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Afraid of the Truth

Recent studies have shown how algorithms used by social media sights favor a secular worldview.  After a whistle blower from Google was fired for expressing his concerns, cable news interviews of this former engineer have exposed how these algorithms block conservative content.  When you add the recent videos released by Project Veritas, it’s clear that progressives are afraid of the truth, unwilling to participate in a fair or friendly debate.

Now after Paul and Silas had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul entered the synagogue, as was his custom, and for three Sabbaths he engaged in discussion and friendly debate with them from the Scriptures, Acts 17:1-2.

During the first century, debates regularly took place in the center of town at marketplaces.  Philosophers took turns sharing their beliefs with those that followed either adding, defending or weighing the pros and cons.  The apostle Paul used this open minded climate to his favor, visiting a synagogue in Thessalonica on the Sabbath, examining the Old Testament.  Luke describes these discussions as friendly debates as each shared their biblical knowledge of the Torah.

But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] had also been preached by Paul at Berea, they came there too, agitating and disturbing the crowds, Acts 17:13.

After Paul and Silas were successful in convincing several Jews into converting to Christianity, civility departed.  Afraid that others might leave their synagogue, leaders gathered up some lowlifes and thugs to threaten Paul.  After fleeing Thessalonica, the bullying didn’t stop as news of a revival in Berea inspired synagogue leaders to round up another motley crew.  Apparently, being afraid of the truth is nothing new as when individuals begin to embrace biblical teachings, peer pressure is applied to change hearts and minds to revert back to what is considered socially acceptable.  Don’t be afraid of the truth; face it with an open heart.

by Jay Mankus

Focusing on the Darkness Within

According to a 2015 article in Time Magazine, the top ten television shows of all time include Friends, Breaking Bad, the X-Files, Game of Thrones, Seinfeld, the Sopranos, Saturday Night Live, I Love Lucy, Mad Men and the Simpsons.  While five of these programs were comedies, the others contain adult content, graphic images and violence.  Based upon the series chosen on this list, American audiences are searching for something to laugh at and tune into nteresting dramas.  In order to grab someone’s attention, producers focus on the darkness within souls to spice up weekly episodes.

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. 23 But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness! – Matthew 6:22-23

When tragedy strikes in the form of mass shootings, blame immediately goes to guns and gun owners.  After the facts reveal the true motives of any massacre, some of these events may be blamed on terrorism, others on bullying and some remain unexplained.  Whatever the inspiration may have been, rarely do experts, media panels or psychologists point the finger in the direction of Hollywood.  From time to time, mature video games that desensitize the frailty of life receive a portion of the blame.  Yet, unless a shooter survives their day of reckoning, no one will ever know for certain why school shootings happen.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin, 1 John 1:5-7.

The word light appears 272 times in the Bible.  Meanwhile, darkness is mentioned 162 times.  Two of Jesus’ disciples highlight the positive aspects and negative concerns of these terms.  According to Matthew, darkness is like a poison that corrupts hearts internally before external actions magnify evil from within.  John takes a different approach, comparing light to a truth detector.  Anyone who pretends to be a Christian while maintaining a relationship with darkness is a fool.  The ultimate goal is to expose any darkness within you by daily reading and studying the Bible.  Although Christians can’t control what Hollywood or others do, the decisions that you make will determine your destiny.  May the light of Christ guide you through the darkness.

by Jay Mankus

How Can It Be So Bad to Take Your Own Life?

On Monday night, former MLB starting pitcher Tommy Hanson died of a massive organ failure following a drug overdose at age 29.  Last August, legendary actor Robin Williams who made millions of dollars in Hollywood also took his own life.  Unfortunately, the older I become, the lists of deaths by suicide continue to rise.  Thus, I wonder how can it be so bad to want to end your own life?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

In a 2013 study, suicide was the second leading cause of death among teenagers.  Some of these statistics can be attributed to bullying.  Others may be related to an unhealthy family or living arrangements.  When you add on depression, low esteem and unguided youths, perhaps individuals come to a point where they think, “it can’t get any worse?”  Meanwhile, some may believe dying is less painful than facing reality.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life, John 3:16.

At the heart of this deception is the Father of Lies, Lucifer.  The more isolated individuals are the louder these whispers become.  Invisible to the eye, demonic spirits cherish each perishing soul.  Yet, beyond the pain of life is a purpose, greater than anyone realizes.  If those who have taken their own life just tasted the abundant life promised in the Bible things would have been different.  For now, all you can do is learn from history, avoid demonic doldrums and set your mind on a higher purpose.  And if it get’s any worse, hold on to Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Suppressed Anger

If you slow down enough to take a look around, suppressed anger lingers deep inside the human heart.  The tension within the bullied builds until a spirit of revenge is born.  Once this seed is implanted inside of  troubled minds, the stage is set for the next school shooting.

During my sophomore year of high school, I was introduced to another form of suppressed anger.  A friend from my cross country team began to punch me in the arm every team I saw him in school.  This scenario repeated itself for 6 months until I took the time to find out why.  Carl, who became my best friend, hit me to express his frustration as he helplessly watched his mother slowly die of cancer.

Today, some of the cruelest people you encounter often possess a secret that motivates their behavior.  Just watch the Breakfast Club, paying close attention to John Bender’s character played by Judd Nelson.  Whether its a bad family life, negative influences or low self-esteem, each plays a factor in determining which person you will meet.  May a clear understanding of Galatians 5:19-22 allow you to discern suppressed anger from those who are simply evil.

by Jay Mankus



Making a Difference One Text at a Time

Early in the 2013-2014 school year, a high school senior became fed up with the persistent negativity bombarding her hallways.  Searching for a simple solution, this silent leader began to fight back with kindness.  Determined to leave a positive mark on her classmates, this glimmer of optimism began to make a difference, one encouraging, yet anonymous text at a time.

This principle is nothing new, passed on by the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:29.  The best way to battle bullying, criticism and put downs is with uplifting words.  In the end, it doesn’t matter who gets the credit as long as the desire to do good tarries on, Galatians 6:9-10.  As this girl’s twitter handle began to light up with compliments to friends, faculty and staff, establishing hope for broken hearts.

Perhaps, this young woman will start a movement to love your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 22:39.  Whether you think before you act or look at someone else’s life before you judge or make an assumption, randoms acts of kindness can make a difference.  Therefore, instead of giving up on a cruel world, set your heart and mind on things above, Colossians 3:1-3, so that the light of Christ will be passed on to the next generation.

by Jay Mankus



A Prayer for the Bullied

Regardless of how big, strong or tall you are, one day you will face your match, being the David against a Goliath bully.  In the Back to the Future movie series, George Mcfly faced a life long battle with Biff, never having the courage to stand his ground until he came face to his with his own son Marty.  Going back to his father’s high school years, Marty played by Michael J. Fox, tries to break his father of this submissive trait.  Finally, George becomes enraged by Biff’s mistreatment of Jennifer Parker, filling his fist with supernatural strength, knocking out this bully with one powerful left hand hook to the face.

Unfortunately, this Hollywood ending is not reality for the countless of Americans daily facing bullies at their school, in the neighborhood or at their place of occupation.  Although bullies are conceived during childhood, they don’t magically disappear when you become an adult.  Power, pride and selfish greed inspires an older, less obvious and wiser type of bully.  Seeking and seizing control of others, individuals usually use their status, title and ego to boss around people low on the totem pole.  Subsequently, year and year goes by without upper management ever noticing or seeing this harsh behavior.

Based upon the words of Psalm 10, David appears to have been bullied prior to his rise to power as King of Israel.  His words describe how anyone who has faced bullying feels: helpless, weak and alone.  The youngest in his family, this scrawny boy was a mere shepherd, an insignificant member of his household.  During these days alone, an outcast in the fields, David began to communicate with God through prayer.  Psalm 10 depicts a long period of unanswered prayers from verse 1-13.  However, in the end, God answered David with a prayer for the bullied, “You hear O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more!” – Psalm 10:16-17

by Jay Mankus

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The origin of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was conceived by author Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886.  Inside this novel, London lawyer Gabriel John Utterson investigates bizarre encounters between an old acquaintance and a man named Edward Hyde.  His research leads to an unusual discovery of a split personality, also known as multiple personality disorder.  Inside of Dr. Henry Jekyll lies paranormal activity, vastly different than his mild manner friend.

The rock group Holy Solider creates a modern version of this story in their song Virtue and Vice.  In their edition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, strange occurrences lie within the human heart, Jeremiah 17:9.  Based upon an apostles account to the church in Rome,  Paul reveals a defect in his DNA, Romans 7:15-20.  The harder Paul tried to do right and follow God, something inside of him, intervened, preventing him from carrying out his good intentions.  This phenomena is known as the battle between the Holy Spirit and Sinful Nature, Galatians 5:16-18.

If America is a case study for the world, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are making a come back all over the nation.  However, Dr. Jekyll is being phased out as the evil Hyde is taking over as the dominant, alpha spirit.  While experts are trying to put a finger on why bullying and violent acts are escalating, the words of 2 Timothy 3:1-5 are being fulfilled by media reports daily like the dissension within the Miami Dolphins locker room.  The only cure for this disease can be found in Romans 7:24-25.  May God’s spirit provide the antidote you need to override Hyde, thereby rescuing Jekyll from the chains of sin.

by Jay Mankus

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