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Tag Archives: Tempted

Don’t You Have a Better Excuse Than That

Getting caught in a lie can be embarrassing.  Thus, as the truth draws near, human nature influences individuals to begin using excuses to justify inappropriate actions.  During a recent interview with the FBI, Reality Winner blamed Fox News for why see smuggled a classified report from a NSA government facility.  Upon hearing this my initial thought was, “don’t you have a better excuse than that?”

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? – Exodus 4:10-11

Reality is not the only have to come up with a lame excuse.  When asked to become the voice for Israel to confront Pharaoh, Moses becomes afraid.  Instead of recalling God speaking to him through a burning bush moments earlier, Moses uses stuttering as a crutch to avoid God’s request.  In the exchange above, God appears to become upset, pointing to his power as creator.

But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come,’ Luke 14:18-20.

While there will always be excuses in life, but at some point people need to grow up.  When you are given authority at church, school or work, responsibilities should not be taken lightly.  Rather, when asked, encouraged or offered an opportunity to serve, rely on the Lord’s strength for these endeavors.  If you don’t, you will be tempted to come up with a reason why you didn’t instead of sticking things out until God’s calling has been completed.

by Jay Mankus

A Sad Sign of Troubled Times

The History Channel has a series of shows related to prophecy.  Nostradamus programs tend to get the most publicity, concentrating upon his published collection that first appeared in 1555.  While there are shows dedicated to Bible prophecy, there is one author who gets overlooked.  The apostle Paul makes a prediction in a letter to one of his disciples which is like a headline from one of the major tabloids.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 2 Timothy 3:6.

Apparently, there was a growing trend of bad boys having a negative influence on woman during the first century.  Based upon the vocabulary used in the passage above, Paul suggests that men were preying on gullible women, then manipulating females to get what they want.  Based upon the amount of children born out of wedlock and dysfunctional homes in America today, Paul’s prophecy is a sad sign of troubles times.

Always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth, 2 Timothy 3:7.

The notion that love is blind applies to this moral dilemma.  While many individuals often say, “I’ll never do that again,” when push comes to shove several repeat the same mistakes time after time.  Thus, bad boys continue to intrigue naive woman, curious what it would be like to date them.  Unfortunately, despite having a knowledge of right from wrong does not stop the desperate or tempted from tasting temporary pleasures.  May the Holy Spirit pierce through this darkness so that these sad signs of a fallen society will turn around soon.

by Jay Mankus

Bend without Breaking… I Don’t Think So

As technology evolves, the development of statistics has exploded.  Subsequently, professional sports now collect several interesting stats.  In football, if a defense gives up lots of yards, but holds their opponent’s to field goals, these teams are referred to as having a bend but not break defense.  When a winning squad has a comfortable lead, some coaches will go into what’s called a prevent defense.  On a few occasions, this decision has back fired, resulting in a shocking comeback victory for the losing team.

No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes, Psalm 101:7.

This mentality has carried over into life, leading to a serious moral dilemma.  As lines between right and wrong have been altered, erased or removed, the concept of integrity is disappearing.  Whether its a co-worker, politician or student, people seem to have become experts on compromise, using exaggeration, generalization and rationalization to justify their actions.  If I didn’t know the truth, I’d be tempted to suggest that maybe its okay to bend the rules a little bit without actually breaking them.

For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light, Luke 8:17.

One of the reasons the media rejects Christianity is that its full of standards for life.  If the Bible’s commandments, decrees and laws can be brought into question, doubt will cause many to lose faith, turning their attention toward man made guidelines.  In additional, if the resurrection of Jesus can be proved to be a hoax, the principles of the Bible will be dismissed.  However, the Word of God continues to be the anchor of faith for those who believe today.  Therefore, don’t be fooled by modern logic, bending but not breaking rules.  Rather, hold fast to the apostles teaching, testing everything you hear with scripture so that you won’t find yourself living in a prevent defense mode.

by Jay Mankus

Held Captive by Sin

One of the most dangerous jellyfish is known as a Portuguese man-of-war.  Although only twelve inches long and five inches wide, tentacles can extend to up to thirty feet.  Contact with any of these strands will inflict poison and pain to those who get pushed into its path by ocean currents.   Since a synonym for captive is prisoner of war, anyone who wanders out into unknown waters is at risk to becoming captive to sin.

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

One popular idiom refers to curiosity killing the cat.  This old saying suggests that following human nature can place you into harmful situations.  Experimenting, flirting or indulging in sin can have lasting effects.  While individuals may think, I can handle this or that, lust can intensify resulting in addiction, bad habits or poor choices.  A weak spirit just might cause you to become captured by sin.

Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death, James 4:15.

In this high tech high touch culture, temptation is only a click away.  Cell phone, computers and electronic devices provide unlimited access to the misguided.  The byproduct of this oppression to sin has breed war zones in some communities.  Meanwhile, others hide their problems until the next explosive story exposes and uncovers secret sins.  For anyone still fighting a losing battle, may God show you the way out of your dire situation, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Go There

During my childhood, it was common for neighbors to dare or double dare you to do something against your parents will.  Using the phrase, “what’s wrong, are you chicken,” the darer attempted to use peer pressure to push you beyond your limits.  Depending upon the ego of an individual, those unable to swallow their pride were shamed into doing the unthinkable.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? – Acts 5:3

Early in the first century, a couple tried to duplicate the generosity of a giving man called Barnabas.  Hoping to obtain the same fame and popularity, Ananias and Sapphira decided to exaggerate, lie and stretch the truth.  After donating money to the church from a piece of property that was sold, the actual amount was hidden, giving a fake appearance.  Revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, Peter responds, “I can’t believe you went there!”

Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” – Acts 5:4

Whether you are challenged, dared or tempted to do something, there are certain things that are off limits.  Lying to the Holy Spirit is one of these domains.  If politicians dropped dead each time they lied, there wouldn’t be enough to serve in office.  Nonetheless, this unusual story in the Bible is used as a teachable moment, a warning to the genuine, not to go there.  Since everything usually happens for a reason, may this event in history prevent you from blatantly sinning against God or the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani

One of the worst things you can endure in life is knowing that you’re right, but not being able to prove it right away.  Thus, those who disagree with you will mock, prod and roast you publicly.  This is the fate Jesus experienced while suffering on a cross.  All the doubters and haters came out to disgrace Jesus until God turned out the lights.

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). – Mark 15:34

Today, many individuals feel as if God has forsaken them.  For one reason or another, trials are mistaken with abandonment.  When individuals suffer for an extended period of time, the human mind blames God rather than correctly diagnose the situation.  Instead of learning from the storms of life, most regress crying out, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39.

One thing that I have discovered in life is not to overreact.  Although things may not always turn out as I expect, time has a way of sorting out the truth.  Hindsight may reveal that God hasn’t abandoned you.  Rather, the Lord is pruning you, removing the unproductive areas of your life.  Therefore, the next time you’re tempted to complain, remember the promise of Romans 8:38-39.

by Jay Mankus

 

Finding the Weak Link

Whenever law enforcement or the FBI wants to bring down a powerful criminal, perhaps they might start with surveillance.  After a period of time, officials will search for a small fry who has access to the big fish.  When the weak link is identified, this individual is pressured to provide important information.  If this person does not cooperate, threats of prosecution often persuade them to go along.

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him, Mark 14:1.

Early in the first century, religious officials realized they could not outwit Jesus, so they began to secretly probe his twelve disciples.  During this process, the chief priests identified someone they could influence.  Miffed by Jesus’ waste of perfume, the treasurer Judas Iscariot, was tweaked enough to turn to the dark side.  Tempted by thirty pieces of silver, Judas agreed to betray Jesus with a kiss.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly, Mark 14:4-5.

Regardless of how strong someone may appear, each possess flaws, imperfections and weaknesses.  Thus, no one is exempt from being exposed as a weak link.  Satan knows your kryptonite, scanning back and forth throughout the earth, waiting to pounce on the isolated, vulnerable and weak.  Therefore, be on guard, armed with the armor of God, Ephesians 6:12-20 so when the days of evil come, you will be ready to defend yourself.

by Jay Mankus

Thorns of the Flesh

And twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” – Matthew 27:29

In the passage above, Jesus’ head endured excruciating pain when Roman soldiers forced a crown of thorns into his head.  This particular species of thorn is only found in Israel.  The tips of each extend beyond two inches in length.  Similar crowns can be purchased online as even an inch of cardboard padding can not keep the longest thorns from breaking through their box.  If the slightest contact can draw blood from a finger, imagine the flow that poured forth fooling this cruel act thousands of years ago.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. –        2 Corinthians 12:7

Although recent persecution of Christians in the Middle East has brought back crucifixion, most face a new type of danger.  According to the apostle Paul, some face spiritual anguish in the form of illness, physical limitations or oppression from demons.  While you won’t draw blood, these moments, periods or trials can be extremely draining, sucking the lives out of souls.  In your weakness, you must lean on Christ to keep you strong.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. – Proverbs 18:21

Meanwhile, some may be wounded by words, cut to the heart and pierced by those whom you love.  When you reach this point or experience the pain of disappointment, remember the message of Hebrews 4:14-16.  Jesus has been tempted in every way just as we are, but did not sin.  In view of this truth, when the thorns of the flesh are pressed against your mind, cry out to Jesus for help.  Pray the prayer in 2 Corinthians 12:9-12 so that in your weak moments Christ will be strong!

by Jay Mankus

 

When Your Soul is Weary

As the newness of 2015 wears off, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it won’t be long until you experience a tired and weary soul.  Whether its the cold and rainy weather on the East Coast or a lack of sunlight to brighten my day, it took less than a week for me to reach this state.  Looking for a boost of energy, the Psalmist provides a message of hope.

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. – Psalm 119:28

The secret to overcoming this condition begins with searching for answers in the right place.  Although advisers, counselors and friends may offer meaningful advice, there is one book that is living and active, Hebrews 4:12.  When opened, the Bible possesses spiritual natural power to replace sorrow with faith, Romans 10:17.  The more individuals begin to listen, mediate and study principles of truth inside, Joshua 1:8, souls become revitalized.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. – Romans 10:17

In his farewell address as Israel’s leader, Moses simplifies the choices you have when you become weary in Deuteronomy 30:15.  You can either spend your time on earth doing things that invigorate your life or focus on the negative, resulting in a slow death to your soul.  Though you may be tempted by bitterness to complain, be wise in your response to suffering, 1 Peter 3:17-18.  May God’s promises in the Bible lift you up whenever you face a tired and weary soul.

Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.  Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. – Psalm 119:36-37

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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