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Tag Archives: conscience

Understanding Evil

As someone who has grown to love history, you can likely predict what will happen in the future based upon previous events.  Although past civilizations may have possessed good intentions, the temptation for control, fame and power has a way to side track the most disciplined individuals.  Subsequently, enticement opens the door for evil to corrupt formerly innocent souls.  This shocking reality is where understanding evil begins.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time, Genesis 6:5.

In the years leading up to the biblical flood, a spirit of wickedness spread throughout the earth.  While specific acts aren’t mentioned, murder, violence and war are assumed based upon the accounts within Genesis 4.  As human beings gave into every kind of inclinations, cravings, desires and feelings, hearts became set on evil.  Without any voice of truth holding people accountable, humanism was conceived by doing what’s right in your own eyes.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20

Today, a similar culture exists where absolutes are considered old-fashioned, stale and not worth the hassle to follow.  When rules become lax in any society, integrity, morality and values tend to decline.  If this trend continues for years or decades, you can easily recognize this in day to day interactions.  This environment allows evil to enter souls through compromise.  When confronted by an authority figure, evil is often discarded by justifying and rationalizing behavior.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs, 1 Timothy 6:10.

When it comes to explaining the New York City terrorist attack with a dump truck, some are inspired by extreme religious beliefs.  Mass shootings like in Las Vegas and the small church outside of San Antonio, Texas typically reveal some sort of troubled past.  Like a fuse waiting to go off, evil takes over at some point, paralyzing the human conscience.  This sets the stage for disaster.  Until conviction, truth and revival return, evil will continue to reign throughout segments of society.  Only when souls ask God to return can evil be defeated.  May the presence of evil today inspire individuals to open their hearts to Jesus, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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Lulling Yourself to Sleep

There is an epidemic occurring across America and throughout the world.  At the beginning of every New Year, conviction, consciences and desperation lead many to make resolutions for change.  Unfortunately, like a diet that never makes it beyond the first week, a lack of action is lulling many to sleep.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 1 Corinthians 15:51.

This week I found myself saying the same thing day after day, “I need to do this or that.”  Comfortably numb by bad habits, I feel paralyzed, unable to apply that which I desire.  Anyone who attempts to become transformed externally without a changed heart will regularly experience failure.  The passage above suggests that individuals need to die to one’s self before a resurrected life takes shape.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do, Romans 7:15.

Despite an amazing ministry on earth, even the apostle Paul could not defeat all of his inner demons.  2 Corinthians 12:7-12 refers to some sort of illness, medical condition or addiction which Paul count not overcome.  While I often feel held captive by a poor daily routine, I’m tired of being lulled to sleep.  Before you fret any longer, call out to Jesus to set yourself free from a mundane life so that through the power of the resurrection you might achieve new heights in 2017.

by Jay Mankus

Where Did I Go Wrong?

Life tends to be a series of choices which lead you to the place where you end up.  Sure, accidents, illness and tragedy may be the exception to this rule, but it doesn’t take much to take the wrong path.  Compromise starts off subtle, lulling souls to sleep spiritually.  Before you know you have a problem, its often too late as people are left to ponder, “where did I go wrong?”

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot, Romans 8:7.

Some might argue that its impossible to know if you are exactly where God wants you to be.  Meanwhile, others claim the conscience was designed into every human being to regulate your soul.  Yet, if your mind isn’t right, thoughts can become hostile to God.  Whenever anyone drifts off course from the path God desires you to take, Satan can use your own mind against you to justify false actions and behaviors.  Thus, determining where you went astray can be more difficult than it seems.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15.

As Joshua leads a new generation into God’s promised land, it was fitting to urge Israel to consider who they are willing to serve.  The blessings are out there, fruits for those who remain on the straight and narrow.  Yet, the sooner you recognize where you went wrong, the quicker you will find reconciliation.  Therefore, I’m calling all prodigals to come to their senses to find forgiveness, hope and the peace of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

Engulfed by Darkness

Living on the East Coast for most of my life, I’ve lived through my share of hurricanes.  Most skirt along the shoreline, often drifting off to sea.  Yet, the eye wall of Hurricane Floyd went right over my state, engulfing Delaware in darkness.  Floodwaters remained in my backyard for nearly a month.  After any storm, people are forced to pick up the pieces, making the best of what remains of their earthly possessions.

To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace, Luke 1:79.

The purpose of the Bible is to shine light on the darkness that exists in this world.  In fact, the gospel provides light to those currently stuck in darkness.  Sometimes darkness is self-inflicted due to poor choices or decisions made in life.  However, there are times when innocent children or gullible adults are deceived, led into darkness and can not escape its grips.  To those lost in the dark, God has given human beings a conscience and the Holy Spirit to break free from the chains of sin.

But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him, John 11:10.

Meanwhile, Jesus isn’t afraid to point out imposters.  Those who embrace darkness or walk in its ways does not possess the light.  According to a piece from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:19-24 refers to eyes being the lamp of the body.  Jesus ponders, “if the eyes are bad, how great in the darkness within?”  Everyone is going to sin and fall short of God’s glory, but careless glances of the eye can corrupt the soul.  Therefore, be careful not to participate in the second glance or you too may become engulfed by darkness.

by Jay Mankus

Do You Not Recognize This Voice?

To detect, notice, observe and spot are all words associated with discern.  Yet, when you don’t have your A game, get distracted or are tired, its easy to miss the obvious.  If you neglect your mind, you just might fail to recognize the advice and direction your conscience want you to take.

Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? – Proverbs 8:1

King Solomon writes many of his proverbs to sons struggling to make sound decisions.  When you are young, discernment hasn’t been fully developed.  This sense takes time to acquire, often learned through the school of hard knocks.  Therefore, sometimes you need a Eli to come along your side to point you in the right direction.

A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy.  So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place, 1 Samuel 3:8-9.

In modern days, Jesus left the Holy Spirit as a voice of reason.  According to the apostle Paul, as soon as you begin to keep in step with God’s Spirit, you can avoid the urge to indulge the sinful nature, Galatians 5:25.  By developing a keen awareness, souls can keep their feet on the straight and narrow.  If you reach a moment of indecision or come across an unrecognizable voice, test it with the 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 principle.  May you find your wisdom along the way in this journey called life.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Voters Checklist Before Pressing the Lever

One of the common phrases I have heard over the last month is to vote your conscience.  However, before you can do so, you have to choose between the lesser of the 2 evils.  Thus, you need to develop a criteria to help guide your thoughts.  Fortunately, King Solomon provides a checklist in the book of Proverbs before your cast your vote.

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community, Proverbs 6:16-19.

One day God revealed a part of His character to Solomon.  When finished recording these words, a reader can discover 7 qualities that the Lord despises.  Anyone who possesses these traits should be disqualified from becoming a civil servant.  If two candidates display at least one, you will have to do your homework to ascertain which can be trusted if any.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

The passage above suggests that every human being is a work in progress.  Thus, everyone possesses flaws, imperfections and warts.  In view of this, its important to find a leader who handles adversity.  This final benchmark should help the undecided make their final decision.  Therefore, whatever choice you make, may you be informed prior to pressing the lever.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Heroes Journey

In 1949, the concept of the Heroes Journey was introduced by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  While this narrative pattern commonly appears in films, this outline can also be found in mythology, psychology and religion.  Campbell’s outline involves 12 stages which takes a character from the ordinary world to the special world and back.

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things, Hebrews 13:8.

The reason why people watch the same movies year after year is that the heroes journey enables individuals to identify with certain actors and actresses.  As fictional characters reveal their flaws, imperfections and weaknesses, people can relate to similar trials in their own life.  Subsequently, deep down inside viewers root for their favorites to reach to top of the mountain after facing adversity.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness, Romans 12:6-8.

For someone who struggled with stuttering the first 20 years of my life, I always knew what I wanted to say, but rarely expressed what was in my heart and mind.  As an amateur screen writer, the Heroes Journey provides a valuable resource to make my aspirations come true.  However, before I proceed, I must study these 12 stages like trying to ace a test.  Once I fully grasp the Heroes Journey, I can begin to craft films that may one day end up on your favorites list.  Until then, I need to keep plugging away with an unyielding resolve to make my dreams come true.

by Jay Mankus