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Seduced

The term seduced is usually applied to an unwilling participant who is beguiled, enticed and lured into some sort of sexual encounter.  This leaves a victim feeling betrayed, used and violated.  Beyond physical attractions, individuals can also be seduced by alcohol, drugs, fame, food, impulses, pornography, power, shopping, technology and wealth.  One of God’s greatest concerns in the Old Testament was that Jews would be seduced by high places, centers for Canaanite idol worship scattered throughout the Middle East.

And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind, Jeremiah 7:31.

This connection became clear to me after reading an article written by a member of the Billy Graham Association.  High places is mentioned 117 times in the Bible; derived from the Hebrew word “hamah” referring to mountaintops.  In nearby hills, mountains and peaks, open-air altars on elevated knolls were built to pay tribute to pagan and secular gods.  When Israel entered the promised land in Canaan under Joshua’s leadership, God commanded his people to destroy and tear down these places.  Unfortunately, a lack of thoroughness left many behind as ancient idols slowly and subtly seduced God’s people year after year, unable to stay away.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, Ephesians 6:12.

Today, with a click of a mouse, tap on your phone or voice to Alexia, the internet, a.k.a. the world wide net comes alive.  While this technology was created to advance, expand and further human development, new high places are erected daily.  Fueled by spiritual forces of evil, demons regularly seduce curious and vulnerable souls just like Eve succumbing to Lucifer’s reasoning.  This seduction often goes unnoticed until sin becomes full blown, leaving a trail of devastation and destruction.  Sure, there is forgiveness, grace and mercy, but humans don’t always see eye to eye, abandoning broken relationships to start anew.  Despite how far one may fall, in God’s eyes no one is too far gone.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Message from Molly

Today if anyone wants to research a foreign topic, people often rely on Google, Wikipedia or reach out to Alexia or Siri for information.  In one click of a mouse, everything you want to know instantly pops up on a mobile device or tablet.  However, before computers, libraries provided a vast collection of historical records waiting for those hungry for knowledge.  The Farmer’s Almanac gives insight into previous trends, allowing land owners to ascertain which is the best crop to plant.  Indians relied on wisdom passed down from previous chiefs to survive harsh winters and flourish during the harvest season.  Seeking advice is a good practice before making important decisions for your future.  Yet, sometimes even the least unlikely sources divulge powerful life lessons that should be heard and incorporated into your life.

Now these things [the warnings and admonitions] took place as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, 1 Corinthians 10:6.

Prior to this week, I never knew who the Poker Queen was or anything about the woman who earned this nickname.  Nonetheless, the 2014 memoirs and 2017 film Molly’s Game introduces the world to Molly Bloom.  When Molly’s ski accidently fell off during her final run of the woman’s moguls, any hopes of qualifying for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah disappeared.  Prior to entering law school, Molly moved to Los Angeles, California to start the next phase of her life.  A job as a personal assistant introduced Molly to a weekly poker game between celebrities and Hollywood stars.  The professional athlete within Molly drove her to quickly become an expert of the game of poker.  This passion opened the door for a thriving business, networking with the rich and famous to run high stake poker games.  This uncontrollable rush took its toll, sending Molly into a ethical and moral tailspin.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold, Proverbs 22:1.

To avoid a spoiler alert, I will focus on the honorable message Molly sends at the conclusion of the film Molly’s Game.  After tabloids leaked a list of former players from a deposition, sworn evidence given by Molly, her reputation was tarnished.  Despite growing financial issues, Molly refused to hand over her laptop and phone to the prosecution.  These devices contained damaging details which would have ruined families and relationships across the country.  Molly was holding the winning lottery ticket in her hand, offered millions of dollars to hand over this dirt.  Nonetheless, Molly has decided to protect her former players rather than betray them for money.  Why you may ask?  In a few closing remarks, Molly replied, “the only thing I have left is my reputation.”  While her book and film may suggest its already questionable, Molly has chosen to defend her name rather than cash in the poker chips that she is holding.  May this message from Molly Bloom inspire you to devote your life toward developing a godly reputation.

Jby Jay Mankus

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