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The Shopping Test: Who is Naughty and Nice ?

If you go to the grocery store or shopping mall, you will likely be tested to see just how patient you are.  Finding a parking spot can be an adventure as oblivious individuals will walk in front of you car, others rush to get the last close spot and the lazy leave shopping carts in parking spaces to make your blood boil.  When you finally locate a cart, trash is often left in the bottom, filled with expired coupons.

As you make your way into the entrance, speeds vary, like a Nascar race going 4 wide into a corner.  However, the fast lane isn’t always the left, requiring zig zag maneuvers to navigate your way to finish your check list.  Non planners talk on the phone the whole time, stopping right in front of you without warning.  Meanwhile, the carefree window shoppers, seem to block your intended route every other aisle.  Courtesy separates the naughty from the nice, in a hurry to get to no where, as the self absorbed carry on, going as fast as possible.

Today, I failed the shopping test, bickering, complaining and talking to myself the whole time.  My idea of shopping is like a quick splash and go on pit lane, trying to stay out in front of the crowds.  Instead of enjoying the journey, impatience has made by grumpy, frustrated by a lack of urgency demonstrate by my fellow shoppers.  On my way out to the car, the Holy Spirit convicted me of Philippians 2:14-15.  Although I didn’t directly voice my beefs, I was naughty, not shinning the light of Christ as God calls, Matthew 5:13-16.  See where your patience falls on the Shopping Test Scale.

Level                                                                                     Attributes                                                                                      Meter


1                                                                                              Calm & Relaxed                                                                           Pleasant

2                                                                                              Sarcastic & Slightly Irritated                                                 Okay

3                                                                                              Rolling your Eyes / Frustrated                                             Selfish

4                                                                                              Gossiping / Grumbling                                                             Angry

5                                                                                              Ignorant / Rude                                                                          Naughty



Where do you fall on the scale? Any thoughts on how to become more patient?


by Jay Mankus

Inside Information

Not much has changed since the days of Jesus: corruption, injustice and religious hierarchies still exist.  In the first century, tax collectors and prostitutes were tied at the top, labeled as the most immoral of all occupations.  While tax collectors stole money from individuals, overcharging hardworking citizens to create a private slush fund.    Prostitutes robbed husbands, wives and boys of their innocence, breaking the vows and unions of matrimony.

Luke 19:1-4 suggests Zacchaeus’ status as a tax collector provided some inside information to Jesus’ route through the city of Jericho.  Like a modern day politicians with access of an upcoming parade map, Zach was able to plan ahead, climbing a tree in front of the crowds to get Jesus’ attention.  According to Luke 19:5, his plan was executed flawlessly, earning a private meeting with Jesus.  Despite the negative stereotypes of his occupation, Zach had connections others weren’t privy to because of his service to Rome.

Inside his house, Jesus provided a spiritual message that transformed Zacchaeus business practices, Luke 19:6-8.  Although the specifics of their conversation is left unknown, Zach’s change of heart shines some light on this private meeting.  Jesus did not come to coldly judge sinners, pointing his finger in faces proclaiming, “oh no you don’t!”  Rather, Jesus has come into this world to seek and to save that which was lost in the garden of Eden, Luke 19:10.  This inside information gives hope to anyone looking for answers to the questions Nicodemus pondered in John 3:1-17.

by Jay Mankus

The First Pawn Star

Prior to 1950, pawning was the leading form of credit for consumers in the United States of America.  While chess players refer to  a pawn as the least valuable piece on their board, pawning is when someone exchanges an object or possession for cash, used as collateral in case this person can’t pay back a broker or business owner.  The History Channel’s hit show Pawn Stars, starring 3 generations of the Harrison family’s Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, has popularized this ancient practice.

As I read Genesis 47:13-26, I realized that Joseph, governor of Egypt during the great 7 year famine, became the first pawn star on earth.  When the Egyptians ran out of money after the first few years of this drought, Joseph began to barter food in exchange for cattle, donkeys, goats, horses and sheep.  Once residents had pillaged all of their possessions, land and labor were offered up for food.  Ahead of his time, this shrewd business man developed a plan, similar to a tax, pawning grain at a 20% interest rate, expecting to be repaid once their fields were restored.

Whenever you think you’ve had it tough in this economy, please read Genesis 47:13-19.  After hearing this sad story of poverty, may God help you see how blessed you truly are today.  This passage serves as a reminder to be prepared for a rocky future by saving as much as you can now.  If God didn’t give Joseph a vision for the future, Egypt would have been caught off guard.  Therefore, take this message as a wake up call, ready to bare down, living a frugal life so that when famine returns you and your family will survive.

by Jay Mankus

Know Before You Go

Great slogans are easy to remember.  Just do it is iconic with Nike.  Think different led to the founding of Apple.  The Breakfast of Champions was promoted by Olympic stars, earning their picture on the cover of Wheaties.  On Sunday, I came across a new slogan which has a catchy rhythm.

While traveling south between Philadelphia and Baltimore on Interstate 95, these words were lite up above the highway, Know Before You Go.  Although I am sure there are many interpretations, the state of Maryland is attempting to help travelers plan ahead to avoid construction, delays or heavy traffic.  Thus, if you know before you go, you will follow alternative routes mapped out or plugged into your GPS.

In life, there are 4 things you should know, before you go to the grave.

1) Every one, whether you like it or not, is imperfect, a sinner in need of a Savior, Romans 3:23.

2) You can’t buy, earn or sneak your way into heaven, Romans 6:23.

3) Jesus is the only way into heaven, John 14:6 and Acts 4:12.

4) A new life is possible, John 10:10 through the promise of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4, which you receive once you enter into a relationship with Jesus.

This decision is up to you, not contrived or forced.  However, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Don’t allow stubbornness to ruin eternity.  Just know before you go!

by Jay Mankus

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