in the Garden of Eden.  This is two fold: the authority stolen by Satan and intimacy which Adam and Eve shared with God, walking and talking together day.  If you ever lose your way, don’t forget Jesus’ simply message: repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.

by Jay Mankus

A Vessel of Healing

When the term vessel comes up in a conversation, I immediately visualize a cruise ship, sail boat or the SS Minnow from Gilligan’s Island reruns.  While I have never experienced the amenities of a luxurious cruise, this vessel takes you where you want to go.  Sure, the weather may not always cooperate, but the goal is to arrive at each selected destination.

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work, 2 Timothy 2:21.

When it comes to healing, the Bible refers to vessels as a vehicle for change.  Thus, spiritual vessels must avoid the popular stops and distractions the majority tend to visit.  Jesus uses the analogy of a broad road that attracts a large crowd of people.  However, in the end, this place is empty, void of any permanent satisfaction.

For thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, the sea, the stands, and the rest of the vessels that are left in this city, Jeremiah 27:19.

Unfortunately, if you want to be a vessel of healing, you must accept the fact that this will be a lonely journey.  Jeremiah is nicknamed the weeping prophet as many of the messages he received from God to convey to Israel were negative.  The truth hurts as Jack Nicholson famously states as Colonel Jessup, “you can’t handle the truth.”  Vessels of healing must ignore the temptation to be popular by faithfully obeying the Holy Spirit.  In a world desperate for leadership, healing and truth, step out in faith as the Lord is waiting for A Few Good Men, to become vessels of healing.

by Jay Mankus

Making Room for God’s Servants

Churches, temples and other places of worship ask their members to pitch in.  This typically involves gifts, offerings and tithes to help maintain buildings, ministry needs and running costs.  Yet, in the early days of any congregation, sacrifices and time are crucial.  Those who see the big picture often make room for God’s servants.

She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God.  Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us,” 2 Kings 4:9-10.

In the Old Testament, there’s an account of a woman who came up with a selfless idea.  Not wanting to act alone, she shared this with her husband, convincing him to put an addition on their home.  When construction was completed, she left on open invitation to the prophet Elisha to stay whenever he was in the area.  This act of kindness was repaid by the Lord.

“About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.” “No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!” – 2 Kings 4:16

The symbolism of a barren woman in the Bible represents a lack of blessing from God.  Meanwhile, those who give birth to multiple children are deemed to have God’s favor.  The context of the passage above suggests this woman was well beyond the age of child bearing.  Despite this fact, Elisha promises the impossible, the miracle of a future son.  While not every kind act of repaid in full, the Lord honors those who make room for God’s servants.

by Jay Mankus

 

Let It All Play Out

A prognosticator attempts to forecast what will happen in the future based upon present signs and indicators.  At the beginning of any election or sports season, these experts flood the airways hoping to accurately predict winners and losers.  While some have a better track record than others, before people get carried away its better to let things play out.

For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets, Amos 3:7.

In the game of life, God uses prophets, individuals in tune with the Holy Spirit to shine light on the path which should be taken.  Despite the obvious, the Lord does not force people to go along with his plan.  Rather, free will is offered as a choice to either accept or reject advice provided.  Some need to learn the hard way, like the Israelites who once wandered 40 years in the desert before submitting to the will of God.

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:21.

While the book of Revelation reveals how life on earth ends, this doesn’t give believers permission to throw their hands up in the air and proclaim, “things are out of my control.”  Instead, God wants his children to let it all play out, day after day.  Sure, it would be nice to fast forward, skip death and advance to heaven.  Yet, the Lord has a plan for you and me to leave a lasting impression of a risen Messiah.  Therefore, let tomorrow worry about itself by asking God to guide you daily as a servant of the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

Blood that Speaks a Better Word

To have blood on your hands often refers to being guilty.  Blood is symbolic of life, necessary to keep a human being alive.  However, sometimes an accident, mistake or minor transgression can end the life of an animal, human being or possession.

For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things, Isaiah 59:3.

Another saying refers to being guilty as sin.  In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah found the nation of Israel in denial.  Instead of coming clean by repenting, justification took over.   When caught red handed, most become defensive regardless of how guilty one may be.

To Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel, Hebrews 12:24.

The author of Hebrews uses a unique connotation of blood.  Abel was innocent and pure when jealousy caused his older brother to take his life.  Yet, Jesus, who brought a new covenant introduces this concept.  Instead of going to a great high priest to atone for your sins, Jesus died once and for all sins.  Therefore. his blood speaks a better word, one of forgiveness, redemption and a promise of a new life without guilt or shame.

by Jay Mankus

The History of Faith

History is one of those topics in school that is often neglected.  However, there are moments in time when a student can retrace history which helps make things click.  If you live on the East Coast, remains from the Revolutionary or Civil War are close, possibly a stones throw away.  As for me, I live less than a mile from a famous battle which turned the tide in the Revolutionary War.  Although obscure to many, traveling over this bridge daily can unlock the history to America’s faith.

To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran, Acts 7:3.

Prior to Acts 7, important religious information was left to spiritual forefathers, prophets, kings of Israel, Jesus or one of the 12 disciples.  Perhaps, the average person felt left out, not one of God’s chosen people.  Yet, beginning in Acts 7, the history of faith is conveyed by a relative outsider.  This new voice provides a brief glimpse of how Jews and Christians are linked together by a history of faithful leaders.

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” – Acts 7:51 

In view of Stephen’s speech to Jewish leaders, I wish Americans would begin to retrace their own history of faith.  Political correctness and revisionist historians are trying to hide the spiritual foundation of America’s forefathers.  Just as government officials in the first century were resistant to change, stubborn hearts are preventing many from seeing the truth.  Maybe adults need to take their children on local field trips to a nearby museum or historical site so that the history of faith will be unveiled to those currently grasping at straws.

by Jay Mankus