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Tag Archives: Los Angeles

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

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Hoping to See Another Sun Set

The image at the top of Express Yourself for Him was taken during a family vacation back in 2012.  The sun was setting upon Seal Beach, just south of Los Angeles when I began taking pictures with my ipad.  This is one of the few times in my life I actually slowed down to enjoy God’s creation in its infinite beauty as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises, Ecclesiastes 1:5.

Five years later, doctors are wondering if my right eye will overcome glaucoma to see another sun set.  Tomorrow’s surgery is science’s logical answers to my disease.  Yet, in the heavenly realm, there are angels agreeing with prayers lifted by the saints.  Perhaps a combination of the two may be what I need for a miracle to arrive.

God set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved, Psalm 104:5.

Either way, the future is a mystery, waiting to be unpeeled one day at a time.  I wish I could say that I am confident of my eye condition, but I can only take things one day at a time.  Therefore, I will press on with the Lord’s help savoring each sunset I get to see.

by Jay Mankus

Lost?

The hit series Lost ran for 6 seasons on ABC beginning in 2004.  When a plane crashes off a mystical island in the South Pacific, passengers hoping to arrive in Los Angeles are forced to struggle to survive.  While many are eager to find a way off this island, others are grateful to have a new leash on life.  Whenever anyone reaches a cross roads in life, you might wonder, “am I lost or merely in uncharted territories?”

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?” – Luke 15:8

Though most people think getting lost is for those directionally challenged, there are two other possibilities.  In the film Top Gun, after Goose dies, Maverick played by Tom Cruise becomes mentally lost, unable to concentrate while trying to fly his fighter jet.  Meanwhile, if anyone has ever endured a painful childhood, you might suffer from soul spirit hurts like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, trying the understand why he was abused.

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him, Matthew 4:11.

Whether you are physically, mentally or spiritually lost, its essential to receive the support that you need.  After overcoming the Devil’s temptations, angels came to Jesus’ aid.  During a counseling session, Robin Williams playing the role of a psychologist lets Will know, “it’s not your fault.”  Finally, when everyone gave up on Maverick, his Flight Commander Viper provided the boost he needed to tarry on.  In the same way, all believers should extend a helping hand to anyone who looks or seems lost.

by Jay Mankus

 

Traces of Azusa Street

One hundred and six years prior to William Seymour’s preaching which transformed downtown Los Angeles, many Americans had abandoned God.  According to a 17th century historian, Ian Murray reports this moral decay in the book Revival and Revivalism.  Based upon his research, 1799 was one of the darkest periods for followers of Jesus in the United States.  Church attendance rapidly declined, mock communions were often held on college campus’ and committed prayers dwindled down to a few.  Religious persecution grew, causing the weak to deny their faith and true believers to meet in secret, fearful of being targeted by a growing godless culture.  When all seemed lost, America experienced its first great spiritual awakening in 1800 through an outpouring of the Holy Spirit like the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

A century later, another movement was on the verge of breaking loose, but this time it began across the pond in England.  Leonard Ravenhill, a 20th century  historian on revival went to the origin of this spiritual outbreak to see what elements precipitated God’s presence in the form of the Holy Spirit.  Behind average at best preaching and worship, an anointing of prayer led to an outpouring of confession.  As a result, the area crime rate dropped to zero as prisons became empty.  By the time police were being laid off, churches hired these men to direct the traffic in and around prayer, teaching and revival meetings.  Reaching beyond the church doors, miners felt compelled to stop cursing and swearing, resulting in retraining of mules since they didn’t know how to respond to kind words.

As a black man living in Houston, William Seymour was forced to sit outside the main lecture area, listening to God’s teaching through an open door in a hallway.  Attending Charles Parham’s Bible School in 1905, Seymour did not allow his one blind eye to quench his thirst for God’s Word.  Introduced to the teaching of glossolalia, known today as speaking in tongues, William felt called to take this teaching to the streets of LA.  On a street called Azusa, Seymour founded the modern Pentecostal movement as the gifts of the Holy Spirit spread like wildfire across the country.  Oppressed by theology, Seymour believed God is the same yesterday, today and the future, including spiritual gifts in his belief system.

Today, spiritual gifts tend to be divisive, separating the body of Christ instead of uniting under the guise of light.  Both sides of the argument can assume equal blame as some churches disregard Paul’s teaching regarding orderly worship mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 & 14.  Meanwhile, the frozen chosen have grown cold, lacking love and a sense of respect when it comes to discussing theology in a god honoring manner.  As for me, I’ve been on both sides of this issue throughout my life.  However, currently, I believe there are traces of Azusa Street in the future for America and across the world.  Go no further than South Korea and Nigeria’s revival in the past 10 years to realize, God is not done with mankind.  Therefore, as you live day to day, don’t be surprised if traces of Azusa make their way to your own street corner.

by Jay Mankus

Release Me

After Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles are destroyed by alien space craft in the 1996 movie Independence Day, the president, a few close advisers and another family escape on Air Force One.  Like president Bush on 9/11/01, this president, played by Bill Pullman, search for a safe destination to land.  When Judd Hirsch inadvertently interrupts a staff meeting, his beliefs uncover the truth about Area 51, resulting in a visit to this previously unknown bunker under the desert.  Once Will Smith arrives with an alien whose plane crash landed, the president has his first close encounter shown in the clip above.

The term release means to allow or enable someone to escape.  When an individual or something is imprisoned like this alien, their end goal is to be set free from confinement.  However, when you reason with an alien, demon or evil person, you are unleashing supernatural powers.  Whenever a nation makes a peace treaty with a terrorist or the justice system lets a serial criminal out on parole, the same sinful pattern often continues, returning to the scene of the crime.  This is why Jesus modeled praying to his disciples during his 3 year ministry, displaying how prayer can release souls from the schemes of the devil, Matthew 21:21-22.

Time is an enemy for most citizens of the earth.  Sometimes I feel as if I am always behind, trying to catch up on life, leaving little or no time for prayer.  Instead of concentrating on God the Father like Jesus does in the youtube above, I am distracted by my surroundings.  Thus, I spend more time worrying than I do asking God to release me from the burdens on my heart, Matthew 11:28-30.  Its no wonder than many Christian and seekers of God spend so much of their lives in bondage, addicted and paralyzed by sinful habits.  If you tried everything else without any progress, cry out to God today, relying on His power to release you from the temptations holding you down.

by Jay Mankus

Voice of America

In 1981, the progressive rock band Asia came onto the music scene.  Four years and 2 albums later, Asia produced Astra in 1985, releasing the hit song Voice of America.  Known as the official external broadcast of the United States Federal Government, Voice of America is the radio name established back in the early 1940’s.  Based on a 1976 law, this radio program was initially intended to be accurate, objective and comprehensive.  However, like anything in life, time, politics and power have corrupted this once highly esteemed program.

If you read the major newspapers of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and or watch the major cable news networks you will find 2 common occurrences.  First, the introduction of talking points has caused collusion, with the most politically correct or incorrect stories receiving the most hype, often over blown.  Meanwhile, the human interest or positive stories like guns actually saving someone’s life are swept under the rug, withheld from Americans.  Thus, sites like the Drudge Report, the Blaze or other unbiased online sites provide the whole context of these stories, not just the clips or snippets the media wants you to hear.

Unfortunately, the Voice of America is close to becoming the new moral authority in the nation, replacing the Bible.  Instead of following passages like Ephesians 5:3-5, the government is producing their own politically correct guidelines which appear to override the Bible.  If the Riley Cooper racial slur is any indication, the Voice of America has forgotten about God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness.  Don’t get me wrong, words are powerful, containing venomous poison like a snake bite, James 3:6.  Comments like Riley Cooper’s, any angry parent or someone filled with hatred may take years for a wounded soul to heal.  Yet, the one thing missing from the Voice of America is God.  If “in God we trust” is on our money, why can’t we invite the Lord back onto our public airways.  Welcoming God back into public education might even eliminate the need for medal detectors, drug sniffing dogs and suicide counselors.  Mr. Radio man, if you can hear me, let God back in, Revelation 3:20.

by Jay Mankus

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