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Tag Archives: Middle East

A Spoiled Faith

I caught an interview on TBN, the Trinity Broadcasting Network over the weekend about Middle East converts to Christianity. To protect their identity, new believers were sharing the hardships following a decision to leave the Muslim faith.  One woman opened up about a phone call she had with her mother.  This mom believed her daughter had been brain washed, poisoned by zealous disciples of Christ.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

In the last decade, Christians have been crucified, persecuted and in some cases forced to leave their homeland.  Since the mainstream media is not covering, investigating or reporting this news, the average American does not believe these travesties exist.  Subsequently, many who claim to follow or serve God do not know what true faith is.  Instead, political correctness is breeding a culture that is spoiling genuine faith.

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.

If there is anyone who is an expert in the field of hardship and persecution, the apostle Paul fits this criteria.  Following a life devoted to legalism as a Pharisee, Paul’s unexpected transformation creates a wave of resentment against his decision to become a missionary.  The passage above shares the spiritual truths suffering taught Paul.  Hardship serves as a spiritual purging, slowly changing your perspective on life.  If you never face trials, growth can be stunted.  Therefore, the next time suffering comes knocking, don’t let a spoiled faith keep you from becoming the man and woman God wants you to be.

by Jay Mankus


A Sinner’s Life

Since paradise was lost in the Garden of Eden, no one can escape the temptation to sin.  While some make better choices than others, a sinner’s life is like attending the school of hard knocks.  Living and learning from past mistakes has a learning curve with many struggling to avoid Satan’s snares.

All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one, Romans 3:12.

If you have the opportunity to travel the country or across the world, you begin to get a sense for what’s out there.  Along the way, you will rub shoulders with various groups of people, witnessing the good, the bad and the ugly.  During his missionary journey’s throughout the Middle East, the apostle Paul makes an interesting observation.  Similar to economic classes, Paul writes about the classification of sinners, separating typical offenders from those addicted.

The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them, 1 Timothy 5:24.

If actions speak louder than words, sins communicate the heart and the soul of individuals.  Although some may dabble in sin from time to time, others follow in the footsteps of the prodigal, continuing until they reach rock bottom.  When the sensations of temporary pleasures fade, sinners face an important decision, do I come to my senses or not?  How a sinner’s life ends is in your hands.  Therefore, may you heed the words of 1 John 1:6 so that darkness does not prematurely end your life and the reason why you were created.

by Jay Mankus


Living on Life Support

Several years ago my Aunt Tonya was diagnosed with an aggressive form of ALS.  Three months later, she was hanging on by a thread, living on life support.  Whenever you experience the frailty of life up close, a helpless feeling consumes one’s soul.  Less than four months after her first doctor’s visit, Tonya passed away.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me, John 15:4.

From a spiritual perspective, meditation, prayer, reading the Bible and worship are four food groups for the human soul.  Unfortunately, like trying to eat healthy, it doesn’t take much to stray off course.  Before you know it, each poor decision can sap bodies of their energy.  Thus, if human beings do not receive a daily dose of spiritual soul food, it won’t be long until these individuals will be clinging to a different kind of life support.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

Anyone who is tuned in to current events, may make an additional connection.  As the Middle East battles for control, refuges are crossing the borders into Europe to escape death, persecution and turmoil.  While segments of society are doing okay, the rest of the world is falling apart.  People are searching for hope, peace and love without much success.  Therefore, if you want to possess the ability to breathe on your own again, ask the Holy Spirit to fill your empty cup with the abundant life.

by Jay Mankus

A Dark Noon

Back in the days when Western movies reigned supreme, each film had a classic duel.  Flicks like Showdown at the Ok Corral highlight the typical gun fight in the center of town, usually at high noon.  Not quite like the days of gladiators at the Roman Colosseum, these battles left the winner on both feet with the loser buried in the local cemetery.  Thus, high noon was bright for the victor and dark for the family of the victim.

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, Mark 15:33.

According to Josephus, a first century historian, he refers to a cosmic event which coincides with the death of Jesus.  Three other famous historians throughout the Middle East mention a dark noon, a global event where day turned to night.  Although an exact time is not specified, John Mark claims this once in a life time event lasted three hours.  Similar to westerns, following the duel between God and Satan, Jesus lost his life.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:7-8.

However, this is not where the story ends.  Though some theologians mention purgatory, a mythical place where Jesus spent time prior to his resurrection, many disagree.  While this debate continues today, no one will know for sure until this question is answered in heaven.  For now, the best thing to do is to keep watch, armed with the armor of God, Ephesians 6:12-20.  Therefore, whether its high noon or midnight, be prepared for the attacks of the Devil.

by Jay Mankus