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Tag Archives: justification

The Greatest Temptation

Then Jesus returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter, Matthew 26:40.

When the Son of God spoke in the first century, eager followers flocked to hear his teaching.  Afterward the needy, poor and sick lined up, pushing their way to the front, hoping for a miracle.  To a certain extent, the twelve disciples became complacent, taking their access to the Messiah for granted.  During special occasions Jesus left nine disciples behind, confiding in his inner circle composed of James, John and Peter.  During his greatest temptation, surrendering to religious leaders to be beaten, crucified and left to die, Jesus urges his disciples to pray late into the night.  An hour later Jesus returns to find his trusted leaders sleeping.

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak,” Matthew 26:41.

Disappointed, Jesus addresses the unseen battle going on within the human body.  The Spirit is willing to yield spiritual fruit detailed in Galatians 5:22-23.  Unfortunately, these traits often lose out to a weakened flesh, Galatians 5:19-21, by giving into temporary pleasures.  Way too often the events of Eden in Genesis 3 are re-enacted daily with forbidden fruits replaced by modern delicacies.  While current readers can take Jesus’ advice at face value, all but one disciple were about to abandon Jesus in his greatest time of need.  John, the one whom Jesus loved is the only disciple who doesn’t go into hiding.  Only one man put Jesus’ words into practice.

He went away a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done,” Matthew 26:42.

Jesus was a victim of a mob mentality, innocent of the charges made against him accept of course for being the son of God.  Overcome by emotion, Jesus pours out his heart to God the Father in prayer.  If this was any other person, justification would be made to not go through with this sacrifice.  However, without Jesus’ death, there would be no forgiveness, left to rely on Old Testament animal sacrifices.  Realizing this fact, Jesus submits to God’s will, surrendering early Friday morning.  While there will always be new temptations that arise and attack your soul, the greatest temptation is to reject God’s will for your life.  May you find your purpose on earth using Romans 12:1-2 as a guide.  From here its up to you to apply Matthew 26:41 so that you will keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

 

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When Justification Goes Too Far

One of my junior high teachers used a familiar saying to address students who were about the cross an invisible line.  Interrupting just before individuals earned a detention, promptly exclaiming, “that’s far enough.”  Unfortunately, obedience and respect appear to be at an all time low.  Instead, excuses, justification and victimization now reign.

Then Eli’hu the son of Bar’achel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God; Job 32:2.

While listening to a heated discussion, a young man felt compelled to share his own two cents.  Apparently, Job was lacking humility.  Instead of accepting the hardship dealt by God, Job began to justify his own actions.  Maybe Job did not do anything to receive the ordeals sent his way, but Elihu felt that Job is disrespecting God.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

One of the greatest examples of justification occurs while watching replays of penalties in sports.  Most of the time athletes complain to officials, “I never touched them.”  Yet, replays often reveal guilt.  In real life, no one is without fault.  All have sinned.  Thus, if justification continues, countless individuals will deny and reject the only One who will come to their rescue, Jesus Christ the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

Unworthy

There is a growing movement in America based upon entitlements.  If you asked a senior citizen about entitlements, one might bring up social security if they are retired.  However, millennials have broadened this term, believing healthcare and other government programs are what they deserve.  Yet, when you open the Bible, the opposite is true.

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one,” Romans 3:10-12.

During a visit to the church at Rome, the apostle Paul reminds his listeners of a statement made by an Old Testament prophet.  Regardless of how disciplined you may be, hard you work or pure your intentions, no one is worthy.  This concept is difficult to grasp, especially to those who live in a bubble, protected by justification, rationalization and a secular worldview.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst, 1 Timothy 1:15.

As for me, I recently started studying the book of Job.  I have had some bad things happen in life, but nothing compares to the series of trials Job endured.  Job developed a severe rash similar to poison ivy resulting in a constant itch and oozing puss.  When three friends came to visit, Job 2:12-13, each began to weep aloud, unable to fathom Job’s pain.  Based upon this context, I’m undeserving of God’s love.  Instead of being ungrateful, I need to be content on what I receive, either good or bad.  Don’t let a world full of entitlements spoil your mind.  Rather, come to a place of unworthiness so you will understand that the Lord gives and takes away.

by Jay Mankus

Creatures of Instinct

If you have ever read about or studied the spiritual climate prior to previous great awakenings, morality tends to move in cycles.  When individuals experience the happier days in life, human beings can forget about the Creator above who brought good tidings and great joy.  If this trend continues, it won’t be long before your flesh leads you to become creatures of instinct.

But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish, 2 Peter 2:12.

Although each previous generation claim they had it harder, those who lived during periods of self-control were likely spared from the beast of lust.  For those born in ages of disobedience or sexual revolutions, the forces of temptation are magnified.  As complacency, justification and rationalization kick in, the desire to indulge intensifies.  Thus, many become pawns of the sinful nature.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world, 1 John 2:16.

When the dust settles, creatures of instinct find a valley of sin standing in their way from God’s hands of forgiveness.  As the apostle Paul states in Galatians 5, an opposing force acts as a sparing partner.  Free will adds to this equation, placing a priority on decision making.  Thus, if you follow in the footsteps of Moses, choose life before a creature of instinct leads you down the wrong road.

by Jay Mankus

Blood that Speaks a Better Word

To have blood on your hands often refers to being guilty.  Blood is symbolic of life, necessary to keep a human being alive.  However, sometimes an accident, mistake or minor transgression can end the life of an animal, human being or possession.

For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things, Isaiah 59:3.

Another saying refers to being guilty as sin.  In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah found the nation of Israel in denial.  Instead of coming clean by repenting, justification took over.   When caught red handed, most become defensive regardless of how guilty one may be.

To Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel, Hebrews 12:24.

The author of Hebrews uses a unique connotation of blood.  Abel was innocent and pure when jealousy caused his older brother to take his life.  Yet, Jesus, who brought a new covenant introduces this concept.  Instead of going to a great high priest to atone for your sins, Jesus died once and for all sins.  Therefore. his blood speaks a better word, one of forgiveness, redemption and a promise of a new life without guilt or shame.

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

 

 

 

Say What?

Now that the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl is over or should I say Jerry Rice verses Dion Sanders, the hype for Super Bowl XLVIII can now officially begin.  While this game will match Denver’s NFL best offense against Seattle’s top ranked defense, the media can’t stop talking about Richard Sherman’s post game rant following his team’s victory in the NFC Championship.  Apparently upset by remarks made by 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree last off season, Sherman sounded like a little kid, illuminating poor sportsmanship.

However, what’s more alarming is the media’s justification and rationale for his behavior.  Most experts chalk this up to the heat of the moment, taking place inside the lines of the football field.  Though a few reporters were turned off by a lack of class displayed by Sherman, it seems like in 2014 its okay to be rude as long as you have a good excuse.  I can hear Gary Coleman shouting out his classic line now, “what’s you talking about Willis?”  Maybe I’m simply old fashion or old school, but this verbal assault and continuing coverage is a clear sign of America’s fall from grace toward a society heading toward paganism.

Well, perhaps my words are a little strong, but what is happening to this once great country?  Malls, Movie Theaters and Schools have become shooting galleries for people to take out their frustrations in life.  While the bullied are seeking revenge, God is still waiting for America to open the door, letting Him back into public education.  As psychologists express their opinions on cable news networks trying to make sense of today’s moral dilemma, the Richard Sherman’s in life will continue trash talking until someone bigger, better or both comes along to shut them up.  Only time will tell the final outcome of the Super Bowl and America’s “Say What” culture.

by Jay Mankus

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