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Tag Archives: character

When Right is Wrong and Wrong is Right

In any social setting, there are preconceived thoughts based upon appearance, attire, background, education, intellect and wealth.  If character is excluded from this set of standards, people can be misled, confusing right from wrong and vice versa.  Like Samuel waiting to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king of Israel, the heart is often overlooked.  While David’s brothers fit the physical features of a leader, David’s heart set him apart from his siblings.  Thus, Samuel told Jesse to call his youngest son from the fields, led by the Holy Spirit to anoint David.

Now there was a woman in the city who was [known as] a sinner; and when she found out that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume; 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began wetting His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and [respectfully] kissed His feet [as an act signifying both affection and submission] and anointed them with the perfume, Luke 7:37-38.

Several hundred years later, another famous anointing took place.  Unfortunately, the disciples were fooled by the tarnished reputation of an unwelcomed guest.  To make matters worse, this woman broke and wasted a valuable vial of perfume.  The actual worth of this bottle was equivalent to nearly a years pay for a first century laborer.  This display blinded religious leaders from the true intentions of this woman.  Staring at the spilled perfume as if it was a load of cash blowing in the wind, the man who invited Jesus over to his house is offended by Jesus’ interaction with this prostitute.  Subsequently, in Simon’s eyes right is wrong and wrong is right.

Now when [Simon] the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him, that she is a [notorious] sinner [an outcast, devoted to sin],” Luke 7:39

Over reactions like Simon are carried out within homes every night in the 21st century.  Instead of seeing things for what they are, preconceived notions blind decent human beings from the truth.  Thus, knee jerk reactions lead to conflict, division and tension within Christian homes.  Perhaps, everyone needs to become more like Jesus, expecting the best in others regardless of past or present reputations.  May this passage of the Bible speak to your soul, opening your heart to forgive, forget and extend God’s grace and mercy to others.  If you don’t, you too may confuse right from wrong and wrong with right.

by Jay Mankus

Jesus’ Last Will and Testament

A will is a legal document that allows you, among other things, to designate how and to whom your property is distributed.  Prior to the formation of modern companies like Legal Zoom, the Old Testament reveals the inheritance process for Jewish families.  Jewish inheritance customs were linked to family blood lines as detailed in Numbers 27:8-11.  The parable of the Prodigal Son refers to the financial breakdown with the oldest son receiving a greater percentage of wealth.  In the case of Jesus, his clothes were decided by chance, as soldiers cast lots to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy.

So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it will be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture, “They divided My outer clothing among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” 25 So the soldiers did these things.  But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, His mother’s sister [Salome], Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, John 19:24-25.

Prior to his death on a cross, Jesus’ mother was the only family member to believe, remaining faithful to the end.  Since his father Joseph died years earlier, Mary was Jesus’ sole concern.  After members of his family referred to him as a crazy man who had lost his mind in Mark 3:21, Jesus embraced those who did the will of his heavenly father.  These are the individuals who Jesus called his family.  Yet, Jesus’ last will and testament was directed to John, handing the care of Mary over to him.  The passage below suggests that Mary moved into John’s house, staying with him until her death.

26 So Jesus, seeing His mother, and the disciple whom He loved (esteemed) standing near, said to His mother, “[Dear] woman, look, [here is] your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple (John), “Look! [here is] your mother [protect and provide for her]!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own home, John 19:26-27.

Beyond any possession that you may pass onto family, there is something more valuable.  The legacy that you leave behind will either inspire or deflate your children, family and spouse.  This mark can’t be faked as time will reveal the true nature of your character.  In a sense, Jesus’ legacy was carried on by 11 disciples and first century apostles.  Delegating, preparing and teaching these individuals has kept the good news of Jesus Christ alive today.  As you draw near the grave, may the Holy Spirit prompt you to develop a sense of urgency so that your faith will be passed on to the next generation.

by Jay Mankus

You Have to Experience the Bad Days Before You Can Appreciate the Good Ones

Today, I had another visit to my eye doctor.  This is my tenth appointment in the past 12 months.  The file on both of my eyes could be made into a book, going back more than twenty years.  While this monthly adventure has taken me on a wild ride of emotions, I have learned a valuable lesson along the way.  You have to experience the bad days before you can appreciate the good ones.

“He feels only the pain of his own body, and he mourns only for himself,” Job 14:22.

For someone hoping to turn a hobby into a full time screen writing career, vision is essential.  Yet, some days I wake up to blurred and watery eyes.  This usually puts a halt to any thoughts of writing a blog or reading books on character development to enhance my latest project.  These fruitless days make me appreciate the gift of sight, something that I have taken for granted for most of my life.

Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail? – Jeremiah 15:18

My most recent diagnosis includes cataracts in each eye.  The new one in my left eye is a minor concern.  Yet, the one in my surgically repaired eye has clouded my vision, unable to see anything at the moment.  Thus, another surgery will be eminent in the next year or so.  Despite this obvious obstacle, the Lord has given me peace of mind.  I haven’t suffered like Job nor have I been given the bad news Jeremiah regularly received.  All I can do is take things one day at a time, appreciating the good things in life that God has allowed me to see.

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

 

Forcing a Code of Ethics without Faith

There are certain things in life that you should have seen coming if you were paying attention.  Although  I wasn’t alive at the time, the United States Supreme Court’s June 25, 1962 decision in Engel vs. Vitale should have raised a red flag.  According to these judges, praying for character, integrity and morality within students violated the First Amendment by constituting an establishment of religion.  This interpretation set the stage for the Bible, God and the principles America’s founding fathers established to be rejected by public education.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ, Romans 10:17.

Fifty five years later, right and wrong has been turned upside down.  At some point in the last twenty five years, absolutes recorded in the Bible have been demonized, referred to as bigoted, homophobic and racist.  While some religious leaders have attempted to win this debate, others have gone down in a blaze of glory, destroyed by hypocrisy and secrets sins that were brought to light.  The byproducts of this losing battle is that marriage is no longer just between a man and woman, gender is something that must be neutral and bathrooms should be open for interpretation.  In other words, if it feel right, just do it.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

For those of you still wondering, what the hell is wrong with this country; the answer is simple.  Higher education, school boards and elite members of the media are forcing a code of ethics upon their citizens.  To a certain extent, the government believes it takes a village to raise a family.  This explains why Michelle Obama wanted to force school lunch programs to push fruits and vegetables.  However, these government officials are now doing the same thing atheists complained about in 1962.  The problem to this current ideology is forcing individuals to do something they don’t want to will not result in permanent change.  Sure, you can attack, bully and pressure people for a while.  Yet, genuine transformation only occurs through conviction, faith and inspiration.  May this blog reverse this current trend so that God’s Word can breathe new life into those who truly want to change by becoming more like Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Litmus Test

When an individual is nominated to serve as an ambassador, cabinet member or judge, politicians host hearings for these potential candidates.  Members of Congress take turns asking a series of questions.  This exchange is considered a litmus test as leaders are hoping to learn how what each believes, thinks and how they will serve if appointed.

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever, 1 Timothy 5:8.

In a letter to a teenager pastor, the apostle Paul shares a spiritual litmus test.  The passage above serves as a key indicator, revealing the character of a church member.  Emphasizing faith in action, Paul wants to ensue that this young shepherd choices his leadership wisely.  Anyone who does not show care, love and respect to family is not fit to represent Christ.

Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit, 1 Thessalonians 4:8.

In the first century, Bereans were the standard for biblical churches.  This congregation was taught not to fall for gossip, hearsay and rumors.  Rather, leaders were trained to test everything that they heard against the Word of God, 1 Thessalonians 5:21.  This practice prevented false teaching from being embraced.  In the end, each day is like a litmus test.  The decisions you make speak louder than words.  These choices will determine if you accept or reject God.  May this litmus test inspire you to adhere, follow and live out the instructions within the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

 

Replacing the Desire to Be Cool with Christ

No matter who you are, everyone has a desire to be accepted by others.  This craving for acceptance causes many to react differently around their peers.  At some point the desire to be cool trumps doing the right thing.  If this behavior persists, there is little room for Jesus to co-exist.  Therefore, sooner or later you have to decide between being cool or following Christ.

“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.  “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? – Matthew 15:16-17

In the past week, conviction was awakened me from a dead and dying soul.  What I have discovered from the Holy Spirit is that I care more about being cool than living out my faith.  In the passage above, the disciples had become dull, numbed by worldly influences.  Today, these temptations are greater than ever, successfully distracting many from practicing character, integrity and godly principles.

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them, Matthew 15:18.

According to Jesus, the heart is the core of this matter.  While Pharisees and religious leaders believed eating food without washing your hands made people unclean, Jesus corrects their flawed thinking.  King Solomon referred to the heart as the well spring of life.  Those individuals who don’t guard their heart, allow coolness and the sinful nature to reign, taking over.  Thus, unless you begin to purge yourself by beginning to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, transformation will not occur.  May this blog speak to your heart by replacing the desire to be cool with Christ.

by Jay Mankus