Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: California

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

Advertisements

A Story of Persistence: The Untold Story of Tabassco Sauce

Avery Island is located on the Vermilion Bay, 3 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.  In the 1840’s, former Maryland banker Edmund McIIhenny moved to this island.  Hoping to live off the land, McIIhenny tried to plant various crops.  Unfortunately, the salt dome underneath the soil only yielded peppers.  During a famine in the 1850’s, most of the residents left, abandoning this island.  Trying to figure out what to do with all of these pepper plants, Edmund began to experiment.  By the 1860’s, McIIhenny developed a hot sauce which tasted good on everything that he eat.  Initially, collecting discarded cologne bottles left behind, Edmund shared his discovery with family and friends.  By 1868 Tabassco Sauce was marketed and sold to the public, using bottles from a New Orleans glass supplier.  Five generations later, Tabassco Sauce remains a household name across the country and throughout the world.

But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the LORD came on Elisha 16and he said, “This is what the LORD says: I will fill this valley with pools of water, 2 Kings 3:15-16.

During the reign of Jehoshaphat, Israel faced a similar famine.  Unsure what to do, the king brought in a reliable prophet to provide insight on what to do.  After requesting a musician for inspiration, Elisha received a clear message from God.  However, this command didn’t make sense initially, “dig a ditch.”  Perhaps Jehoshaphat asked for more specific instructions, but the gist of this advice was to start digging in the desert.  While Avery Island contains a salt dome, this desert floor revealed underground springs like Palm Springs, California.  This vital resource provided ample water for animals, cattle and everyone in the kingdom.  Instead of abandoning this region, God provided for Israel in their time of need.

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you, Luke 6:38.

According to Jesus’ little brother, God uses trials to test the faith of human beings, James 1:2-6.  While most people talk a good game, you never know how you are going to react until you are thrust into turmoil.  Edmund McIIhenny could have left Avery Island like many of his former neighbors.  Jehoshaphat could have surrendered to an enemy in exchange for food and water.  Yet, both men persisted, sticking things out until each figured out and completed their purpose on earth.  McIIhenny waited almost 30 years before he realized why he came to Avery Island.  As you read this blog, maybe you are experiencing your own arid season, frustrated and on the verge of quitting.  Before you make any decision, remember the promise of James 1:12 so that a steadfast spirit will carry you on until you experience the fruits of persistence.

by Jay Mankus

More Than Just A Ditch

If you have ever visited Palm Springs, California, you will see a series of concrete channels.  While this desert region only receives between 2-5 inches of rainfall annually, these man made ditches serve a purpose.  When the rare storm hits this area, water quickly runs off of the surrounding San Jacinto mountains into the Coachella Valley.  Without these flood canals, portions of the city would be washed away.  Although an eye sore to residents and visitors at times, the construction of these ditches collect and restore water levels to this oasis in southern California.

But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha 16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water. 17 For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink, 2 Kings 3:15-17.

During the reign of  Jehoshaphat, the prophet Elisha visits the king of Judea.  Asking for a musician, the melody of a harpist inspires a prophecy from the Lord.  Unusual at first, God commands Judea to dig at ditch in the middle of a desert.  Void of air conditioning and state of the art construction equipment, citizens began this project by hand and whatever tools available.  Similar to the springs underneath the desert in California, water began to fill each ditch dug.  When God asks you to do something that doesn’t make sense, sometimes you have to exercise your faith until you see the benefits of your hard labor.

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable, Romans 11:29.

Unfortunately, many people don’t receive special gifts or unique callings.  Rather, you have to grind your way through life, often blindly trusting God through confusing and dark periods.  Like Dory’s character in the Finding Nemo film, instead of following her just keep swimming command, God wants his followers to keep digging.  This may get boring from time to time, but you never know when you are going to hit gold.  Therefore, keep the faith as what God is doing through you is more than just digging a ditch.  As long as you remain faithful, springs of joy are bound to rise up at any moment.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

We’ve Become a Byproduct of Our Environment

From 1992 to 1999, Melrose Place aired on Fox.  This popular television series gave a glimpse of the elite living in Hollywood, California under the guise of Melrose Place.  Since I was in my last year of college at the time of this show’s debut, I never followed it, catching a scene or two while channel surfing before it’s departure 8 years later.  Looking back at an episode from season 6 that I recently watched, it’s clear that America has become a byproduct of it’s environment.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—Romans 5:12.

One of the draws to dramas like Melrose Place is that sex sells.  At least this was the rationale for entertainment up until the sexual harassment scandals of 2017.  Perhaps, Hollywood will be forced to alter their content in the aftermaths of sexual misconduct by stars that were uncovered.  Unfortunately, the damage has been done.  Love has been confused with lust as actors and actresses jump from one sexual encounter to the next without any consideration of the soul.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do, Galatians 5:17.

Subsequently, broken relationships, failed marriages and sexual confusion has become the norm.  Sleaze adult advertisements like Girls Gone Wild encouraged young girls entering college to engage in the acts of the sinful nature.  In an attempt to capture elicit sexual content, alcohol was used to coerce drunk and naïve individuals into embarrassing acts, indulging their flesh.  While good people still exist and have overcome the odds to remain holy and pure, the same can’t be said for a growing majority addicted to sin.  I’m not sure what the future holds, but America has become a byproduct of our past environment.  May God help us all to find deliverance!

by Jay Mankus

Longing for a Sense of Community

While driving home from work today, I was overwhelmed by a feeling within my heart.  My fear is that my youngest two children will graduate from high school before my wife and I find a true sense of community.  Thus, my prayer, hope and wish for 2017 is find a place where I feel right at home, able to openly share my life with others.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ, Galatians 6:2.

Although it bombed at the box office, the 2015 film McFarland presents an interesting topic for discussion.  After getting fired as a football coach, Jim White played by Kevin Costner is forced to take the only job he can find within the city of McFarland, California.  The moment Coach White begins to become accepted by the locals, he is offered the position of his dreams.  The question is will Jim White exchange a sense of community for financial security?  To avoid spoiling the ending, I will let you find out what happens for yourself.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near, Hebrews 10:24-25.

Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to ascertain where you fit in.  Unfortunately, a spirit of perfectionism causes many individuals to reject co-workers or neighbors who are searching for a friend.  If I knew the answer I would tell you how to connect with a local community.  As for now, I am asking the Lord for guidance, insight and a heart willing to embrace where God wants me to be for the next decade.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Drugs, Medicine and the Will to Survive

The Food and Drug Administration was formed by the United States in 1906 to regulate drug use in America.  Eight years later California became the first state to create a law banning the use of marijuana.  While marijuana remains a banned federally banned substance, several states have created new laws to allow this drug for medical use.  A few states have taken this one step further in this year’s election, voting to open Cannibal shops for recreational use.  Yet, is this the correct decision or will Americans rue this day?

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise, Proverbs 20:1.

While the Bible does not address pot specifically, Solomon does warn Israel about the danger of alcohol.   According to the passage above, wine and spirits influence one’s ability to control tempers.  Thus, even after a drink or two, basic instincts are compromised, vulnerable to overreactions.  Subsequently, anyone who does not heed this warning is in danger of falling into temptation.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

Depending upon your current physical condition, some people may need to rely on drugs and medicine to stay alive.  I’m no exception, forced to take steroids the past 15 years to keep my eye pressure under control.  Others need life saving doses daily just to be able to function normally.  The dilemma comes into play when people who are healthy become co-dependent upon a drug.  Since human bodies are considered a temple of the Holy Spirit, filling yourself with unnecessary substances places souls in harm’s way.  While the debate over drug use in America will continue in the political realm, may the Bible guide hearts longing to escape the grasp of unhealthy addictions.

by Jay Mankus

Films that Persuaded a Generation

1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High

While cable television first became available in 1948, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that the Home Box Office was made available to greater metropolitan areas.  About the same time, 1982, Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released nationally in theaters.  After going undercover in 1981 at Clairemont High in San Deigo, California, Cameron Crowe received the material he needed to complete this script.  Subsequently, this film persuaded a generation of teenagers to alter their values.  Instead of falling in love, sex became the ultimate goal of a relationship, fueling the sexual revolution that began at Woodstock.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body, 1 Corinthian 6:18.

2. Animal House

Four years earlier, National Lampoon magazine created a movie based upon Chris Miller’s experiences as a fraternity member of Alpha Delta Phi at Dartmouth College.  Additional influences came from Harold Ramis and producer Ivan Reitman during similar encounters of fraternity life in college.  Although this comedy was meant to laugh at these endeavors, a generation of college students were inspired to emulate similar practices.  Since art often imitates life, ethics, faith and morality are being discarded or put on hold until fantasies and the pleasures of this world have been satisfied.

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever, 1 John 2:17.

3. Fatal Attraction

This final film is geared toward adults, for those individuals who have considered, contemplated or fallen into an extramarital affair.  In the 1987 thriller, Michael Douglas hooks up with a woman, Glenn Close, when his wife and daughter are away for the weekend.  When Close becomes obsessed with Douglas, this fatal attraction takes a toll on his life and marriage.  While couples initially flocked to the theaters to salvage their marriage, conviction and guilt did not last long.  Nearly thirty years later, fatal attractions seem to be a weekly occurrence either in high schools, college or the work place.  Somewhere along the way, these three films have persuaded a generation to abandon Judeo-Christian values for humanism, secularism or to satisfy worldly desires.  May a new film or movement shift the tides of change to prevent Americans from slipping closer over the edge toward hell.

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: