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The Story Behind A Just Cause

To be just refers to being fair and impartial.  The Bible details God’s hatred of those who have been mistreated and oppressed.  The term civil refers to behaving according to what is morally right within a just and democratic society.  The story behind this concept begins as God uses guilt as a just cause to convict sin despite being invisible (before the actual act) to the human eye.

But each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion), James 1:14.

While individuals may be able to deceive other human beings for an extended period of time, the truth will come out over eventually.  Whether it’s an addiction, a crime or shocking act, the Bible reveals what happens inside the soul before the act of sin emerges.  Seeds are planted within minds, temptation waters these thoughts until desire, lust and worldly passion drags the next unlikely candidate down a dark path.

Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death, James 1:15.

Sadly, headlines from the internet, newspaper or tabloids is the end result of the sinful nature getting the best of a weakened and vulnerable person.  After any fall, just as God sends guilt, humbled hearts open the door for forgiveness.  To those who comes to their senses, seeking reconciliation, the Holy Spirit moves toward the broken-hearted and crushed in spirit.  While this is often not seen in this light, God demonstrates a just cause by extending grace and mercy to the contrite.  May these words help you get over failure by embracing God’s forgiveness.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Take It Personally

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In an ideal setting, everyone would love to be admired, cherished and highly valued.  However, in a fallen world, with individuals daily carrying around dirty laundry and excess baggage, receiving a desired response is unlikely.  Therefore, if an act of kindness, gentle reply or word of encouragement goes unnoticed, don’t take it personally.  According to Exodus 7:3, sometimes God will harden a person’s heart, preventing individuals from being civil.

When Jesus first sent off his disciples in Matthew 10, taking off their preverbal training wheels, he tries to prepare these 12 men for what to expect in life.  Beginning in Matthew 10:17-23, you could probably hear a pin drop, likely caught off guard by the hatred Jesus predicted.  Maybe this is where Judas Iscariot began to get cold feet, thinking to himself, “I didn’t sign up for this!”  I guess you can assume Jesus is trying to separate the followers from leaders, using a similar strong message in Luke 14:25-27 to narrow down his core group.

Unfortunately, the old saying of “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is a lie.  When I taught, I could have a dozen compliments from faculty and students, yet that one negative email from a parent is what I thought about, erasing all the good I received earlier in the day.  Criticism, harsh comments and tasteless remarks can get under your skin, leaving a heart torn in two.  When words feel like knife wounds, verbally poisoning your soul, take your burden to the Lord, Matthew 11:28.  May the words of Psalm 34:18-19 help you not to take future replies personally.

by Jay Mankus

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