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Category Archives: Truth

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

How to Overcome a Common Flaw

The origin of the phrase ‘Ignorance is bliss’ can be traced back to an English poet. Thomas Gray’s Ode was composed in 1742, reminiscing about his schooldays at Eton College. While knowledge is power, students who graduate from college often develop a superiority complex. When adults who think they know everything re-enter society as so called experts, there is a danger that these individuals will forget the common flaw that all human beings share.

Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives, Romans 3:23.

The apostle Paul addresses this flaw in a letter to the church at Rome. Back in Romans 3:10, Paul quotes the Old Testament. This passage clearly states that there is no one righteous, not even one in a trillion. This flaw prevents the driven, disciplined and focused from honoring and glorifying God daily. This sinful nature is within our DNA. Subsequently, as embryos are conceived, no one can escape this imperfection.

[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, 25 Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment, Romans 3:24-25.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul explains how faith can help overcome this flaw. While God’s grace is unmerited, redemption is possible by placing your faith in Jesus Christ. This acknowledgement is based upon the fact that Jesus was the perfect lamb, free from sin, who was crucified on a cross, died, buried and rose from the dead. Just as God passed over the homes of Jews during the first Passover in Egypt who marked their doors with blood, God will forgive sinners who trust in Jesus. Romans 10:9-11 provides a prayer to help anyone overcome their sinful nature.

by Jay Mankus

When Love Fades from Communities

Since the end of May, brought on by the unnecessary death of George Floyd, tensions have risen within cities across the United States. This civil unrest began with organized protests. Yet, when police departments across the country became the target of pent up anger, frustration and resentment, love has disappeared from many communities. This void was replaced by a spirit of revenge which has spawned a defund the police movement.

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening], 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Apparently, the city of Corinth had a similar problem during the first century. This port city in modern day Greece talked a good game, but when it came to actually demonstrating love, this was another story. Upon hearing about their hypocrisy, the apostle Paul devotes an entire chapter to love. While the Corinthian Church was comprised of gifted and talented individuals, love was absent. Thus, Paul felt a lesson on love was absolutely necessary to convict hearts void of love.

Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith (your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength! 14 Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God’s love for us), 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.

At the end of this letter, the apostle Paul revisits love. Perhaps, Paul noticed that same thing I’ve seen with my own eyes, love fading from local communities. Abandoned buildings, closed churches and once proud citizens have lost hope, wondering if their town will ever be the same. The only way to reverse this trend is through acts of random kindness inspired by the Holy Spirit. If you want to possess a glimmer of hope within your heart, turn your faith into action by starting with loving your neighbors.

by Jay Mankus

Blurred Reflections of God

The first book of the Bible begins with the story of Creation. According to Moses, the inspiration behind the creation of human beings was a joint venture. The Trinity comprised of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Ghost agreed that mankind should be created in the image of God, Genesis 1:26. This human likeness was designed to reflect the glory of God, Unfortunately, as time has passed, this image of God has become blurred.

But even if our Gospel (the glad tidings) also be hidden (obscured and covered up with a veil that hinders the knowledge of God), it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing and obscured [only] to those who are spiritually dying and veiled [only] to those who are lost, 2 Corinthians 4:3.

According to the apostle Paul, this blurred reflection has ties to the spiritual realm. In a letter to the church of Ephesus, Paul explains that our battle to see clearly is not between flesh and blood. Rather, there exists a series of invisible forces at work behind the scenes that blames, controls and deceives using evil schemes, Ephesians 6:12. Unless you’re armed with spiritual armor, you won’t be able to clearly identify reflections of God.

For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Paul builds upon this concept in a letter to the Church at Corinth. Apparently, powers of darkness, spiritual forces of evil and worldly leaders have blinded the minds of unbelievers. Instead of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, the sinful nature has blurred individuals from seeing clearly. The only way to restore your vision is by putting to death your old nature, Colossians 3:4-5, purging any reminders from your life. Until this act of faith occurs, blurred reflections of God will continue.

by Jay Mankus

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