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When Conviction Overrides the Pressure to Conform

When a conscience is functioning properly, this human sense analyzes and evaluates whether or not your current actions are appropriate.  If you cross the line between right and wrong, a declaration of guilt is sent throughout your body.  This signal is felt by hearts and souls that are open to change.  Unfortunately, when opinions are elevated to truth status,  conviction is weakened, opening the door for peer pressure to take precedent.

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: John 16:8.

At the end of his three year ministry on earth, Jesus begins to prepare his disciples for the future.  Unaware of his impending death, Jesus refers to a counselor that will be sent after he is gone.  This spiritual presence will enhance the conviction process, unveiling past and current transgressions.  Referring to the Holy Spirit, this invisible force will expose darkness by illuminating righteousness.  This spiritual aide is designed to use conviction as a tool to override pressure to conform to the ways of this world.

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” – Acts 2:37

After Jesus ascended into heaven, residents of Jerusalem began to experience the initial presence of the Holy Spirit.  Luke describes this sensation as a heavy heart, struck with an overwhelming degree of anxiety and remorse.  Upon hearing this response, Peter guides these convicted hearts to take the next step, repent and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  While not everyone goes through with Peter’s advice, this decision lays a foundation for conviction to override peer pressure to confirm.  May these words inspire you to act upon the conviction of the Holy Spirit so that you draw closer to God.

by Jay Mankus

Waking Up in the Wrong World

In the not so distant past, complainers were once ignored.  As time was wasted by being petty, hard working individuals built this country, trying to earn a piece of the pie.  Dreams were acted upon, not just idle talk without action.  Like waking up in a daze, I now find myself stuck in the wrong world, trying to figure out how this happened so fast.

Unfortunately, atheists have led the way, convincing lawyers that being offended by God has to stop.  Thus, the minority is the majority, transforming the spiritual climate of the United States.  When you add in political correctness, education without morality and families without faith, the days of Father Knows Best and Leave It To Beaver are gone.

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. – 1 Peter

While driving back and forth to work, I stumbled across House of Their Dreams by Casting Crowns.  These lyrics talk about people who come to the realization that their career and or life isn’t what they had in mind.  This stunning truth is like a prodigal who comes to their senses, Luke 15:17.  Whether its Christmas or the dawn of a new year, may the state of your soul inspire you to seek something more, John 10:10.  Although we all have to cope with a wrong world, apply the principles of 1 Peter 2:11-12 so that you don’t wake up in the wrong eternal destination.

by Jay Mankus

 

How Bright is Your Star?

Sirius, Canopus and Rigil Kentaurus are the 3 brightest stars as seen from earth.  Sirius, the brightest of all the stars in the midnight sky comes from the Greek word scorching.  The further you get from civilization, the more visible the smaller stars become.  From a worldly perspective, are you overlooked like a tiny star, do you blend in like a medium one or does the aura you give off shine bright?

Said the night wind to the little lamb
Do you see what I see
Way up in the sky little lamb
Do you see what I see
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

One of my favorite Christmas carols is Do You Hear What I Hear?  The lyrics of this classic uses hearing and seeing to discern what happened on the night of Jesus’ birth.  If you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, the senses God gave you are often neglected, missing the miracles right in front of you.  Therefore, if you want to make a difference in life, stop, drop what you’re doing and take a look around every now and then to help brighten the lives of others.

However, all human beings experience periods of darkness, times when your desire to press on fades.  As your fire dims, the lights of others may be the only source of hope you see.  If the light of Christians around you is absent, stars can burn out permanently.  How bright is your star currently?  Well, for the sake of Christmas, may the Holy Spirit rekindle the flame inside your soul so that silent nights will remain bright.

by Jay Mankus

Periods of Lull

Unless you are a prophet or have a direct line to heaven, you won’t be able to foresee the swings, twists and turns life will take you on.  Despite what you are currently experiencing, sooner or later you will come across periods of lull.  Like the eye of a hurricane, a pause in the action will allow you to catch your breathe.  This spiritual intermission serves as a hiatus, a time of reflection before the pace of life speeds up again.

According to Psalm 77:7, a period of lull enabled Asaph to return to his spiritual senses.  Although the storm which just passed ruffled his feathers, Asaph did not forget the true nature of God.  While the Lord’s favor might not have been obvious during the trial he endured, Asaph knew God’s promises to Israel.  Therefore, despite feelings of doubt, a break through refreshed his soul, Psalm 77:10-15.

Since losing my teaching position back in 2012, periods of lull have kept me from drowning, creating a shallow end of the pool, allowing me to stand before the next flood approaches.  As individuals begin to practice Psalm 46:10, setting time aside to take a break from the world, a spiritual rhythm develops.  Whether its early in the morning or late at night, Mark 1:35 provides an ideal setting to reconnect with God.  May you make the most of your periods of lull, Ephesians 5:16, seizing the moment to recharge your spiritual batteries.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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