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Treasures Beneath The Surface

Ric Savage is living proof that sometimes real treasure exists in your own backyard.  This former professional wrestler is now the star of Spike TV’s reality show, American Digger.  Using history like a treasure map, Ric’s team travels across the country in search of valuable pieces of Americana.  However, before he can dig, Ric must receive permission from home owners, offering to split his profits.  The rest of a typical episode contains the quest to uncover hidden gems using medal detectors or modern technology to locate treasures behind the surface.

Unfortunately, most treasure stories don’t have a happy ending.  Such is the tale of a farmer who sold all his possessions to search for diamonds.  Like a gold rush, this man was inspired to leave his family behind in America to fulfill a lifelong dream of striking it rich.  Tired of just making enough to survive, he longed to provide a better life for his wife and children.  Thus, off he went, first to South Africa, then to India and finally to a mine is Spain.  In a moment of despair, he jumped into a raging river, drowning; never tasting success.

 [image of Conwell sitting]

Meanwhile, the man this farmer sold his property to continued to farm, yet he began to uncover a rocky patch of soil.  To protect his plow, this man placed the larger rocks on his mantel, above a fireplace.  When a local priest paid a visit to the new resident, welcoming him to the community, he was shocked by these large rocks.  After an initial exchange, the priest asked the man where he had found these unusual rocks.  Nonchalantly, he replied, “they are all over this property”.  Astonished, the priest replied, “do you know what you have?”  Curious, the man answers, “No, what are they?”  As a former jeweler prior to attending seminary, the priest responds, “you have unearthed acres of diamonds!”  This story inspired Russell Conwell’s famous speech, Acres of Diamonds.  Russell’s success as a minister and writer led him to found Temple University in Philadelphia.

Life often plays cruel tricks on us, like this dead farmer.  The one thing he longed for in life was right in his own backyard, beneath the surface.  Sometimes, before you make rash decisions, you have to consider the cost, Luke 14:28-33.  While Satan may lead you to believe the grass is greener on the other side of your fence, God has surrounded you with living treasures: family, friends and possessions.  Therefore, don’t leave your land until the Holy Spirit has helped you unearth treasures within, 1 Corinthians 12:11.  As I continue to search for full time employment, I pray that God will help me dig deep enough to find that diamond in a rough economy.

by Jay Mankus

Note to Tweeters: Think Before You Tweet

Yesterday, January 28th, 2013, Lesean McCoy, star NFL running back for the Philadelphia Eagles was burned by the world of Twitter.  Initially, claiming someone hacked into his account, (I’ve heard that one before) he publicly apologized for airing his dirty laundry.  In an exchange with his ex-girl friend, Lesean acknowledged that he lost control of his temper and should have been more mature, dealing with this matter face to face like a man during an interview on CSN, the Comcast Sports Network.

Unfortunately, Lesean was not aware of Solomon’s words in Proverbs 21:23. “He who guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself from calamity.”  A womanizer in his own right, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, 1 Kings 11:3, before he settled down.  Solomon recognized that woman often bring out the worst in a man as detailed by his words in Proverbs 21:19.  “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.”  In case you forget, Solomon repeats these warnings throughout Proverbs like the version in Proverbs 21:9.

According to C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, anyone can acquire prudence and temperance, within his chapter on the Cardinal Virtues.  Lewis defines prudence as practical common sense, thinking about what you are about to do or say and the likely outcome of it.  Temperance on the other hand is learning to go or take something to the right distance, but no further.  You don’t have to be religious to apply these basic principles.  Rather, one must have an inner desire to better themselves, to maintain a good reputation and leave a legacy that is honorable.  Therefore, the next time you think about tweeting when you are angry, reflect before making  your words public!  Then, you might make this world a better place.

by Jay Mankus

Flirting with the World

The term flirt is an intransitive verb which means to behave in a playful or alluring manner.  At the high school and college level, flirting is a method used to ascertain whether or not another individual shares any interest in you.  Like a scientific experiment, probing, tickling or winking either stimulates a mutual connection with another person or results in a cold rejection.  Unfortunately, flirting with the world is like playing with fire, often leaving deep scars from where your soul got burned.

Eve introduced the world to flirting in Genesis 3.  Flirting begins in Eve’s mind, questioning the boundaries God had set in Genesis 2:16-17.  As Eve’s thoughts began to wander, her eyes enter the fray, lusting over the beauty of the fruit on the Tree of Knowledge.  Cain had a similar problem in Genesis 4:6-7 as God tries to intervene to prevent free will from being exercised in the form of murder.  According to Jesus in Matthew 5:21-22, the jealousy within Cain’s heart, led to immense hatred, ultimately planting the seed to kill.  When you flirt with the ways of the world, death and destruction often follow, Deuteronomy 30:17-18.

In his book entitled Flirting with the World, John White reaches a scary conclusion about the impact flirting is having on the church.  According to White, “the sexual behavior of Christians has reached the point of being indistinguishable from that of non-Christians”.  In an attempt to blend in, trying not to offend others, the salt of faith has lost its flavor and the light of Jesus is experiencing nation wide power outages, Matthew 5:13-16.  As godly role models continue to fall from grace, an “everybody’s doing it” mindset has led saints toward a pit of despair, James 1:13-15.  Intervention, public confession and accountability is essential to break free from the bondage to sin, James 5:16.  Therefore, if you think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, think twice before you actually flirt with the world.

by Jay Mankus

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