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A Split Decision

In the context of boxing, split decisions occur when judges view a contest from opposing points of view.  Unlike unanimous decisions where there is a clear victor, contestants may sway judges by a great comeback or regaining control of a fight.  While modern technology and social media use round by round scorecards today, no one knows what the judges think until the final results are announced at the end of each bout.

 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand, Matthew 12:25.

Throughout the course of each day, arguments tend to result in split decisions depending upon your worldview.  These disagreements can create divisive debates that divide rather than unite.  After President Trump’s comments last Friday in Alabama about National Football players kneeling during the national anthem, professional athletes, owners and most of the media created a firestorm.  After these attacks went viral, citizens from the heartland, Nascar and veterans chimed in to support their president.  A week later, a split decision still exists, with convincing arguments on both sides.

 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges, Matthew 12:27.

During the first century, another controversy began to brew.  The Pharisees felt like Jesus was making a power play, introducing a new concept to Judaism.  This teaching was heresy in the eyes of religious leaders.  Jealous of Jesus’ ability to heal, a rumor spread about Jesus working behind the scenes with the Devil to fool everyone.  Using logic, Jesus began to poke holes in their theory, responding with the two passages above.  These words remind me of today’s current debate over standing or kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem.  In the end, if America doesn’t come to a point where people agree to disagree, the end will be in sight.  Therefore, the next time you attempt to play the role of judge and jury, take a step back and let God be the ultimate judge.

by Jay Mankus


A Prayer to End Violence

Whether you’re talking about ISIS, Ferguson or the latest act of terror, people are searching for some type of protection against violence.  While reading a chapter in the Bible last night I stumbled upon an outline for a prayer to end violence.  If you read Psalm 140 one verse at a time, you can claim each promise as you pray.

Rescue me, LORD, from evildoers; protect me from the violent, Psalm 140:1.

Rescue and protect me O Lord.

Who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day, Psalm 140:2.

Deliver me from evil, temptations and war.

They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips, Psalm 140:3.

Save my family from gossip, rumors and words that can damage their souls.

Keep me safe, LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet, Psalm 140:4,

Shelter me from wicked attempts to do harm; provide a hedge of protection against violent threats.

The arrogant have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path, Psalm 140:5.

Guide my path in life, exposing any traps that arise along the way.

I say to the LORD, “You are my God.” Hear, LORD, my cry for mercy, Psalm 140:6.

Answer my plea for mercy.

Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle, Psalm 140:7.

Shield me from the obstacles that stand in your way.

Do not grant the wicked their desires, LORD; do not let their plans succeed, Psalm 140:8.

Let the efforts of the wicked fail.

Those who surround me proudly rear their heads; may the mischief of their lips engulf them, Psalm 140:9.

Foil mischievous plans to do harm against the innocent.

May burning coals fall on them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise, Psalm 140:10.

May the accusers be burned by the words that they spew.

May slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down the violent, Psalm 140:11.

Cut down those who seek to emulate terrorist acts.

I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy, Psalm 140:12.

Secure justice for those who are unable to help themselves.

Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence, Psalm 140:13.

Expect the righteous to prosper; praise the Lord for what God has done and will continue to do!

When the timing is right, may the words of this Psalm inspire a prayer to end violence.

by Jay Mankus





The Great Vindication

Absolve, exonerate and uphold are terms associated with vindication.  Unfortunately, print media and cable television often run stories with gossip, innuendos and rumors without complete assurance of the facts.  Thus, when uncovered evidence disproves false accusations, the damage has already been done.  By the time an apology is made, reputations are usually ruined, tattered by the piling on of public opinion.

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord. – Isaiah 54:17

In the spiritual realm, nothing is hidden from God, Hebrews 4:13.  Any flaw, mistake or trespass is exposed, revealing the imperfections of human beings like jars of clay, 2 Corinthians 4:7.  There is no one who is righteous, for all have fallen short of the glory of God, Romans 3:9-12.  Despite this lowly state, sinners have an advocate in their corner, gaining access to the great vindication through grace, Ephesians 2:8.

For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. – Psalm 135:14

Although critics, enemies and naysayers will always exist, the Lord promises that a day will come when his people will be vindicated.  While scoffers may hurt your feelings, God’s compassion and forgiveness will wipe away your tears.  In the end, you will get the last laugh for trusting in an invisible God.  Therefore, put aside your fears and reservations by approaching the throne of grace with a humble heart.  This will lead you to the great vindication.

by Jay Mankus




A Prayer for the Verbally Assaulted

Canadian born Rock Star Bryan Adams was right when he sang “love cuts like a knife.”  Lesser known contemporary singer Wes King added to this concept, focusing on Sticks and Stones which wound human souls.  Whether you hear it through the grapevine, feel it through dirty looks or experience harsh words first hand, no one likes to be verbally assaulted.

Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues, Psalm 120:2.

When gossip spreads, innuendos fly and rumors begin to sway people against you, helplessness can consume your heart.  Thus, if no one has your back to set the record straight, a supernaturally intervention is often necessary.  Although the context may be different, desperate individuals cry out to the heavens asking for a shell of protection against the flaming arrows of evil spewed from the mouths of bitter people.

Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.  I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war. – Psalm 120:6-7

Although verbal attacks will continue throughout your lifetime, make sure you don’t lower yourself to others’ standards or begin to stoop to a level of pettiness.  Rather, as the curses come forth, place your trust in God above, leaning on the Lord in times of distress, Psalm 120:1.  The moment you sense an urge to retaliate, make sure you choose your words wisely.  As difficult as it may be, follow the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you want others to do unto you.  If successful, your act of kindness will fulfill the words of Proverbs 25:22, heaping coals on the heads of those you verbally assault you.

by Jay Mankus

Now I’ve Seen Everything

During the Clinton Administration, 1993-2001, America citizens were less intrusive.  When rumors of affairs, murmurs of  sexual misconduct and witnesses of past improprieties began to come forward, many people protested, claiming the president has a right to his own privacy.  The talking points in the media were clear, “as long as you work hard, give your all each day, everyone, including the president of the United States has the freedom to do what they want on their own time.”  As Dorothy proclaimed to her dog Toto upon landing in Oz, “we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore!”

This is how I felt last night while driving home from work when I heard the news Adrian Peterson, star running back for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings was arrested for spanking his child.  After one of his children pushed another out of the way while playing on a swing seat, Peterson choose to discipline his son, following in the footsteps of his parents.  Maybe he got carried away, but Adrian was simply trying to practice a biblical principle, Proverbs 22:6.  Surely, the state of Texas would understand this?  At least in the past they did, yet not now and not today in this culture of chaos.

If Adrian is guilty, then maybe the authorities need to go after the founders of Scared Straight and Beyond Scared Straight?  I’m kidding!  Remember when you could tell a joke, say something funny or sarcastic and not have to worry about the social police from shutting you down.  Anyway, my point is that spanking is a form of scared straight, associating pain with punishment.  My father used a paddle with a steel insert from his college fraternity.  As a former college football player, sure my butt was paddled a few times, yet I was a quick learner, acknowledging the importance of honoring your father and mother.  I’m not sure what’s next nor can I recommend a clear cut solution.  Nonetheless, now that I’ve seen everything, I sense Jesus’ return is closer than its ever been before.

by Jay Mankus


Silencing Liars

In this age of Blogs, Facebook and Twitter, sooner or later someone will post something untrue about you.  When I taught junior high, a student snuck into my room and used my school computer to open up a My Space account in my own name without permission or support.  Meanwhile, a few years later an educational blog claimed I was a faith healer, charging $25 per healing.  Although the second site was a practical joke to illustrate how gossip spreads, the first was intended to harm my reputation as a teacher.  When facts don’t add up with the truth, its time to silence liars

David was a war hero, skilled musician and chosen by God to become Israel’s second king.  Despite having great intentions, 1 Samuel 16:7, David was young, curious and easy prey for temptation.  Thus, when he decided not to report to work for several months, not going off to war in 2 Samuel 11:1, David committed adultery, tried to cover up his own child and had Bathsheba’s husband murdered.  Unfortunately, David’s reputation is often tied to this rebellious streak, opening the door for future innuendos and rumors.  Psalm 63:11 addresses David’s prayer to cease the mouths of his critics.

When you do fall, especially in public, its hard to repair the trust of others that you have broken.  There will always be those who will point out your blemishes.  However, as you walk in the steps of Jesus, 1 John 2:6, the amount of your enemies will decline as long as your talk matches your walk.  If you’re struggling to silence false statements made against you, claim the words of David in Psalm 63:11 to silence the liars in your life.

by Jay Mankus




In a world where self gratification is in a tug of war with reality, a growing trend is emerging which is disappointing, but not unexpected.  Like the old Steven Miller Band song, Christians are waiting for God to snap his fingers, to magically make all of life’s problems vanish from thin air.  Instead of pulling a rabbit of a His hat, God has taken a back seat, allowing Satan to temporarily be the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2.

Today’s white magic was foretold by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 as the devil himself masquerades as an angel of light.  I am not sure if the Hollywood rumors are true, yet some insiders claim that a few desperate for fame, power and success have sold their soul to the devil in return for what he offered Jesus in Matthew 4:8-9.   Jesus went far out of his way to convince people in his day to avoid falling for this trick, Matthew 16:26.  Unfortunately, the impatient seek alternative measures that include the dark side of life.

Rather than say Abracadabra, God’s ways are different from man’s plans or vision of life, Proverbs 19:21.  Open from the beginning, the Lord seeks to move individuals, little by little, Exodus 23:30.  Perhaps this may explain Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the desert prior to entering the Promised Land, as there weren’t mature or ready enough to handle success.  Persuaded by humility, the Lord slowly brought his children along until the time was right, Ecclesiastes 3:11.  May we all learn this difficult lesson as we seek to fulfill John 10:10 and Romans 12:2.

by Jay Mankus

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