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Tag Archives: friendship

The Way of the World

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star in the 2012 comedy the Candidate.  From a comedy perspective, this is one of my least favorite Ferrell film.  The plot involves two North Carolinians vying for a seat in Congress.  Each opponent stoops to new lows, doing whatever it takes to win.  Backed by millionaires who seek to turn this district into the epi center for a Chinese based factory, Zach Galifianakis‘ character takes a substantial lead in the polls.  As election day approaches, the underdog who is now the favorite refuses to sell his district to the Chinese.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever, 1 John 2:15-17.

This decision results in losing the backing of his donors.  Despite being a comedy movie, this scene could have been a real life example of headlines on a cable news networks.  Before leaving the home of these donors, Zach Galifianakis‘ eyes are opened to the way of the world.  Money controls politics; if you follow the money, you will see the motives behind financial contributions.  In the real world, billionaires like George Soros annually creates, donates and supports the backings of groups that will further his political agenda.  From an integrity perspective, there aren’t many politicians left who can’t be bought.  Unfortunately, those holding out for the truth are often attacked, criticized or demonized.

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God, James 4:4.

The earthly brother of Jesus, one of Mary’s other sons, makes a strong statement about the way of the world.  Apparently, you can’t be a friend of God and the world at the same time.  James compares playing both sides of the fence to adultery.  A decision to befriend the world is considered a hostile act.  The apostle Paul clarifies this concept in Romans 8:5-8.  When minds become set on the sinful nature, it’s impossible to please God.  Therefore, the next time you find yourself on the verge tasting temporary pleasures, Turkish delight, flee before you are bewitched by the world.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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Finding Treasures in Darkness

In the midst of a storm, darkness prevents most individuals from seeing any meaning or purpose in trials.  Instead of reflection, anguish, bitterness and resentment are common responses.  Yet, in my most recent period a pleasant surprise arrived in the form of a special friendship.  After both losing our jobs a month apart, God allowed each of us console one another, finding a treasure in darkness.

I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name, Isaiah 45:3.

In the famous poem simply known as Footprints, the author writes about periods in life where God carries you.  Walking along a beach, the Lord’s footprints disappear as each waves comes crashing into shore.  Yet, somehow, someway, most survive to see another day, hoping darkness will fade.  Job learned this the hard way as he friends began to question his faith, suggesting God was punishing him for something he had done in the past.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold, Job 23:10.

As you walk through moments of darkness alone, people tend to choose temporary distractions to numb the pain inside their heart.  Nonetheless, the weaker you get, the easier it becomes to trust in an invisible God.  When there is no one else to lean on, faith is refined, smelting the impurities.  However, if you hang on long enough like Job, you will experience God’s divine providence in the form of treasures in darkness.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where Did Optimism Go?

If you want to get a pulse on how people are doing today, just listen to a group of unhappy teenagers.  Although being around a losing team, the down trodden and less fortunate may paint an inaccurate picture, spirits of optimism seem to be disappearing.  Whether its listening to the rants of co-workers, observing body language or viewing a news telecast, negativity is taking over.

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals,” 1 Corinthians 15:33.

When I was younger, during my junior high years, I battled depression.  Maybe this is normal, a phase of adolescence, yet positivity was lacking from my life.  I guess you could say I was a Debbie downer, able to suck the life out of any room that I entered.  Until one of my classmates committed suicide in eighth grade, life didn’t seem worth living.

Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, Proverbs 22:24.

However, sometime between eighth and tenth grade, a series of events led me out of this negative mentality.  A teacher, youth group and spirit of emptiness set the stage for rebirth.  While I resisted change for two years, my heart wasn’t ready to accept Christ until the world dealt me a hand of disappointment.  Perhaps, optimism remains invisible today until the Holy Spirit breathes new life into dead and dying souls.  God willing, this trend of pessimism will be reversed to spawn a revival of optimism.

by Jay Mankus

Forget Me Not

Myosotis sylvatica, a member of the borage family, consists of a light blue flower regarded as a symbol of friendship.  As Spring showers bring May flowers, Forget Me Not arrangements are a popular gift.  Despite their beauty, time will cause the most gorgeous flowers to fade.  Likewise, absence can cause anyone to forget an important anniversary, birthday or relationship.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you,” Isaiah 49:15.

Distance, distractions and neglect are primary factors which lead to forget.  Work hours may cause a father to not spend enough time with family.  Misguided priorities can steer someone off course, resulting in poor choices and wasted opportunities.  Finally, a state of busyness can lead faithful followers to fall away from God, gradually slipping away by missing church, godly fellowship and quiet times praying and reading the Bible.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. – Psalm 137:5

Psalm 137:5 acknowledges that even God’s chosen people were vulnerable to a short term memory.  Thus, to avoid this from going any further, this servant of God asks to lose their gifts and talents rather than abandon the Lord.  Today, one careless decision, lazy day or rut can break God’s heart.  While Valentine’s Day is full of Forget Me Not cards, one prayer from heaven rains down to earth daily, hoping God’s children will not forget their heavenly Father.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Dating Nightmares

If Solomon proclaimed there is a time for everything, then its important every now and then to laugh at painful memories from your past.  While I wasn’t laughing at this specific moment, my worst dating nightmare could be a classic comedy movie or at worst a perfect idea for an episode in a sitcom.  This memory began on the first day of school, my senior year in high school.  While trying to memorize my locker combination, an attractive new student wandered down the hall, a couple of lockers away from me.  Before the week was over, I asked her out and she said yes; this was the highlight of my weekend.

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, Ecclesiastes 3:4.t

Upon arriving at her home to pick her up, I didn’t realize I had asked Marcia Brady out on a date.  Before I knew it, I was being interrogated like a suspect for a crime.  Questions such as “have you had a speeding ticket in the last 6 months” bombarded like a dodge ball game gone bad.  Thirty minutes later, I was set free, but I felt like I was attending a funeral rather than a date.  While everyone in front of me and behind me at the movie theater were cracking up at my jokes, my date never giggled once.  Upon asking if she wanted to go out for ice cream afterward, she replied with another rejection.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Proverbs 18:24.

A hand shake later, I thought my nightmare was finally over.  Except in the 1980’s, every teenager went to the mall to socialize and people like me worked at the mall.  Thus, while working Saturday, the next evening, my date from Friday night pranced around the mall with her boyfriend.  Hoping I would see them together, she wouldn’t have to explain her cold reception.  Intervening, my best friend Carl distracted me twice after my shift was over to avoid a confrontation, taking me in a different route around the mall.  Despite experiencing a nightmare at the movies, I did find out what a good friend I had and still have today.  Thus, even in disappointment, God will show you who your true friends are when the nightmare is over.

by Jay Mankus

Walking in Freedom

Whether you prefer the day or at night, taking a walk with a friend or friends often yields fond memories.  Beside the exercise, special bonds can develop as one opens their heart to another soul.  Looking back in time, some of the best conversations I have ever had on earth occurred while taking a walk.

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. – Psalm 119:45

One of the most famous walks in the Bible occurred over a 7 mile stretch, from Jerusalem to Emmaus, Luke 24:13-35.  Following the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were trying to make sense of the events that had just taken place.  This hour long conversation involved a mystery guest, listening to the voices of these men.  Distracted by an eagerness to speak, Jesus’ presence was overlooked.  Playing coy, Jesus pretends to know nothing, asking question after question along the way.  Based upon the topic in Luke 24:25-30, unbelief was keeping these individuals from walking in freedom.

As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. – Luke 24:14

Psalm 119:43-48 provides instructions on how to reach this spiritual state.

1) Preserve your lips with God’s truth, verse 43.

2) Resolve to obey God’s laws, verse 44.

3) Seek God’s precepts on a daily basis, verse 45.

4) Boldly proclaim God’s ways to the leaders on earth, verse 46.

5) Delight in and embrace God’s commands, verse 47.

As soon as believers pray for and mediate on God’s Word, little by little, you will begin to walk in freedom.

by Jay Mankus

The Other Side of the Story

Whether you are a friend, stranger or casual observer, the truth will always be slanted in one direction.  Subsequently, stories will often exaggerate, highlight or mislead the public to what is actually happening behind the scenes.  Such is the case of the recent protests, riots and violence following the Grand Jury verdict of officer Darren Wilson.

The media is portraying a natural outcry of support.  Civil Rights leaders are calling Michael Brown a victim of police brutality.  Although anyone involved is emotionally charged up, the other side of the story is missing, swept under the rug by the main stream media.  According to a report yesterday, the participants of Occupy Wall Street, paid protestors, have re-emerged to incite violence across the United States.  This drama is a real life Wag the Dog scenario.

Unfortunately, the truth is relative for these ambulance chasers trying to push forward their political agenda.  It doesn’t matter that accurate eyewitnesses have collaborated officer Wilson’s story and surveillance cameras prove Michael Brown held up a convenience store.  This evidence doesn’t fit the script the media wants to portray, thus the message several cable news networks are communicating is far from the truth.

In the end, justice will provail and lies will be exposed, but how much damage has to be done to business owners and residents of Ferguson, Missouri before real leaders emerge.  Like my parents always said, “actions speak louder than words!”  Who will speak out for liberty and justice for all?  While I am just another blogger in a massive internet world, I felt compelled to share the other side of this story.

by Jay Mankus

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