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The Conscience, Guilt and Fear

Regardless of your beliefs, environment and upbringing, three invisible forces guide each soul.  As C.S. Lewis suggests in Mere Christianity, the conscience is a moral compass, providing a sense of right and wrong.  Guilt is a by product of the conscience, like a warning signal that cuts to the heart when you sway off course.  Finally, before there was a reality show, God uses fear to scare people straight off the road which leads to destruction, Matthew 7:13-14.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out, Romans 7:18.

The Law of Human Nature works hand in hand with the conscience, guilt and fear.  Whether human beings like it or not, each have a curious idea within their mind that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.  Nonetheless, C.S. Lewis breaks the bad news in his chapter with the same title, individuals do not behave in this way despite their knowledge of the Law of Nature; breaking it like the apostle Paul’s confession in Romans 7.

Because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him, Mark 6:20.

An example of the conscience, guilt and fear can be found in Mark 6:14-28.  King Herod probably felt it was wrong for him to take his brother’s wife while he was still living.  John the Baptist’s teaching  exposed Herod’s sin, causing his wife to hold a grudge, looking to eliminate this voice of reason.  Meanwhile, despite his wrong actions, John’s words stirred Herod’s soul, instilling a sense of fear within.  Although Herod had John the Baptist murdered to keep an oath made in public, this decision likely haunted the king for the rest of his life.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did,         1 Corinthians 10:6.

Today,  a progressive society is hoping to nullify the conscience, guilt and fear.  Trying to relive the Age of Enlightenment, educators are encouraging children to do what’s right in their own eyes.  This philosophy didn’t work out so well for the Judges of the Old Testament so why listen to this lie now.  Rather, be open to the guiding light of your conscience.  Treat guilt like a step in the wrong direction and continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12.

by Jay Mankus



The Cruel Reality of Sports

When the clock strikes zero at the end of any competition, their is usually a winner and loser.  Though a regular season game may result in a tie, in the playoffs, this isn’t an option.  Whether you’re talking about the National Championship, Super Bowl or Olympics, only one team or individual will walk off as the victor.

From a personal perspective, I once blew an eight shot lead during the Club Championship; then lost in an 18 hole playoff.  When things start to slip away, as momentum goes in the opponents direction, a helpless feeling grips your body.  This tide often results in the agony of defeat, something I’ve tasted on numerous occasions.  Unfortunately, this is the cruel reality of sports.

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. – 1 Corinthians 9:25

Therefore, as Ohio State and Oregon fans go to sleep tonight, one will celebrate into the midnight hours while the loser will ponder what could have been.  For the senior players, several will be playing their final game, trading in their jerseys for a career in their field of study.  Perhaps, this is why the apostle Paul wrote the words of 1 Corinthians 9:25.  Like of the motto of Little League, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game!”  May these words stick with you the next time you experience the cruel reality of sports.

by Jay Mankus

We’ve Never Done Things Like That Before

One of my greatest attributes is the creativity that God has blessed me with in life.  Although I am not the most conventional communicator, I am able to apply Kindergarten Cop like principles on athletic fields, in the classroom and through my interactions with others.  Just when I was about to experience a breakthrough, I heard those 7 dreaded words: “we’ve never done things like that before!”  This narrow minded thinking cut me off at the knees, preventing me from achieving the heights God had intended.  Like Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society, we lost our teaching positions because others in administrative positions never saw the genius within a life application philosophy of education.

Whether you are in business, communication or education, you will always encounter rugged individuals who will try to fit a square peg into a circular hole.  NFL coaches are notorious for similar practices, running a system that they know, without changing their style to fit or meet their rosters unique talent pool.  Thus, certain individuals remain anonymous today, being cut, injured or released by a team before the world was introduced to their special gift.  If only a coach would break away from the status quo, new stars might shine bright.  Unfortunately, power trips and stubbornness repeat the mantra all over again, “we’ve never done things like that before!”

Today’s world needs more Barnabas’, men who will humbly step aside so that the next apostle Paul won’t be thrown under the bus or suppressed by leadership trying to keep their jobs.  Despite their disagreement at the end of Acts 15, Barnabas was actually teachable, learning to think outside of the box.  Maybe politicians can take a cue from Barnabas by retiring from public service after 2 terms instead of trying to hold on to power for 20 years without helping the people who got them elected.  With God’s help and the prayers of the saints, may we flush this mentality down the toilet once and for all, saying goodbye to “we’ve never done things like that before!”  Instead, may a new generation of thinking begin today with, “let’s try it for a while and see what happens next!”

by Jay Mankus

It Doesn’t Mean A Thing!

This generation of Americans like to talk, boasting about their own greatness, often stretching the truth beyond reality.  Athletes tend to trash talk.  Students seek to publicly display their knowledge.  Socialites enjoy shooting the breeze.  Yet, words don’t mean a thing, unless others see you serving Christ the King!

Meanwhile, modern churches are gravitating toward theology.  In an honest attempt to maintain biblical accuracy, some are falling prey to paralysis by over-analysis.  Flaunting their intelligence, church leaders are missing the mark set by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40 and the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:6.  Likewise, theology doesn’t mean a thing unless the love of Jesus is in the tune you sing.

The apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 is a message many church goers are overlooking.  Sure, you should understand the context of the Bible.  Yes, theology is important to preserve the correct interpretation of God’s Word.  However, the world continues to be turned off by Christians who misrepresent followers of God.  Thus, love doesn’t mean a thing, unless action is seen, not spoken.  Shine the light of the king today, Matthew 5:13!

by Jay Mankus

Go a Little Further

When I was growing up, it wasn’t cool to be smart or raise your hand to answer questions in class.  Students who strove to go a little further became labeled brown nosers and teacher’s pets.  As a high school teacher for 10 years, this mentality still exists, present in 90% of the classes I taught.  Unfortunately, this negative peer pressure steers some individuals away from over-achieving, leaving it behind for fame, popularity and social status.  The end result of this cultural phenomena is a society which does just enough to get by.

In the book of Genesis, there is a boy who fits the brown noser, teacher’s pet stereotype.  However, this boy refused to lower his personal standards.  Instead, Joseph went above and beyond the expectations of others.  Although, his brothers wanted to kill him, despite being sold into slavery and falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Joseph went a little further, Genesis 39:21-23.  Inspired by God, Joseph’s work ethic led him to run an estate, prison and eventually the nation of Egypt, Genesis 41:29-30.

During his sermon on the mount, Jesus took this concept one step further in Matthew 5:41-42.  When you go the extra mile, you exceed and surpass what a typically person would do.  In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37, Jesus demonstrates what going a little further resembles: a model of care, compassion and consideration.  Furthermore, Matthew 25:35-36 breaks down what an individual can specifically do.  Finally, the apostle Paul encloses a prayer within Colossians 3:17, 3:23 to remind Christians of their motivation for going a little further.  Pay it forward today!

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Fool Yourself

Hebrews 4:12 refers to the Bible as containing living and active words.  This unique characteristic sets the Bible apart from all other books ever written.  Ranked as one of the top selling books annually, the Bible has become the greatest seller of all time.  However, when you open this book to read it, don’t fool yourself like a narcissist by thinking you are better than you actually are.

When I opened Proverbs 26 today, God gave me a revelation, new insight to what King Solomon is trying to communicate to readers.  Solomon devotes this particular chapter to qualities of a fool.  Like a Litness Test to assess your degree of foolishness, chapter 26 contains over 20 traits of a fool.  Though you may rate yourself low, similar to a golfer who is under par, Romans 3:23 suggest everyone possesses at least one of these foolish attributes.

The apostle Paul gives new meaning to the term fool in the New Testament.  In his epistle to the educated citizens of Corinth, Paul makes being a fool not so bad.  According to 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16, wisdom does not come from schooling, which encourages students to trust in themselves.  Rather, wisdom is obtained through the power of the Holy Spirit, leading one to put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus.  While the world will continue to emphasize intelligence, becoming a fool for Christ will have the last laugh.  Therefore, don’t be a fool by following Jesus, – 1 Corinthians 1:27-31.

by Jay Mankus

Sin City

When the average America hears a title like Sin City, Las Vegas often comes to mind.  If a city prides itself on the motto, “whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” its pretty apparent that this desert destination is endorsing an immoral and sinful life style.  In an age of instant information, you don’t have to live in Las Vegas to experience temptation.  According to Dr. Ed Murphy in his chapter entitled, “What is Happening to Me,” sin engages individuals on 3 levels. by their flesh, through the world and spiritually, Ephesians 2:2.  Murphy takes this one step further, claiming evil seduces people from within, externally and supernaturally, assaulting the human mind.

The apostle Paul in his letter to a teenager pastor, claimed to be the greatest sinner of all, 1 Timothy 1:15.  Romans 7 contains Paul’s personal struggle with his own flesh, resulting in numerous sins, hampered by an inability to do what is right, Romans 7:15-20.  In 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, Paul refers to either a physical ailment or spiritual attack on his own body.  Most Bible scholars believe Paul had a medical condition or an illness similar to colitis.  Meanwhile, a few, going out on a limb, think Paul was struggling with a fleshly addiction.  Either way, if one of the godliest leaders of all time could not contain his own flesh, then every Christ follower today will endure a similar battle.

Jeffrey Dahmer was a normal child until he began to study pictures in the Sears Catalog.  Like a sponge, his mind began to crave more images, leading to an addiction to pornography.  Present in almost every check out counter in America, the world fed this habit which would darken his heart and consume his soul.  The flesh combined with the temptations of the world persuaded Dahmer to indulge in shameful acts, Romans 1:24-27.  These conditions served as a catalyst to lead Jeffrey to become a serial killer.  Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family Ministries interviewed Dahmer before his execution on death row, revealing information the main stream media does not want to believe.

Unfortunately, the third and final attack on human being is the least known, unless of course you commit murder and want to claim insanity.  From my own experiences over the last 29 years trying to walk by faith, sin can play tricks on your mind.  When I have been closest to the Lord, God continued to expose the sin living in my life like the apostle Paul.  However, when I drift away from God, I am blinded, 2 Corinthians 4:4, thinking and telling others that I am doing fine!  Based upon trial and error, if you are on the verge of a spiritual break through, the devil will send as many demons as possible to stop you in your tracks.  Yet, if you are lukewarm in your faith, you are left alone, as your own flesh and the world keep you from being a real spiritual threat.  Thus, as you wrestle for control over your body, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 and dodge the worldly idols around nearly every corner, Acts 17:16, dust off the armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes, Ephesians 6:11.  Remember this, whatever is stored up for heaven, will stay in heaven, Matthew 6:20.

by Jay Mankus

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