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Tag Archives: overcoming peer pressure

Avoiding the Path of Misery

Italian historian Dominici de Gravina eluded to the concept of misery loves company in the 14th century. More than 200 years later in England, John Ray wrote a proverb referring to this strange attraction to misery. In the first century, the apostle Paul warns his readers about the company that you keep, 1 Corinthians 10:32. No matter how pure your intentions may be, bad character corrupts good people.

Yet let no man strive, neither let any man reprove [another—do not waste your time in mutual recriminations], for with you is My contention, O priest. And you shall stumble in the daytime, and the [false] prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother [the priestly nation]. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you that you shall be no priest to Me; seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children, Hosea 4:4-6.

At the end of his famous sermon, Jesus urges his audience to avoid going down the wrong path in Matthew 7:13-14. One Old Testament prophet blames the path of misery on a lack of knowledge and vision. Meanwhile, Jesus points to the public pressure to conform to explain why so many people end up self destructing. Subsequently, the choices you make in life will influence the path you ultimately take.

But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul, Hebrews 10:39.

When I was in high school, anytime I was miserable I made it my objective to not let anyone else have any fun. This stubborn obsession was like a dark cloud seeking to bring everyone I came in contact with down. Yet, the Bible speaks of an eternal state that is permanent. Therefore, if you find yourself heading down a path toward destruction and misery, turn to Jesus so that your faith may be preserved.

by Jay Mankus

So You Think You Had A Bad Weekend

Depending upon which historian you reference, Jesus was crucified some time around 30 AD. After hearing the disturbing news that the Coronavirus death toll has surpassed 15,000 in the United States and over 450,000 throughout the world, my mind was drawn back in time to the first Passion Week. Immediately following the emotional high of Palm Sunday, a series of events gradually turned the tide from celebration to sadness. You might want to compare your own weekend to what happened to the disciples.

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing, John 21:1-3.

First, Judas Iscariot exchanged his relationship with Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. When asked to pray for Jesus in his greatest moments of need, the remaining 11 disciples all fell asleep. After initially fighting to save their leader from being arrested, Jesus turned himself in. Moments later, fearful for his own life, the man given the nickname the rock, caved to peer pressure like the cowardly lion, denying knowing Jesus three times publicly. Only John, the beloved one was present in the final hours, standing by helplessly as Jesus as died on a cross. To make matters worse, Judas committed suicide after being overwhelmed by a spirit of guilt.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep, John 21:15-17.

If you flash back to the first Easter Sunday, Peter abandoned the ministry, going back to his old job as a fisherman. Instead of having a sunrise service, Peter went fishing in the middle of the night. Bringing a couple of the disciples along, they didn’t catch anything, a painful reminder of their epic failure. When providing instructions from the shore about fishing, the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus. However, after their great haul of fish, their eyes were opened to the resurrected Messiah. As you celebrate Easter in a different way, post Coronavirus, may your own eyes be open to the resurrecting power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Unplanned

Rarely does a teenager know exactly what they want to do at an early age and takes the steps to fulfill their dreams. Sure, elite athletes, so called prodigies often become professional athletes, but not everyone succeeds. Abby Johnson possessed a hunger deep inside of her heart to help women. This passion propelled Johnson to become one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the United States. A fervent believer in a woman’s right to choose, Abby defended abortion as pro-life protestors surrounded her clinic daily. Abby had designs to be an advocate for Planned Parenthood for life until what see saw during a routine abortion changed everything.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, John 16:13.

According to recent statistics, Planned Parenthood clinics performed 332, 757 abortions in 2018. Each of these accounts have a story of a pregnancy terminated due to some reason. For some of these women, this act brought relief that a child was not born out of wedlock. As time has passed, perhaps guilt and shame have consumed other souls, second guessing their decision. The 2019 film Unplanned shines light on women who have been silenced by the media, afraid that if their testimony is heard, more women will choose adoption or birth over killing unborn children. While the name Planned Parenthood suggests these clinics offer counseling for expecting parents, performing abortions has become a cash cow, with most clinics focusing solely on scheduling and performing abortions.

So Pilate said to Him, “Then You are a King?” Jesus answered, “You say [correctly] that I am a King. This is why I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth [who is a friend of the truth and belongs to the truth] hears and listens carefully to My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him [scornfully], “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no guilt in Him [no crime, no cause for an accusation], John 18:37-38.

The conversation between a governor named Pilate and Jesus sum up the current political debate over abortion. The context of this dialogue occurs on the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion as religious leaders persuaded a majority of the people in Jerusalem to hand Jesus over to be executed. The idea of truth is difficult today as Pro-Choice advocates are in favor of terminating pregnancies. The truth about this play on words is that if you are pro-choice, you are for the death of the unborn. Since this doesn’t sound good, optics have been changed to focus on a women’s right to choose. Prior to her life altering experience, Abby Johnson was adored by social media, a champion for women and women’s right. Now that Johnson has switched sides to the Pro-Life crowd, the truth is clear to Abby. My prayer is that as individuals watch Unplanned, the truth will set you free from the pressure to conform to worldly standards.

by Jay Mankus

Bowing Down to Spiritual Bullies

Joel Kaplan has been a lifelong friend of Brett Kavanaugh.  This relationship compelled Kaplan to attend Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court hearing as a sign of support.  This is what friends do, to be there in times of need for those they care about.  The only problem for Kaplan is that he is the Vice President of Facebook.  As employees of Facebook saw Joel on television sitting behind Kavanaugh, staff became outraged, demanding an explanation.  When Kaplan returned to work, he was pressured, bullied into apologizing for being a friend of Kavanaugh.

Then the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord and worshiped and served the Baals, Judges 2:11.

Whenever there is an absence of spiritual leadership, individuals begin to follow human nature.  After the death of Joshua, who was used to lead Israel into God’s promised land, there was a spiritual void.  When no one volunteered to stand up to show others the way, Jews began to do what was right in their own eyes.  Throughout the course of history, this cycle repeats itself until convicted hearts repent, confessing the error of their ways by turning back to follow God.  Based upon recent current events, progressive leaders are stepping up to redefine right from wrong.

And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed other gods from the gods of the peoples who were around them, and they bowed down to them, and offended and provoked the Lord to anger. 13 So they abandoned the Lord and served Baal [the pagan god of the Canaanites] and the Ashtaroth, Judges 2:12-13.

Apparently, there is some new Bible, source of truth, that I am not aware of.  This new standard evidently claims that president Trump is evil and anyone who follows or supports him is a bad person.  These beliefs are being enforced by protestors, hoping to scare others from publicly supporting likeminded candidates, leaders and politicians.  While president Trump has his flaws, allowing loose lips and undisciplined tweets to express unnecessary comments, no one should bow down to bullies.  As worldly influences continues to challenge what you think and believe, may the power of the Holy Spirit give you the courage to stand up and reinforce the values you hold dear.

by Jay Mankus

 

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