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Diagnosis Murder

The CBS television series Diagnosis Murder ran for eight seasons from October 1993 to May 2001.  Starring Dick Van Dyke, Scott Baio and Victoria Rowell to name of few, this drama examined the motive behind each act, crime and murder.  Little did creator Joyce Burditt realize that four months after this show’s conclusion a new diagnosis was necessary, to comprehend the heart and mind of a terrorist following 9/11.

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.

After each mass shooting, politicians meet behind closed doors to determine their talking points.  Questions such as “Was this an act of terror, motivated by the religious right, Muslim extremists, work place violence, a loose canon or someone with a record of mental illness?”  Unfortunately, these acts in America have become so common expert panelists are probably on standby or speed dial, waiting to analyze the next act of terror.

“In your anger do not sin:” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold, Ephesians 4:26-27.

The Bible has its own theory on why murder and terrorism occur.  Some thoughts are conceived through jealousy like Cain.  Envy and jealousy eat away at the human soul, planting seeds of revenge inside the hearts and minds of those who feel threatened by another person or faith.  Meanwhile, Jesus links anger and hatred to murder within his sermon on the Mount.  Expanding upon this view, the apostle Paul refers to someone who gives the devil a foothold.  When evil comes crouching at the door of vulnerable hearts and minds, conditions are ripe for horrific acts.  May the truths of these biblical principles reach those on the verge of making a poor choice, preventing the need for another diagnosis murder.

by Jay Mankus

When People Die Before They Reach the ER

Unfortunately, tragedy makes the headlines as well as the front pages of news papers every summer in the form of heat stroke related deaths, infants left in vehicles too long or wandering into the wrong place at the wrong time.  Former NFL player and head coach Herm Edwards tries to mentor rookies each season by proclaiming, “nothing good ever happens after midnight.”  Despite these warnings, curiosity often cause people to die before they reach the Emergency Room.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell, Matthew 10:28.

Addiction is one of many silent killers that can be curtailed by accountability.  In biblical times, communities, families and the local synagogue served as positive peer pressure, providing boundaries to keep morality in and evil out.  While everything is cyclical, apathy, humanism and vanishing absolutes are re-writing how individuals should live.  This loosening of society has perverted freedom, resulting in chaos on the streets of major cities.  According to Jesus, the seed of murder is conceived when a spirit of anger consumes a human heart.

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell, Matthew 5:22.

Despite Eve’s sin, Adam’s lack of leadership and a world falling apart at the seams, no one seems to care.  An avalanche of emotions is stoking a fire of hatred, resentment and revenge.  What ever happened to common sense?  Will anyone ever wake up to smell the coffee of a society slipping away from God?  If these warning signs continue to be ignored, doctors will be helpless to act, like a M.A.S.H. unit who receives their patients too late, dead on arrival.  May the  words of a classic song “Stop Children What’s that Sound ” prompt hearts of actions to reverse the trend of a culture slip sliding away from God.

by Jay Mankus

Who’s the Bigot Now?

Bigotry is often cyclical, with ebbs and flows as nations rise and fall.  Depending upon one’s exposure, upbringing or stubbornness, prejudices are hard to break, especially if the world around you is rapidly changing.  In the 20th century, Archie Bunker was a symbol of America’s bigotry.  Despite the comical elements of this hit television series, the content was a sad reality of a segregated society unable to embrace the Great Melting pot of immigrants.

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 7:12.

Near the end of the 1970’s in several mid-Atlantic states, desegregation tried to changed this dilemma.  As for me, I became the minority overnight, bused to inner city Wilmington for three years of Elementary school.  In hindsight, the shoe was on the other foot, as I was exposed to the daily hatred African Americans faced in a country dominated by white people.  Similar to the scene in Remember the Titans, Coach Boone played by Denzel Washington tells his assistant Coach Yoast, “welcome to my world,” following by a drive by shooting at his home that endangered his daughter.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” Galatians 5:14.

Today, ambulance chasers, media sound byte paparazzi and those searching to smear a rising political star will occasionally use bigotry, intolerance and race baiting to accomplish their goal, to destroy their enemies.  When you add the advent of modern technology, it doesn’t take long for an embarrassing moment, foolish act or slip of the tongue to go viral.  Instead of following the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you want others to do unto you, some will do whatever it takes to get ahead.  Therefore, rather than improving race relations the selfish are using this sensitive issue to divide souls.  Although pockets of racism still exist, some aren’t improving this situation by bringing up old wounds of the past.  Actions, time and truth will reveal who the bigots are now.

by Jay Mankus

 

The End of Days

Whether you pick up a news paper to read, watch headline news or listen to daily conversations, life is full of opinions.  Each voice filters current events through their own worldview, trying to sway others to embrace their beliefs.  However, some arguments deviate from the truth, based upon emotions rather than the facts.  The only conclusion I have come to recently is we are living in the end of days.p

Jesus first gave initial warning signs in Matthew 24:6-15.  The end of days is compared to a pregnant woman enduring labor pains.  Contractions will begin with false Messiahs, followed by wars and rumors of war.  In addition, earthquakes and famines will bring death, suffering and trials to the ends of the earth.  As these pains intensify, persecution, hatred and wickedness will spread.  One of Jesus’ final statements rings true today, “the love of most will grow cold.”

I’m no prophet nor will I make any predictions.  Yet, as I look to the Bible to try to understand what’s going on in the world, the apostle Paul builds upon Jesus’ words, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9.  In the last days before Jesus returns, Satan will influence human being to believe lies.  As soon as minds become deceived, lawlessness will reign.  Once a baby is ready to come out, you can’t stop this natural process.  However, if these signs are a precursor to the end of days, prepare your life now or you may be left behind.

by Jay Mankus

 

Turning Distress into Rest

If you’ve ever had one of those days; then you know how I felt last night when I came home.  Restless, my frustrations began to boil over, spewing out venom fueled by annoyance and irritation.  Replaying this in my mind, over and over again, I allowed distress to interrupt my ability to sleep.

Like a scene from a horror movie, I sensed the clutches of demons taking over my mind, inspired by hatred and revenge.  Before I let my thoughts get out of control, I cried out to the Lord, rebuking the images racing through my head, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  This tug of war went on for nearly 15 minutes, drifting back and forth, with huge momentum swings.  Finally, as the noises around me started to dissipate, God turned my distress into rest.

When I awoke the next day, I stumbled across Psalm 107:6.   “Then, they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he (God) delivered them from their distress.”  Perhaps, a coincidence?  I don’t think so!  Rather, I believe the Lord let this night of turmoil occur so that I could remind the world that God can turn distress into rest, a deep peaceful sleep.

by Jay Mankus

Not Without A Price

Novelist Orson Scott Card made a interesting observation in regards to sacrifice.  “Happiness is not a life without pain, but rather is life in which pain is traded for a worthy price.”  Whether you are referring to freedom of speech, defending a just cause or standing up for what you believe, nothing is accomplished with a cost.

Perhaps, your reputation takes a hit, attacked by those with opposing views.  Or friendships are estranged as your worldview comes in direct conflict with a person you care about.  Either way, actions, choices and decisions will create enemies, hatred or jealousy.  What you need to determine is… is it worth the price?

When becoming of disciple of Jesus became popular, motives for following were mixed.  Some wanted to join because it was cool, others for the fame and a few for the right reasons.  Thus, Jesus set the bar high in Luke 9:57-62, causing many to quit, unable to pay the price.  Whether you are excelling as an athlete, student or servant, to become the greatest in anything takes unswerving devotion.  May you consider the costs, make up your mind and take a leap of faith, paying the price today to achieve a better tomorrow.

by Jay Mankus

Just say No… Go Against the Flow

Richard Evans was the pioneer of the slogan “just say no” as a Social Psychology professor at the University of Houston in the 1970’s.  Supported by the National Institutes of Health, this concept was geared at attacking substance abuse inspired by Woodstock that cultivated a generation of sex, drugs and rock and roll.  By the 1980’s, first lady Nancy Reagan added premarital sex and violence to this slogan, becoming a champion of the just say no movement.

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the first century, one man blazed a new trail, going against the flow like no one ever before or since.  Similar to America’s Civil War, Samaritans occupied northern Israel with Judah dwelling in the South.  Following captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians, Samaritans embraced foreign gods as well as intermarrying Gentiles.  Subsequently, when Jewish leaders made plans to reunite both kingdoms, the Samaritans did everything in their power to undermine this attempt.  Bitterness, hatred and tension carried over for 500 years until Jesus arrived onto the scene.

In John 4, the disciples avoided Samaria like the plague, taking the belt way around town.  However, Jesus didn’t let peer pressure ruin God’s will, going against the flow to wait for a Samaritan in need.  Despite committing social suicide, Jesus begins a conversation with an adulterous woman at a well.  Led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus takes a casual talk into the spiritual realm.  Before the day is over, this carpenter leads several individuals to place their trust in God.  If you just say no to the world, by going against the flow, who knows how many lives you can alter for eternity?  The world is waiting for you, Matthew 9:37, to lead be example.  Please share how you’re making a difference.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Mindset of a Killer

In light of yesterday’s indictment of Aaron Hernandez for a 2012 double murder in South Boston, family, friends and sports fans are left with troubling questions.  Yes, I know in America, you’re considered innocent until proven guilty, but how can a former rising star of the New England Patriots fall so far and fast?  If guilt is by association, what led Aaron to entertain such bad company?  What triggers someone to snap, inspiring the act to take another person’s life?  The answer lies in the mindset of a killer.

According to Psalm 64, there is an enemy who uses thoughts of conspiracy and evil to steer individuals off course.  The tongue serves like an invisible sword full of poison, aimed at bystanders that rub you the wrong way.  Anger, rage and hatred engage violence, tempting frustrated souls to leave prudence and temperance in their rear view mirrors.  Subsequently, a gang or mob mentality develops, persuading rushed vengeful acts.  At this point, the sinful nature grabs control of minds, Galatians 5:16-21, leading the lost down the highway to hell, Matthew 7:13-14.

In 1972, the United Negro College Fund created the slogan, “the mind is a terrible thing to waste.”  Whether you’re in high school contemplating college, a laid off employee forced to start a new career or a troubled soul bombarded by temptation, the mind plays a vital role in life’s final outcome.  If unwholesome thoughts begin to creep into your brain, take the apostle Paul’s advice in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  The sooner you take your thoughts captive, the less likely you’ll be heading toward a mindset of a killer.

by Jay Mankus

 

Despite How You Really Feel…

In an age of lawlessness, feelings can conceive acts of violence.  Whether its road rage, disputes between neighbors or workplace tensions, feelings provide individuals with an excuse for their behavior.  Perhaps, this may explain Jesus’ harsh words in Matthew 5:21-26, comparing hatred with murder.  Thus, if you sense anger beginning to consume your soul, think twice before giving into these desires.

King David provides a guideline for anyone who reaches a tipping point, as their feelings boil over.  Psalm 35:13-14 displays the right way to respond to mistreatment from others.  Despite how you really feel, there is a proper way to react to those in need, whether you like them or not.  Essentially, David is illustrating a blue print of loving your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 22:39.

A generation ago, most American parents held a common value, relayed to their children weekly, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!”  Adults in the neighborhood weren’t afraid to discipline other kids on the block, correcting anyone who crossed the line of morality.  Today, lawsuits, moral decay and a rejection of God has led many to follow their feelings.  Yet, if you want to do what is right, remember the words of Micah 6:8, “act justly, love mercy and humbly walk with God.”

by Jay Mankus

When Hatred Erupts

A volcano goes through a 3 step process before an eruption occurs.  First, magma which forms when part of the upper or lower mantle begins to melt, creating a buoyancy.  As this pressure from dissolved gases builds, a new batch of magma enters a chamber already filled to capacity.  The next stage involves melting rock inside the earth, where its mass remains the same, but the volume increases.  The lighter magma is forced to the top of the earth’s surface through buoyancy.  Finally, when the density of magma becomes less than the overlying and surrounding rocks, magma reaches the surface, erupting through a vent forming a volcano to explode.

Anthony (no last name available) looks over a memorial for his friend Eugene Clark, 25, who was shot and killed Saturday on July 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Hatred within the human soul takes a similar course.  However, the magma is equivalent to envy and or jealousy.  When envy or jealousy is conceived, hatred is born within the hearts and minds of individuals.  When the person or source of anger maintains daily contact with an afflicted soul, hatred expands, like buoyancy, rising to the surface in the form of discord, gossip and slander.  If the density of hate causes a conscience to rationalize retaliation, hatred will erupt, leaving behind an onslaught of crime and murder in its wake as demonstrated by the violent deaths among teenagers living in Chicago.

This pattern is also found in Genesis 37:1-11.  When Joseph’s brothers recognize they are not their father’s favorite, jealousy emerges.  As Joseph rubs salt into their wounds a verse later, Genesis 37:5, sharing a dream of God’s blessing on him, their hatred spreads.  Not knowing when to stop when he is ahead, Joseph continues to boast of God’s favor on him, resulting a plot to kill him in Genesis 37:18.  At least this story has a happened ending, when big brother Reuben persuades the clan to throw Joseph in an empty well to teach him a lesson.  However, Jesus taught us long ago that hatred is equal to murder during his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:21-22.  Therefore, don’t let anger dwell within you, Ephesians 4:26-27.  Let God flush your emotions before hatred erupts once again.

by Jay Mankus

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