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Lies within Your Heart

As someone who grew up in the Catholic church, I was raised to believe that priests were the only individuals who were worthy enough to study the Bible and teach God’s Word. After a revival during the 1970’s, some priests began to encourage members of their congregation to start reading the Bible outside of church. Unfortunately, the church my family attended in Wilmington, Delaware was stuck in the dark ages until my dad’s relocation to Cleveland, Ohio. About this same time, I began to open my own Bible outside of church which exposed lies within my heart.

The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart, Luke 6:45.

When I started teaching high school Bible at Red Lion, a Sunday School class that I attended introduced me to a book called Restoring the Foundations. Written by Chester and Becky Kylstra, I discovered that this book inspired a healing ministry based upon addressing ungodly beliefs individuals have collected over the course of their lives. Like spiritual baggage weighing down your heart, soul and mind, this integrated approach introduced me to new terms such as soul spirit hurts. As people unpack this baggage, exposed lies can haunt you; preventing you from being healed.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is recognized and judged by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart,” Matthew 12:33-34.

During the first century, Jesus introduced a troubling new teaching. When these words were first verbalized, I’m sure conviction silenced any whispers in the crowd. The thought of lies within your heart likely deflated souls previously filled with confidence and pride. This biblical truth sent shockwaves across town as murmurs echoed of this hidden evil from within. Scholars likely declared the words of the prophet are true, Jeremiah 17:1-10. As modern believers are introduced to this truth today, lies within your heart can finally be addressed by an integrated approach to healing.

by Jay Mankus

Scars Inside Your Soul

A decade ago I attended a Sunday School based upon the book Restoring the Foundations: An Integrated Approach to Healing Ministry. Written by Chester and Becky Kylstra, this book examines spiritual baggage from your past that hinders your ability to become the man or woman of God that the Lord desires. The beginning of this book serves as a self-reflection by analyzing previous addictions, beliefs and practices. When you follow the charts provided, this will likely unveil scars inside your soul.

Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me], 1 Corinthians 6:12.

While the terminology used by the Kylstra’s was new to me, their assessment of spiritual scars made sense. For example, Restoring the Foundations refers to soul spirit hurts as spiritual wounds you endure from previous hardships, past relationships or trials. Whenever you enter into a relationship with another human being, you give a part of your soul away. The more intimate this relationship becomes, the greater the risk for soul spirit hurts. Music, places or yearbooks may take your mind back in time, reliving the good, bad and ugly experiences from your past.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Am I therefore to take the members of Christ and make them part of a prostitute? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall be one flesh.” 17 But the one who is united and joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Run away from sexual immorality [in any form, whether thought or behavior, whether visual or written]. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the one who is sexually immoral sins against his own body, 1 Corinthians 6:15-18.

The apostle Paul eludes to soul spirit hurts in the passage above. Whenever anyone enters into a personal relationship with Jesus, their body becomes a temple of God. However, any type of physical contact with someone other than your spouse will leave behind scars inside your soul. While not all of your relationships will leave behind unpleasant memories, Paul urges believers to take ownership of your own body. Any type of compromise, letting your guard down or flirting with temptation will result in scars and wounds to your soul. May Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 help believers steer clear of future harm.

by Jay Mankus

A Stubborn Refusal to Believe

Authors Chester and Becky Kylstras have developed a simplistic approach to understanding how people form their belief systems.  Co-writing Restoring the Foundations, the Kylstyra’s rely on case studies, personal encounters and testimonies to apply biblical principles to real life.  Worldviews are shaped through experiences, which if repeated lead to beliefs.  These beliefs develop expectations such as ” if I do this or that, this should happen.”  Subsequently, behavior is dependent on the outcome of these expectations, either good or bad,

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen, Mark 16:14.

Jesus invested the last 3 years of his life on earth with twelve men.  During this great adventure, the blind received sight, mute were given a new voice and dead raised back to life.  Yet, after Jesus was crucified, the disciples relapsed into a state of doubt.  Although not mentioned in the Bible, I can hear Jesus ask, “don’t you remember all the miracles?”  Disappointed, the words of Mark 16:14 reveal a stubborn refusal to believe.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

If you believe everything happens to a reason, then life is filled with twists and turns.  While the good will lift up your spirits.  The bad and ugly times will either make or break you.  The disciples failed miserably when Jesus was gone for three days.  However, the introduction of the Holy Spirit breathed new life into the souls of these men.  This power is still available for us today.  Therefore, if you want to overcome a stubborn heart, ask the Lord in prayer to receive to receive the power of the Mighty Counselor, John 16:15.

by Jay Mankus

The Gospel According to Forrest

Forrest Gump once said, “stupid is as stupid does.”  Although Tom Hanks played this fictional character, there is a lot of truth to this statement.  Recently, Riley Cooper, a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles went to a Kenny Chesney concert, had a few drinks, got into a heated argument with a black security guard and blabbered out a racial slur directed toward him.  When you do or say something stupid, it doesn’t mean you have to apologize day after day to make the media feel better.  Living about 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia, Riley Cooper is being crucified on the airways every hour, as callers are picking up the first stone like the account in John 8:1-11.  According to the Gospel of Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does.”

From a spiritual perspective, there is a good reason why people say stupid things.  Since the birth of Cain, every child born on earth has been implanted with a virus.  The Bible refers to this birth defect as the sinful nature or carnality in the original King James version, Romans 7:14-18.  As a result of this disease, individuals and their children have never been the same.  Thus, politicians, professional athletes and average citizens daily fulfill the words of Forrest Gump.

Take for example the daughters of Lot, trying to cope with the loss of their mother, death of their future husbands and a father stricken with depression, Genesis 19:30.  Emulating the practices of their uncle Abraham, Lot’s daughters felt more comfortable trusting in their own wisdom rather than wait on God to provide.  Therefore, they each partake in Indecent Proposal IV & V.  Once their dad is drunk as a skunk, with his beer goggles on, Lot thinks the woman in his tent is a mistress or perhaps a dream that he is sleeping with his wife once again.  Instead, Lot’s daughters take the gutter to a new low, sharing their father on consecutive one night stands, Genesis 19:32-35.  “Stupid is as stupid does!”

Similar to the descendants of Ham, these woman gave birth to the Moabites and Ammonites.  Like Abraham and Lot’s daughters, the Moabites trusted in Egypt when times got tough.  In addition, the Moabites called on Balaam to curse Israel, setting in motion their exclusion from the nation of Israel.  Meanwhile, the Ammonites worshiped the idol Milcom, which also led Solomon astray.  By breaking the first and second commandments, Exodus 20:3-4, a generational curse is poured out upon this nation, Exodus 20:5.  This is why Jesus adds Matthew 18:5-7 to the Bible.  He knew how precious and innocent children are.  Therefore, if you still have time to act, live out Matthew 18:8-9, purging sin from your life so that your children and children’s children don’t inherit the sins of their parents.  Check out Restoring The Foundations ministry online if you want to know more about how sin impacts children.

by Jay Mankus

Making Sense of Hollywood

In his book Restoring the Foundations, former engineer Chester Kylstra has developed a cutting edge theology which helps Christians better understand Hollywood.  If Ephesians 6:12 is true, one must begin to fully grasp and understand the spiritual forces which influence an individuals’ actions, behavior and choice of vocabulary.  In today’s blog, I will use the 1993 sports classic Rudy to illustrate RTF’s biblical principles.

According to Kylstra, a person’s life experiences form and shape what they end up believing.  Beliefs in turn create specific expectations, if I do something good, blessings will result, Leviticus 26:1-13.  However, if I choose to do the opposite of what I believe, bad things will follow, Leviticus 26:14-45.  When belief expectations are not met, individuals face a crisis of faith often rebelling from God.  Finally, these expectations influence behavior, which explains to a certain point why people in Hollywood act as they do.

In the case of Rudy’s father, he was abandoned by his own dad when he was a teenager.  Therefore, when Rudy was about to get on a Greyhound Bus to follow his dream of playing football at Notre Dame, Rudy’s dad tried everything in his power to stop him.  Rudy’s father had developed an ungodly belief which led him to think he would never see his son again if he got on the bus.  Abandonment had become a routine expectation in the mind of Rudy’s father.  Thus, when you examine this spiritual perspective, you start to comprehend the thought process behind the father’s self-destructive words toward Rudy.

Whether we like it or not, everyone has ungodly beliefs and a set of life expectations.  When you pray to God, you expect to be heard and receive an answer.  As you work hard in your present occupation, you will eventually expect a raise or promotion.  Unfortunately, if any of your expectations are shattered, you can easily turn into Rudy’s father.  “You’re not good enough!  Your not smart enough!  You don’t belong there!”  This is precisely why the apostle Paul urges believers to put on the whole armor of God, not just the parts you feel like putting on, Ephesians 6:10-11.  As you wage war against the powers of darkness, tempting you to erupt, follow the words of Romans 13:12-14 to avoid losing control like Rudy’s father.

by Jay Mankus

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