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Tag Archives: It’s a Wonderful Life

Not Just a Coincidence

Any well written drama includes a series of simultaneous events which peak the interest of viewers. Whether you are talking about a crime scene investigation, court case or murder mystery, things that happen at the same time are designed to lump the innocent in with the guilty individual or party. Following the clues, evidence and facts take an audience in an unexpected direction which ultimately exonerates the falsely accused while exposing who is to blame.

If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God, Deuteronomy 28:1-2.

While driving home from work earlier in the week, the Holy Spirit opened my mind to something that I regularly overlook. Like James Stewart’s character (George Bailey) in It’s a Wonderful Life, my life is full of blessings. Despite a normal amount of disappointments, failures and trying times, the Lord has watched over my family and friends. Instead of thanking God for all the visible and invisible blessings in my life, I dismiss many of these occurrences to fate, luck and natural events.

But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command you this day, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you: Cursed shall you be in the city and cursed shall you be in the field, Deuteronomy 28:15-16.

The lesson God is trying to teach me is that this isn’t just a coincidence. Rather, the principles of Deuteronomy 28 are being played out daily. Listening to and obeying God results in favor in the form of accomplishments, blessings and success. Meanwhile, those who fail to accept, embrace or listen to the Bible’s teaching will suffer a series of setbacks. God uses humility to reunite lost and troubled souls with their Creator. Therefore, the next time you think about ignoring God’s omnipresence on earth, remember that blessings and curses is not a coincidence.

by Jay Mankus

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When the Enemy Perverts Silence

In the Christmas Classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, who scrambles to locate $8000 which his cousin Billy misplaced at the bank.  Retracing his uncles steps, George runs into Mr. Potter played by Lionel Barrymore at the bank.  Instead of handing George the money that he found wrapped in a newspaper, Potter accuses George of various crimes.  This dilemma leads George to pray for a miracle.  When he receives is a right hook to the face at his local hangout, George turns to suicide as a logical solution to his problems.  When prayers lifted up to God go unanswered, Satan replaces this silence with perverted whispers in the minds of human beings.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14.

During one of his visits to what is now modern day Greece, the apostle Paul seems to have uncovered some type of demonic activity going on in or around Corinth.  Just like Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies, Satan has a history that does not include the dark side.  Anakin Skywalker followed the force, on pace to become the next Jedi.  Likewise Satan, known as Lucifer was an arch angel, one of God’s most magnificent creations.  At some point, this fact went to his head, wanting to glorify himself.  Despite being kicked out of heaven, this ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, didn’t lose his angelic powers.  Thus, Satan is able to disguise himself as a vessel of light.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

If there is a word that best describes the Devil today its relentless.  This demonic entity is always scheming, using lust and temptation as open doors to come into and ruin lives.  Murders aren’t on the rise just because of crime, drugs and hatred.  Rather, when broken, desperate and lost souls continue to experience silence after cries for help, the enemy perverts silence.  According to Isaiah 1:15, God is silent when individuals fail to repent.  Any type of addiction furthers distance between you and God.  If you want to end this silence, follow the blueprint within Isaiah 1:16-17.  As genuine confession and acts of penance follow, God promises grace, forgiveness and healing.  Don’t let the Devil’s deception to continue to ruin lives of loved ones.  Rather, fast, pray and worship the Lord so that evil will be exposed and brought to the light.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Lie that Leads to Death

Every time I watch It’s a Wonderful Life I discover something new.  As I listened to a conversation between George Bailey played by James Stewart and Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), God revealed to me a spiritual truth.  After Uncle Billy loses $8000 at the bank, George panics, begging Mr. Potter for a loan.  A series of questions during this exchange leads Mr. Potter to proclaim, “George, you worth more dead than alive,” referring to George’s fifteen thousand dollar life insurance policy.  These words lead George to contemplate jumping off a bridge to save his family from experiencing bankruptcy.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14.

In the 1985 comedy Better Off Dead, John Cusack plays Lane Meyer, a high school skier who get’s dumped by his girlfriend.  Desperately trying to win Amanda (Beth Truss) back, a series of stunts go unnoticed.  While everyone in his family is succeeding, Lane sees himself as a failure.  With his only friend a nerd, Lane comes to the conclusion that he would be better off dead, then people would miss him.  At the time, watching someone attempt suicide unsuccessfully day after day seemed funny.  What I realized last night is suicide is the lie from the Devil that leads to death.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

During my days as a junior high student,  I was a mess.  My mood swings were volatile, usually more down than up.  Since I lived for the moment, living and dying with the outcome of every sporting event that I competed in, I experienced emotions like a roller coaster ride.  Depression influenced me to believe that I too would be better off dead.  After devising a plan, I changed my mind when a friend from school beat me to it, hanging himself.  While I haven’t had an angelic encounter like George Bailey, the thought of suicide blinds you from realizing the gift of life is wonderful.  May this blog help you expose the lie that leads to death.

by Jay Mankus

 

When Angels Peek into Your Conversations

One of my first experiences with the concept of angels was through the Christmas Classic It’s A Wonderful Life.  George’s guardian angel Clarence is sent down to earth to save him from committing suicide as well as helping him realize how good his life really is.  However, this earthly perspective does not shed light on what garners an angels attention.

They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen, 1 Peter 1:12.

God provided Peter with a revelation about angels detailed in one of his letters recorded in the Bible.  The passage above suggests angels are like fans in heaven who get excited when the Holy Spirit begins to transform individuals.  Though angels have the advantage of knowing the final outcome of the Bible, they are eagerly watching like viewing a favorite movie that you’ve seen a dozen times, waiting for the story to be played out.

In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! – Luke 15:7

In It’s A Wonderful Life, a notion is put forth that whenever a bell rings, it represents an angel earning their wings.  Yet, the Bible claims individuals are saved by grace, through faith, not by work.  According to the gospel of Luke, heaven celebrates whenever a prodigal, lost sheep or wanderer turns back to the Lord.  Therefore, whether you are talking about the power of the Holy Spirit, repentance or planting seeds of faith upon fertile ground, don’t be surprised if an angel peeks into your conversation.

by Jay Mankus

The Noise Inside of Heaven

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Christmas Classics won’t be far behind, airing in the next month.  One of my favorites, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” tries to explain how angels can influence human beings.  Henry Travers, plays Clarence, an angel longing to earn his wings by helping George, played by Jimmy Stewart, see how great his life is despite the financial woes of the Great Depression.  This film portrays the noise inside of heaven, ringing bells, as angels complete their assignment thereby earning their wings.

According to the Bible, heaven is compared to a party, similar to a wedding reception, Matthew 22:1-14.  From an eyewitness, the son of God, rejoicing occurs every time a sinner repents, Luke 15:7.  While there are certain stereotypes linked to born again Christians, this doesn’t mean that a church service can’t turn into a football frenzy audience.  In additional, beyond the emotions of any celebration, there will be no tears in heaven, Revelation 21:4, wiped away by Jesus

On earth, the sound of gun shots, screams and violence make heaven seem like an eternity away.  Instead of letting a doom and gloom mentality cause you to give up hope, take advantage of the coming Christmas Spirit.  May believers bring Joy to the World as the sweet sound of worship music revive souls, bringing the noise inside of heaven down to earth.

by Jay Mankus

Christmas?

As a new age approaches, a time is coming when children in America will not know God’s meaning of Christmas.  A little carol here, another Santa there and presents everywhere under a Christmas tree?  While Christians have taken this holiday for granted, the unchurched is drinking eggnog trying to comprehend the significance of this day.

Call it complacency, being out of touch or a lack of true ambassadors for Christ, something has gotten lost along the way.  The only Bible some people may open up is the example of Christ inside of believers.  Until this is displayed, the reason for this season will continue to be blurred by a double vision of the Word of God and what they see in followers of Jesus.

Is it just an illusion or a foregone conclusion that Santa Claus has become the Savior of Christmas?  Between the lines, there are no signs that the church can undo the lies of commercialism.  Drawing the masses to his side, with sleigh bells inside, at malls all across this country.

Tis the season to be jolly, except when you are driving or exchanging gifts that didn’t quite fit.  In the race to get great rates, what price are you still willing to pay as you try to appease your children every year.  Well, soon it will be all over, just a mass to make you feel good, then you can go back to behaving as you were.

What once was a holy night, is now great to catch a flight or stay at home to watch some bowl games on the tube.  It doesn’t matter who will be playing as long as Christmas music is airing in the background to get you in the spirit.  Meanwhile, angels are shaking their heads overseeing homes in disarray, urging you to quickly flip the channel.

Another rerun, another night, what happened to a wonderful life, lonelier than you have ever been before.  Is their any joy left in your hands or has quick sand penetrated this land, sweeping Christmas off its foundation?  I still believe peace can dwell on earth as long as there is something more behind the words, “Have a very Merry Christmas today!”

by Jay Mankus

Member of the International Society of Poets, 1994-1995.

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