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The End of Boy Scouts?

Former Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts Organization in 1908. Powell’s objective was to develop citizenship, chivalrous behavior, and skill in outdoor activities for boys aged 11-14. As this movement grew in popularity, several active youth organizations joined the Boy Scouts of America. After being successful for more than a century, the Boy Scouts Organization voted to allow gay scout leaders in 2013. This decision caused the Boy Scouts of America to file for bankruptcy on February 18th, 2020. Facing a wave of lawsuits over sexual abuse allegations, it appears we’re about to see the end of boy scouts.

In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes, Judges 21:25.

Hollywood put their own spin on the decay of morality in America with The Last Boy Scout in 1991. An ex-Secret Service agent played by Bruce Willis holds on to his marriage despite his wife’s affair. Meanwhile, Joe Hellenbeck’s work as a private eye allows him to cross paths with Damon Wayans, an ex-quarterback on a case of sports gambling and murder. After nearly getting blown up, this unlikely duo team up to solve this case. The deeper they dig, corruption leads straight to the mob. While Willis’ character has nothing in common with boy scouts, his character presses on no matter how dangerous their investigation becomes.

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live], Ephesians 2:10.

If you take some time to listen, you may be shocked by the words that you hear. If you’re not astonished, it’s probably because you have become desensitized by the world around you. The enveloped has been pushed so far by cable television, public education, and social media that character, integrity and morals are disappearing from our society. This has led many to lose hope and subsequently cave in to peer pressure. Devilish thoughts like “if everyone is doing it, why aren’t you” enter many minds. Perhaps, this mindset led Judges in the Old Testament to do what’s right in their own eye. Instead of falling into this spiritual trap, think about what God has predestined for you to do. Although sin will keep us from being model scouts, the Holy Spirit will help you to do what’s right when nobody is looking. Whether the Boy Scout survive or not, God can strengthen the weak to live like a shining star in a fallen world, Philippians 2:15-16.

by Jay Mankus

Lone Survivor

Bruce Willis played David Dunn in the 2000 film Unbreakable. As the film begins, Dunn’s marriage is falling apart, taking the train to New York for an interview. Upon his return, the train derails and Dunn is the lone survivor. Little did David know that this was no accident, a plot by Elijah Price played by Samuel L. Jackson to see if his polar opposite existed.

And the Sabeans swooped down upon them and took away [the animals]. Indeed, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you, Job 1:15.

In the passage above and below, Job suggests that no matter how great an accident or natural disaster, there is usually at least one survivor. This individual often served as a reporter, recounting exactly what happened and when. After God allowed Satan to inflict Job’s family with a series of tribulations, a lone survivor brings back the bad news to Job.

While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, The fire of God (lightning) has fallen from the heavens and has burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you, Job 1:16.

If there are no positive signs of surviving a trial, hope can be lost. Unless you begin to experience a victory or victories, confidence disappears. As doubt enters your mind, thoughts can wander from fear to panic and even suicide. Thus, if you want to overcome your current crisis, remember the hidden remnant that the Lord sustains, 1 Kings 19:18. This knowledge serves as a promise to help the hopeless survive and see another day.

by Jay Mankus

Good Guys Can Finish First

There is a stigmatism that exists today about good or nice people. During a press conference in 1946, Brooklyn Dodger manager Leo Durocher was asked to comment about having too many nice guys on his ball club. Durocher replied, “It’s not true that nice guys finish last. Nice guys are winners before the game even starts.” One reporter only wrote down what he wanted to hear, “nice guys finish last.” Thus, this aphorism was born.

So Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this [a man equal to Joseph], in whom is the divine spirit [of God]?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since [your] God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and clear-headed and wise as you are, Genesis 41:38-39. 

At the height of the Egyptian Empire, Pharaohs reigned. During one of the worst famines in recorded history, Pharaoh searched for a fellow Egyptian to serve in his cabinet. Despite numerous interviews, one Jew stood head and shoulders above the rest. According to Pharaoh, Joseph was a nice guy who was in tune with God, possessing supernatural wisdom. Thus, Joseph went from a slave in prison to second in command, overseeing years of harvest to prepare for the impending drought.

You shall have charge over my house, and all my people shall be governed according to your word and pay respect [to you with reverence, submission, and obedience]; only in [matters of] the throne will I be greater than you [in Egypt],” Genesis 41:40.

In the 1991 film the Last Boy Scout, Bruce Willis plays an imperfect detective. Despite his flaws, Willis’ character represents one of the last good cops on the force who hasn’t sold his soul, taking money to look the other way. From a biblical perspective, there is no such thing as a nice guy. The apostle Paul reminds the church in Rome that there is no one perfect, not even one, Romans 3:10-12. Yet, this doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want individuals to strive for perfection, Matthew 5:48. Those who are consistent, disciplined and eager to seek first God’s righteous, you too can become a good guy like Joseph who was a bright light in a dark world.

by Jay Mankus

A Message from Charity

The original Twilight Zone ran from 1959 to 1964.  The second coming of this series only lasted two seasons in 2002 and 2003.  Trying to feed off of the success of the X Files, this science fiction television show attempted to illustrate what if scenarios that defy logic.  Despite asking Bruce Willis to star in the revived pilot episode,, this type of show ran its course in time.  My favorite episode of the latter version is entitled A Message from Charity.

“For inquire, please, of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out. For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding? – Job 8:8-10

Two teenagers born 300 years apart contract the same virus which killed others their age.  A parasite from stagnant well water brings a boy from the present named Peter and a girl from Colonial times, Charity together.  Like a time warp, each is able to see into the other’s world.  While hallucinating with high fevers, these two teens begin to hear voices on the other side.  Initially in denial, Charity and Peter begin to communicate.  Unfortunately, when Charity reveals this secret to a friend, she is put on trial for being a witch.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, Romans 15:4.

Using a public library to help Charity, Peter combs through history books to prepare Charity for her public hearing.  Meanwhile, each time Peter curses or takes the Lord’s name in vain, Charity’s faith naturally flows, quickly reminding Peter about what is right, noble and true.  If Charity was alive today, she would remind current leaders and politicians about the need for civility.  This is one message that everyone needs to hear.  Instead of complaining, condemning and yelling at those you disagree with, its time to take a lesson from the past by demonstrating courtesy, kindness and respect.

by Jay Mankus

A Sixth Sense

Prior to 1999, the sense of taste, touch, sight, smell and feel were the major focus of scientists.  However, following the release of the Sixth Sense featuring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, elements of the supernatural have come to light.  Child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crow, played by Willis, fails to help a patient, discounting the voices he heard.  Thus, when he is hired to help Cole Sear, played by Joel, each discover the reality of a sixth sense.

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake, 1 Kings 19:11.

The prophet Elijah is one of the first to uncover a spiritual sixth sense.  Following an encounter with an angel, Elijah goes up on a mountainside waiting to hear a message God.  Like a science experiment, the Lord sends a series of natural phenomena: earthquake, wild fire and tornado.  Forced to sort through these events, Elijah came to the conclusion that God was not behind these three natural disasters.  Using discernment, Elijah waits patiently, eventually being rewarded by hearing God’s whisper.

After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper, 1 Kings 19:12.

While I do not consider myself to be a prophet, I can relate to Cole from a spiritual sense.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to me when I read the Bible, enlightened by a new truth that is revealed.  Occasionally, I may have a dream, vision or sense things either during or after praying.  Yet, the moment I unplug from the Bible, prayer and worship, my sense of discernment disappears.  Therefore, if you want to draw near to God, stay connected to the vine, John 15:5 and you too will discover a spiritual sixth sense.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Unbreakable Theory

In the realm of Super heroes, there are usual two polar opposites who become arch enemies.  Like characters within Marvel Comics, it takes time for each individuals’ hidden powers to become realized.  Through trial and error, supernatural abilities are developed, harnessed and put into action to either better the world or pursue evil.  Although appearing unbreakable, every hero and villain possess a weakness, invisible until their Kryptonite sucks away their strength.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. – Galatians 5:17

In the 2000 film Unbreakable, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis portray a modern day relationship between a villain and superhero.  However, each character appears lost, unaware of their purpose in life.  Inspired by a love for comic books, Samuel L. Jackson resorts to terrorism, searching for someone who is unbreakable.  Meanwhile, Bruce Willis plays a security guard, unaware of his unique gift until he passes Jackson’s test, the lone survivor of a deadly train wreck.

As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. – Romans 7:17

In the spiritual world, a similar force is at work, resulting in an unseen battle between good and evil.  C.S. Lewis tackles this subject in Mere Christianity within chapter 1 of Book 2, entitled the Invasion.  Known as dualism in theology, there are two independent powers in the universe that are in conflict with one another.  These competing forces of good and evil require a third party, a judge to determine who is to blame or at fault.  This war rages on in the human body daily as the sinful nature and worldly desires entice souls through temptation to choose wrong over right.  Although there aren’t superheroes in this life, may the power of the Holy Spirit keep you from becoming forever broken.

by Jay Mankus

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