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When a Conscience is Awakened

For a GPS to function, it must be connected to a satellite and fully charged by a power source. When one of these two variables is absent, these devices now part of every cell phone won’t operate. Meanwhile, a conscience is built into human beings, designed by God to serve as an internal means to guide souls. The book definition of conscience is a cognitive process that elicits emotion and rational associations based on an individual’s moral philosophy or value system. In order for a conscience to work properly, it has to be cared for, maintained, and fully charged by a sound mind and pure heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit, Psalm 51:10-12.

If you want to know what a conscience sounds like, listen to David’s words above. David’s conscience awoke immediately following being confronted by the prophet Nathan. To avoid any chances of a complete denial, the Lord gave Nathan an analogy, relaying this in a moving story found in 2 Samuel 12:1-7. This old Testament parable drove David to anger and rage, wanting the villain to pay for his wrong behavior. The moment Nathan proclaimed, “you are that man,” David’s conscience was awakened. Struck to the heart with guilt, David ‘s affair with Bathsheba and plot to kill her husband is exposed, laid bare for the world to see.

But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7.

The one scene from a Hollywood film that depicts a conscience that is awakened comes from Jerry McGuire. Playing a sports agent at the top firm in the nation, Tom Cruise visits one of his clients in the hospital. A professional hockey player who has experienced one too many concussions is hurt again. Instead of looking out for this man’s health, safety and well being, McGuire is focused on getting this NHL defensive stud his next contract. When the father’s son vehemently disagrees with Jerry’s greedy intentions, the screen writers describe this event as Jerry growing a conscience. Yet, this conscience was there the whole time. All a conscience needs is to be reborn and rejuvenated to start leading individuals to do the right thing daily.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Let Shame to Rewrite Your Story

Shame is defined as a painful feeling of distress and humiliation caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.  The Bible illustrates shame immediately following Adam and Eve breaking God’s only rule, “do not eat from the tree of knowledge,” Genesis 2:16-17.  This couple responded to shame by hiding from God, ashamed of what they have just done.

Then the eyes of the two of them were opened [that is, their awareness increased], and they knew that they were naked; and they fastened fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.  And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden, Genesis 3:7-8.

The human conscience is like a built in GPS device for morality.  When an act of kindness are performed, helpful hands extend a word of encouragement which results in a sense of warmth to my soul.  Yet, whenever my own mouth spits out poison, guilt strikes me like an invisible punch in the gut.  When bad outweighs the good, shame alters your mood and influences your mind.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work], Hebrews 12:1-2.

One of the ways this is accomplished is through ungodly beliefs instilled within you by family, friends and peers.  Words such as “you’re not good enough and you’ll never amount to anything” serve as wounds to the soul.  If these ungodly beliefs aren’t replaced by godly beliefs from the Bible, shame will rewrite your story.  The consequences of shame could be eternal.  Therefore, if you are tired of hiding from God, reach out to Jesus who disregarded shame by enduring the cross and rising from the dead.

by Jay Mankus

The Place of the Unknown

Getting lost can take on many forms.  Your GPS device of choice may lead you astray.  The place where you are in life is puzzling with few who have experienced this or understand.  Meanwhile, the various stages of parenting can be challenging, often unsure of what to do next.  These are just some examples of entering the place of the unknown.

For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them, Matthew 13:15.

Jesus uses a parable based upon farming to describe the place of the unknown.  One of the reasons why people are in the dark spiritually is due to calloused hearts.  This condition is fueled by stubbornness, preventing individuals from picking up subtle clues from God.  This lack of clarity, discernment and insight hinders people from escaping darkness.

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path, Matthew 13:19.

The conditions, environment and surroundings in which you live often dictate the direction you will go in life.  While there are always exceptions to this rule, soil types restrict the overall harvest of farmers.  Obstructions like rocks, sticker bushes and weeds entangle the healthy.  Careless acts can damage, harm or uproot spiritual foundations.  In view of this hazardous threat, may the power of the Holy Spirit inspire believers to seek fertile soil for the soul.  By doing this, you will discover the way out of the place of the unknown.

by Jay Mankus



When Your Compass Doesn’t Work

For those of us who are directionally challenged, its easy to become reliant on modern technology.  Advances in cell phones, electronic maps and GPS devices will tell you immediately when and if you take a wrong turn.  However, what will happen if your compass in life does not work.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come, John 16:13.

If you have ever watched documentaries on the Bermuda Triangle, there have been numerous accounts of aircraft and ships whose navigational devices stop working.  Sometimes this lasts for a few seconds or continues for an extended period of time.  When you can’t determine magnetic north, people have to fly blind, relying on certain landmarks to find your way home.  Yet, when clouds, fog or storms roll in, this task is further complicated.

All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you, John 16:15.

From a spiritual point of view, your conscience is similar to a compass.  Nonetheless, if you allow yourself to become distracted by a career, project or work, its not that hard to get lost.  Within these days, months and years of darkness, people tend to lose hope.  This is why Jesus left the Holy Spirit following his ascension, providing a counselor in your time of need.  Therefore, when everything else in life fails, reach out to the Lord and He will guide you home.

by Jay Mankus

The Way Verses Today

I tend to be directionally challenged.  However, I’m also careful not to trust the opinion of another man at a gas station who seems uncertain.  While GPS is a nice modern device to rely on, when it starts to recalculate, the question is which way should I go?

And asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem, Acts 9:2.

Philosophically speaking, should you follow your heart, mind or the newest teaching?  Worldviews like Humanism, New Age and Post-Modernism have convinced many former believers to leave the Way for religions of today.  Concerned leaders of the church are wondering, what can be done to reverse this trend?

No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people, Acts 5:13.

One of the reasons for this mass exodus is a lack of genuine Christians within America.  I know I’m just as guilty as the next person, leaving a trail of hypocrisy behind.  As people are rubbed the wrong way, parents are staying home on Sunday.  Subsequently, a generation of children are growing up without a faith experience.  Thus, the Way of the Bible is fighting a losing battle.  May the Holy Spirit spark young people today to leave an imprint of love on a culture desperately waiting for the Real Thing.

by Jay Mankus

Thinking Outside the Box

Prior to the creation and evolution of the internet, students relied on books, creativity and listening for education.  Today, the mind has been spoiled by GPS, 4G and ever changing technology to make life more convenient.  Subsequently, the concept of thinking outside the box is becoming a lost art.  Thus, most of society is going along with the flow, oblivious to the decay of the human minds in America.

By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late.  Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” – Mark 6:35-36

Before the advent of credit cards, fast food and professional catering, Jesus and his friends found themselves in a conundrum.  Five thousand men, excluding woman and children, traveled to a remote location without any access to food.  This memorable event is the only miracle mentioned by all 4 gospel authors, a prime example of outside of the box thinking.  Though the 12 disciples tried to pass the buck, sending the crowds away, Jesus had another plan in mind.

But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” –  Mark 6:37

Jesus took what they had and turned his attention toward heaven.  While there are several different theories on the feeding of the 5,000 as portrayed in recent movies and mini-series on the life of Christ, two truths can be extracted by this passage.  First, whenever you face an impossible situation, put your faith and trust in God to act on your behalf.  Second, although God may not answer your request exactly how you want, the Lord will provide enough daily bread to get you through each day.  In the future, don’t be afraid to think outside the box by lifting your concerns up to heaven.

by Jay Mankus

When the World Passes You By

I can’t speak for anyone else, yet I tend to believe that the older you become the greater the likelihood of being passed by.  The generation before me grew up with type writers, record players and the radio.  Although some of the new gadgets are enticing, the stubborn cling to their past.   Before long technological advances can leave even the educated lost in the dark.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” – Genesis 3:1

While getting lost last weekend, I realized how dependent individuals have become on GPS.  In a car full of hungry stomachs, the old school, maps, were bickering against the voice on a cell phone.  Neither seemed to be reliable as a 10 minute car ride turned into a 45 minute argument.  Perhaps the more one trusts in apps, technology and websites, the weaker the human mind becomes.

I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their ancestors did.” – Judges 2:22

From a spiritual perspective, sometimes the newest teachings are merely recycled lies from the past.  The New Age Movement began in the Garden of Eden inspired by Lucifer.  Humanism was conceived during the days of Judges when people did what they thought was right in their own eyes.  Finally, the idea that there are many paths to heaven was confronted by Jesus during the first century, John 14:6.  Thus, if you feel like the world is passing you by, lean on God’s Word, the Bible to find your way home, Psalm 119:105.

by Jay Mankus





Traffic Jam

In August of 2010, one of the worst traffic jams on earth took place.  According to Forbes Magazine, the Beijing-Tibet Expressway came to a standstill as traffic backed up for 62 miles.  This nightmare scenario lasted 12 days until the gridlock ended.  As summer vacationers crammed onto this highway, too many cars entered without any place to exit, resulting in an epic battle of patience.

Whether its Memorial Day, Labor Day or Thanksgiving Weekend, traffic is one of those things you can’t avoid.  Sure you can plan ahead, using GPS to find alternate routes, but when roads are packed there is usually no where to go.  As a former resident of Chicago, traffic jams are a daily occurrence extending your commute by 1-2 hours regularly.  When I worked at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, I left home 2 hours prior to my shift.  I took a book to read in case I was early, yet nearly every morning I arrived just in a nick of time.

From a spiritual perspective, traffic jams occur for multiple reasons.  Sometimes, individuals need to slow down, take a deep breathe and embrace God’s creation, Psalm 46:10.  On other occasions, God wants to divert people in a different direction, away from harm and temptation, Galatians 5:16-18.  Meanwhile, dead ends and roadblocks serve as supernatural vehicles to bring about God’s will, Proverbs 19:21.  Therefore, the next time you find yourself in a traffic jam, ask the Lord to provide faith, perseverance and maturity until the roadway is clear, James 1:2-4.

Feel free to share the worst traffic jam you’ve been stuck in.

by Jay Mankus

Know Before You Go

Great slogans are easy to remember.  Just do it is iconic with Nike.  Think different led to the founding of Apple.  The Breakfast of Champions was promoted by Olympic stars, earning their picture on the cover of Wheaties.  On Sunday, I came across a new slogan which has a catchy rhythm.

While traveling south between Philadelphia and Baltimore on Interstate 95, these words were lite up above the highway, Know Before You Go.  Although I am sure there are many interpretations, the state of Maryland is attempting to help travelers plan ahead to avoid construction, delays or heavy traffic.  Thus, if you know before you go, you will follow alternative routes mapped out or plugged into your GPS.

In life, there are 4 things you should know, before you go to the grave.

1) Every one, whether you like it or not, is imperfect, a sinner in need of a Savior, Romans 3:23.

2) You can’t buy, earn or sneak your way into heaven, Romans 6:23.

3) Jesus is the only way into heaven, John 14:6 and Acts 4:12.

4) A new life is possible, John 10:10 through the promise of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4, which you receive once you enter into a relationship with Jesus.

This decision is up to you, not contrived or forced.  However, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Don’t allow stubbornness to ruin eternity.  Just know before you go!

by Jay Mankus

From One Shepherd to Another

The older you get in life, your chances increase that someone close to you will die.  Thus, most people will attend a funeral at sooner or later.  One of the most common passages read during funerals is Psalm 23, often quoting the entire chapter.  When my mom’s father passed away several years ago in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, my family was at his side as he breathed his last breath.  My sister Cindy, read to him Psalm 23:1-6 over and over again to ease his pain.

According to 1 Samuel 16:11, David was a shepherd boy, tending his father’s sheep.  In Psalm 23, David uses imagery, possibly recounting his own experience as God’s Spirit inspired him to write about a heavenly shepherd.  Knowing the daily requirements of a seasoned shepherd, David pours out his heart, placing his faith in God’s hand.  Meanwhile, John, the disciple whom Jesus loved shares a similar account in chapter 10 of his gospel.  John quotes Jesus in 17 of the first 18 verses, explaining there is only one way into heaven, through the gate of the Shepherd, who know and follow his voice.

In reality, human beings are dumb creatures like sheep, like the blind leading the blind.  When things are going well, its easy to navigate through life, whether you have a GPS or not.  However, as you encounter canyons, valleys or wastelands, relying on a shepherd may be the difference between life and death.  When push comes to shove or where faith meets fire, who will you call to come to your aide?  From One shepherd to another, come back to the pen before its too late, John 10:17.  The Great Shepherd is calling you home, retreat now to be by his side, Psalm 23:6.

by Jay Mankus

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