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Tag Archives: movies

How Should a Christian Respond to Smut?

A generation ago, the content of movies, songs and television shows were heavily scrutinized.  If there was any traces of questionable material, conservative critics might label this as smut.  This term refers to anything that might be seen as obscene, pornographic or too revealing.  As Hollywood continues to push the envelope beyond decency over the past half century, smut has become mainstream, available at most check out counters in America.  This reality has caused me to ponder, “how should a Christian respond to smut?”

While He was in Bethany [as a guest] at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster vial of very costly and precious perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured the perfume over His head, Mark 14:3.

In the passage above, Jesus is anointed by a woman with a questionable reputation.  According to other accounts of this event in the gospels, this woman’s name is Mary.  Based upon comments made by local guests, Mary was a first century prostitute.  Having a lady of the night approach you at a party might be tempting to the average guy.  Yet, this encounter didn’t phase Jesus, even if Mary’s breasts were hanging out of a low cut blouse.  Jesus was tempted in every way just as men are tempted today by smut, but did not sin.  This makes Jesus the supreme authority on how to respond to and overcome smut.

For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin, Hebrews 4:15.

In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to eyes as the lamp of the body.  Keeping them pure is crucial to responding to immodest attire as the summer approaches.  One of Jesus’ disciples refers to three aspects that must be held in check.  According to 1 John 2:15-17, lust, sensual cravings and the longing of eyes stand in the way of responding to smut in a godly manner.  The apostle Paul urges one of his pupils to run away and flee from youthful desires in 2 Timothy 2:22.  According to Paul, the best way to respond to smut is by pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace.  May this advice equip you to overcome future encounters with smut.

by Jay Mankus

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You Shouldn’t Be Surprised

 

I have watched thousands of movies over my many years on earth.  Depending upon your personality, people tend to create lists like classics, favorites or worst ever.  While I have seen some pathetic films, none were more disturbing than The Last House on the Left.  This 1972 horror flick was an obvious sign of a changing world, but I missed it.  I couldn’t convince myself that this was the direction and path America was on, yet I shouldn’t be surprised.

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law, Proverbs 29:18.

Compromise is a painful reality that people usually don’t grasp until it’s too late.  No society is immune to the pitfalls of history.  Like a vicious cycle, civilizations tend to reject morality over a period of time.  In it’s place, evil, lust and violence is embraced.  No matter how noble one’s beginning, there will always be a fall from grace that shouldn’t be a surprise.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, Hosea 4:6.

Past winners of the lottery wake up millionaires over night.  Unfortunately, many of these individuals end up far worse than living a normal life.  I recently read a case study of former winners.  Many follow the path of the prodigal son, blowing their pay out quickly with lavish gifts and wild spending sprees.  The Bible warns souls of this possibility, but greed has a way of blinding individuals from the truth.  Subsequently, those who attempt to live life without vision will soon perish.  Take heed so you won’t be surprised.

by Jay Mankus

Forgiveness for Having Such a Thought

If you have ever taught, then you’ve heard some pretty shocking things come out of children.  During my first day of teaching 7th Grade, I was surprised by the conversation within my homeroom.  Apparently, several of my students had a television in their own room, able to watch a plethora of cable movies.  Thus, as a new teacher in a Christian school, I couldn’t believe what was coming out of the mouths of these youth.

Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart, Acts 8:22.

Peter had a similar encounter with an adult during the first century.  Perhaps Simon was a spoiled child growing up, getting whatever he wanted.  Thus, this privileged mindset led Simon to request something he would later regret.  Jealous of the apostle’s healing power, Simon’s thought process led him to attempt to bribe Peter for access to the Holy Spirit.  Floored by this gesture, Peter went off, demanding an immediate apology from Simon.

Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me,” Acts 8:24.

Sometimes a lack of discipline causes individuals to think out loud.  Subsequently, when a careless word is spoken, repentance is necessary.  Since no one is perfect, its essential to admit when you’re wrong.  Thus, whether you are Simon or a participant of a verbal blunder, don’t forget to ask forgiveness for such a thought as this.  The sooner you confess your wrong doings, the quicker you can experience the fullness of God’s grace.

by Jay Mankus

It’s Not Beginning to Look A lot like Christmas

Perhaps Christmas has become passe?  Or maybe commercialism has contributed individuals from losing sight of its meaning.  Either way, holiday music has been unsuccessful in preparing hearts to find the Christmas spirit.

You don’t have to go any further than Black Friday’s encroachment upon Thanksgiving to see and feel these effects.  Thanking God for the day has been interrupted by football, movies and shopping.  Add in mobs of citizens making a mad dash to get the last item left in the store; then you’ll realize its not beginning to look like Christmas.

As long as hearts continue to dwell on selfish desires, Romans 3:9-12, individuals will be unable to experience the true meaning of Christmas.  Possessing the spirit of Christmas isn’t something you can turn on and off.  Rather, you need a heart transplant, Romans 10:9-10.  Only then, you will the grinch inside of you vanish, opening the door for good tidings and joy to shine through.

by Jay Mankus

 

Empty Again

The saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” first appeared in 1602, published within Francis Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody.  This expression applies to several aspects in life.  Thus, while working nights since July, I began to miss some of the television shows I use to watch with my family.  Until Saturday, a marathon to check up on a few of my favorites, I forgot how empty entertainment can leave a soul, void of any significant meaning.

Although spending an entire day as a couch potato sounds appealing, boredom is a likely destination despite how many channels your cable or dish company provides.  According to Philippians 2:4, every human does need to be refreshed, before they can be of any benefit to others.  Yet, indulging in comedies, movies and sitcoms provide temporary pleasure before fading fast.  If you choose this path, emptiness is unavoidable.

Subsequently, individuals need to look in a different direction to experience a complete restoration.  Emptiness can be replaced by practicing Romans 12:1-2, leading to a transformed mind.  Depending upon your own desire, devotion and discipline, the timing on this change varies.  Whether you’re listening to or reading the Bible, Romans 10:17, faith will not disappoint, making the empty feel whole once again.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

It Started With a Girl

Movie cinemas introduce the masses to memorable scenes.  Once available to viewers On Demand, DVD or through reruns on television, classic lines become part of daily conversations.  Whether its Good Will Hunting’s “How about them apples,” Titanic’s “I’m king of the world” or Remember the Titans “If we don’t come together now as a team, we too will be destroyed,” art often imitates life.  As for me, it started with a girl.

My sophomore year of high school was a turning point for me.  Too worried about pleasing others, my offer to attend a homecoming dance with a girl on the cross country was rejected.  To make matters worse, she ended up going with one of my teammates.  The final straw and knife in the back was when I noticed each of them locking lips on the dance floor.  This week of agony led me to a severe state of depression.  Although, it started with a girl, this trial ended with a faith in Christ, Romans 10:9-10.

From my perspective, God does work in mysterious ways.  In fact, my attraction to church, also started with a girl, who became my high school sweetheart.  My parents didn’t have to force me to attend a local youth group.  Rather, as soon as several attractive girls began to go, my friends and I followed.  In life, you never know what or who the Lord will use to steer you toward His will.  Although it started with a girl for me, God will do what it takes to lead his children back to the fold, John 10:1-6.

by Jay Mankus

 

Quiet Waters

Words like silent, tranquil and undisturbed seem so far away from reality.  While America was sleeping, peace has been replaced by violence, slipped into minds full of mush through video games.  Those who are too busy to care, indulge or play, find their amusement is movies, pop culture and the latest car chase on television.  A life full of distractions, interruptions and noise drowns out the serenity of God’s quiet waters.

This promise of Psalm 23:2 may be a flashback from the image portrayed in Psalm 1:1-3.  Those blessed souls who are able to outran the wicked, flee from the presence of careless sinners and avoid joining a crowd full of mockers find their way through the jungle of life.  Beyond the temptations, lies a bubbling brook, full of love, joy and peace.  This living water offered by Jesus in John 4:10 produces conifers, trees that stay green 365 days a year.  Prosperity is like the morning dew, a subtle reminder of God’s presence in this sacred place.

Once you experience this hidden spring, its hard to find enjoyment in the ways of the world.  Sure, temporary pleasures abound, yet nothing satisfies, quickly losing its allure.  The old Southwest Airlines’ commercials have it partially right.  Yes, you’ve got to get away.  However, where you need to arrive is upon the shores of God’s quiet waters.  Like Kokomo, its a mythical destination that only a few find, Matthew 7:13-14.  May the spirit of God, guide you, step by step, until you reach the healing pool, John 5:1-7.  It doesn’t matter why you came or what state you’re in, as long as you believe entering quiet waters will leave you transformed, once and for all.  Get fulfilled today, Matthew 5:6.

by Jay Mankus

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