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Tag Archives: guilt

Haunted by What Could Have Been

When the outcome what you were expecting does not become reality, hearts and minds tend to explore why.  There may be an obvious explanation like a more deserving person who received that which you desired.  However, there will be many outcomes that leave you scratching your head, dumbfounded by fate.  The persistent will not give up, working harder each day to alter their current course.  Others may press on a little longer just in case God changes his mind like Abraham’s prayer below.  Unfortunately, the deflated, tired and weak give up hope, haunted by what could have been.

Abraham approached [the Lord] and said, “Will You really sweep away the righteous (those who do right) with the wicked (those who do evil)? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous [people] within the city; will You really sweep it away and not spare it for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing—to strike the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right [by executing just and righteous judgment]?” 26 So the Lord said, “If I find within the city of Sodom fifty righteous [people], then I will spare the entire place for their sake,” Genesis 18:23-26.

Judas Iscariot was a fortunate individual, chosen by the son of God to be one of 12 disciples.  Based upon a few details in each of the four gospels, this Judas was the treasurer of Jesus’ earthly ministry for 3 years.  Some translations refers to Judas overseeing the money bag, containing the collection of tithes by individuals blessed, healed and saved by Jesus.  According to the passage below, when a woman wasted an expensive bottle of perfume on Jesus, this set Judas off.  Perhaps, this was the last straw, convincing Judas to betray Jesus.  As religious leaders celebrated Jesus’ capture, Judas withdrew to the desert to hang himself.  Guilt, remorse and shame influenced Judas to commit suicide, missing out on starting the first century church.

Then Mary took a pound of very expensive perfume of pure nard, and she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, the one who was going to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and [the money] given to the poor?” Now he said this, not because he cared about the poor [for he had never cared about them], but because he was a thief; and since he had the money box [serving as treasurer for the twelve disciples], he used to pilfer what was put into it, John 12:3-6.

Last week a New Jersey woman went to complain at school after her daughter was cut from the cheerleading squad.  Instead of using this rejection as inspiration to work harder to make it next year, this defiant mother convinced the board of education to force the team to accept everyone who tries out.  What would have happened if Michael Jordan’s dad or mom forced his high school coach to not cut him?  America may not have been able to watch one of the greatest NBA players of all time.  Thus, instead of being haunted by what could have been.  Dig down deep into your soul, ask the Lord for resolve and give everything that you have so that God’s destiny for you will prevail.

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

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

Take It or Leave It

In recent years, those who live according to a secular worldview are claiming the Bible no longer applies to modern life.  Meanwhile, any law, principle or rule within the written Word of God is labeled as bigoted, discriminating and sexists.  Yet, if these skeptics actually took the time to read the Bible, individuals would begin to see the lofty expectations that exist.  Free will does not force anyone to adhere to these standards.  Rather, its up to you, take it or leave it.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect, Matthew 5:46-48.

The legal world uses an interesting term, plausible deniability.  This means that an individual can be excused from guilt, like a disclaimer or waiver.  The Bible uses a similar word to plausible deniability, amoral.  Moral refers to knowing what is right and doing it.  Immoral is the opposite, knowing what is right, but failing to obey.  Amoral comes into play when someone is held to a standard that they were never taught.  Subsequently, if you have never attended church, heard the gospel or read the Bible, you are only held accountable for that which you have been introduced.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 6:23.

The purpose of this blog is to simplify the message of the Bible, take it or leave it.  The consequence of sin results in a guilty verdict from the jury.  The punishment for this crime is death, eternal separation from God.  However, the judge steps in to offer a special plea deal.  Actually, God is willing to pardon all offenders with one simple gift.  Jesus paid your bail in full, but the choice is yours, take it or leave it.  You can receive this as your own, taking ownership of faith.  You can reject it and so by live according to the world’s standards.  Or you can wait for a while, but either way, the clock is ticking.

by Jay Mankus

Lost Opportunities

While listening to a sermon last weekend, a spirit of guilt began to consume me.  Like a movie playing within my mind, highlights of the person I could have been flashed before me.  Yet, a lack of faith, money and resources has caused me to chose a different path.  Part of me wants to make the most of what God has given me, but for now all I can see is a bunch of lost opportunities.

From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem, Acts 13:13.

I guess you call this a crisis of faith or a mid-life crisis.  Either way I feel like I could do so much more with my life, but have lost the desire and passion to fulfill my potential.  In the book of Acts, Luke writes about someone who becomes homesick, leaving the mission field to return home.  This same individual eventually won back the apostle Paul’s trust and wrote the Gospel of Mark.  Since I am not a finished project, perhaps there is still hope for me.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

After reviewing the Old Testament, I am reminded of the long detour taken by Israel on their way to the Promised Land.  A trip that was suppose to take a little over a month ended up lasting for 40 years.  This past failure helps me realize that I am not alone.  Though I don’t feel any better, this example provides insight about how disobedience disrupts your journey.  While lost opportunities will bring future disappointment, there is still time for a U-Turn here and there to arrive at the place where God wants me to be.

by Jay Mankus

Mercy in Disguise

If you are caught doing or saying anything politically incorrect, mercy will be hard to find.  Rather, your reputation will be assaulted, tarnished or possibly ruined for the rest of your life.  When the dust settles, the heart broken long for mercy in disguise.

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy.  Mercy triumphs over judgment, James 2:13.

Growing up in Bethlehem, James’ older brother made great claims causing some to label him as a dreamer.  Subsequently, James bought into the rumors and stereotypes made about Jesus.  Thus, the context of the verse above refers to James’ acknowledgement of his own rush to judgement.  In the end, mercy triumphs over judgement.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need, Hebrews 4:16.

With the negativity that exists, especially within social media, its easy to lose sight of signs of grace.  Rather, harsh criticism is fueling a growing wave of guilt before all the evidence has been brought forth.  Thus, in an unloving world, its nice to know that there is a throne of grace available to those who believe.  Don’t let judgment drag you down; instead keep a close eye on mercy in disguise.

by Jay Mankus

 

Following the Voice of Temptation

At some point in the next 24 hours, it will happened to you.  No one is immune to this mystery guest.  While the exact circumstance, situation and time is unknown, the voice of temptation shows up unannounced.  Sometimes you might feel its presence with an impulse, grab your attention with a lustful sight or lure you away with an enticing whisper.  Either way if you’re not ready for her it might not be long before you start following the voice of temptation.

For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword, Proverbs 5:3-4.

King Solomon refers to this voice as the adulterous woman, promising ecstasy but delivering heartache.  Unfortunately, the rush of adrenaline tends to take individuals from maybe to when can I start to taste the temporary pleasures of life.  Those without a backbone, curious or hanging out by the fence line are usually the first to engage these voices.  Perhaps, Solomon is comparing temptation to some of the beautiful woman he couldn’t resist marrying or engaging in sexual fantasies.  Before he could stop, 1000 woman had him wrapped around their fingers.

Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it, Proverbs 5:5-6.

When morning arrives, emptiness, guilt and shame often follow those who listen to the voice of temptation.  Unless you can snap out of this sinful state, destruction await all those who continue to visit this mistress.  Those that hit rock bottom find themselves facing addiction, bad habits and a heart craving for a quick fix, a temporary high before this vicious cycle repeats itself.  If this blog finds you somewhere in this entangled web of deception, cry out to the Lord, confess any wrong doings, purge your life from any reminders of this voice and enter into accountability relationships so that you can come clean once and for all.  Hold on by committing yourself to Bible memorization to break free from these chains of sin.

by Jay Mankus