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To Impeach or Not to Impeach?

Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body, the House of Representatives in the United States, levels charges against a government official. A decision to impeach a government official is equivalent to an indictment in criminal law. This act does not actually remove an official from office. Rather, this statement of charges is voted on by the House. If enough votes are received, the Senate conducts a trial based upon articles of impeachment vetoed upon. The last president to be impeached by Congress was Bill Clinton in 1998.

So Jesus was saying to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciplesm John 8:31.

While this decision more than 20 years ago seemed logical at the time for Republican leaders, impeaching Clinton back fired resulting in Democratic wins at the ballet box during the 1998 elections. The impeachment frenzy was revitalized this past week, bombarding viewers on cable news and setting social media on fire. After reports were leaked of a conversion between President Trump and the new Ukrainian president, Democratic leaders have initiated an impeachment inquiry. Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress claim this decision is merely an attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election.

And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin],” John 8:32.

As an observer of this political drama, our justice system is on the verge of collapse. The concept of innocent until proven guilty apparently does not apply to President Trump, a former Democrat who is now the leader of the Republican party. High ranking progressive leaders continue to presume that our 45th president is guilty without any clear evidence of a crime committed. Whether it’s Russian interference, endless classified leaks or this new Ukrainian phone call, certain Democratic leaders are itching to impeach President Trump. Yet, without any concrete evidence, history could repeat itself in 2020. As concerned citizens watch this chaos, all you and I can do is pray for clarity so that the truth will set Congress free.

by Jay Mankus

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

The Center of Controversy

The term controversy refers to a prolonged disagreement often resulting in heated public debates.  These discussions are marked by emotional expressions of opposing views.  Altercations take place daily on cable news, college campuses and social media as world views clash.  This war of words involves an exchange between two or more parties, wrangling to expose the flaws of their opponent.  When someone becomes offended by another belief, comment or post, these words quickly become the center of controversy.

But avoid foolish and ill-informed and stupid controversies and genealogies and dissensions and quarrels about the Law, for they are unprofitable and useless, Titus 3:9.

Based upon my observations over the past decade, it appears that three main groups determine, define and dictate what is considered controversy and what is not.  Academia, entertainment and the media combine forces to police speech in America.  A growing number of universities once focused on higher education, now seek to create safe spaces for their student body.  Meanwhile, Hollywood stars are using their platform to become social activists, speaking out against points of view they deem controversial.  To avoid being hypocritical, disclaimers are presented before any movie or show, pre-warning audiences about their content.  Finally, the media controls news stories to denounce, excite or outrage audiences, hoping to persuade viewers to embrace their side of an argument.

After a first and second warning reject a divisive man [who promotes heresy and causes dissension—ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him], 11 well aware that such a person is twisted and is sinning; he is convicted and self-condemned [and is gratified by causing confusion among believers], Titus 3:10-11.

During one of his many messages, the reverend Billy Graham once said, “the Bible will always be the center of controversy.”  Whoever opens up this book will be challenged to alter their life style.  Thus, when an outsider hears commands, decrees and precepts from the Bible, many will be offended.  Often responding back with words like “I can’t believe you said that.”  The shrewd will reply, “I didn’t, I just quoted God.”  Meanwhile, other religions continue to object to Jesus’ own words, “there is only one way to heaven,” John 14:6.  Perhaps its time to follow in the footsteps of Hollywood by placing a disclaimer inside each cover of the Bible.  Warning this book will radically transform your life if you have ears to hear and eyes to see.  No matter what Christians do, atheists, liberals and progressives will continue to refer to the Bible as controversial.  Nonetheless, as long as modern believers strive to be salt and light to the world, quiet godly character will be more persuasive than getting caught up in a long winded controversial dispute.

by Jay Mankus

An Infusion of Worship

Following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, I’ve been consumed with depression.  Anyone trying to keep up with this story has been bombarded with a media frenzy.  Cable news stopped normal programming to air hourly updates, carry eyewitness reports and talk to panelists about their professional opinions.  The more I listened and watched, the worse I felt.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth, John 4:24.

After experiencing a few days of media silence this week, attempting to remove the negativity from my life, a thought came to my mind.  The Bible suggests that human beings were created to worship God.  When individuals drift off course away from this divine purpose, meaning and purpose for life fades.  Thus, those who reach this point like me need an infusion of worship to revive your soul.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship, Romans 12:1.

Yesterday, I replaced the radio with Christian music from my car stereo.  As soon as a few inspirational songs came on, my mood was transformed.  Instead of arguing with talk radio callers and the host, my mind was swayed by the lyrics I began singing along to.  This spiritual infusion gave me the boost I needed to make it through the day.  However, this shouldn’t be a once in a while practice.  Rather, if you want experience a permanent infusion of worship, set aside time daily for worship by offering your body up as a living sacrifice.

by Jay Mankus

Look Up, Look Within and Look Around

The current culture that exists encourages individuals to point their finger at everyone but themselves.  This mentality enables blame to become attached to innocent people.  Cable news, social media and talk radio often defends the guilty while accusing those who share an alternative worldview.  Instead of continuing down this road, perhaps its time to look up by using prayer to ask God why?

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you, Matthew 6:33.

If you don’t receive a definitive answer, maybe its time to look within.  When things don’t go your way, you may be the person responsible.  This is where accountability comes into play.  If you surround yourself with yes people, you might not ever hear the honest truth.  After any fall in life, God uses humility to teach sinners to learn from mistakes from the past.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened, Matthew 7:8.

One thing God is teaching me is to avoid becoming self absorbed.  I tend to get so focused on what I am doing that I ignore the needs of others.  To correct this bad habit, change begins by looking up for divine intervention.  When insight arrives, personal reflection may be required to alter your direction in life if necessary.  Finally, as individuals begin to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, its much easier to look around to see where God want you to be.

by Jay Mankus

All is Not Lost

Classic movies tend to provide quotable lines which become part of pop culture.  Although some get more attention, one that comes to mind often goes unnoticed.  In Animal House, Kevin Bacon play Chip Diller who plays a character similar to a ROTC college student.  During a parade high-jacked by Delta Tau Chi who were recently kicked out of school, Chip tries to maintain a panicking crowd.  As people begin to run down the sidewalk, Diller cries out, “all is well, remain calm.”  Unfortunately, Chip goes trampled as his words got drown out by fear.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! – Psalm 37:7

If you turn on cable news or talk radio, not much has changed.  It’s almost as if networks seek to scare people, trying to out do competitors.  This ambulance chasing mentality will continue until the public stop listening, watching and get news in some other manner.  In fact, the times I tune out the world and other outside distractions, I feel great and tend to hear God’s calling much clearer.  Therefore, all is not lost, especially when you slow down to be still before the Lord.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him, Psalm 62:5.

When I lived in Chicago back in the mid 1990’s, I attend Willow Creek Community Church, just down the road from our apartment.  Pastor Bill Hybels spoke about the importance of finding a quiet place each summer to spend time with God.  The Psalmist above provides a similar message.  Despite any silence you might experience, waiting for God’s presence either through prayer or reading the Bible sparks spiritual growth.  Sure, everyone has their days, weeks and months in the dark.  Yet, in the stillness of the night, the Holy Spirit still speaks truth to convince individuals that all is not lost.

by Jay Mankus

 

If You Rush To Judgement… Someone’s Life Might Be Ruined

After watching a rerun of ESPN’s 30 for 30, Fantastic Lies, I received a new perspective.  During this documentary, I missed an important statement the first time around.  One of the journalists who believed the Duke Lacrosse players raped an African America woman provided an insightful comment.  When asked about why the nation felt like these three players were guilty, he responded, “If you air opinions over and over again in the media, these fantastic lies become fact.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John 2:4.

This observation applies to our daily life.  Every day blogs, cable news networks and news papers publish exaggerations, take comments out of context or with hold information to make liberals look great and portray conservatives as liars.  This rush to judgment often ruins the lives of those who receive negative press.  Just examine or do a fact check of political ads and you’ll find a willful attempt to smear their opponents.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

The apostle Paul speaks of a moment when you have the chance to decide “do I do the right or wrong thing?”  At this place in time, Paul learned that you don’t always have to give into temptation.  Rather, the Lord does provide an escape route, an option that does not lead to guilt, shame or regret.  Therefore, the next time you have an urge to condemn, trash or verbally assault an individual’s character, ask the Lord for discernment.  Or else your quick rush to judgement may result in the demise of a strangers reputation.

by Jay Mankus

 

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