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Helping the Oppressed

According to a 2011 study, nine millions Americans struggle with sexual addiction.  Some of the affected are former victims of abuse, rape or were exposed to pornography early in life.  Depending upon the degree or severity of these addictions, it’s clear that someone needs to be the hands and feet of Jesus to help the oppressed.

Flee from sexual immorality.  Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body, 1 Corinthians 6:18.

While all addictions should be taken seriously, sexually immorality is different, causing individuals to sin against their own body.  Like any temptation in life, the more you indulge by giving in, the harder it becomes to stop.  Thus, anyone who loses control by engaging in sexual addiction becomes held hostage by lust, unable to resist time after time.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death, James 1:13-15.

The context of the passage above uses a fishing illustration.  A good fisherman knows where the fish are and how to lure their out of hiding.  In the same way, Satan knows your weakness and how to entice you to take the bait until you are hooked on sin.  In view of this reality, three things must change to help the oppressed.  First, any addict must purge themselves from the environment that leads to sin.  Second, you must admit and confess publicly that you have a problem.  Finally, you need to find an accountability partner to insure that a relapse does not occur.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another, Proverbs 27:17.

After graduating college, I met a friend in Ohio who was seduced by his baby sister when he was twelve.  Following a young adult Bible Study one night, we began to open up to each other about our current spiritual struggles.  In the next few weeks, deep conversations continued without any spiritual healing.  Frustrated by a lack of progress, the two of us agreed to enter into an accountability relationship, meeting weekly at a restaurant.  This wasn’t easy as topics like masturbation, pornography and sexual immorality were brought up.  However, if you want to be completely healed from any type of addiction, tough love is essential.  Therefore, if you want to help someone you know who is oppressed, make an effort to connect weekly so that the path toward healing may begin.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Go There or Else

There is a new movement emerging from members of the media, seeking to destroy naysayers, opponents and those possessing opposing worldviews.  This rush to judgment ignores the concept of innocent until proven guilty.  Instead of waiting until the facts to come out during a trial, the severity of recent accusations are more than enough to presume guilt.  Where did this mentality come from and what does the Bible say to address this issue?

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities, Psalm 103:10.

According to David, God does not treat human beings as they deserve.  According to Psalm 103:12, God’s love is infinite, “as far as the east is from the west.”  If God is willing to show forgiveness, grace and mercy to undeserving sinners, why is the mainstream media so quick to condemn.  Have the elite been offended by conservatives in the past?  Is this recent response some sort of pay back for previous hypocritical actions?  Whatever the reason, sometimes you have to use common sense by replying, “don’t go there.”

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times, Matthew 18:21-22.

There was an unspoken belief that forgiveness should be limited in the first century.  Sensing a good opportunity to address this topic, Jesus shares the parable of the Unmerciful Servant.  Attempting to shatter any stereotypes on forgiveness, Jesus illustrates God’s mercy on those who are unable to pay back earthly debts accrued over time.  God the Father bestows grace on those who beg for mercy.  Yet, lip service is disregarded unless individuals reciprocate mercy by doing to others as you want others to do unto you.  In other words, don’t go there or else.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins, Matthew 6:14-15.

The or else part of this equation was addressed by Jesus earlier in the book of Matthew.  At the conclusion of the portion of Scripture known as the Lord’s Prayer or Our Father, Jesus emphasizes the conditional aspect of forgiveness.  Yes, I did say conditional, based upon how you treat other people.  In next chapter, Matthew 7 builds upon this concept proclaiming, ” the measure to which you judge others will be used against you.”  Therefore, despite whatever differences you may have against others, make sure your remember to live out the Golden Rule.  Don’t seek revenge or the grace of God will turn it’s back on you.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

You Can’t Run From Your Past

As an adult, you can learn from previous mistakes.  Depending upon the degree of your past transgressions, the healing process varies.  Those who succumb to addiction at some point in life will have a much tougher road to recovery than individuals who just flirted with temptation.  In the end, you can run, but you can’t hide from your past.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9.

The disciple whom Jesus loved makes an interesting observation in the verse above.  Your degree of faith is based upon your level of sincerity.  Those who open up about dark periods of their past are considered genuine.  Yet, many remain silent, afraid that previous lapses in judgments will cause others to abandon current relationships.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working, James 5:16.

Since recent allegations made by women against Alabama Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore, the media is assuming that these accusations are true.  I don’t know Judge Moore nor can I speak on his behalf.  Nonetheless, I know that everyone has secret scars.  These imperfections are symbolic of periods in life that you are ashamed of, hoping no one finds out.  Yet, James the earthly brother of Jesus urges individuals to come forward by acknowledging any unconfessed sin.

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy, Proverbs 28:13.

Whether you are talking about a public figure, Hollywood star or yourself, the Bible applies to everyone.  According to Solomon, one of the wisest individuals to walk the face of the earth, mercy is dependent upon confession.  Jesus reinforces this concept at the end of the Lord’s prayer, Matthew 6:14-15.  Therefore, if you want to escape the demons of your past, confess any deeds of darkness so that grace, healing and mercy will be found.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Character Education

As societies evolve, the meaning of words change to reflect this evolution.  In the early stages of American history, character referred to personality, nature and qualities.  One of the synonyms for character is ethos, where we derive the Greek term ethics.  Ethics is the system of philosophy where individuals develop their basis for defining right and wrong.  Today, character education focuses on an initiative to foster global citizenship.

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out, Proverbs 10:9.

Based upon the United Nations global education initiative, character education is based upon three core philosophies: humanism, socialism and utilitarianism.  Utilitarianism teaches actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority.  Socialism advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.  Finally, humanism denies the presence of a Creator, seeking solely rational ways of solving human problems.  Signed by former president Obama, this curriculum is now being implemented into public education within K-12 schools across the country.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:2.

When I first heard of Character Education on the Rush Limbaugh Show, I thought this sounds good, a step in the right direction.  Yet, as I began to hear and read more about this as a former teacher, I was horrified.  This attempt to erase the biblical influences within the foundation of America is unsettling.  Nonetheless, unless parents begin to challenge what their children are being taught, the true history of America will be forgotten.  May this blog awaken believers to stand up to this indoctrination by studying and teaching God’s divine intervention upon the founding fathers of this country.

by Jay Mankus

 

How Long is this Going to Last?

Fifteen years is a little more than a third of my life to date.  Human beings go through a myriad of change over a decade and a half.  However, how would you respond if God promised you something and you didn’t receive this until fifteen years later.  The anticipation to see this fulfilled would be grueling.  The average person might become frustrated, impatient or may even lose hope.  The passage below written by David details his long wait between being anointed by Samuel as king and actually becoming king of Israel more than fifteen years later.  This nerve wrecking period brought David to his knees to pray.

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! – Psalm 31:15

When it comes to driving a car, some possess the mindset “ride it until it dies.”  The only lemon I ever brought lasted a few months.  After a small leak in one of my hoses spilled on to the engine, this vehicle was toast, abandoned at a gas station in New Jersey.  Meanwhile, sometimes you are fortunate to possess a car that lasts much longer than it should.  Despite nearing the 200,000 mile mark, my Pontiac Vibe keeps ticking, approaching it’s fifteenth birthday.  Nonetheless, I don’t know how long this car is going to last.

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night, Psalm 90:4.

In the passage above, a Psalmist makes an interesting statement about life.  This individual received some sort a vision of the past, connecting it with the future.  Unfortunately, most people place so much emphasis on time that they lose sight of the present.  While it would be nice to have knowledge of the future, savoring the here and now is a more noble cause.  Therefore, don’t allow anticipation to spoil your mood.  Rather, take life one day at a time so that wondering how long life is going to last doesn’t steal your hope, joy and peace.

by Jay Mankus

Looking for Answers in ALL the Wrong Places

Between self help books and talk shows, these avenues have become popular sources for finding answers to problems in life.  Internet sites like You Tube have a plethora of videos for almost everything that you need to do around the house.  Instead of seeking the advice of godly counsel, elders, parents or guardians, most people are becoming self-sufficient formulating answers on their own.

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, Psalm 13:2-3.

In the days of his youth, David spent the majority of his time as a shepherd.  Watching over his families flock, David regularly stayed out in the fields overnight, guarding these sheep.  There wasn’t a book on how to ward off bears or wolves.  Rather, David was forced to trust in the Lord, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide this flock to green and safe pastures.  Like in the passage above, David turned to prayer when he didn’t know what to do.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person, Colossians 4:6.

Unfortunately, I tend to get distracted, looking for answers to my problems in all the wrong places.  Instead of finding comfort, joy and peace, I regularly experience disappointment.  According to the apostle Paul, there is only one source who leads to peace, Philippians 4:6-7.  However, Jesus told his disciples the only way to find life is lose it.  Anyone not one hundred percent devoted to God has a tendency to go back to the ways of the world when hardship or suffering arises.  Therefore, if you’re tired of uncertainty, start looking upward toward heaven instead of within .

by Jay Mankus

 

 

When the Future Looks Bleak God Does Intervene

There are many ways to explain favorable outcomes in life.  The confident will pass this off as hard work, preparation and flawless execution.  The humble often give others credit, expressing gratitude and thanksgiving for their success.  Meanwhile, there will be some who face a bleak future, with the odds stacked against them.  For those who stave off death, endure hardship or witness divine intervention, God’s timing is perfect.

That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him, Esther 6:1.

In the Old Testament passage above, Mordecai’s future didn’t look good.  If everything went as planned, Mordecai was scheduled to be hung the next day.  An enemy of Haman, second in command to the king, hatred and jealousy of this outspoken Jew resulted in his sentence to death.  Hours away from this fate, God’s providence kicked into action.  The king couldn’t sleep, his subject selected a book to read, Mordecai was mentioned and it was discovered nothing was done to honor him for exposing a plot to assassinate the king.

It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.  “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked.  “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered, Esther 6:2-3.

When the queen, Esther threw a banquet for Haman and the king the next day, Mordecai received the honor that Haman desperately sought.  This twist of fate altered the outcome of Mordecai’s life, changing places with Haman.  Seizing the opportunity, queen Esther revealed Haman’s hidden plot to kill the Jews living in the kingdom.  In twenty four hours, the tables were turned as good triumphed over evil, sending Haman to the gallows set up for Mordecai.  In view of this historic event, don’t forget that when the future looks bleak, God can and will intervene.

by Jay Mankus