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Tag Archives: conviction

Sins in the Dark Brought to Light

If you were asleep the past couple months, you missed a life long worth of scandals.  Every day stories are breaking about affairs, inappropriate relations or sexual assaults.  Whether you’re a celebrity, member of the media or school teacher, transgressions committed in darkness have been brought to the light.  I’m not sure why this is occurring all at once, but perhaps a spirit of confession has inspired guilty consciences to come clean.

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

Despite the powerful messages recorded in the Bible, each was written by fallen individuals.  Abraham had a tendency to lie rather than trust God.  David committed adultery, got a married woman pregnant then gave orders to have her husband killed.  Peter talked a good game, but when push came to shove, he publicly denied knowing Jesus three times.  One of the mysterious ways God works is through convicting hearts of actions in direct conflict with biblical principles.  Those who conceal that which is hidden will not prosper.

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld, John 20:23.

Through all the dirty laundry that is aired regularly, I do see one positive outcome of this ugly part of American history.  The only way to truly heal is through the act of penance.  While attending seminary, I took a class called Revival and Revivalism.  This course studied the Great Awakenings and it’s impact on Great Britain and the United States.  Surprisingly, each was started by young people bearing their souls in public, revealing deeds of darkness of their past.  This act of honesty stirred hearts to do the same.  While America may seem like it’s falling apart, perhaps sins in the dark brought to light may serve as inspiration to ignite another great awakening.

by Jay Mankus

 

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It’s Time To Drop Your Own Stone

One aspect of human nature is an inclination to pile on.  Whether this is criticizing, joking or teasing, when everyone is doing it, your conscience may be confused.  Despite sensing that this behavior is wrong, the temptation to make fun of someone no one likes often promotes a knee jerk reaction.  At the end of the day, the desire to conform influenced you to cast a stone that inflicted pain.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  – John 8:3-5

Old Testament law can be construed as harsh, with no room for grace.  One day the religious leaders tried to ensnare Jesus, putting him in position to oversee the death of a woman caught in adultery.  The passage above gives a brief summary on the context, seeing if Jesus would fulfill the law of Moses.  Instead of talking, Jesus bent down to begin writing in the sand with his finger.  Although the content is unknown, whatever was drawn began to convict hearts.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,”  John 8:7.

To avoid knee jerk reactions on this day, Jesus posed a question for everyone in the crowd to consider.  If you think this woman is guilty, go ahead, pick up your stone and throw it.  However, if sin is living in you, you could be next?  According to the remainder of this passage, little by little, individuals dropped their stone and went home.  Perhaps, twitter followers, negative people and those who have a tendency to overblow situations need this reminder.  Maybe you will come to the same conclusion I recently did.  It’s time to drop your own stone.

by Jay Mankus

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

Far Worse Than I First Thought

There are periods in life which seem innocent at first.  Initial symptoms are brushed aside as merely a byproduct of age.  Yet, if you continue to ignore the obvious, sooner or later conditions will become far worse than you ever imagined.

If my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled, Job 31:7.

Fifteen years ago my eyes began to hurt trying to work full time while attempting to complete my masters.  The amount of reading was too much strain on my eyes resulting in arthritis of the eye.  In the years that have followed, some of my goals were never fulfilled due to this condition.  Now I am just thankful for the ability to see.

“If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,” Job 31:16.

What is most troubling to me is my current spiritual condition.  Due to a lack of accountability and a consistent church home, may faith has decayed.  The other night a wave of conviction revealed to me how far I have wandered off course.  The passages above serve as a standard to see if your faith is in action or dead.  Sometimes the truth hurts, far worse than I first thought.  When days of conviction come, may the Lord’s grace and mercy fall on those confess their sins.

by Jay Mankus

 

Raising the Value of the People in Your Life

The competitor in me has a tendency to encourage a spirit of perfectionism to reign within me.  The byproduct of this bad habit results in negativity.  Critical words fly out of my mouth without thinking of the impact they have on others.  Unfortunately, my remarks often devalue individuals, negatively influencing people I care about.

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving, Ephesians 5:4.

Thus, when I heard a sermon last Sunday about raising the value of the people in your life, conviction rained upon me.  Like a random shower in the middle of a sunny day, guilt, remorse and sorrow dripped upon my soul.  Similar to the apostle Paul in Romans 7, I find myself  doing that which that I hate.  This message was a subtle reminder that I am going down the wrong path in life, in desperate need of taking an about face.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen, Ephesians 4:29.

The Bible encourages individuals to use affirmations to raise the value of the people in your life.  Instead of dwelling on the negative, turn your attention toward which that will build up family, friends and neighbors.  As hard as it may be, don’t allow yourself be consumed with a desire to be in control.  Rather, let go and let God begin to transform you so that kinds words may begin to raise the value of the people in your life.

by Jay Mankus