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Tag Archives: absolutes

Fulfilling the Common Good

Good is one of those words that is overused.  As absolutes are becoming replaced by opinions fueled by cable news and talk radio, what is good and what is bad varies.  In the days of the Old Testament, Judges began to do what was right in their own eyes, removing the Bible as a measuring stick.  Similar to modern day humanism, anything that feels natural is deemed good.  On the other hand, anything that results in unpleasant experiences is considered bad.  Those who adopt this mentality place self seeking endeavors above the common good.

Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]. And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served]. And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7.

During the first century, there was some confusion due to how God was allocating spiritual gifts among church members.  Apparently, jealousy distracted Christians from accomplishing the common good for society.  People who were blessed with special abilities that demonstrated God’s extraordinary powers were placed in higher esteem that those with more traditional gifts like discernment and hospitality.  This rift within Corinth inspired the apostle Paul to remind believers that without displaying love, spiritual gifts are meaningless, 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

“Each of us… must rededicate ourselves to serving the common good.  Our individual fates are linked, our futures intertwined.  And if we act in that knowledge and in that spirit, together, as the Bible says, we can move mountains,” President Jimmy Carter 1978.

Jimmy Carter is the last evangelical Christian to hold the presidency of the United States.  Although most Americans would refer to the Carter presidency as a failure, this man has held a higher calling.  Known for his service to Habitat for Humanity, founded in his home state of Georgia, Carter has embraced the concept of providing homes for the homeless.  While most former presidents end up going on book tours, concentrate on speaking engagements or traveling the world, Carter volunteered his time to build homes.  The quote above serves as a great example of what it means to fulfill the common good.  Just as the city of Babel came together with a common purpose to erect a tower, Christian’s united under one spirit can move mountains.

by Jay Mankus

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Just How Much I Don’t Know

Beginning in 1989, Nike began the Bo Knows advertising campaign to sell a new line of cross training sneakers.  Due to the amazing talent displayed by Bo Jackson as a professional running back for the Oakland Raiders and baseball player for the Kansas City Royals, the concept that Bo Knows fit.  Improbable for most people, Bo’s athleticism didn’t seem to be a reach.  Thus, the ideal that Bo Jackson could play any sport was conceived.

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge, Proverbs 18:15.

Nearly twenty years later, over confidence isn’t a problem.  Rather, narcissism is on the rise as many Americans are convinced that they can do anything they set their minds toward.  While confidence isn’t a bad trait to possess, the danger comes when people believe without a doubt that they are right and everything else is wrong.  If you follow politics, this explains the tension which exists between party lines.

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings, Hosea 6:6.

As for me, I have reached a point in life where the older I become, the less I actually know.  Once clear absolutes like honesty, marriage and truth have turned into fifty shades of grey.  Opinions are replacing facts with good intentions rewarded for being on the right side on political correctness.  The world that I wake up to daily is a distant memory from the Christian values I was taught as a child.  Yet, transformation begins from within, displayed through faith in action.  Although many in the world may disagree with my point of view, emulating the love of Christ is the only way to revive wounded souls.  Actions speak louder than any spoken or written word.

by Jay Mankus

Lies Gone Wild

To elicit attention from late night consumers of television, Girls Gone Wild took pornography to a new low, seeking drunk college students to bare everything for attention and fame.  A similar movement that received far less attention, author Wendy Shalit founded Girls Gone Mild to instill modesty within young women.  In recent days, a new fad is sweeping the nation, luring men and women to participate in lies gone wild.

Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21.

During one of my first years of teaching high school, a few students broke into my room, logged on to my computer and created a fake My Space Account in my name.  Unaware of this site, rumors began to spread which initially tarnished my reputation.  A few years later, a friend developed a couple of mock EduBlogs to show me the type of technology I could incorporate into my curriculum.  Unfortunately, these were never deleted leading to a trip to my principle’s office.  Evidently, this site suggested I was a faith healer who charged $25 per healing.  I can laugh about it now, but when gossip is full blown lies run wild.

Reject every kind of evil, 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

As I listen to hourly news updates, it appears that Democrats and Republicans are daily participating in this venture in one way or another.  Some facts are taken out of context.  Others’ words are distorted to imply a controversial view.  Meanwhile, a few are down right nasty, exaggerating and lying to convince the America people that their side is correct.  Ascertaining what the truth is valuable, but when opinions are being argued, absolutes do not apply.  Thus, before you believe the next thing you hear, read online or see, test everything so that society will put an end to lies gone wild.

by Jay Mankus

The Danger of Bearing False Witness

At some point over the last 25 years, exaggerating and lying have become a part of American politics.  The value of honesty and integrity have been replaced by a “do whatever it takes to win” attitude.  If this current trend continues, society will experience the side effects of bearing false witness.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, Exodus 20:16.

When individuals begin to hold worldviews that believe absolutes are not realistic to obtain, a vacuum is created for falsehood to reside.  Meanwhile, the media understands if you repeat a lie over and over again, the public will likely begin to believe this as truth.  Until corruption, deceit and untruths are daily exposed, politicians will continue to lie.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another, Ephesians 4:25.

A growing number of churches are encouraging their members to fast and pray in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election.  The more who join this movement can shift the spiritual momentum in this country.  Yet, without faith in action from godly leaders, this climate will not change.  May the power of the Holy Spirit move you to speak the truth in love to make this world a better place.

by Jay Mankus

 

You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me?

The other day I caught the end of a news update of a female student suspended by the University of Houston.  Initially, I thought, maybe she failed a drug test or was involved in some type of plagiarism scandal.  During the next news cycle, I discovered Rohini Sethi was disciplined for a public post on Facebook.

While evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived, 2 Timothy 3:13.

While maybe I would have altered a few words in this post, essentially Rohini was punished for expressing her first amendment right of free speech.  Unfortunately, in this politically correct culture, saying that all lives matters, not just black lives is considered racism.  Subsequently, once this suspension ends, Rohini will be programmed through sensitivity training to correct the error or her ways.  If this a sign of higher education, count me out.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 2 Timothy 3:14.

I’m not sure what has brought America to this place in time, but this latest attempt of liberal indoctrination breaks my heart.  Since education has been high-jacked by atheists, naturalistic scholars and the progressive movement, absolutes no longer come from the Bible.  I wish I was kidding, but unless a spirit of revival breaks out soon, the America I once knew and loved might cease to exist.  May God help us all!

by Jay Mankus

The Heart of this Matter

Troubled souls watch in horror following the third act of terrorism in less than two weeks.  After the shock wears off, people are looking for answers, searching for the heart of this matter.  While the facts of the most recent ambush of police officers in Louisiana is unclear, there elements shine some light upon the darkness behind these evil acts.

1. Opinions have been elevated to truth status.

Whether you watch cable news, follow social media or read secular publications, public opinions go viral weekly.  Cable news uses talking points to define the narrative, filtering out the context by over-emphasizing what they want the low information voter to believe.  Facebook, Snap Chat and Twitter elicit emotions, creating an environment for anger, hatred and negativity to have a voice.  Meanwhile, a few elite members of the media daily spoon feed the American public, repeating ideologies, philosophies and worldviews until their opinions become what is good, right and true.

2. Political Correctness has replaced the Bible as genuine absolutes.

During my last year as a high school Bible teacher, our administration felt it was necessary to bring in a professional for an inservice day on sensitivity training.  As the black student population grew, a series of seminars was designed to equip teachers with a better understanding of the African American community.  Unfortunately, most of the time was spent regurgitating liberal beliefs void of any biblical principles.  When public schools kicked the Bible, prayer and God out of education in the 1960’s, the measuring stick for absolutes were eliminated.  More than fifty years later political correctness has now become the gospel of the twenty first century.

3. You can’t force people to act, believe or change.

One of the things I learned during my months in a youth ministry trade school is that you can’t change someone’s attitude.  However, once an individual takes ownership and responsibility for their actions, they can change themselves.  If God doesn’t force people to believe in Him, creating free will, why is the world trying to convince those who differ from their worldview to become open minded?  According to Jesus in John 16, the Holy Spirit is the only source that provides permanent change.  Discipline, good intentions and hard work are productive, but not eternal.  Therefore, if you want to start making this world a better place, begin with the heart of this matter by looking at the man, woman or child in the mirror.

by Jay Mankus

 

Too Many Vehicles to Pull Over

My house lies a quarter of a mile from Interstate 95 in northern Delaware.  Residing in the I-95 corridor, an hour north of Baltimore and hour south of Philadelphia, I regularly travel this busy highway.  In recent trips, its seems like the average speed now exceeds the 65 limit by nearly 20 miles per hour.  Thus, police officers are often faced with the dilemma of too many vehicles to pull over.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days, 2 Timothy 3:1.

Perhaps this aggression is a sign of end times.  The apostle Paul receives a vision, a glimpse of the moral decline within society.  As this culture leaves absolutes for politically correct stances, selfish individuals will continue to commit transgressions against innocent citizens.  Subsequently, road rage is causing impatient drivers to take their frustrations out on anyone who infringes upon their lane or space.

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2.

There was a time when driving was a leisure activity, exploring back roads for fun over the weekend.  Yet, as a growing number of people are in a hurry, friction leads some to explode emotionally.  While there are many prophecies that still need to be fulfilled before the end of days arrives, recent acts of terrorism suggest this isn’t too far off.  Before this occurs, may those struggling to make sense of our fallen world slow down enough so that police won’t be overwhelmed with too many vehicles to pull over.

by Jay Mankus

 

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