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Tag Archives: A Few Good Men

Demons Can’t Handle the Truth

There are certain expressions, quotes and sayings that have become synonymous with Hollywood films.  Whether its “show me the money” in Jerry Maguire, “how about them apples” via Good Will Hunting or “you can’t handle the truth” from A Few Good Men, these scenes seem to transcend time.  While these classic lines are proclaimed by fictional characters, one of these phrases is a touchy subject for demons.

You believe that God is one; you do well [to believe that]. The demons also believe [that], and shudder and bristle [in awe-filled terror—they have seen His wrath]! – James 2:19

On the surface, demons are spiritual entities associated with the devil and evil.  According to the Bible, one third of the angels in heaven exercised their freewill, backing Lucifer’s plot to exalt himself.  This coup against God the Father was immediately exposed, resulting in their expulsion from heaven.  Upon falling to earth, these fallen angels have aligned themselves with the devil, aka Satan, formerly the archangel Lucifer.  This former angel of song uses a plethora of sneaky methods to hide that which is true.  Corruption, deceit and lies are sown to delay the inevitable, the wrath of God.

Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, “Legion”; because many demons had entered him. 31 They continually begged Him not to command them to go into the abyss, Luke 8:30-31.

While Jesus’ earthly brother explains why demons believe and fear God, a first century doctor goes into further details on this subject.  The Bible refers to the abyss as the regions of hell, a bottomless pit, a place of eternal suffering without ceasing.  This fact serves as a clear and present danger for fallen angels.  Demons can’t handle the truth because hell is their eternal destiny.  From their perspective, the more souls they can drag down with them, the better.  In view of this spiritual reality, test everything you hear with the Bible so that half truths will be exposed and the truth will set you free.

by Jay Mankus

Starting to Believe

If you listen, follow or watch cable news on a regular basis, you might begin to believe that the world is falling apart.  A majority of these networks blame Donald Trump for the world’s demise.  Yet, when you spend time outside in the real world, current accusations don’t appear to be as bad as initially reported.  If the media outlet you depend upon isn’t telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, who and what should you believe?

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24

In the passage above, a man approaches Jesus like a disgruntled shopper, complaining about the service he received from a couple of the disciples.  Evidently, the disciples were unable to heal this man’s son possessed by an evil spirit.  This boy was often thrown into epileptic seizures, foaming at the mouth and unable to control his own body.  Jesus attributes this failed miracle to a lack of faith.  Desperate to see his son freed from this helpless state, the man pleads with Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief.

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe,” Mark 5:36.

In the 1992 film A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson plays Colonel Nathan Jessup who is called to testify in court about one of the marines under his command who was killed.  During a cross examination by Tom Cruise who plays Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee a Navy defense lawyer, a heated argument ensues.  Known as”You Can’t Handle the Truth,” this scene depicts the effort and struggle to unravel truth from fiction.  When forming a belief system, this process is just as difficult, sorting through what your church, education and parents have taught you.  Meanwhile, friends, mentors and professors may be pressuring your to confirm to post-modernism or secularism humanism beliefs.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so, Acts 17:11.

When you come to a spiritual crossroads, the best advice is to follow in the footsteps of Berea.  This first century church urged their members to test everything they heard before reaching a conclusion.  Fact checking practices entailed combing through the Bible to determine if ideas, new teaching or theories were consistent with what the apostles taught.  Sometimes information is easy to decipher while other pieces take weeks. months or possibly years to grasp.  During a letter to Thessalonica, Paul reminds the people he visited to abstain from evil, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.  Although you will never know all the answers to life’s questions, at some point you have to start believing.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Heart Check-Up

While the heart is invisible to the average person, emotions can be felt by everyone.  Unless you are undergoing surgery, it’s hard to get a read on someone else’ heart.  Body language can provide some insight into how individuals are doing.  Meanwhile, behavior may indicate good or bad moods.  Just to be safe it’s important to get an annual heart check-up so you know for sure that you are okay.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of, Matthew 12:34.

During a heated debate with Pharisees, Jesus replies to a rumor started by religious leaders.  Possibly afraid that Jesus was winning over devoted Jews to a new religious movement, gossip began to flow naturally out of their mouths.  Thus, Jesus confronts this inappropriate behavior.  Using biblical principles, Jesus exposes the spiritual condition of these jealous hearts.  Like a scene from A Few Good Men, it appears these religious leaders couldn’t handle the truth.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him, Matthew 12:35.

Today, the amoral, moral and immoral can’t afford to take things for granted.  If the words of the Old Testament prophets are true, no one is perfect.  Thus, everyone has a little bit of darkness within their hearts, Matthew 6:19-24.  Therefore, before you allow your heart to become consumed by evil, taking time for a daily spiritual heart check-up is essential.  May this practice help you shun evil so that goodness will flow naturally out of your heart.

by Jay Mankus

A Vessel of Healing

When the term vessel comes up in a conversation, I immediately visualize a cruise ship, sail boat or the SS Minnow from Gilligan’s Island reruns.  While I have never experienced the amenities of a luxurious cruise, this vessel takes you where you want to go.  Sure, the weather may not always cooperate, but the goal is to arrive at each selected destination.

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work, 2 Timothy 2:21.

When it comes to healing, the Bible refers to vessels as a vehicle for change.  Thus, spiritual vessels must avoid the popular stops and distractions the majority tend to visit.  Jesus uses the analogy of a broad road that attracts a large crowd of people.  However, in the end, this place is empty, void of any permanent satisfaction.

For thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, the sea, the stands, and the rest of the vessels that are left in this city, Jeremiah 27:19.

Unfortunately, if you want to be a vessel of healing, you must accept the fact that this will be a lonely journey.  Jeremiah is nicknamed the weeping prophet as many of the messages he received from God to convey to Israel were negative.  The truth hurts as Jack Nicholson famously states as Colonel Jessup, “you can’t handle the truth.”  Vessels of healing must ignore the temptation to be popular by faithfully obeying the Holy Spirit.  In a world desperate for leadership, healing and truth, step out in faith as the Lord is waiting for A Few Good Men, to become vessels of healing.

by Jay Mankus

Unpleasant, Painful but Productive

In this age of social media, discipline often takes the forms of rants on twitter.  When shared among millions of followers, these words can be unpleasant, a strike to your heart.  Yet, if you acknowledge your own imperfections, any form of criticism can make you a better person if you are open to change.

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, Hebrews 12:5.

Like the famous court scene in A Few Good Men, sometimes people can’t handle the truth of an honest assessment.  Thus, many turn a deaf ear, unable to accept the painful reality that they are wrong.  This lack of openness often leads to stubborn hearts as well as a lack of progress in life.

Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son,” Hebrews 12:6.

According to the author of Hebrews, individuals need to change their perspective on discipline.  If careless acts result in embarrassment, face the music instead of running and hiding.  By embracing hardship as growing pains, character can blossom if you are open to self-improvement.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? – Hebrews 12:7

Discipline is one of those things which can be difficult to experience.  Yet, in the midst of adversity, God has a reason, to shape his children just as a potter molds their clay.  Therefore, the next time you are called out, it might be unpleasant or painful, but in the end I pray that you find it productive.

by Jay Mankus

 

Fulfilling My Duty

In the film 1992 drama A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise uses a unique defense to acquit his clients, two marines charged with murder.  Cruise convinces the jury members that these men were given an order, to perform a code red on a sub-standard private.  The defense claimed that Harold Dawson and Louden Downey are on trial for doing their job.  Beyond the realm of Hollywood, what does it mean to fulfill your duty today?

Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day,” Acts 23:1.

Depending upon your calling, fulfilling your duty first begins as an individual.  What gifts or resources do you possess?  In the parable of the talents, the master goes away for an undisclosed amount of time, trusting his servants to be good stewards of what each was given.  Thus, God expects people to maximum their time and talent, seizing each day as a new opportunity to serve the Lord.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ – Matthew 25:23

In addition, you have to consider your role.  Are you a parent, spouse or teacher?  How are you influencing those around you?  Are you drawing people closer to God or do your actions serve as a stumbling block, causing children to question a life of faith.  If you’re like me, it becomes painfully obvious on a weekly daily that I have a long way to go.  Though I have days of being good and faithful, these are overshadowed by periods of disobedience, laziness and neglect.  Therefore, before Jesus returns make sure you get your house in order by fulfilling your duty to the Creator and Giver of Life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Amusing Myself to Death

The definition of entertainment refers to providing and or receiving amusement or enjoyment.  Early cultures built theaters, often used to host plays to provide comic relief from the troubles in life.  In recent years, sports allows individuals to release their stress for a couple of hours each weekend.  However, if you get too comfortable or close to the finer things in life, you may be in danger of amusing yourself to death.

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

After a long week of work, I tend to find myself on a recliner soaking in something on television.  While I do spent time outside playing golf, at my current age, I prefer to be entertained.  Perhaps this explains why I have a hard time turning the channel when movies like A Few Good Men, Bourne Identity or Shawshank Redemption come on.  Its strange how reruns can attract someone’s attention, wasting valuable time that could be spent fulfilling your dreams.

So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there, Acts 17:17.

One of the best resources for escaping the grips of amusement is Summit Ministries.  During my decade of teaching, Dr. Jeff Myers and John Stonestreet were at the forefront of preparing students for college.  One of their common messages is that life imitates art.   The best way to address this is by engaging today’s culture through apologetics.  Just as the apostle Paul persuaded the people of Athens, this world needs a leader to snap people out of their spiritual slumber.  May the Lord awaken couch potatoes with the saving grace of God.

by Jay Mankus

 

Cut To The Heart

King Solomon referred to the heart as the well spring of life.  His father David developed a reputation of having a heart for God.  The martyr Stephen wasn’t afraid to ruffle feathers calling religious leaders rigid, stubborn and possessing uncircumcised hearts.  Over the course of one’s life, individuals may run from the truth for a while.  Yet, conviction, guilt or a simple word will eventually cut to the heart.

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”- Acts 2:37

One of the most famous movie lines in pop culture comes from A Few Good Men.  Jack Nicholson plays Colonel Nathan Jessup called by the defense in a death of a marine under his command.  Tom Cruise is Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee trying to prod the Colonel to admit he ordered a code red while under direct examination.  Fed up by a series of trivial questions, Nicholson pontificates with the classic phrase “you can’t handle the truth!”

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!- Acts 7:51

I think the reason why this scene and line is so often quoted relates to the impact truth has on the human heart.  Despite how hard someone may try to cover up a lie, God gave human beings a conscience to cut to their hearts.  Thus, when you’re misguided or in the wrong, truth has a way of softening up the heart.  Therefore, the next time you are humbled, use this teachable moment to let the Holy Spirit come in to transform your hurting heart.

by Jay Mankus

 

Does Saving Your Life Mean Forfeiting Your Soul?

Rarely do you hear the terms forfeit and save in the same sentence.  Perhaps, you could be referring to a Little League team that may have to forfeit a game, unable to field enough players.  Thus, this forfeit could save a pitcher for an opponent’s next game or start a win streak that saves their season.  However, this isn’t the context of Jesus’ conversation with his twelve disciples in Mark 8.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it, Mark 8:35.

Speaking to future apostles of Acts, Jesus’ words could be limited to anyone seeking to devote their lives to full time ministry.  However, the choice of vocabulary suggests something similar to closing remarks made by Moses during his farewell address in Deuteronomy 30.  Life is like a series of choices, each leading you either in the right or wrong directions.  Therefore, when anyone decides to follow the path of saving your own life, with each step, people are approaching the unfortunate reality of forfeiting their soul.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.  For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess, Deuteronomy 30:15-16.

From a personal perspective, obedience either illustrates one’s investment in storing up heavenly treasures on earth or proves their divestment, clinging to the ways of this world.  If your heart is where your treasure is, Matthew 6:21, then how you spend your time reveals who you are living for.   Like the words of Colonel Nathan Jessup played by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, people can’t handle the truth.  Since life is a marathon and not a sprint, there is time to change your course.  Whatever you decide, be careful not to save yourself or else you will be in danger of forfeiting your soul.

by Jay Mankus

Pinocchio Politicians

Every so often a commercial portrays a message that is sad but true.  Such is the case of the satire Geico ad when a dad tells his son, “did you know Pinocchio was a bad motivational speaker?”  If an individual’s nose grew each time something was embellished, exaggerated or lied about, people would be held accountable for their loose lips,  Unfortunately, most of the media is asleep at the wheel, allowing liberals, progressives and radicals to proceed as Pinocchio politicians.

A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. – Proverbs 26:28

The Bible uses a different strategy to insure honesty is upheld.  Rather than using the term reputation, authors of Scripture refer to keeping a good name.  Back in biblical times, promises, words and vows meant something.  Thus, the degree upon which you fulfilled what was spoken attributed to your name, either good or bad.  Perhaps, this measuring stick needs to be reintroduced today to prevent another generation of Pinocchio politicians.

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? – Numbers 23:19

In the film A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise as Lt. Daniel Kaffee is interviewing witnesses after a marine is apparently murderer by two soldiers in his room.  Upon questioning Keifer Sutherland’s character Lt. Jonathan Kendrick, Kaffee is surprised by the logic from this squadron leader, “Private William Santiago had no code and God was watching!”  While Hollywood will continue to serve as a land of make believe, God is real and will hold souls accountable for their actions on earth.  Although many escape initial consequences today, Pinocchio politicians will be exposed on the day of judgment.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

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