RSS Feed

Tag Archives: obsessions

Modern Idols of Nations

Footbaal, Basketbaal and Basebaal?  Idolatry involves cultism, devotion and zeal for a pastime.  When any hobby get’s out of hand, obsessions can lead to a veneration, turning into a form of worship.  Priorities and time allocation often reveal where a human heart lies.

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them! – Psalm 135:15-18

This allegiance is nothing new.  Developing a well-rounded personality is beneficial, yet idols influence individuals as nations rise and fall.  Whether religion is a fad, trend or life long pursuit, the powers of darkness will persuade some to delay, postpone or quit their journey called faith.   Thus, peer pressure sways the weak toward to idols of nations.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. – Colossians 3:5

According to Jesus, there is a direct correlation between one’s heart and idols.  “Those things you treasure will permeate into your heart, Matthew 6:21.”  Its no wonder that King Solomon urged the Jews to guard their hearts, Proverbs 4:23.  Therefore, to avoid the same fate of fallen saints throughout history, 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, follow the words of Deuteronomy 28:1-3.  When quiet times with God become a habit, escaping the idols of nations can be achieved.  May your life be filled with prayer, meditation and worship.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

If you believe everything happens for a reason, then my first full time teaching position after college was a blessing in disguise.  Tucked away in the Monongahela National Forest, I spent the Spring Semester of 1993 counseling, teaching and tutoring junior high students who were considered career underachievers.  The learning never stopped, continuing through breakfast, lunch and dinner.  My only true break was for 40 minutes, from 12:20-1:00 pm, Monday thru Friday.  Titled 20/20 Time, students and teachers spent 40 minutes in solitude either on a hillside, in the valley or along the banks of a stream.  The goal of this exercise was to spend 20 minutes reflecting and 20 writing.  To my amazement, I developed a love for journaling; eventually inspiring 12 songs that formed my first album, A Simple Confession.

For those of us who love food, eating is like a race to see who can devour a meal the fastest.  Yet, for businessmen, savvy entrepreneurs and relational individuals, meals are maximized to get work done, explore new opportunities or develop permanent meaningful lasting relationships.  Prior to the rise in youth sports, families spent 30-60 minutes a day at their kitchen table talking .  Now, some households eat out breakfast, lunch and dinner, working meals around busy schedules.  Although hunger is a natural part of the body, appetites can vary from delicacies to worldly obsessions.  Realizing this truth, Jesus introduced a new concept for his listeners to digest, “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Matthew 5:6.

The Psalms of the Bible illuminate how to hunger and thirst after righteousness.  Beginning in Psalm 1:1-3, the author compares this type of individual with an evergreen, a tree that stays green throughout the year.  Known as conifers, the key to this tree is its root system.  When planted near a creek, river or stream, daily nutrients are widely available.  The spiritual dimension to this analogy can be found in Joshua 1:8, where meditating on the Bible day and night results in a similar outcome.  Therefore, if you want to maximize your own meals, start by consuming the Word of God before every breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If this concept takes ahold of your heart, soul and mind, then will resemble the tree in Psalm 1.  This leads me to the chorus from one of the first songs the Holy Spirit inspired me to write, Psalm 1.

“I want to be the tree, down by the river”

“I want to be the tree, down by the bank”

“I want to be the tree, that walks and talks like Jesus”

“Reaching out for nourishment by staying in God’s Word.”

by Jay Mankus

 

Pawns of the Devil

According to Webster, a pawn is someone used by others for their own purpose.  Pawns vary from a dupe to a puppet and in extreme conditions, a hostage.  When you consider Jesus’ insight in John 10:10, there are 3 stages to pawns of the Devil.  Initially, time is used to steal children away from God.  To further this separation, ambitions, dreams and goals are plucked, one by one, killing any hopes of emotional, physical and spiritual prosperity.  Finally, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, lives are destroyed figuratively and literally.

Pawn #1 is subtle, using amusement, entertainment and obsessions to lure committed followers off the narrow road.  Throw in a little compromise, enjoyment and worldly pleasures and before long, priorities began to change.  One of the signs of Satan’s success is a lukewarm spirit, causing souls to lose focus of what’s truly important in life.  Add an onslaught of trials and those pure in heart wander into uncharted waters, opening their eyes to a whole new world like Eve.  If you look across the fence long enough, you might find yourself on the other side.

Pawn #2 is merely a byproduct of time.  Once temptation begins to dig its claws deep into hearts and minds, the outcome shouldn’t be surprising.  Spiritual neglect is replaced by bad habits, careless behavior and loose lips.  The presence of a disciplined life is a distantly memory, kicked to the curb by fleshly desires.  Hooked, lined and sinking fast, the light of Christ fades into addictions of darkness.  At some point, individuals become puppets of the Devil, accomplishing his will through a hypocritical and tainted testimony.

Unless intervention occurs, Pawn #3 resembles a tsunami.  The first wave starts by destroying marriages and or relationships near and dear to your heart.  Isolated, the second wave brings financial ramifications as consumption, gambling and waste make their way to your shores.  Just when you think the storm has subsided, the surge is relentless building in size and wrath.  If you survive, a pitiful soul remains, a shell of the person you were before the pawns of the Devil entered your life.  For those still standing, remember the words of Peter, a failure himself, resist the devil by keeping the faith, 1 Peter 5:8-9.  May this revelation encourage hearts to draw near to the One true God, 1 Timothy 2:4.

by Jay Mankus

The Real Thing

How many times in life do you seek an emotional high?  One that never ends; giving you a sensation like a drug, 24 hours a day.  Many go through their entire lives searching, but never find the real thing.

Do you recall your first day of school?  As formal education begins, innocence gives way to curiosity and terror.  Fears over finding friends and earning acceptance by your peers takes precedence.  However, the thought of being away from your parents provides a sense of freedom temporarily.  This freedom entices you to try new things, experimenting with fruit, forbidden by parents and teachers.

By the time junior high arrives, eyes start to wander… BABES, STUDS, ALCOHOL and DRUGS!  Perhaps you might not be as distracted as some, yet juicy stories spread fast through the grape vine peeking your interest.  The closer you look, the mind takes on an alter ego, longing for items on the other side of the fence.  Fleshly desires, peer pressure and the unknown leads you to the verge of sin thinking, “Oh baby this sure does feel good.”

A junior high experiment often leads to a senior high life style.  Marijuana, pranks and sex are just a few of the choice behaviors one indulges in to obtain the real thing.  Sure, there are risks, even consequences; but what will my friends think if I go straight?  “Everybody is doing it, why can’t I,” says the follower.  As high school drifts by, the next hurdle to jump is college.  Hobbies you once did for a buzz no longer provide satisfaction.  Call it what you may: a habit, obsession, way of life or obliterating time, something inside can’t let go.  This quest for real life has turned into an addiction.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why you do what you do?  Has it occurred to you that you’ve missed something along the way?  Is there something else out there beside living for the weekend?  I don’t believe you and I were placed on this earth by accident.  Growing up, working for a living 9 to 5, have fun for a while then repeat this cycle over and over again til you die?  This doesn’t make sense!  There must be a greater purpose or meaning in life, but what is it?

Jesus Christ, the son of God the Father is your answer.  God sent His one and only son, Jesus, down to earth, to die for blemishes on earth, John 3:16-17.  Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father according to the Apostle’s Creed.  Jesus didn’t just die on a cross and rise from the dead for His own glory, Romans 5:8.  Rather, Jesus became sin for us: for you, me and everyone ever born on planet earth.  Jesus did all of this so that all of us might be seen as righteousness before God, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

This may sound crazy, yet there is no other HIGH greater than entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10.  Nothing else compares to dedicating your life to God in your living years, John 10:10.  Thus, peace is found in no other place, Galatians 5:22-23.  This isn’t about High’s and Low’s.  This is about life and death, living and dying, Deuteronomy 30:11-16.  The only way to Jesus is through denying yourself, Matthew 16:25.  You may think I’m odd, strange or simply old-fashion, yet God has placed the words of this blog on my heart.

If you have tried most everything else, don’t waste your precious time any longer; embrace the Real Thing, Jesus Christ!

(c) Jay Mankus, 1991.

Revision completed in 2014 by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s No Change Without Pain

Self gratification has become like a cancer within the human soul, slowing eating away white blood cells of common sense.  This obsession fed by commercialism, “you can have your cake and eat it to,” has left individuals blinded by empty promises.  In a quest to fulfill this hunger, people have forgotten a simple truth of life: there’s no change without pain.

 
The apostle Paul speaks to this corruption while writing to the church in Ephesus, Ephesians 4:22.  As standards continue to decline, its easy to compromise, “well, everyone else is doing it?”  This futile thinking darkens understanding, leading individuals toward the cliff known as addiction.  Once formed or established, a continued lust for more can steer the disciplined into unhealthy habits, craving the latest junk food the world throws your way.

Snapping your fingers and poof, your request is granted is a mirage, a lie that the weak want to believe.  Real change requires developing a mindset of an Olympic  runner, ignoring pain so you can reach your desired destination, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.   Regardless of what your body longs for, keep your goal in sight, Philippians 3:12-14 to avoid being sidetracked.  Like the song from Rocky IV, there’s No Easy Way Out.  Therefore, throw off any excess baggage, endure hardship and run with perseverance until change becomes reality, Hebrews 12:1-4.

by Jay Mankus

Under the Power of the Devil

An addiction starts off as a habit which can lead to an obsession, causing individuals to fall prey to compulsions and cravings.  Such behavior can develop into sinful patterns, tendencies that slowly become the norm for one’s life.  While psychologists may narrow in on a few possibilities, Luke has another explanation in Acts 10:38.  In his day, many souls were clearly under the power of the devil.

Based upon the accounts within the 4 gospels, demons and or spirits can attribute to various medical issues.  Beside the obvious, demon possession, like the case in Matthew 15:22, spirits can influence hearing, movement and speech, Matthew 8:16, Mark 9:17-18 and Luke 13:11.  Although I am not an expert; nor did not spend the night at a Holiday Inn Express, yet I do believe there is a correlation between good health and being under the power of the devil.

Some where between fiction and reality lies the spiritual realm.  While unseen, Ephesians 6:12 mentions a place where dark and supernatural powers exist.  Author Frank Peretti has used a series of novels: This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness and The Oath to illustrate this mystery.  Though fiction, no one has been able to capture this spiritual dimension like Peretti.  Therefore, if you have tried everything in your power to resolve your current problem like the disciples in Matthew 9:19, rely on prayer to free you from the power of the devil, Matthew 9:29.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: