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Looking in the Wrong Place for Conviction

Following the unfortunate death of George Floyd, a new movement was spawned. White Millennials began to attend Black Lives Matter protests. Whether convicted from Critical Race Theory or White Privilege seminars, a large number of white women have publicly confessed their sins of racism, bowing down to the BLM Movement. This sign of allegiance has emboldened BLM leaders to publicly demand other white people to bow at their feet. Using peer pressure and force on some occasions, many are looking in the wrong place for conviction.

And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!] 16 But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us? 17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself), Romans 10:15-17.

More than 2 decades ago I attended a 2 day Promise Keepers event at Soldier Field. The opening night was amazing, headlined by a moving speech from founder Bill McCartney. McCartney inspired the 65,000 men who attended with a call to become leaders in their family and community. Day 2 was focused on unity, addressing the topic of racism in the church. Instead of focusing on an individual basis, the Key Note speaker assumed that every white man in attendance was racist. As some one who attended public schools, spending 3 years in inner city Wilmington, I was offended.

Is anyone among you sick? He should call in the church elders (the spiritual guides). And they should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord’s name. 15 And the prayer [that is] of faith will save him who is sick, and the Lord will restore him; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working], James 5:14-16.

God designed human beings with a conscience, serving as a regulating force to convict wayward souls. Meanwhile, the Bible is the only book in human history that has been deemed living and active, Hebrews 4:12. This code of conduct was designed to be a source of light, providing direction and guidance to our feet, Psalm 119:105. You shouldn’t have to go to church, a protest, or rally to be convicted. Rather, the apostle Paul reminded first century Christians that the more you read, study and listen to God’s Word, hearts and minds can change. Therefore, don’t allow peer pressure to alter your beliefs. Instead, meditate upon God’s Word day and night, Joshua 1:8. When you practice spiritual disciplines, conviction will come via the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Modern Idols of Nations

Footbaal, Basketbaal and Basebaal?  Idolatry involves cultism, devotion and zeal for a pastime.  When any hobby get’s out of hand, obsessions can lead to a veneration, turning into a form of worship.  Priorities and time allocation often reveal where a human heart lies.

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them! – Psalm 135:15-18

This allegiance is nothing new.  Developing a well-rounded personality is beneficial, yet idols influence individuals as nations rise and fall.  Whether religion is a fad, trend or life long pursuit, the powers of darkness will persuade some to delay, postpone or quit their journey called faith.   Thus, peer pressure sways the weak toward to idols of nations.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. – Colossians 3:5

According to Jesus, there is a direct correlation between one’s heart and idols.  “Those things you treasure will permeate into your heart, Matthew 6:21.”  Its no wonder that King Solomon urged the Jews to guard their hearts, Proverbs 4:23.  Therefore, to avoid the same fate of fallen saints throughout history, 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, follow the words of Deuteronomy 28:1-3.  When quiet times with God become a habit, escaping the idols of nations can be achieved.  May your life be filled with prayer, meditation and worship.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Sorry Harry Potter… You’re Wrong!

As a former teacher, invoking the name of Harry Potter was like stirring up a hornet’s nest.  I spent years trying to find out what made students tick, probing with topics to ascertain where their allegiance lies.  To my surprise, some of the most apathetic, passive and timid individuals, transformed before my very eyes with the slightest mention of Harry Potter.  Enraged with passion, any criticism of this wizardly magician resulted in anger as if I was picking a fight with their baby brother.

Before I go any further, I don’t want to share my opinion on this issue.  Rather, I seek to confirm God’s words to the Israelites.  The Lord is starting anew in the Old Testament, introducing a set of boundaries and guidelines for the Jews to adhere.  This moral compass served as basic civil laws so that citizens would treat one another as God desired.  Under a section of instructions on social responsibility, Moses writes down God’s own words in Exodus 22:18, “do not allow a sorceress to live.”

This leads one to ask, “what is a sorcerer and why does God specifically refer to a female, not a male?”  According to Webster, a sorceress is a witch.  Meanwhile, a sorcerer is someone who claims to or displays magical powers known as an enchanter, warlock and wizard.  Now if James 2:9 speaks out against showing favoritism, Exodus 22:18 eludes to both men and women.  Therefore, sorry Harry Potter, you’re wrong for what you practice, even in a fictional series, for God is jealous, seeking our complete attention, not just when we feel like it or want to, Exodus 20:3-5.

by Jay Mankus

Grace With Obedience

The apostle Paul introduced the doctrine “by grace through faith” in Ephesians 2:8-10.  The context of Paul’s message refers back to his words to the church in Rome.  In human terms, it’s impossible for man to keep the Jewish law, Romans 3:9-12, as sin past down through the curse on placed upon Adam in Genesis 3 prevents anyone for deserving or earning eternal life on their own merits, Romans 6:23.  Only when an individual places their trust in an unseen Messiah, is heaven a reality, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.

On the other side of the spectrum, we find James, the earthly brother of Jesus.  Based upon his actions mentioned in the 4 gospels and his only book, one of the catholic letters, readers will hear what they think is a contrary teaching.  Possibly reflecting of his own lack of faith, not believing his brother was the son of God, the Lord’s brother places an emphasis on actions inspired by faith, James 2:14-26.  Prior to Jesus’ resurrection, James was void of any belief.  However, James points out that true faith, breeds action.  Each go hand in hand, as once an individual claims to have faith but does not convey or display it, they are merely living a lie as James himself did until his big brother rose from the grave.

Finally, Moses relays words directly from God in Exodus 23:24-26 to the Israelites on their way to receive the promised land.  God’s initial expectations are to follow the first few commandments, mainly to avoid creating or worshiping other gods or things on earth.  In return for obedience, God will bless food, water and the health of his people.  One might suggest this is the origin and inspiration behind saying grace before you eat today, seeking blessing from the Lord of all.  Beyond this, the Lord promises to protect babies in their mother’s womb and supply long life as long as faith and obedience are woven together.  Regardless of where your allegiance lies, may the Holy Spirit guide you with a spirit of obedience accompanied by grace.

by Jay Mankus

Twisting Words

The game of Twister is classic interactive board game of bending your body in all sorts of positions.  Before Ice Breakers were a common teaching aid, Twister was a great activity for getting to know a group of people.  Men in Black II even devotes a scene of their movie to this game as the light of Zartha passes time with aliens.  However, when words are twisted toward your direction, pain can be felt beneath the surface of your body, affecting your heart and deflating your soul.

Exodus 23:8 introduces the Israelites to God’s vision for social justice.  Although its normal to embrace likable individuals, God warns human being against showing favoritism.  If practiced, justice can be perverted when allegiances are made, opening the door for bribes.  This temptation blinds society from the truth as political talking points are exchanged in place of integrity.  As a result, the words of the righteous are twisted, becoming campaign slogans, trashing reputations for a chance at re-election or taking control of power in Washington DC.

There was a time not so long ago that liars were called out, held accountable for the words they have spoken.  I guess when the Bible is replaced by social agendas, right and wrong have turned to gray and opinions elevated to a fact status.  Its’ no wonder Jesus said in his day, “you have ears but do not hear and eyes, but do not see!”  May this blog cause people to stop, reflect and think about their lives.  Through God’s grace, may twisting words cease, replaced by words of love, joy and peace, 1 Corinthians 13:13.

by Jay Mankus

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