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Proud or Ashamed?

Before adulthood tends to complicate life, children can wear their emotions on their sleeves.  Young people celebrate achievements with exuberance and gleeful satisfaction.  Unfortunately, at some point while growing up, minds become convinced that certain activities, beliefs and faiths are inappropriate.  Thus, peer pressure may cause something you were once proud of to be replaced with shame.

For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world [with all its pleasures], and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul and eternal life [in God’s kingdom]? – Mark 8:36-37.

Prior to the mass shooting that took the lives of 17 victims, students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida weren’t experts on gun control.  Yet, in the days that have followed this tragic event, teenagers have been regularly used on cable news networks to ban, limit or repeal the second amendment.  Instead of correcting the flaws in their school safety policy or address the failure of school security guards to react, guns continue to be demonized along with those who own or use a gun.

For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels,” Mark 8:38.

This persecution of gun owners relates to Jesus’ words above.  How you respond to the Bible, faith and Jesus in public will influence how God treats you.  Those who disown their faith amidst criticism, pressure to conform or progressive views will be shunned by God.  Thus, you can’t be halfway, its either all or nothing.  Will you be ashamed due to what others think or will a zeal for the Lord reveal pride for God?  May the passage above serve as inspiration to strengthen your faith so that your choice is clear.

by Jay Mankus

 

Digging Up End Time Theology

USA Television’s drama Dig is another show in a long lists of programming trying to tap into the fascination with End Time Theology.  Filmed in the Middle East, the main character is an FBI agent based in Jerusalem.  While investigating the murder of an archeologist, he uncovers a 2000 year old conspiracy primed to change the course of history.

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, – 2 Timothy 3:2

Unfortunately, this flawed view is nothing more than revisionist history, following in the footsteps of the Da Vinci Code, Jesus Seminars and Gnosticism who seek to create doubt in the minds of Bible believing Christians.  Like shrewd politicians, Hollywood thinks if you bombard society enough, repeating the same lie over and over again, sooner or later individuals will embrace these opinions as fact.

without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. – 2 Timothy 3:3-4

Yet, the educated, informed and students of biblical history have to look no further than 2 Timothy 3:1-9 to see what is happening.  The world is transforming in front of us daily, fulfilling the words of the apostle Paul.  Whenever you tune into cable news or listen to a update on the radio, breaking news reveals an act, crime or tragedy motivated by one of the selfish characteristics within 2 Timothy 3:1-9.  If anyone wants to dig up end time theology, the Old Testament contains several prophecies that have come true with more still waiting before Jesus returns to earth.  Thus, may the warnings of the Bible create a sense of urgency in souls to get their lives in order before the Second Coming catches you by surprise.

by Jay Mankus

After the Morning Has Broken

Busted, cracked, fractured, ruptured and smashed are all indications that someone or something is broken.  Though goods and items usually reveal obvious signs of damage, human beings are better at hiding their pain.  Unfortunately, the scars of the past prevent some from ever seeing another sunrise.

My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. – Psalm 131:1

Humility is a vessel God uses to bring arrogant individuals back to earth.  Whenever anyone becomes too puffed up in their minds, trials will arise to regain the proper perspective.  If this is achieved, souls will begin to discover the meaning behind Cat Stevens 1972 hit Morning has Broken.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

Whether this blog finds you depressed or sky high, each time the morning has broken to commence another day, this symbolizes a second chance at life.  Since the Lord keeps no records of wrongs, 1 Corinthians 13:5, everyone get’s a fresh start, with the slate wiped clean daily.  In view of this, thank God for every time you experience the dawn of a new day!

by Jay Mankus

 

 

When Winning Isn’t As Important

In the days following 9/11/01, many Americans used professional sporting events as a vehicle for healing.  In Major League Baseball, the singing of Talk Me Out to the Ball Game was replaced with God Bless America.  At the first Monday Night Football Game in the NFL, a sense of patriotism swept through the crowd, causing tears to flow from my eyes as a giant flag, shaped like the United States of America was stretched across the entire field.  During this period in time, winning wasn’t the only thing.  Rather, playing these games symbolized a sense of normalcy to proclaim to the world, “America will carry on.”

Meanwhile, another community experienced a similar tragedy, placing sports into its proper perspective.  The 2006 film We Are Marshall is based upon the death of 37 football players, 5 coaches, 25 boosters and other staff who perished in a plane crash near Huntington, West Virginia.  Despite wanting to remain competitive, winning had to be placed on the back burner.  To honor the memory of these people, the school president was nudged by students to field a team to fill the void left behind.  In a stirring scene, Matthew McConaughey, who plays head coach Jack Lengyel, redefines winning to include playing with all your heart for 60 minutes.  “If you do this, we can not lose!”

Today, competition has a wide scope from school districts who have banned keeping score to the hard core who keep score in everything they do.  For me, sports was a refuge, a place where I excelled.  The more success I tasted, the cockier I became.  Yet, like many things in life, athletic competition has a way of humbling the proud, bringing each star back down to earth.  However, when I finally gave up my pursuit of playing professional golf, only then did I understand winning isn;t everything.  Whether you have the talent or not, give your dream a shot and let the chips fall where they may.  In the end, winning isn’t as important as knowing that you did everything you could to maximize your God given talents.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

God Doesn’t Need a Superstar

If you observe the titles of today’s most popular reality television shows: American Idol, America’s Next Top Model and America’s Got Talent, Hollywood is searching for the next superstar.  Meanwhile, media’s elite are longing for a politician with gravitas, believing that once this person arrives, everything will be fine.  Yet, when its all said and done, God is in control and He doesn’t need a superstar.

After the flood, the Lord didn’t amass an all-star team of individuals to carry on His plan for earth.  Nor did God recruit the best of the best of the best like Men in Black.  Rather, He chose an ordinary group of people, eventually named Israel, after Jacob, the son of Isaac, whose father was Abraham.  While many have different opinions behind God’s rationale, I believe the Lord selected a nation who could not steal credit for the prosperity He provided.

Thousands of years later, God still opposes the proud and supplies grace to the humble.  Whenever someone reaches a Matthew 16:24 state, you become a willing vessel for the Lord.  If you want to continue this journey, God’s anointing is awaiting those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, Matthew 5:6.  May the Holy Spirit fill eager servants so that one day you might be transformed into a spiritual superstar.

by Jay Mankus

 

True Remorse

The proud have a history of taking pride in their comfortable position.  With confidence not an issue, this personality trait tends to blind individuals from the actual state of their soul.  Consistent with first century Pharisees, these people ignore their own flaws, using comparison to enhance their self-esteem.  If necessary, personal attacks are used, putting down lesser humans beings to protect their status in society, Romans 2:1.

Meanwhile, the insecure take the fall, allowing the elites to push them around.  Unable to hide their emotions, depression, sadness and tears reveal the pain in their hearts. Call it being naive, yet faking their pitiful condition seems wrong.  Thus, humility reigns, displaying true remorse for the sins they’ve committed and the idleness preventing change.  Like tax collectors and prostitutes of the past, crowds flee, not wanting to be associated with those who have tarnished their reputations.

Not much has changed since Jesus first shared the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.  Two thousand years later, a sequel is being played out with a different cast of characters.  Most play the role of the older brother, yelling, “I told you so,” casting judgement on those caught in the act of sin.  The less popular actor, stumbles and falls until they reach the bottom of the barrel.  Unfortunately, it usually takes the pain of embarrassment to admit fault.  May anyone struggling to find your way come to your senses soon so that true remorse will be rewarded by God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy.

by Jay Mankus

 

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The Necklace Called Pride

I’m not one to wear bling, yet there is something invisible beyond the gold chains adorned by celebrities and stars.  Beneath the surface, a powerful spirit has risen up, taking hold of human hearts.  Although disguised by many characters and personalities, the necklace called pride is real.

According to an eyewitness known as Asaph, the arrogant proudly display this attribute, Psalm 73:6.  Pride is like a confidence that gets out of control, leading to cockiness, conceit and diarrhea of the mouth.  This necklace is contagious, spreading to the heart, mind and soul.  If left on, side affects could lead to diabolical pride according to C.S. Lewis, permanent blinding one’s perspective of truth.

As the gang culture increases, energized by rap music, the decay of families and morality on the decline, pride is the new source of power.  Just as Naturalism replaced Theism during the Renaissance, pride has surpassed faith in modern circles.  Attitude, behavior and words are being swayed daily from necks full of pride.  May the words of Proverbs 15:31-33 unlock the chains of pride holding individuals back from God.  In time, may the promise of Proverbs 11:2 use disgrace as a vehicle for change.

by Jay Mankus

 

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