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Tag Archives: Human nature

When You Think God is Done With You

Human nature has a way of viewing God like a strict disciplinarian who forbids any moments of having fun. According to the apostle Paul, this flawed mindset is hostile toward God, Romans 8:5-8. This is one of many ungodly beliefs that the father of all lies places into your thought life, John 8:44. Subsequently, when you blatantly since against the Lord in one form or another, you may come to the conclusion that God is done, finished with you. This is how Cain felt after killing his younger brother Abel.

And [the Lord] said, What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed by reason of the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s [shed] blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth [in perpetual exile, a degraded outcast], Genesis 4:10-12.

Besides dealing with the curse placed upon his father Adam in Genesis 3:17-19, Cain was forced to live as a vagabond, spending the remainder of his days on earth in perpetual exile as a social outcast. Surely, God was finished with Cain based upon his reckless act of disobedience to erase the source of his jealousy. However, this isn’t the end of this nightmare. According to Moses, Cain was allowed to marry and have children.

So Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod [wandering], east of Eden. 17 And Cain’s wife [one of Adam’s offspring] became pregnant and bore Enoch; and Cain built a [f]city and named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methusael, and Methusael the father of Lamech, Genesis 4:16-18.

Long the days before King Solomon who had 700 wives and 300 concubines, Cain didn’t need to write a book like Proverbs to warn his first son Enoch of all his careless mistakes of the past. Rather, Cain appears to have raised and taught Enoch to walk with God daily, Genesis 5:20-22. While Cain may have given up on himself, the Lord was not done with this sinner. Cain emulated Proverbs 22:6 before it was ever written. Although Cain wasn’t a perfect father, he must have done something right. Enoch became the first and only human being not to experience death, an ironic ending to the son of a convicted murderer.

by Jay Mankus

Pleasant to the Sight

The King James Version uses the word pleasant 57 times in the Bible. The context of this usage ranges from pleasant to the sight to delightful places on earth. Human nature tends to focus on the physical aspect of pleasant. According to Jesus’ earthly brother, anyone who fixates on physical features with a second glance opens the door for lust to enter your life, James 1:13-15. This is what happened to Eve in Genesis 3:6, turning what God meant for good into the rebellious act of sin.

And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight or to be desired—good (suitable, pleasant) for food; the tree of life also in the center of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of [the difference between] good and evil and blessing and calamity, Genesis 2:9.

Like any famous garden, there are certain centerpieces that attract visitors from across the country annually. According to Moses, the focal point of the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. Based upon the passage above, both were located in the center of Eden. The beauty of this garden inspired the name for this special place as the word Eden means delight when translated into English.

The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup; You hold and maintain my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage, Psalm 16:5-6.

The apostle Paul explains the internal struggle that takes place within every human being, Galatians 5:16-18. While certain individuals and places have been blessed with attractive physical features, you have to make sure appreciation doesn’t turn into enticement. Jesus compares eyes to the lamp of human bodies, Matthew 6:22-23. If a lack of discipline causes your eyes to turn toward darkness, you’ll likely experience unwholesome lust, 1 John 2:16. May this blog urge you to center your attention on appreciation rather than lust.

by Jay Mankus

When Character Seems Illogical

August 28th is the 59th anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior’ I have a Dream speech. While there are a couple of memorable moments, my favorite is Dr. King’s vision of an America where people are judged based upon the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Unfortunately, recent efforts by the Cancel Culture and Woke Movements have prevented MLK’s dream from becoming a reality.

You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too, Matthew 5:38-39.

Human nature is one of the main reasons to blame. According to the apostle Paul in Romans 7:14-20 sinful desires tend to take over human bodies. Subsequently, that which you were told to do as a child, which the Bible refers to as good and right, is not carried out. Meanwhile, a new age of justification and rationalization has swept through the United States to excuse bad behavior.

Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God—that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection], 1 Peter 3:9.

Yet, there are situations where character seems illogical. Jesus spoke about turning the other cheek when you are emotionally or physically attacked. C.S. Lewis wrote about self-preservation in Mere Christianity. Lewis uses the context of war for self-defense. Nonetheless, the Bible claims that God is the ultimate judge who will seek revenge on your behalf. Therefore, while character does seem illogical in the passages above, Christians need to be spiritually transformed before portions of the Bible make sense.

by Jay Mankus

What is Causing Christians to Stop Living

The Church of Galatia is comprised of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. Prior to writing the Book of Galatians, the apostle Paul heard rumors of Christians who began to stop living. A Jewish sect called the Judaizers infiltrated Galatia and used zealous peer pressure to add circumcision to salvation, Deuteronomy 4:2. According to Galatians 2:11-13, Barnabas and Peter began to withdraw from non-Jewish Christians, influenced by these Judaizers.

In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off], Galatians 5:1.

In the past few years, progressive ideology and wokeness has been embraced by inner city churches. This modern day Judaizer group have stunted the spiritual growth of many believers. Rather than learn from the mistakes of the Galatian Church, many Christians have failed to heed the warning of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1-6. When anyone ignores history, it won’t be long until Christians stop living for Jesus, distracted by cultural trends.

You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth? This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ]. A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church], Galatians 5:7-9.

Human nature makes individuals to want to be liked by society. Yet, it’s impossible to please everyone on social media. There will always be someone who finds your comments offensive. Perhaps, this is why the apostle Paul addresses this issue in Galatians 1:10. The reason why Christians stop living is by beginning to please others rather than to glorify the Lord. There are other reasons like idleness to blame, but if you follow Jesus’ advice in Matthew 6:33-34, faith can be revived abundantly, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

Responding to the Open Doors in Life

Human nature is on full display in Genesis 3. Back in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 2:15-17, God only gave Adam and Eve one rule. The rest of the garden was free to explore. The story of mankind’s fall from grace was passed down orally until Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. According to Genesis 3, no timetable is provided on the length of the serpent’s temptation. Sometimes open doors are snare traps set by the Devil. Responding to these open doors require caution, maturity and wisdom.

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. 27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]. 28 Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need, Ephesians 4:26-28.

One chapter after the warning in the passage above, the apostle Paul introduces the concept of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 5:25. Galatians 5:16-18 details this internal tug of war which Adam and Eve both lost. When a child is told not to do something by their parents, this boundary or restriction elicits a sense of curiosity. Subsequently, the Tree of Knowledge was accessible by exercising free will. Today, there are countless temptations, opens doors that end up trapping the curious into addictions.

Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude]. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me, Revelation 3:19-20.

One of the most beneficial visions in the Bible is a door which only has one handle. God’s side of this door doesn’t have a handle. John’s vision is symbolic of free will. God will try to get your attention daily by knocking or via a still small voice, 1 Kings 19:12. The door handle is on your side so the only way to access open doors is by exercising freewill. Faith comes into play when you try to open these doors, but some may be locked for a season. May today’s song help you learn how to respond to open doors in life.

by Jay Mankus

Placing Your Trust in the Divine

Following my first observation as a teacher, I was told that I didn’t have enough posters in my room. I thought this was a strange critic, but I took this to heart. While on vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia, I visited one of the numerous outlets at this tourist destination. I don’t remember how many Bible posters I bought that day, but one of those was Proverbs 3:5-6.

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help, Psalm 146:3.

When I attended a youth ministry trade school, this verse was one of 26 that I memorized over the course of 7 weeks. The final week of my training was spent at a Wilderness Camp with 24 hours spent in silence. The purpose of this time was to reflect on my past, enjoy the moment and dream about the future. What I learned was to place my trust in the divine.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

Unfortunately, human nature has a way of convincing individuals to trust in yourself. Perhaps this is the reason why King Solomon shares the message above to one of his sons. Despite his vast wealth and wisdom, Solomon realized that it was the Lord who was the source behind his blessed life. I pray that this blog will convince someone today to place their sole trust in Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Staying Optimistic While Living in a Woke Culture

As I try to keep up to date with current events, I often find myself shaking my head pondering, “how did we get here?” Gender identity, pronouns and progressive ideology have replaced traditional Judeo-Christian values as the social norm. Since watching cable news makes me depressed, I’m trying to stay optimistic while living in a woke culture.

For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions, 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

The apostle Paul provided similar advice to a teenage pastor in the first century. Paul was trying to prepare this spiritual leader for potential scenarios that might pop up from time to time. Whether through a vision of the future or divine insight, Paul warns of a time when human nature will influence society. When people wander away from the truth, the climate for a woke culture is made possible.

As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fully perform all the duties of your ministry, 2 Timothy 4:5.

When you combine the passage above with Philippians 4:8-9, the best advice is to stay positive. Rather than react immediately to calls for you to be cancelled, stay calm, cool and collective. Additionally, take on the mindset of Jesus’ disciples, 1 Peter 3:17. As Christians mature by becoming willing to suffer for doing what’s right and true, you’ll stay optimistic while living in a woke culture.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 178: Feel Invincible

Since all three on my children attended a technical high school, concentrating on Culinary Arts, when I think of a skillet its’ another way to cook dinner. However, the Christian Rock band Skillet formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1996. While Skillet has a similar sound to Thousand Foot Krutch, they are a little more brash and, in your face, singing with conviction and passion.

Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces, Matthew 7:6.

Human nature has a way of convincing young people that they are invincible. Meanwhile, when a freshman completes their first year of college, many come home for the summer believing that they are smarter than their parents. When you add pride to this equation, feeling invincible is a daily occurrence until God brings humility into your life. May today’s song rock your world toward trusting in the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 172: What You Need

Joe English is an American musician, vocalist and songwriter for the English Band. Prior to this solo career, Joe played drums in Paul McCartney’s band Wings and in the rock band Sea Level. Yet, at some point Joe began to sing for a higher purpose. This is reflected in the England Band’s song What You Need. Based upon the lyrics, what you need is Jesus.

And my God will liberally supply ([i]fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:19.

The apostle Paul came to a similar conclusion in the passage above. Paul builds upon the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33-34. Human nature encourages individuals to figure out things on your own. However, if you develop a belief, confidence, and trust in Jesus to provide your daily bread, you will come to the same conclusion as Joe English. Jesus is what you need in life, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 171: Love Will Find a Way

If you’re a fan of beach music, then you’ll appreciate Mal Pope who is the Christopher Cross of Christian music. When I listen to Mal Pope, I have flashbacks of the 1970’s sitting in the back of my parents’ car listening to Sailing and Ride Like the Wind. Mal is short for Maldwyn. I could only find one of Mal’s song online which is also the title of his album Love Will Find a Way.

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and [e]disregards the offenses of others], 1 Peter 4:8.

One of Jesus’ former disciples reveals how love will find a way in the Bible. Similar to the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, love covers over a multitude of sins. Despite all the flaws of human nature, when individuals begin to love God and love their neighbor as themselves, love does find a way to cancel out out rough edges. I hope you enjoy Mal Pope’s soothing voice.

by Jay Mankus

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