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Tag Archives: Solomon

The End of Innocence

As I look around, listen and observe modern culture, I feel like a foreigner living in a strange land.  Maybe I lived a sheltered life up to this point in time?  Yet, the anger expressed, constant acts of disrespect displayed and vulgar vocabulary casually verbalized daily signal the end of innocence.

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble, Proverbs 16:4.

I’m clearly not the first to suggest this.  During the glory years of the nation of Israel, Solomon recognized similar signs.  After reflecting upon why this may be occurring, King Solomon came to the conclusion that everything happens for a reason.  Perhaps, these social cycles serve as a transitional period like the cleansing of the tides in the ocean.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today, Genesis 50:20.

Despite how bleak the future looks on the surface, it’s important to remember the words from Joseph above.  Although his brothers meant to harm him through an act of revenge, God allowed this to occur to lead Joseph to the land of Egypt.  Once the timing was ideal, the Lord elevated Joseph to second in command, preparing the region for seven years of famine.  As you experience turbulent times in life, may the Lord give you the foresight to remain optimistic whatever the situation.  Use the end of innocence as an opportunity to shine the light of Christ into the darkness of this age.

by Jay Mankus

Divine Help

When the average person hears the name Ebenezer, many think of the character in the Christmas Carol.  The depiction of Ebenezer Scrooge as a grumpy and selfish old man taints the biblical meaning of this word.  Subsequently, few know that Ebenezer means divine help.

So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city, Genesis 23:17-18.

When Abraham’s wife died in the Old Testament, he purchases a plot of land.  The unique quality of this terrain included a large cave.  Abraham’s intent was to find a place for his entire family to be buried.  Like a private cemetery, this place became known as the cave of couples.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

Several generations later, Solomon recognized the importance of having a partner.  While he took this concept too far by taking 700 wives, God revealed to Solomon the vital role of a woman.  Although modern feminists continue to argue, complain and fight for woman’s rights, those who study the Bible understand a woman is a divine helper sent by God for men to reach their full potential.

by Jay Mankus

 

An Evening of Enlightenment

When a historian refers to the term enlightenment, its likely bringing up the age of reason spanning from 1620-1789.  This intellectual movement was inspired by books such as Novum Organum and Critique of Pure Reason.  Francis Baker and Immanuel Kant were guiding forces which attempted to change the way people thought about life.  Yet, knowledge is not the only source for enlightenment.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life, Proverbs 9:10-11.

According to Solomon, fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Scholars who hear or read this might suggest “this is absurd.”  Yet, what I think Solomon is eluding to is that individuals who do not fear God become full of themselves, oblivious to the spiritual realm.  Meanwhile, those who fear God develop discernment and insight.  This keen awareness can lead to evenings of enlightenment when you keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple, Psalm 119:130.

Fasting, prayer, reading the Bible and worship are vehicles for receiving enlightenment on earth.  While some people set out to receive enlightenment daily, others are surprised by insight from a fast, moments in prayer, a rhema from the Bible or a moving experience in worship.  While on a retreat in Indiana, I had my own evening of enlightenment.  During the closing ceremony of the night, I received a revelation from God.  One day later, I traveled several hours to meet my girl friend Leanne, proposing shortly afterward.  When you follow through, faithful to God’s calling, enlightenment is not just an evening, its a way of life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Buy the Truth and Don’t Sell It

As commentators, the media and writers continue to exaggerate and stretch the truth toward political lines, its hard for the average American to know what is right.  Subsequently, a climate has been established for individuals to unknowingly embrace lies.  Its no wonder that America has become a nation divided by a lack of clarity.

Buy the truth and do not sell it— wisdom, instruction and insight as well, Proverbs 23:23.

According to Solomon, truth is something that must be sought out.  The apostle Paul takes this process one step further, to test everything you hear and read.  While you should be able to trust certain people and outlets, if you don’t question anything you are opening yourself to becoming vessels of propaganda.

Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21.

Romans 10:17 reveals the faith comes from hearing and reading words of the Bible.  Without a daily intake of the Bible, anyone is vulnerable to embracing and believing lies of the Devil.  Therefore, don’t let another day go by as a low information voter.  Rather, buy the truth and when you obtain it, don’t sell it!

by Jay Mankus

A Begrudging Host

As a son of an immigrant, I learned to be frugal.  My grandmother kept all of her beds and couches in their original plastic to preserve these pieces of furniture as long as possible.  Eating out was not a regular option, only done on special occasions a few times each year.  The notion of wasting money was a foreign concept to me.

Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies; Proverbs 23:6.

Now as I parent, I have softened some of my childhood beliefs.  Yet, one of my biggest struggles occurs while on vacation.  After working hard to save enough money for Spring Break, a week in Florida can break the bank quickly.  Whether its taking the family to a Phillies game in Clearwater, going out to a nice restaurant or visiting an amusement park, it doesn’t take much to blow a quick $500.  When I do, I become a begrudging host.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5.

For the needy, poor and unemployed, knowing where the money will come from for your next bill, meal or mortgage is scary.  Any kind of uncertainty can move the unstable into a state of panic.  In view of this, its essential to remember the words of Solomon by placing your trust in a firm foundation.  Though not everyone will be blessed with riches, when you do have the opportunity to give, do so with a cheerful heart.

by Jay Mankus

 

Finding Life This Christmas

Christmas, Santa Claus and presents excite a children with exceeding anticipation for one day each year, December 25th.  Meanwhile, preparations for this same day can be overwhelming for grandparents, family and individuals trying to work as much as possible to pay for all these expenses.  On a day meant for Joy to the World, many struggle to find meaning and purpose for life.

Whoever strays from the path of prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead, Proverbs 21:16.

In a mad dash to please selfish and spoiled children, the reason for this season gets lost.  Crowded malls, congested roads and stress can suck the life out of positive people.  Subsequently, its easy to stray off the path of prudence, turning a joyful soul into Ebenezer Scrooge in a matter of weeks.  Unless you can snap out of this, you might end up at the end of the road, reserved for the company of the dead.

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor, Proverbs 21:21.

According to Solomon, there is a way to find life this Christmas and throughout the year.  Similar to Jesus’ words in the sermon of the Mount, Matthew 6:33-34, this transformation begins with seeking God first and His righteousness.  One of the byproducts of this journey involves love as a formerly cold heart is revived by the Holy Spirit.  When individuals begin to seek the Spirit of Christmas 365 days a year, honor and prosperity follows.  Like Bill Murray in Scrooged, may you find life this Christmas.

by Jay Mankus

Someone Else Needs This More Than You

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I received new insight about the hand of God in adversity.  I caught a glimpse of a woman reflecting upon her childhood.  After making the cheer leading squad as a 7th grader, she was cut in 8th grade.  Sobbing in her room that night, the words her father shared transformed her perspective about life.  “Honey, you had a great time last year and you’re a confident person.  Perhaps, there is another girl who is struggling with her self esteem and needs to be a cheer leader more than you.”

A person’s steps are directed by the LORD.  How then can anyone understand their own way? – Proverbs 20:24

A former colleague of mine were reminiscing yesterday at Starbucks about our years in teaching.  Some days were good, others bad and there were many that didn’t make much sense at all.  Maybe this is what Solomon is implying in the passage above.  While individuals may think they are in control,  the Lord throws the occasional curve ball in to mix things up, directing people closer to where God wants you to be.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that,” James 4:14-15.

From the time I entered high school to my days in graduate school, every job that I applied for I got.  For some reason, God blessed me over and over again like the favor of Joseph in the Old Testament.  Yet, when I moved back to Delaware, God has sprinkled in failure more than once.  While this could be due to my age, a lack of dedication or a faith that is slipping, there is one good logical explanation for all the pain that I have endured.  Someone else needed what I wanted more than me.

by Jay Mankus