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Tag Archives: disobedience

God’s First Patient in Need of Mental Health

The summer of 2021 has brought back a sense of normalcy for those who have endured and survived the Coronavirus. Yet, a series of professional athletes from multiple sports have confessed an internal struggle that few people rarely verbalize. As golf and tennis stars have failed to meet and surpass their own expectations, depression, emotional distress and a lack of confidence has taken a toll on players like Naomi Osaka and Bubba Watson.

And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering, But for Cain and his offering He had no respect or regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed, Genesis 4:4-5.

After his parents were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, Cain was forced to farm on less fertile land. In fulfillment of the punishment placed upon Adam for his disobedience, Genesis 3:17, trying to plant crops in an arid climate made Cain’s trade increasingly difficult. To make matters worse, Cain’s little brother Abel was prospering as a shepherd. When a root of bitterness grew within Cain’s heart, God tried to intervene with a face to face conversation.

And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it. And Cain said to his brother, Let us go out to the field. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. And the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper? – Genesis 4:6-9

As earth’s first mental health session began in the passage above, Cain wasn’t very happy with what God was suggesting. Apparently, God could sense the envy and jealousy brewing within Cain’s heart. As this festered, evil thoughts entered into Cain’s mind. Instead of pushing back the idea of murder, the Devil convinced Cain to follow in his father’s footsteps of disobedience. Don’t wait until it’s too late to to break the sins of your parents, Exodus 20:5. Don’t be afraid to pour out your heart publicly so that healing and restoration can begin, James 5:16.

by Jay Mankus

The Ministry of Reconciliation

The ministry of reconciliation dates back to Genesis 3:6-8. After committing original sin, Adam and Eve broke their covenant with God, Genesis 2:15-17. Instead of obeying God’s only rule in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge pursued this couple to do what was right in their own eyes. The punishment for their disobedience was expulsion, Genesis 3:22-24.

But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him], 2 Corinthians 5:18.

In one of 4 letters written to the church at Corinth (only 2 are in the Bible), the apostle Paul introduces the ministry of reconciliation. Sin has a way of changing your priorities, focusing on earthly pleasures rather than eternal treasures. Subsequently, we all go astray, wandering off like a prodigal child until you begin to become home sick. Repentance serves as a U-Turn, fleeing sin by turning around to make peace with God.

Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working], James 5:16.

The earthly brother of Jesus highlights what modern reconciliation resembles. As humility leads troubled souls toward confession, a foundation for revival is laid out for others to follow. When souls are healed and restored, there is an inner desire to help others receive what you have experienced. While the 2020 election will cause many to harbor bitterness in their hearts, may the ministry of reconciliation turns lives around to unite as one.

by Jay Mankus

Lost Opportunities

While listening to a sermon last weekend, a spirit of guilt began to consume me.  Like a movie playing within my mind, highlights of the person I could have been flashed before me.  Yet, a lack of faith, money and resources has caused me to chose a different path.  Part of me wants to make the most of what God has given me, but for now all I can see is a bunch of lost opportunities.

From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem, Acts 13:13.

I guess you call this a crisis of faith or a mid-life crisis.  Either way I feel like I could do so much more with my life, but have lost the desire and passion to fulfill my potential.  In the book of Acts, Luke writes about someone who becomes homesick, leaving the mission field to return home.  This same individual eventually won back the apostle Paul’s trust and wrote the Gospel of Mark.  Since I am not a finished project, perhaps there is still hope for me.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

After reviewing the Old Testament, I am reminded of the long detour taken by Israel on their way to the Promised Land.  A trip that was suppose to take a little over a month ended up lasting for 40 years.  This past failure helps me realize that I am not alone.  Though I don’t feel any better, this example provides insight about how disobedience disrupts your journey.  While lost opportunities will bring future disappointment, there is still time for a U-Turn here and there to arrive at the place where God wants me to be.

by Jay Mankus

The DNA of Sin

Deoxyribonucleic acid is the hereditary material within human beings.  These molecules provide genetic instructions for growth, development, function and reproduction.  Although each DNA is unique, genetics are passed down through parents from generation to generation.  However, this does not excuse behavior as free will is exercised for the good and bad decisions made.

You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned, Titus 3:11.

According to the apostle Paul, some individuals possess the DNA of sin.  Perhaps, some individuals possess a greater tendency to commits acts of disobedience than others.  Yet, like anything in life, the deeper you get attached or addicted to something, the further away from God you become.  Thus, whether its DNA or disobedience, be careful with the choices you make.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9

One of the Old Testament prophets points to another factor.  Jeremiah reveals that the human heart can become like a poison that spreads throughout the entire body.  This disease is what the Bible calls sin.  Unfortunately, there is no known cure.  Nonetheless, the medication necessary to overcome this dire situation is the grace of God.  Therefore, whether you are walking in darkness, standing in the light or somewhere in between, may the power of the Holy Spirit help you overcome the DNA of sin.

by Jay Mankus

Creatures of Instinct

If you have ever read about or studied the spiritual climate prior to previous great awakenings, morality tends to move in cycles.  When individuals experience the happier days in life, human beings can forget about the Creator above who brought good tidings and great joy.  If this trend continues, it won’t be long before your flesh leads you to become creatures of instinct.

But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish, 2 Peter 2:12.

Although each previous generation claim they had it harder, those who lived during periods of self-control were likely spared from the beast of lust.  For those born in ages of disobedience or sexual revolutions, the forces of temptation are magnified.  As complacency, justification and rationalization kick in, the desire to indulge intensifies.  Thus, many become pawns of the sinful nature.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world, 1 John 2:16.

When the dust settles, creatures of instinct find a valley of sin standing in their way from God’s hands of forgiveness.  As the apostle Paul states in Galatians 5, an opposing force acts as a sparing partner.  Free will adds to this equation, placing a priority on decision making.  Thus, if you follow in the footsteps of Moses, choose life before a creature of instinct leads you down the wrong road.

by Jay Mankus

The Call to Serve

If you still have a land line and cable, every in coming call shows up on your television.  Anyone without caller ID has another benefit of technology, a new way to screen your calls.  Thus, if you don’t want to talk to a telemarketer or don’t have time to chat with a friend who tends to be long winded, you have the option to let phone ring until the answering machine picks up.

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come, Matthew 22:2-3.

Those who practice this form of call screening may miss someone from their past, present or someone God wants you to meet.  Meanwhile, God’s calling can be obscure, occurring at the least likely time or place.  Therefore, if you are unable to discern, hear or sense the whisper of God, you will be replaced by a more willing participant.

But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business, Matthew 22:5.

Whether you read the Old or New Testament, two common themes exist.  First, human beings were created to praise God.  Second, each person was designed to serve the Lord with their God given gifts.  Sure, everyone goes through periods of disobedience, rebellion and vacation, taking a break from God.  The call is waiting for you daily and the message is clear, to serve.  Don’t be like those in the parable of the wedding banquet who came up with lame excuses.  Rather, make the most of the time that you have, by applying the talents within you.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

A Recipe for Disaster

Thomas Gray is the first to pen the phrase ignorance is bliss.  Ignorance refers to disregard, insensitivity or being obtuse.  Meanwhile, bliss is like experiencing euphoria, joy and paradise.  However, when you put the two together, it can be a recipe for disaster.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance, 1 Peter 1:14.

In today’s progressive culture, if you’ve not open to non biblical ideas, you are considered ignorant.  Yet, this same movement seeks heaven without following the guidelines left behind by Jesus.  Sure, children make mistakes; its all part of growing up, to live and learn.  However, at some point, you have to mature by taking responsibility for your actions.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

Despite being an adult, I suffer from days of ignorance.  These moments are marked by disobedience, not caring about this or that rule.  Unfortunately, these periods open the door for evil, forgetting right from wrong or simply rejecting that which you know to be true.  This recipe for disaster must be avoided at all cost before addiction poisons your soul.   Therefore, before its too late, ask the Lord to draw you back into obedience.

by Jay Mankus

Freewill, Destruction and Restoration

One of the best visual illustrations of freewill can found in the last book of the Bible.  While on the Island of Patmos, John compares freewill to a door with a special feature.  This door does not have a handle on God’s side.  Thus, God can call and knock, hoping individuals will hear His voice, but only you can let God in.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me, Revelation 3:20.

Unfortunately, disobedience is a common response to God’s calling.  According to the apostle Paul, people have a tendency to set their hearts and minds on the flesh.  Those who become distracted by the world regularly ignore, reject or put God on hold.  Jesus warned his followers of falling into this pattern, referring to a broad road that leads to destruction.  Moses in his farewell address simplifies this concept by proclaiming that each day individuals have the opportunity to select life or death by the choices you make.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires, Romans 8:5.

Fortunately, those who mess up by sinning are given a second chance.  Lamentations 3 provides a promise for those longing for forgiveness as God’s grace is available day after day.  Therefore, when you utilize freewill, opting for disobedience over obedience, there is hope for those who are facing destruction.  Yet, God is not holding your hand, forcing you to do what is right.  The choice is yours.  In view of this, lean of God’s mercy the next time you fall down, followed by acts of contrition as a sign of penance.  Choose wisely.

by Jay Mankus

When Prayer Fails

When things begin to unravel or fail apart, I’m the kind of person that wants to know why.  Thus, as I experience long periods of unanswered prayers, I begin to meditate, ponder and reflect on possible explanations.  What I discovered are three main reasons why some of my past prayers have failed.

When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! – Isaiah 1:15

1. Confession without Contrition

There are times when individuals are sorry for sinful acts, but haven’t done anything to stop this from reoccurring.  In the days of the prophet Isaiah, some Jews began to offer sacrifices to the Lord without a contrite heart.  Thus, when people lifted up concerns to God before dealing with addictions, bad habits or wayward behavior, the Lord refused to listen.

However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you, Deuteronomy 28:15.

2. Walking in Disobedience

The longer I live, the more I find myself in some sort of spiritual funk.  Time has a way of altering priorities which usually leaves God low on your list.  According to Moses, getting God’s attention is fairly simple.  Obey the Lord and carefully follow all of the commands. Unfortunately, most forget about the all, picking and choosing the passages in the Bible that they like and disregarding those that are cumbersome.  Subsequently, many wander away like a prodigal, bringing curses instead of blessings from heaven.

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins, Matthew 6:15.

3. An Unforgiving Heart

While faith is a crucial element to seeing prayers fulfilled, refusing to forgive is like the kiss of death.  The concept of Reaping and Sowing directly applies to your heart.  Therefore, if you can’t let go, get over and move on, the Lord will not forgive you.  So if days, weeks, months or years go by without seeing any fruits of prayer, perhaps one of these three areas is preventing God’s power from being unleashed.  Whether its acts of contrition, making a U-Turn back to Jesus or finding the grace to forgive, may you be on your way to unlocking the barriers keeping you from seeing heaven come down to earth in the form of answers to prayer.

by Jay Mankus

Fulfilling My Duty

In the film 1992 drama A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise uses a unique defense to acquit his clients, two marines charged with murder.  Cruise convinces the jury members that these men were given an order, to perform a code red on a sub-standard private.  The defense claimed that Harold Dawson and Louden Downey are on trial for doing their job.  Beyond the realm of Hollywood, what does it mean to fulfill your duty today?

Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day,” Acts 23:1.

Depending upon your calling, fulfilling your duty first begins as an individual.  What gifts or resources do you possess?  In the parable of the talents, the master goes away for an undisclosed amount of time, trusting his servants to be good stewards of what each was given.  Thus, God expects people to maximum their time and talent, seizing each day as a new opportunity to serve the Lord.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ – Matthew 25:23

In addition, you have to consider your role.  Are you a parent, spouse or teacher?  How are you influencing those around you?  Are you drawing people closer to God or do your actions serve as a stumbling block, causing children to question a life of faith.  If you’re like me, it becomes painfully obvious on a weekly daily that I have a long way to go.  Though I have days of being good and faithful, these are overshadowed by periods of disobedience, laziness and neglect.  Therefore, before Jesus returns make sure you get your house in order by fulfilling your duty to the Creator and Giver of Life.

by Jay Mankus

 

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