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Tag Archives: wisdom

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

Don’t Be So Hysterical

Crazed, distraught and frantic are words associated with hysterical.  In this day and age, if you post, say or tweet something contrary to the secular worldview, the mainstream media goes bonkers.  Instead of participating in an honest debate of ideals, individuals on the wrong side of political correctness are attacked, defamed and trashed publicly.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15.

One of Jesus’ disciples explains the appropriate way to convince others who currently disagree with you.  Peter talks about being prepared for various questions opposing views may ask you.  This requires research, study and words of wisdom.  Nonetheless, when someone refuses to come to your side, gentleness and respect must be offered.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so, Acts 17:11.

As a former teacher, its sad to see the immaturity that exists when it comes to debate in this country.  College students who are fearful of opposing worldviews are offered safe spaces on campuses to protect their minds.  Meanwhile, conservative voices are being silenced, with many having their freedom of speech revoked and shut down by protesters.  If only more people would emulate the practices of the Bereans perhaps this current state of hysteria might end.  As for now, apply the words of Peter by sharing your views with gentleness and respect.

by Jay Mankus

The Breath of the Almighty

One of my common expressions at work is “that’s a strange one.”  The context is based upon items and products that I stumble upon which I have never heard of before or seen.  Many people have the same response to the Bible, especially when you read a term that doesn’t make any sense initially.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

When the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, he makes a distinction between the Sinful Nature and the Spirit.  If you read chapter five from the beginning you will find there is an internal battle going on.  What you want to do and what God desires for you to carry out.  Those who live according to the world’s standards give into self gratification.  Meanwhile, those who truly decide to follow Christ must internally die to self to allow God’s Spirit to reign.

But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand, Job 32:8.

Elihu of the Old Testament is the first person to make this comparison.  Yet, Elihu is referring to signs of spiritual understanding.  When someone demonstrates or speaks words of wisdom, its not just the Spirit within mankind.  Rather, godliness comes forth through the breath of the Almighty God.  May this be your goal in life by yielding control so that the Holy Spirit will shine through you.

by Jay Mankus

A Sign of Understanding

As a former high school teacher, I learned the importance of reading the body language of my students.  When I began to see stares of cluelessness, I knew it was time to slow down and repeat the point I was attempting to make.  After attending a seminar as part of continuing education, I adopted a new concept into my classroom.  Following a process of nominees, volunteering and voting, each class chose a representative to be the voice.  This person helped me comprehend who was lost and what needed more review prior to tests.

And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding,” Job 28:28.

In the spiritual realm, God has His own criteria for signs of understanding.  Job uses similar language to Solomon in the book of Proverbs, but adds another element at the end.  It’s one thing to have knowledge about a topic.  Yet, unless you apply what you know it’s meaningless.  Thus, the fear of the Lord is displayed when individuals shun evil.  According to Job, those who possess understanding steer clear of any traces of evil.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction, Proverbs 1:7.

When I was younger, I often heard parents and teachers repeat the same saying.  “If you play with fire long enough, eventually you will get burned.”  Based upon the verse above, fools refuse to listen to advice.  This leads naive individuals to be scarred by powers of darkness.  When evil is not shunned, the judgment of those who play with fire become clouded.  In view of this scenario, don’t just know what is right, apply God’s principles by shunning evil.

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

Don’t Make a Big Deal About It

In this current age of social media, immediate reactions and thoughts are often broadcast to the world to read.  However, now with the recent addition of Facebook Live, individuals can stream video live that is unfiltered.  When some try to attain 15 seconds of fame like the 4 teenagers in Chicago, that which was meant for good can be corrupted by an axis of evil.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings, Proverbs 25:2.

During times of uncertainty, people tend to seek out advice, guidance or wisdom to figure out what to do next.  2 Kings 18-20 details the reign of Hezekiah, the king of Judah.  Described as one of the godliest leaders in the Bible, Hezekiah wasn’t satisfied with the pieces of the Old Testament he had access to, seeking out previous writings of Solomon.  One of the suggestions Hezekiah discovered was when something occurs, try not to make a big deal about this.

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense, Proverbs 19:11.

To extract what Solomon means by the phrase “conceal a matter,” you have to go back a few chapters to understand the true meaning.  Based upon the context of chapter 19, the intent refers to avoid over-reacting.  In the heat of the moment, human nature tempts people to retaliate.  Yet, those who practice self-control by restraining your emotions, it is to God’s glory.

by Jay Mankus