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Tag Archives: overcoming temptation

The Squeeze

Squeeze has multiple definitions depending upon the context.  This term can refer to firmly gripping an object, getting through a restricted space, obtaining something with difficultly or shooting a round from a gun.  In the 2015 film the Squeeze, a young hot shot golfer played by Jeremy Sumpter is lured by a high priced gambler to play golf for money.  Based upon the real life events of Keith Flatt, Sumpter goes to Las Vegas to put his life and family on the line in a high stakes bet for 1 million dollars.  In the end, Sumpter has to choose between keeping the woman of his dreams or remaining undefeated as a golfer.

For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.” And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise and insightful, she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate, Genesis 3:5-6.

After Lucifer was kicked out of heaven for glorifying himself as the most beautiful arch angel, he took with him a third of the angels.  Maintaining angelic powers while on earth, Ephesians 2:2, this ruler of the air recruited powers of darkness to put the squeeze on mankind.  Lucifer’s first victim is an innocent woman, Eve, curious about the Tree of Knowledge.  Although her husband Adam was right there with her, he allowed enticement to linger.  This lack of spiritual leadership enabled sin to be conceived.

Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive and remain with man forever, because he is indeed flesh [sinful, corrupt—given over to sensual appetites]; nevertheless his days shall yet be a hundred and twenty years,” Genesis 6:3.

By the time of Noah’s generation, the presence of sin spread like a spiritual plague throughout the earth.  Disappointed by the choices made by the human beings, God decided to punish future generations by limiting life on earth to 120 years.  Similar to the tactics used by Riverboat played by Christopher McDonald in the Squeeze, temporary pleasures are hard to resist.  What make matters worse is that Satan knows your weaknesses, luring weakened souls to indulge their sensual appetites.  In the end, what choices will you make when you are squeezed by temptation?  Choose wisely.

by Jay Mankus

The Searing of the Mind

If a live frog is placed into boiling water, the instinct to jump will immediately kick in, escaping this pot in a split second.  However, if you take a pond, gradually increase the temperature without stopping, this creature will die, scalded and scorched by extreme conditions.  Unfortunately, the same conclusion can be drawn to the human mind.  As the American culture has become pornified, filled with graphic images, mature content and shocking sights, the searing of the human mind has commenced.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols, Acts 17:16.

If you have lived a sheltered life, guarded and protected by parents, you may be naïve to the numerous temptations that exist today.  Whenever you veer off into a foreign place, accidently take a wrong turn or wander into unknown territory, the presence of darkness can be overwhelming.  During a first century trip through the streets of Athens, the apostle Paul was troubled.  Depending upon what Bible commentary you rely on for research, Paul likely witnessed nudity, prostitution and sexual practices in the name of religion.  With each step, Paul’s mind was bombarded by unwholesome symbols, breaking his heart and distressing his soul.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23

During his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reveals a key relationship between eyes and the mind.  Based upon the analogy above, eyes are the light source for human beings with minds serving as a screening mechanism.  When minds fail to filter out the presence of darkness, corruption occurs.  If unhealthy thoughts are allowed to go unchecked without any urgent action, pornographic images are collected, processed and stored.  Like a sponge cleaning up split water on a counter, minds absorb countless sights that you are exposed to daily.  Thus, without the discipline of putting on the armor of God, Ephesians 6:12-20, to fight against lust, innocent minds can be scarred for life.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:2.

In an article first published in 2011, the Christian Research Journal wrote about the Effects of Porn on the Male Brain.  This piece attempts to illustrate how pornography impacts hormonal, neurochemical and neurological development as sexual images become attached to souls.  One of my favorite points made by the author is that viewing pornography hijacks the normal functioning of the brain and it’s maladaptive patterns.  Perhaps, this man explain the call to action to renew your mind in the passage above.  Pornography is one of those taboo topics most churches side step, afraid to confront.  Yet, as this world continues to push the envelope further and further, it’s time to educate the masses to the searing of the human mind.  May the Bible guide, instruct and prepare you with the necessary resources to overcome the temptations people face in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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

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