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Tag Archives: temptations

Replacing the Desire to Be Cool with Christ

No matter who you are, everyone has a desire to be accepted by others.  This craving for acceptance causes many to react differently around their peers.  At some point the desire to be cool trumps doing the right thing.  If this behavior persists, there is little room for Jesus to co-exist.  Therefore, sooner or later you have to decide between being cool or following Christ.

“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.  “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? – Matthew 15:16-17

In the past week, conviction was awakened me from a dead and dying soul.  What I have discovered from the Holy Spirit is that I care more about being cool than living out my faith.  In the passage above, the disciples had become dull, numbed by worldly influences.  Today, these temptations are greater than ever, successfully distracting many from practicing character, integrity and godly principles.

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them, Matthew 15:18.

According to Jesus, the heart is the core of this matter.  While Pharisees and religious leaders believed eating food without washing your hands made people unclean, Jesus corrects their flawed thinking.  King Solomon referred to the heart as the well spring of life.  Those individuals who don’t guard their heart, allow coolness and the sinful nature to reign, taking over.  Thus, unless you begin to purge yourself by beginning to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, transformation will not occur.  May this blog speak to your heart by replacing the desire to be cool with Christ.

by Jay Mankus

What’s Good for You May Not Be Right For Me

Wanting and having are two things in life that young people sometimes have to learn the hard way.  Before graduating high school, many children are pampered, given cell phones, maybe a car, food and shelter by generous parents.  Yet, college serves as a open book test for life as wanting and actually having are two different things.

But whenever the judge died, they turned back and behaved worse than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them; they did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways, Judges 2:19.

Some students gain weight quickly unable to say no to endless all you can eat buffets.  Others turn to partying to be the popular person on campus.  Temptations lurk around every corner with no guardian or parent to tell you no.  Thus, over a short period of time, people change.  As poor decisions undo your upbringing, you might reach a point where what’s good for you may not be right for me.

Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did, 1 Corinthians 10:6.

One day the apostle Paul noticed that some of the people whom he led to Christ began to repeat the sins of their past.  To get everyone’s attention Paul provides a history lesson from the Old Testament.  Without using a hell and brimstone message, Paul urges this church to learn from past mistakes.  Whether its Adam and Eve in the Garden or the Judges who did what was right in their own eyes, each tarnished their faith.  In view of this warning, may you cling to that which is right so that what feels good does not corrupt your soul.

by Jay Mankus

A Fool’s Eyes

One of my favorite quotes from Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks is “stupid is as stupid does.”  Sometimes its easier to recognize stupidity rather than go into specific details.  A common synonym for stupid is foolish.  This label is earned when an ill-advised act, choice or word is made.

A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth, Proverbs 17:24.

According to King Solomon, fools tend to get distracted.  Instead of thinking before you act, the world provides ample temptations to lose your way.  While the discerning keep wisdom in sight, fools wander off the straight and narrow.  The longer an individual indulges in the pleasures in life, the hardest it becomes to leave this wayward road.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world, 1 John 2:16.

People don’t wake up and decide I’m going to do something foolish.  Rather, a series of compromises places souls on a path toward destruction.  The naive believe they will be able to turn back whenever they want.  Unfortunately, the fool’s eyes often wait until they are on verge on death before coming to their senses.  May those struggling at this moment heed the verses in scriptures above to escape a fool’s eyes before its too late.

by Jay Mankus

 

Abducted by Technology

The definition of abduction refers to someone being taken away by force or through deception.  When most people think of the term abducted, its usually in the context of kidnapping.  The 1996 movie Ransom starring Mel Gibson and Rene Russo uses this story line as the back drop for this film.  Yet, the second description of abduction can not be denied as individuals can be abducted through deception.

But God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die,’ Genesis 3:3.”

This past week a couple from Michigan filed a law suit against the creators of Pokemon Go.  These parents claim their quality of life has been infringed upon since this popular app has been introduced in the United States.  Furthermore, communities and neighborhoods are no longer safe with followers of this game walking the streets at all hours of the day and night.  Essentially, what these concerned citizens are suggesting is that teenagers have become abducted by technology.

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them, Proverbs 11:3.

At some point in time, this generation has chosen apps, games and social media over relationships.  Fueled by the great deceiver, Satan is relying on the old argument which caused Eve to ignore God’s only law, “do not eat from the tree of knowledge.”  Unfortunately, many don’t know the Word of God like they should.  Thus, when challenged by temptations in life, we all fall hard, wondering what happened to lead us to this place.  If this abduction of technology has already occurred, bear down, purge yourself from this environment of sin and cry out to the Lord for divine intervention.

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

Learn from History or Relive Past Mistakes

If each life were made into a book, biographies would possess a section where readers scratch their heads.  The audience may think, “I can’t believe they are making the same mistake over and over again.”  Backsliding, downward spirals and periods of neglect cause the average person to repeat the sins of their past.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did, 1 Corinthians 10:6.

During a visit to the city of Corinth, the apostle Paul witnessed a cycle church members were stuck in.  Wondering if these people knew the history of Israel, he begins to share life lessons from past failures.  Since Corinth was a port city, an influx of outsiders were leaving a negative impact on the culture, causing many to relive past mistakes of previous civilizations.  The point of Paul’s message was to learn from history or relive the past.

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come, 1 Corinthians 10:11.

No matter how hard I try to follow my New Year’s resolutions, its not long before I fall back into bad habits.  When I go a day or days without reading and studying the Bible, I’m one step closer away from embracing sins of the past or welcoming temptations of the present.  The disciple whom Jesus loved was right, “you can’t remain within Christ if you become unattached.”  In view of this, may those hungry for change turn back to the ultimate power source, Jesus Christ to get plugged in so that you learn from the history by avoiding past mistakes.

by Jay Mankus

 

Embracing Things That Will Kill You

Every year a story surfaces about a famous athlete who’s professional career comes to an end or is put into jeopardy due to a poor decision.  Whether its being at the wrong place, usually well past midnight, committing a heinous crime or a self-inflicted addiction to a drug, its hard for outsiders to comprehend how someone set for life financially could throw it away overnight.  Unfortunately, former NFL first round draft pick Johnny Manziel may be the next contestant after a TMZ video aired during the Cleveland Browns bye week.  Following a summer in alcohol rehab, Manziel appeared to be on the road to recovery until footage of Johnny at a wild party.  Thus, even grown men embrace things that will kill their dreams.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

You don’t have to be a star athlete to become ensnared by temptations in life.  Some may struggle to control their eating, unable to put down unhealthy food.  Others tend to pursue questionable companions, often resulting in a corruption of character.  Meanwhile, a lack of discipline can allow the devil to gain a foothold in the lives of misguided individuals, going down a road that most fail to escape.  Subsequently, when day turns to night, embracing things that will kill you become a way of life.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it, Matthew 7:13.”

Life is hard enough to endure without any distractions.  However, when you add a co-dependency on a drug, a body starving for nutrition and a peers who encourage you to do whatever you feel like, danger comes a knocking.  If you study the days of Judges in Israel, this is exactly what happened, “doing what’s right in their own eyes.”  When truth becomes skewed, chaos ensues as individuals justify their decision to embrace things that will kill you gradually.  As the line between right and wrong turns to gray, may the Lord help those on the verge of disaster, make a U-Turn toward God before its too late.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Zero Tolerance

Every year, more and more businesses, organizations and schools are instituting zero tolerance policies.  Essentially, institutions punish any infraction of a rule, regardless of accidental mistakes or ignorance.  This movement is geared toward eliminating the use and possession of illicit drugs as well as preventing weapons from entering buildings.  Although every policy has its flaws, the overall goal is to provide a safe environment for children and adults.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go; Joshua 1:7.”

The Old Testament has its own zero tolerance policy.  Surrounded by cultures who worshiped gods and goddesses of earth, the Lord understood the temptations which lurk around every corner.  Thus, as Moses retires and is about to pass the torch to Joshua, God introduces his zero tolerance policy to the nation of Israel.  There was no ifs, ands or buts.  Rather, God urged Joshua to be all in to achieve blessings and success in life.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful, Joshua 1:8.

Today, anyone who holds to the principles within Joshua 1 is considered old fashion, radical and extremists.  The idea of following a set of rules and regulations seem foolish, especially since God is invisible.  Yet, if a mediocre life is what you desire, keep on living as you are.  However, if results is what you are hungering, then trust and obey the advice in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

A Prayer to End Violence

Whether you’re talking about ISIS, Ferguson or the latest act of terror, people are searching for some type of protection against violence.  While reading a chapter in the Bible last night I stumbled upon an outline for a prayer to end violence.  If you read Psalm 140 one verse at a time, you can claim each promise as you pray.

Rescue me, LORD, from evildoers; protect me from the violent, Psalm 140:1.

Rescue and protect me O Lord.

Who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day, Psalm 140:2.

Deliver me from evil, temptations and war.

They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips, Psalm 140:3.

Save my family from gossip, rumors and words that can damage their souls.

Keep me safe, LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet, Psalm 140:4,

Shelter me from wicked attempts to do harm; provide a hedge of protection against violent threats.

The arrogant have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path, Psalm 140:5.

Guide my path in life, exposing any traps that arise along the way.

I say to the LORD, “You are my God.” Hear, LORD, my cry for mercy, Psalm 140:6.

Answer my plea for mercy.

Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle, Psalm 140:7.

Shield me from the obstacles that stand in your way.

Do not grant the wicked their desires, LORD; do not let their plans succeed, Psalm 140:8.

Let the efforts of the wicked fail.

Those who surround me proudly rear their heads; may the mischief of their lips engulf them, Psalm 140:9.

Foil mischievous plans to do harm against the innocent.

May burning coals fall on them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise, Psalm 140:10.

May the accusers be burned by the words that they spew.

May slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down the violent, Psalm 140:11.

Cut down those who seek to emulate terrorist acts.

I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy, Psalm 140:12.

Secure justice for those who are unable to help themselves.

Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence, Psalm 140:13.

Expect the righteous to prosper; praise the Lord for what God has done and will continue to do!

When the timing is right, may the words of this Psalm inspire a prayer to end violence.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

Dragged Behind the Devil’s Door

Certain topics are often swept under the rug.  Whether its abandonment, bizarre crimes or suicide, uncovering the reason for these acts is worth an attempt.  On the surface, it appears some of these unfortunate events can be explained by demons dragging their victims behind the Devil’s door.

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

According to the earthly brother of Jesus, God does not tempt individuals, but allows human beings to be influenced sinful desires, James 1:13-15.  On the other hand, one person on earth to know Jesus better than anyone else, adds a new dimension.  John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, refers to forces in the world which adds fuel to temptations fire.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.1 John 2:16

Finally, according to Jesus, impure spirits can become attached, influence or possess weakened souls.  Although healing is possible, those freed are not out of the woods.  This stipulation is similar to those battling addiction, bad habits or poor choices as a genuine transformation requires daily discipline.  Subsequently, there is always a chance for any who regress to end up worse than their original state.

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.   Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” – Matthew 12:43-45

This is how a demon can drag someone behind the Devil’s door.  Voices may lead the unhappy to abruptly leave to start a new life.  Meanwhile, bizarre crimes are usually conceived in a mind, planned over time and acted out upon.  As for suicide, whispers of loneliness can prompt troubled and weary souls to pull the trigger.  In view of this, take heed by defending yourself with the armor, Ephesians 6:10-12.

by Jay Mankus

 

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