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Tag Archives: peer pressure

Forgiveness Opens the Door for Love

One of the barriers standing between forgiveness is stubborn hearts as certain individuals are unable to forgive or forget a previous transgression.  This unwillingness to let go of the pain inflicted shuts the door on the potential for love.  This reluctance sets the stage for bitterness, like an invisible poison that slowly kills relationships.  Unless there is a willingness to let God in to mend and repair fences, reconciliation is merely a dream.

Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I rebuke and discipline [showing them their faults and instructing them]; so be enthusiastic and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will], Revelation 3:19.

In the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, John gives an honest assessment of seven churches.  While a few receive compliments, several are exposed for previous actions, beliefs and deeds.  Despite this list of flaws, John uses an analogy of a door to illustrate free will.  God is willing to offer forgiveness, yet souls must demonstrate an enthusiastic spirit of repentance.  Every day God is like an eager visitor, knocking on the door of your heart, but the Lord waits for your invitation.  There is no forced entry.

Behold, I stand at the door [of the church] and continually knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him (restore him), and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant to him [the privilege] to sit beside Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down beside My Father on His throne, Revelation 3:20-21.

At the end of this passage, God reveals another obstacle in the way of forgiveness.  Overcoming the world involves mindsets, philosophies and traditions that have become embraced by most of society.  This makes following God’s commandments, decrees and precepts that much more difficult.  Peer pressure only complicates any desires to seek God’s ways.  Free will is a daily exercise full of choices with the hope that you stay near enough so that you can hear God’s voice.  For those who fulfill this call, motivation comes as God forgives you.  Thus, as believers pay it forward, forgiveness opens the door for love to flow out of your heart, passed on to others.

by Jay Mankus

 

Snap Out of It

Prior to the discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, most professional sports ignored game related concussions.  Athletic trainers often took smelling salts laced with ammonia inhalants to awaken concussed or knocked out athletes.  As portrayed in several older films, this trainer would apply the salt, then clap their hands over injured heads.  The goal of this arkayic practice sought to help snap individuals out of their woosey state.

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified, Galatians 3:1.

You don’t have to receive a concussion to be dizzy, slightly off or weak.  From a spiritual perspective, anyone can randomly stray off course.  During this period of time, your mind is susceptible to making poor decisions.  This prodigal mindset might even lead you to become bewitched, tricked into believing a lie planted within you by the Devil.  If you ever reach this state, you need the Holy Spirit’s help to snap out of it.

You were running [the race] well; who has interfered and prevented you from obeying the truth? This [deceptive] persuasion is not from Him who called you [to freedom in Christ], Galatians 5:7-8.

The apostle Paul found a similar climate during a visit to Galatia.  Peer pressure, opposing views and a lack of guidance caused many from within the church to lose sight of what’s important.  Luke 4:8 sheds light on this, to worship the Lord and serve Him only.  Sure, there are plenty of worldly chores and exercises that must be completed daily.  Yet, in the end, human beings were created to worship God.  Falling short of this goal leads to compromise and temptation.  Therefore, snap out of it by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

When Conviction Overrides the Pressure to Conform

When a conscience is functioning properly, this human sense analyzes and evaluates whether or not your current actions are appropriate.  If you cross the line between right and wrong, a declaration of guilt is sent throughout your body.  This signal is felt by hearts and souls that are open to change.  Unfortunately, when opinions are elevated to truth status,  conviction is weakened, opening the door for peer pressure to take precedent.

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: John 16:8.

At the end of his three year ministry on earth, Jesus begins to prepare his disciples for the future.  Unaware of his impending death, Jesus refers to a counselor that will be sent after he is gone.  This spiritual presence will enhance the conviction process, unveiling past and current transgressions.  Referring to the Holy Spirit, this invisible force will expose darkness by illuminating righteousness.  This spiritual aide is designed to use conviction as a tool to override pressure to conform to the ways of this world.

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” – Acts 2:37

After Jesus ascended into heaven, residents of Jerusalem began to experience the initial presence of the Holy Spirit.  Luke describes this sensation as a heavy heart, struck with an overwhelming degree of anxiety and remorse.  Upon hearing this response, Peter guides these convicted hearts to take the next step, repent and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  While not everyone goes through with Peter’s advice, this decision lays a foundation for conviction to override peer pressure to confirm.  May these words inspire you to act upon the conviction of the Holy Spirit so that you draw closer to God.

by Jay Mankus

All You Zombies

 

My first introduction to the concept of zombies came in the form of Creature Double Feature presentations each Saturday.  This syndicated horror show began airing on the east coast in the 1970’s.  Since I lived just outside of Philadelphia at the time, I was intrigued by the thought of watching movies usually reserved for theaters.  About a decade later, the Hooters, a up and coming band from Philadelphia released All You Zombies, a single from their second album Nervous Night.  Using biblical references from the Old Testament, the lyrics contain a stanza where the band asks God, “where have your children gone,” hiding in the dark.  The context suggests fear, peer pressure and sin cause many human beings to become like zombies, void of the abundant life within John 10:10.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life, Matthew 27:51-52.

Recently, the fascination with zombies has been brought to the forefront through The Walking Dead on AMC.  Premiering in the United States on October 31, 2010, this series uses a post-apocalyptic setting where Rick Grimes plays a sheriff deputy who awakens from coma only to find the world overrun by zombies.  However, you don’t have to resort to Hollywood or science fiction to believe in zombies.  All you have to do is read the accounts within the four gospels of the Bible to find the origin of the term zombies.  Matthew was an eye witness to this strange but true event.  In the minutes following Jesus’ resurrection, the bodies of holy figures mentioned in the body came out from their tombs.  If the holy city refers to Jerusalem, the Night of the Living Dead wasn’t just a film that debuted in 1968.  Rather, saints of the past walked through the capital of Israel either in grave clothes or in a resurrected form appearing to many people until Jesus ascended into heaven forty days later.

They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people, Matthew 27:53.

Thirty five years after the Hooters released All You Zombies, the call remains the same.  As a chorus in this song proclaims, “You don’t have to hide anymore!”  Sure, we all have hidden sins, secret scars or parts of your life that you are be ashamed.  Nonetheless, God wants his children to break free of their past by coming toward the light of Christ.  Many people wait as long as possible, hoping someone comes along to stand with them.  Yet, faith requires trust, not walking by sight.  Individuals must place their eyes toward heaven, praying for the Holy Spirit to guide you where to go and what to do.  Perhaps, this is why a disciple introduced the readers of his gospel to the power of numbers, Matthew 18:19-20.  When two or more are gathered, God’s power is unleashed.  May this blog inspire you to come out of your comfort zone to serve God by using all of your talents and gifts.

by Jay Mankus

Folding Under Pressure

As a parent with three teenagers, I am introduced to the latest usage of sayings.  From time to time, I may question my children about their culture expressions.  For those that make sense, I add to my reputare when the timing is right.  One such term is folding, referring to someone who caves under pressure.

A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left, Ecclesiastes 10:2.

One of the common news stories of 2017 are the various reports of whistle blowers.  When administrators, co-workers or research uncovers wrong doing, many people remain quiet, afraid to get someone in trouble.  Solomon categorizes this type of behavior as foolish, folding under peer pressure to not do that which is right.

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, 1 Peter 3:17.

Being a whistle blower takes guts.   Sometimes this may result in losing your job.  The courageous won’t care if friends are lost or relationships severed.  As Peter encourages individuals in the passage above, it’s better to suffer for doing good.  Therefore, if you find yourself in a compromising situation in the future, take this advice from the Bible so that you don’t find yourself folding under pressure.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Congested Mind

At this time of the year 2 types of congestion appear, one that attacks our body and another which tries our patience.  The text book definition refers to being blocked up or too full of something.  As winter colds begin to develop within heads and sinuses, holiday traffic can elicit fits of anger or road rage.  Either one of these symptoms can result in a congested mind.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ, Colossians 2:8.

In the other 3 seasons of the year, the mind is under assault by opposing world views seeking to convert you to their ideology.  College professors do this through philosophy, challenging freshman to question their religious beliefs.  Unfortunately, a growing numbers of Christians abandon their faith before graduating, undoing the family values instilled by parents in less than 4 years.  Instead of dealing with this congestion, minds often cave into peer pressure.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

Today, if you’re healthy, just driving to and from work can give you a headache.  Whether its people with cell phones in their lap talking or texting, its miracle that more people don’t get into accidents.   Anyway, the apostle Paul urges believers to be sober-minded, aware of the schemes of the devil.  If not you will suffer from a congested mind, likely falling prey to an enemy seeking to devour lost and lonely souls.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

A Heart That Listens

There is a saying, like father like son.  While children do inherit certain traits from their parents, this doesn’t guarantee success.  According to the prophet Samuel, David possessed a special heart which craved to do the things of God.  Thus, to follow the Lord requires the ability to listen to a heart which is in tune with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

While this sounds good in concept, David was a horrible father, setting a bad example and unable to control his own children according to 2 Samuel.  Perhaps, this might explain the actions of his son Solomon.  Early on, Solomon walked in the ways of the Lord, seeking wisdom rather than fame.  The Hebrew word found in 1 Kings 3:9 refers to a listening heart.  Thus, Solomon was blessed beyond measure, positioned for greatness.

So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 1 Kings 3:9

Unfortunately, seeing isn’t always believing.  Subsequently, even if you know the right thing to do in God’s eye’s doesn’t mean you will follow through to honor God.  Some where along the way, Solomon was sidetracked, succumbing to the peer pressure of ungodly wives.  Essentially, Solomon began to co-worship the Lord along with the gods of the Middle East.  In view of this disappointing witness, may God draw you closer to Him so that you will receive a heart that listens, trusts and obeys.

by Jay Mankus