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Tag Archives: evil

Guns, Violence and the Solution

According to a recent study, there are an estimated 270 million guns in America.  The Geneva based Small Arms Survey also found that the United States is the best armed civilization in the world.  In an article written by Tom Kertscher last week, Kertscher suggests that there are more guns than people in America.  Using statistics provided by the Washington Post and Vox, there are 310 million guns with a little more than 300 million citizens.  When there is a discrepancy of 40 million, its hard to know who to believe.  Regardless of the actual numbers, are guns to blame for recent school shootings, is mental illness a contributing factor or are demons convincing the unstable to act upon thoughts in their minds?

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it,” Genesis 4:6-7.

According to a Forbes article from 2012, consumers in the United States spent 13.6 billion dollars on video games.  As a parent with three teenagers, the most popular ones are what I call shoot em up, killing games.  When I taught high school, one student confessed to his obsession with video games, playing up to 16 hours a day each weekend.  While studies have shown that these virtual simulations have prepared new members of the military for combat, students who chose to attend college often become desensitized to violence.  When you play a video game, if you die, all you need to do is hit the reset button.  In real life, once an individual allows evil to influence their actions, you can’t bring people back to life.  Although I hear cries from the media, parents and victims to ban guns, no one has said a word about the role of violent video games.  Despite this silence, what’s really important is developing and implementing a solution.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him, James 1:5.

First Blood debuted in 1982 starring Sylvester Stallone who plays a drifter, a Vietnam Veteran trying to fit back into society.  Despite serving in the Special Forces, John Rambo was unwelcomed by the country he served.  After listening, reading and watching panel discussions about what to do to ensure the safety of public schools in America, one recommendation was to reach out to ex-military.  Instead of wasting away like the John Rambo’s in this country, perhaps its time to put to work former marksmen who honorably served America.  Although each state or school may opt for other alternatives, beefed up security at college and professional sporting events has stopped recent threats.  After recent reports that the security guard on duty at the Parkland, Florida school shooting remained outside, afraid to face the shooter, the Rambo’s of today wouldn’t have that problem.  May God give the leaders of America wisdom so that politics will be replaced with bi-partisan solutions.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Trying to Survive in a World Void of Love

If you have your own twitter handle or follow daily tweets, hatred is regularly spewed.  Feelings, opinions and thoughts once keep inside human minds are now given a venue to be unleashed without any filter.  This sets the stage for a cruel environment as critics pick apart individuals that they disagree with, dislike or simply pile on.  This is the atmosphere children and adults are forced to deal with, trying to survive in a world void of love.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him,” Leviticus 19:17.

While technology wasn’t an issue, evil affected civilizations in the days of the Old Testament.  Moses addresses hatred that spread throughout the twelve tribes of Israel.  According to the passage above, bitter hearts were influencing relationships with neighbors.  Anyone who allows jealousy, hurt feelings or past encounters to prevent you from giving others the benefit of doubt incurs sin.  In many cases, lack of reason hampers love from being displayed.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen, 1 John 4:20.

The disciple whom Jesus loved gives his own take on why love is fading away, rarely displayed by anyone.  John believes people are afraid to be honest, caring more about being politically correct than being truthful.  Thus, a growing number of people offer lip service void of any signs of love.  This pattern must cease, replaced by humble hearts hoping to change.  While public education continues to focus on self esteem, love is derived from a spiritual transformation, Galatians 5:22-23.  When hearts are reborn, Romans 10:9-10, love is possible.  Unfortunately, love can’t be forced upon people, it occurs naturally as the Holy Spirit touches souls.  The only way to survive a world void of love unscathed is by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit through which love comes forth.

by Jay Mankus

Let the Weeding Begin

 

Unless you love a freshly manicured yard or need the money, not many people get excited about doing yard work.  Beside heat and humidity, keeping up with rampant weeds that overtake a garden can be demoralizing.  You may spend an entire weekend pulling up every invasive plant only to see others re-emerge in it’s place a few days later.  While using weed killer products like Roundup is an option, most of the modern products are so watered down that there isn’t enough chemicals inside to permanent remove these nuisances of the neighborhood.

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil, Matthew 13:41.

Jesus introduces an new concept of weeding during a private meeting with his disciples.  Unable to figure out the meaning of the Parable of the Weeds, Jesus begins to reveal the symbolism of this story.  According to the passage above, at the end of this age Jesus will command the angels to weed out all negative influences on earth.  These forces are demonic, evil and unruly spirits who have led astray willing participants.  Unfortunately, this process won’t begin until Jesus’ second coming, leaving vessels of the Devil that create chaos.  This dark power eventually filled Stephen Paddock, taking the lives of 58 innocent victims.

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work, 2 Timothy 2:21.

While individuals wait for the weeding to begin, many people like me have a lot to clean up.  Time, weariness and unkempt souls have led everyone to do something dishonorable.  Although these actions vary in degree, hearts should develop a sense of urgency to get right with God.  Instead of judging others, perhaps a little soul searching may reveal areas of decay in desperate need of healing.  Therefore, as evil continues to flourish, it’s time to commence your own spiritual weeding so that through the Holy Spirit you will become an honorable vessel ready to serve your Creator.  Let the weeding begin.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Heart Check-Up

While the heart is invisible to the average person, emotions can be felt by everyone.  Unless you are undergoing surgery, it’s hard to get a read on someone else’ heart.  Body language can provide some insight into how individuals are doing.  Meanwhile, behavior may indicate good or bad moods.  Just to be safe it’s important to get an annual heart check-up so you know for sure that you are okay.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of, Matthew 12:34.

During a heated debate with Pharisees, Jesus replies to a rumor started by religious leaders.  Possibly afraid that Jesus was winning over devoted Jews to a new religious movement, gossip began to flow naturally out of their mouths.  Thus, Jesus confronts this inappropriate behavior.  Using biblical principles, Jesus exposes the spiritual condition of these jealous hearts.  Like a scene from A Few Good Men, it appears these religious leaders couldn’t handle the truth.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him, Matthew 12:35.

Today, the amoral, moral and immoral can’t afford to take things for granted.  If the words of the Old Testament prophets are true, no one is perfect.  Thus, everyone has a little bit of darkness within their hearts, Matthew 6:19-24.  Therefore, before you allow your heart to become consumed by evil, taking time for a daily spiritual heart check-up is essential.  May this practice help you shun evil so that goodness will flow naturally out of your heart.

by Jay Mankus

Wanted: Dead or Alive

In 1987 Bon Jovi released the song Wanted: Dead or Alive as their third single from the Slippery When Wet album.  The title of this song pays homage to Jon’s admiration of Old West heroes.  Whether this was a poster or a sheriff seeking to purge his town of criminals, this phrase became synonymous with a quest for justice.

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers, Proverbs 21:15.

While classic movies pay tribute to the age of Cowboys and Indians, one aspect of life has not changed.  Evil continues to exist today in various shapes and forms.  Demons masquerade as angels of light using the gullible, weak and unknowing as accomplices of the Devil.  Jesus even had to rebuke one of his own disciples, Peter, proclaiming, “get behind me Satan.”

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, Amos 5:24.

If you want to follow in the footsteps of western sheriffs, Jesus offers some interesting advice.  According to the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 16, if you want to find life you must be willing to lose it.  Meanwhile, if you attempt to save your life, you will lose it.  Today, God is searching for new deputies.  However, before you enlist you must consider the cost: do you want death or hope to come alive?

by Jay Mankus

Bitterness or Sweet?

Depending upon how well your are connected in your community or at work, it doesn’t take much to notice the content from the disenfranchised.  Some people feed off of bitterness, often poisoning positive individuals.  Meanwhile, the encouraging need to work extra hard to ward off negativity.

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; Hebrews 12:15.

When my children  were younger, I enjoyed watching Veggie Tales.  My favorite was the Rumor Weed illustrating an important lesson for anyone.  If you allow evil to take root in your life, bitterness usually follows.  For this reason, the author Hebrews warns readers about how bitterness can become an obstacle to obtaining God’s grace.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20

Sweetness is received when sinners are forgiven, pardoned by God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Yet, there are forces of darkness that continue to steal joy from this life.  As demonic influences manipulate unknowing accomplices, some are deceived calling evil good.  If you listen and watch carefully to voices in the media, Isaiah’s prophecy is being fulfilled.  In view of this growing bitterness, may the power of the Holy Spirit protect you and lead you to the sweet promises of hope found in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

Lies Gone Wild

To elicit attention from late night consumers of television, Girls Gone Wild took pornography to a new low, seeking drunk college students to bare everything for attention and fame.  A similar movement that received far less attention, author Wendy Shalit founded Girls Gone Mild to instill modesty within young women.  In recent days, a new fad is sweeping the nation, luring men and women to participate in lies gone wild.

Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21.

During one of my first years of teaching high school, a few students broke into my room, logged on to my computer and created a fake My Space Account in my name.  Unaware of this site, rumors began to spread which initially tarnished my reputation.  A few years later, a friend developed a couple of mock EduBlogs to show me the type of technology I could incorporate into my curriculum.  Unfortunately, these were never deleted leading to a trip to my principle’s office.  Evidently, this site suggested I was a faith healer who charged $25 per healing.  I can laugh about it now, but when gossip is full blown lies run wild.

Reject every kind of evil, 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

As I listen to hourly news updates, it appears that Democrats and Republicans are daily participating in this venture in one way or another.  Some facts are taken out of context.  Others’ words are distorted to imply a controversial view.  Meanwhile, a few are down right nasty, exaggerating and lying to convince the America people that their side is correct.  Ascertaining what the truth is valuable, but when opinions are being argued, absolutes do not apply.  Thus, before you believe the next thing you hear, read online or see, test everything so that society will put an end to lies gone wild.

by Jay Mankus

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