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The End of Boy Scouts?

Former Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts Organization in 1908. Powell’s objective was to develop citizenship, chivalrous behavior, and skill in outdoor activities for boys aged 11-14. As this movement grew in popularity, several active youth organizations joined the Boy Scouts of America. After being successful for more than a century, the Boy Scouts Organization voted to allow gay scout leaders in 2013. This decision caused the Boy Scouts of America to file for bankruptcy on February 18th, 2020. Facing a wave of lawsuits over sexual abuse allegations, it appears we’re about to see the end of boy scouts.

In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes, Judges 21:25.

Hollywood put their own spin on the decay of morality in America with The Last Boy Scout in 1991. An ex-Secret Service agent played by Bruce Willis holds on to his marriage despite his wife’s affair. Meanwhile, Joe Hellenbeck’s work as a private eye allows him to cross paths with Damon Wayans, an ex-quarterback on a case of sports gambling and murder. After nearly getting blown up, this unlikely duo team up to solve this case. The deeper they dig, corruption leads straight to the mob. While Willis’ character has nothing in common with boy scouts, his character presses on no matter how dangerous their investigation becomes.

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live], Ephesians 2:10.

If you take some time to listen, you may be shocked by the words that you hear. If you’re not astonished, it’s probably because you have become desensitized by the world around you. The enveloped has been pushed so far by cable television, public education, and social media that character, integrity and morals are disappearing from our society. This has led many to lose hope and subsequently cave in to peer pressure. Devilish thoughts like “if everyone is doing it, why aren’t you” enter many minds. Perhaps, this mindset led Judges in the Old Testament to do what’s right in their own eye. Instead of falling into this spiritual trap, think about what God has predestined for you to do. Although sin will keep us from being model scouts, the Holy Spirit will help you to do what’s right when nobody is looking. Whether the Boy Scout survive or not, God can strengthen the weak to live like a shining star in a fallen world, Philippians 2:15-16.

by Jay Mankus

Focus on the Opportunities Around You

One of the difficulties in life is learning to cope with, handle and overcome criticism.  Human nature tends to cause individuals to forget the positive aspects of life by dwelling on all the negative things you hear people say about you.  I have had situations at work where I receive a critical email just before I leave for the weekend.  No matter how hard I try, these words eat away at my soul, often ruining my days off.

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:16.

According to the apostle Paul, evil is displayed in various forms every day.  Sometimes this demonstrated through corruption, immorality, sarcasm and ungodly acts.  While these events are a harsh part of reality, you have to make the best of each day God gives you.  Therefore, at some point you have to cast your cares, concerns and worries at the feet of Jesus via prayer, Matthew 11:28.  Then and only then will you be able to focus on the opportunities around you.

Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in, Galatians 6:9.

Using his missionary journeys as an example, the apostle Paul didn’t always have positive encounters with an unbelieving world.  Yet, Paul realized that one trip wasn’t enough as several cities were somewhat receptive, but needed more convincing.  Thus, if you are thinking about giving up, press on so that all your dedication, prayers and service will not be deserted in vain.  The more you begin to focus on the opportunities around you, the Holy Spirit will give you the resolve necessary to reap a spiritual harvest in the future.

by Jay Mankus

When You Come Up One Shot Short

Unlike most sports, golf doesn’t use a running clock with a set number of periods or quarters.  Rather, tournaments consist of a defined number of holes depending upon the degree of competition.  For the past sixteen years I have spent the two days after Memorial Day watching the Delaware High School State Golf Tournament.  My first ten years were spent as a head coach, the last six as a parent and volunteer on the state committee running this event behind the scenes.  Over the past two decades, I’ve seen more heartbreak than jubilation.  One golfer endured 180 shots over 18 holes while a recent senior missed out on qualifying for states by one stroke two years in a row.  In view of this, how do you move on when you come up one shot short?

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light, Colossians 1:11-12.

When I experienced disappointment, failure and setbacks as a teenager, one adult suggested that I go back to the drawing board.  The point of this idiom encourages those who fail to go back to the beginning, hoping to figure out what went wrong and why.  During my final spring at Concord High, my last golf season got off to a miserable start.  After two embarrassing losses, I spent an afternoon playing 36 holes in the rain.  Channeling my anger in a positive manner, I refused to repeat the same stupid mistakes for the rest of the season.  This day served as a turning point, when God gave me a resolve to do whatever it took to reach my full potential.  By the end of the season, I was leading the state tournament after day one and despite fading on the back nine during the final round, a top ten finish resulted in all state honors.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

Sometimes, individuals are given back stage access, able to interact with celebrities and stars.  Such was the case for the earthly brother of Jesus who never believed until the resurrection.  The words from the passage above were inspired by the attitude demonstrated by Jesus throughout his life.  Jesus didn’t dwell over bad breaks, criticism or results that didn’t meet his own expectations.  Rather, Jesus remained steadfast despite coming up just short from time to time.  Therefore, when you come up one shot short in life, ask the Holy Spirit for the resolve to press on until dreams, goals or visions are fulfilled.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Pathway to Addiction and Freedom

As a story teller, there was no one better during the first century than Jesus.  Appealing to visual learners, Jesus painted vivid pictures allowing the minds of listeners to follow along with each word.  Nearing the end of his sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gives those in attendance two choices.  There are two different roads that you can follow in this life.  One leads to addiction, the other toward freedom.  You may have a great time on the popular path, but in the end you’ll be left with an eternal hangover.  Meanwhile, the path less traveled is a difficult journey, but the benefits to staying the course are eternal.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it,” Matthew 7:13-14.

After Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, one of Jesus’ disciples goes into greater detail about the broad road that leads to destruction.  John refers to emotions that keep individuals ensnared, paralyzed by lustful desires.  These cravings distract souls from any standards that they may have held, kept or were raised with prior to turning on to this interstate.  Lust, sensual desires and pride tend to blind those ashamed, guilty or filled with remorse by this change of course.  Unfortunately, the longer anyone stays on the path to addiction, the harder it becomes to leave for good.

Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever, 1 John 2:15-17.

Instead of typical road signs that you may see everyday, the pathway to freedom contains God’s precepts.  These nuggets of truth preach an alternative message from the flashy advertisements on the highway to hell.  Words such as serve, surrender and selfless appeal to those searching for something deeper, pondering the meaning of life.  The further you travel along this barren road, the narrower it becomes.  Ideally, accountability partners, friends and mentors will encourage you to choose freedom over temporary pleasures.  To persist, press on and demonstrate resolve.  In the end, the choose is yours.  I’ll leave you with Moses’ farewell address to Israel, Deuteronomy 30:19, choose life.

by Jay Mankus

Flying Blind

From time to time, pilots will face extreme conditions.  During periods of heavy fog, misty skies or massive storms, aircrafts will be flying blind.  Under these circumstances, navigators are forced to rely on their instruments to get safely back to the ground.  Unfortunately, when human beings are thrust into similar scenarios on earth, computers aren’t much of a help.

While He was passing by, He noticed a man [who had been] blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi (Teacher), who [a]sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but it was so that the works of God might be displayed and illustrated in him, John 9:1-3.

Over the past month, I have been writing blind, struggling to see the letters on my keyboard.  Due to a recent flare up, my iritis has blurred my vision, turning each blog post into a chore.  Subsequently, the quality of my content has suffered, doing the best I can with the current state of my eyes.  Nonetheless, the Lord has given me the courage to press on, sharing what the Holy Spirit continues to place on my heart.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

According to the apostle Paul, Satan has the ability to blind human minds.  As people rush through busy schedules, minds can become distracted, flying blind through life.  While pilots have advances technology to lean on in adverse conditions, the Bible refers to spiritual weapons available for believers in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Although not mentioned by name, this passage eludes to fasting, claiming the promises of the Bible in prayer and worship.  Therefore, the next time you feel like you’re flying blind, make sure you take the time to arm yourself with spiritual weapons to

and the powers of darkness in this world.

by Jay Mankus

 

Memory Loss

There are 10 common symptoms of memory loss.  Whether it’s confabulation, confusion, forgetting names, getting lost, irritability, language difficulties, depression, struggling with day to day affairs, following directions or neurological issues, any of these are signs of old age.  Anyone who exhibits these traits are often diagnosed with dementia or in severe cases, Alzheimer’s disease.  As medical and science advancements enable human beings to extend life expectancy, memory loss will likely affect you at some point in the future.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing, James 1:23-25.

In the first century, some of the disciples developed memory loss between Maundy Thursday and Resurrection Sunday.  Despite being warned on several occasions, eluding to this event in the future, Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion a day later led to a spiritual meltdown.  One of Jesus’ vocalist followers, Peter, denied knowing Jesus three times in public within 24 hours.  Others went into in hiding, afraid they too many be arrested or sentenced to death like their leader.  After 3 years together, a few days of trials resulted in spiritual memory loss.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, Philippians 3:13-14.

The latest democratic talking point is accusing President Donald Trump of memory loss day after day, claiming to be signs of dementia.  Unfortunately, these accusers are suffering from the same thing, unable to come to grips with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss.  Instead of wasting their breaths on endless excuses, it’s time to follow the advice of the apostle Paul in the passage above.  Sure, memory loss is a reality in most individuals, especially when it comes to names of people you just met.  Nonetheless, worrying about the past is a lost cause.  Rather, press on toward the future, focusing on that which God has called you to do.  Those who heed this call will begin to feel much better while you invest your time on heavenly causes.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Where Do You Go From Here?

Everyone will hit that proverbial bump in the road at some point in life.  This moment of inconvenience could be a quick pit stop, a rough stretch or turn into a dead end.  If the latter is you, its hard to start over, especially if you’re not sure where to go from here.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12.

Upon receiving the news of my most recent rejection from Hollywood, fourth in five years, I’m starting to have second thoughts on my writing career.  Part of me truly believed my latest script Dragged Behind the Devil’ s Door would be a box office hit, but now that reality is setting in I wonder if I’m on the right track or simply chasing some improbable fantasy.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13.

Perhaps the apostle Paul went through a similar phase during his first century mission trips throughout the Middle East.  Instead of seeing progress, Paul experienced failure, persecution and suffering.  While writing a letter to one of his favorite churches, Paul had a vision that gave him direction for the last portion of his life.  May the words above serve as a message of hope to those ready to give up, quit or abandon your calling.  Although I’m not sure what role writing will play in the next stage of my life, I need to forget past disappointments by straining toward what is ahead, eternal life with Christ my Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Cost of Following Your Dreams

While most of the commercials that air today are filled with embellishment, there is one which possesses truth.  Mastercard’s ad campaign is based upon the fact that some purchases are priceless.  In the same manner, the cost of following your dreams is invaluable.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future, Jeremiah 29:11.

In an attempt to get ahead, keep up or fine tune your talents, time is the first expense.  This often means sacrificing friendships, investing each spare moment to perfect your gift or trade.  Along the way, some rising stars burn out, unable to devote what it takes to make their dream come true.  Unfortunately, most quit just before they begin to see the fruits of their labor.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you, Jeremiah 29:12.

The second cost of following your dreams is belief.  Over the course of this journey, skeptics will continue to discourage you, claiming that you don’t have the skill or talent.  This is where you must possess perseverance, with a resilient heart to ward off spirits of doubt.  This is where I find myself currently, wondering if all the time I spent trying to write movie scripts is worth it all.  Yet, for now I press on.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12.

Finally, the last cost of pursuing your dreams is pleasure.  As everyone you know is enjoying the weekend, having fun or lounging around the house, dreams can’t wait.  Thus, if you want to experience the fulfillment of your dreams, pleasure needs to be put on hold.  Although there is no magic formula, dedication, discipline and hard work are vehicles to success.  If you haven’t arrived or reached your goal in life, don’t give up until your journey is complete.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

How Bright is Your Star?

Sirius, Canopus and Rigil Kentaurus are the 3 brightest stars as seen from earth.  Sirius, the brightest of all the stars in the midnight sky comes from the Greek word scorching.  The further you get from civilization, the more visible the smaller stars become.  From a worldly perspective, are you overlooked like a tiny star, do you blend in like a medium one or does the aura you give off shine bright?

Said the night wind to the little lamb
Do you see what I see
Way up in the sky little lamb
Do you see what I see
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

One of my favorite Christmas carols is Do You Hear What I Hear?  The lyrics of this classic uses hearing and seeing to discern what happened on the night of Jesus’ birth.  If you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, the senses God gave you are often neglected, missing the miracles right in front of you.  Therefore, if you want to make a difference in life, stop, drop what you’re doing and take a look around every now and then to help brighten the lives of others.

However, all human beings experience periods of darkness, times when your desire to press on fades.  As your fire dims, the lights of others may be the only source of hope you see.  If the light of Christians around you is absent, stars can burn out permanently.  How bright is your star currently?  Well, for the sake of Christmas, may the Holy Spirit rekindle the flame inside your soul so that silent nights will remain bright.

by Jay Mankus

Pressing On When Your Body Says No

When you are young, recovery happens over night.  As Father Time catches up,  just the slightest exertion of energy can result in lingering aches and pain.  While mind over matter may work for a couple of days, how can you press on when your body says no?

As for me, an employee of Amazon or anyone in retail sales, Christmas is a hectic season.  Sales are like a drug for bargain shoppers, influencing business owners to remain open 7 days a week.  Married to your job, family, friends and hobbies take a backseat.  This strain has deflated my soul with several weeks still to go, hanging on by a thread.

In this state of exhaustion, I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.  When your body says no, athletes push their bodies to the extreme.  Blocking out any pain, runners often enter a trace, focused on maintaining a steady pace.  Though cars, dogs or traffic may break people out of this state, this mentality helps these individuals reach a place most never find.

From a spiritual perspective, words from the Bible are building blocks.for faith.  When placed into an impossible situation, God’s Word provide a source of strength.  As you learn to trust in Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30, a fresh wind arrives via the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, the next time your body says no, find rest, hope and renewal in prayer to keep on keeping on.

by Jay Mankus

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