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Tag Archives: Star Wars

A Menace to Society

The Phantom Menace was released in 1999; also known as Star Wars: Episode 1. Written and directed by George Lucas, this film is set 32 years before the original Star Wars, going back in time after the first three movies, Episodes 4-6. The phantom is revealed when the evil Trade Federation plots to take over the peaceful planet of Naboo. This act forces Jedi warrior Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi into action.

You were running [the race] well; who has interfered and prevented you from obeying the truth? This [deceptive] persuasion is not from Him who called you [to freedom in Christ], Galatians 5:7-8.

America was introduced to the term menace through the Comic Strip turned sitcom Dennis the Menace in 1959. This series preceded The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday evenings on CBS from October 1959 to July 1963. Dennis’ character is an energetic, well meaning, but trouble prone boy who has a tendency to become a mischievous child. Like an accident waiting to happen, a real menace leaves behind a trail of danger, hazards and peril.

But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the [g]sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts], Galatians 5:16.

Whenever individuals are tempted by their sinful nature, people are at risk at becoming a menace to society. Sure, initial signs of compromise are subtle, but as flirting with fleshly desires becomes a habit, actions, behavior and words will quickly change. Like something out of the movie Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, even family and friends won’t recognize you as evil spreads from the inside out. I pray that this blog serves as a warning so that the Holy Spirit awakens those currently ensnared by their sinful nature.

by Jay Mankus

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Use the Force of the Holy Spirit

In the context of Star Wars, the force is a metaphysical and ubiquitous power.  King Kayos is the first character to utter the expression, “may the force be with you.”  To awaken a certain kind of spirituality within his audience, George Lucas uses the concept of dualism to illustrate two opposing powers.  While the Jedi utilize the light side of the force, the Sith exploit the dark side, setting the stage for an epic battle between good and evil for dominance in the universe.

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him, Mark 1:12-13.

Descending from heaven to restore what Adam lost, Luke 19:10, Jesus is sent to earth by God the Father to complete a secret mission.  When the timing was right, Jesus followed the force of the Holy Spirit.  This calling drew Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, similar to Jedi’s led to spend time with Yoda, training to prepare for future battles.  While in the desert, Jesus fasted and prayed, using the power of the Holy Spirit to prepare his heart, soul and mind for a three year ministry on earth.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26.

After completing God’s will, Jesus died on a cross, rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven.  Prior to his exit from earth, Jesus spent forty days, relaying a great commission for his disciples to carry out.  Today, followers of Jesus are still seeking to complete the instructions found in Matthew 28:18-20.  To help us on this journey, the apostle Paul provides further directions in the passage above to guide individuals along the way.  Therefore, if you’re not sure where to go or what to do, cry out to the Lord so that the force of the Holy Spirit will intercede on your behalf to guide you toward the light and away from Satan’s darkness.  Use the force daily, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

When the Enemy Perverts Silence

In the Christmas Classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, who scrambles to locate $8000 which his cousin Billy misplaced at the bank.  Retracing his uncles steps, George runs into Mr. Potter played by Lionel Barrymore at the bank.  Instead of handing George the money that he found wrapped in a newspaper, Potter accuses George of various crimes.  This dilemma leads George to pray for a miracle.  When he receives is a right hook to the face at his local hangout, George turns to suicide as a logical solution to his problems.  When prayers lifted up to God go unanswered, Satan replaces this silence with perverted whispers in the minds of human beings.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14.

During one of his visits to what is now modern day Greece, the apostle Paul seems to have uncovered some type of demonic activity going on in or around Corinth.  Just like Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies, Satan has a history that does not include the dark side.  Anakin Skywalker followed the force, on pace to become the next Jedi.  Likewise Satan, known as Lucifer was an arch angel, one of God’s most magnificent creations.  At some point, this fact went to his head, wanting to glorify himself.  Despite being kicked out of heaven, this ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, didn’t lose his angelic powers.  Thus, Satan is able to disguise himself as a vessel of light.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

If there is a word that best describes the Devil today its relentless.  This demonic entity is always scheming, using lust and temptation as open doors to come into and ruin lives.  Murders aren’t on the rise just because of crime, drugs and hatred.  Rather, when broken, desperate and lost souls continue to experience silence after cries for help, the enemy perverts silence.  According to Isaiah 1:15, God is silent when individuals fail to repent.  Any type of addiction furthers distance between you and God.  If you want to end this silence, follow the blueprint within Isaiah 1:16-17.  As genuine confession and acts of penance follow, God promises grace, forgiveness and healing.  Don’t let the Devil’s deception to continue to ruin lives of loved ones.  Rather, fast, pray and worship the Lord so that evil will be exposed and brought to the light.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Path to the Dark Side

While watching the latest film in the Star Wars series, I was struck by a single line.  Like any of the movies, Rogue One uses the imagery of darkness and the force.  Without playing the spoil role, one conversation references a path to the dark side.  This topic also relates to real life as it only takes one poor decision to begin a slide in the wrong direction.

But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him, John 11:10.

As someone who struggles to sleep at night, there are many evenings where I wonder off in the dark to go down stairs.  Despite knowing all the obstacles that I need to dodge, its doesn’t take much to bang into, trip or stumble along the way.  Until I get close to a source of light, I’m susceptible to hurting myself.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined, Isaiah 9:2.

Whenever anyone tries to live this life on earth on mere human strength, failure is an obvious destination.  Thus, a supernatural force is necessary to escape the temptation of the dark side.  This is what makes Christmas so special, as the promise of a Messiah is fulfilled through the birth of Jesus.  Therefore, if you want to assure yourself the path to heaven, 1 John 5:13, choose the light, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit to flee the dark side.

by Jay Mankus

 

I Am Your Father

Star Wars has become a part of American pop culture.  Since its debut of episode IV on May 25th, 1977, watching each film in the series is like a rite of passage.  Today, the creation of a third trilogy is now being embraced by a third generation, three for grandparents, parents and their children.  Thus, one of the most quoted lines from Hollywood, “Luke I am your Father” lives on.

God has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.  As it is written in the second Psalm: “ ’You are my son; today I have become your father,” Acts 13:33.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, there are several prophecies about a coming Messiah.  By the time the first century began, many Jews were afraid to get their hopes up.  Nonetheless, as a carpenter began to perform miracles surrounded by 12 helpers, the scriptures came to life.  Thus, a doctor aware of this history quoted one of the Psalmist.  Through a relationship in Christ, the Lord has become a Father to children living for God.

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you,” Exodus 3:14.

To avoid committing blasphemy, Israel removed consonants, referring to God as YHVH.  Another Hebrew word Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh translates into English, I am or I am that I am.  Subsequently, as Jesus was questioned by Jewish leaders following his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, the moment he claimed to be I am, it was grounds for death.  Unfortunately, those who crucified Jesus never realized Jesus is God’s son and that He was their Father.

by Jay Mankus

 

Living Without God

Upon rolling out of bed, many Americans turn to the weather channel to  help answer the question, “what should I wear today?”  After a relaxing bath or shower, breakfast is on your mind before you hustle out the door.  Perhaps, you’ll have a few minutes to reply to emails, catch up on Facebook or text a friend.  Nonetheless, a morning without God often leads to days, weeks or months alone and on your own.

C.S. Lewis illustrates this truth in Mere Christianity through a chapter entitled “We Have Cause to Be Uneasy.”  Essentially, the longer you go off course, Matthew 7:13-14, without making the Lord a priority, the harder it is to return.  Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Less Traveled,” symbolizes the fork in the road of life.  While those living without God chose instant gratification, pleasure and sinful delights; those who take the other path are ridiculed, scrutinized and rejected by social media.  Despite the initial pain, a guiding light leads the way, Galatians 5:25, greater than the Force in Star Wars.

Today, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize living without God has become a societal trend.  If you listen to the words of an average conversations, absorb the lyrics of blaring music passing by or see the lack of joy in people’s faces, God is no where to be found.  Its no wonder that desperate souls keep looking for love in all the wrong places, void of progress and peace.  I’m not sure what people are waiting for, yet God has his perfect timing, Ecclesiastes 3.  In these last days, may prodigal sons and daughters come home soon before its too late to return to the living God.

by Jay Mankus

The Sound of Defeat

Silence, groans and hushed voices are just a few signs of losing.  Meanwhile, body language slumps, slows down and expresses defeat without a word.  On Sunday evening, around 9:45 pm Eastern Standard Time, the sound of defeat will visit one sideline after the final seconds tick off the clock in Super Bowl XLVIII.  As confetti falls, cameras flash and reporters get their microphones ready to interview the champions, the loser will slip away in obscurity, pondering what might have been.

In the arena of life, the sound of defeat is less subtle.  Sure, there will always be Debbie downers and depressed Davids, yet most will hide their emotions until no one is around or only their family is in view.  However, in sports, the agony of defeat occurs under a microscope, often with life shattering results.  Skip Dillard went to prison because he missed 1 free throw in an NCAA Basketball Tournament Game as a star for the Depaul Blue Demons.  Tonya Harding turned to thuggery in an attempt to win an Olympic Gold medal in figure skating.  Finally, Donavon McNabb, upchucked as the closing moments of the Super Bowl got too big for him, beyond what he could handle.

In biblical times, there was a different sound heard by Joshua and Moses as each had their own suspicion.  From afar, Joshua heard what sounded like the sound of war in Exodus 32:17.  Stepping in like a Jedi Knight, playing a similar role to Yoda, Moses corrects this young rising star, “It’s not the sound of victory, it’s the sound of defeat;” Exodus 32:18.”  Perhaps Moses understood the concept of 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, with 1 winner and multiple losers.  Therefore, instead of resting in a pit of despair, pick your head up out of the gutter and focus on a crown that will last forever so that the sound of defeat doesn’t cripple your soul for a lifetime.

by Jay Mankus

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