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The Esau Syndrome

From a historical point of view, Esau is the first boy scout mentioned in the Bible.  Although the Boy Scouts of America is over 100 years old, based upon the passage below, it appears that Isaac invested time teaching and training his son how to live off the land.  This enabled Esau to become a skilled hunter, embracing the outdoors like a contestant on Survivor.  Unfortunately, cooking was a like foreign language to Esau, dependent upon his mother Rebekah and slightly younger brother Jacob to prepare what he brought home.

When the boys grew up, Esau was an able and skilled hunter, a man of the outdoors, but Jacob was a quiet and peaceful man, living in tents, Genesis 25:27.

A syndrome is a condition characterized by a collection of associated symptoms.  If you closely evaluate the life of Esau, he spent so much time outdoors that he wasn’t able to become well rounded.  This short sided approach to life forced him to become dependent upon others for meals, never taking the time to learn how to cook.  Thus, this weakness was exposed following a long hunting trip, handing over his birthright to Jacob in one irrational moment.  Like the prodigal son in Luke 15, Esau squandered the inheritance due to him upon his father’s passing.  This one bad decision has defined Esau’s irrelevant life.

Jacob had cooked [reddish-brown lentil] stew [one day], when Esau came from the field and was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please, let me have a quick swallow of that red stuff there, because I am exhausted and famished.” For that reason Esau was [also] called Edom (Red). 31 Jacob answered, “First sell me your birthright (the rights of a firstborn).” 32 Esau said, “Look, I am about to die [if I do not eat soon]; so of what use is this birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear [an oath] to me today [that you are selling it to me for this food]”; so he swore [an oath] to him, and sold him his birthright, Genesis 25:29-33.

The Scout’s Motto is to be prepared.  From a spiritual stand point, this involves advancing past elementary teachings, Hebrews 6:1.  This includes embracing the good with the bad, James 1:2-6, recognizing that God uses trials to take people out of their comfort zones.  These periods prune individuals, stimulating growth by removing dead areas, John 15:1-5.  As a former professional golfer, I spent most of my time on the weakest parts of my game.  If I just practiced my strengths, I would not maximize my ability to improve.  If you want to live a relevant life, make sure you develop all the areas of your life, not just the ones you like.  Prayer, discipline and accountability partners will help you overcome the Esau Syndrome by becoming mature and complete, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus

Costing More Than Its Worth

 

In times of crisis or natural disaster, the normal rule of law is often overlooked.  Thus, when Hurricane Katrina brought mass flooding to New Orleans, looters were rampant, taking whatever they could find and carry.  These acts of transgressions were excused as people were forced to go into survivor mode.

People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving, Proverbs 6:30.

In the days when Israel was a thriving nation, a similar mindset occurred.  Anyone thought to steal due to hunger pains wasn’t as criticized as one who committed crimes out of greed.  Nonetheless, Jewish law stated that anyone caught would have to pay back 7 times the amount stolen,  Thus, crime doesn’t pay, costing more than its worth.

Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house, Proverbs 6:31.

Solomon takes this concept one step further, comparing adultery to stealing.  This analogy is considered out of date by Hollywood, especially as the biblical concept of marriage fades from American culture.  This moral decline reveals a downward trend with no end in sight.  Despite the lack of a moral conscience, its essential to spread the word that poor decisions cost more than a moment of pleasure is worth.

by Jay Mankus

Living Off the Grid, Unplugged for a Week

Prior to the advent of cell phones and internet, conversational skills were an important part of life.  While technological advances often enhance society, these two inventions are killing intimate relationships.  These modern devices are distracting individuals from bonding with other human beings whom they share a lot in common with, but haven’t taken the time to find out.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

During a vacation over Spring Break, I spent a week without wi-fi.  Thus, posting my blogs was a difficult challenge as even some of the restaurants I ate at did not offer free access to the internet.  Despite this challenge, I survived, spending more time with my family and children than normal.  Swimming in the day and playing pool at night provided a healthy climate for communication.

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

Although you probably won’t find me on a reality show like Survivor, living off the grid and unplugged for a week was a blessing.  Since I’ve always been a doer, with a drive to experience the outdoors, visiting new places this past week has given me a new appreciation for life.  Sure, you do need money to travel, but if you limit your access to the social media, you will discipline yourself to make the effort to go and do things you have always talked about, but never done.  Seize each new day while it lasts!

by Jay Mankus

The Compass of Prayer

In the first season of Survivor Borneo contestants could bring one personal item to keep on their Island.  Depending upon the personality, individuals chose from a wide variety of possessions based upon wants and needs.  Dirk Been, the first person to ever be voted off the show during a tribal council brought his Bible.  Since editors have a way of slicing film to create stars, villains and proverbial losers, his decision to bring the Word of God wasn’t applauded.  Yet, for Dirk this book was like a compass for life.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you,  John 15:7.

The earliest accounts of Jesus highlight a morning routine, Mark 1:35-39.  While his disciples were sleeping, Jesus would arise early before sunset to a quiet location.  This solitary location provided ideal condition for the compass of prayer.  Meditating, Jesus began to listen to His heavenly Father, providing a road map for the next day.  Although the disciples had their own agendas and plans, the Holy Spirit lead Jesus to people of need, fulfilling God’s will daily.

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.

Today, obstacles to achieving a clear and open communication with God continue to increase.  Doubt, unanswered prayers and worry cause individuals to try to find their way alone.  Unlocking this veil begins and ends with the Bible.  Hearts, minds and soul touched, nurtured and inspired by words of truth are like an introduction to orienteering.  Comprehending the whole process takes time.  However, through trial and error, the compass of prayer will lead you to the light.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Purging of Fools

According to Webster, a fool demonstrates imprudence, silly behavior and unwise acts.  Today, it doesn’t take much effort to recognize foolishness in our culture.  Idiots, imbeciles and morons are making millions as reality TV stars.  Whether its the annoying person on Survivor, the American Idol contestant who can’t sing a lick or drunks on Moonshiners, some where along the way being foolish is now cool, especially if you can amuse others with laughter.

If there was an uncensored version of the Bible, I’m sure Moses muttered numerous things under his breath as he tried to lead a nation of fools into God’s promised land.  As Moses and Joshua listened to God for 40 days, providing guidelines for life, Aaron was holding down the fort as the high priest of Israel until they returned.  Like the blind leading the blind, Aaron panicked, failed to demonstrate leadership and broke the first 2 commandments by creating a golden calf in Exodus 32.  While most pastors stop their sermons here, I’ve never heard anyone speak of the purging of fools.

When the principle enters a classroom unannounced, students usually settle down, putting on their best behavior to avoid getting in trouble.  Unfortunately, when Moses rolled back into camp in Exodus 32:25-28, thousands of Israelites ignored Moses’ entrance, partying like it was 1999.  Like a coach or teacher trying to see who’s paying attention in class, Moses makes a challenge that is answered by the Levites, the priestly tribe, seemingly the only group disturbed by Israel’s reckless behavior.  Subsequently, God purged Israel of 3000 fools, who were not willing to obey or respect God’s commands.

In the New Testament, we find a kinder, gentler God, who offers His grace to those who believe in Jesus, Ephesians 2:4-8.  However, not much has changed since the days of Moses as millions are still living for the day, partying each weekend and are redefining foolishness with acts that  would make Sodom and Gomorrah blush.  As a circus of fools spread throughout America and across the world, may God have mercy, open the eyes of the spiritually blind and transform their lives before foolish acts result in death and destruction.

by Jay Mankus

Stirring Up Wars

Not much has changed since the Jets and the Sharks began their fictional turf war over a girl, Maria, in the 1961 musical West Side Story.  Today, anger, bitterness and discord have built up within human beings to create ideal conditions for dissension zones.  Good intentions often fade into the night as roots of bitterness suffocate any thoughts of forgiveness.  As a result, floodgates open up for a culture of bickering and backstabbing.

Beyond the boundaries of Super Powers, factions leave third world nations with a battlefield of broken hearts, fragile souls and shattered relationships.  Hatred has found a home, setting up shop as a spirit of division is holding unwilling citizens captive.  While once foreign, America has open its doors to this nature through reality television.  A generation of Jerry Springer and Jenny Jones viewers have spawned hits shows like Big Brother, Survivor and The Jersey Shore.  Seeking to get rich over night, individuals do whatever it takes, forsaking integrity, to achieve success and victory.

Going unnoticed by those with moral blinders on, the acts of the sinful nature has imprisoned lost souls, Galatians 5:19-21.  Selfish ambition has become their driving force, the wind beneath their misguided wings.  When you add envy and jealousy as fuel to this fire, carnage is aired daily through shows like Bad Boys, Cheaters and Divorce Court.  As long as comedy, sex and violence continue to sell, this process will repeat itself, stirring up more wars.  May God protect the innocent bystanders, caught in the crossfire of this mudslinging.  Pray the words of Galatians 5:16-18 so that this vicious cycle will end soon!

by Jay Mankus

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