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When A Name Loses Its Meaning

One of Aesop’s most famous fables in The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  The phrase “cry wolf” derives from the English idiom meaning to give a false alarm.  In this children’s story, a boy develops a habit of lying until a wolf actually arrives.  When this boy’s reputation was weakened by a series of tall tales, no one came to his aid in his time of need.  This is an example of when a names loses its meaning.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, 1 John 1:8.

Companies spend hours of deliberation and discussion before arriving upon a name.  This often signifies cores values, define the essence of each corporation as well as represents a brand.  Employees are ambassadors who either exemplify their organization or become negative, focusing on everything a company does wrong.  While history provides a list of businesses that have deceived, hidden or faked their way to the top, time has a way of exposing the genuine from the frauds.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9.

In this age of social media, competition, critics and enemies will attack those groups and individuals that they do not like.  Unfortunately, some of these posts are exaggerated, false or taken out of context.  Thus, you or someone you know can have had their reputation severely damaged and ruined.  When a name loses its meaning, some never recover for this smear campaign.  Nonetheless, if this day arrives, Jesus is always a prayer away.  Despite what the world may say, I serve a God of second chances, who mends hearts and restores souls.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Don’t Go There

During my childhood, it was common for neighbors to dare or double dare you to do something against your parents will.  Using the phrase, “what’s wrong, are you chicken,” the darer attempted to use peer pressure to push you beyond your limits.  Depending upon the ego of an individual, those unable to swallow their pride were shamed into doing the unthinkable.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? – Acts 5:3

Early in the first century, a couple tried to duplicate the generosity of a giving man called Barnabas.  Hoping to obtain the same fame and popularity, Ananias and Sapphira decided to exaggerate, lie and stretch the truth.  After donating money to the church from a piece of property that was sold, the actual amount was hidden, giving a fake appearance.  Revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, Peter responds, “I can’t believe you went there!”

Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” – Acts 5:4

Whether you are challenged, dared or tempted to do something, there are certain things that are off limits.  Lying to the Holy Spirit is one of these domains.  If politicians dropped dead each time they lied, there wouldn’t be enough to serve in office.  Nonetheless, this unusual story in the Bible is used as a teachable moment, a warning to the genuine, not to go there.  Since everything usually happens for a reason, may this event in history prevent you from blatantly sinning against God or the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

A Spiritual Earthquake

The Weather Channel has a history of programs which illustrate strange weather phenomena.  Shows like It Could Happen Tomorrow are based upon ideal conditions which come together to create the perfect storm.  If this has happened in the past, can the same components result in a spiritual earthquake?

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly, Acts 4:31.

One of the first accounts of such of an event is recorded by a first century doctor.  It’s not uncommon for individuals to embellish, exaggerate or stretch the truth.  However, this characteristic is unusual for a respected man of medicine.  Although bizarre, a similar encounter occurs in the city of Philippi.  Sure, this region is known for earthquakes, but is it possible for prayer to create a movement of God which imitates this geological event?

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose, Acts 16:25-26.

Over the past thirty years, I’ve witnessed my own series of answered prayers, healing and miracles.  Although I’ve never experienced anything like these 2 stories in the Bible, I have sensed God’s presence.  During intense periods of prayer and moving worship services in the past, my heart, soul and mind have been energized by an invisible presence.  If you draw close enough to God, perhaps you too will encounter a spiritual earthquake inspired by the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Jumping to Conclusions

Gossip can be a compulsive hobby for those who indulge in the grapevine.  When you add an inquisitive mind to this equation, information can be misinterpreted.  Subsequently, individuals often jump to conclusions based upon their desired outcome.

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” – Mark 3:22

Shortly after he began his earthly ministry, Jesus gave the religious leaders plenty to talk about.  Healings and miracles created a huge following.  However, once Jesus began to perform exorcisms, that was taking this faith thing too far.  Unable to comprehend Jesus’ power, teachers of the law started a rumor, assuming Jesus was the prince of demons in disguise.

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. – Mark 3:25-26

If you have ever lived in a small town, drifted off the beaten path or don’t correct misleading reputations, you too will find yourself part of an exaggerated story.  A month before leaving my youth pastor position in Columbus, Indiana, people claimed that I said the world was coming to an end.  While studying the Book of Revelation, certain individuals began to improvise causing some of my friends to buy into these lies.  In view of this, the next time you feel an urge to jump to a conclusion, make sure you test everything you hear, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, before you pass on information.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Pinocchio Politicians

Every so often a commercial portrays a message that is sad but true.  Such is the case of the satire Geico ad when a dad tells his son, “did you know Pinocchio was a bad motivational speaker?”  If an individual’s nose grew each time something was embellished, exaggerated or lied about, people would be held accountable for their loose lips,  Unfortunately, most of the media is asleep at the wheel, allowing liberals, progressives and radicals to proceed as Pinocchio politicians.

A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. – Proverbs 26:28

The Bible uses a different strategy to insure honesty is upheld.  Rather than using the term reputation, authors of Scripture refer to keeping a good name.  Back in biblical times, promises, words and vows meant something.  Thus, the degree upon which you fulfilled what was spoken attributed to your name, either good or bad.  Perhaps, this measuring stick needs to be reintroduced today to prevent another generation of Pinocchio politicians.

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? – Numbers 23:19

In the film A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise as Lt. Daniel Kaffee is interviewing witnesses after a marine is apparently murderer by two soldiers in his room.  Upon questioning Keifer Sutherland’s character Lt. Jonathan Kendrick, Kaffee is surprised by the logic from this squadron leader, “Private William Santiago had no code and God was watching!”  While Hollywood will continue to serve as a land of make believe, God is real and will hold souls accountable for their actions on earth.  Although many escape initial consequences today, Pinocchio politicians will be exposed on the day of judgment.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

The Other Side of the Story

Whether you are a friend, stranger or casual observer, the truth will always be slanted in one direction.  Subsequently, stories will often exaggerate, highlight or mislead the public to what is actually happening behind the scenes.  Such is the case of the recent protests, riots and violence following the Grand Jury verdict of officer Darren Wilson.

The media is portraying a natural outcry of support.  Civil Rights leaders are calling Michael Brown a victim of police brutality.  Although anyone involved is emotionally charged up, the other side of the story is missing, swept under the rug by the main stream media.  According to a report yesterday, the participants of Occupy Wall Street, paid protestors, have re-emerged to incite violence across the United States.  This drama is a real life Wag the Dog scenario.

Unfortunately, the truth is relative for these ambulance chasers trying to push forward their political agenda.  It doesn’t matter that accurate eyewitnesses have collaborated officer Wilson’s story and surveillance cameras prove Michael Brown held up a convenience store.  This evidence doesn’t fit the script the media wants to portray, thus the message several cable news networks are communicating is far from the truth.

In the end, justice will provail and lies will be exposed, but how much damage has to be done to business owners and residents of Ferguson, Missouri before real leaders emerge.  Like my parents always said, “actions speak louder than words!”  Who will speak out for liberty and justice for all?  While I am just another blogger in a massive internet world, I felt compelled to share the other side of this story.

by Jay Mankus

To the Next Generation

When I was your age, I had to walk to school both ways up hill.  This mantra is repeated to each new generation, worded slightly different to drive home the point, “you have it so much easier than I did.”   Whether this is exaggerated, somewhat true or simply a ploy to illicit guilt, the next generation is waiting for a positive message.

A humble shepherd understood this concept, passed over as an after thought by his own father, 1 Samuel 16:2-11.  If there is one lesson everyone can learn, don’t judge someone based upon their physical features, impressive or not.  Rather, the heart holds the key to greatness, 1 Samuel 16:7.  However, unless you speak from the heart, Luke 6:45, no one will know for sure who they should follow.

David verbalizes his beliefs in Psalm 71:14-18.  Recognizing that not everyone shares the same faith, the king felt led by God to express what his eyes have seen.  Instead of regurgitating the same old mantra, David was inspired to pass onto the next generation a message of hope.  Therefore, if you know the truth, don’t withhold this information.  Rather, boldly proclaim the marvelous acts of a risen Messiah to the next generation, 1 Corinthians 5:54-58.

by Jay Mankus

 

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