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Author Archives: expressyourself4him

Retaining the Knowledge of God

Retention is the ability to recall, remember and retain information.  Unfortunately, busyness, distractions and hectic schedules tend to weaken one’s ability to pay attention.  Subsequently, whenever I meet someone new, names are often forgotten immediately causing me to ponder, “what’s your name again?”  If I can’t remember the name of someone I just met in person, how is it possible to retain the knowledge about an invisible God?

For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them, Romans 1:18-19.

The apostle Paul makes two interesting observations in a letter to the church at Rome.  First, the earth, the moon and stars are signs of a higher power, a grand design.  When you add other things such as rainbows, sunsets and tides, no one can say I didn’t know or see God.  Witnessing wonders should gravitate individuals toward the Bible, a history book of life on earth.  Yet, unless you open God’s Word up for yourself, retaining knowledge of God will fade away.

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.  24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], 25 because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen, Romans 1:22-25.

Second, Paul reveals the consequence of failing to retain the knowledge of God.  The further you fall away from God, the closer you become to exchanging the glory of God for worldly idols.  Those who ignore, neglect or reject God’s advice about life often abandon faith due to the degrading power of sin.  When sin becomes full blown, James 1:13-15, truth is exchanged for a lie.  May these words from Paul instill a sense of urgency to retain the knowledge of God before you are too far gone.

by Jay Mankus

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When Sanity is Restored

The Bible’s authors have a unique way of expressing individuals who make poor decisions.  A common way to explain this behavior is being out of your mind.  Missteps usually begin with momentary lapses in judgement.  When a pattern forms, unsettled minds take souls further away from God than they ever expected or intended.  Anyone who goes off the deep end is often labeled insane.

Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws. Daniel 4:33.

One of the gospel authors blames insanity on demons, Mark 5:1-20.  One man’s condition had gotten so bad that he withdrew to catacombs, living in an underground cemetery.  Jesus refers to his condition as being under the influence of an unclean spirit.  A legion of demons possessed this man, making sanity impossible under his current state.  Yet, Jesus diagnosed this man’s spiritual condition by relying on the Holy Spirit.  After confronting one dominant being, this man was set free.

Now at the same time my reason returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor were returned to me, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was re-established in my kingdom, and still more greatness [than before] was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and faithful and His ways are just, and He is able to humiliate and humble those who walk in [self-centered, self-righteous] pridem,” Daniel 4:36-37.

Another disciple refers to a similar account or perhaps the same event.  This time the man once possessed is described as being in his right mind.  This is where sanity is restored as individuals can once again follow and obey their conscience.  The apostle Paul stresses the need to take thoughts captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Make sure this spiritual discipline is exercised so that if you are on the verge of giving into temptation, sanity will prevail.

by Jay Mankus

Seared Consciences

A conscience is an inner feeling or voice viewed as an acting guide to do the right thing.  When individuals make a decision against this invisible force, guilt is conceived which is designed to convict souls of any wrong behavior.  However, if human hearts embrace evil doing, consciences can become seared, disabling this special sense from God.

But the [Holy] Spirit explicitly and unmistakably declares that in later times some will turn away from the faith, paying attention instead to deceitful and seductive spirits and doctrines of demons, 1 Timothy 4:1.

Apparently, the searing of consciences first became visible in the middle of the first century.  When Jewish religious leaders failed to accept the teaching of Jesus, manmade doctrines were created to justify this denial.  According to the passage above, this gave the apostle Paul an opportunity to introduce the concept of seductive spirits and doctrines of demons that feed on seared consciences.

[Misled] by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared as with a branding iron [leaving them incapable of ethical functioning], 1 Timothy 4:2.

Paul narrows in on key indicators to identifying seared consciences.  When anyone is incapable of functioning ethically, this is a tale tell sign that a conscience has been seared.  Every winter, I burn my tongue at least once due to drinking hot chocolate too fast.  This deadens my ability to taste anything for a day or two.  Unfortunately, the consequence of seared consciences often result in a devious, immoral and unconscionable lifestyle.

by Jay Mankus

The Degrading Power of Sin

The Bible is littered with depressing, shocking and troubling accounts of people who have fallen from grace.  Jealousy led Cain to kill his brother Abel after God was not pleased with his offering.  Abraham lied to a king, claiming that his wife was his sister, afraid that he might get killed.  Love caused Samson to marry and sleep with an enemy of Israel.  Lust drove David to commit adultery and murder to be with the woman of his dreams.  These are just a few examples of the degrading power of sin.

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], Romans 1:24.

Those who fall prey and become ensnared by sin do so due to a spiritual problem.  The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church of Corinth encouraging members to take their thoughts captive.  When minds begin to wonder, temporary pleasures supersede desires to retain the knowledge of God.  While not everyone gives into temptation, sin has a seductive power like an addiction that won’t leave you alone.

For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. For the willingness [to do good] is present in me, but the doing of good is not. 19 For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want to do, I am no longer the one doing it [that is, it is not me that acts], but the sin [nature] which lives in me, Romans 7:18-20.

Within a chapter to Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul confesses sins power over his own life.  Paul details failures, struggles and the crippling power of sin reigning within his life.  Like a caged wild animal, the sinful nature within human beings is too strong to control on your own.  When sin leads souls on the door steps of temptation, only one name can help you escape from behind the devil’s door.  Call out to Jesus and you will be saved, Romans 10:9-11, on the path toward restoration.

by Jay Mankus

The Healing of Harms

The Healing of Harms is one part testimony and one part inspiration to those who are alone.  The goal of this project speaks to those facing insurmountable odds and needing answers after falling in harms way.  Released in 2006, the Healing of Harms is the first non-independent studio album done by the Christian rock band Fireflight.  This serves as a greatest hits album with the emphasis on lyrics that soothe human souls.

So Saul told his servants, “Find me a man who plays well and bring him to me.” 18 One of the young men said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a brave and competent man, a warrior, discerning (prudent, eloquent) in speech, and a handsome man; and the Lord is with him,” 1 Samuel 16:17-18.

The genre of Fireflight is a combination of Pat Benatar with an occasional Joan Jett sound.  I stumbled upon Fireflight while listening to songs on You Tube for a couple of hours two years ago.  I guess the female led vocal groups l was listening to at the time suggested that I would enjoy Fireflight.  Usually, I find groups with a great song and so-so lyrics.  Or inspirational lyrics that get lost within an average sound.  However, the Healing of Harms contains the best of both worlds.

Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Please let David be my attendant, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 So it came about that whenever the [evil] spirit from God was on Saul, David took a harp and played it with his hand; so Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would leave him, 1 Samuel 16:22-23.

The first king of Israel understood the healing power of music.  At some point during his reign, King Saul began to be tormented by an evil spirit.  Apparently, godly music refreshed Saul’s soul, causing this spirit to flee.  Today, countless spirits of doubt, fear and shame haunt individuals daily.  When words of encouragement fail to result in healing, maybe it’s time to withdraw to a quiet place where inspirational music can serve as a healing of harms.

by Jay Mankus

Apart from Me?

“The Italians have a Proverb, ‘He that deceives me once, its his fault; but if twice, its my fault.’” This is where Americans have derived the saying “fool me once, shame on you; full me twice shame on me.” Unfortunately, anyone who attempts to be good without relying on God will experience disappointment over and over again.

“I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you], John 15:1-3.

A disciple shares an analogy used by Jesus.  This imagery compares God to an arborist.  Whenever human beings begin to sag, tire or wilt, the Gardener prunes every dead branch to stimulate growth.  The key to maintaining growth is staying connected to the vine.  The vine is Jesus, symbolic of the source to spiritual life.  Trying to pursue holiness apart of Jesus wears souls out, like a perfectionist who is never satisfied.

Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing, John 15:4-5.

This passage serves as a needed remainder to me that living life on my own isn’t working.  Thus, I am dying of thirst, in desperate need of living water.  Right now I feel like the apostle Paul in Romans 7, wanting to do the right thing, but unable to do so.  Therefore, it’s time for this vicious cycle of failure to come to an end.  The answer is easy, let God in to change you from the inside out.  Away with apart from me, replaced by Jesus in me.

by Jay Mankus

The Way of the World

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star in the 2012 comedy the Candidate.  From a comedy perspective, this is one of my least favorite Ferrell film.  The plot involves two North Carolinians vying for a seat in Congress.  Each opponent stoops to new lows, doing whatever it takes to win.  Backed by millionaires who seek to turn this district into the epi center for a Chinese based factory, Zach Galifianakis‘ character takes a substantial lead in the polls.  As election day approaches, the underdog who is now the favorite refuses to sell his district to the Chinese.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever, 1 John 2:15-17.

This decision results in losing the backing of his donors.  Despite being a comedy movie, this scene could have been a real life example of headlines on a cable news networks.  Before leaving the home of these donors, Zach Galifianakis‘ eyes are opened to the way of the world.  Money controls politics; if you follow the money, you will see the motives behind financial contributions.  In the real world, billionaires like George Soros annually creates, donates and supports the backings of groups that will further his political agenda.  From an integrity perspective, there aren’t many politicians left who can’t be bought.  Unfortunately, those holding out for the truth are often attacked, criticized or demonized.

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God, James 4:4.

The earthly brother of Jesus, one of Mary’s other sons, makes a strong statement about the way of the world.  Apparently, you can’t be a friend of God and the world at the same time.  James compares playing both sides of the fence to adultery.  A decision to befriend the world is considered a hostile act.  The apostle Paul clarifies this concept in Romans 8:5-8.  When minds become set on the sinful nature, it’s impossible to please God.  Therefore, the next time you find yourself on the verge tasting temporary pleasures, Turkish delight, flee before you are bewitched by the world.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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