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Stop It or Drop It

Some where in the distance past, coaches, educators and school officials looked the other way so that elite athletes could bring fame and fortune to their institutions.  Exhibit A is Dexter Manley, former defensive end for the Washington Redskins,  who was never able to read above a 4th grade level, yet teachers covered up this glaring weakness.  On the field, he was a terror in college and in the NFL, yet every time Dexter opened a book, the fear of reading gripped him.

Meanwhile, if you wanted to play basketball at the University of North Carolina, apparently going to class was optional according to Rashad McCants, a member of the 2004-05 national title team.  In their ivory tower in Indianapolis, Indiana, their national headquarters, the NCAA talks a good game, yet corruption, double standards and power has gone to their heads.  Like participants in the Tour de France, its hard to know who is cheating and who is playing by the rules.  If the media would forgo favoritism and begin to address this series issue, using athletes to make colleges millions of dollars annually, perhaps professional sports would not have as many problems as they do today.

Unfortunately, no one can escape the words of Galatians 6:7-8, “you reap what you sow!”  If all students were treated equally, several of today’s star athletes would have never made it past high school.  Nonetheless, like a good soap opera, the media plays along for a while until public pressure forces them to pull the plug, exposing players, teams and leagues for their cover up.  However, its time for the media to do their job early on, to address these scandals quickly .  If not, staying quiet due to powerful and wealthy boosters, cable news might as well drop their complaints since they too are part of the problem.  Stop it or drop it!

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

You Shouldn’t Have to Ask

In life, there are no certainties, as each day on earth involves a plethora of possibilities.  Whether good, bad or indifferent, blessings and curses usually come and go like an endless cycle.  Nonetheless, when faith is the issue, you shouldn’t have to ask someone where they stand; this should be obvious.

The example Jesus uses can be found in his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:13-16.  Faith is compared with salt, adding flavor to one’s life by preserving the soul through mediating, reading and reflecting on the Bible, Joshua 1:8.  Subsequently, faith should ignite hearts toward action, illuminating the love of God through deeds, a Christ like example and encouraging words.

According to the apostle Paul, gifts, personalities and talents vary, Romans 12:6-8.  Thus, being outspoken and vocal is not essential.  Rather, faith should compel individuals to demonstrate their commitment for Jesus on a regular basis, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.  By displaying faith, co-workers, family members and neighbors should be drawn to you, pondering, “something is different about him or her?”  You shouldn’t have to ask me, you should see this little light of mine shine daily.

by Jay Mankus

Behind the Mystery of Haunted Places

The series A Haunting began in 2005 on the Discovery Channel.  Nearly a decade later, Destination America produced a 7th season this year, captivating audiences with paranormal activity.  As a casual viewer, the idea of demonic entities, exorcisms and haunted houses challenges my biblical worldview.  However, there are answers in the Bible to explain the reality of haunted places.

First of all, the disciples refer to ghosts several times in the 4 gospels, thinking Jesus was a ghost on a few occasions.  Why would the Bible’s authors talk about ghosts and refer to the Holy Spirit as a holy ghost if they did not exist.  Secondly, demons were a daily obstacle to Jesus and his 3 year ministry on earth.  If you get a chance to study the gospel of Matthew particularly, you will find to demons and or spirit entities can cause epileptic seizures, loss of hearing, illness, muteness and paralysis.  Although Hollywood may over-dramatize scenes, spiritual darkness can hover over specific homes, properties or nations.

Take for instance the encounter within Daniel 10:13.  The prince of Persia, a demonic stronghold in this region, fought Daniel for 21 straight days.  If this is true, then places around the world, especially those with a history of civil war, continue to reign today, holding their citizens hostage.  While people may eventually flee a haunted home, property or kingdom, these spirits remain living and active.  If I could unlock the answers to this phenomena, I would likely become a wealthy man, but for now if you want to know more, find resources on spiritual mapping.  Like modern GPS systems, spiritual mapping often detects and exposes the secrets behind haunted places.

by Jay Mankus

 

Now I’ve Seen Everything

During the Clinton Administration, 1993-2001, America citizens were less intrusive.  When rumors of affairs, murmurs of  sexual misconduct and witnesses of past improprieties began to come forward, many people protested, claiming the president has a right to his own privacy.  The talking points in the media were clear, “as long as you work hard, give your all each day, everyone, including the president of the United States has the freedom to do what they want on their own time.”  As Dorothy proclaimed to her dog Toto upon landing in Oz, “we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore!”

This is how I felt last night while driving home from work when I heard the news Adrian Peterson, star running back for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings was arrested for spanking his child.  After one of his children pushed another out of the way while playing on a swing seat, Peterson choose to discipline his son, following in the footsteps of his parents.  Maybe he got carried away, but Adrian was simply trying to practice a biblical principle, Proverbs 22:6.  Surely, the state of Texas would understand this?  At least in the past they did, yet not now and not today in this culture of chaos.

If Adrian is guilty, then maybe the authorities need to go after the founders of Scared Straight and Beyond Scared Straight?  I’m kidding!  Remember when you could tell a joke, say something funny or sarcastic and not have to worry about the social police from shutting you down.  Anyway, my point is that spanking is a form of scared straight, associating pain with punishment.  My father used a paddle with a steel insert from his college fraternity.  As a former college football player, sure my butt was paddled a few times, yet I was a quick learner, acknowledging the importance of honoring your father and mother.  I’m not sure what’s next nor can I recommend a clear cut solution.  Nonetheless, now that I’ve seen everything, I sense Jesus’ return is closer than its ever been before.

by Jay Mankus

 

Judge, Jury and Executioner

If you follow Twitter, listen to Talk Radio or watch Cable News, then you have a slight inclination on what’s wrong with this country and the world as a whole.  Countless individuals have forgotten the words of Jesus in John 8:6-9, “let him who is without sin throw the first stone.”  Blinded by hypocrisy, ignorance or simply oblivious to their spiritual condition, many are acting as judge, jury and executioner, piling on with stone after stone.

In view of TMZ’s release on their website earlier in the week of Ray Rice striking his soon to be wife in an elevator, the media has stirred the masses into a tizzy.  With one person down, Ray Rice, kicked to the curb on Monday after being release by the Baltimore Ravens, the next victim is Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL.  People are lining up in droves to take their shots, putting pressure on Goodell to resign.  As radio and television analysts comment on the hot topic of this week, abused women, there’s an eerie silence for the unborn child, killed every day because the law says its okay.

The only person in the media who has made any sense this week is Steve Smith, veteran wide receiver of the Ravens, formerly a member of the Carolina Panthers.  Steve reminded the press that God is the only true judge.  Although citizens like to pretend to be the judge and part of the jury, God will hold everyone accountable based upon what they have done on earth, Matthew 12:36-37.  Before another human being in thrown under the bus this week, refrain yourself the next time you have an urge to trash someone.  For if you do, you will likely reap what you sow and one day you will be at the mercy of the judge, jury and executioner.

by Jay Mankus

 

Double Trouble: One Foot in Heaven and the Other in Hell

Anna Chapman, Klaus Fuchs and Frank Abagnale Jr. all have one thing in common, each lived a secret life as a spy for years until eventually having their cover blown.  Even in a normal day to day setting, the desire to be accepted socially does persuade some to become fake, afraid that others will reject who they really are.  Thus, when a student enters college as a freshman, some chose to blend in, living a double life.

I fell into this trap during the years at the University of Delaware.  For a semester, I was one of the most popular freshman on campus, known as one of the 4 horsemen, getting all the invites to parties, hanging out late and playing sports on “the Beach” in place of studying.  When no one was looking, I snuck out of my dorm to attend the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting once a week as a close Christian.  Essentially, I limited my faith to once a week, for an hour, with one foot in heaven and the other in hell.

Unfortunately, this cycle repeated itself during my senior year of college.  Although my faith was not hidden at school, the summer provided a leave of absence from God, indulging in the pleasures on earth.  While not everything I did was evil, I spent too much time dangling on the fence.  I was the epitome of lukewarm, following in the footsteps of the church at Laodicea, Revelation 3:15-16.  This act of double trouble forced me to make a decision, should I stay or should I go?  Though it has not been smooth sailing, I’d rather be on a narrow path than a road that leads to destruction, Matthew 7:13-14.

by Jay Mankus

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