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The Mind of a Murderer

The Investigation Discovery Channel began airing in 1996.  Twenty years later, the ID channel has inspired a series of programming based upon finding the killer of unsolved cases.  Recent shows like Snapped examines the mind of a murderer.  This phenomena has influenced Headline News to develop the Making of a Murderer to add to their late night murder mysteries.

And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it,” Genesis 4:6-7.

According to the Bible, a murder ruined the earth’s first family as jealousy led the oldest son Cain to kill his younger brother Able.  In the earliest days on earth, God walked and talked with Adam and Eve.  Apparently, God approached Cain before this act of murder occurred.  Like a parent warning their child, God warned Cain of his jealous heart, seeing his displeasure and frustration.  Unfortunately, the thought of getting rid of his brother had already conceived, only a matter of time before these thoughts inspired an evil action.

Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will have respect for him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves, saying, ‘This [man] is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 So they threw the son out of the vineyard and killed him, Luke 20:13-15a.

During a first century parable, Jesus reveals the mind of a murderer.  A group of tenants thought if they killed the owner’s only son, these men would be in line to receive his inheritance.  This flawed decision did not take into account one obvious fact: God is all-knowing and sees every deed committed by human beings.  While some may appear to get away with a crime or murder, sooner or later individuals will be brought to justice either on earth or in the afterlife.

“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and ‘Whoever murders shall be guilty before the court.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice against him shall be guilty before the court; and whoever speaks [contemptuously and insultingly] to his brother, Raca (You empty-headed idiot)!’ shall be guilty before the supreme court (Sanhedrin); and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fiery hell, Matthew 5:21-22. 

Jesus expounds upon this concept in his Sermon on the Mount.  In the passage above, Jesus compares hatred with murder.  Hatred is an emotion that influences how you act.  The more people allow anger to dwell and grow within them, human beings will begin to act, behave and do things out of the ordinary.  Under extreme conditions, the mind of a murderer becomes more than a thought.  In view of this danger, it’s essential to take every thought captive by making them obedient to Christ.  This practice can reverse evil desires implanted by the Devil.

by Jay Mankus

 

Moderation

In ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 documentary, the travails of John Daly are highlighted in Hit it Hard.  Based upon a song written by John, a two time major winner on the PGA Tour, Daly shares his battle with alcohol, gambling and series of failed marriages.  Due to an addictive personality, the concept of moderation is something Daly has has a hard time grasping.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything, 1 Corinthians 6:12.

Whether you are Superman, a professional athlete or an average human being, everyone has a kryptonite.  This condition, element or weakness prevents individuals from reaching their full potential.  Temptation is always lurking, trying to lure people away from good habits and safe environments.  Danger arrives when inner demons convince former addicts that they can handle a situation without God’s help.  This usually results in self-destruction.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body, 1 Corinthians 6:18.

There are ways to view moderation.  First, some will say that adults should be mature enough to know their limits.  Requiring self-control, this logical approach gives people freedom to develop boundaries.  The second perspective is more cautious, understanding that once you open pandora’s box, there’s no going back.  Either way, unless you have a friend who holds you accountable or a personal relationship with God, the quest for moderation can be a never ending battle.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

When Sin is Consensual

It seems like every year there is some famous professional athlete, Hollywood star or politician involved in a scandal.  Cable news, the tabloids and twitter often explode over battles between he said, she said.  In the end, it takes two to tango, reaching a state where sin is consensual.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! – 1 Corinthians 10:12

From a spiritual perspective, every day if like walking through a room with multiple doors.  On the way out, sometimes you might chose the wrong door, ending up in a bathroom or closet.  When danger arrives on the scene, those who stick around to see what will happen might just be an accomplice to sin.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

According to the apostle Paul, God provides an emergency exit for every sort of temptation.  This isn’t like the game show Let’s Make a Deal, having a choice between door number one, two or three.  Rather, the Lord has provided every human being with a conscience to follow the way out.  Conviction, guilt and uneasiness serve as a global positioning system to avoid evil.

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. – James 1:14

Nonetheless, the moment freewill is exercised, opting to indulge your fantasies, sin is consensual.  Instead of heeding the warning signs, enticement draws people toward temporary pleasures.  One of Jesus’ disciples uses the analogy of a fish lured out of hiding toward an attractive bait.  While some fish may see the attached hook, the grips of lust is too powerful.  This is where desire trumps common sense, leading saints and sinners to do the unthinkable.  The next time temptation calls your name, listen for God’s still small voice to find the way out of a difficult situation.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

A Hostage of Peace

Words like captive, pawn and victim are often associated with a hostage.  Despite this negative connotation, hostages can find a state of mind where peace is achieved.  Such is the case for a pastor arrested in communist China, sentenced to a prison camp for proselytizing where a cess pool became his home.  Days led to weeks, weeks to months and months to years, forced to dwell in a place which most gagged on the stench.  Yet, in this living hell, this man of God imagined the words of the Bible he read throughout his years of ministry.  Overtime, a transformation conceived a hostage of peace.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you, Isaiah 26:3.

In August of 2012, Tenth Avenue North released The Struggle, an album that featured several songs with powerful lyrics.  One of my favorites is Hostage of Peace, commences with the idea earthly battles begin in the heart.

Feel the silence
There’s a war beneath our skin
Let it begin
It’s hard to fight
It’s hard to lead resistance
It’s our hearts we’re up against

Although the world around human beings may fall apart, Ten Avenue North encourages individuals to cling to the promises in the Bible.  When danger approaches, the author of this song suggests to cry out to in prayer to find the loving arms of our heavenly Father.  This is where an individual can become a hostage of peace.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord, Hebrews 12:14.

Decades following this pastor’s travails, would modern Christians be able to survive if stripped away from their spiritual foundation?  With temptations lurking around every corner, waiting to pounce on unprepared souls, could a strong faith endure without access to the Bible?  God willing, American believers won’t have to experience the trials of nations in spiritual bondage.  However, if the culture continues to embrace and lean toward leftist beliefs, church leaders will need to prepare their congregations to obtain a hostage of peace.

by Jay Mankus

The Source of Confidence

Credence, self-assurance and trust are all words synonymous with confidence.  Whether you’re an individual, duo or team, confidence leads people to rely on their partner and or talents.  However, when success is allusive, levels of belief tend to diminish, fade and shrink.

According to Psalm 71:5, the Lord is the source of confidence.  When your own confidence becomes shattered, God puts the hope back into desperate souls.  Whether this is David or some other author, its apparent faith begins at an early age.  This seems to be a principle passed onto King Solomon, mentioned in Proverbs 22:6.  Thus, confidence is taught, trained by godly mentors so that a biblical foundation is established.

Today, imperfect people make it hard to trust anyone.  The danger of placing someone in high regards takes your eyes off of the Creator, gazing your eyes toward a flawed creation.  Don’t allow yourself to fall into this trap.  When your life begins to fall apart, lean on the Lord, Philippians 4:13, to be your source of strength to regain confidence.

by Jay Mankus

A Woman’s Intuition

From the beginning of time on earth, there has always been a great mystery between men and women.  Dr. John Gray’s teaching series Men are From Mars; Women are from Venus tries to unravel these differences for couples.  However, there are certain things that will never been understood by the opposite sex.  Thus, woman will continue voicing their concerns, wanting to be heard while men tend to fix and solve problems, usually remaining oblivious to a woman’s true feelings.

Recently, God has been teaching me about a woman’s intuition.  Although, hesitant at first, my wife Leanne often has an inkling, instinct and sixth sense that tends to come to fruition.  Her perception is similar to that displayed by Pontus Pilate’s wife in Matthew 27:19.  Though God designed husband’s to be the head of their home, over his wife according to Ephesians 5:22-24, woman were created with this special feeling deep within their soul.  Unfortunately, like a typical man, warnings go unheard as Pilate gave into the cries of the riotous crowd, neglecting his wife’s sixth sense, being warned in a dream, Matthew 27:20.

A Canaanite woman also possessed this quality, a hunch that she followed by faith in Matthew 15:21-28.  Despite her status, being a Gentile, born outside of the nation of Israel, God instilled in her a strong motherly instinct.  When a child is in danger, helpless or ill, an adrenaline rush often kicks in energizing woman.  In the case of her inflicted daughter,  this outsider refused to take no for an answer, begging and pleading with Jesus.  Rewarded by her perseverance, a woman’s intuition brought her to the right place at the right time to the only One who could answer her prayer.  Listen and learn!

by Jay Mankus

You Can’t Handle The Truth

As I awoke early this morning, God convicted me of a painful reality.  Though I try to put on a good act, my daily priorities tell another story.  When I can’t even muster a few moments with God on the Sabbath, its a sign my heart is not in the right place.  In fact, my actions resemble King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:10-16, making things up as I go without following the Lord’s commands.

God didn’t send me a prophet like Samuel to reject me.  Rather, God used a nightmare to unveil the masquerade which is my pitiful display of Christianity.  The Holy Spirit drilled in me the danger of comparison, an at least you’re not like them mentality.  C.S. Lewis suggests that if you eliminate competition, pride can be eradicated in Book 3 of Mere Christianity.  However, the moment you start keeping score, 1 Corinthians 13:5, pride rears its ugly head.

The Roman Church became susceptible to this temptation according to the apostle Paul.  Like most societies, Roman citizens began to rate specific sins, similar to a top 10 list used my numerous media outlets to enhance their weekly programming.  According to Romans 1:18-32, acts like wickedness, idolatry, homosexuality and sexual immorality made the top 5.  Yet, Paul pulls a fast one on these Roman Christians with one additional verse, Romans 2:1.  With a simple line, Paul knocks off all of these hypocrites from their pedestals.

This same logic resides in modern churches today, recently penetrating my own soul.  As people try to make themselves feel better through  a comparison of lesser individuals, they are entering grave danger.  Paul made sure he exposed the spiritual condition of these Roman believers with hard hitting facts from Romans 3:12.  What’s the truth about sin?  All sins are equal, except for blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, Mark 3:28-29.  Whether you failing to obey God’s commands or not upholding the truth of the Bible through inaction, both are sins, crystal clear in James 4:17.

by Jay Mankus

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