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Unplanned

Rarely does a teenager know exactly what they want to do at an early age and takes the steps to fulfill their dreams. Sure, elite athletes, so called prodigies often become professional athletes, but not everyone succeeds. Abby Johnson possessed a hunger deep inside of her heart to help women. This passion propelled Johnson to become one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the United States. A fervent believer in a woman’s right to choose, Abby defended abortion as pro-life protestors surrounded her clinic daily. Abby had designs to be an advocate for Planned Parenthood for life until what see saw during a routine abortion changed everything.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, John 16:13.

According to recent statistics, Planned Parenthood clinics performed 332, 757 abortions in 2018. Each of these accounts have a story of a pregnancy terminated due to some reason. For some of these women, this act brought relief that a child was not born out of wedlock. As time has passed, perhaps guilt and shame have consumed other souls, second guessing their decision. The 2019 film Unplanned shines light on women who have been silenced by the media, afraid that if their testimony is heard, more women will choose adoption or birth over killing unborn children. While the name Planned Parenthood suggests these clinics offer counseling for expecting parents, performing abortions has become a cash cow, with most clinics focusing solely on scheduling and performing abortions.

So Pilate said to Him, “Then You are a King?” Jesus answered, “You say [correctly] that I am a King. This is why I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth [who is a friend of the truth and belongs to the truth] hears and listens carefully to My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him [scornfully], “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no guilt in Him [no crime, no cause for an accusation], John 18:37-38.

The conversation between a governor named Pilate and Jesus sum up the current political debate over abortion. The context of this dialogue occurs on the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion as religious leaders persuaded a majority of the people in Jerusalem to hand Jesus over to be executed. The idea of truth is difficult today as Pro-Choice advocates are in favor of terminating pregnancies. The truth about this play on words is that if you are pro-choice, you are for the death of the unborn. Since this doesn’t sound good, optics have been changed to focus on a women’s right to choose. Prior to her life altering experience, Abby Johnson was adored by social media, a champion for women and women’s right. Now that Johnson has switched sides to the Pro-Life crowd, the truth is clear to Abby. My prayer is that as individuals watch Unplanned, the truth will set you free from the pressure to conform to worldly standards.

by Jay Mankus

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Lowering the Bar or Extending God’s Grace?

As a former Catholic, you can tell a lot about the direction of a church based it’s leadership.  Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, is now calling for priests to forgive any woman who has terminated a pregnancy.  During a recent interview on cable news, a member of a local archdiocese summarized this theological change.  In the past, female Catholics who had an abortion were excommunicated from the church, viewing this act of killing an innocent life.  Today, Pope Francis wants to focus on love and forgiveness by extending grace to those who have fallen short of God’s glory.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

When I heard excerpts of this interview, I wasn’t sure what to think.  However, now that I have had time to digest this new stance, there are two possible explanations.  First, the church is lowering the bar by altering the expectations of what it means to be a modern day Christian.  Just as public education has changed the standards for a passing grade, clergy is now more accepting.  As godliness diminishes within society it’s hard to find willing servants of Jesus.  Thus, many churches are being forced to overlook past transgressions to fill half empty buildings and worship services.

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace, Romans 11:6.

The other logical explanation is a shift from an Old Testament view of God’s wrath and judgment toward a New Testament approach based upon the love of Jesus.  This theological position points to the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15.  God is already working in the lives of the righteous according to Matthew 9:9-13.  It’s the rebellious, lost and those wandering in the dark who need help.  Instead of emphasizing church growth, pastors have become more evangelistic to reach out to a generation of people who have not grown up in the church.  Depending upon your theological beliefs, you may lean toward one of these two positions.  Nonetheless, the church is suppose to be the hands and feet of Christ, like a beacon of light piercing into the darkness of a spiritually dead and dying world.

by Jay Mankus

Obedience to God Brings Opposition

Depending upon the church you attend or attended, pastors focus on different aspects of Christianity.  Some emphasize altar calls, asking convicted hearts to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus.  Others challenge believers to live out their faith seven days a week, being a light to the world outside of church.  Unfortunately, few discuss a painful reality, obedience to God brings opposition from the world.

“If the world hates you [and it does], know that it has hated Me before it hated you,” John 15:18.

In the past two months, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been verbally crucified by the media daily.  While sexual assault accusations have received most of the headlines, you have to read between the lines understand the motivation behind these attacks.  First, Kavanaugh is a devout Catholic who isn’t afraid to express his faith.  Second, Kavanaugh will likely defend and protect pro-life cases.  Thus, an obedience to support life in the past has alarmed abortion activists to attack this man of God.

19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love [you as] its own and would treat you with affection. But you are not of the world [you no longer belong to it], but I have chosen you out of the world. And because of this the world hates you, John 15:19.

No one wants to be hated.  Human nature creates a desire within to be embraced and loved.  Yet, one day Jesus revealed a side of Christianity to his disciples that is hard to grasp.  Obedience to God brings opposition?  Really?  Well, if your life is a living example of Christ, shining light into darkness, this will expose flaws within the lives of others.  Thus, this will lead to resentment and in some cases hatred.  Therefore, if you want a complete perspective of what to expect as a Christian living in 2018, obedience to God brings opposition from the world.

by Jay Mankus

That’s the Worst!

In this age of raw emotions expressed on social media, perspective is often lost.  Subsequently, blogs, instagrams and tweets tend to exaggerate events, making things far worse than reality.  Thus, if you troll social media long enough, don’t be surprise if you find a comment claiming, “that’s the worst.”

Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue, Psalm 120:2.

Whenever I drive, my patience is at its worst.  Whether I am alone or driving my family, I am frustrated by the slightest mistake made by other drivers.  These offenses strike a nerve, usually getting me bent out of shape.  Unfortunately, I prematurely judge and label each individual behind the wheel as the worst driver I have ever seen.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; Luke 6:37.

Debates over what’s the “worst” varies.  Some claim accidental deaths, others suggest cancer victims and a few argue that the millions of aborted babies since 1973 is a travesty.  As for me, I believe eternal separation from God is the worst.  In a discussion with his 12 disciples, Jesus brings up the concept of losing your soul.  The context suggests the temptation to be rich, self-supportive and wealthy causes some to forfeit their soul.  In view of this, follow Jesus’ advice within Matthew 16:24-26 by giving your life away.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Different Kind of Outrage

Barbarism, desecration enormity, inhumanity and violence are all associated with outrage.  Death is one of the most common events which triggers this raw emotion.  While seventy percent of the protesters in North Carolina were bused in from out of state, this doesn’t mean that the parents and family who lost their son have released all of their frustrations.  Tragic events take time to cope with, heal and recovered from, yet there is another kind of outrage which often gets overlooked.

The people went to Bethel, where they sat before God until evening, raising their voices and weeping bitterly, Judges 21:2.

The grieving process affects individuals in varies ways.  Some mourn in silence while others heal quicker the more they can share the burden upon their hearts.  Yet, there are millions who have perish without the shedding of a tear.  According to the CDC, over 50 million babies have been aborted in America since 1973.  Although some woman who have shared their regrets during television interviews, there are no tombstones to remember those whose life never began, cut short by due to medical reasons or inconvenience.

“LORD, God of Israel,” they cried, “why has this happened to Israel? Why should one tribe be missing from Israel today?” – Judges 21:3

Whenever people are confused, God is either the first to blame or place to find refuge from their pain.  After the murder by an enemy of Israel, people of faith displayed a different kind of outrage.  Those who endured injustice in the Old Testament didn’t waver in seeking answers to their problems in life.  Rather, people of faith raised their voice in prayer, demanding and expecting answers.  This is a different kind of outrage which still has a place in understanding God’s plan and purpose for your life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Waking Up to a Whole New World

Twenty years ago, adult, controversial and risque commercials appeared after dark, when most children were asleep.  The culture was much more conservative, careful not to corrupt the innocence of youth.  Unless you are living in denial, today everything is fair game, waking up to a whole new world.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.

Social media is setting the pace daily, led by what’s trending on Twitter, followed by the latest eye catching video on Youtube.  Subsequently, a new generation lives by an entirely new set of standards, distant from the ethics of the Bible.  What once was wrong has become mainstream, normal to an accepting society, open to news ways of thinking.

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them, James 4:17.

Caught in the middle, the church is forced to balance grace with truth.  Although kinder and gentler, its difficult for those raised in the Fire and Brimstone Era to get past obvious sins.  Thus, when a microphone is put in front of a pastor’s face or as the camera rolls, its hard not to portray these individuals as judgmental, void of the love of Christ.  Despite what Christians believe about abortion, homosexuality and divorce, its better to demonstrate faith rather than shoving your beliefs in someone’s face.  Waking up to a whole new world will require an emphasis on living examples of Jesus to reverse these trends and possibly inspire a revival throughout the land.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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