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Tag Archives: Back to the Future

A Faith Without Hesitation

In 1985 Michael J. Fox plays Marty McFly, a high school student who becomes friends with a mad scientist played by Christopher Lloyd.  When Doc Brown creates a time machine out of a Delorean, Michael J. Fox races into the past to save his friends life in Back to the Future.  When his interactions alter the course of his families history, Marty has to convince his father George who is a teenager at the time to ask his mother Lorraine to the dance where they first kissed.  After a band member gets hurt, Marty steps in to set the mood so that this moment occurs.  Before leaving to return to the future, Marty shares a song that hadn’t been introduced to this generation, referring to this as an oldie, but goodie.

I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone [just one grain, never more]. But if it dies, it produces much grain and yields a harvest, John 12:24.

One of Jesus’ disciples recalls a special message within his gospel.  During Passion Week, Jesus’ final week on earth before suffering, dying on a cross and rising again, the passage above was first spoken.  Jesus is providing a foreshadowing of his future fate.  While the disciples were oblivious to this comment at the time, Jesus knew this was his destiny, John 3:16-17.  Just as a grain of wheat must die to yield a harvest, the son of God paid the price for all of mankind’s sin, Colossians 2:13-15.  This is a promise for all generations.

The one who loves his life [eventually] loses it [through death], but the one who hates his life in this world [and is concerned with pleasing God] will keep it for life eternal. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must [continue to faithfully] follow Me [without hesitation, holding steadfastly to Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]; and wherever I am [in heaven’s glory], there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him, John 12:25-26.

In the passage above, Jesus explains the way to eternal life.  However, this theory goes against what people are taught, from early education to pursuing a career.  Like the line in the movie Cars “turn right to go left,” Jesus proclaims those who hate life on earth will keep it in heaven.  Initially, this concept is hard to grasp.  Yet, as you meditate, pondering these words, its clear you have to give before you receive.  Until you develop a servant’s heart, putting others before yourself, human nature will pull you toward pleasing your selfish desires.  Thus, as Easter Sunday approaches, may you long for a faith without hesitation, holding steadfast to God’s promises in the Bible no matter what happens in this life.

by Jay Mankus

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The One that Got Away

One of the certainties in life is that you will experience disappointment at some point in time.  Despite having an ideal or perfect day, there will be outcomes that surprise you.  These twists and turns having lasting effects, especially when you are so close to victory.  Thus, everyone has a story, as painful as it may be about the one that got away.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, 1 Peter 1:6.

As a student in high school, I was one dimensional.  Although I eventually improved my grade point average, my sole concern was with sports.  I guess you can say I lived and died with each victory and loss.  While I was blessed to be apart of many great teams, I never won a state championship, finishing second in cross country, third in a swimming relay and fourth in golf.  If only I was healthy, stronger or I could putt, the ending may have been different.  Since there is no time travel device or vehicle to go back, all I can do is think about what might have been.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed, 1 Peter 1:7.

Each of these failures digs up a certain degree of anguish.  As a junior I watched my cross country team lose by 7 points as I sat on the sidelines after reconstructive ankle surgery.  This was excruciating, but losing the state golf championship as a senior probably stings more, letting a first round lead slip away, clawing back to within one on the back nine, only to fade down the stretch.  Exactly why God allows individuals to endure heartbreak is hard to say.  Yet, in every defeat, there is a life lesson, something to learn from so you can overcome the one that got away.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Prayer for the Bullied

Regardless of how big, strong or tall you are, one day you will face your match, being the David against a Goliath bully.  In the Back to the Future movie series, George Mcfly faced a life long battle with Biff, never having the courage to stand his ground until he came face to his with his own son Marty.  Going back to his father’s high school years, Marty played by Michael J. Fox, tries to break his father of this submissive trait.  Finally, George becomes enraged by Biff’s mistreatment of Jennifer Parker, filling his fist with supernatural strength, knocking out this bully with one powerful left hand hook to the face.

Unfortunately, this Hollywood ending is not reality for the countless of Americans daily facing bullies at their school, in the neighborhood or at their place of occupation.  Although bullies are conceived during childhood, they don’t magically disappear when you become an adult.  Power, pride and selfish greed inspires an older, less obvious and wiser type of bully.  Seeking and seizing control of others, individuals usually use their status, title and ego to boss around people low on the totem pole.  Subsequently, year and year goes by without upper management ever noticing or seeing this harsh behavior.

Based upon the words of Psalm 10, David appears to have been bullied prior to his rise to power as King of Israel.  His words describe how anyone who has faced bullying feels: helpless, weak and alone.  The youngest in his family, this scrawny boy was a mere shepherd, an insignificant member of his household.  During these days alone, an outcast in the fields, David began to communicate with God through prayer.  Psalm 10 depicts a long period of unanswered prayers from verse 1-13.  However, in the end, God answered David with a prayer for the bullied, “You hear O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more!” – Psalm 10:16-17

by Jay Mankus

The Mystery of Fear

As a child, nightmares blanketed my thoughts as I tried to outrun Bigfoot throughout my neighborhood, escape the Boogie Man who was underneath my bed or reenact a scene from a Creature Double Feature that I had watched earlier in the day.  While awake, I became afraid of heights after visiting the Empire State Building and snakes during a few close calls where snakes slithered between my legs while cutting the grass in my backyard.  Adolescence brought with it a fear of rejection, especially by girls that added to my already fragile psyche.  Never did I once challenge fear; instead I ran away like a little girl, awestruck by this mystery.

Catholic hymns like Be Not Afraid conveyed a little hope to my soul, exposing this unnatural emotion.  In addition, hearing priests read from Proverbs and Psalms from the Bible produced a sense of peace to ease any remaining anxieties of fear.  Yet, in high school I wasn’t mature enough to ask intelligent theological questions.  On the other hand, the busyness of college prevented me from contemplating the unsolved mystery of fear.  The timing was not right for me to tackle this subject, put on hold for another time down the road toward Elm Street.

Like a scene from Back to the Future, God revealed the answer I was searching for as I opened up Proverbs 1.  According to Solomon, unlocking wisdom in life starts with a reverent fear of God.  The spirit of fear on earth uses apprehension, panic and trepidation to form a constant state of worry.  Biblical fear is the key for attaining the cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude, Proverbs 1:1-7.  These qualities are available to anyone according to C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.  However, this is only half the mystery.

The missing link and final piece of the puzzle is found in 1 John 4:18.  According to John, the disciple whom Jesus loved as a son, proclaims “perfect love drives out fear.”  The only obstacle to obtaining perfect love is sin.  C.S. Lewis states in his chapter entitled Theological Virtues, access is limited to just Christians.  This love comes from the power of the Holy Spirit mentioned in 2 Peter 1:3-4.  Therefore, if anyone seeks charity, hope and faith, you must come to Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5.  The apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:4-7 gives a glimpse of what one can expect when the Holy Spirit helps you conquer the mystery of fear.  “Be Not Afraid!”

by Jay Mankus

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