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Bouncing Back from Your Own Bathsheba Like Moment

Instead of using the term reputation, the Bible uses the expression “good name” to refer to an outstanding citizen. King Solomon sets this as a goal to aim for, Proverbs 22:1, better than a precious ointment, Ecclesiastes 7:1. Unfortunately, it only takes one emotional outburst, moment of weakness or subtle compromise to flush your reputation down the toilet. Every week there is breaking news of a shocking fall from grace, the byproduct of a secret sin or sins. When the sun rises on the next day, it’s time to bounce back from your own Bathsheba like moment.

One evening David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, when from there he saw a woman bathing; and she was very lovely to behold. David sent and inquired about the woman. One said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers and took her. And she came in to him, and he lay with her—for she was purified from her uncleanness. Then she returned to her house, 2 Samuel 11:2-4.

If you think that “this will never happen to me,” don’t be so sure. Check out what happened to a man after God’s own heart. One night David was unable to sleep, so he takes a stroll on top of his castle. While checking out the scenery, a beautiful woman is taking a bath outside in a hot tub. Eager to find out about her availability, David sends a servant who brings back the bad news, “she’s married.” On any other occasion, David would have accepted this and moved on. However, something changed as David was lured away by sexual fantasies as enticement and lust consumed him.

Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. 14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death, James 1:13-15.

While you may not have committed adultery, the internet has opened up entirely new avenues to ruin your reputation. A politically incorrect blog post, an inappropriate picture or expressing opinions that oppose secular worldviews can get you into hot water or worse. While I don’t want people to refrain from sharing what you believe, you have to do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:14-15. The earthly brother of Jesus explains at the end of his letter how to bounce back from your own Bathsheba moment, James 5:16. When you confess your sins to one another and pray for each other, restoring your name and reputation can occur.

by Jay Mankus

Special Endowments of Supernatural Energy

Endowments are the establishment of funds via donations for a foundation or institution. This gift serves as a means to finance and subsidize future benefactors such as cancer patients and education for less fortunate children. Conversation talk show host Rush Limbaugh used this concept to coin the phrase “talent on loan from God.” The apostle Paul takes this one step further in the passage below, referring to hidden gifts, personality traits, and talents that you were born with but not yet discovered.

Now about the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed, 1 Corinthians 12:1.

Some of these spiritual gifts defy science with no rationale explanation. Thus, one translation of the Bible points to supernatural energy in the form of a Holy Ghost. These special gifts include healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and working miracles. Between the lines, other unique talents exist, often revealed later on in life. The driving force behind this blog is my ability to write in the Spirit. As long as I keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, concepts, ideas, and thoughts naturally flow out of my heart and mind. As I study the Bible, new revelations are unveiled weekly.

You know that when you were heathen, you were led off after idols that could not speak [habitually] as impulse directed and whenever the occasion might arise. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking under the power and influence of the [Holy] Spirit of God can [ever] say, Jesus be cursed! And no one can [really] say, Jesus is [my] Lord, except by and under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit. Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same., 1 Corinthians 12:2-4.

In a letter to the Church at Rome, Paul lists several spiritual endowments, Romans 12:6-8. If you are curious about your own spiritual gifts, there are church growth resources that include spiritual gift tests. Before taking one of these, your scores will vary depending upon your mood. The confident often score high in several categories whereas the humble tend to evaluate themselves with much lower scores. My spiritual gift was confirmed during a two day church conference on discernment. While interacting with other believers, Pastor Bruce opened my eyes to this unique ability to hear and discern God’s still small voice. While writing a teenager pastor, Paul urges Christians to fan into flame their spiritual gifts immediately, 2 Timothy 1:6.

by Jay Mankus

When the World Changes Too Fast

The brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault introduced the tale of a Sleeping Beauty, a princess who was cursed, driven into a deep sleep meant to last for 100 years. Meanwhile, Washington Irving details the events of Rip Van Winkle who went missing for 20 years after refusing to do his daily chores. Although these two stories are fairy tales, anyone who is suffering from amnesia in 2020 probably won’t recognize their surrounding once their memory has been restored. While amnesia is a partial or total loss of memory, the Coronavirus has erased years of close contact communication.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:2.

This year has introduced new practices such as a self quarantine and social distancing as well as reinforcing the importance of washing your hands. Anyone who traveled abroad at the beginning of 2020, would struggle to catch up with the world that is changing so fast. The idea of singing and worshiping God in a church seems strange now. While some states have closed churches completely, others have banned singing in public spaces. Until a cure has been discovered, corporate worship will likely be limited in the months to come.

It is a reason for pride and exultation to which our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world [generally] and especially toward you, with devout and pure motives and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God (the unmerited favor and merciful kindness by which God, exerting His holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, and keeps, strengthens, and increases them in Christian virtues), 2 Corinthians 1:12.

The apostle Paul comments on how the world influenced first century Christians. In a letter to leaders in Rome, Paul encourages believers to renew their minds daily by studying the Bible. The more you are able to drown out the world, the clearer your calling on earth will become. Meanwhile, a letter to the Church at Corinth pleads readers to embrace the grace of God. It’s easy to beat yourself up by focusing on imperfections, the negative and your weaknesses. However, as the world quickly changes, the Word of God remains the same. This inspired a disciple to proclaim “God has given us everything we need in life,” 2 Peter 1:3-4. Test everything and cling to that which is good.

by Jay Mankus

From the Womb to the Tomb

Based upon annual pregnancy statistics, 6 million American women get pregnant each year. Of these total pregnancies, roughly 4 millions result in live births. In a typical year, there are between 600,000 to 700,000 abortions nationwide. Unfortunately, the remaining 1.3 million pregnancies end in miscarriages. Which mean that millions of unborn babies never make it out of their woman’s womb alive each year.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations,” Jeremiah 1:5.

To those who survive, the Bible refers to an abundant life. Based upon Jesus’ own words below, there is a thief that will come to steal your joy while living on earth. While no time table is given, it’s assumed that this battle will last from the womb to the tomb. Therefore, it’s essential that you begin to defend yourself so that you don’t go through life depressed, lifeless and void of enthusiasm.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

According to the apostle Paul, joy comes from a personal relationship with God, Romans 15:13. When Christians begin to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4, you’ll find everything that you’ll need for life. Despite this comforting news, remaining joyful is a difficult task when you consider the powers of darkness that exist, Ephesians 6:12. If you want an added sense of security from the womb to the tomb, trusting Jesus each day is your best option, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

Authenticity

Authenticity is a concept in psychology. Authenticity can be found in existential, existentialist philosophy, and aesthetics. In existentialism, authenticity is the degree to which an individual’s actions are congruent with his beliefs and desires. The call to authenticity resonates with the Oracle of Delphi, “Know thyself.” However, authenticity extends beyond this message. “Don’t merely know thyself, but be thyself.”

I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! – Revelation 3:15-16.

The biblical city of Laodicea was situated between mountains and a famous hot springs at Hierapolis. This hot mineral water flowed into the Lycus River in modern day Turkey. Meanwhile, as snow caps melted in the nearby mountains, this icy cold water mixed with the warm spring water. Perhaps, this topography was part of John’s vision that inspired this lukewarm analogy. As first century believers visited this church, a lack of authenticity was present.

For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see, Revelation 3:17-18.

I recently read the screen play for the film American Beauty. While this secular film is filled with vulgarity, the movie addresses authenticity. When the main character Lester is tried of going through the motions by living a lie, his joy is restored. This mundane individual who is invisible early in the film, Lester finds freedom by bluntly expressing himself. Instead of playing it safe, authenticity breathes new life into dying souls. When you mean what you say and say what you mean, fear about what others think about you disappears. If you feel paralyzed by a lukewarm spirit, break out of this funk with the power of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. The sooner you become real, the better you’ll feel in the long run.

by Jay Mankus

Grace Comes, Guilt Fades, But Consequences Must Be Endured

Days went by following King David’s decision not to lead Israel into battle, 2 Samuel 11:1. During this extended vacation, David appears to become bored, standing on top of his castle, passing the time. This idleness opened the down for an affair with Bathsheba whose husband was off fighting a war. When David’s plan to cover up Bathsheba’s pregnancy failed, Uriah was abandoned by his battalion, left to die. Following a series of sinful acts, God waits a year, hoping David would come clean by repenting.

For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun. [Fulfilled in II Sam. 16:21, 22.]13 And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die, 2 Samuel 12:12-13.

Since this never happened, God sends the prophet Nathan to visit David. Based upon Samuel’s own words, Nathan skips the typical greeting by going right into a story. Apparently, this message struck a cord with David, stirring up his emotions, wanting the guilty party to be punished. Set up with perfection, Nathan turns to David to reveal, “you are that man.” Blind sided by this analogy, David’s transgressions are brought to light, exposed by this man of God. Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 highlight’s David’s remorse.

Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord and given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child that is born to you shall surely die, 2 Samuel 12:14.

At this time in history, the penalty of adultery was death for both participants. Yet, David’s heart felt confession spares David’s and Bathsheba’s lives. While grace comes and guilt fades, sinner’s must endure the consequences of their sin. Subsequently, David is confronted with the death of a child, rebellion within his own house and the generational sin of lust passed down to his children. Being a man after God’s own heart does not exempt you from temptation. Therefore, whenever you make any decision, look for the way out, 1 Corinthians 10:13, as you will reap what you sow.

by Jay Mankus

The Origins of Friday the 13th

The Knights Templar was a by product of the crusades during the Middle Ages. While Christians and Moslems fought for control of the city of Jerusalem, a French knight named Hugues de Pavens established the order of the Knights Templar in 1118. During the 12th century, the Knights Templar reached their peak, serving as monks and keepers of historical church artifacts. The demise of the Knights Templar occurred on Friday the 13th, in October of 1307.

The Lord shall send you curses, confusion, and rebuke in every enterprise to which you set your hand, until you are destroyed, perishing quickly because of the evil of your doings by which you have forsaken me [Moses and God as one], Deuteronomy 28:20.

This was a culmination of the extreme measures taken by King Philip IV of France to hunt down, imprison, torture, and execute the leaders of the Knights Templar. This plan was set in motion with Pope Clement V’s backing and support. Months prior to this fateful night, secret documents had been sent by couriers throughout France. These papers included lurid details, whispers of black magic and accusations of scandalous sexual rituals. While being burned at the stake, Roger de Flor, the leader of the Knights Templar, cursed King Philip and Pope Clement.

For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer, Romans 13:4.

According to eyewitnesses of De Flor’s death, Roger claimed that both men would die within the next year. The Pope died of a severe illness a few months later. Meanwhile, King Philip suffered a stroke while riding a horse several months later, dying shortly afterward. The fulfillment of Roger de Flor’s curse on Friday the 13th is believed to be the origin for this scary night. Today, superstitious people consider Friday the 13th to be unlucky. Yet, curses are real, detailed in the Bible, so make sure you listen carefully to God’s commands, Deuteronomy 28:1-2. Those who do will find blessings; not curses.

by Jay Mankus

Making Your Way Back

No matter how disciplined you may be, everyone has a low point in life. A period where a poor decisions results in disgrace, embarrassment or public humiliation. Despite being driven, focused and goal oriented, I have allowed anger, frustration and lust lead me into a pit of despair. Looking back, I drifted way off track in junior high, high school and college. Some of these phases I went through lasted longer than others, ensnared and trapped by darkness.

And when the mourning was past, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord, 2 Samuel 11:27.

The Bible is filled with confessionals, stories of wayward souls attempting to make their way back to God. One of the most famous involves a former king who rose to power at an early age. Perhaps, a lack of maturity laid the groundwork for a year of rebellion. Adultery and murder were byproducts of David’s willful disobedience. When you read Psalm 32 and Psalm 51, you’ll find a blue print for making your way back to God.

Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, As the Lord lives, the man who has done this is a son [worthy] of death. He shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no pity. Then Nathan said to David, You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king of Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul, 2 Samuel 12:5-7.

Like the prodigal son who came to his senses in Luke 15:17-18, Nathan’s illustration opened David’s eyes to his spiritual condition. This analogy lead David to confront the errors of his way. This story moved David to finally come clean, confessing his evil deeds to God. Yet, when anyone sins, there are consequences that you must endure. The son conceived from David’s affair died, results in mourning. While your distance back to God will vary, the sooner you make a u-turn, the less painful your journey back will be.

by Jay Mankus

When Right is Wrong, Wrong is Right and Everything Else Turns to Gray

Since public Bible readings and prayer was banned from public education during the 1960’s, it was only a matter of time before right and wrong would come under attack. Beginning in 1980, a group of Kentucky parents targeted the Ten Commandments.  These parents argued that the posting of copies of the Ten Commandments in each public school classroom violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In the ensuing case Stone vs. Graham, the court ruled 5-2 in the parents’ favor declaring, “the Ten Commandments had no secular legislative purpose” and were “plainly religious in nature.”

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20

This is a far cry from what America’s founding fathers believed. While serving as the second president of the United States, John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (October 11, 1798). The freedom that our founding fathers aspired to achieve was a freedom in the context of moral standards based upon biblical principles. Yet, after all aspects of God was neutered from public education, atheists began to attack public displays of faith. Whether it’s nativity scenes, statues of the Ten Commandments or monuments in the shape of crosses, reminders of right and wrong have vanished from public squares throughout America.

So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin, James 4:17.

Gray areas refer to ill-defined situations, fields not readily conforming to a category or to an existing set of rules. One of the purposes of the Bible is to define boundaries designed to keep God near while shielding yourself from evil. Unfortunately, as right and wrong is no longer clearly defined for young people, absolutes have turned into expanding gray areas. Meanwhile, opinions expressed on talk shows are being elevated to the status of facts. Despite this growing trend, Jesus’ earthly brother clarifies the status of right and wrong. While the amoral do exist, if you know what’s right and don’t do it, sins of omission are equivalent to sins of action. Therefore, if you’re not sure which way to turn, open the Bible and find out for yourself, Romans 10:17.

by Jay Mankus

Divided from the Will of God

The Bible refers to the concept of God having a plan for your life. From Old Testament prophets who write about future plans, Jeremiah 29:11, to the apostle Paul who suggests you can know God’s will, Romans 12:2, callings occur daily. This might be in the form of a convicted conscience, heart felt desire, some sort of dream or inspirational message. Meanwhile, first century Christians believed that each individual was born with a specific gift, personality or talent, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. This spiritual gift is directly linked or tied to God’s will for your life. If God is the Potter, Romans 9:20-21, the will of God is an ongoing process as clay is molded and shaped, Philippians 1:6.

And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made {loaves of} bread. But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God, Matthew 4:3-4.

Before beginning his earthly ministry, Jesus withdrew into the wilderness to spiritually prepare himself for this 3 year journey. Understanding the threats He would face, Jesus fasted and prayed to clarify God’s plan like which twelve men to choose to become his disciples. At the conclusion of these preparations, the Devil attempted to separate Jesus from the will of His heavenly father. Jesus had the power to fulfill each request, but what the Devil was asking is outside of God’s will. Each tempting situation was geared toward a specific area of Jesus’ life. Physical hunger, mental acuity, and spiritual obedience. These 3 types of scenarios represent how individuals are tempted daily, aimed at separating human beings from the will of God.

And he said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will give His angels charge over you, and they will bear you up on their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written also, You shall not tempt, test thoroughly, or try exceedingly the Lord your God, Matthew 4:6-7.

The apostle Paul unlocks the key to overcoming temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:13. When confronted by the father of lies, John 8:44, Jesus kept looking for the way out. To overcome hunger, Jesus relied on the Word of God, quoting a verse from the Torah. To escape a dare which He was able to demonstrate, Jesus uses the Bible to correct the Devil’s misuse of Scripture. After gaining authority over the earth, Ephesians 2:2, the Devil offers this to Jesus. However, this request is directly opposed to the first commandment. Thus, Jesus finds the way out each time, refusing to deviate from God’s plan.

Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them. And he said to Him, These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me. 10 Then Jesus said to him, Begone, Satan! For it has been written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve.

Every human being has a weakness, sinful tendencies that they have a hard time resisting, Romans 7:15-17. As the ruler of the air, the Devil doesn’t need drones or hidden cameras, he sees and knows our weaknesses. Perhaps, this explains why so many former Christians have abandoned their faith, prodigals who have yet to come to their senses. Each decision you make has a blessing or consequence. Good choices keep you on track, but poor decisions cause you to drift further and further away from God. Freewill gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. However, at what point will you consider God’s calling, plan and will for your life? Whatever you decide, hold on to Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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