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Tag Archives: temporary pleasures

Following the Voice of Temptation

At some point in the next 24 hours, it will happened to you.  No one is immune to this mystery guest.  While the exact circumstance, situation and time is unknown, the voice of temptation shows up unannounced.  Sometimes you might feel its presence with an impulse, grab your attention with a lustful sight or lure you away with an enticing whisper.  Either way if you’re not ready for her it might not be long before you start following the voice of temptation.

For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword, Proverbs 5:3-4.

King Solomon refers to this voice as the adulterous woman, promising ecstasy but delivering heartache.  Unfortunately, the rush of adrenaline tends to take individuals from maybe to when can I start to taste the temporary pleasures of life.  Those without a backbone, curious or hanging out by the fence line are usually the first to engage these voices.  Perhaps, Solomon is comparing temptation to some of the beautiful woman he couldn’t resist marrying or engaging in sexual fantasies.  Before he could stop, 1000 woman had him wrapped around their fingers.

Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it, Proverbs 5:5-6.

When morning arrives, emptiness, guilt and shame often follow those who listen to the voice of temptation.  Unless you can snap out of this sinful state, destruction await all those who continue to visit this mistress.  Those that hit rock bottom find themselves facing addiction, bad habits and a heart craving for a quick fix, a temporary high before this vicious cycle repeats itself.  If this blog finds you somewhere in this entangled web of deception, cry out to the Lord, confess any wrong doings, purge your life from any reminders of this voice and enter into accountability relationships so that you can come clean once and for all.  Hold on by committing yourself to Bible memorization to break free from these chains of sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Value of a Soul

One of Jesus’ commands made to first first century followers involves the human soul.  After the heart, the soul is placed in front of the mind as the second most important part of the human body.  The context of this passage summarizes the first and greatest commandment.  This message highlights the value of a soul.

Jesus replied: “ ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,’ Matthew 22:37.

While talking to his disciples, Jesus suggests that its possible to forfeit your soul.  Maybe He was trying to warn Judas Iscariot of his initial thought of betrayal.  On the other hand, Jesus appears to recognize an unhealthy pattern within Peter.  Beginning to think like Satan, Jesus brings this concern front and center, afraid that one of his leaders could have their soul poisoned by evil.

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? – Matthew 16:26

This caution continues today with countless distractions to lure a soul away from God.  The Devil still uses the same temptations Jesus endured in Matthew 4.  Every day physical, mental and spiritual obstacles lurk around every corner.  The question is will you allow temporary pleasures to alter your standards?  Whatever your decision, may you embrace the value of a soul by resisting the Devil and drawing near to God.

by Jay Mankus

A Sinner’s Life

Since paradise was lost in the Garden of Eden, no one can escape the temptation to sin.  While some make better choices than others, a sinner’s life is like attending the school of hard knocks.  Living and learning from past mistakes has a learning curve with many struggling to avoid Satan’s snares.

All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one, Romans 3:12.

If you have the opportunity to travel the country or across the world, you begin to get a sense for what’s out there.  Along the way, you will rub shoulders with various groups of people, witnessing the good, the bad and the ugly.  During his missionary journey’s throughout the Middle East, the apostle Paul makes an interesting observation.  Similar to economic classes, Paul writes about the classification of sinners, separating typical offenders from those addicted.

The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them, 1 Timothy 5:24.

If actions speak louder than words, sins communicate the heart and the soul of individuals.  Although some may dabble in sin from time to time, others follow in the footsteps of the prodigal, continuing until they reach rock bottom.  When the sensations of temporary pleasures fade, sinners face an important decision, do I come to my senses or not?  How a sinner’s life ends is in your hands.  Therefore, may you heed the words of 1 John 1:6 so that darkness does not prematurely end your life and the reason why you were created.

by Jay Mankus

 

All These Things

Prior to beginning his ministry on earth, Jesus faced three temptations during a forty day fast.  The first was physical as the Devil attacked the human bodies dependence on food.  According to Matthew 4:4, relying on the spiritual, the Bible, strengthens minds.  Yet, seeking God is much more than overcoming temporary pleasures.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, Matthew 6:33.

Not giving up, Satan fought back, testing Jesus to see if He was willing to use God’s power for his own glory.  The request was not impossible.  Jesus could have called on angels to save His life.  This mental temptation feeds on pride, daring souls to prove the Devil wrong.   Instead of participating in this folly by lowering God’s standards, Jesus quotes scripture to expose the Devil’s cunning plot.  The key to righteousness is remaining humble, wrestling with desires of the sinful nature to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own, Matthew 6:34.

The final obstacle Jesus overcame was devotion, who will you worship?  The Father of Lies continues to make empty promises today, deceiving the uneducated daily.  Knowing and practicing foundational biblical truths is the last step of obedience before you can experience the promise of Matthew 6:33.  Although young men stumble and fall, seeking God and his righteousness must be your top authority.  Until this occurs, all these things are just a fantasy.  However, when you cross this threshold, following in the footsteps of Christ, the Lord will begin to provide in supernatural ways.

by Jay Mankus

Taking a Closer Look at the Meaning of Life

An apostle of Jesus once made a distinction between the Bible and all other books.  According to Hebrews 4:12, the Bible is living and acting.  This passage suggests that each time you open up any of the 66 books inside, the Holy Spirit will teach you something different or new depending upon what you are going through or have recently experienced.  Unfortunately, many readers succumb to pride with thoughts such as “been there done that, heard that before or how many times do I have to hear the same old story?”

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it, Mark 8:35.

As I was minding my own business this weekend, God awakened me, providing discernment to take a closer look at the meaning of life.  The verse above struck a nerve as if to say to me, “you’re going down the wrong track, trying to hold on to your life.”  Immediately, I was confronted with my current situation, trusting in my own abilities and talents to provide for my family rather than solely rely on Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides.  I know this may sound crazy to some or many of my readers, yet listen to the case study below.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? – Mark 8:36

From 2002-2012, I spent a decade losing my life as a high school Bible teacher, placing everything into God’s hands.  Subsequently, despite making much less than public school teachers, the Lord supernaturally provided daily bread.  Checks came in the mail at the perfect timing, secret donors paid for my children’s tuition and relative strangers handed me cash to stay out of debt.  Whereas the past 3 years since leaving youth ministry, trying to save my life has resulted in mounting debt.  It shouldn’t make sense, yet in biblical terms it does.

Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? – Mark 8:37

Nobody wakes up one day and says, “I’m going to forfeit my soul.”  Rather, this is a gradual process of choosing to save your own life instead of laying it down into your heavenly Father’s hands.  Sure, it feels good to be in the driver’s seat, maintaining control.  However, in the long run, lives are wasted in exchange for the temporary pleasures in life.  Though my testimony may be unbelievable, I pray that the next time you open the Bible, your heart, mind and soul will possess a teachable spirit so that the Holy Spirit will help you to embrace this living and active book.

by Jay Mankus

When Sin is Consensual

It seems like every year there is some famous professional athlete, Hollywood star or politician involved in a scandal.  Cable news, the tabloids and twitter often explode over battles between he said, she said.  In the end, it takes two to tango, reaching a state where sin is consensual.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! – 1 Corinthians 10:12

From a spiritual perspective, every day if like walking through a room with multiple doors.  On the way out, sometimes you might chose the wrong door, ending up in a bathroom or closet.  When danger arrives on the scene, those who stick around to see what will happen might just be an accomplice to sin.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

According to the apostle Paul, God provides an emergency exit for every sort of temptation.  This isn’t like the game show Let’s Make a Deal, having a choice between door number one, two or three.  Rather, the Lord has provided every human being with a conscience to follow the way out.  Conviction, guilt and uneasiness serve as a global positioning system to avoid evil.

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. – James 1:14

Nonetheless, the moment freewill is exercised, opting to indulge your fantasies, sin is consensual.  Instead of heeding the warning signs, enticement draws people toward temporary pleasures.  One of Jesus’ disciples uses the analogy of a fish lured out of hiding toward an attractive bait.  While some fish may see the attached hook, the grips of lust is too powerful.  This is where desire trumps common sense, leading saints and sinners to do the unthinkable.  The next time temptation calls your name, listen for God’s still small voice to find the way out of a difficult situation.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

A Not So Happy Thanksgiving

For most of my days, I’ve lived a sheltered life.  However, my first job after graduating from college brought me to inner city Wilmington, Delaware as a social worker.  My eyes were opened to the homeless, poor and unfortunate.  This experience led me to serve the needy during my first Thanksgiving in Chicago, going to a homeless shelter near Cabrini Green, one of the roughest projects in Chicago.  I didn’t see any television cameras or professional football players handing out free turkeys, what I observed was a not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Everyone should get of their comfort zones once in a while to see what its like on the other side.  I’m not talking about Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.  Rather, I think its healthy to see how little other people have so that you may begin to appreciate all the things you have accumulated in life.  Fashion, shopping and temporary pleasures blind most individuals to what’s really important: family, faith and fellowship.  Without this type of perspective, a spoiled generation will continue to whine, “what’s in it for me,” while the less fortunate have another not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Clothes, food and a place to call home is foreign to some individuals.  Though many may receive a Turkey to cook, how long will the leftovers last?  Will some have to wait til Christmas before the next act of generosity finds these helpless souls?  Therefore, as you watch the parades, gather for a feast and watch some football for dessert, don’t limit your giving to a couple of times per year.  Rather, take a look around and see who you can help so that a not so Happy Thanksgiving can turn into a very Merry Christmas.

by Jay Mankus

Wilted Flowers… Wilted Souls

Based upon  a 2013 CNN article, roughly 224 million roses are grown to prepare for Valentine Day shoppers.  Beside candy, roses have become a symbol for this special day, with the average person spending $130 to impress their significant other.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for these expensive flowers to die.  Life can be prolonged by adding fresh water daily and trimming the stems.  Yet, in the end, the smell of flowers will fade, wilt and end up in the trash.

The human soul can relate to the final resting place for roses.  Individuals who are quiet, shy or wonder why no accepts them for who they are, often wilt like flowers.  The lack of communication, intimacy and relationships can weigh on a heart, resulting in loneliness.  Unless a soul experiences good news, hope or something positive, faith can fade into oblivion.  Like a deer that pants for water on a hot summer day, those that thirst for temporary pleasures will taste the sourness of disappointment.

According to the Bible, the soul finds rest in God alone, Psalm 62:1.  Though many will try other avenues to fill this void, nothing can satisfy like Jesus; just ask the woman at the well, John 4.  Mankind may try to stop the grass from withering and flowers from falling off their stems, yet the only cure to wilted souls is the Word of God, Isaiah 40:8.  If the thought of a cold dark winter has brought you down, may the promise of Romans 8:38-39 sustain you when all seems lost.

by Jay Mankus

God Wants Your Sex

What?  Am I in the right place?  Are you sure you’re not referring to the George Michael song?  During a private conversation between Moses and God, Exodus 31:18, this concept was first introduced to the Israelites.

To prevent the excuse, “well, no one ever told me,” the Lord lays out His position about sex in plain view for all to see, Leviticus 18.   The first sex education message may be graphic in nature, yet God’s boundaries are clearly defined.  Every possible scenario, no matter have perverted, establishes a line in the sand to discourage unlawful sexual acts.   If Adam couldn’t keep the only law in the garden, Genesis 2:17, what’s going to keep mankind from pushing the sexual envelope.

To combat this temptation, God introduces the acts of the sinful nature in Galatians 5:19-21.  It’s not a coincidence that sex is linked to the first and last desire.  Sexual immorality is like an open door that many walk through, attracted by temporary pleasures and illicit scenery.  When lust becomes full blown, individuals are persuaded to partake in orgies, losing control of their sexuality.

According to the apostle Paul, the church in Corinth struggled to control their bodies.  Subsequently, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 is written to help those who have strayed off course.  Beyond these addictive habits, soul ties merge you with a sexual partner.  These bonds often confuse souls, destroying relationships and preventing true intimacy from forming.  In view of this, God wants your sex so that your temple, physical body, will be offered as a living sacrifice, Romans 12:1-2.  Please share your feelings, opinions and thoughts on this controversial topic.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Quiet Waters

Words like silent, tranquil and undisturbed seem so far away from reality.  While America was sleeping, peace has been replaced by violence, slipped into minds full of mush through video games.  Those who are too busy to care, indulge or play, find their amusement is movies, pop culture and the latest car chase on television.  A life full of distractions, interruptions and noise drowns out the serenity of God’s quiet waters.

This promise of Psalm 23:2 may be a flashback from the image portrayed in Psalm 1:1-3.  Those blessed souls who are able to outran the wicked, flee from the presence of careless sinners and avoid joining a crowd full of mockers find their way through the jungle of life.  Beyond the temptations, lies a bubbling brook, full of love, joy and peace.  This living water offered by Jesus in John 4:10 produces conifers, trees that stay green 365 days a year.  Prosperity is like the morning dew, a subtle reminder of God’s presence in this sacred place.

Once you experience this hidden spring, its hard to find enjoyment in the ways of the world.  Sure, temporary pleasures abound, yet nothing satisfies, quickly losing its allure.  The old Southwest Airlines’ commercials have it partially right.  Yes, you’ve got to get away.  However, where you need to arrive is upon the shores of God’s quiet waters.  Like Kokomo, its a mythical destination that only a few find, Matthew 7:13-14.  May the spirit of God, guide you, step by step, until you reach the healing pool, John 5:1-7.  It doesn’t matter why you came or what state you’re in, as long as you believe entering quiet waters will leave you transformed, once and for all.  Get fulfilled today, Matthew 5:6.

by Jay Mankus

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