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Tag Archives: overcoming temptation

Serve or Be Served… The Latter is More Enticing

When professional athletes struggle to reach their full potential, videos are examined to see what bad habits or flawed fundamentals are present.  Unfortunately, in life most people don’t have film to examine.  Rather, individuals are forced to rely on friends, self reflection or therapists to turn floundering careers around.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap, Galatians 6:7.

One of the forces at work which determines positive or negative results in the Sowing Principle.  What comes around goes around is an earthly way to describe the biblical expression: you reap what you sow.  Essentially, if you serve others, the Lord will honor this decision by sending unexpected blessings in times of need.  Meanwhile, if the idea of being served by others entices you, the rewards for this choice will be temporary; resulting in a permanent void inside of your heart.

“Give and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you,” Luke 6:38.

Jesus explains this concept to his followers in the verse above.  In the Parable of the Sower found in Matthew 13, Jesus uses the imagery of a harvest to illustrate this principle.  Those who are planted within a fertile soil, environment, production increases.  Thus, if you reach a point in life where you are disciplined, grounded and serving others with your God given gifts, it’s possible to experience bountiful blessings.  Yet, if you feed your sinful nature, pursuing selfish desires, temporary pleasures will quickly vanish leaving a trail of heart break.  The choice is yours.

by Jay Mankus

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Don’t Make a Big Deal About It

In this current age of social media, immediate reactions and thoughts are often broadcast to the world to read.  However, now with the recent addition of Facebook Live, individuals can stream video live that is unfiltered.  When some try to attain 15 seconds of fame like the 4 teenagers in Chicago, that which was meant for good can be corrupted by an axis of evil.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings, Proverbs 25:2.

During times of uncertainty, people tend to seek out advice, guidance or wisdom to figure out what to do next.  2 Kings 18-20 details the reign of Hezekiah, the king of Judah.  Described as one of the godliest leaders in the Bible, Hezekiah wasn’t satisfied with the pieces of the Old Testament he had access to, seeking out previous writings of Solomon.  One of the suggestions Hezekiah discovered was when something occurs, try not to make a big deal about this.

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense, Proverbs 19:11.

To extract what Solomon means by the phrase “conceal a matter,” you have to go back a few chapters to understand the true meaning.  Based upon the context of chapter 19, the intent refers to avoid over-reacting.  In the heat of the moment, human nature tempts people to retaliate.  Yet, those who practice self-control by restraining your emotions, it is to God’s glory.

by Jay Mankus

Right Back Where I Started

About a year ago, I stood on a scale for the first time in a while.  Not believing the first number that appeared, I stepped off to reset it and tried once again.  Unfortunately, my weight remained the same, the heaviest I have ever been.  After the initial shock wore off, I vowed to dedicate 2016 to improving my overall health and fitness.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls, Proverbs 25:28.

In January I lost 20 pounds, ecstatic by this early progress.  However, life is a marathon, not a sprint.  Perhaps, a little over confidence started subtle compromises, a regression back into bad habits.  I can’t identify the exact time when this downward spiral began, but my goals for the year faded from my memory.  Subsequently, I now find myself right back where I started.

Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, Titus 2:12.

Those fighting this losing battle are encouraged by the apostle Paul to renounce this vicious cycle.  Solomon compared a person without self-control to a broken city, vulnerable to outside attacks.  As the new year approaches, I have to pick myself up off the mat to turn my current health around.  I’m not sure how my daily routine will change, but I hope a clear vision appears as I prepare to fast for the month of January.  Until then, seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness to avoid giving into temptation.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Don’t Take The Bait

Fisherman tend to be superstitious.  Whether its a specific time, spot or lure, past success feeds these rituals and traditions.  In the spiritual realm, Satan is the fisherman and human are the fish.  Each soul tends to be susceptible to certain things which varies from person to person.  These weaknesses are known by the Devil, tempting individuals to take the bait.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away, James 1:14.

Since a handful of the disciples were fishermen, some of their words reflect this lifestyle.  In the passage above, James realized that certain types of bait catch a fishes eye.  Once enticed, fish are lured out of hiding into open waters.  If this curiosity continues, sooner or later fish will take the bait, becoming hooked.  In the same way, people who develop bad habits become vulnerable to addiction.  Once hooked, people often destroy themselves as Satan moves on, searching for the next gullible victim.

Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! – Proverbs 7:18

The older you get, the greater and more complex temptations become.  The context in the verse above Solomon urges young men to avoid desperate and lonely women.  While the eye candle may be difficult to resist, the quicker you say no the better off you will be.  However, as soon as you master one weak area, further temptations will come at you fast and furious.  Therefore, be on guard, take a stand or else may be the next to take the bait.

by Jay Mankus

Getting Too Close to the Fire

There is something intriguing about fire.  Perhaps, this may explain why boys are drawn to experiment and play with fire.  In January of 1983, English Rock Band Def Leppard introduced their latest album entitled Pyromania.  Over 10 million copies were sold in the United States suggesting either this sound or a fascination with fire contributed to its success.

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?  Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? – Proverbs 6:27-28

As an adult, the concept of fire still applies, but usually in a different context.  The Bible uses fire as an analogy, comparing it with temptation.  Drawn in by the flames, Solomon suggests that if you get too close to the fire, you will eventually get burned.  Unfortunately, the scars will not appear on your skin like burn victims.  Rather, the soul can be scorched, resulting in soul ties and eventually soul spirit hurts if you engage and indulge in temptation.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God, Hebrews 10:26-27.

The author of Hebrews addresses those who become addicted to playing with fire.  Whenever you find yourself in a downward spiral, committing the same sin over and over again, God’s grace is being cheapened daily.  Essentially, individuals are crucifying Jesus over and over again with each sin.  Therefore, intervention is often necessary to drag someone out of addictive habits.  If this blog finds you a pyro or under the influence of some other sin, practice the words of James 5:16 so that you will be healed before its too late.

by Jay Mankus

The Value of a Soul

One of Jesus’ commands made to first first century followers involves the human soul.  After the heart, the soul is placed in front of the mind as the second most important part of the human body.  The context of this passage summarizes the first and greatest commandment.  This message highlights the value of a soul.

Jesus replied: “ ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,’ Matthew 22:37.

While talking to his disciples, Jesus suggests that its possible to forfeit your soul.  Maybe He was trying to warn Judas Iscariot of his initial thought of betrayal.  On the other hand, Jesus appears to recognize an unhealthy pattern within Peter.  Beginning to think like Satan, Jesus brings this concern front and center, afraid that one of his leaders could have their soul poisoned by evil.

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? – Matthew 16:26

This caution continues today with countless distractions to lure a soul away from God.  The Devil still uses the same temptations Jesus endured in Matthew 4.  Every day physical, mental and spiritual obstacles lurk around every corner.  The question is will you allow temporary pleasures to alter your standards?  Whatever your decision, may you embrace the value of a soul by resisting the Devil and drawing near to God.

by Jay Mankus

What Happens Here Stains Eternity

A couple of times a year I put on a brand new shirt or sweatshirt for the first time, proudly seeing how it looks in the mirror.  Unfortunately, a careless bite later often produces a stain.  The only thing worse is putting a new outfit in the dryer without catching this blemish.  Once dried, there’s nothing you can do except donate or throw this piece of clothing out.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

If you watch a lot of television, you are probably beginning to see commercial blitzes for travel destinations.  This is the time of year that cities and states are trying to sway you to plan a summer vacation or visit during a long weekend.  Perhaps, I’ve never given it much thought before, but Las Vegas’ calling card, “what happens here stays here,” got under my skin recently.  In the spiritual realm, what happens here stains eternity.

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings, 1 Peter 5:9.

In this day and age, no one is immune from embarrassing moments.  Friends may even bring up painful remainders of the past to keep you humble.  Yet, even Peter who denied Jesus in public three times learned from his previous mistakes.  Although what happens here on earth stains eternity, this portion of Peter’s letter highlights the importance of faith.  Thus, the next time you’re tempted to do something your heart or soul is telling you is wrong, resist this urge.  Rather, be alert and keep in step with the Spirit of God.

by Jay Mankus