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Tag Archives: shopping

Seduced

The term seduced is usually applied to an unwilling participant who is beguiled, enticed and lured into some sort of sexual encounter.  This leaves a victim feeling betrayed, used and violated.  Beyond physical attractions, individuals can also be seduced by alcohol, drugs, fame, food, impulses, pornography, power, shopping, technology and wealth.  One of God’s greatest concerns in the Old Testament was that Jews would be seduced by high places, centers for Canaanite idol worship scattered throughout the Middle East.

And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind, Jeremiah 7:31.

This connection became clear to me after reading an article written by a member of the Billy Graham Association.  High places is mentioned 117 times in the Bible; derived from the Hebrew word “hamah” referring to mountaintops.  In nearby hills, mountains and peaks, open-air altars on elevated knolls were built to pay tribute to pagan and secular gods.  When Israel entered the promised land in Canaan under Joshua’s leadership, God commanded his people to destroy and tear down these places.  Unfortunately, a lack of thoroughness left many behind as ancient idols slowly and subtly seduced God’s people year after year, unable to stay away.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, Ephesians 6:12.

Today, with a click of a mouse, tap on your phone or voice to Alexia, the internet, a.k.a. the world wide net comes alive.  While this technology was created to advance, expand and further human development, new high places are erected daily.  Fueled by spiritual forces of evil, demons regularly seduce curious and vulnerable souls just like Eve succumbing to Lucifer’s reasoning.  This seduction often goes unnoticed until sin becomes full blown, leaving a trail of devastation and destruction.  Sure, there is forgiveness, grace and mercy, but humans don’t always see eye to eye, abandoning broken relationships to start anew.  Despite how far one may fall, in God’s eyes no one is too far gone.

by Jay Mankus

 

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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

 

A Not So Happy Thanksgiving

For most of my days, I’ve lived a sheltered life.  However, my first job after graduating from college brought me to inner city Wilmington, Delaware as a social worker.  My eyes were opened to the homeless, poor and unfortunate.  This experience led me to serve the needy during my first Thanksgiving in Chicago, going to a homeless shelter near Cabrini Green, one of the roughest projects in Chicago.  I didn’t see any television cameras or professional football players handing out free turkeys, what I observed was a not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Everyone should get of their comfort zones once in a while to see what its like on the other side.  I’m not talking about Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.  Rather, I think its healthy to see how little other people have so that you may begin to appreciate all the things you have accumulated in life.  Fashion, shopping and temporary pleasures blind most individuals to what’s really important: family, faith and fellowship.  Without this type of perspective, a spoiled generation will continue to whine, “what’s in it for me,” while the less fortunate have another not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Clothes, food and a place to call home is foreign to some individuals.  Though many may receive a Turkey to cook, how long will the leftovers last?  Will some have to wait til Christmas before the next act of generosity finds these helpless souls?  Therefore, as you watch the parades, gather for a feast and watch some football for dessert, don’t limit your giving to a couple of times per year.  Rather, take a look around and see who you can help so that a not so Happy Thanksgiving can turn into a very Merry Christmas.

by Jay Mankus

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

Sunup to Sundown

Beginning December 1st, I will only witness the sun on Sunday’s over the next 3 weeks leading up to Christmas.  As the peak shopping season has commenced, I am planning to spend 18 of the next 21 days at work, from sunup to sundown.  Since my shift starts at 7am and goes until 5:30 pm, the sun doesn’t rise before I arrive and has set well before my ride home.  While there are plenty of lights inside, for now making enough money to survive is of vital importance.

At least for one month, I can relate to the schedule Moses kept during Israel’s 40 year trek in the wilderness, prior to experiencing the promised land, Exodus 18:13-14.  That is until Jethro, a concerned father in law, intervened, providing Moses with a plan to elevate his stress level.  Although I will miss several opportunities for fun in the sun, the bigger picture is etched in my mind.  Despite the exhaustion and pain my body will endure, a large paycheck will make Christmas that much more merrier, knowing I will have the funds to pay off most of our bills.

As a child, I went to sleep every night listening to Here Comes the Sun by the Beattles off their Abbey Road album.  Before the days of itunes, mp3 players, CD’s and cassettes, all I had was a hand me down record player with an 8 track deck.  It wasn’t much, but I treasured this possession, taking good care of it for nearly 20 years until I could afford to buy a new stereo.  Thus, I had a tradition, when the sun set and my lights went out, I maneuvered the needle just in the right place, listened to the dust, occasionally making a skipping sound and feel asleep dreaming of another day of the sun rising over the ocean.  In this Christmas season, may the sun shine bright on your life and family.

by Jay Mankus

What Are You Really Selling?

Last week, I was meandering through aisles when an item got my attention.  As I took a second look, I was confused by the picture, which had nothing to do with the product itself.  Like eye candle trying to draw the attention of others or a modern day apple hanging from the Tree of Knowledge, I paused for a moment thinking, “what are you really selling?”

If you are curious, the product was a new razor, trying to impress consumers with the latest in technology I assume.  However, what appeared on the exterior packaging was a beautiful woman in a skimpy bikini.  Since I am well behind in pop culture, this model is probably some former Cover Girl, but I am perplexed why a famous brand name would lower its marketing standards to sell more razors.

Despite what I believe, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that sex continues to sell products.  Honest ads have been replaced by embellishment, hoping the allure of their commercial might lead to impulse buying.  When I find a product or razor that actually meets and surpasses what it promises, I will let you know.  Until then, be careful not to fall prey to empty sales pitches.  Rather, hold fast to integrity as you accept the good and the bad things in life, Job 2:7-10.

by Jay Mankus

Weather or Not?

Many folks in America are probably thinking along the same wave lengths, ” this is the strangest spring I can ever remember?”  As traces of winter pop up weekly, summer can’t get here soon enough.  However, in the mean time, you are stuck with a daily dilemma, whether or not to trust in the so called experts to accurately predict the weather?

As a little league coach, 7 days in a week aren’t enough to make up the games rained out and those cancelled hours in advance only to witness sunny skies appear.  Despite these interruptions to schedules, there is a silver lining.  Rain can slow down one’s pace in life, bring families together or provide needed ingredients for a successful garden.  For others who work at airports, malls or stores, weather delays can make for some of the most profitable days of the year as well as provide shelter to take a walk inside.

The question arises, how much will you allow weather to influence your mood?  Weather related depression is common for cities like Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.  Like a cruel mistress, weather can lead you on, only to crush your spirit late in the day.  In the end, the choice is yours, making the best of today, James 4:14, putting worries about tomorrow on hold.  Weather or not, how will you respond when another front washes out your plans?

by Jay Mankus

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