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Speed Trap

Back in 1986, I was introduced to the need for speed. The film Top Gun coincided with the year I received my driver’s license. Thus, when Maverick and Goose approach their fighter jet, played by Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards, I understood their conversation, “I feel the need, the need for speed.”

Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; James 1:19.

I was naïve back then, unaware of the speed traps lurking around each corner. Nine months after I got my license I received my first speeding ticket, flying down the St. George’s Bridge, oblivious to the cop at the bottom of the hill. This past Monday, I spent the day in traffic court for my son Daniel who received a ticket Christmas Eve, driving to my parents house after work. Hopefully, he too learned a valuable listen.

For the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us], James 1:20.

The Bible has an interesting perspective on speed traps. Instead of focusing on driving, the context above refers to speeding up and slowing down. The earthly brother of Jesus encourages first century Christians to be quick to listen. Apparently, the need for speed is centered around becoming a better listener. Meanwhile, you must fight the urge to become angry, slowing down as a form of discipline to tame your tongue. Therefore, the next time you get behind the wheel, dial in your ears toward heaven so that you avoid any urge for a lead foot or road rage.

by Jay Mankus

Too Many Vehicles to Pull Over

My house lies a quarter of a mile from Interstate 95 in northern Delaware.  Residing in the I-95 corridor, an hour north of Baltimore and hour south of Philadelphia, I regularly travel this busy highway.  In recent trips, its seems like the average speed now exceeds the 65 limit by nearly 20 miles per hour.  Thus, police officers are often faced with the dilemma of too many vehicles to pull over.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days, 2 Timothy 3:1.

Perhaps this aggression is a sign of end times.  The apostle Paul receives a vision, a glimpse of the moral decline within society.  As this culture leaves absolutes for politically correct stances, selfish individuals will continue to commit transgressions against innocent citizens.  Subsequently, road rage is causing impatient drivers to take their frustrations out on anyone who infringes upon their lane or space.

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2.

There was a time when driving was a leisure activity, exploring back roads for fun over the weekend.  Yet, as a growing number of people are in a hurry, friction leads some to explode emotionally.  While there are many prophecies that still need to be fulfilled before the end of days arrives, recent acts of terrorism suggest this isn’t too far off.  Before this occurs, may those struggling to make sense of our fallen world slow down enough so that police won’t be overwhelmed with too many vehicles to pull over.

by Jay Mankus

 

Despite How You Really Feel…

In an age of lawlessness, feelings can conceive acts of violence.  Whether its road rage, disputes between neighbors or workplace tensions, feelings provide individuals with an excuse for their behavior.  Perhaps, this may explain Jesus’ harsh words in Matthew 5:21-26, comparing hatred with murder.  Thus, if you sense anger beginning to consume your soul, think twice before giving into these desires.

King David provides a guideline for anyone who reaches a tipping point, as their feelings boil over.  Psalm 35:13-14 displays the right way to respond to mistreatment from others.  Despite how you really feel, there is a proper way to react to those in need, whether you like them or not.  Essentially, David is illustrating a blue print of loving your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 22:39.

A generation ago, most American parents held a common value, relayed to their children weekly, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!”  Adults in the neighborhood weren’t afraid to discipline other kids on the block, correcting anyone who crossed the line of morality.  Today, lawsuits, moral decay and a rejection of God has led many to follow their feelings.  Yet, if you want to do what is right, remember the words of Micah 6:8, “act justly, love mercy and humbly walk with God.”

by Jay Mankus

Hurry Up!

Somewhere between childhood and becoming a grown adult, I have become extremely impatient.  Whether I am driving a car, eating a meal or socializing, I seem to always be in a rush to get to no where.  Unfortunately, for people like me who suffer with this strong impulse, its hard to relax or enjoy the finer things in life.

When I received my first real full time job offer after graduating from college, I moved to southern Indiana to pursue a calling in youth ministry.  Although 10 years behind the East Coast culturally speaking at the time, the people I met and embraced altered my impatience to a manageable condition.  This social environment, in the heart of Country Music, broke me of my poor relational habits and taught me good ole fashion southern hospitality as I instantly connected to many families in Columbus, Indiana.

However, like a video game, accelerating in speed and difficulty with each new level, I have found myself back in the rat race.  Promoted by the pace of life on the East Coast, this mentality keeps inhabitants from reaching a Mark 1:35 intimacy with God.  Silence is replaced by honking horns, cell phone ring tones and internet alert sounds.  Don’t let a hurry up life style influence your heart any longer.  Rather, find a cave, 1 Samuel 22:1-2, retreat to the mountains, 1 Kings 19:11-13 or find a quiet room, Matthew 6:6 so you can be still before the Lord, Psalm 46:10.  Hurry up now or you’ll never break this rat race mentality!

by Jay Mankus

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