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Tag Archives: sin

Driven From the Light

When I moved back to Delaware in the last 1990’s, I began to have some initially eye issues.  Similar to pink eye, my condition began to involve pain.  One evening, I felt like a needle was stuck in my eye.  Whenever my eyes were exposed to light, this shooting pain intensified.  Subsequently, I was driven from the light into the darkness of an emergency room.

He is driven from light into the realm of darkness and is banished from the world, Job 18:18.

Bildad, a friend of Job’s refers to a different reference.  The context of the verse above refers to an individual who is affected by a harmful addiction.  When this illness becomes full blown, sin drives people from the light into a world of darkness.  Sometimes this dark transformation is subtle and other times its drastic, over night.

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death, James 1:14-15.

During my five years of blogging, I have crafted nearly 2000 blogs.  The one which has received the most comments and feedback is entitled The Second Glance.  This piece shines light on how lust can suck someone into a life of sin.  According to the passage above, full blow sin amounts to addiction.  Thus, if you allow yourself to become intrigued with a second glance like Eve in the Garden of Eden, it won’t be long before you are driven from the light into darkness.  In view of this dangerous threat, hold on tightly to Jesus whenever you feel yourself about to give into sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Running with the Gospel

The author of the book of Hebrews refers to life as a marathon.  While the hustle and bustle on the East Coast cause many to sprint, often dying out quickly, its important to pace yourself.  Unfortunately, I find myself going on binges for a few days, then collapse only to repeat this vicious cycle the next week.  I guess its time to start jogging with the gospel.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, Hebrews 12:1.

Sometimes what God tells individuals to do doesn’t make sense.  Thus, like Jonah, many try to run away, going in the opposite direction until storms result in a U-turn.  Meanwhile, some have the gift of faith, able to trust the Lord whatever or wherever the Holy Spirit leads them.  Although I once possessed this gift, doubt has caused me to stop running with the gospel.

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked, Acts 8:30.

The encounter within Acts 8 reveals a powerful lesson about faith.  After an angel spoke to Philip, he began to run along side a chariot going down the road.  To his amazement, a foreigner was reading the book of Isaiah.  Like a scene out of Hollywood, Philip takes advantage of this situation.  In the end, Philip leads this man from Ethiopia to faith in Christ.  Therefore, don’t go through life in an aimless manner.  Rather, start running with the Gospel and you’ll be amazed where God will lead you.

by Jay Mankus

Further Seems Forever

I may be one of the few people in America who still buys cassette tapes and CD’s, but when I uncover a hidden gem I can’t resist.  Although my desire to start my own Christian radio station faded years ago, I enjoy broadening my scope of musical genres.  Whether its alternative, hip hop, ska or techno, wholesome music soothes my soul.  Perhaps I skipped a decade, yet I’m glad I stumbled upon the group Further Seems Forever.

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise, James 5:13.

This title reminds me of the times in life where I have strayed off course, abandoning God for the pleasures of this world.  Sin has a habit of distracting its willing participants longer than expected.  Subsequently, skipping church, reading the Bible or praying once can form a pattern.  Before you know it, days turn into weeks, months or possibly years, resulting in an extended vacation from God.

My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed, Psalm 71:23.

To make sure this slide doesn’t lead to eternal separation from God, drastic steps must be taken.  Forever Seems Forever suggests concentrating on how to start a spiritual fire within your heart.  While distance makes the heart grow fonder, temptation can paralyze victims through addiction.  Therefore, don’t let the sun go down today until you lift up your hands in prayer, open up the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to set your heart on fire.

by Jay Mankus

Setting the Table

Prior to fast food dinners out, setting the table was a daily chore delegated by parents to teach their children about how to properly prepare before each meal.  Beyond laying out table arrangements, this term has been adopted by other avenues.  Baseball uses this analogy to encourage players to get into scoring position so that power hitters can drive them home.  After reading a passage of the Bible today, this saying also relates to a spiritual principle.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way,” Mark 1:2.

If you want to change the hearts, minds and souls of other people, a foundation must be set.  There needs to be a beacon of light, pointing the way through their actions, behavior and words.  Although I never thought of it in this manner, John the Baptist set the table for Jesus.  Inspired by a chance to come clean, purge bad habits and verbally profess their shortcomings, John developed a large following who sought forgiveness.  Despite his success, John recognized that he was only a small piece to life’s puzzle, ready to pass the baton to the Savior of the world.

I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit,” Mark 1:8.

Hidden within John’s words is the realization that his ministry was temporary, unable to permanently change individuals.  However, the real Messiah will offer an invisible power called the Holy Ghost in the King’s James Version.  While the power of sin will continue to cause the masses to fall prey to addiction, character flaws and poor decisions.  The hope of the Holy Spirit provides an anointing that can lead to freedom.  May the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-15 lead you to usher in heaven while living on earth as you set the table for future generations of faith.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Unbreakable Theory

In the realm of Super heroes, there are usual two polar opposites who become arch enemies.  Like characters within Marvel Comics, it takes time for each individuals’ hidden powers to become realized.  Through trial and error, supernatural abilities are developed, harnessed and put into action to either better the world or pursue evil.  Although appearing unbreakable, every hero and villain possess a weakness, invisible until their Kryptonite sucks away their strength.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. – Galatians 5:17

In the 2000 film Unbreakable, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis portray a modern day relationship between a villain and superhero.  However, each character appears lost, unaware of their purpose in life.  Inspired by a love for comic books, Samuel L. Jackson resorts to terrorism, searching for someone who is unbreakable.  Meanwhile, Bruce Willis plays a security guard, unaware of his unique gift until he passes Jackson’s test, the lone survivor of a deadly train wreck.

As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. – Romans 7:17

In the spiritual world, a similar force is at work, resulting in an unseen battle between good and evil.  C.S. Lewis tackles this subject in Mere Christianity within chapter 1 of Book 2, entitled the Invasion.  Known as dualism in theology, there are two independent powers in the universe that are in conflict with one another.  These competing forces of good and evil require a third party, a judge to determine who is to blame or at fault.  This war rages on in the human body daily as the sinful nature and worldly desires entice souls through temptation to choose wrong over right.  Although there aren’t superheroes in this life, may the power of the Holy Spirit keep you from becoming forever broken.

by Jay Mankus

Waiting on the Night to Fall

Like criminals, Satan plans out his attacks well in advance.  Although not everyone is successful, each serves a purpose, trying the wear individuals out.  Once a saint ventures out on their own without the armor of God, they become vulnerable regardless of how godly a man or woman may be.  Essentially, Lucifer is waiting on the night to fall.

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. – 1 Chronicles 21:1

Exhibit A, take a successful leader of Israel like King David in 1 Chronicles 21:1.  Victorious in battle over a nation with giants, Philistine, David’s mind begins to ponder, “look what I’ve done.”  David mistook God’s blessing for his own success.  Instead of acknowledging the true source, Satan preyed on David’s thoughts, sowing seeds of pride.  According to this passage, this idea gave birth to sin, James 1:13-15, just like Adam and Eve in the Garden.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” – Matthew 16:23

Exhibit B may even be more powerful, found in Matthew 16:13-23.  Peter goes from the hero of this passage to the goat in the course of a few minutes.  Perhaps, Peter’s mind also became corrupted, puffed up by the notion he was the only disciple who professed Jesus to be the Son of the Living God.  Peter’s failure is exactly why the apostle Paul adds 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, making sure that all believers take their thoughts captive since he knows the devil is waiting on the night to fall.

by Jay Mankus

 

That Will Solve The Problem…Not

A PSA is short for Public Service Announcement.  Whether organizations are motivated by personal convictions, political correctness or remorse, PSA’s have become a common vehicle to communicate messages.  In view of players involved in domestic violence cases, the National Football League has created a recent commercial using stars to stop this assault on women.

Unfortunately, PSA’s often assume 2 things.  First, listening to this ad will result in stopping this behavior.  Second, if you follow the advice provided, together you can eliminate it from society.  This mindset is flawed, not taking the sinful nature into consideration.  Thus, sarcasm leads me to think to myself, “that will solve the problem, not!”

From my experience as a parent, teacher and worker, no one wants to be told what to do.  Sure, as a leader, you have to set the expectations you want others to adhere to.  Nonetheless, hearts have to change before the culture becomes transformed from violence to good Samaritans.  Unless individuals become born again, John 3:3-5, the world will remain hampered by the stains of sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

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