RSS Feed

Tag Archives: telling the truth

Falling on Your Face in Disbelief

Disbelief is the inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real. Most of the time, disbelief comes in the form of unexpected results like an accident, crippling condition or shocking outcome. From my perspective, most of the times in life that I’ve experienced disbelief has been due to disappointing events. However, sometimes there are positive moments of disbelief like when the Philadelphia Eagles finally won the Super Bowl in 2017.

And I will make My covenant (solemn pledge) between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly. Then Abram fell on his face, and God said to him, Genesis 17:2-3.

The context of the above passage appears to be brought on by humility as Abram is overwhelmed by the covenant God makes with him. This emotional display occurs when God’s grace and mercy is poured out upon you. I’ve attended several spiritual retreats where I couldn’t believe what God was doing in my life or in the life of a friend. Despite being an old man with a barren wife, Abran trusted God to figure out all the necessary details to make this a reality.

[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go. [Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God, Hebrews 11:8-10.

The author of Hebrews reflects upon Abraham’s spiritual maturity in the passage above. While Abraham struggled with telling the truth early in his faith journey, falling on his face in disbelief served as a spiritual turning point. This simple act of humility prepared Abraham for God’s test in Genesis 22 where he’s asked to sacrifice his promised son Isaac. While everyone experiences moments of disbelief, don’t forget that Jesus holds keys to God’s kingdom, John 14:3.

by Jay Mankus


A Resounding Statement of Faith

In this political age of correctness, sensitivity, and wokeness, you don’t see many straight shooters who say what they mean and mean what they say. Due to peer pressure and hysteria on social media, many individuals are forced to walk back previous statements in order to please vocal critics. While Abram grew up in a much different culture, rejecting the generous gift mentioned below communicates a resounding statement of faith.

And the king of Sodom said to Abram, Give me the persons and keep the goods for yourself. 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up my hand and sworn to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor and Maker of heaven and earth, Genesis 14:21-22.

Abram didn’t want to feel any future obligation to the King of Sodom. Nor did Abram want to open the door for others to take credit for God’s blessings over his life. Modern politicians would consider this a big mistake by losing the support of a major donor. Despite Abram’s kryptonite, telling the truth, a spiritual maturity is demonstrated by the firm stance that Abram takes. Perhaps, God’s Spirit spoke to Abram’s conscience, warning him against accepting the plunders from war.

That I would not take a thread or a shoelace or anything that is yours, lest you should say, I have made Abram rich. 24 [Take all] except only what my young men have eaten and the share of the men [allies] who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion, Genesis 14:23-24.

Abram’s selfless decision spreads the wealth to all ally members, who played a part in this victory. If there was ever a time for Christians to make a resounding statement of faith, 2023 is the year to stand up and shine, Matthew 5:13-16. This doesn’t have to be a bold proclamation. The apostle Paul told one church, actions speak louder than words, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. Whatever you decide, make sure you emulate the love of Jesus as well as display integrity, especially when no one is looking.

by Jay Mankus

Lying is Like a Boomerang

The oldest boomerang discovered dates back to the Stone Age. Modern designs are constructed with aerofoil sections which enables boomerangs to spin about an axis perpendicular to the direction of its flight. Prior to throwing my first boomerang, I dabbled with an aerobie frisbee which is designed for distance, not meant to return back to you. While studying the life of Abram, I realized that lying is like a boomerang as sooner or later your careless words will come back to hit and haunt you.

And when he was about to enter into Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, I know that you are beautiful to behold. 12 So when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say, I beg of you, that you are [c]my sister, so that it may go well with me for your sake and my life will be spared because of you. 14 And when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into Pharaoh’s house [harem], Genesis 12:11-15.

If integrity is doing what’s right when no one is looking, Abram didn’t begin his journey with God on a good note. According to Moses, Abram was more concerned with saving his own life during a trip to Egypt rather than telling the truth. Rather than adhere to the words of King Solomon in Proverbs 3:5-6, Abram trusted in his own understanding. Meanwhile, Abram encourages his wife Sarai to play along, “you’re my sister,” wink wink. Based upon the passage below, this wasn’t Abram’s only lie.

So Isaac stayed in Gerar. And the men of the place asked him about his wife, and he said, She is my sister; for he was afraid to say, She is my wife—[thinking], Lest the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah, because she is attractive and is beautiful to look upon. When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac caressing Rebekah his wife. And Abimelech called Isaac and said, See here, she is certainly your wife! How did you [dare] say to me, She is my sister? And Isaac said to him, Because I thought, Lest I die on account of her, Genesis 26:6-9.

Like father, like son as Isaac appears to have adopted Abram’s bad habit of lying. Moses refers to this as generational sins passed down by a father to his children, Exodus 20:4-5. Abram’s sinful tendency led to a life of exaggeration and half-truths. When placed into an identical situation as his father, Isaac tells the Philistine king that Rebekah was his sister. Before Abimelech took Rebekah to be his wife, Isaac’s caressing of Rebekah gave their little secret away. The next time you think about stretching the truth, remember that lying is like a boomerang which will eventually harm you in the future.

by Jay Mankus

I’m Just an Average Joe Who Serves an Almighty God

Telling a man that they are average is like responding to a woman who asks you how they look in a new outfit “you look okay.” These subtle words appear harmless unless you’re struggling with your self-esteem. While telling the truth about your own observations may get you in trouble with a significant other, I’ve reached a point in life where I’ve accepted who I am. I’m just an average Joe who serves an almighty God.

And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn ([a]a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted. Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; 2 Corinthians 12:7-8.

Although most people call me Jay, my birth name is Joseph J. Mankus Jr. Minus my Lithuanian middle name, which is another story for a later time. By the time I reached high school, answering the phone with “Joe Junior or Senior” got too annoying as most calls were for my father. Subsequently, I made it known to everyone that from here on out, call me Jay.

But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! – 2 Corinthians 12:8

This decision coincides with when I first became a Christian on December 4th, 1984. Like the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-31, I haven’t always taken a straight path, wandering off and abandoning God for multiple periods and seasons. Yet now I’m back and have come to terms with my current role in life. Like the old Bruce Carroll song, I’m an Average Joe who is ready to serve an almighty God.

by Jay Mankus

Let Us Come Forward in Truth

In the days of Little House on the Prairie and Let it to Beaver, television attempted to present a moral or truth to viewers in each episode. While not every message was based on the Bible, America was a much more conservative culture. With each passing generation, executives and writers began to push the envelope further and further. Modern streaming services and series are a byproduct of this moral decay.

Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by [b]that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water, Hebrews 10:22.

Whenever anyone makes an error, mistake or outright sins, the Bible encourages individuals who have messed up to come forward in truth. Unfortunately, telling the truth is discouraged in many cultures; seen as a form of betrayal like a nark or snitch. Yet, in the passage above, faith involves laying everything on the line. Regardless of how you may feel, honesty remains the best policy.

Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working], James 5:16.

My favorite class while attending Seminary was Revival and Revivalism. One of our textbooks studied the Great Awakenings. The second great awakening began when a young man felt compared to come up on stage and began to publicly confess his sins. When someone comes forward in truth, a spirit of confession can transform an entire congregation. Therefore, the next time you blow it big time, don’t be afraid to pour out your heart so that healing and restoration can begin.

by Jay Mankus

Starting to Believe

If you listen, follow or watch cable news on a regular basis, you might begin to believe that the world is falling apart.  A majority of these networks blame Donald Trump for the world’s demise.  Yet, when you spend time outside in the real world, current accusations don’t appear to be as bad as initially reported.  If the media outlet you depend upon isn’t telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, who and what should you believe?

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24

In the passage above, a man approaches Jesus like a disgruntled shopper, complaining about the service he received from a couple of the disciples.  Evidently, the disciples were unable to heal this man’s son possessed by an evil spirit.  This boy was often thrown into epileptic seizures, foaming at the mouth and unable to control his own body.  Jesus attributes this failed miracle to a lack of faith.  Desperate to see his son freed from this helpless state, the man pleads with Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief.

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe,” Mark 5:36.

In the 1992 film A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson plays Colonel Nathan Jessup who is called to testify in court about one of the marines under his command who was killed.  During a cross examination by Tom Cruise who plays Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee a Navy defense lawyer, a heated argument ensues.  Known as”You Can’t Handle the Truth,” this scene depicts the effort and struggle to unravel truth from fiction.  When forming a belief system, this process is just as difficult, sorting through what your church, education and parents have taught you.  Meanwhile, friends, mentors and professors may be pressuring your to confirm to post-modernism or secularism humanism beliefs.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so, Acts 17:11.

When you come to a spiritual crossroads, the best advice is to follow in the footsteps of Berea.  This first century church urged their members to test everything they heard before reaching a conclusion.  Fact checking practices entailed combing through the Bible to determine if ideas, new teaching or theories were consistent with what the apostles taught.  Sometimes information is easy to decipher while other pieces take weeks. months or possibly years to grasp.  During a letter to Thessalonica, Paul reminds the people he visited to abstain from evil, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.  Although you will never know all the answers to life’s questions, at some point you have to start believing.

by Jay Mankus



God Doesn’t Play that Game

As a high school teacher of 10 years, I was shocked how negatively students viewed a snitch.  Whether you are an informer, tattle tale or tell the truth when asked a question, most class mates will treat you like a Benedict Arnold.  In the March 4th airing of Amish Mafia, the episode entitled De Rott portrayed a similar message, referring to a rat or snitch.  This term is associated with anyone who tells authorities outside of the Amish community about activities by their members.  John was shown privately meeting with a police officer from Lancaster County to save himself from going to jail, sharing information about potential illegal activities.  Hollywood has a history of covering this topic.

Brenden Fraser, Chris O’Donnell, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck starred in the 1992 film School Ties, a drama illustrating the strong ties one makes in a boarding school setting.  Brenden Fraser plays David Greene, a ringer quarterback who is recruited to bring a championship his season year.  As long as no one knew he was a Jew in an all boys Catholic school, he was one of the guys.  When the secret slipped out, his life changed, shunned by those who celebrated with him on the football field.  Considered a traitor, classmates accuse David of cheating on a mid-term exam, despite his own roommate seeing the real cheater.  When school ties form against David, only a miracle will save him from being expelled.

James 4:17 addresses a broad aspect of stitching and telling the truth.  The essential message brought forth in this passage urges followers of Jesus to do the right thing.  Whether its speaking out against an injustice or reaching out to someone in need, if you sit back without acting, you’re just as guilty as someone who blatantly sins.  Despite what our culture may think about snitching or telling the truth, God doesn’t play that game!  The Lord is waiting for people to stand in the gap on His behalf, Ezekiel 22:30.  In the end, strive to please God by putting your faith into action, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2.

Is there ever a time when you should not snitch or tell the truth?  Please share your comment below.

by Jay Mankus


Sometimes You Gotta Do What You’ve Gotta Do

There are circumstances in life when you find yourself in a no win situation.  In other words, you’ve damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  Whether its being honest in a world lacking integrity or telling a customer the truth before they purchase an item, its impossible to please everyone.  Thus, sometimes you gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

In the film Remember the Titans, based upon the true story of desegregation within Virginia High Schools during the 1970’s, Coach Bill Yoast finds himself in one of these predicaments.  Told by 2 board members of the Virginia Football Hall of Fame, all he had to do was go along with the fix, accept losing the Regional final football game and he would earn the votes necessary to achieve this honor.  As the officials threw flag after flag to insure the Titans would not be victorious, Coach Yoast couldn’t bear to see an undefeated season go down in smoke without intervening.

As the world welcomes 2014 on Wednesday, it won’t be long til you face a similar dilemma.  When placed into a corner, what will you do?  Are you going to please others like Galatians 1:10 suggests or will you do what’s right in God’s eyes?  Whatever choice you make, may the example of Coach Yoast serve as inspiration to put a hall of fame career on hold by doing the honorable thing.

by Jay Mankus

Tattle Tale

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a tattle tale is an informer.  Within a home, a tattle  tale breaks the unspoken code, not to rat on their brother or sister.  However, where do you draw the line between telling the truth and exposing unwholesome behavior?  As bullying continues to rise at schools across America, sometimes individuals must to be willing to betray this code to prevent further violent acts.

One of the most famous tattle tales of the Bible is introduced in Genesis 37.  Based on the information passed onto Moses, Joseph brings back a bad report about his brothers’ behavior to his father.  While it is not certain, Joseph appears to have gained Israel’s favor.  Like his mother Rachel, Joseph’s father loved him more than any of his other 11 sons.  Thus, an assumption you can make is that Joseph is the first tattle tale to be rewarded in the Bible with a coat of many colors, Genesis 37:3.

Today, the media uses the term whistle blower to describe a tattle tale.  In most cases, modern whistle blowers are applauded, praised and viewed as heroes.  Some of the most famous American whistle blowers are Karen Silkwood, inspiring the 1983 film entitled Silkwood, Mark Felt who leaked information to the press about Richard Nixon’s involvement in Watergate and Peter Rost who exposed Pfizer for their accounting irregularities.  If only the negative connotation of the word tattle tale could be removed, maybe more young people would be willing to come forward with the truth like Joseph?  As for now, young people would rather keep quiet, afraid of earning a reputation as a fink.  May God raise up a generation of bold children, “tattle tales,” who are willing to eliminate bullying and obscene behavior from their classrooms.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: