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Tag Archives: secret sins

Drifting Back Into Church

For a decade I stood in front of teenagers as a Bible teacher informing students of the importance of attending church. At the time, one of my close friends was a famous author who wrote books on Church Growth and Spiritual Gifts. When I was able to teach a couple of elective courses, I began to implement this material into my curriculum. Thus, I challenged juniors and seniors to ascertain their spiritual gifts. Once discovered students were encouraged to apply these talents within a local congregation or youth group.

But sin, finding an opportunity through the commandment [to express itself] produced in me every kind of coveting and selfish desire. For without the Law sin is dead [the recognition of sin is inactive]. I was once alive without [knowledge of] the Law; but when the commandment came [and I understood its meaning], sin became alive and I died [since the Law sentenced me to death]. 10 And the very commandment which was intended to bring life, actually proved to bring death for me, Romans 7:8-10.

As Easter Sunday approaches I find myself in an awkward predicament. Due to a strange sleep schedule, working nights, my body has become lazy, like the sluggard described by Solomon in the book of Proverbs. After attending church in January, other priorities have replaced church resulting in a three month absence. A rationalizing mind hides behind the two movie scripts I have been working on due May 1st. Despite pulling all nighters writing each weekend, there is no excuse for abandoning a body of believers. Thus, I find myself as a casual attender, like the Christmas and Easter crowd who will flock to mass this weekend.

Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself! – 2 Corinthians 12:7.

Within two chapters of the Bible, the apostle reveals some sort of secret sin that haunted him. Romans 7 hints to times in life when Paul wanted to do right, but the sinful nature caused him to do that what he despised. Every Saturday night I have intentions to go to church on Sunday, but my flesh has become too weak snuffing out the presence of the Holy Spirit. In the passage above, Paul reveals a physical ailment that hindered his daily life. This pain was a messenger of Satan attempting to steal Paul’s joy. If everything goes as planned, I will be drifting back into church Sunday. However, unless I tame my flesh like 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, I won’t become the man of God the Lord desires.

by Jay Mankus

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Perhaps Its Time to Get Off Your High Horse

As a child, adults, parents and teachers often quoted euphemisms.  These indirect expressions were meant to drive home a point during a teachable moment.  Whenever I appeared to be too judgmental, I heard “get off your high horse.”  The point of this phrase serves as a rebuke to stop criticizing everyone.  Essentially, this a warning to avoid claiming to have a superior moral ground than everyone else.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” Luke 6:39.

In the attached You Tube scene above, a man is forced to determine the eternal fate of his two children.  The only catch is one can go to heaven with the other eternally condemned to hell.  The angelic being reveals flaws, imperfections and secret sins formerly unknown to this father.  After a brief period of contemplation, Mack declines to go through with it, offering himself up to take his child’s place in hell.

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? – James 4:11-12

After watching this powerful clip from the Shack, conviction consumed my heart.  To a certain extent, I felt like I was the character in the movie, guilty of the same crime, judging others prematurely.  Everyone has a reason for the behavior that they display daily.  Whether its innocence lost at an early age, bad parenting or unwholesome addictions, each impacts actions, character and words.  The key to getting off your high horse is developing a heart that breaks for the pain of others.  May this scene and these words inspire you to see the people in this world through the eyes of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Words Written in the Sand

The Sunday Morning Television talk shows are notorious for setting up conservative minded individuals.  Prior to an invite, politicians are hopeful for a good showing, looking to get their name out on a national stage.  Yet, when the questions begin, many feel like they are on trial, attacked and bombarded for possessing Bible based beliefs.

They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger, John 8:6.

This atmosphere was normal for Jesus during the first century.  Whenever He interacted with Pharisees, religious leaders and teachers of the Torah, Jesus often endured a game of gotcha, waiting for Him to stumble and fall.  On one occasion Jewish officials attempted to use a woman caught in adultery as a trap.  Unlike most debates, Jesus uses a different strategy, ignoring their questions by choosing to write words in the sand.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” John 8:7.

The word chosen to describe writing by John, a disciple of Jesus, is not your typical verb.  The context in this passage refers to “writing down the record.”  Thus, scholars assume that Jesus begins to write down the secret sins of these religious leaders in the sand.  Upon hearing Jesus’ request in verse 7, one by one the crowd of accusers quietly goes back to their homes.  When Jesus finished writing, he appears surprised by the honesty of these Jews.  However, his last words to this woman are poignant, “go now and leave your life of sin.”  These words are just as relative today, a call to heed and obey.  Go and do likewise.

by Jay Mankus

 

Leave in Haste… Or You Might Become Deceased

On Monday, August 11th, 2014, America lost one of its icons in Hollywood.  Whether it was playing Mrs. Doubtfire, Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society or a psychologist in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a star brighter than life.  However, deep inside his soul, riches, fame and fortune couldn’t replace a heart of depression that only Christ can fill.  Subsequently, this talented actor took his own life, unable to leave in the haste sinful thoughts.

Moses makes an interesting observation in Psalm 90:8-9.  Apparently, God uses supernatural measures to bring secret sins into the light.  Whether you’re a leader of a nation like Moses, head of your household or superstar such as Robin Williams, the truth about your bad habits, flaws and weaknesses will rise to the surface.  Don’t wait to be found out, Psalm 90:9.  Rather, leave your sinful desires in haste, James 4:7 or groans of regret will keep you in the dark on the verge of death.

I won’t speculate on why Robin Williams committed suicide, but I do know countless individuals have moments where death is entertained as a viable option.  Unfortunately, sin has a way of corrupting one’s mind, polluting a person’s rationale thinking.  If you stay in this mental state too late, the pawns of the Devil will steal any joy that remains, kill hope and make self-destruction seem like a good idea.  Fight back these urges now, leave in haste or you too might become deceased.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Writing in the Sand

The idiom “caught with your hand in the cookie jar” is used when a person is caught doing something wrong.  Meanwhile, the phrase “caught red-handed” refers to being caught in the act of committing a misdemeanor, with the evidence there for all to see.  Either way you want to express or slice it, sooner or later everyone will be exposed as a sinner.  This is the situation you will find a woman, caught in the act of adultery in John 8:3.  Eager to follow the Law Moses commanded, the religious leaders are waiting on Jesus for final approval, to commence the stoning.

Seeing right through them, Jesus turns to an unusual but effective strategy, writing in the sand, John 8:6, 8.  Up to this point, Jesus had always followed a question with a question, not responding directly to the Pharisees and teachers of the law.  However, readers are left wondering, “what in the world did Jesus write in the ground with his finger?”  This debate continues today with suggestions of biblical laws, jotting down the thoughts of these leaders, secret sins each accuser had done or was in the process of committing.  Unfortunately, no one will know for sure until heaven, left to ponder what written words could have caused each Jew to drop their stone and leave the temple courts.

As Easter Sunday, 2013 draws near, you must remember Jesus’ spoken words to this woman, “Go now and leave your life of sin,” John 8:11.  Even if you have been caught with your hand in a cookie jar, there is redemption available to those humbled and sorry for their sin, John 3:16-17.  However, if you fail to leave your sin at the altar, relapse is almost assured, ruining Jesus’ sacrifice, Hebrews 10:26-27.  Thus, embrace Jesus’ writing in the sand, receive God’s faithfulness, 1 John 1:8 and flee from darkness by walking in the light, 1 John 2:6.

by Jay Mankus

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