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Tag Archives: honesty

Why Telling the Truth is the Best Option

According to a 2013 Survey, lawyers are the most hated profession in the United States.  Cable and Television networks have embraced lawyers, filling prime time slots with court room dramas for the past quarter century.  The most prominent lawyers have become experts in covering their tracks.  This idiom refers to individuals who destroy, hide or suppress damaging evidence about their client or clients from being revealed.  However, when lies are used to cover your tracks, it’s better to tell the truth rather than live in fear of being exposed as a liar.

But this I confess to you, however, that in accordance with the Way [of the Lord], which they call a [heretical, division-producing] sect, I worship (serve) the God of our fathers, still persuaded of the truth of and believing in and placing full confidence in everything laid down in the Law [of Moses] or written in the prophets; Acts 24:14.

In his opening remarks to Governor Felix, accused by Jewish leaders of being an agitator, pest and heretic, the apostle Paul is honest about his faith.  Instead of hiding this information, Paul confesses his devotion to the Way, modern day Christianity.  Paul’s defense states that his service for God is being confused with a divisive sect.  Moreover, when the truth comes out, Paul is confident that his actions will be in line with the law of Moses.

Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working], James 5:16.

While writing a letter to first century believers in the Way of Christ, the earthly brother of Jesus compares confession with healing.  The first step toward healing is publicly confessing your sins.  James suggests that confession is a heart felt act.  This acknowledgement helps restore a spiritual tone of mind, awakened and snapped out of spiritual slumbers induced by the sinful nature.  When earnest prayers are added to a contrite heart, a tremendous power is unleashed via the Holy Spirit.  If you are tired from trying to cover your tracks, make telling the truth the best option.

by Jay Mankus

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All Those Who Were Listening

While Billy Joel refers to honesty as such a lonely word in his 1979 song, teachers often feel the same way about listening.  As a former high school teacher who spent a decade standing in front of teenagers, rarely did I grab the attention of an entire class.  This became apparent during each chapter review prior to the next text as only a handful of students were prepared.  At some point during my lectures, these informed students were attentive, able to concentrate or kept an open ear to what I was presenting.  While uniformed students may cram their way toward a good grade, all those who are consistently listening receive blessings from God.

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to the message [confirming God’s acceptance of Gentiles]. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, Acts 10:44-45.

While interviewing Peter about an encounter with Gentiles, Luke narrows in on the power of listening.  Based upon Peter’s recollection of this day, not everyone in the audience was listening to his sermon.  This became obvious when those talking in the back or whispering on the side did not receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Whether the words above are a direct quote from Peter or an observation made by Luke the author, “the Holy Spirit only fell on those who were listening.”  While not mentioned, the rest of the crowd sat around dumbfounded, likely disappointed that they missed this blessing from God.

For all the prophets and the Law prophesied up until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is [the fulfillment of] Elijah [as the messenger] who was to come [before the kingdom]. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words, Matthew 11:13-15.

When John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod, a delegation of John’s disciples was sent to Jesus to make sense of his earthly ministry.  John’s disciples wanted to know if Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.  Thus, as these men approached Jesus, they hung on every spoken word.  Following a tribute to John the Baptist, Jesus ends his comments with a plea to listen.  Based upon the quote above, there are two types of listening: casual and responsive.  Jesus doesn’t want people to nod in agreement.  Rather, God desires followers of Christ to become doers of the Word by putting Jesus’ advice into action.  Blessings will bestowed upon all those who are attentively listening.

by Jay Mankus

Sins in the Dark Brought to Light

If you were asleep the past couple months, you missed a life long worth of scandals.  Every day stories are breaking about affairs, inappropriate relations or sexual assaults.  Whether you’re a celebrity, member of the media or school teacher, transgressions committed in darkness have been brought to the light.  I’m not sure why this is occurring all at once, but perhaps a spirit of confession has inspired guilty consciences to come clean.

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy, Proverbs 28:13.

Despite the powerful messages recorded in the Bible, each was written by fallen individuals.  Abraham had a tendency to lie rather than trust God.  David committed adultery, got a married woman pregnant then gave orders to have her husband killed.  Peter talked a good game, but when push came to shove, he publicly denied knowing Jesus three times.  One of the mysterious ways God works is through convicting hearts of actions in direct conflict with biblical principles.  Those who conceal that which is hidden will not prosper.

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld, John 20:23.

Through all the dirty laundry that is aired regularly, I do see one positive outcome of this ugly part of American history.  The only way to truly heal is through the act of penance.  While attending seminary, I took a class called Revival and Revivalism.  This course studied the Great Awakenings and it’s impact on Great Britain and the United States.  Surprisingly, each was started by young people bearing their souls in public, revealing deeds of darkness of their past.  This act of honesty stirred hearts to do the same.  While America may seem like it’s falling apart, perhaps sins in the dark brought to light may serve as inspiration to ignite another great awakening.

by Jay Mankus

 

Skeletons of Your Past

Despite how perfect some individuals may act, behave and live out on a daily basis, everyone possesses imperfections.  These blemishes often result in a dark side with secret addictions, bad habits or unthinkable acts that would shock the average person.  This collection of scars accumulate into skeletons of your past.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us, 1 John 1:8-10.

There was a time in American history where honesty was the best policy.  However, sometimes revealing a skeleton or two from your past can do permanent damage.  Recently. Pete Rose admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a minor back in the 1970’s.  This confession sent shockwaves across the country, igniting outrage throughout social media.  Based upon the comments posted, it’s as if this was the worst act ever committed.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, Galatians 5:16.

The second aspect of confession is taking the steps toward the road to recovery.  Perhaps, this may explain the criticism of Rose over his lack of contrition for his previous transgressions.  Thus, if you want to experience healing from the skeletons of your past, you must learn to walk according to the Holy Spirit.  Based upon the apostle Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 10:13, God will provide a way out when temptations arrive.  In your journey toward healing, may the Lord guide you out of bondage to find freedom in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

by Jay Mankus

The Heartbeat of Joy

Joy can result from one of many sources.  Whether its your first date, graduating, marriage or the birth of a child, each elicit an expression of joy.  However, the heartbeat of joy comes from hearing individuals speak that which is right.

My inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right, Proverbs 23:16.

When Billy Joel completed his piano ballad Honesty in 1978, his lyrics reference the lack of shame people display after failing to tell the truth.  While the words are vague about who or what event Joel is referring to, Billy acknowledges that honesty is such a lonely word.  The longer truth is hidden, the slower the heartbeat of joy becomes, sucking the life out of many.

Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him, John 18:38.

Truth is similar to talent.  You may not be able to fully explain what it is, but when you see it, you will recognize it.  The more people experience truth, the better you will feel, rejuvenated by that which is right.  May the beginning of a new year, 2017, motivate you to seek what is right so that your heart will rejoice.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Danger of Bearing False Witness

At some point over the last 25 years, exaggerating and lying have become a part of American politics.  The value of honesty and integrity have been replaced by a “do whatever it takes to win” attitude.  If this current trend continues, society will experience the side effects of bearing false witness.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, Exodus 20:16.

When individuals begin to hold worldviews that believe absolutes are not realistic to obtain, a vacuum is created for falsehood to reside.  Meanwhile, the media understands if you repeat a lie over and over again, the public will likely begin to believe this as truth.  Until corruption, deceit and untruths are daily exposed, politicians will continue to lie.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another, Ephesians 4:25.

A growing number of churches are encouraging their members to fast and pray in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election.  The more who join this movement can shift the spiritual momentum in this country.  Yet, without faith in action from godly leaders, this climate will not change.  May the power of the Holy Spirit move you to speak the truth in love to make this world a better place.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where Dreams and Destiny Intersect

Working at Amazon, I come across thousands of books annually with interesting titles.  One book that I own is entitled, You Are What You Speak.  While I haven’t read this book from cover to cover, its premise claims the words you choose influences the person you become.  For example, the more positive your outlook, the better your chances improve on reaching your dreams and goals in life.  Meanwhile, the more pessimistic you get, the less likely your dreams and destiny will ever intersect.

Saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer,” Exodus 15:26.

In a world losing honesty and integrity, Moses shares an important message to Israel during the Exodus out of Egypt.  Moses doesn’t guess or speculate, he writes with certainty.  If you want to avoid the same fate as Pharaoh’s people, be diligent in listening to the voice of the Lord.  Moses isn’t out of his mind, rather he is leading the way toward healing, safety and security in this life.  When you keep God’s commandments, you are laying a fertile foundation for faith to take root.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, Matthew 6:33.

In the middle of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he references Moses indirectly.  Yet, Jesus lays out a blue print for those who long for a place where dreams and destiny intersect.  Instead of creating a shopping list of prayers to present before God, Jesus sets out the priorities needed to receive God’s blessings.  First, seek out God’s kingdom as you pursue righteousness.  Once faith becomes a life style, then daily bread and many more things will be provided supernaturally from God.  Although I haven’t reached this place yet, I long for the day when my dreams and destiny intersect.

by Jay Mankus

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