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Lying to Your Face

Moral relativism refers to several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures. The opposite of moral relativism is moral absolutism, which espouses a fundamental, Natural Law of constant values and rules, which judges all persons equally, irrespective of individual circumstances or cultural differences. When truth becomes relative, members of the media can exchange truth with their own opinions. If news is presented without an emphasis on fact checking, the person on the other end of the television is likely lying to your face.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight, Proverbs 12:22.

Whether you know it or not, everyone possesses a set of pet peeves. This term was first referenced in 1919. The origin of this expression dates back to a 14th-century word peevish, meaning “ornery or ill-tempered.”
A pet peeve is a particular thing that annoys, bugs or irritates you every time an individual does, repeats or says something. One of my recent pet peeves is the degree of lying that occurs every day on television. One political side takes position A, the other takes the opposing view. Both can’t be correct as one group is lying to your face day after day without identifying who is on the side of the truth.

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish, Proverbs 19:9.

From a historical perspective, King Solomon is considered one of the wisest people to walk the face of the earth, 1 Kings 3:12. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon writes to one of his numerous sons, urging his children to do what is right. To highlight the danger of lying, Solomon compares this act as an abomination to God. Later on in this book, the king details the punishment for false witnesses, those willing to twist the truth in their own favor. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but if cable news shows continue to allow guest panelists to lie time after time, truth, justice and the American way will fade away forever like mighty empires of the past. Pray for truth to prevail.

by Jay Mankus

Teetotalism in Religion

As dictionaries are updated annually, important words from history are fading from the forefront.  Instead, slang, tech terms and pop culture is redefining societies vocabulary.  One of these obsolete words is teetotalism, a stringent form of following the rules.  Islam or Muslims  is one of the few faiths which practice teetotalism in adherence to the 5 pillars.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28.

In his classic book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis addresses teetotalism in a chapter called The Cardinal Virtues, values that anyone can possess.  Lewis suggests that initially, teetotalism was a form of temperance, going the right distance and no further.  Like anything in life, context, time and understanding alter the meaning of words.  Thus, teetotalism in the context of religion is merely knowing the boundaries between the right and wrong and failing to cross over this line.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, Matthew 11:29.

However, when faith is limited to an adherence to rules, meaning can be lost like Pharisees who strayed from God’s commands.  Rather, Jesus doesn’t care what you wear to church on Sunday; only that you come as you are, ditching the facade the fake put on.  Once souls reach the understanding that you can’t do it on your own, Romans 6:23, spiritual hunger is conceived.  Free will enables hearts to wait until they are ready.  When this day arrives, believers won’t have to rely on teetotalism anymore.  Instead, a desire for biblical truth will prompt individuals to pray, read the Bible and worship the Lord 7 days a week.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Devilution of a Nation

Signs of evolution develop when someone or something experience subtle changes over time.  Certain species of animals may go through genetic alterations as its ecosystem is impacted by disease, over population or the weather.  Meanwhile, societies undergo spiritual transformations from generation to generation, either drawing near to God through revival or backsliding due to what I call the deviluation of a nation.

For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. – Genesis 3:5

Devilution is spawned by adding and or subtracting to God’s commands.  Challenging, questioning and reinventing the rules attempts to create doubt within the minds of citizens.  This atmosphere has inspired past writers like Saul Alinsky to promote curriculum in the form of Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.  If these teachings are embraced by enough leaders, a culture shift will begin amending beliefs, values and worldviews of a nation.

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. – Deuteronomy 4:2

When minds are persuaded to taste what was once forbidden fruit, justification and rationalization is conceived.  Subsequently, right and wrong is turned to gray, genetically altering truth.  A byproduct of this switch elevates opinions to fact status; thereby causing absolutes to disappear little by little.  According to the Bible, these conditions breed demonic strongholds, Ephesians 6:12, enabling dark powers to deceive an entire region.  If unstopped, the next generation will learn to do what’s right in their own eyes.

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit. – Judges 21:25

May God help us all to do an about face so that the devilution of America will be replaced by a spirit of prayer and fasting.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Slip Proof

Whether you’re driving a car in wintry weather, trying to walk on a slippery surface or seek to keep a conversation clean with children ease dropping, its impossible to guarantee a slip proof day.  You may have good intentions, yet how can you be so sure that you won’t misstep, stumble and fall?  Daily obstacles await individuals, like potholes that can lead to blunders, errors or gaffes if you’re not paying careful attention.

Despite these odds, there was a king who suggested another way.  Psalm 37:31 contains a plan that is slip proof, demonstrated by a man after God’s own heart.  The key is to hide the words of the Bible in your heart, meditating on God’s laws as an honor student hungers for straight A’s, Psalm 119:7-9.  Once the mind is transformed, Romans 12:2, a slip proof day isn’t out of the equation.  This is the goal set out for people to strive for, Matthew 5:48.

Slipping often occurs in 3 ways: physically, mentally and spiritually.  Physically slipping could be an accident or a byproduct of poor judgment.  Perhaps, this may explain the apostle Paul’s warning to believers in Corinth, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Compromise is conceived in minds, trying to convince souls to alter their values.  If an Eve like moment occurs, a mental weakness produces a spiritual slip known as sin.  Whenever you reach this point, go back to the drawing board, remember David’s words in Psalm 37:31 to regain a slip proof footing.

Do you have a stategy for avoiding “slips”? If so, please share.

 

by Jay Mankus

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Good Grief Charlie Brown

Beginning in the early1950’s, the Peanuts Comic Strip became a main stay in American newspapers.  As the popularity of Charles Schultz’s creation grew, television brought this animation to life in the 1960’s, known as the golden era of Peanuts.  By the 1980’s, holidays and Charlie Brown specials became an annual tradition  for families.  This is where children first saw Lucy pull back a football that Charlie Brown was about to kick, causing him to fall to the ground in anguish.  Thus, the expression, “Good grief Charlie Brown” was born.

Today, there is a different kind of pain parent’s experience.  Unrelated to sports, this infliction is derived when their own children begin to date individuals who have a questionable reputation.  Despite their initial warning, teenagers have a mind of their own, often neglecting the advice of mom or dad.  Blinded by love, lust or self-fulfillment, most proceed into a relationship, doing whatever it takes to love or be loved.  In many cases, a person blends into this new environment, compromising who they are and want to be.  As a result, I can hear adults mutter, “Good grief, Charlie Brown!”

According to Genesis 26:34-35, Esau’s choice in a wife, Judith the Hittite caused Isaac and Rebekah great distress.  Instead of seeking someone with a similar beliefs, standards,  and values, Esau goes outside of God’s family.  Although her physical appearance is not mentioned, its likely that Esau choose external features over character.  Like distant relatives, Esau’s decision to marry a Hittite leads him away from God’s favor, corrupted by a nation full of idols.  Once stuck in this relationship, the only barometer left was his conscience, “good grief Esau!”  Unfortunately, its too late for those who are gone, dead and buried.  Yet, for those of you still clinging to life, break free of sin’s chains so that you will bring peace and not grief to your family.

by Jay Mankus

Dignity with Poverty

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term principle means a rule or belief governing one’s personal behavior.  When an individual clearly defines, expresses and holds to these values, they are able to look at themselves in the mirror, knowing they did the right thing.  Even if their decision leads to poverty, its better to suffer with dignity than die in shame.

In the corporate world, financial scandals have left the masses wondering if there anyone who is trustworthy.  Bernie Madoff, Enron executives and recent IRS mishandling of funds have left a trail of corruption behind for others to clean up.  Maybe this is why Agur professes a sensible truth in Psalm 30:8.  “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.”

One of the things I’ve never been good at is “playing the game” at work.  Instead of kissing up to others in higher positions, using flattery to gain a favorable status or putting on a happy face, I have always been myself.  Sure, I work hard, try my best and want to succeed, but I refuse to fake how I really feel.  I’d rather embrace dignity with poverty than allow riches to corrupt my soul.  Whatever my future holds, I am going to stay true to my principles, letting the chips fall where they may.  When you seek God first, Matthew 6:33, all of your provisions are provided.  Stay true to the one who created you!

by Jay Mankus

Waving the White Flag

A sign for surrender, waving the white flag acknowledges that you have been beaten.  This clear signal indicates that you weren’t strong enough or your opponent was far superior.  Either way, coming to this point in life takes courage, with many failing to come to grips with reality.  Arrogance and stubbornness often get in the way, as history reveals the graves of soldiers who went down fighting.

In the Steven King mini series The Stand, Jamey Sheridan plays Randall Flagg, the character who reveals himself as Satan.  While the technology and special effects are lame for this 1994 production, one thing is obvious through the 4 episodes.  The lies of the devil are only effective for a limited time as even devout followers begin to question their leader.  Just as a church loses respect for a pastor who sins publicly, Satan’s repetitive schemes create doubt in the minds of those who pursue power and pleasure.  However, the only real question is, “are you willing to wave the white flag?”

Sure, everyone is raised a little different, with various beliefs, morals and values.  Yet, when you recognize you are no match, what will you do?  Will you continue to fight a losing battle or yield to the conviction within your heart?  Does the praise of others motivate you or can you swallow your pride to do what is right?  In the end, the choice is yours, Deuteronomy 30:15.  Don’t let peer pressure sway you from waving the white flag, by giving your life to Jesus, John 3:16-17.

by Jay Mankus

Distorted Love

Saint Valentine served as a Roman priest in the days of Emperor Claudis II, living during the mid to late second century.  While multiple sources can’t agree on the exact year of his death, all point to February 14th as the day he was beheaded.  For what you may ask?  When Claudis made a decree to ban marriage, Valentine secretly married young couples to keep the covenant of marriage alive.  After receiving a beating similar to that of Jesus, a sword placed in the hands of a gladiator ended his life.

If this is true, how did Valentine’s Day evolve into what it is today?  My researched revealed a pagan festival of love known as The Feast of Lupercalia.  Ancient birds in Rome began to mate every year in the middle of February near a cave bearing the same name.  This annual migration inspired pagans to participate in carousing, drunkenness and sexual promiscuity.   The distortion of this day is likely due to the blending and mingling of Valentine’s values on marriage with festivities of Lupercalia.

Therefore, tonight as you and your loved one celebrate a special evening together, don’t believe what you hear or see on television.  While the candy, flower and jewelry commercials are uniquely crafted, you don’t have to go to Jared to display your love.  When I proposed to my wife, I don’t have a ring; what I had was much more sentimental.  I placed the twist tie, from the first care package I received when Leanne and I were dating 8 hours a part.  When I finished these chips, I placed this in my car, a symbol of her love for me,  waiting for the perfect time to say I love you forever.  When you don’t have anything to spend, the best gift you can give is yourself!

by Jay Mankus

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