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Truth and Integrity

Propaganda uses lies, half-truths, innuendo, smears, misinformation, one-sided arguments and inflammatory rhetoric to influence the public’s attitude toward a cause, ideal or, usually, a political agenda. Propaganda is regularly pushed by cable news networks, political lobbyists, and through social media posts. If you scan the headlines on any given day, you will find similar mantras, talking points, and vocabulary to convince the American people what they should believe about a specific issue or policy.

Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, Ephesians 6:14.

If a famous talk show host has an expert on to shed light on this hot topic, minds began to be swayed. When another professional in a similar field deviates from this view, the Cancel Culture is willing and able to beat this individual into submission by whatever means necessary. Even if the Science clearly supports this unpopular view, opinions are elevated to fact status so that what one political party wants, one political party gets. This hyper sensitive climate doesn’t leave room for truth or integrity to reside or fit in.

And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace, Ephesians 6:15.

If you use the illustration portrayed by the apostle Paul, all it takes for truth to disappear is for the Belt of Truth to be loosened and taken off. As soon as moral absolutes are stripped away, the is no need for integrity. If everyone is doing what’s right in their own eyes, Judges 21:25, the truth turns to grey until that too soon fades away. Don’t look now, but truth and integrity are like spare change jars at your local convenience store. Until someone is willing to be courageous by taking a stand for God today, Ezekiel 22:30, I’m afraid truth and integrity will disappear like the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. May God inspire believers to stand in the gap daily for integrity and truth.

by Jay Mankus

The Righteous Mirror

The inventor of a silver glass mirror is credited to Justus von Liebig.  This German chemist used a thin layer of metallic silver onto glass through the chemical reduction of silver nitrate.  Prior to 1835, individuals could see their reflection from a still body of water under ideal conditions.  Yet, modern day mirrors enable the human eye to see fine details, revealing flaws and imperfections on your face and body.

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 did away with childish things. 12 For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God], 1 Corinthians 13:11-12.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul eludes to a righteous mirror.  Paul uses the term sanctifying grace, an ongoing spiritual process necessary to purify souls from sin that manifests itself on earth.  This concept is built upon in Paul’s second letter, 2 Corinthians 5:21.  Despite the reality of disobedient hearts, human error and repetitive mistakes, when God sees human beings, a righteous mirror reflects Christ in our place.

So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), Ephesians 6:14.

According to the Bible, the Devil uses numerous schemes to take your eyes off of Christ.  When your eyes aren’t fixed upon Jesus, you become vulnerable to Satanic attacks.  These come in the form of subtle temptations, thoughts and whispers that deviate from the Bible.  Thus, its essential to put on the armor of God.  This includes the belt of truth that hold the breastplate of righteous in place.  Just as a catcher in baseball uses a chest protector, Christians should apply the proper equipment.  When you do, you won’t see all your blemishes.  Rather, as you do, God will see the righteous of Jesus, Christ in you.

by Jay Mankus

The Visual Paradox

There are times in life when your eyes deceive you.  You will run into people who appear courteous and kind, yet fail to reveal their hidden agenda within.  This visual paradox keeps you from seeing reality; the truth about what is happetning.  These anomalies, conundrums and enigmas keep you in the dark.  This mystery often goes unsolved until it’s too late or the answers remain with those who kept silent, now buried and gone.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth, Psalm 145:18.

There is a new movement sweeping America that defies logic.  While I am not sure of it’s origin, diversity is the energy driving this political ideology.  When common sense pokes holes in this desire to embrace everyone, the media rises up to shut down opposing views.  On the surface, this message sounds like something Jesus would have said, “to love your neighbor as yourself.”  This mental paradox has placed many Christians in the middle, unsure if loving your neighbor includes terrorists who secretly want to kill you.

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 first century, Jesus had his own set of enemies.  Jealous religious leaders believed Jesus was trying to usurp their political and religious power.  Subsequently, when Jesus didn’t conform to their worldview, plots to kill him began to surface.  Today, liberal leaders feel so strongly about secularism that if you don’t accept, adhere and embrace progressive ideas, you are pressured to deny your previous held beliefs.  At the college level, if you choose to exercise you first amendment rights by disagreeing, this visual paradox is exposed for what it is, an attempt to force a code of ethics upon individuals without conviction, faith or inspiration.

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, Ephesians 6:14.

The only successful way to combat this visual paradox is with truth.  If a roman soldier did not secure his belt, his armor would become vulnerable to a surprise attack.  Likewise, if individuals do not wear a belt, you could be caught with your pants falling down.  To avoid this fate, arm yourself with spiritual weapons by putting on the armor of God daily.  This discipline takes time and practice to apply.  Yet, if you are diligent, securing the belt of truth will prevent you from being deceived by similar visual paradoxes that emerge in the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Pursuit for Truth

Due to an outbreak of fake news, news, political and social media sites are hiring fact checkers to decipher truth from fiction.  However, if one worldview does not belief in absolute truth, distinguishing opinions from reality becomes challenging.  Unfortunately, this pursuit for truth often ends up in a he said, she said dispute.

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, Ephesians 6:14.

One of the first sermons I ever heard on the Armor of God has stuck with me.  The pastor was using the analogy of getting dressed.  Unless you enjoy wearing tight clothes or have gained weight around the waist, pants require a belt to stay on.  Yet, if you become careless, lazy or negligent, you can get caught with your pants down.  This occurs when you embrace false statements that on the surface appear to be true.

And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth,” 1 Kings 17:24.

There is a fine line between seeing and believing.  Yet, anyone who consistently demonstrates a pattern of integrity will eventually earn the respect of outsiders.  The woman in the account above may have heard about Elijah, but his actions won her over.  Subsequently, if you want to pursue truth beware of rhetoric.  Rather, take your time, examine the whole context and test what you hear using biblical principles to ascertain truth.

by Jay Mankus

 

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