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Tag Archives: conviction

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

 

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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

Mirror Mirror on the Wall Whose The Worst One of Them All

At some point in life, the older generation loses touch with societal trends.  I guess I have reached this stage in life, unable to keep up.  As Gen Xer’s like me give way to Millennials, one thing puzzles me.  Why is it that anyone who does not hold a secular worldview is demonized?  In fact, if you watch the news, late night comedy or political shows, these same individuals are made out to be the worst people on the face of the earth.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst, 1 Timothy 1:15.

From a spiritual perspective, conviction serves as a thermostat of the soul.  When the presence of a sin is made aware to individuals, there are three basic replies.  Confess and admit the error of your way, blame someone else or ignore it completely.  One of the catches to admission is that public scrutiny often follows can ruin your reputation.  Meanwhile, if you deny, deny, deny, your character and integrity will eventually be tarnished.

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.

In Biblical times, prostitutes and tax collectors were thought to be the scum of the earth.  Today, some might suggest lawyers and politicians are high on the list of the least respected people.  Yet, it doesn’t matter what other people say about you or believe.  There is only one judge, Christ the Lord.  Therefore, as soon as a sense of guilt churns in your heart. come to Jesus to confess you sins.  When you do, God is faithful in forgiving and forgetting, always full of grace despite how often or great your sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

Coming Together

History tends to move in cycles, rising and falling as leadership, ideology and worldviews change.  There are moments in time for conquest, peace and war.  Each major event leaves its imprints on civilizations, cultures and society.  At some point, regardless of what you feel, it’s important to come together.

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water, Hebrews 10:22.

The author of Hebrews encourages individuals to do the same thing with God.  This process begins with a sincere heart.  Like the guilt, remorse and sorrow Adam and Eve endured following trespassing against God’s lone rule in the Garden of Eden, modern citizens experience a similar feeling.  This conviction serves as a sign to get your life right with God.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful, Hebrews 10:23.

The final step to coming together involves hope.  One of the ploys the Devil uses is making people feel like God hasn’t forgiven them after publicly confessing sin.  Thus, many place their trust in feelings, not faith.  Thus, clinging to an unswerving hope is what will get you through periods of darkness.  Finally, life isn’t complete unless you begin to spur on others toward love and good deeds.  This mindset sets the stage for truly coming together.

by Jay Mankus

The Fatherless

You can find out a lot about someone based upon their action, behavior and content of spoken/written words.  While James is often considered the earthly brother of Jesus, few people realize he spent many years without a father.  Beginning in the second chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus’ father Joseph is not mentioned.  While there are many theories to explain Joseph’s absence, most scholars believe Joseph died several years before Jesus began his earthly ministry.  Thus, its assumed by the author John, Joseph is dead leaving James fatherless.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless, James 1:26.

Anyone who is blessed with having godly influences along the way in life tends to possess key insight.  Like the brothers of Joseph in the Old Testament who thought he was crazy, James had similar thoughts about Jesus.  Based upon the words chosen above, James doubted his brother prior to his resurrection.  Although he doesn’t specify, James likely joked about, made fun of or used sarcasm upon hearing Jesus’ boisterous claims.  Conviction inspired James to state religion is worthless without keeping a tight reign on your tongue.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world, James 1:27.

Beside helping the poor, James gives believers 2 areas where people should express their faith.  Likely thinking about his mother Mary, supporting widows is a worthy cause.  Meanwhile, orphans abandoned by their families or left homeless due to tragedy is just as needy.  Perhaps, James experienced times in life when he needed a father, but Joseph was long gone.  Though you may not know an orphan, that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone younger to mentor.  Desperate souls are longing for a friend to guide them through life.  Yet, without the helping hands of Christ’s servants in action, the lonely will remain feeling fatherless.

by Jay Mankus

 

Searching Out Matters That are Too Deep

Whether you are a student, teacher or parent, sooner or later you will meet or run into individuals who like to dig deep.  While this isn’t a bad thing, there is a point in conversations, discussions and lectures that go way too deep.  Any time this invisible line is crossed, people tune out, especially students who don’t have the foggiest idea what their professor is talking about.

It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep, Proverbs 25:27.

Since Solomon was considered one of the wisest people to walk the face of the earth, its refreshing to know that even he was self aware of this problem.  Its unclear whether one of his wives or children confronted him about talking over people’s heads, yet God convicted him of this flaw.  Knowledge is like a good snack, but if you eat too much you will spoil your appetite for further discussions on a subject.

Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king.  He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”  The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”  But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”  hen the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother,” 1 Kings 3:24-27.

Despite the warning about digging too deep, there are exceptions to this rule as described by the wise ruling made by King Solomon above.  When a mother accidentally rolled over on top of her baby, he died.  In the heat of the moment, she swapped her dead baby with one next to a woman sleeping.  This is the context which allowed Solomon to test these woman to see who the real mother was.  Subsequently, individuals should use similar methods today to detect truth from those trying to pull a fast one by you.

by Jay Mankus

 

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