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Seduced

The term seduced is usually applied to an unwilling participant who is beguiled, enticed and lured into some sort of sexual encounter.  This leaves a victim feeling betrayed, used and violated.  Beyond physical attractions, individuals can also be seduced by alcohol, drugs, fame, food, impulses, pornography, power, shopping, technology and wealth.  One of God’s greatest concerns in the Old Testament was that Jews would be seduced by high places, centers for Canaanite idol worship scattered throughout the Middle East.

And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind, Jeremiah 7:31.

This connection became clear to me after reading an article written by a member of the Billy Graham Association.  High places is mentioned 117 times in the Bible; derived from the Hebrew word “hamah” referring to mountaintops.  In nearby hills, mountains and peaks, open-air altars on elevated knolls were built to pay tribute to pagan and secular gods.  When Israel entered the promised land in Canaan under Joshua’s leadership, God commanded his people to destroy and tear down these places.  Unfortunately, a lack of thoroughness left many behind as ancient idols slowly and subtly seduced God’s people year after year, unable to stay away.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, Ephesians 6:12.

Today, with a click of a mouse, tap on your phone or voice to Alexia, the internet, a.k.a. the world wide net comes alive.  While this technology was created to advance, expand and further human development, new high places are erected daily.  Fueled by spiritual forces of evil, demons regularly seduce curious and vulnerable souls just like Eve succumbing to Lucifer’s reasoning.  This seduction often goes unnoticed until sin becomes full blown, leaving a trail of devastation and destruction.  Sure, there is forgiveness, grace and mercy, but humans don’t always see eye to eye, abandoning broken relationships to start anew.  Despite how far one may fall, in God’s eyes no one is too far gone.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Just say No… Go Against the Flow

Richard Evans was the pioneer of the slogan “just say no” as a Social Psychology professor at the University of Houston in the 1970’s.  Supported by the National Institutes of Health, this concept was geared at attacking substance abuse inspired by Woodstock that cultivated a generation of sex, drugs and rock and roll.  By the 1980’s, first lady Nancy Reagan added premarital sex and violence to this slogan, becoming a champion of the just say no movement.

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the first century, one man blazed a new trail, going against the flow like no one ever before or since.  Similar to America’s Civil War, Samaritans occupied northern Israel with Judah dwelling in the South.  Following captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians, Samaritans embraced foreign gods as well as intermarrying Gentiles.  Subsequently, when Jewish leaders made plans to reunite both kingdoms, the Samaritans did everything in their power to undermine this attempt.  Bitterness, hatred and tension carried over for 500 years until Jesus arrived onto the scene.

In John 4, the disciples avoided Samaria like the plague, taking the belt way around town.  However, Jesus didn’t let peer pressure ruin God’s will, going against the flow to wait for a Samaritan in need.  Despite committing social suicide, Jesus begins a conversation with an adulterous woman at a well.  Led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus takes a casual talk into the spiritual realm.  Before the day is over, this carpenter leads several individuals to place their trust in God.  If you just say no to the world, by going against the flow, who knows how many lives you can alter for eternity?  The world is waiting for you, Matthew 9:37, to lead be example.  Please share how you’re making a difference.

by Jay Mankus

 

Be Careful What You Long For

Based upon recent jaw dropping news from Florida, I guess you can say Van Halen’s 1984 song Hot for Teacher was ahead of its time.  According to a report from Lakeland Police, a 29 year old English teacher has been fired for having sex with 3 boys who were all 17 at the time.  While David Lee Roth initially sang this song as a dream, this fantasy has become reality in too many communities across the country.

The Bible warns readers about the dangers of temptation in James 1:13-15.  When an individual begins to long for something outside of God’s will, your mind loses its ability to think rationally.  Once enticed, humans become like fish unable to turn down Satan’s bait.  Subsequently, lust prompts people to engage in sin like the April 14, 2014 piece in the Lakeland Ledger.

No one is immune to this desire.  If you place yourself into a precarious position, sooner or later you are going to fall, indulging in acts that you log for.  Teenagers who think their faith is strong are often overwhelmed by college, succumbing to alcohol, drugs and rejecting God until its convenient to come back to church.  Perhaps, the apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 are a firm warning to anyone on the fence.  Be careful what you long for because bad company corrupts good character, no matter what your intentions may be.

What do you think about the current moral decay across the country?

by Jay Mankus

I Need A Hero

In 1984, Bonnie Tyler was one of the first to sing about wanting a hero,  appearing on the Footloose sound track, then on her Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire album.  While the context of Holding Out for a Hero focuses on a sexual fantasy within a dream, most women share her sentiment of having a knight in shiny armor, superman or someone beyond this world sweep them off their feet.  This ideal person says one of 2 things about men today.  First, either they aren’t connecting with the average female or they don’t possess strong leadership qualities that woman are longing for in a man.

Nearly 20 years later, Superchick came out with the song Hero on their 2002 album entitled Last One Picked.  However, the similarities stop there.  Superchick uses 2 individuals, a boy contemplating suicide and a girl addicted to drugs.  The chorus defines a hero as someone who doesn’t fold under pressure or give up on the life God has endowed them with.  Thus, being a hero in Superchick’s eyes is based upon the choices you make in life.

In the end, you can stand by and watch your wife be tempted and eventually give in to sin like Adam, Genesis 3:6.  Or you can be a godly leader like Joshua, refusing to allow compromise to enter his nation, pleading with God for answers in Joshua 7:7-9.  Biblical heroes are near extinct, vanishing from the face of the earth, like dinosaurs of the past.  Right here and right now, churches, communities and neighbors need a hero to stand up soon or else children will fall by the wayside.  May God stir the hearts of men and women, heeding this call by being a biblical hero to those in their spheres of influence.

by Jay Mankus

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