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Whatever Happened to Being Normal?

From time to time, part of my job requires me to test videos to determine if there is a defect within a device, episode or scene.  Over the course of a year, I come across a wide variety of genres from action, comedy, drama and horror.  While I should have observed this sooner, extremes are taking over, especially on reality television.  This makes me wonder, whatever happened to being normal?

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! – Psalm 31:15

If you believe Hollywood, bad boys are attracting all the pretty girls, you can have your own movie and series if you’re a jackass and the more outlandish you are, sooner or later the cameras will find you.  Maybe I’m just too old fashioned, but some where along the way entertainment in America has gone off the deep end, forgetting the normal majority who make up most of this country.  While it may be boring, not news worthy and uninteresting, the average man, woman and child fly under the radar, giving their all daily.

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:16.

One of the most underrated messages comes from the 1999 movie October Sky, based on the life of Homer Hickam.  While his dad is portrayed as a jerk at times in the film, deep down Homer’s real hero is his father.  Although the term normal refers to someone who is average, regular and traditional, these individuals are the backbone of America.  Sure, it would be great to strike it rich, win the lottery or become an instant celebrity.  Yet, normal human beings are dependable, someone you can trust in time of need.  Therefore, don’t get carried away by what you see on television.  Rather, be grateful for those who are normal.

by Jay Mankus

State of Hysteria

For the drama kings and queens, worry warts and pessimists, hysteria is a relatively normal state.  This condition of emotional distress often leads to melt downs or what I call tizzy’s, an adult version of a tantrum.  Blowing things out of proportion makes for great reality television, at least from a ratings perspective.  However, have you ever thought about what force or inspiration is ultimately behind hysteria?

According to Exodus 23:27-28, the God of Israel sends a spirit of hysteria into the land of Canaan.  The purpose of this terror is to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of their land.  Like a stirred up hornet’s nest, God uses supernatural powers to accomplish His will.  Without the numbers, strength or weapons, Jehovah Jireh delivers a promised land an ordinary group of people, unable to take the credit for this miraculous event.

If this happened in the Old Testament, I wonder if God has the desire to allow a similar state in the world today.  Although, modern outbreaks of hysteria are likely from another force, demons using angelic powers.   Some nations experience countless years of civil unrest.  Meanwhile, others countries promote a generation of starving children.  Somewhere in the middle, hysteria roams from city to city, resulting in hate crimes, violence and suicide.

God provides weapons against such spirits in Ephesians 6:10-20.  With all but one defensive, the Word of God is double edged, able to go from defense to offense in one motion.  May these tools help you build an invisible force field of faith around you, saving yourself from caving into the hysteria in this world.  Keep the helmet of salvation tightly secured to guard your mind from suffering from spiritual amnesia, 1 Thessalonians 5:8.  Finally, apply 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 daily as you take each thought captive, making each obedient to Christ.

by Jay Mankus

You Are What You Think: Champion or Loser

Self fulfilling prophecy refers to one’s positive and negative expectations of an upcoming event which influences a person or group in a manner toward fulfilling their expectations.  The optimistic individual will tend to keep a good attitude regardless of the circumstance often resulting in a positive outcome.  Meanwhile, pessimists become flustered by the littlest trial, over acting like a drama king or queen, pushing pitiful souls toward disaster.  If you’re not careful, you can become what you think, unless of course the mind of Christ resides within you, 1 Corinthians 2:16.

One of the greatest examples of this theory goes back to 1993-94, coaching high school basketball in Indiana.  Except for our center, 6’4″ 250 pounds with hops, we didn’t have a team which intimidated others by our size.  However, each player grasped their defined role, shared the basketball and developed a hunger for victory.  During the regular season, we finished undefeated, never trailing for a second, tied at the outset of each game before taking a quick lead, usually by double digits.  In the city championship semi-final game, a last second 3 pointer by our opponent sent the game into overtime, before winning comfortably by 6.

However, the finals were a different story, disrupted by the host team’s fans, we never got into a flow for the game.  Facing our first deficit of the season, my team was down by 10 early, cutting the lead to 8 by halftime.  Like the locker room speech in Remember the Titans, our players wanted to remain perfect, without a blemish on their record.  Little by little, my team widdled the lead down to 2 points in the final minutes.  When we tied the game at 57, we needed one more defensive stand to have a shot to win.  After a solid defensive rebound and timeout, my team set up for one last shot.  Packing in their zone to take away our big man, we replaced our power forward with an extra shooter, our 6th man.  Though our best shooter missed with 3 seconds left on the clock, a long rebound to the weak side provided just enough room for our sub to float into the air to catch and tap in the miss before the buzzer sounded.  We believed and were crowned city champions.

In life, people are gifted in different areas.  Whether one is blessed in academics, athletics, drama, music or wisdom, you become a champion or loser within your mind.  Sure, there are various degrees and levels in each field, but the battle for success lies in your own mind, James 1:5-8.  The storms, waves and whitecaps in life will knock you down from time to time, leaving a sour taste.  Yet, don’t let a defeat or loss turn into a lifestyle.  Rather, guard your heart, Proverbs 4:23 and take your thoughts captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 so the memories of losing will be demolished.

by Jay Mankus

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