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Ignoring the Voice of Truth

Everyone has at least one person in your life who is stubborn.  Whether this is a family member, friend or peer, this individual exhibits a know it all type of attitude.  Set in their ways, any sort of advice, criticism or insight falls upon deaf ears.  Subsequently, the voice of truth is ignored.

Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him, John 18:37-38.

In the days of the Judges, truth became relative.  During this portion of history portrayed in the Old Testament, each leader of Israel did what was right in their own eyes.  I’m not sure if this was due to laziness, the abuse of power or spiritual corruption, no one wanted to be told that what they were doing was wrong.  Thus, this decision began a downward cycle, abandoning morality for the sake of self-gratification.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, John 16:13.

Not much has changed in the last 4,000 years.  Sure, civilizations and vocabulary has evolved, but the hearts and minds of human beings remain the same.  The seed of lawlessness implanted within the mind of Eve has been passed on to every generation since the fall.  Whether you call this the flesh or sinful nature, this thought process attempts to bypass truth by using justification and victimology.  Unfortunately, any time you and I reject sound biblical teaching, it’s nothing more than ignoring the voice of truth.

by Jay Mankus

Standing in the Way of Progress

Cantankerous, inflexible and pertinacious are words associated with stubborn.  Depending upon which study you reference, individuals become set in their ways between age 16 to 25.  Whether students choose to pursue college or stop their education following high school, worldviews are often set by the early twenties.  Subsequently, when a new way of thinking is introduced, many are caught standing in the way of progress.

So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way? – Acts 11:17

Unfortunately, I grew up during the infant phase of computers, forced to take typing classes in high school.  Thus, as technology changes electronics annually, its hard for me to keep up, lagging behind as I adjust to updated programs.  Part of me wants to keep the status quo, doing tasks the way I am accustom to.  Yet, if I don’t face reality I may find myself standing in the way of progress.

When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life,” Acts 11:18.

During the first century, Peter struggled to adapt to the societal advances.  Raised as a Jew, Peter was taught to avoid associating with Gentiles.  However, as the Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius and his family, Peter was faced with a dilemma.  Hold on to past stereotypes or embrace the movement of God?  In the end, Peter realized that if he did not accept Gentile converts to Christianity he would be standing in the way of progress.  In the same manner today, as the world drastically changes, ask the Lord to give you the heart of Christ to avoid standing in the way of spiritual progress.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Buffer Zone

Whether you’re at home, school or work, you are bound to experience a clash in personalities.  If this turbulence happens regularly, you may be in need of a buffer.  Whether this is a cushion, defense or shield, buffer zones lessen the impact of two stubborn people.

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple, Acts 9:26.

However, sometimes a buffer can be a moderator, serving as a voice of reason.  As the Holy Spirit transformed Saul, who became Paul, the disciples were skeptical, thinking this was merely a ploy to infiltrate the first century church.  None of Jesus’ disciples were going to give Paul a second chance until Barnabas intervened.

But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus, Acts 9:27.

If it wasn’t for Barnabas’ relentless efforts, one of the greatest apostles all time never would have been discovered.  The buffer zone Barnabas provided insulated Paul from the doubts of Jesus’ disciples.  Despite their differences, Paul proved himself to be a worthy servant of Christ.  In view of this story, don’t let negative feelings prevent you from giving someone a fresh start.  And when necessary, create a buffer zone to guard and protect others from ruining someone’s reputation.

by Jay Mankus

Nearing Danger

In the 1960’s science fiction television series Lost in Space which ran for 3 seasons, the dangers of outer space was a regular theme of each episode.  Whenever Will Robinson, the youngest child, approached a precarious situation, his robot would intervene.  Like a modern day drama queen, each time Will was nearing danger, the robot erupted, “Danger Will Robinson, Danger; no Will Robinson danger!”

As Saul neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him, Acts 9:3.

Since most people don’t have a robot, God gave each human being on the planet earth a conscience.  During the innocence of youth, the radar senses of this invisible force is strong.  Unfortunately, over time the conscience can become corrupted, polluted and unplugged by bad choices, thoughtless decisions and swayed by negative influences.  I guess my parents were right when they said, “if you play with fire enough, sooner or later you will be burned.”

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

For the defiant, ignorant and stubborn, sometimes God intervenes directly.  History reveals angelic encounters, events that defy science and voices from heaven that made bystanders speechless.  Yet, when you become an adult, divine intervention is rare.  Perhaps God expects individuals to mature.  This may explain the apostle Paul’s words to the church of Corinth about becoming a man.  Therefore, whether you are young, old or somewhere in between, as you near danger, learn to become self-sufficient.  By doing this you will serve as an example for those struggling to survive, Matthew 9:12.

by Jay Mankus

 

Cut To The Heart

King Solomon referred to the heart as the well spring of life.  His father David developed a reputation of having a heart for God.  The martyr Stephen wasn’t afraid to ruffle feathers calling religious leaders rigid, stubborn and possessing uncircumcised hearts.  Over the course of one’s life, individuals may run from the truth for a while.  Yet, conviction, guilt or a simple word will eventually cut to the heart.

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”- Acts 2:37

One of the most famous movie lines in pop culture comes from A Few Good Men.  Jack Nicholson plays Colonel Nathan Jessup called by the defense in a death of a marine under his command.  Tom Cruise is Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee trying to prod the Colonel to admit he ordered a code red while under direct examination.  Fed up by a series of trivial questions, Nicholson pontificates with the classic phrase “you can’t handle the truth!”

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!- Acts 7:51

I think the reason why this scene and line is so often quoted relates to the impact truth has on the human heart.  Despite how hard someone may try to cover up a lie, God gave human beings a conscience to cut to their hearts.  Thus, when you’re misguided or in the wrong, truth has a way of softening up the heart.  Therefore, the next time you are humbled, use this teachable moment to let the Holy Spirit come in to transform your hurting heart.

by Jay Mankus

 

When the World Passes You By

I can’t speak for anyone else, yet I tend to believe that the older you become the greater the likelihood of being passed by.  The generation before me grew up with type writers, record players and the radio.  Although some of the new gadgets are enticing, the stubborn cling to their past.   Before long technological advances can leave even the educated lost in the dark.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” – Genesis 3:1

While getting lost last weekend, I realized how dependent individuals have become on GPS.  In a car full of hungry stomachs, the old school, maps, were bickering against the voice on a cell phone.  Neither seemed to be reliable as a 10 minute car ride turned into a 45 minute argument.  Perhaps the more one trusts in apps, technology and websites, the weaker the human mind becomes.

I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their ancestors did.” – Judges 2:22

From a spiritual perspective, sometimes the newest teachings are merely recycled lies from the past.  The New Age Movement began in the Garden of Eden inspired by Lucifer.  Humanism was conceived during the days of Judges when people did what they thought was right in their own eyes.  Finally, the idea that there are many paths to heaven was confronted by Jesus during the first century, John 14:6.  Thus, if you feel like the world is passing you by, lean on God’s Word, the Bible to find your way home, Psalm 119:105.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

Refine or Refuse

Whether you want to admit it or not, each individual craves affirmation, encouragement and a pat on the back.  Yet few experience, hear or sense that they are appreciated.  Rather, negativity often rules, pointing out each mistake you make.  Depending upon your personality type, each responds to criticism differently.  Some use it as motivation, others turn a deaf ear and the fragile let these words eat away at their soul.  Such moments provide two options, refine your ways or refuse someone’s advice.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. – 1 Peter 1:7

Prior to last week, I sought out people to pump me up, telling me how great I was.  However, one embarrassing evening under the microscope last week allowed me see the importance of exposing obvious weaknesses.  Unless you know what to fix, you might continue throughout life never reaching your full potential.  However, once imperfections are brought to the surface, you can begin to make strides, asking God to smooth over your rough edges.

My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. – Proverbs 5:1-2

Change is hard, especially for the stubborn who think they have it all together.  Nonetheless, until you begin to embrace the refining process of trials, you won’t be able to become transformed like Peter in John 21:15-18.  If you are comfortably numb, continue to refuse advice.  However, if you want to reach new heights beyond your wildest dreams, let the refining process commence.

by Jay Mankus

 

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