RSS Feed

Tag Archives: good and evil

When Society Turns On Its Own

Back in the 1980’s, smoking was a socially acceptable practice.  My high school offered smoking courts during breaks and lunch for students to get their nicotine craving for the day.  Sure, ruining a shirt from a flicked cigarette or being overwhelmed by smoke was a drag, but not the end of the world.  To discourage this behavior, politicians passed a tobacco tax to penalize anyone who smoked.  When this didn’t greatly reduce smoking, cities, states and townships introduced legislation to ban smoking from downtown areas.  For those who haven’t kicked this habit, society has turned on its own.

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

While driving home from church last Sunday, my wife and I were talking about drinking habits in our families growing up.  Alcohol was a common site, scotch on the rocks, a glass of wine or mixed drinks in a liquor cabinet.  Drinking was a form of relaxation after a hard day of work.  As a naïve teenager, I didn’t think anything of this typical  behavior.  Unfortunately, not every family has happy endings.  Some adults have become alcoholics, others influenced by the spirit of alcohol to become abusive with others leaning on drinking to kill their pain.  The habits of my parents generation are now frowned upon despite similar patterns that exist today.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me, Psalm 23:4.

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in America in the 1960’s.  King’s bold stance ultimately led to his tragic death by James Earl Ray.  Yet, King’s dream was to see a day in America when citizens were no longer judged by the color of their skin.  Rather, King’s vision was that people would be judged by the content of their character.  Unfortunately, the progressive movement has ruined any chance of this becoming reality.  Today, right and wrong is being based upon your political beliefs.  Those that don’t accept, bow down to and practice progressive thinking are being defamed one at a time.  When society turns on his own, the best course of action is leaning on and trusting in Jesus.  The Lord will get you through these trying times no matter how difficult it becomes.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Squeeze

Squeeze has multiple definitions depending upon the context.  This term can refer to firmly gripping an object, getting through a restricted space, obtaining something with difficultly or shooting a round from a gun.  In the 2015 film the Squeeze, a young hot shot golfer played by Jeremy Sumpter is lured by a high priced gambler to play golf for money.  Based upon the real life events of Keith Flatt, Sumpter goes to Las Vegas to put his life and family on the line in a high stakes bet for 1 million dollars.  In the end, Sumpter has to choose between keeping the woman of his dreams or remaining undefeated as a golfer.

For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.” And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise and insightful, she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate, Genesis 3:5-6.

After Lucifer was kicked out of heaven for glorifying himself as the most beautiful arch angel, he took with him a third of the angels.  Maintaining angelic powers while on earth, Ephesians 2:2, this ruler of the air recruited powers of darkness to put the squeeze on mankind.  Lucifer’s first victim is an innocent woman, Eve, curious about the Tree of Knowledge.  Although her husband Adam was right there with her, he allowed enticement to linger.  This lack of spiritual leadership enabled sin to be conceived.

Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive and remain with man forever, because he is indeed flesh [sinful, corrupt—given over to sensual appetites]; nevertheless his days shall yet be a hundred and twenty years,” Genesis 6:3.

By the time of Noah’s generation, the presence of sin spread like a spiritual plague throughout the earth.  Disappointed by the choices made by the human beings, God decided to punish future generations by limiting life on earth to 120 years.  Similar to the tactics used by Riverboat played by Christopher McDonald in the Squeeze, temporary pleasures are hard to resist.  What make matters worse is that Satan knows your weaknesses, luring weakened souls to indulge their sensual appetites.  In the end, what choices will you make when you are squeezed by temptation?  Choose wisely.

by Jay Mankus

It’s Not About Deserve…It’s About What You Believe

From 1973 to 1986, the Super Friends was a popular television show on ABC geared for kids.  Based upon characters from DC Comics, this series used the Justice League as the home for super heroes who took turns each episode fighting evil in the world.  Over time, antagonists joined forces to create chaos in what became known as the Legion of Doom.  Every day, good and evil collided with battles won and lost, encouraging viewers to root for their favorite hero or foe.

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe,” Mark 5:36.

Thirty one year later, DC Comics has introduced a modern film placing Wonder Woman on the front lines during World War II.  Gal Gadot plays Diana who saves a British spy, Chris Pine, from drowning.  After being interrogated by Amazonian leaders, Diana uncovers some of her special super hero powers.  This revelation prompts Diana to leave her home with special agent Trevor.  Diana believes that if only she could kill the source of evil, the German leader, the war would come to an end.  When this doesn’t happen, Diana has a crisis of faith, doubting if the human race is worth saving.  Steve quickly intervenes, teaching Diana a valuable lesson, “It’s not about deserve, it’s about what you believe!”

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.

Normally when I watch a movie, I am disappointed by the lack of depth.  Yet, the line above in this film spoke to me.  No one is perfect, as flaws exist within every living being.  These imperfections may be mild or blatantly obvious.  Nonetheless, Jesus believed everyone is worth saving.  Humanly speaking, you can’t change what the world thinks or believes, but you can change yourself.  As this subtle transformation begins, glimpses of Christ’s light appears, illuminated by the power of the Holy Spirit.  You may not possess superhuman strength like a superhero, but faith can make a difference in your life and those around you.  Thus, the next time you begin to lose hope in people, remember the words from Steve’s character, “It’s not about deserve, it’s about what you believe!”

by Jay Mankus

The Consequence of Tasting Forbidden Fruit

As a former teacher, defining class boundaries during the first week of school is helpful to maintain a healthy environment.  This introduction allow students know what’s in play and what’s off limits.  However, once these expectations, guidelines and standards have been laid out, they are meaningless unless rules are enforced.  Earlier on, life on earth was simple.  There was only one restriction, do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge.  Everything else was accessible and acceptable in God’s sight.  Nonetheless, the little kid in each of us seek to do the very opposite of that which we are told.

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die,’” Genesis 3:2-3.

Although Eve’s age is not mentioned, she is likely a teenager in the passage above.  Drawn toward a gossiping busybody, Eve becomes curious, pondering the point behind this new ideology.  Sure, a snake speaking would make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, yet it appears animals and human beings could communicate.  Sounds strange right?  Well, years later Balaam had a conversation with his donkey.  Anyway, Lucifer begins to speak through this serpent with a slight lisp.  Knowing right from wrong, Eve corrects this being.  Instead of moving on, avoiding this shady character, Eve becomes intrigued with this new thought as lust for the fruit hanging from the Tree of Knowledge takes over.  It doesn’t take long for irrational thoughts to take over, excusing this decision to disobey God within her mind.  As sin is tasted for the first time, enlightenment follows.

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” Genesis 3:4-5.

As a child, I believed this to be a literal event.  Years later, many adults refer to original sin as an allegory or metaphor.  However, the real question is why would God want to protect Adam and Eve from this tree?  What is so dangerous about knowledge?  How could enlightenment corrupt mankind?  I didn’t know the answer to these questions until I watched movies like Lucy, a 2014 film starring Scarlet Johansson and Morgan Freeman.  When you add this content with Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull from 2008, I begin to see God’s fears come true.  When individuals become so consumed with knowledge, the most simplistic things in life become lost.  During the Age of Enlightenment, mankind stopped looking for answers to life from above, toward heaven and began to look from within their own minds.  This is why God restricted Adam and Eve from tasting forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.  This is the consequence God feared, a time on earth when the Holy Spirit would be ignored and replaced by minds obsessed with human consciousness.  This explains the words of the apostle Paul within 1 Corinthians 2, when fools know more than the wise due to this search from within.  Look up, not within.

by Jay Mankus

The Unbreakable Theory

In the realm of Super heroes, there are usual two polar opposites who become arch enemies.  Like characters within Marvel Comics, it takes time for each individuals’ hidden powers to become realized.  Through trial and error, supernatural abilities are developed, harnessed and put into action to either better the world or pursue evil.  Although appearing unbreakable, every hero and villain possess a weakness, invisible until their Kryptonite sucks away their strength.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. – Galatians 5:17

In the 2000 film Unbreakable, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis portray a modern day relationship between a villain and superhero.  However, each character appears lost, unaware of their purpose in life.  Inspired by a love for comic books, Samuel L. Jackson resorts to terrorism, searching for someone who is unbreakable.  Meanwhile, Bruce Willis plays a security guard, unaware of his unique gift until he passes Jackson’s test, the lone survivor of a deadly train wreck.

As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. – Romans 7:17

In the spiritual world, a similar force is at work, resulting in an unseen battle between good and evil.  C.S. Lewis tackles this subject in Mere Christianity within chapter 1 of Book 2, entitled the Invasion.  Known as dualism in theology, there are two independent powers in the universe that are in conflict with one another.  These competing forces of good and evil require a third party, a judge to determine who is to blame or at fault.  This war rages on in the human body daily as the sinful nature and worldly desires entice souls through temptation to choose wrong over right.  Although there aren’t superheroes in this life, may the power of the Holy Spirit keep you from becoming forever broken.

by Jay Mankus

The Devilution of a Nation

Signs of evolution develop when someone or something experience subtle changes over time.  Certain species of animals may go through genetic alterations as its ecosystem is impacted by disease, over population or the weather.  Meanwhile, societies undergo spiritual transformations from generation to generation, either drawing near to God through revival or backsliding due to what I call the deviluation of a nation.

For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. – Genesis 3:5

Devilution is spawned by adding and or subtracting to God’s commands.  Challenging, questioning and reinventing the rules attempts to create doubt within the minds of citizens.  This atmosphere has inspired past writers like Saul Alinsky to promote curriculum in the form of Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.  If these teachings are embraced by enough leaders, a culture shift will begin amending beliefs, values and worldviews of a nation.

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. – Deuteronomy 4:2

When minds are persuaded to taste what was once forbidden fruit, justification and rationalization is conceived.  Subsequently, right and wrong is turned to gray, genetically altering truth.  A byproduct of this switch elevates opinions to fact status; thereby causing absolutes to disappear little by little.  According to the Bible, these conditions breed demonic strongholds, Ephesians 6:12, enabling dark powers to deceive an entire region.  If unstopped, the next generation will learn to do what’s right in their own eyes.

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit. – Judges 21:25

May God help us all to do an about face so that the devilution of America will be replaced by a spirit of prayer and fasting.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: