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It Takes Two to Tango

The tango dance originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay. Dances from the candombe ceremonies hasve influenced this popular style of ballroom dancing. As a teenager, whenever I got in trouble at school, one of my teachers used the expression “it takes two to tango.” While I knew nothing of the song written by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning and sung by Pearl Bailey, she was referring to my partner in crime.

And it was not Adam who was deceived, but [the] woman who was deceived and deluded and fell into transgression, 1 Timothy 2:14.

Apparently, the apostle Paul used a similar expression while writing a first century letter to a teenage pastor. In the passage above, Eve is blamed for original sin. According to Paul, Eve was deceived and deluded prior to taking a bite of this forbidden fruit. Adam is portrayed as an innocent bystander, persuaded by his wife to join her. Instead of reminding his wife of God’s only rule in the Garden of Eden, Adam goes with the flow by taking a bite too.

For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). 18 Well then, as one man’s trespass [one man’s false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man’s act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men, Romans 5:17-18.

In another letter to the Church at Rome, Adam doesn’t escape justice. As the spiritual leader of his house, Adam failed. Despite having nearly unlimited freedom in this beautiful land, Adam was willing to God. Subsequently, Adam’s mental lapse ruined God’s initial plan to live forever. As soon as Lucifer gained authority over the earth, Ephesus 2:2, God’s master plan is laid out in Genesis 3:15. This prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus as sin often takes two people to tango.

by Jay Mankus

I Saw I Thought I Felt

The spirit of lust was conceived with a second glance at a ripe piece of fruit in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:6. One of Jesus’ disciples refers to this internal desire as the lust of the flesh. Eve’s lustful glimpse started an unhealthy trend that now pushes the envelope further and further with each passing generation. According to Jesus, you can break one of the ten commandments, committing adultery when a look leads to a sexual longing, Matthew 5:27-29.

Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. 17 And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever, 1 John 2:15-17.

When Eve began staring at forbidden fruit hanging from the Tree of Knowledge, thoughts began to race through her mind. Instead of obeying the only rule laid out by God, Genesis 2:15-17, a cunning serpent planted ungodly beliefs into her brain. The apostle Paul explains this internal battle in the passage above and in Galatians 5:16-18. When thoughts switch your focus from God toward selfish desires, it’s only a matter of time before sin is conceived, James 1:13-15.

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot, Romans 8:5-7.

After you see and think, lives will begin to chase after feelings. Immediately following the first act of sin, Adam and Eve were overwhelmed by a feeling of guilt, Genesis 3:7-11. If you keep breaking God’s laws or can’t escape falling prey to temptation, people gradually change for the worse. Spiritual leaders in the Old Testament began to do what was first in their own eyes, Judges 21:25. This course of action is a byproduct of seeing, thinking, and feeling. The next time you sense yourself sliding in the wrong direction, look for the way out, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

by Jay Mankus

Guilt by Comparison

Guilt by Association dates back to 1525 as a Medieval Latin expression. However, the idea that an individual is guilty of a crime because he associates with the person who actually committed it can be found in the Bible. While Eve actually ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam was right there with her the whole time, Genesis 3:6-7. One chapter later, Cain is the first to experience guilt by comparison.

And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. 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, Genesis 4:3-4.

Whenever individuals begin to believe that the grass is greener on the other side where someone else resides, envy and jealousy is conceived. The saying “grass is always greener on the other side” originated in the 19th century. The more you compare your own life to a family member, friend or neighbor, guilt can consume your soul by wishing you had this or that. When Cain realized how hard it was to be a farmer, the comparisons began.

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. 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, Genesis 4:5-7.

Cain’s guilt from comparison leads to a one on one conversation with God. Trying to figure out why Abel’s offering was embraced by God while his was rejected results in anger, depression and frustration. In response to Cain’s displeasure, God reveals how guilt by comparison has lead to an internal struggle. When sin crouches at your door, you must resist or else guilt will ravage your life. Instead of wanting what you don’t have, appreciate all the little things that God has blessed you with in life.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Let Yourself Go

To deter drug use during the 1980’s, Nancy Reagan came up with the slogan “Just Say No.”  While some historians have labeled this former public service announcement a failure, she was on the right track.  People don’t wake up and become addicts over night.  Rather, addictions develop through a series of poor choices, one compromising decision at a time.  Thus, a far better warning is don’t let yourself go where evil lurks.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls, Proverbs 25:28.

Discipline is a vehicle to keep individuals out of danger.  Similarly, self-control can guide people when they are tired or weary.  Nonetheless, temptation attacks minds, implanting fantasies, lustful desires and ill-conceived ideas.  Escaping these thoughts require divine intervention.  However, prayer does not always prevent people from tasting forbidden fruit, going beyond defined boundaries into the unknown longing for a permanent high.

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified, 1 Corinthians 9:27.

Yesterday, I missed working out for the first time in 2017.  Sure, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I know what this decision can result in.  As an expert snoozer, not getting up the first time your alarm goes off can set a precedent.  The next time you roll over to hit snooze sends a message which feeds your sinful nature, “I’ll get up when I want to.”  If you have great expectations for 2017, don’t let yourself go any further.  Before laziness takes over, trust in the Lord to keep you on track to fulfill what God has called you to do.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Run for Your Life

Some will point to the Woodstock Music Festival in the summer of 1969 as the birthplace of America’s sexual revolution fueled by recreational drugs.  This movement led the United States government to declare a war on drugs in the 1980’s.  Public service announcements were used to encourage young people to reject this temptation behind Nancy Reagan’s leadership.  Unfortunately, a commercial doesn’t help individuals when temptation arrives.  Thus, sometimes whether if it sounds smart or not, a prudent person will run for their life.

She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house, Genesis 39:12.

A naive Joseph finds himself in an awkward predicament, as his bosses wife wants to have sex, making a pass at him day after day.  Like a stalker waiting for the perfect moment, Potiphar’s wife get’s her wish, finally alone with Joseph.  Sensing the inevitable, Joseph flees the scene, knowing this time he will not be able to withstand her advances.  While the curious may celebrate and indulge in the pleasures of life, Joseph’s conscience prevents him from giving in to lust.

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 4:7.

Unfortunately, sin if often premeditated.  Those who have already made up their minds, the only thing that remains is the actual act.  This is where we find Cain, as a spirit of jealousy has pushed him to the brink, contemplating the idea of getting rid of his brother.  If you ever reach this point, running for your life is one of the last viable options remaining.  Therefore, before you take a bite of forbidden fruit, follow in the footsteps of Joseph by fleeing from temptation.  By doing this, you will find favor from God.

by Jay Mankus

The Real Thing

How many times in life do you seek an emotional high?  One that never ends; giving you a sensation like a drug, 24 hours a day.  Many go through their entire lives searching, but never find the real thing.

Do you recall your first day of school?  As formal education begins, innocence gives way to curiosity and terror.  Fears over finding friends and earning acceptance by your peers takes precedence.  However, the thought of being away from your parents provides a sense of freedom temporarily.  This freedom entices you to try new things, experimenting with fruit, forbidden by parents and teachers.

By the time junior high arrives, eyes start to wander… BABES, STUDS, ALCOHOL and DRUGS!  Perhaps you might not be as distracted as some, yet juicy stories spread fast through the grape vine peeking your interest.  The closer you look, the mind takes on an alter ego, longing for items on the other side of the fence.  Fleshly desires, peer pressure and the unknown leads you to the verge of sin thinking, “Oh baby this sure does feel good.”

A junior high experiment often leads to a senior high life style.  Marijuana, pranks and sex are just a few of the choice behaviors one indulges in to obtain the real thing.  Sure, there are risks, even consequences; but what will my friends think if I go straight?  “Everybody is doing it, why can’t I,” says the follower.  As high school drifts by, the next hurdle to jump is college.  Hobbies you once did for a buzz no longer provide satisfaction.  Call it what you may: a habit, obsession, way of life or obliterating time, something inside can’t let go.  This quest for real life has turned into an addiction.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why you do what you do?  Has it occurred to you that you’ve missed something along the way?  Is there something else out there beside living for the weekend?  I don’t believe you and I were placed on this earth by accident.  Growing up, working for a living 9 to 5, have fun for a while then repeat this cycle over and over again til you die?  This doesn’t make sense!  There must be a greater purpose or meaning in life, but what is it?

Jesus Christ, the son of God the Father is your answer.  God sent His one and only son, Jesus, down to earth, to die for blemishes on earth, John 3:16-17.  Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father according to the Apostle’s Creed.  Jesus didn’t just die on a cross and rise from the dead for His own glory, Romans 5:8.  Rather, Jesus became sin for us: for you, me and everyone ever born on planet earth.  Jesus did all of this so that all of us might be seen as righteousness before God, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

This may sound crazy, yet there is no other HIGH greater than entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10.  Nothing else compares to dedicating your life to God in your living years, John 10:10.  Thus, peace is found in no other place, Galatians 5:22-23.  This isn’t about High’s and Low’s.  This is about life and death, living and dying, Deuteronomy 30:11-16.  The only way to Jesus is through denying yourself, Matthew 16:25.  You may think I’m odd, strange or simply old-fashion, yet God has placed the words of this blog on my heart.

If you have tried most everything else, don’t waste your precious time any longer; embrace the Real Thing, Jesus Christ!

(c) Jay Mankus, 1991.

Revision completed in 2014 by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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